100 Greatest Scenes Number 3: T-Rex Attacks

Views from the Sofa’s 100 Greatest Scenes is a list of the 100 greatest moments in the movies. This could be long introductions, moments of action or great dialogue between characters. The scenes are in no particular order and come from many different types of movies.

It is amazing how long it takes for the dinosaurs to actually appear in Jurassic Park. It is only when you go back and view the movie or compare it to the recent Jurassic World that you realise it is a good half an hour before we see our first dinos up close and they aren’t even the scary ones. The herbivores eating from the trees or the Triceratops sick from the plants are very awe inspiring but Jurassic Park is about being scared, chased and eaten by dinosaurs and it couldn’t start in a better way.

Greatest Scene Number 3: Jurassic Park – The T-Rex Attack

There are many horror movies which don’t create as much tension, fear and suspense as the first moments when the T-Rex creeps around the two stationary cars. The initial vibration of the car and the now iconic water shaking in the cups. The moment when the goat disappears and we get out first proper glimpse at the dinosaur, finishing his meal. The goat carcass on the roof of the car and the claw testing the now dead electric fence. All these moments add up to one of the scariest and most nerve-shredding scenes in any PG movie.

Spielberg holds that intensity perfectly and then manages add a slight vein of humour as  Martin Ferrero’s cowardly lawyer makes a run for it, before the carnage begins. It is seemingly done in slow-motion as the cables buckle and we finally get to see the dinosaur in it’s full glory.

The whole scene is tense and terrifying

At this point the scene becomes a hunter stalking prey and we truly see how terrifying the dinosaurs really are. The way it sniffs the cars and investigates the kids inside. The scene with the torch and the dinosaur eye is something of cinema legend now but still makes your heart jump as the T-Rex’s pupil dilates! The fact that all this is happening to kids makes it even scarier, especially when the car begins to come apart with the kids just a perspex screen away from being T-Rex Dinner!

It is also a chance to see some of the characters for what they really are. Ferrero runs but Sam Neill’s Grant is heroic, leading the T-Rex away. It is a shame it is then followed by Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm, who seems to get it all wrong.

Characters show their true colours

Spielberg soon turns the scene into an action event, with the T-Rex moving the cars and sliding them towards the cliff face, all while the rain pounds down around our human-perspectives. When the scene is finally over, you can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief and then realise that the movie has, actually, properly started after all.

Overall, the T-Rex attack does many things for the Jurassic Park movie. It introduces the star of the film, in all his terrifying glory. It shows that these creatures are scary and makes the audience well aware of what they are about to get themselves in for and finally, it scars a generation of people, who will gladly hold a glass of water as an early T-Rex warning system.

Still incredible after all these years…

2 thoughts on “100 Greatest Scenes Number 3: T-Rex Attacks

  1. One major factor you left out is the incredible sound design of the scene! The killer combination of the design of the T-rex’s “voice”, from its breath to its roars, and the decision NOT to score the scene from start to finish is incredible no matter how many times I watch it.

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