Empire (UK) - - CINEMAS -

On set, the T-rex was not ex­actly scary. The gi­ant an­i­ma­tronic pup­pet kept break­ing down from the rain machines and shed­ding teeth from gnaw­ing on Ford Ex­plor­ers. Yet as with Jaws, and its mal­func­tion­ing crea­ture, Steven Spiel­berg and crew suc­ceeded in turn­ing an over­sized hy­draulic prop into a pri­mal force of na­ture.

The build-up is mas­ter­fully pro­longed: there’s the mewl­ing goat, thump­ing foot­steps, a quiv­er­ing glass of wa­ter. Then a gi­ant, rep­til­ian claw tests the shut-down elec­tric fence and we’re off to the races. As the hu­mans peer at the lum­ber­ing beast through car win­dows, like vis­i­tors to Woburn Sa­fari Park on a re­ally bad day, Spiel­berg’s ge­nius is in largely keep­ing us trapped in the ve­hi­cles with them, cutting wide to show­case ILM’S in­cred­i­bly con­vinc­ing CG Rex. It’s a thun­der­ously in­tense set-piece, made more so by the fact that the film’s score drops out for its en­tirety. Maybe John Williams was hid­ing in a toi­let.

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