25 Things You Probably Missed In Jurassic Park
For many of us children of the 1980s, Jurassic Park was one of the most memorable cinema experiences of our youth.
Realistic dinosaurs are now commonplace, even on TV shows, but at the time we had simply never seen anything like it…
Personally I was obsessed with the film, watching it four times on the big screen, countless times on VHS, DVD and on Television, and even at my mate’s house on a dodgy VHS recording that someone had illegally filmed with a camcorder at their local cinema.
Jurassic Park centred on a disastrous attempt to create a theme park of cloned dinosaurs.
These dinosaurs then escape the confines of their enclosures and begin to terrorise the human characters.
And the rest is history!
The franchise kicked off in 1990 when Universal Studios bought the rights to the novel by Michael Crichton before it was even published.
Both the book and the 1993 film adaptation were massively successful.
Below are a load of facts you might not have known about the movie.
1. There’s A Sign In The Film That Foreshadows What’s About To Happen
Did you notice that Alan and Ellie have a sign hanging up in their trailer that says ‘No animal released without paperwork completely filled out’.
Ironic obviously considering their job, but a clever clue of the events that would then unfold later.
2. There’s More To Seatbelts Than Meets The Eye
Did you realise the importance of Dr Alan Grant tying two ‘female’ parts of his seat-belt together?
It cleverly foreshadows a plot twist later in the film, when they realise that the dinosaurs are breeding even though they were genetically engineered not to do so.
Do you think this was done on purpose or was just a coincidence?
I’m saying coincidence…
3. We Think You Might Need A Bigger Fence
The fence next to the famous Jurassic Park gate ends after about 3 feet.
That’s really not going to keep out a hungry velociraptor or a rampaging T-Rex!
Those monstrous beasts will just walk straight through it like hot butter!
No wonder the park got shut down. Someone fire the builders!
4. Now You Don’t Have To Travel Far To See Your Favourite Dinosaur
As seen on a projected image behind Ellie, Hammond was clearly planning to open a ‘Jurassic Park Europe’.
Can we go there now?
A good name for a future film in the franchise, and a good chance for us Brits to be able to see the dinos in action without having to travel half way round the world!
5. They Put Their Own Products In The Film To Advertise Them
Did you see ‘The Making of Jurassic Park’ displayed in amongst all the merchandise?
This is actually a real book written by Don Shay and Jody Duncan.
You can actually still find the book on Amazon if you fancy a read.
The book reveals all the behind the scenes secrets from the set of the movie, including how the special effects are done.
Great way of advertising!
6. Steven Spielberg References Himself In The Film
Did you spot what Dennis Nedry is watching on one of his many computer screens?
It’s Jaws, another film directed by Steven Spielberg, and one that is often referred to as the very first ‘summer blockbuster’, paving the way for future hits like Jurassic Park.
It’s fair to say that most critics agree the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park were more realistic than “Bruce” the shark, though!
7. Movie Mistake Or Part Of The Set?
There’s a plant and a light in the T-Rex enclosure.
Something nice for it to look at, or was this not meant to be in the shot?
The T-Rex was definitely getting ready for a photoshoot.
The light does look very similar to the lights used on movie sets. The pot plant, we have no idea!
Maybe it was there to cover up the lighting.
8. Make It Rain…Using Sprinklers Of Course!
During the shot where the T-Rex rears his head to swallow the goat it has just been fed, you can clearly see one of the sprinklers that are giving the scene its lovely rain effect.
Well I suppose we can let them off because the rest of the special effects were so damn awesome.
More water please…
9. Who Turned The Power Out?
If the power in the compound was out, then how is the ceiling fan able to keep spinning?
We’re pretty sure you need electricity for that to happen.
Maybe they needed to do a Star Trek and reroute power from extraneous systems (though it would have cut short some of the more exciting parts of the film).
10. Pressing The Same Button Twice Doesn’t Make It Work Any Better
If something doesn’t work the first time round, I suppose you have to give it another try.
We all know someone who does something twice…
When Ellie is pressing all the buttons to turn the power back on in various sections of the compound, we see her press the ‘VISITORS CNTR CONTROL RM’ button twice. Oops!
11. Those Projections On The Velociraptor Were Thought About Carefully
Remember when the Velociraptor walks past the projector and series of letters display over its face?
These letters represent the bases that make up DNA, the very material that allowed the scientists to create the raptor in the first place.
Clever isn’t it! I bet you never noticed that did you?
12. Stephen Spielberg Samples Himself Again In The Music
If you listen closely to the music when the end titles appear, you may notice a slightly modified version of the legendary five tones from Spielberg’s ‘Close Encounters Of The Third Kind’ playing when his name appears on the credits.
To be fair, a lot of Stephen Spielberg’s films sound similar.
13. There’s A Bit Of A Mulan Crossover
The actor who played Dr. Henry Wu, BD Wong, went on to provide the voice of Shang in Mulan.
He also has recently appeared as Dr Strange in Gotham showing that he is a very versatile actor.
BD Wong returned to reprise his role in Jurassic World, with the chance to flesh out the character a bit more.
14. They Thought Dinosaurs Would Be More Popular Than Football
During the corporate presentations in the dining room, if you look closely at the slides you will see that Hammond suggested that Jurassic Park would be more popular than both “sports” and “zoos”.
A little ambitious even for Hammond!
Can you imagine if you could combine dinosaurs and sports together?
We’d pay good money to watch that.
Dinosaurs > Football.
15. Is ‘Lost’ Actually Set In Jurassic Park? Here’s The Evidence…
It would appear that the survivors of the plane crash in “Lost”, played golf at Jurassic Park….
Maybe the herd of Galimimus we simply running from Hurley shouting “Fore”…
To be fair, if there were polar pears on the tropical island, it’s highly likely there could have been dinosaurs as well.
16. The Scientists In Jurassic Park Were Onto Something
All the way through the movie, Dr Alan Grant makes comparisons between dinosaurs and present-day birds.
Believe it or not, it was not until three years after the movie that paleontologists announced the discovery of a dinosaur covered in a fine coat of “fuzzy protofeathers.” This would lead to the confirmation that birds are indeed descendants of dinosaurs.
17. It Takes A Lot To Make A T-Rex Roar
The terrifying roars made by the T-Rex were a combination of sounds from dogs, penguins, tigers, alligators and elephants!
Imagine meeting that lot all in once, and combined in to a 25 foot killing machine that can run at over 30mph!
Who would have thought a penguin could be so terrifying?
I wonder what other voices and noises we’re involved..
18. There’s A Reference To Independence Day
When being chased by the T-Rex, and Dr Malcolm is in the back of the Jeep, Jeff Goldblum’s character mutters “Must go faster.”
Did you notice that in Independence Day he is heard to say they same thing when escaping the alien spaceship? This is because Roland Emmerich liked the line so much he sampled it for his movie!
19. Acting Can Be A Pretty Hazardous Job
When lighting the flare, actor Sam Neill who played Alan Grant was burned when the flare “dropped some burning phosphorous on me and got under my watch and took a chunk of my arm out” – ouch!
We applaud people who suffer for the sake of art!
It seems some suffer more than others.
20. T Rexs From Inside A Car Appear More Terrifying
Ever wondered why you first see the T-Rex from inside the car even though that means you don’t necessarily get the best shot of it?
That’s because Steven Spielberg deliberately did this so you felt more like you were there with the characters, feeling their tension and fears – now you know why you were sat on the edge of your seat!
Scenes like that make me nervous!
21. There’s A Good Reason For Wearing The Same Clothes
Did you notice that Jeff Goldblum’s character, Ian Malcolm, wears black throughout both Jurassic Park and The Lost World? In the book this is explained that Ian Malcolm only wears black and grey so he doesn’t have to think about what he is going to wear.
Jeff Goldblum’s character in The Fly also states something similar so that he doesn’t have to give brain power to something so trivial as what to wear! Looks like he hasn’t changed in Jurassic World 2, either…
22. Some Dinosaurs Were Late To The Party
Despite often being cited as the most memorable dinosaurs in the movie, except for a very brief glimpse at the start of the film the adult velociraptors don’t actually appear properly until more than an hour and forty minutes in to the film!
I hope they caught up on the ale.
They do say that it’s fashionable to arrive late to the party!
23. Snakes Were Also Used For The Sound Of The Dinosaurs…
Ever wondered how the Dilophosaurus could sound so cute one minute then so terrifying the next? When it makes the cute whooping noises, they used the sounds from a swan.
When it opens its neck ready to spit at Dennis Nedry, they used the sound of a rattle snake, something that naturally instills fear in a lot of people!
Who knew you could make a snake sound like a dinosaur!
24. …As Were Many Other Animals
One of the most visually stunning, and moving moments of the film, is when Ellie and Alan see a dinosaur for the first time. They stop in the meadow and see the herd of Brachiosaurus.
The Brachiosaurus make a loud, majestic sound, this was made by combining the sounds from whales and donkeys – an unusual, but very effective combination!
25. Stunt Doubles Can Prove Quite Costly
At one point, when Lex is hanging between floors, the stunt double accidentally looked up and towards the camera. This gave the post production crew a head ache as they had to superimpose actress Ariana Richards’ face on to the stunt double’s using digital effects.
If you have enjoyed reading this post, please do spread some lovely, prehistoric, nostalgic memories to your friends and family by sharing it with them.
And now for some facts about Jurassic Park’s sequels, The Lost World and Jurassic Park III.
The Lost World
1. The Japanese businessmen running from the T-Rex make a Godzilla reference
The climax of The Lost World, set in San Diego as the escaped T-Rex goes on the rampage, suddenly seems to turn the film into a big-scale disaster movie.
Spielberg, a scholar of cinema of all nations, harks back to the classic Japanese Godzilla movies of his childhood in this sequence – a tribute which becomes even more clear for any Japanese speakers watching the film.
At one point during the T-Rex’s jaunt through San Diego, a group of Japanese businessmen can be seen running from the murderous dino.
One of the running men can be heard yelling: “I left Japan to get away from this!”
The implication, of course, is that these men are away from their home country to get away from the likes of Zilla, Mothra et al constantly disrupting their day.
2. The T-Rex animatronics were so large, the sets had to be built around them
Steven Spielberg’s two Jurassic Park films are oft-cited as pioneering special effects movies, justifiably so.
However, the two films are more than their impressive CGI; both are also great examples of smart practical effects work.
Armed with a larger budget than he had on Jurassic Park, for The Lost World, Spielberg opted to bring two fully-grown T-Rexes into his story.
As well as portraying these via computer-generated effects, Spielberg also had built not one but two life-sized T-Rex animatronic models.
The animatronics were so large – each weighed nine tonnes – that the crew had to build sets around them, rather than the other way around.
3. The velociraptor attack sequence took a year of planning
With a bigger budget and a bigger sandbox to play in, Spielberg seemingly used The Lost World to get all his best action sequences out of his system.
It’s a tough one, but of all the great Spielbergian set-pieces in the film, The Lost World’s finest might just be the velociraptor attack in the long grass.
Spielberg and his team put enormous effort in to making this scene happen, not to mention time, with the scene set up for shooting a year in advance.
It took this long for the grass seeds that the crew planted to grow out to the length seen in the film.
In all, the team planted eight full acres of the tall grass. Spielberg needed this much to shoot multiple takes of the velociraptor attack, to avoid reshooting in already-trampled grass.
4. The film originally ended with a pteranodon attack
In the end, Spielberg decided to end The Lost World with the T-Rex rampage through downtown San Diego.
In the original screenplay, however, the film ended with one more action set-piece, featuring an appearance from Jurassic Park III’s dreaded pteranodon.
Though the flying beastie is only briefly glimpsed at the end of The Lost World, Spielberg almost brought the pteranodon in for the climax.
In this version of the film, our human heroes would have fled Isla Sorna in helicopters while under attack by pteranodons.
In the end, Spielberg nixed the idea, and audiences wouldn’t get a real look at the flying dinos in action until The Lost World’s sequel. Speaking of…
Jurassic Park III
1. The Spinosaurus animatronic was the largest ever built
With Spielberg jumping ship after The Lost World, JPIII director Joe Johnston made the decision to bring an even bigger foe than the T-Rex into the mix.
The Spinosaurus, a finned monster so deadly it defeats the Rex in battle, was big enough that the team broke records when they built the animatronic.
Weighing 12 tonnes and measuring 24-feet long, Jurassic Park III’s Spinosaurus animatronic was at the time the largest animatronic ever built.
The machine, controlled by hydraulics and powered by a one thousand-horsepower motor, could move its ‘nose’ at over 100 mph.
The effort that went into recreating Spino droppings was also super-sized: it took 250 gallons of oatmeal to build the pile of Spinosaurus poo.
2. An entirely different version of the film was almost shot
In late 1999, Jurassic Park III was ready to shoot – “completely storyboarded, scheduled, and budgeted to the nth degree”, as Joe Johnston later put it.
This version of the film, however, wasn’t to be; with $18 million already spent and just five weeks to go until shooting, the plug was pulled.
It was Johnston himself, along with Spielberg, who went back to the drawing board after screenwriter David Koepp came up with a better idea for the film than original writer Craig Rosenberg.
Rosenberg’s story involved an investigation by Alan Grant regarding a spate of killings on the mainland by escaped pteranodons.
The script, which also involved “five teenagers who are stuck on [Isla Nublar]”, was, according to Johnston, “like a bad episode of Friends”. David Koepp suggested the story seen in the final film, and three new screenwriters were brought on board to realise this new vision.
3. Another idea for the film had Dr Grant living on one of InGen’s islands Robinson Crusoe-style
The “bad episode of Friends” (but with dinosaurs) wasn’t the only questionable-sounding version of Jurassic Park III we almost got.
In pre-production, another wacky idea was thrown into the mix, by none other than Steven Spielberg himself.
Spielberg’s story had Alan Grant living on one of InGen’s islands, where he would be found studying the dinos and living wild.
Says Johnston, Dr Grant had “snuck in, after not being allowed in to research the dinosaurs, and was living in a tree like Robinson Crusoe.”
Spielberg’s idea was rejected by Johnston when the new director realised he “couldn’t imagine this guy wanting to get back on any island that had dinosaurs in it after the first movie.”
4. Billy originally died
Dr Grant’s sidekick Billy, played by Alessandro Nivola, makes it to the end of Jurassic Park III more or less intact.
This wasn’t the case, however, in the script that Joe Johnston started shooting with when JP3 went into production in Hawaii.
In the film as it stands, Billy disappears during the pteranodon sequence, presumably killed, only to reappear at the end of the film, rescued along with everybody else.
In the original script, Billy never made it out of the pteranodon cage alive; it took Nivola protesting to Johnston to convince the director to bring the character back at the end.