I must have been about seven years old (pictured above) when I first saw Jurassic Park on VHS. It was an amazing experience for a daydreaming kid like me. It was also a frightening poop-inducer that only heightened my young anxiety issues, but I say that as a compliment.
However, this is not to say I “got” the film. In fact, it took a rewatch many years later to realise how many of the plot details – both subtle and obvious – went completely over my head. And when you’re a kid, you fill in such blanks with a creative kind of logic, one that is absent of wisdom, experience and knowledge.
Most of the time, the results take on a consistent yet completely false line of reasoning, like a crossword puzzle filled in with last week’s Sudoku answer. The conclusions I made were also not what you’d call… “sensitive”… as you’ll no doubt see for yourself.
But let’s start with the most innocent assumption I made…
TIMMY CAN MOVE A WHOLE CAR
As a kid, I couldn’t relate to Timmy. He had all these characteristics I didn’t have: talkative, social, knowledgeable, superhuman strength. Okay, so I realise that last one isn’t true, but at the time, I misinterpreted a key moment in the legendary T-Rex attack scene.
The ‘rex was pushing the car around with Timmy still inside, trying to get to Dr. Grant and Lex before deciding to push the whole thing over the cliff. However, there’s a shot that doesn’t show the dinosaur at all while the car’s still moving, leading me to conclude that Timmy had stuck his legs through the top of the flipped vehicle Flintstones-style and Hulk-ed his way off the cliff to escape.
GIRL RAPTORS DON’T KILL MEN WEARING HATS
When the big pile of shit hit the Jurassic fan, the park’s game warden, Robert Muldoon, was left with the task of taking the deadly velociraptors down. But the moment Mr. Muldoon took off his hat, his raptor-repellent went with it.
I had no understanding of gender politics at the time, so I had absolutely no problem assuming that girl velociraptors were scared of manly men who wore ostentatious headwear. It took a clever girl to realise he wasn’t actually wearing one.
DENNIS IS EVIL BECAUSE HE’S FAT
In order to covertly steal dinosaur embryos for the black market, Dennis – played by the 1990s go-to funny fatty Wayne Knight – shuts down the power to the park, letting all the dinosaurs loose in the park. He puts the embryos in a can of shaving cream and makes his getaway, only to die hilariously when a Dilophosaurus opens its adorable face umbrella and kills him.
But seven-year-old me didn’t know what the hell an embryo was, why it was so valuable and why Dennis would put so many people’s lives at risk to get it. I also mistook the shaving cream can (the one he used to hide the embryos) for whipped cream, going on to believe that Dennis was smuggling confectionary out of the park so he can keep all the processed sugar for himself. In my naïve little mind, there was only one conclusion that explained these actions: Dennis was a horrible person because he was fat.
DUDE RAPTORS ARE PRANKSTERS
A few seconds after congratulating herself for restoring power to the park and inadvertently putting Timmy in a coma, Dr. Sattler is suddenly jumped by a velociraptor. She closes the gate on it and backs away, hitting a wall where the severed arm of Dr. Arnold lands on her shoulder. Here’s where I started overthinking.
The arm was wedged upright between a wall and a thick yellow pipe, as if it was ready to pounce on Laura Dern. “How the hell did it get there?” thought seven-year-old me. “It couldn’t have simply been flung so perfectly into place when Dr. Arnold got torn apart.”
There was only one kid-logical explanation to all this: the dude raptors were trolling her. Why did I assume they were dude raptors? Because they were Jurassic dicks, I suppose.
With age, I’ve come to learn that Timmy did not have superhuman strength, there is no association between feminine fear and men who wear hats, evil is not an intrinsic quality of being fat, and dude raptors most likely did not have a methodical sense of humour.
But some assumptions I made back then were correct: dinosaurs are not pets, dickhead lawyers deserve to get eaten alive, and Jeff Goldblum is still the coolest, horniest mathematician I’ve ever seen.