Friday, June 12, 2015

Favorite Scene Friday! Jurassic Park: Show A Little Respect

When Robert suggested celebrating the release of Jurassic World by dedicating a month's worth of Favorite Scene Fridays to Jurassic Park, I of course didn't hesitate for a second before signing up for a couple of posts. However, it's been a somewhat difficult task in picking which scenes to discuss, especially seeing as I've already covered a couple of my personal highlights in the past, with the "Shoot her!" opening, and Hammond's flea circus. The original Jurassic Park is a film where pretty much every scene (that doesn't involve hacking) is one I'd happily talk about at length, so for my first June post I've picked one that includes some of the dialogue I quote most often in every day life.

Dr Alan Grant (Sam Neilllll) has just experienced and explained away some ill-placed scepticism at his theory of dinosaurs being closly related to birds, using an image of a velociraptor skeleton on the computer screen, when an obnoxious child (Whit Hertford) points out that the raptor doesn't look very scary, more like a giant turkey. For starters, a giant turkey would be terrifying. They're already hideous at their current size, but imagine a turkey 6 feet tall and you've got that rarest of things; a delicious dinner I'll do my utmost to run away from. The crowd of onlookers parts before the kid like Richard Schiff's torso parts from his legs in The Lost World, leaving Alan to make his rebuttal, in the most traumatising way possible.

Just as Grant turns on the kid, you can barely hear Dr Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) mumble "Here we go." It's clear this isn't the first time Grant has faced opposition about how terrifying raptors are. And it's probably not the first time he's terrified a child on the topic either. We know Grant doesn't like kids (I often wonder whether my love of dinosaurs came from Jurassic Park, or my love of Jurassic Park came from a love of dinosaurs, in a similar way to how I'm not sure if I've also hated kids, or if Grant hating them inspired me to do so), and this particularly rude example is in for the full brunt of Grant's fossilized fury.

A lot of the film's elements are established in this scene - Grant mentions the T-Rex's vision is based on movement (not true) which of course comes back later in the film, as does the method of the kill described by Alan to the kid, when death comes not from the front, but from the side (you have no idea how often I squeeze that nugget into conversations). Bear in mind, Alan has placed the kid into this story he is telling, explaining exactly how he would be killed if he encountered a raptor in the wild. And he puts a button on it all with the raptor claw, the one item from Jurassic Park that I'd dearly like to own (we have a 3D printer where I work, and I'm very tempted to make one). Grant is the kind of man who wanders around with a 6" retractable raptor claw in his pocket, purely for the purpose of pretending to lacerate children with it, and so he does. It's another element called back to later, when Grant tosses away the claw, symbolising how the world doesn't need palaeontologists any more.

It's not the callbacks that are the reason I love this scene though, it's just watching a guy who knows his stuff, getting to use it to put a jumped-up little sod in his place for being disrespectful. Alan Grant isn't what you'd call a traditional movie badass, especially in a film that already has Bob Peck's Robert Muldoon, but here he gets a moment to be cool. Yes, it involved leaving a small boy with I can only assume at least a few weeks worth of nightmares (hopefully involving giant turkeys), but it's still cool.

What's your favorite scene from Jurassic Park?


  1. Just whose kid is this anyway? I'm sure it's one of the diggers/scientists'...but why is he suck a prick about science? You'd think having scientist parents would make him appreciate or at least respect scientific theories.

    This is pretty much the perfect intro for Neill#8&@'s Dr. Grant - kind of a curmudgeon...doesn't like kids or it!