The trailer for Jurassic World debuted during the Superbowl this weekend, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the filmmakers have decided to forgo certain paleontological evidence suggesting the following:
As far as we can tell, the majestic and terrible king of badass dinosaurs, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, actually resembled some kind of giant turkey because of stupid paleontologists and their stupid research discovering that many, if not all dinosaurs, had some form of feathers.
We’ve known for years that most modern species in the bird family, including the delicious turkey and chicken, are descended from dinosaurs. Unfortunately, over the last several years evidence has come to light suggesting that bone structure may not be the only similarity modern fowl share with their super gnarly ancestors. So big deal, hawks and eagles have feathers and they’re cool as hell right? Why should it matter that, for many people in mine and previous generations, the words “Thunder Lizard” meant that these near-mythical beasts of a bygone era were just that: giant scaly lizards with teeth and claws and horns and all manner of natural tools for evisceration.
For example, we have this, which is the iconic image most of us grew up with when we heard the words T-Rex.
In honour of this absolute travesty caused by modern science, and in hopes that the new Jurassic Park will show the king of dinosaurs how it was meant to be (in our minds maybe) I decided to compile a list of the best fictional T-Rexes pre-feathergate. Hopefully children can look back one day and remember the better times, the days when Tyrannosaurus Rex meant “Giant lizard that will eat your face off” and not “Thanksgiving dinner for the friendly giant and his extended family”
- The T-Rex from Jurassic Park (the first movie)
Ahh yes, the movie that gave us everything. Super intelligent velociraptors outwitting South African hunters, a brachiosaurus sneezing on children, and this bad boy. Everyone remembers that scene… pouring rain, the power has died and the electric fences are down, and Jeff Goldblum holds a cup of water that suddenly ripples. Boom…Boom…Boom. Then out of nowhere, this (appropriately scaled) walking death machine rips through the fence and starts wreaking havoc. Ignoring those stupid raptors attempting to steal the show with their wily ways, this gargantuan nightmare was the most threatening villain a Spielberg movie had seen since those dickhead astronauts tried to steal E.T.
- Sharp Tooth (The Land Before Time)
Before the producers decided to whore out the franchise and make 39 shitty sequels, this little gem could be found stashed under the TV on a worn-out VHS in every household that had children in the late 80s and early 90s. Once I was done sobbing over the death of Littlefoot’s mom, and before I had the wherewithal to realize what an annoying bitch Sarah was, there was nothing cooler to my four year old self than seeing this dutifully animated ultra villain. No dialogue was needed to convey the threat, no speech discussing his plans for world domination, no moustache to twirl. All that was needed to emphasize the enormous threat he posed to our protagonists was that he was a giant, evil looking carnivore intent on devouring our heroes. Ahhh childhood.
- Grimlock of the Dinobots
As you can gather from the posts above, I was always that kid that wanted the villain to win. From Darth Vader to the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, the heroes were never as interesting or just plain cool as the bad guys were. Of course, there are always exceptions, and occasionally a character that treads a fine line between good guy and villain -otherwise known as the “Anti-hero”- can make me cheer for the good guys.
Enter Grimlock, fearless (and brainless) leader of the Dinobots. The dinobots were technically Autobots, the good guys of the Transformers series, but they basically ran their own show and were a separate team. They helped out when needed, and hated the Decepticons, but they were more or less an independent operation and did their own thing. And when crafting a team of giant alien robots that can transform into dinosaurs, it seems pretty damn obvious that you’re going to make the leader a T-Rex. No special-ops team was ever led by an herbivore after all.
- The T-Rex from Dino Riders
In the glory days of the mid to late 80s, no cartoon existed for any reason other than to sell toys. Transformers started the trend, with shows like My Little Pony, Thundercats, and G.I. Joe, following suit. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing; at the time there was nothing I liked more than cartoons and the related toy sets. Dino Riders was this obscure and probably terrible cartoon about a group of humans from the future fighting a group of mutant bad guys also from the future on pre-historic earth. In order to successfully battle each other, it was obviously necessary to attach lasers and missile launchers to dinosaurs and ride them into battle. The iconic T-Rex was the head battle steed of Krulos, the evil leader of the mutant bad guys known as Rulons.
- The fighter jet piloting T-Rex from Calvin and Hobbes
Calvin and Hobbes was the most important work of literature to come out of the 80s, there I said it. This heartfelt, brilliant, and incredibly imaginative comic strip by Bill Watterson crafted the person sitting here looking at dinosaur pictures on the internet instead of working. I would not be the day-dreaming, creative individual I am today without Calvin to empathize with while I grew up and learned how to read. Calvin, like myself, had a vivid fantasy life and absolutely hated going to school. He was also obsessed with dinosaurs. It stands to reason then, at some point, Calvin would fantasize about a T-Rex using a fighter jet to blow his school to smithereens. Watterson’s incredible flair for capturing wildlife breathes life and style into what some considered a limited medium, as demonstrated by this kick ass panel from the strip.