Millions of years after they fell to a killer asteroid, dinosaurs invaded our imaginations and trampled the box office in movies that have reanimated the giant lizards into something larger than life. So let's talk about 11 of the coolest.
Jurassic Park is the obvious one when it comes to dino-sized special effects that blow your mind. No one who lived to see the ‘90s will ever forget that first scene when Dr. Grant and his colleagues take a drive on Isla Nublar and are stunned by brachiosaurus heads that almost seem to extend into outer space. If you remember the scene where Tim pets one on the head, that giant lizard was actually a scale puppet from the neck up—and it needed six puppeteers to make it appear alive.
Movie dinosaurs didn’t just hatch with the Jurassic franchise. The Lost World was the very first prehistoric movie that came into existence, and its stop-motion T-rex that snatched a pteranodon in its jaws out of thin air is eerily similar to the one that faces off against King Kong in the original 1936 King Kong film. Spoiler: The short arms give the King of the Dinosaurs a severe disadvantage.
Godzilla is a mutant dinosaur, and while his species remains unknown, he kept making audiences scream even as a rubber suit that crushed model skyscrapers. Mega-pteranodon Rodan and three-headed arch-nemesis Ghidorah (which is supposed to be a dragon, but that’s dinosaur enough) were no less amazing at the time. They have since evolved from those suits, which were sometimes unbearable for the actors wearing them, into computer-generated beasts.
Fast-forward to the era of CGI, and the genetically engineered predators that came to terrorize that ill-fated theme park and those that came after it got fiercer and fiercer, from surprisingly clever raptors that could be trained by humans to a creature that could spit venomous gloop in your face. The Mosasaurus that lurked in the depths of that Sea World-inspired tank in Jurassic World would only do a Shamu jump if there was an entire shark carcass waiting for it.
Some of the most awesome dinosaurs onscreen weren’t even made of protoplasm. Grimlock from Transformers: Age of Extinction is a fire-breathing dino-bot that prefers the taste of cars over flesh.
Which dinosaur’s thunderous footsteps make you tremble in fear and awe? Give us a roar in the comments.