Inside Jurassic Park: Exposing the Spinosaurus

A captivated Dr. Alan Grant is glued to the window of the Beechcraft Turboprop. Out on the runway before him, he watches Cooper, and injured mercenary collapse. Then, with brutal and cunning speed, an enormous beast siezes up the figure in its jaws. Grant sees only a glimpse of a crocodillian snout, powerful clawed forearms, and a spiny sail rising from the creature’s back. The plane lifted off, but there was an angry roar and a sudden thump. To Grant’s horror, he realized that they were going down…

This scene, lifted from this summer’s Jurassic Park III, presents the new film’s star, the Spinosaurus, as a deadly, human-muching machine; when, in fact, the Spinosaurus, despite its enormous size, was actually a fish-eater.

“We knew that we had to introduce at lest one or two new dinosaurs,” says Jurassic Park III producer Larry Franco. “Once we decided we needed a pterodactyl, we knew it had to be the biggest one. Spinosaurus was a fairly easy choice.”

“That Spinosaurus is one big motherf**cker,” laughs Stan Winston, the man in charge of the live-action dinosaurs in the new film. “Like everything else, it has been a huge undertaking, because when you go as big as we’ve gone with this dinosaur, it becomes a huge problem technically. If you can imagine anything bigger and badder than the T-rex… we have bigger and badder than the T-rex.”

When the new Jurassic Park III logo was unvieled at a trade show last summer, many fans debated over what the “Logosaurus” might be. It certainly wasn’t a Tyrannosaur as seen in the logos of the last two films in the series. Some fans were disappointed and angered by the sudden change in direction, but the main census were delighted – along with the new director, Joe Johnston, and the return of Australian actor Sam Neill as Alan Grant, this could have meant the high point of the series was coming.

“This film is going to be compared to the first two, and whatever I do is going to be compared to what Steven Spielberg did on those.” says director Johnston, aware that the new film was in need of a new direction. “For me, it’s a pretty loaded situation to walk on to. We broke every rule we could possibly break making this movie.”

“I have a phobia about being trapped underwater,” Sam Neill comments about filming a major action scene with the Spinoaurus, labeled the “Barge Attack”. “There’s a scene about being trapped underwater, and there’s a scene where some of us either do or do not drown. Needless to say, I did not enjoy that much. But it was good to do a bit of action for a while. If nothing else, it gets you fit.”

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