Best Action Scenes of All-Time: Jurassic Park Edition

*Last Updated 4/22/2023

I remember seeing the commercials for Jurassic Park on television when I was a kid. I didn't get excited for the franchise then like most people, but I did enjoy playing with some neighborhood kids who had toys from the film that worked perfectly in the mulching of the roundabout in our cul-de-sac. It wasn't until 1997's The Lost World that I experienced a Jurassic Park film in the theater and other than one or two moments in that one, it didn't impress me much. When Jurassic Park III came along, I thought the series was actively bad (repeated viewings would show there were a few gems in all that garbage though). It wasn't until I went to see a showing of the original Jurassic Park at a cinema when I was in college that I understood what all the fuss was about. It was one of the best cinema experiences I've ever had. 

Although it took me about a decade to come round (which is about the time it takes me to catch on to good music too), I think the 1993 original from Steven Spielberg is an absolute masterpiece of science fiction/action blockbuster filmmaking. I've seen it multiple times since then and my goodness - there might not be a more re-watchable movie than Jurassic Park. There are so many characters, scenes, little moments, music cues, and lines of dialogue that I can't help but anticipate and enjoy. I could rattle off my favorites but a lengthy podcast would be a better medium for that. For a full review of the original film click HERE.

In 2015, Universal released their "soft reboot/sequel" of the series with Jurassic World to massive popular success. As easily likable as I found Jurassic Park with its plethora of smart, interesting, and capable characters, I found Jurassic World to be just that unlikeable - filled with dumb, boring, and incompetent characters. Seriously, in the same way that the Star Wars film franchise has just felt unable to tell anything but the same stories (and telling them worse at that) since the prequels, Universal's entire Jurassic World trilogy continues to tell the same creatively bankrupt and repetitive stories about prideful man trying to make bucks off of controlling dino's only to realize they can't do it. It's exhausting and in my opinion - brings very little worth watching to the table. Why couldn't we at least get a LITTLE more creativity out of the Jurassic Park series?

JP1: Park Fails When Dinos Can't be Controlled
JP2: Tricked by evil corp to go back to island. Dino's can't be controlled
JP3: Tricked by parents to go back to island. Dino's can't be controlled
JP4: Park Fails When Dinos Can't be Controlled
JP5: Tricked by evil corp to go back to island. Dino's can't be controlled.
JP6: Evil Corp Reserve Fails when Locusts/Dinos can't be controlled

At least the Transformers series felt obliged to create 50 pages of "and then...and then..." to keep it fresh. JP is just "run it again...again...again" If you can't tell, going back through these movies did not endear me to their stories and characters. For those interested in knowing before you get into the action sequence ratings, here's how I would rank the six films in the franchise so far:

6. Jurassic World Dominion (D+) 2022 (Click HERE to read my full review of the film)
5. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (D+) 2018
4. Jurassic Park III (C-) 2001
3. Jurassic World (C-) 2015  
2. The Lost World: Jurassic Park (C+) 1997
1. Jurassic Park (A+) 1993

This list isn't really about the movies though is it? In the ratings, rankings, and commentary below you'll catch on pretty quickly that there's essentially just a few types of action sequences the series can feature. My favorite ones tend to be slower paced, well developed, and focus on the terror of being confronted with a giant T-Rex or an intelligent pack of raptors. Let's get to the list, shall we? Since the franchise isn't that large I've decided to provide commentary for each one. What do you think, did I get it right?

All Jurassic Park Franchise Action Sequences Rated & Ranked

Mediocre sequences that have some flaw or issue I find somewhat insulting or offensive.

31. “Getting on the Last Boat Before Eruption” -Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)
- Commentary: Almost didn't include this sequence because it is so slight and quick, but I'm trying to be complete with this project so here it is. I really don't like this sequence - it's currently the worst one in the franchise. Just before the island erupts and the last boat leaves, Owen, Claire, and tech guy make a run for the last boat. Of course, the tech guy is so incompetent (outside of IT) that he's constantly falling down and Owen has to constantly help him. The biggest thing I hate about this is that as the last boat leaves it has its loading bay doors down for no good reason. The heroes hijack a truck and jump it onto the boat at the last second yet NO one on the boat questions this, wonders who they are, what this truck is doing, or anything. It's so strange and odd because the heroes were basically threatened with death earlier in the film by this group.

Mediocre sequences that lack anything that makes them stand out. Decent, but forgettable.

30. “Opening: Marine & Helicopter Sample Collecting Team Meets Dinos” -Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)
- Commentary: If you enjoyed the obvious and repetitive stupidity of 2015's Jurassic World then this opening sequence is like a warm blanket of reassurance that you're gonna really love this film as well. A team is sent to collect DNA samples of the Indominus Rex at the bottom of the bay where the mosasaurus lived and they reassure themselves, "whatever was down here is dead by now"...can you guess what happens to them? Yep, the mosasaurus isn't dead and it takes out the marine team. Guess who else isn't dead? The T-Rex and he takes out another idiot who is literally yelling "I can't hear you" to a team trying to warn him that a dino is behind him. It's a collection of stupid sacrifices to the the plot Gods the writers obviously felt was necessary to re-introduce the audience to the status quo at the beginning of this film. 

*This scene is so inconsequential and unmemorable, I can't find a single still of it
29. "Claire & Her Eco-Buds Chased Thru a Triceratops Enclosure" -Jurassic World Dominion (2022)
- Commentary: A sequence that is meant to introduce as back to Claire, her motives, and her status quo at the beginning of Jurassic World Dominion. Claire along with her eoc-buds are sneaking into "breeding facilities" at night to try and get the dirt on bad practices being done to dinosaurs. They spot a young Triceratops struggling in health and decide to try and rescue it. They load it into their van and are chased by a security truck at night into a dusty Triceratops enclosure. They are shot at and Claire drives between the Triceratops, bobbing and weaving to safety. The following security truck is taken out by a charging dino. It's a short introduction scene that isn't all that thrilling.

28. "Cowboy Owen Chases and Lasso's a Running Dino" -Jurassic World Dominion (2022)
Commentary: Another introduction sequence meant to remind us that Chris Pratt's Owen is an entire character built on one idea: his hand gesture thing apparently makes a connection with dinosaurs. This sequence has Owen riding with a few others on horses chasing down a pack of large two legged dinos. Owen lassoes one and struggles a bit to bring it down before he ties the rope around a stump and calms it with his touch. The effects are nice and scenery is pleasant. It's a decent sequence.

27. “Pteranodon Cage Carnage” -Jurassic Park III (2001)
- Commentary: I wish this scene was so much better than what we actually got. On paper, it’s a fanfic sequence – stuck in a mysterious giant cage the group struggles to get to a nearby boat to escape the island and get to safety when they notice it is a Pteranodon cage! Unfortunately, the decision to drape the entire sequence in heavy fog and jump the shark with a King Kong esque “pick you up to take you to my kids” beat mixed with a para-sail sequence that just comes off as ludicrous more than it comes across as exciting. The director Joe Johnston gives it his all here, but it’s clear that this film isn’t anything more than running from one escape scene to the next with little logic or additional themes to layer into these sequences.

26. "Quetzalcoatlus Attack in the Skies Leads to Ejection" -Jurassic World Dominion (2022)
- Commentary: An interesting idea here with a giant dino bird taking on a big airplane but the sequence is introduced and over so quickly that if you blink you just might miss it. It's so quick and there's so little interaction with the Quetzalcoatlus that it really just feels more like an obvious plot device to split the group up for the third act.

25. “Auction Interrupt: Owen, Hard Headed Dinos, & an Escaped Indoraptor” -Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)
- Commentary: Why must every action sequence be undermined by writers who make their characters act in such stupid ways? Owen & Claire are in prison and use a hard headed dino to help them escape...a prison where there's not a single guard apparently anywhere to notice their escape - despite the auction clearly loading/unloading dozens of dinos during the auction. Anyways, the hard headed dino takes the elevator to the auction and begins attacking the crowd to some admittedly hilarious results - Owen does the same to some guards. I'm not quite sure why one little dino was able to disrupt the whole thing - I mean one guard couldn't shoot it down? Anyways, everyone scatters. The big game hunter played by Buffalo Bill walks into the auction for his bonus (guess he was just sitting outside the whole time) and notices the Indoraptor in the cage and wants a souvenir so he tranquilizes it. Of course the Indoraptor is faking and kills him, now its out. That's dumb enough, but what we get next is icing on the cake. The auctioneer, played by the great Toby Jones, runs past the Indoraptor to the elevator trying to evade being seen. He sees three people hiding along the sides in the elevator and decides to go to the side with two people and push her out in the open - why not the other side with one person, there was clearly enough room. Anyways, the women then screams (of course, because everyone in the JP franchise are absolute idiots) getting the attention of the Indoraptor and it attacks everyone in the elevator.  

24. "Terror in the Mines! Dimetrodons Attack" -Jurassic World: Dominion (2022)
-Commentary: Grant, Saddler, and the clone girl exit their hyperloop (see our bad guy is like Elon Musk, get it?!) and enter an old abandoned cave. In their search for an exit they stumble upon demetrodon dinosaurs and then have to run away, but are stopped by a locked gate. Of course Ian Malcolm happens upon the gate just at the right time and of course there is a friendly soul in the control room to open the gate for them as well. This is filler stuff with one convenience piled onto another convenience. Still, we got to see demitrodons! (reactions may vary). 

23. "Clever Hybrid: Indominus Rex Escapes the Paddock" -Jurassic World (2015)
- Commentary: The first sign of trouble in the new Jurassic World theme park comes in this sequence. Indominus Rex, the new and latest hybrid cooked up in the lab, is bigger than T-Rex and has added sense abilities and intelligence. It's so smart that it tricks Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt's characters Claire and Owen into thinking it had gotten out of the paddock - I guess it can trick thermal scanners because of some convenient DNA additions. The two then enter the paddock only to realize the dino is still in there with them and they have to make a running escape...except they some are just not fast enough and we get our first death of the film. Owen makes his way under a vehicle as does another worker, but Indominus Rex sniffs the worker out, flips the car, and eats the worker. It's our first good look at him's okay - not great - just okay. Chris Pratt is smart enough to cover his scent and Rex passes him by and moves out. A short sequence that sorta makes sense but doesn't really set us up to anticipate and enjoy the Indominus later in the film. 

22. “Spinosauraus Attacks the Boat at Night” -Jurassic Park III (2001)
- Commentary: Much like the Pteranodon sequence before it – this one feels like another “escape scene” in nothing but a constant string of them, over and over. The film literally has nothing else to do. In this case, the Spinosaurus arrives at night and attacks the boat forcing the group into a cage on deck. Intercut with this is the attempt by Alan Grant to use a satellite phone to communicate for help and a silly moment where William H. Macy’s rube of a character climbs a crane to distract the Spinosaurus. It looks pretty good, the director Joe Johnston shows things well – it’s just weighed down by being in a bad movie (context), feeling repetitive, and saddled with a couple of dumb ideas. It would be one thing if the weak and dumb characters were being killed off with each sequence, but they aren’t – they keep surviving despite never being clever enough to deserve it.

Largely mediocre sequences that have some redeeming or standout feature. This, to me, is where the average decent action sequence ranks.

21. "Feathered Raptor Attack on the Ice" -Jurassic World Dominion (2022)
- Commentary: Rather than a full on action sequence this is more like a dinosaur encounter. I don't know if the creatives just wanted to stuff the film with unnecessary filler or what, but Owen and the new pilot Watts are stuck together on some thin ice when a feathered raptor attacks by diving under the ice. They attempt to run but Owen falls into the ice. Just before he is grabbed by the raptor, Watts saves him. They run to safety in a nearby service elevator. Interesting but short encounter that feels mostly like filler.

20. "Lockwood Horror House Finale: Indoraptor on the Hunt" -Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)
- Commentary: I get it - the writers pitched to the producers, "imagine the scariest dinosaur ever hunting our heroes down in a giant mansion as if it was some kind of slasher film. Different rooms can be different set pieces - imagine the cool visuals we can pull off!" Let me say this - congrats to the story boarders and the visual artists that pulled this off because there are some genuinely good visuals going on in this EXHAUSTING AND OVERSTUFFED finale sequence. The problem is that the way the whole thing plays out with so many deus ex machina's, close calls that should be death but a pole or some such lukcy thing is in the way, or some shenanigans like a wooden dumbbell door can hold back an Indorapter charge, or whatever. It's essentially a string of horror visuals (think of the girl in the bed when the Indoraptor comes quietly approaching...because all of a sudden the animal is interested not in killing but in giving the director his stupid shot) strung together with stupidity glue in search of a story. The sequence ends with the worst and least organic "problem" a screenwriter could think of - there's some kind of stupid gas filling the basement and the HVAC is down and its going to kill all the animals. The movie makes a big deal about Claire's decision on letting the dinos die or opening the outside door and letting them escape. Of course, the dinos can just be resurrected from know like happens in every film. Anyways, the little clone girl lets them go because "they are me" It's all so stupid and just setup for the next film. Due to the first Jurassic Park's prestige I've always thought well of the series in some ways, but sequences like these in the last two films have genuinely made me see this series as just as loud and dumb as anything Hollywood produces.

19. "Finale: Giganotosaurus vs. T-Rex" -Jurassic World Dominion (2022)
- Commentary: The closing action sequence honors the basic closing template set in the first film - humans stuck between a bigger dinosaur fight. In this case, our crew needs to get to a helicopter but find themselves stuck between a battle between T-Rex and the new Giganotosaurus. It's about what you expect, shots of the dinos going back and forth, while visual effects artists struggle to make it look like the humans are actually moving through their footsteps and carnage. The fight isn't much to watch - better ones have been done multiple times in this series. It's sad that this fight feels like an afterthought - something the creatives felt compelled to give the fans because they had to know it comes nowhere near the T-Rex surprise in the first film, the major dino fight in the third film, or the big conclusion to Jurassic World. It's a shame that even 17 years after Peter Jackson's King Kong, filmmakers can't even get a fraction of the creativity and excitement he wrung out of a T-Rex fight.

18. "Indominus Rex Ambushes Asset Containment in the Jungle" -Jurassic World (2015)
- Commentary: After escaping its paddock, the modified dinosaur Indominus Rex makes its way into the wilds of the park. The control center, helmed by Bryce Dallas Howard's Claire, decides to send in their Asset Containment group to non-lethally take down the dinosaur. It's a decent scene, mostly enjoyable to watch this big (well done visual effects wise) monster just take out soldier after soldier. It's fun to watch the misery on Claire's face, but the sequence really does make her seem beyond idiotic - a real problem for this film. 

17. “Raptor Attack Leads from Abandoned Facility to Open Field” -Jurassic Park III (2001)
- Commentary: A promising sequence begins in an abandoned facility when the group is attacked by a single raptor. After a clever sequence with cages the group runs out into the open field where they blend in with a herd and then into the trees. One group member is taken down and left for bait (these Raptors are clever), but an isolated Alan Grant is then saved by the young boy the family is looking for – the young boy kinda looks look Robin Williams after he’s played Jumanji. It’s a good sequence, but I just don’t buy the smart and driven jungle boy saving Alan Grant with gas grenades. It’s a bit too much of a stretch.

16. "Velociraptors Hunt Indominus & Turn on the Humans" -Jurassic World (2015)
- Commentary: It's easy to see how this sequence sounded great on paper: Chris Pratt as the alpha male leads a pack of raptors to hunt down Indominus Rex. Indeed, there's a couple moments when the raptors run along side Pratt on the motorcycle when you think this might be neat. The problem, as with everything plaguing this movie, is that it all plays out as dumb and idiotic. The context with Vincent D.'s villain pushing Pratt into weaponizing the raptors feels forced and worse - just plain repetitive from The Lost World. Once the group gets Indominus in sight they fire, but barely a lethal volley. What were they expecting? Next, we ALL KNOW it will fail and the raptors will turn on the humans, its no surprise, so at least could you dress it up visually for us? Nope, the raptors turn and kill everyone in pretty ho hum fashion then make their way back to the center where they harass the kids and Bryce driving an ambulance to give them a "hero" moment. Look, there's too much money here to not give some decent visuals from this spark of an idea and earn a C+, but there's just far too much dumb here to give it any better (can you tell that I'm getting a bit frustrated at this point in the film?)

15. "Giganotosaurus Attacks the Combined Crew" -Jurassic World Dominion (2022)
- Commentary: This is the moment when the original crew of Ian, Grant, Saddler (plus the clone girl) meet up with the new crew of Claire, Owen, and the Kayla Watts. The goal here is to create a throwback to the original T-Rex paddock sequence but instead throw in the bigger Giganotosaurus (the largest carnivore ever on earth!). It pales in comparison in about every way it possibly can. This movie is so mish mash and thrown together that referencing a sequence so painstakingly created is such a bad move. Anyways, the basic idea is the group struggles to get into a command center while the Giganotosaurus attacks. It allows for some interesting interactions between the old and new crew and a decent moment where they all come together to attack the head of the dinosaur. Still, being rooted in a throwback makes this abysmal by comparison.

14. “Ingen Arrives & Captures Several Dinosaurs” -The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
- Commentary: A short but sweet sequence with lots of moving vehicles over an open plain hunting down and capturing dinosaurs. Spielberg’s dynamic camera and the well-integrated visual effects stand out here, with a couple memorable pops of action.

13. “Waterfall & Tall Grass: T-Rex & Velociraptor's Revenge” -The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
- Commentary: A nighttime camp is disturbed by two T-Rex’s who sniff out a tent and chase people into a waterfall where a few are picked off. Others run out into a field of tall grass where there’s a cool visual of a pack of velociraptor’s picking them off one by one. It’s nice, but scenes like this are pretty pedestrian compared to the standards set by the first film.

Good sequences that have some issue holding it back from being solid.

12. "Escaping a Maltese Mess: Dinosaurs Run Wild" -Jurassic World Dominion (2022)
- Commentary: The second trilogy's first big action sequence is a perfect little encapsulation of what the creative crisis the franchise is experiencing. EVERYTHING about this sequence says it was written/edited/reshot to be an action sequence in the vein of the other franchises. First, there's the Fast and Furious vibes with with multiple threads of a team working toward a goal and getting their own villains and conflicts. Second, there's the Mission Impossible/Bond franchise vibes with big stunts/chases with criminal elements in exotic locations (just with atrociraptors in chase rather than super skilled assassins). The creative crisis of the Jurassic World franchise is that the original premise has been exhausted so they are creating riffs on the same basic idea (we can't control genetic engineering or dinosaurs) and trying to dress it up in the success of other franchises. It's the old aged rock star who has nothing left to say but hires modern producers to make him sound like the kids these days. It's Bon Jovi making a cover of "It's My Life" in 2000. It's reiteration plus immitation without any innovation. The actual story about dinosaurs being smuggled and Biosyn keen on taking advantage of genetic engineering doesn't have any reason to give us this action and you can feel it with every scene as they rapidly introduce new characters, cut to confusing locations, give old characters new abilities (Claire is a roof jumping hero now?), and seemingly build an entire action sequence out of thin air. I don't know if the motorcycle chase with the raptors through Malta was always storyboarded and written to be presented as it is, but it certainly looks like a last second decision. Most of the sequences here are shot so tight in medium and close-ups to hide the CGI'ed Malta that it makes me wonder if the studio and creatives weren't tinkering and redesigning continually behind the scenes. Still, all that said, Bon Jovi's "It's My Life" while a creative void is quite an earworm and this still can still be quite enjoyable with just how ambitious and production heavy it is. Ironically, it's the best and most memorable action sequence of the film.

11. "Aviary Breached: Rex Breaks Thru, Helicopter Goes Down, & Pteranodons Attack!" -Jurassic World (2015)
- Commentary: There's some nice "disaster" carnage beats in this here sequence, but it's held back by one of the major flaws of the film - a bit of nastiness in how it treats its characters. First, the owner/re-creator of the park goes up in a helicopter and with a machine gun they hope to take down the Indominus Rex. They don't quite get it down and it bursts into the glass Pteranodon avaiary, freeing what feels like a hundred Pteranodons. They escape the aviary and take down the helicopter which crashes through the glass aviary and lands in fiery explosion. The pteranodons then head to the resort center and terrorize the guests and while there are some truly interesting visuals here in what must be a terrifying moment, one of the films flaws bring it down. I don't know why but this film feels insistent on giving us unlikeable/dumb characters (Claire, the older brother Zack, Vincent D'Onofrio's bad guy) and one of them is this kind of ditzy/phone addicted secretary that is supposed to watch the boys. Its here that she meets her fate with a pteranodon and it feels like the creatives behind the film really delight in giving her a painful and elaborate death sequence. It just all feels a bit cruel to do to THAT character.

10. "Volcanic Awakenings: Escaping Dinos, Eruption, & Drowning" -Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)
- Commentary: As the island volcano begins to show signs of eruption, we get some early plumage/projectiles, lava flows, and a panicked group of dinosaurs running towards the island edge. Our heroes, Pratt's Owen and Howard's Claire are joined by a constantly screaming tech guy (not sure why they thought the audience would enjoy this character along for the journey), as they try to escape some carnivorous dinos, a stampede of friendly dinos, and then being trapped in a sinking gyrosphere ball. It's a decent sequence here with good special effects. I do hate though that this recent series has essentially turned T-Rex into everyone's friend. The dude was a legend in the first film and then he has the huge "your enemy is my enemy" moment in the finale of Jurassic World and then he randomly cameo's this sequence to do another deus ex machina save for an early movie action scene. If you know wrestling, it's the equivalent of taking a main event talent who sold out arenas and a year later he's running high school gyms. It's sad. The best part of the sequence is the simplest - just trying to get out of a sinking glass ball. It's done primarily as one shot and there's some real tension there even though.

9. "Escaping Raptor Attacks in a Defunct Compound" -The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
- Commentary: This is a tough sequence to rate. On paper, it’s pretty strong. This is the sequel’s response to the raptor kitchen sequence from the original. The effects here are incredible and it all looks good, but the characters are just not as engaging, the locations don’t look good enough, and it just isn’t as crisp or enjoyable as the original. It could be a B sequence if not for the cheesy gymnastics combat moment from the teen girl.

8. "Gyroscope Ball Bedlam" -Jurassic World (2015)
- Commentary: I really like the idea of this sequence and think they deliver on about half of its promise. The drivable gyroscope ball is an incredible idea for a dinosaur theme park and it's one of the coolest ideas in this film that lacks things like this. Once the dinosaurs go after the ball and we get some dinos batting it around and then the Indominus Rex trying its best to crack and get inside I was really getting pretty excited. Eventually though the glass is cracked open, the boys unbuckle their belts, run away, and jump down a short waterfall to get away. The sequence is far too short - it feels like they left a lot of possibilities to continue upping the ante with horror, visuals, and action here. Additionally, this movie is plagued by unlikable characters and Nick Robinson's older brother Zack just brings down EVERY scene he is in as the older brother who is just into girls and hates everything. He decides to put them in danger, he mopes, he complains, he just ruins everything he touches in this movie and he dominates the early "wonder" part of this sequence before the horror ramps up.

7. "Finale: T-Rex Runs Wild in San Diego" -The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
- Commentary: The evil entrepreneur attempts to bring back a sedated T-Rex to a waterfront coliseum in San Diego. Technically, the film could have ended once the helicopters rescued our leads from the island, but it seems they really wanted to make a “Godzilla-lite” ending. That’s what they deliver here. T-Rex escapes it’s boat compound, finds a local pool to drink from, and then causes some havoc in the streets. In the end, they use the toddler Rex as bait to lure the adult back into the boat and sedate it. Some nice moments, but this all feels quite superfluous and only half-conceived.

Good action sequences with much to commend about them. They are a solid entry into their genre.

6. "Getting the Power Back On: Raptor Attacks & Electric Fences" -Jurassic Park (1993)
- Commentary: In order to get the fences and systems working right the group decides to restart the computer systems causing the circuit breakers to trip in a power shed. When Samuel L Jackson’s character “Arnold” doesn’t return from his trip to turn them on, Ellie and Muldoon, the park game warden, decide to go and try. Another thread in this moment is Allen and the two kids using this window of the power being down to climb up and over the electric fences. Muldoon is stuck in the bushes with raptors hunting him, Ellie is turning the power back on, and Tim is struggling to get off the fence which is about to be flipped on any moment. The cross-editing of the lines are great here including a shocked Tim moment and that fantastic beat where Ellie gets all the power back online, “Mr. Hammond, I think we’re back in business” only to be followed by a raptor head coming the wires right behind her in a perfect jump scare. Ellie is able to get out and “lock” the raptor away (unless it can open doors, lol), Muldoon is surprised by the raptors intelligence and ambush (clever girl), and Tim needs a bit of CPR to come back from his shock. It’s a great little cross cut of tension and plot advancement to setup our finale.

5. "Resort Center Finale: Raptors, Indominus, & T-Rex Showdown" -Jurassic World (2015)
- Commentary: This finale suffers a bit from what every "Big things fight each other" action scene does - how do you incorporate humans in a way that makes sense when giant things can squash them like a bug? Transformers, King Kong, Godzilla all deal with it. This film doesn't really have an answer except that Pratt does his Alpha thing on the raptors and Howard lets loose the T-Rex, otherwise they are effectively sidelined. That aside, the film does deliver on some great Dino vs. Dino action here in the finale. It begins with the raptors getting their butts kicked by Indominus, then the old King T-Rex getting his butt kicked, but when they combine their powers, they finally are able to push Indominus back to the water close enough for the gigantic mosasaurus to take it under. I mean, there's no real theme here, it's not quite "thrilling" or "horror" it's just a straight up visual effect spectacle...and for that its pretty good. There's a couple long one take sequences here of the fighting, destructions, and humans maneuvering that are pretty darn good. This is easily the best thing to come out of mess of a soft reboot Jurassic World was.

4. "Isla Sorna Landing: Spinosaurus Welcome & T-Rex Fight" -Jurassic Park III (2001)
- Commentary: After the surprise landing on Isla Sorna, Dr. Grant wakes up as the distraught couple are screaming out their son’s name and their “professional security” are splitting up to secure a perimeter. Within seconds a roar is heard and the big new dinosaur in this film – the Spinosaurus – is chasing the security and everyone into the plane. They load the plane and make for takeoff, but the Spinosaurus takes them down and their plane gets wedged into some trees where the Spinosaurus begins to rip into the fuselage and our group is chased out of it into a clearing where they happen upon a T-Rex. The Rex and the Spinosaurus then have it before our team skips out. In the context of the film, this scene comes way too early and quickly. We don’t even get a chance to settle in and ramp up to the biggest CGI and animatronics. That said, the scene does end up being quite good – with the moments in the fuselage feeling a lot like the moments in the car with the T-Rex from the first film. Finally, seeing the Spinosaurus crack the neck of the T-Rex does a great job setting the mood for the rest of the film – a new sheriff is in town.

Very good action sequences with something holding them back from greatness. These sequences are typically best in their film and represent something above and beyond expectations.

3. "Trailer Trouble: T-Rex Tips It Over the Cliff" -The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
- Commentary: This is an ambitious action set piece meant to be the sequel’s answer to the first film’s night time T-Rex attack sequence. After helping out a toddler T-Rex in their trailer, the two parent T-Rex’s attack them and push the trailer over a nearby cliff. What follows is a kind of mousetrap comedy of errors sequence where one suspenseful moment leads to another with the scales even higher. It looks nice, is mostly practical, and as long as you suspend disbelief and go with the vibe of the sequence, quite fun. The problem is that it’s a bit too “setup” for me. It feels like the director/writers manufactured the sequence rather than let something organic play out. You get this impression when the Rex’s only show up and do exactly what the scene requires and then they disappear for large stretches. Once the money moment happens, a troop of people show up and the sequence suddenly ends. It’s a pleasure, but it’s a guilty pleasure.

These are great action sequences with some minor issue(s) holding them back. They are typically best in their film and potentially best of the year.

2. "Visitor Center Finale: Humans, Raptors, & T-Rex" -Jurassic Park (1993)
- Commentary: I love how the finale sequence essentially begins. Allen Grant and the two kids arrive at the Visitor’s Center, the kids go to the kitchen to eat and Allen goes to find Ellie. He finds her outside and calls to her. Her response from afar as she hobbles toward him, “RUN! RUN!” The kids break out all the goodies, feeling safe, and we get a repeat of the rippling water effect, except this time it’s Lex shaking her jello as she sees a raptor enter the dining room with them. They go to hide in the kitchen and we get a great action/thriller moment here when the raptor group makes their way into the kitchen to hunt the kids. The animatronics/vfx here are impeccable here, it feels like velociraptors have entered the kitchen. Spielberg lets this moment play out slowly, we get to hear the raptors call to each other, sniff the air, we see their giant claws on their feet, they knock over pots and pans as the kids try and quietly maneuver through the kitchen. There’s one super memorable visual moment here where Lex gets the attention of the raptors to get them away from Tim and she tries to hide in a metal pantry opening, but the lid won’t close. Due to a visual trick we (along with the raptor) see her reflection and think its her. It’s hard to describe, but it’s a great “got ya” moment visually. Through some shenanigans, one of the raptors gets locked in a freezer, allowing Tim and Lex to head to the control room with Allen and Ellie, but the door locks aren’t working. Everyone has to hold the door closed, but Lex reboots the computers just in time as the raptors attack the glass eventually and make it in just as the heroes get out through the ceiling tiles. It’s easy to just describe this, but the tension and visuals are great. You really feel like the raptors are overpowering the humans and that they are always barely making it out of these situations. The ceiling tiles lead the heroes out into the main lobby where the group of raptors surround them. Their fate is sealed, death awaits, and T-Rex comes busting in to take out the raptors and save the humans. It’s definitely a giant dues ex machina moment, but it’s still a pretty satisfying one. I’m with those who enjoy it and think it just feels like the right way to end this. The whole point of the movie is that humans can’t control it, therefore the ultimate solution can’t be in the hands of the humans, it’s gotta be just luck for it to make dramatic/thematic sense. It’s a wild world and they were lucky to survive it. That’s how you end a dinosaur theme park movie folks.

Great action sequences that can compete for best of the year and best of all-time.

1. "T-Rex Paddock: Nighttime Jeep Attack" -Jurassic Park (1993)
- Commentary: The setup for this sequence is masterful. We have only heard about the T-Rex from previous conversations, including how fast it is. When the jeeps come around to the T-Rex paddock during the daytime tour the anticipation is high. When T-Rex doesn’t show up they tempt him by bringing a literal sacrificial goat out – but a no show still happens. This prompts Ian Malcolm to taunt John Hammond, “…eventually you do plan to have dinosaurs on your dinosaur tour right?” After a couple plot beats later and a major storm is on the horizon and Dennis Nedry, looking to steal “Dino DNA”, has some major systems shut off to cover his tracks in the control room. Unfortunately for the passengers, the cars and electric fences shut off exactly when they are back in front of the T-Rex paddock, at night now, and with a storm beginning to bear down on them. The atmosphere here is perfect for something to happen, we just don’t know yet. As the vehicles sit in the storm, the sacrificial goat bleats away, Allen Grant fills his canteen from the rain, little Tim plays with night vision goggles, and we start to get the iconic T-Rex stomp embodied in the cup of water rippling to the sounds. As the rain keeps going Tim looks in the night vision goggles and notices the goat is now gone quickly followed by its severed leg falling onto the sunroof of the kids jeep. The camera pans up to our first full look at the still impressive T-Rex animatronic finishing off the goat. The lawyer runs off the restroom out of fear leaving the kids alone and T-Rex busts through the fence between the two jeeps giving us the iconic entrance and scream. Perfect. The next part of this sequence plays like a horror, hiding from the monster. The young girl panics and turns on a light and Tim closes a door drawing the Rex to their jeep. He checks it out and we get the beautiful moment where T-Rex moves his head down to the window and the lantern light causes his eye to dilate. 
It’s all not too bad, we are safe inside the jeep right? NOPE. Spielberg kicks our butt when the T-Rex suddenly and powerfully bursts the sunroof down onto the kids, then flips the jeep over, crushing it into the mud and threatening the kids. Allen and Ian light flares to distract the Rex to save the kids and unfortunately, Ian is hurt and the lawyer, hiding in the bathroom, is violently eaten. Grant goes back to rescue the kids but Tim is stuck under the jeep in the mud. This next phase plays out more like an action sequence as T-Rex, Allen, and the two kids play a bit of cat and mouse staying away from Rex, the jeep, and not falling down the opposite side of the wall (which now has a gigantic drop on it for some reason. If it was that far down, the Rex never could have made it over the fence right? Anyways) as the jeep gets pushed over. Allen helps Lex down to the bottom of the wall and Tim is stuck in a jeep high up in a tree. Safe from Rex, but Allen has to make a dramatic rescue of Tim before the jeep crashes down to the ground. The last sting of this amazing sequence is Ellie Sadler arriving on the scene with Muldoon, the game warden, in a gas powered jeep to find an injured Malcolm and a T-Rex hot on their trail for which they must drive away fast “faster…must go faster”. We are talking about action scenes with animatronic dinosaurs here, so we need to judge this on a slightly different scale than are the punches/kicks dynamic or is the gunplay engaging or chase sequence complicated. It’s hard to pinpoint the “action” words here to explain why it’s so great except to say that it FEELS on a gut level exactly what it might be like to encounter a beast like that in an atmosphere like that. It nails the tension, anticipation, reveal, horror, and “what would I do” moments so pitch perfectly that I don’t think the franchise has ever been able to best this moment – though it has certainly tried and failed multiple times.