All this talk about Jurassic Park 4 has really got me thinking about the series again. We had some good times and we had some bad, but damn, I love that series. In what I think is partly a celebration of the series and partly a cautionary tale for its future, let us look back at what I think are some of the best and worst moments in the series.
In the interest of making this challenging, I’m only allowing myself two moments from the first film to be on the “best” list. Otherwise the best of list would just be the first move. And no, Jurassic Park 3 doesn’t fully occupy the worst list. Oh and just in case you haven’t seen the series, there are spoilers ahead.
1. Grant Sees a Dinosaur for the First Time
When it comes to awe-inspiring moments, there is no greater one than when Dr. Grant sees his first dinosaur. The triumphant music, the sense of scale, and the amazing effects make this one of the most powerful scenes in the movie. In the entire series even. The moment just rips your mind open to the world of movie magic and makes you believe dinosaurs are real.
2. T-Rex Takes San Diego
I really wish the majority of the movie had been this scene. Most of Lost World felt like retreaded territory, but when the T-Rex got to San Diego things got way more interesting. I know some people think this part ruined the movie, but I think it’s the only part that really stands out. It seems like they did everything that they could with the dinos on the island, bringing them to the mainland at least added an element of surprise.
3. Spinosaurus Fight in the Water
I don’t know why I like this scene so much. Generally speaking, some of the best moments in the Jurassic Park series involve rain and water and as it turns out, my favorite scene from JP3 is in the water. Maybe it was because the film was nearly over or because one of the Kirbys nearly died, but this scene just stands out to me as the best moment in JP3.
4. T-Rex Kicks Ass
The T-Rex breaks into the Visitor’s Center and saves the humans from being a Velociraptor meal.
I can’t think of a more epic moment in the Jurassic Park series than when the T-Rex swoops in at the end and kicks Velociraptor-ass. Despite the fact that this thing terrorized us for a good chunk of the movie, it becomes a sort of anti-hero for the series. You can’t help but to get excited with child-like amusement when the T-Rex is on screen.
One question though: How the hell did it sneak into the damn building without anyone knowing? I know that there’s a giant opening, but I’m fairly certain the T-Rex wasn’t known for its cat-like stealth.
5. Any Scene with Pete Postlethwaite
When Pete passed on we lost a truly great character actor. In the Lost World, Steven Spielberg used him to the fullest and created a really dynamic character that stood out above the main cast. Sometimes I think I would’ve liked Lost World more had it been an entire movie about Pete’s character; however the fact that we only see him in a few scenes is probably what makes his appearance so memorable.
1. T-Rex Gets Killed
In a not-so-thrilling showdown, the T-Rex and Spinosaurus come face to face. After a short scuffle, the Spino breaks the neck of the T-Rex.
There’s a trope in entertainment where people get the bright idea of introducing a new bad guy by having him kill or dispose of the old bad guy. I hate this idea so much because it almost never works and they really screw it up in Jurassic Park 3. They essentially take a creature that you’ve learned to love and respect and then kill him in the lamest way possible. It’s a scene that clearly shows JP3 has no respect for the franchise. Just look at the CGI in the fight, it’s easily the worst the series has to offer.
Killing the T-Rex is as bad as having a Friday the 13th movie without Jason. There, I said it.
2. Death By Gymnastics
Malcolm’s daughter harnesses her gymnastic skills to kill a Velociraptor.
I’ll admit, this one doesn’t bother me as much as the rest of the moments on this list, but it’s still pretty bad. It happens so quickly that you almost forget about it, but then it stays at the subconscious level of your brain, eating away at it like a little worm. It’s a really cheesy moment in the film that I wish they would’ve just cut out.
3. Any Scenes With Kids in Jurassic Park
I don’t want to sound like a grumpy old man, but fuck the kids in Jurassic Park. Don’t get me wrong, I like kids, I think they’re great. I just don’t want to see them in Jurassic Park and yet they keep insisting that I do. And the kids always have to have some sort of weird skill to prove they’re useful too. These kids are hacking computers, doing gymnastics and displaying survival skills that would put Bear Grylls to shame. However, when they’re not suddenly displaying their skills, they’re utterly useless and serve only to burden the hero. I hope that Jurassic Park 4 is a kid free zone.
4. Nick Van Owen is a Douche
It’s true. He is the biggest douche in the entire Jurassic Park series. Why exactly? It’s because Nick Van Owen causes most of the major disasters in the The Lost World and we’re supposed to see him as a “good guy.” He was one of the geniuses that brought the baby T-Rex to the trailer which causes one of their teammates to get chomped. Then he unleashes the dinos at the InGen camp causing them to rampage, kill, and destroy valuable equipment needed to get off the island.
Finally Nick is the one that removes the bullets from Roland’s gun, which prevents him from killing the T-Rex. Arguably this causes Roland to use the tranquilizer gun which subdues the dino and allows InGen to bring it to San Diego where it gets loose and tears through the city. Had Nick left the bullets in the gun you’d have one dead T-Rex and that would be that.
5. The Sad Realization that Ellie And Grant Didn’t Work Out
In Jurassic Park 3 we learn that Ellie and Grant went their separate ways after their relationship fell apart. Ellie found a new love interest and Grant threw himself deeper into his work. I’m of two minds about this. On one hand this ruins his character arc in Jurassic Park where he goes from being a non-committal guy to someone who can accept the idea of starting a family and being grounded. However, I can also appreciate the idea that maybe men like Grant can’t change. They can only think they want too, but can’t actually find it in themselves to do so. Either way it’s a bitter pill to swallow.
Just like Jurassic Park 3.