Next month, Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park turns twenty-four. To celebrate, we’re taking a look at the greatest, most underrated hero arc in cinema history. Who does that arc belong to, though?
Is it Dr. Alan Grant, expert paleontologist and perennial hater of children? Perhaps it’s his brilliant paleobotanist co-worker and love interest, Dr. Ellie Sattler. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s Dr. Ian Malcolm, who deserves at least a runner-up trophy for making math so goddamn sexy.
Alas, the hero in question is not John Hammond, who created a park in which people were eaten by dinosaurs. It’s not Dennis Nedry or Dodgson, who no one cares about. It’s not even Donald Gennaro, the man who abandoned children and died like a coward on the toilet. The hero is, however, the very thing that chomped Gennaro to death.
That’s right, we have a T-Rex.
Throughout Jurassic Park, Hammond’s crowning achievement, the Tyrannosaurus rex, is billed as the big bad antagonist with a reputation for being beastly and pretty damn hungry as well. The first time that the viewers and characters lay eyes on the T-Rex, dead goats are flung, vehicles are destroyed, mud is stomped, a Goldblum is injured, a lawyer is eaten, and a little boy ends up stuck in a tree.
Not a great first impression.
As the film progresses, however, the Velociraptors are revealed to be the true villains- hunting in packs and terrorizing literally everyone (Sam Jackson lost an arm). In the film’s intense finale, the raptors have Alan and Ellie, in addition to Hammond’s grandchildren Lex and Tim, surrounded, ready to turn our protagonists into a healthy brunch. That’s when it happens; the greatest heel/face turn in entertainment history. Take a gander.
The Tyrannosaurus rex comes through in the clutch, feasting on the Velociraptors and freeing our survivors from sure death. Would she have eaten them as well had they not escaped quickly? I’m not here to make that assumption. All I’m here for is to tell you that the arc of the T-Rex in Jurassic Park is the greatest heel/face turn in cinema history.
Don’t judge a dinosaur (or a HorrorGeekLife writer) by it’s size, eating habits, or eagerness to destroy all humans.
For an in-depth look at Jurassic Park, including behind-the-scenes stories and photos, check out our retro!