The 10 Best Dinosaurs In The Jurassic Park Franchise, Ranked

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

There have been numerous dinosaurs introduced in the Jurassic Park franchise ever since 1993, but these are among the best of the best.

Jurassic Park: You come for the dinosaurs, and you care because of the people. This means that most people check out about caring after the first movie (often considered a masterpiece) and just watch the rest to see the people get eaten. But at the end of the day, some pretty great dinosaurs were brought to life for some cool scenes throughout the franchise.

Here's a rundown of 10 of the best dinosaurs to join the roster in the franchise, based more on their screen presence and what they represent rather than the actual power or real-life creatures.

10 - Indominus Rex

The Indominus Rex is the artificially created dinosaur that was put together using the various genetic codes of other animals to create a deadly hybrid. It can camouflage itself, it has superintelligence, it's albino, and it's apparently sponsored by Verizon Wireless. The dinosaur itself isn't terribly original or fascinating, so much as the idea behind it.

The idea that people would get tired of reconstructed dinosaurs quickly is sadly probable, and the idea that an animal would be bought out by corporations is even more realistic. The dinosaur has a pretty sadistic streak to its nature and doesn't act like it's following its nature so much as that it's following what it was engineered to do.

9 - Stegosaurus

The stegosaurus is a great big spiky herbivore that can present a lot of danger when threatened. While that can be said for many of the creatures encountered in the series, the stegosaurus encounter in The Lost World managed to feel like the most compelling and thrilling of them.

It's a bit strange that dinosaurs haven't fought each other on-screen more often in this franchise, or at least the classic encounter of prey vs. predator. Seeing a stegosaurus fight an allosaurus or something to that tune would sort of rule.

8 - Triceratops

The triceratops is one of those dinosaurs that every kid knows growing up, as it seems many children have a fascination with dinosaurs at some point in their upbringing. And apparently, Alan Grant was one such kid (who retained it into adulthood, as a paleontologist).

The triceratops gets a seemingly unmajestic scene in the first film that is actually one of the most wondrous. A sick triceratops is found by the tour group, and while it can't really be up to its full potential, seeing Alan touch it and feel it breathe is spellbinding in its own way.

7 - Pteranodon

Pteranodons are NOT dinosaurs. But frankly, leaving the flying prehistoric reptiles off of this list would be blasphemous. In the original book by Michael Crichton, the pteranodons got a pretty exhilarating scene dedicated to them in an aviary, but that scene didn't make it into the first film, with it instead appearing in Jurassic Park 3.

The pteranodons are bad news whenever they appear in the franchise, as they present a new area to watch out for: the sky. If people can barely handle being assaulted by seagulls on the beach or pigeons in the street, imagine their terror at a pterosaur swooping down with their huge wings and pointy beaks.

6 - Compsognathus

The small Compsognathus gets its due in The Lost World, and it's a great debut for the little critter, nicknamed as "Compies." In a scene originally akin to Hammond's encounter with them in the original novel, the compies show that they can overwhelm adult humans with their overwhelming numbers and persistence.

Of all the dinosaurs on this list, compies would be the most likely to serve as pets, but with talk like that, pets become attractions and attractions become mass civilian casualty makers.

5 - Dilophosaurus

Dilophosaurus got a lot of artistic license for its design, but that worked in its favor. The dinosaur is actually much smaller than the real-life creature, it sports a colorful frill around its neck, and it can spit poison.

The cute little chirps and squeals it hosts can become a hideous hissing screech when it enters kill mode and is representative of the entire Jurassic Park idea. It looks and seems nice, but it's actually deadly and unpredictable.

4 - Spinosaurus

The spinosaurus was a pretty great replacement dinosaur to take the spot that typically went to the T-Rex for "big killer theropod." In Jurassic Park 3, the spinosaurus served as a welcome change of pace from the typical raptor/T-Rex combo. It was also good to see the effort put into an actual animatronic for several shots, something the Jurassic World films are critically lacking in.

The ringing cellphone in the stomach was ridiculous, and the goofy slasher film elements are detrimental to the film, but it never stooped to the point of Fallen Kingdom. And hey, it looks like the scene of the spinosaurus swimming underwater wasn't too inaccurate!

3 - Velociraptor

The "clever girls" of the franchise are actually closer in appearance to the dinosaur "deinonychus," but frankly, the word "velociraptor" really rolls off the tongue more. The velociraptors in Jurassic Park seem to get gradually more intelligent with every film, to a somewhat ludicrous degree, but they're pretty imbedded in pop culture by this point.

Their eerie hissing and inquisitive personalities are quite memorable, and the "raptors in the kitchen" sequence in the first film is one of the most stress-inducing and tense scenes in Spielberg's filmography. And that guy made Jaws.

2 - Brachiosaurus

The brachiosaurus is the first fully visible dinosaur seen in Jurassic Park. It's presented in a beautiful and uplifting shot, with the swelling John Williams score swooning the audience. The brachiosaurus' introduction represents the majesty and wonder of Jurassic Park, and it justified the 1.81:1 aspect ratio that Steven Spielberg presented in the first film, to make the dinosaurs seem as massive as possible.

The brachiosaurus' huge neck fit the expanded vertical landscape and is epic to see on a big screen. Likewise, the scene where Alan and the kids feed the dinosaurs in the first film hits all of the sweetest moments that Spielberg could conjure through the presentation of nature.

1 - Tyrannosaurus Rex

It's the film franchise's most iconic logo mascot for a reason. The T-Rex is the absolute most badass and terrifying element of the Jurassic Park franchise. The sheer scale and realistic puppetry/CGI displayed in the original film hit a high mark that few filmmakers since have been able to hit.

The T-Rex is both awe-inspiring and horrific, but at the end of the day, it's just an animal (that actually existed) fulfilling its instinct. Yet it carries an aura of grand showmanship, something that really represents the spectacle that Jurassic Park could offer.