The Jurassic Park franchise is stacked with iconic death scenes. Perhaps it’s because there are so few movies out there where dinosaurs can be shown chomping on human flesh, but pretty much every character who meets a violent, early end in the series has done so with a bit of memorable style. This extends to Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World as well, but what you may not know is that the movie actually does something none of its predecessors do: as was recently pointed out to me by star Bryce Dallas Howard, it’s the first movie in the series to feature the death of a female character.
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I recently had the chance to sit down one-on-one with the actress at the Jurassic World press day in Los Angeles, and while we discussed many aspects of the movie’s production and her career during our delightful conversation, it was while talking about death in Jurassic Park movies that she pointed out that the mauling and killing of the chaperone Zara (played by Katie McGrath), is a landmark cinematic death in its own right. Said Howard,
It’s the first female death by dinosaur in the Jurassic franchise… And that one was a brutal death, wasn’t it? She was tortured. Okay, so she was a little neglectful!
She wasn’t exactly exaggerating either. While most of those who have fallen in the Jurassic Park franchise have done so rather quickly – typically torn apart by Velociraptors or eaten in giant bites by a Tyrannosaurus rex - the same cannot be said for Zara. Instead, she gets picked up by a flying Pteranodon, dropped in a giant water tank, picked up by the Pteranodon again, and then gets chomped by the huge Mosasaurus. It’s not a pretty way to go.
Even with Zara’s horrible death on her mind, however, Bryce Dallas Howard was still willing to admit that there was a part of her that actually kind of wished that her character, Claire Dearing, met some sort of similar fate. I told her that if I were an actor that I would want to find some way to die in a Jurassic Park movie, just for the on-screen experience of being eaten by a dinosaur, and she explained that she had actually come to a similar conclusion herself after watching Jurassic World:
My friend Eric [Edelstein] plays that first dude who gets like eaten by the Indominus rex, and Eric and I have been friends for years and years and years… and I was always so sad. I was like, ‘Oh, he’s going to get eaten, I hate this, I hate this.’ And then when I saw the movie, and you know that moment where he just like looks over and then he gets eaten? I was like, ‘Oh my God! That’s amazing!’ So, yeah, I think, I have to agree with you.
So which dinosaur would she prefer help her meet her maker?
Oh, I mean it’s just, there’s nothing better than a T-Rex… Very quick death. Velociraptor seems far more gruesome.
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