Following on from our successful Top 10 Lords of the Rings scenes with @LifeAtBagEnd we’re going Jurassic with @JurassicCollect
In our second collaborative article for the website we’re taking a look back on the Jurassic franchise with @JurassicCollect and have painstakingly put together our collective Top 10 moments from the entire series, before the pending arrival of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
Whilst certain films in the franchise feature more heavily than others in this list, it’s pretty easy to say that the franchise as a whole holds a very special place in our hearts and there were plenty of scenes we banded around which we just didn’t have enough room to squeeze in.
- Ellie Satler and John Hammond conversation in the restaurant
- Grant, Satler, Lex and Tim escape through the vents
- The Hunters are chased by two T-Rex
- Ian Malcolm fends off a Raptor in the worker village
So let’s kick things off with…
Number 10: The Gallimimus stampede, Jurassic Park
Not everything has to be a big action set-piece and grandiose in the Jurassic franchise, and this scene sums that up perfectly. Beginning with a brilliant piece of character development for all three of Grant, Lex and Tim, before transitioning into a pulse pounding “chase” sequence, that displayed groundbreaking CGI for the time, and ending on the devastating arrival of the T-Rex.
Although by this point in the movie their characters have already been well developed, the chance to see Grant, Lex and Tim observing the animals from afar, and with each having a very unique view on what they were witnessing was incredibly well done to further establish who they are as people. Lex, the child who doesn’t really care for dinosaurs and is more scared than the other two; Grant, the ageing paleontologist who sees patterns of movement, rather than just the animals themselves and Tim, the young boy who is trying to impress Grant, but is ultimately controlled by his childish instinct to witness gore.
Number 9: The Pteranodon head turn, Jurassic Park 3
Whilst Jurassic Park 3 is arguably the least appreciated of the currently released four films, it still has good moments that often go overlooked. This is one of those scenes.
The entire sequence inside the giant bird cage is worthy of note, but it is the final moments of that sequence that offer up one of the best shots in the entire franchise. As Billy is floating downstream, a flock of angry Pteranodon’s pecking at him furiously, the camera slowly pans as another Pteranodon comes into frame and maliciously turns to face the camera directly, in movie looking straight at our protagonists.
Everything about this scene works incredibly well, from the music to the camera work and the facial reactions of Alan Grant and Mr. Kirby when they spot the Pteranodon looking right at them. A very underrated moment.
Number 8: Masrani/Claire at the Indominous Rex paddock, Jurassic World
It would be quite the understatement to say that Jurassic World was divisive. Much like recent reactions to Star Wars: The Last Jedi the thoughts and opinions of JW ranged from loving the film, to thinking it was the worst in the franchise, and whilst many of the arguments about the film not “feeling” like a Jurassic Park film ring true, the film (In my opinion) still had many good moments.
But, this wasn’t just my Top 10 list, it was also @JurassicCollect’s and they have very different opinions to me when it comes to JW. So we found compromise in this particular scene. It’s the only scene from JW to feature in our Top 10, and unsurprisingly it is probably the scene that feels most like the Jurassic Park films of old.
Featuring a bewildered (and evidently scared) Masrani (Irrfan Khan), and a steadfast and confident Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) as they look into the paddock of the Indominous Rex as it watches them from the undergrowth. The scene was simple, but it quickly established the terrifying nature of the Indominous and the threat it could cause to those around it.
Credit to Irrfan Khan’s facial expressions in this scene also. His character comes across as very “real” here and that is a hard thing to do at times when you’re in the middle of a big monster movie.
Number 7: The trailers are pushed over the cliff, The Lost World: Jurassic Park
Our first big action set-piece of the list. The Lost World: Jurassic Park is massively underrated among Jurassic fans and this is one of those scenes that should receive more recognition that it already does (Although not the best scene from TLW – More on that later).
Beginning with the quiet and tense moments of the two T-Rex stalking the trailers, searching for their child in a display of great parenting (A point that the film tries to get across over the course of the whole movie). Before transitioning into the bombastic nature of the T-Rex attacking the vehicles and pushing them over the edge of the cliff and finally ending with possibly the most suspenseful moment of any Jurassic film, with Sarah precariously positioned on a pane of breaking glass, hundreds of feet above the crash of waves below.
Throw in the fact that this scene also includes the sorrowful death of Eddie Carr (Richard Schiff), who is massively under-appreciated as a character, and you have yourself a really great scene that should be worthy of anyone’s top ten.
Number 6: First sighting of Isla Nublar, Jurassic Park
Not the most newsworthy of scenes in the franchise, but certainly one of the more meaningful. The first time we lay our eyes on Isla Nublar in Jurassic Park is one of mystery and magic. When audiences were watching this film during its first theatrical release I don’t suppose that many, if any, would realise the significance that this island would have on the future of cinema.
Accompanied by some more great character work, this time between Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) and John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), and some outstanding music beats by John Williams and you have yourself an amazing introduction to the island.
Number 5: Farewell Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park
Swiftly transitioning from our arrival on Isla Nublar to our exit. The ending sequence of Jurassic Park is outstanding on a number of levels. You could argue that this entire sequence begins all the way back in the vents, but for our purposes we’ll conclude that the final “scene” begins with the T-Rex fighting the Raptors and our protagonists escaping to the helicopter.
The fight between Rexy and the remaining Raptors is worthy enough to make it into the Top ten, but the added final moments of the film, with our characters finally escaping the dangers of the island and sharing a peaceful moment together on the helicopter as two pelicans fly nearby creates an incredibly memorable and moving moment.
Alan Grant’s (Sam Neill) character arc comes full circle as he holds the two children in his arms (We’ll ignore the fact that it’s basically undone by the third movie) and for a film that is built around the grandiose nature of dinosaurs, having it end with two pelicans is particularly fitting. A great piece of directing from one of the greatest directors of all time, Steven Spielberg.
Number 4: “Don’t go into the long grass!”, The Lost World: Jurassic Park
For my money the hunters becoming the hunted in The Lost World is the most terrifying of any Jurassic film to date (I have a feeling that Fallen Kingdom may have something to say about that). The eerie warning from Ajay Sidhu (Harvey Jason) as the hunters rush in without thought or caution, followed by the slow stalking by the velociraptors is incredibly well filmed and acted.
Say what you want about how the velociraptors are being portrayed in the latest movies, but for me this was them at their scariest. They may not have a massive role in The Lost World, but their impact is felt almost immediately and they continue to terrorize the protagonists until their escape from the island. And who can forget that shot overlooking the long grass as they creep closer to their pray? Masterful directing.
Number 3: T-Rex escape, Jurassic Park
We’re getting into the big time now and the T-Rex escape in my opinion still stands as the best use of CGI throughout the entire franchise. The sublime wide shots of Rexy escaping are second to none, and when you take into account how well these shots are combined with the use of the best animatronic the series has to offer you can begin to see why it had such a lasting impact.
The acting from Lex and Tim (Ariana Richards and Joseph Mazzello) is at its best in this scene as they show sheer terror during the Rex attack (Aided by the animatronic accidentally breaking the plexiglass), and the parental instincts of both Malcolm and Grant kicking in are great to watch.
Here’s to you Rexy, thanks for the great memories.
Number 2: Raptors in the kitchen, Jurassic Park
Imagine being a child stalked by a carnivorous animal, now imagine being in an enclosed space and that animal being a pair of freaking velociraptors. Lex and Tim being stalked through the kitchen by the raptors is Spielberg mastery at work.
The sense of dread and fear emanating from the children is palpable and passes to every audience member watching the film, whether it be at the cinema or the safety of your own home. There’s nothing quite like crawling along the cold floor of a kitchen with a deadly creature tapping its giant clawed on the floor nearby, searching for you with every sniff of the air.
The threat of the raptors is built incredibly well throughout the movie and it’s in this scene that we really see the payoff. From the working out how to open doors, to their shiver inducing scream as they finally set their sights on Lex and Tim and finally to the remaining Raptor watching on with a harrowing intelligence as the two children finally manage to escape the room.
Terrifying, but beautiful at the same time.
Number 1: Do you remember seeing your first dinosaur? Jurassic Park
The rest of the Top 10 list may have been a bit of a struggle to fight over what belonged and in what position, but I think the No. 1 spot was always pretty much guaranteed.
The first time you see a Dinosaur is one you never forget and Spielberg did an amazing job of making sure that was the case here. In my own opinion this scene ranks as my favourite ever scene from film and television history, so it’s no surprise to see it topping out this list.
For the time the CGI was outstanding, far surpassing anything that came before, and whilst it has become shakey over time, it still more than holds its own. Spielberg said in an interview that what he wanted to accomplish with this scene was to create the feeling that when Dr Grant says “It’s…it’s a dinosaur” you as an audience member actually feel like you are watching a live dinosaur. Mission accomplished.
The scene is then topped off by a beautiful shot of dinosaurs down by the lake, only intensified by the brilliant acting of Sam Neill and Laura Dern, and the now famous line delivered by John Hammond…
“Dr. Grant… my dear Dr. Satler… welcome, to Jurassic Park”
And there we have it! The Top 10 Scenes in the Jurassic franchise as chosen by myself and @JurassicCollect. Be sure to let us know what you thought of our list and follow us on the social medias!
Until next time Jurassic fans.