Scene of the Week: Jurassic Park - The T-Rex Breakout
Another Sunday, another Scene of the Week! This week, I’m going to look at one of the many iconic moments from Jurassic Park; the T-Rex breakout. Of all the massive moments Jurassic Park has brought us, this one, for me, is at the forefront of my mind whenever the franchise is mentioned, and this moment is typified by a single superb image - the ripples in the water cups.
The cups are where the chaos begins. From the moment we hear/see the earthquake-like thumps causing the water to vibrate and ripple in the cups, the mood completely changes. It goes from uncertainty, with the characters split between two stationary cars due to the power outage, to fear and dread, as they are more than aware that they are broken down right outside the T-Rex pen. In the first car, we see Tim don his night vision goggles in search of the goat, only for a leg of the goat to land on the glass roof of the car, right above his sister Lex’s head. The car behind is carrying Dr Grant and the hilariously sarcastic Dr Malcolm, played by Jeff Goldblum, and they watch on as the drama unfolds. After the goats remaining leg lands on the car, we see the giant head of the T-Rex pop out from in the trees and above the bushes, devouring the rest of the goat, and we get our first glimpse of the huge beast. The adult accompanying the children in the first car, Gennaro, has then seen enough and he abandons the children and runs to take refuge in the toilet stalls, prompting Dr Malcolm to exclaim ‘when you gotta go, you gotta go’, adding the final bit of light relief before the terror that is about to unfold.
We then see the wires from the fencing ping and snap, and it is at this stage the T-Rex fully shows himself. The monster steps over the threshold and lets out what has become its signature roar, showing off his almighty set of teeth and power in the process. The way this scene is shot is fantastic, because you get various points of view throughout. There are times you are put in the car with the characters, and there are times you are dotted at different points within the scene, and it really gives you the full feel of the environment and how the mood dramatically changes.
There is no score to speak of in this particular scene, but in Jurassic Park as a whole film, there is plenty of John Williams’ handy work to enjoy, as we are treated to the great man delivering yet another score that is utterly synonymous with the visuals, instantly transporting you back there whenever you hear it.
This scene is really about signature imagery. Imagery that, as I said at the top, you instantly think about when you hear Jurassic Park mentioned. Sometimes, it’s the most simple of things that really hammer a point home, and for me this is the the king of that sentiment. Spielberg has delivered plenty of classics in his long, illustrious career, and this is right up there at the top of his pile.