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June 12, 2015

Jurassic Park: My Top 11 Favourite Moments

I am almost squealing in anticipation for 'Jurassic World', which starts this weekend. I haven't been so excited, indeed so eager to watch a film at the cinema in so long I can't even remember.


My excitement has been piqued ever further by the release of a brilliantly-edited final trailer (watch it at the bottom of the post), which makes it look all the more as though it will possibly match the tension and thrill of 'Jurassic Park'.

'Jurassic Park' is one of my all-time favourite films. My parents sneaked my sister and I into the cinema when it released, in 1993 I think, when we were both too young to watch such a scary film. The anxiety of being removed from the cinema might have added to my overall enjoyment of the film, but I was also excited to be watching it - a cinematic hurrah to the world of dinosaurs that I loved so much as young child. (I loved dinos so much I even wanted to be a palaeontologist - yes, long before 'Jurassic Park' was released - who knows what happened to that idea).

I recently binge-watched all three of the 'Jurassic Park' films. That was, of course, before I found out that director Colin Trevorrow was actually disregarding the (still disappointingly bad) sequels and moving on directly from the original. Thus, quite a waste of time (because...reasons). I recently watched a little documentary short about the first film showing how and why the dinosaurs in 'Jurassic Park' were just so groundbreaking: they were really a merging of three different technologies - stop motion animation, animatronics, and CGI. I believe this is why the two sequels could not hope to compete - I believe all their dinosaurs were entirely CGI-based.

I will now happily and smilingly watch Jurassic World' without even remembering the sequels.

But what was it that made 'Jurassic Park' so enjoyable for me? Was it the angst and tension that many are finding difficult to emulate today, even said sequels? Was it the Sam Neill and Laura Dern team?

Here are my top 11 favourite moments in 'Jurassic Park':

1. Welcome, Velociraptor!

This first scene should be on the list as one of the most thrilling moments in a film ever. Pounding rain, a mystery guest, a peek through the bars of the transfer cubicle, a misstep, and a man clinging to the side of the vehicle before being dragged to his doom...I rub my hands in glee!

2. Respect the Velociraptor

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Facebook/Jurassic Park
When Dr Alan Grant explains to a snooty little boy why the Velociraptor was such a formidable killer by revealing his raptor claw and drawing it several times across the little boy's torso as he tells him what the velociraptor would do with his little body, I cheer inwardly. Respect the dinos, boy!

3. Dinosaurs!? Dinosaurs!

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Facebook/Jurassic Park
This moment still has my hair stand on end at times. When Alan and Allie first spot the brachiosaurus, their expressions say it all, the music reaches reaches a crescendo as the dinosaur reaches up to get the tasty top leaves of a tall tree before slamming back to the ground as the music climaxes, and Alan falls on his knees as his shock and wonder take the best of him.

4. This

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Facebook/Jurassic Park

5. Playing God

This is a recent favourite of mine. Alan, Ellie, Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), and the park's creator, John Hammond discuss the events of the day. Ian is convinced that dinosaurs belong in the past - it is where God put them after all, but Hammond does not believe he is playing God and is disappointed that they are all unimpressed with his park. The conversation is quite intense and I'd never noticed it before.


6. Um, The Electricity is Off

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This is the moment you know everything is going to go to the dogs. As you wait for something - anything - to happen, those iconic concentric circular ripples in the glass of water foretell the doom that is coming. Within this scene, Lex asks, 'Where's the goat?' and the T-Rex happily obliges to give her an answer.

7. Dennis Gets His Comeuppance

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Facebook/Jurassic Park
Dennis was not a likeable character to begin with - rude, gross, untidy, and selfish - but shutting down the entire park to get some dinosaur samples certainly seems like a plan hatched by a moron. And this moron pays - he is attacked, spat on, and probably eviscerated by a dilophosaurus, a little dinosaur he was kind enough to insult with a candy bar.

8. Shirtlessness and Dinasahrs!

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Facebook/Jurassic Park
Yes, this is such a sleazy thing to put on this list, but Jeff Goldblum had to have his shirt off or half open whenever possible - talking to Ellie, sitting in a car, eating dinner, and receiving treatment after stupidly gaining the T-Rex's attention. And, of course, his pronunciation of dinosaurs :)

9. The Electric Fence is Off

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Facebook/Jurassic Park
The scene is one of my favourites for two reasons. First, Alan pretending to be shocked by the fence. It's just something my dad would have done. And second, the tension that comes just after that little lilt in angst when the Tyrannosaurus is approaching and the electric fence is about to come on and Tim is too afraid to climb down and Alan and Lex are screaming...

10. The Wobbling Jello

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Facebook/Jurassic Park
Lex and Tim finally make it to headquarters and have the dinner that was waiting for them, but their meal is interrupted when Lex spots the shadow of a velociraptor on the other side of a banner. Before we know what she sees, her terror is made clear by the wiggling blob of jello on the spoon that never made it to her mouth.

11. A Velociraptor in the Kitchen

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Facebook/Jurassic Park
This is still one of the most intense scenes in the film. Lex and Tim are up against not one but two velociraptors appetites were not sated with either Ray Arnold nor Robert Muldoon. As the children sneak around on all fours to escape, Tim manages to catch their attention. Lex calls them to her instead with a shiny spoon and tries to squash herself into a stainless steel stove. The velociraptor sees her and runs, claws sliding on the floor, hackles up, targets Les, but then smashes into Lex's reflection. This amazing scene still makes me tense, even though I've seen them escape a hundred times already.

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I know that 'Jurassic Park' doesn't have very many fans in the world of palaeontology for basically settling an image of dinosaurs in popular culture and the viewing public that isn't really based on reality. I can understand that this is problematic and a fluffy dinosaur with feathers may now be scoffed at instead of dazzle. While the first film went miles to show humankind that dinosaurs were smarter than previously thought - which was what palaeontologists had been discovering - many have even fewer compliments for the dinosaurs of 'Jurassic World'. The dinosaurs are massive and apparently barely resemble the painstakingly acquired skeleton specimens displayed in museums around the world.

But 'Jurassic Park', you have a fan in me despite your inaccuracies, and I hope 'Jurassic World' meets my expectations.

Watch the trailer below:



Are you looking forward to seeing the film?