Blast From the Past
What would Jurassic Park be without dinosaurs? It wouldn't be a death trap, that's for sure. But more than that, it would also be really boring.
Putting aside what the dinosaurs mean—nature vs. science, technology, etc. (that's what our "Themes" section is for, so check it out)—the dinosaurs just look amazing. Jurassic Park combined old-school animatronics with top-notch (for the time) CGI for some of the most impressive movie imagery before the Titanic went down a few years later.
The dinosaurs are filmed to highlight their sheer size and spectacle. The first live dinosaur we see is the towering Brachiosaurus. The actors stare at the top of the screen, mouths open in wonder, before we see the gigantic dinosaur standing on its hind legs and munching on some branches.
From there, we get some impressive animatronic dinosaurs, namely the baby Velociraptor hatching from the egg and the sick Triceratops. The benefit of animatronics, as opposed to CGI, is that the actors can actually touch them. They can pet the baby raptor and practically ride the Triceratops as it breathes.
The baby raptor is a nice contrast to the Velociraptors that hunt and devour people later on. The one hatching from the egg is as cute and cuddly as a raptor can get—which makes the adult ones even scarier by comparison.
Speaking of scary dinos, aside from glimpses of the Velociraptors at the beginning, the rest of the dinosaurs are kept hidden from view. During the initial tour of the park, we hear about the dinosaurs, but we don't see them. Ian Malcolm makes the snarky remark, "Eventually you do plan to have dinosaurs on your dinosaur tour, right?" The dinosaurs are just biding their time until they jump out and kill everyone.
The dangerous dinos are the T. rex, which everyone knew, and the Velociraptor and Dilophosaurus, which were popularized by the movie. The Dilophosaurus is always known as the spitter, "spitting its venom at its prey, causing blindness and eventually paralysis, allowing the carnivore to eat at its leisure." Nasty.
From this point on, the dinosaurs aren't just a spectacle for the humans, they're a danger, whether it's getting eaten by a T. rex, sneezed on by a Brachiosaurus, or squished in a Gallimimus stampede. We, and Lex, have to be reminded that not all the dinosaurs are monsters. "They're just animals," no matter how terrifying some of them may be.