The Jurassic Park issue: Every dinosaur in the movies ranked, JP trivia, and the franchise's best kills
Jurassic World: Dominion is nearly here. Let's celebrate one of the greatest film franchises of all time.
For some reason I planned to travel on the same day Jurassic World: Dominion hits theaters. And in case you were wondering: Yes, I regret everything in my life that led me to this.
But I have my tickets in hand, and I’m ready to see dinos on the big screen once again. Whatever the future holds for the Jurassic Park franchise, I hope it’s not the end of seeing it on the big screen.
In honor of this iconic brand, let’s dig into (see what I did there?) all things Jurassic.
There’s something about dinosaurs that just takes you right back to childhood.
Both Michael Crichton and Steven Spielberg cited their own childhood fascinations with dinos as what sparked their passion for Jurassic Park. It is pretty incredible after all to think that these beasts—both the gentle giants and not so gentle giants—once ruled the Earth.
This summer’s Jurassic World: Dominion explores the tantalizing question of what it would look like if humans and dinosaurs inhabited the Earth together. Sort of a 21st century One Million Years B.C., if you will.
A whole lot of dino species have popped up throughout the five Jurassic films so far, and Dominion is set to introduce more unseen dino species than ever before. They’ve all been pretty rad, to be honest—they’re dinosaurs, how can they not be?!—but as always, some are fan favorites, some cool cameos, and some barely on screen long enough to make an impression.
Where did your favorite dino wind up on this perfectly objective ranking of the Jurassic dinosaurs? That’s what we’re about to find out.
I’d warn you not to move a muscle but you’ll need those to scroll. So just don’t go lighting any flares. Seriously. Especially if you’re indoors. That’s actually probably never a good idea.
So I’ll just say hold onto your butts as we embark on the ultimate ranking of every dinosaur in the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World movies.
In the first Jurassic Park, Grant calms Lex by telling her the brachiosaurus is kind of a big cow. If they had encountered a ceratosaurus instead, he might have said, “Just think of it as a big, pink unicorn that wants to devour your flesh.” Grant’s good with kids that way.
Luckily for the intrepid heroes of Jurassic Park III who are the first to encounter one, they happen to be surrounded by spinosaurus poop, and if you smell like spinosaurus poop you basically are a spinosaurus yourself. Small blessings everywhere.
The ceratosaurus blinks twice, makes a disapproving noise, and wanders off (similar to my own reaction after watching JPIII for the first time). All in all, a memorable if not exactly spectacular JP debut.
Another dino that’s unique to JPIII, the corythosaurs get their big moment in the spotlight when a raptor pack drives them into a stampede along with some grazing parasaurs. While I’m sure the corythosaurus was a perfectly lovely animal in person, in the film they’re little more than orange blurs for the human cast to weave between.
In a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo during Fallen Kingdom’s big stampede, a juvenile allosaurus pulls up alongside Claire’s gyrosphere to ask for directions and gets taken out by a flaming projectile from the volcano.
You gotta feel a little bad for the guy. He’s just running for his life, same as everybody else (and maybe hoping to catch a quick bite along the way).
Despite the amount of character packed into those three seconds of screen time, it’s hard to rank Allie higher than #24.
Play interactive trivia to make sure you’re ready for Dominion with these six questions.
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For many, Jurassic Park brings to mind warm, nostalgic memories of graceful long-necked Brachiosaurs munching treetops or the InGen chopper soaring by pristine, green Hawaiian hills as John Williams’ iconic JP theme plays majestically.
But as everyone’s favorite cynic Ian Malcolm points out in The Lost World, it’s all “oooh” and “awww” in the first act, and then there’s running and screaming.
That’s what this list is about today: the running and screaming.
From goat-swallowing T-rexes to ankle-nipping compies to an underwater terror that eats great whites for breakfast, the carnivorous denizens of Jurassic Park and Jurassic World come in all shapes and sizes and have all kinds of fun teaching the human cast that you don’t mess with nature.
So get ready to have your nostalgia dragged through a rain-soaked equatorial jungle by six-foot turkeys because we’re about to head into the top 10 kills of the Jurassic Park series.
10. “Shooot hurrr!”
Similar to how Jurassic Park’s geneticists must have felt when they awaited the births of the first dinosaur specimens from their modified ostrich eggs, when Jurassic Park opened in 1993 nobody really knew just what to expect. Pre-Michael Crichton, cinema had not exactly been blessed with a lot of very well-made dinosaur movies (all due respect to fans of Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend).
When Spielberg’s film opened with glimpses of a man-sized beast glaring from inside its holding pen with crocodilian eyes and squawking like some pissed-off turkey seeking retribution for its fallen brethren the day after Thanksgiving, all bets were off.
What kind of fast one did they think they were trying to pull here? Weren’t dinosaurs supposed to drag their tails on the ground, peer in through third-story windows, and move with jumpy stop-motion animation? Indeed, the Velociraptor was a game changer in how audiences viewed dinosaurs, and Jurassic Park’s shocker of an opening sequence—set at nighttime with blinding floodlights and helmeted park crew bearing shotguns—was the perfect way to debut the new prehistoric terror.
It’s hard to forget the image of that hapless worker (who doesn’t even live long enough to have a name) clutching the sides of the holding pen as he’s dragged by the raptor or the sounds of the gunshots fading away as we dissolve from his grisly fate.
You may not have had a name, Hapless Raptor Pen Worker, but rest assured, your dying screams were etched into the memories of countless wide-eyed youths.
9. Indominous snax
Speaking of nameless park workers and grisly fates and the introduction of new dinosaurs and holding pen mishaps… holy big sneezing cow, I didn’t realize how many similarities there were between the first two entries on this list.