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1 March 2018

Forget the Dinosaurs - Jurassic Park: The Lost World had the best car sequence ever

By James LisleJames Lisle
Bet you haven't done this in the bush.

Sounds dumb, I know. But apart from the presence of Vince Vaughn, the cliff scene in 'Jurassic Park: The Lost World' is just about perfect.

While there are plenty of Hollywood blockbusters that feature really great car chases, others have a tendency to be pretty similar.

Not to say they're all the same, but car sequences usually revolve around one of three things: they’re either hunting down the villain, trying to escape, or transporting 'goods' across town.

Which is why the car sequence in 'Jurassic Park: The Lost World' is so good - it’s completely different.

The car sequence in Bullitt is often considered the gold standard, but what’s next down the list? The car sequence in Bullitt is often considered the gold standard, but what’s next down the list?

*Spoiler alert* too, by the way. Just in case you have a go at me for ‘ruining’ an 11-year-old movie.

Let’s set the scene: Vince Vaughn, the guy from the Menulog ads (Jeff Goldblum), and full-time ginger Julianne Moore have stolen a baby T-Rex with a broken leg. After successfully patching it up in the rear section of their RV, the baby dinosaur’s parents track down the childosaurus. A swift transaction takes place and everything seems to be forgiven.

I would've taken advantage of the opportunity and thrown it on the barbie, but ok... I would've taken advantage of the opportunity and thrown it on the barbie, but ok...

But 'oh no' – the two T-Rexes roll the rear half of the Fleetwood Southwind Storm RV upside down and push it off the side of a cliff. Which is a real tragedy considering how cool their setup was.

Once the bus goes over, the three manage to support themselves by holding on to various cupboards and handles. Once the bus goes over, the three manage to support themselves by holding on to various cupboards and handles.

Luckily however, the counterbalance from the front half of the RV is keeping it from falling off. Just.

Additionally, "Eddie" - also known as "that guy from 'Dr. Dolittle' (1998)" - conveniently arrives out of nowhere, and starts setting everything up in order to try and heave the entire RV back with his kitted-out Mercedes-Benz M320 (W163). 11 years on and it’s still probably the only M-Class that has touched dirt.

There's so much to do, but hardly any time. There's so much to do, but hardly any time.

Whereas most car sequences run on the speed and action of each shot, the brilliance here is the pacing. It’s slow, but more importantly, tense.

While everyone on the inside the RV is hanging on by a rope that has been fed through the bus' windscreen and wrapped around a tree, the RV itself is slowly sliding back. And once the Merc’s winch is attached to that, well…

This could very well be a metaphor for my life. This could very well be a metaphor for my life.

Not only does the cinematography work well – utilising all of the heavy rain, ancillary lighting, mud, and tyre smoke – but there’s plenty of gnarly off-roading grit too.

There are winches straining, tyres blowing out, gearchange clunking, and a really satisfying bit where he activates low range. And it’s all in the wet too - so it’s bloody hard work.

*Dun-chunk-dun vrrr!* *Dun-chunk-dun vrrr!*

As the rain continues to soften the mud, it later falls into a David and Goliath battle over the colossal mass of the RV against the SUV’s potent enthusiasm.

You want the little Merc to win, but despite it furiously tearing up chunks of earth, the RV is sucking everything in like an imploding star.

I think I can! I think I can! I think I can! I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!

Unfortunately, however, before Eddie can make any real progress, the adult T-Rexes come back to ruin the guy’s life expectancy.

But, you know - that’s how the Jurassic Park film franchise deals with its supporting characters.

"License and registration." "License and registration."

While we don’t know for sure if the upcoming Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom movie will have any cool car bits, we can at least savour this epic scene.

What do you think is the best car sequence? Tell us what you think in the comments.