Ranking the dinosaur stars of the ‘Jurassic Park’ series

Christopher Lawrence The Las Vegas Review-Journal

She isn’t your typical Hollywood starlet.

She doesn’t seem concerned about her appearance, selfies or Snapchat. She wasn’t in Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” video. She hasn’t even been hit on by David Spade. Yet.

She’s Indominus rex, and she’s charged with reinvigorating the “Jurassic Park” franchise after 1997’s disappointing “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” and 2001’s dismal “Jurassic Park III.” The latter was barely watchable despite a script co-written by two-time Oscar winner Alexander Payne (“Sideways,” “The Descendants”).

With “Jurassic World” opening Friday, she’s clearly ready for her close-up. But how will Indominus rex stack up against all the other prehistoric beasts?

Here’s a ranking of the dinosaurs of the “Jurassic Park” franchise, from worst to first:

Gallimimus: A flock of the birdlike creatures stampeded past Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and siblings Lex (Ariana Richards) and Tim (Joseph Mazzello) Murphy in “JP1” before one of them was picked off and eaten by the Tyrannosaurus rex. Lame.

Ankylosaurus: The armored, club-tailed herbivores were briefly glimpsed in a jungle in “JP3.” They were seen again as Dr. Grant, estranged couple Paul (William H. Macy) and Amanda (Tea Leoni) Kirby and their son, Eric (Trevor Morgan), whom they’d conned Dr. Grant into rescuing on Isla Sorna, floated by on a boat. They didn’t do much, but they looked wicked cool.

Parasaurolophus: The herbivore was nicknamed Elvis, thanks to its pompadour-looking horn, by “JP2’s” big-game hunter, Roland Tembo (Pete Postlethwaite), who couldn’t be bothered to learn its name as it was rounded up to be shipped to the proposed new theme park in San Diego.

Pachycephalosaurus: The omnivore was nicknamed Friar Tuck, because of its distinctive dome-shaped skull it used as a battering ram, by Tembo, who was only on Isla Sorna so he could bag a T. rex.

Stegosaurus: Behavioral paleontologist Dr. Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore) patted the head of one of these easily recognizable herbivores in “JP2,” much to the dismay of her boyfriend, rock star mathematician Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), and documentarian Nick Van Owen (Vince Vaughn). When it was frightened by the noise from her camera, its parents put up a bit of a fight to protect it, then ambled away.

Ceratosaurus: This nasal-horned predator took one look at Dr. Grant and the Kirbys digging through steaming piles of Spinosaurus dung in “JP3” and wisely went the other way.

Triceratops: The distinctive dino was first seen as a sickly creature in “JP1,” which led Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) to search through piles of its dung the size of a Smart car. (Seriously, what’s the deal with the “Jurassic Park” writers always having their characters forage through poo?) Triceratops later redeemed itself by rampaging through dastardly InGen CEO Peter Ludlow’s (Arliss Howard) presentation touting the San Diego theme park in “JP2.”

Pteranodon: The winged reptile grabbed Eric and flew off to feed him to its babies in “JP3.” Sadly, considering the kids are always the worst parts of the “Jurassic Park” movies, the little buggers didn’t eat him. Instead, the adult Pteranodons made a mess out of Dr. Grant’s graduate assistant, Billy (Alessandro Nivola).

Compsognathus: These tiny scavengers attacked a rich girl on a beach in the opening of “JP2.” One of them was later terrorized by hunter Dieter Stark (Peter Stormare) and his cattle prod before they ganged up on him and exacted their bloody revenge.

Brachiosaurus: You never forget your first. The site of that gentle giant — the first dinosaur to fully appear onscreen in “JP1” — standing on its hind legs and eating the tops of a tree is still awe inspiring. Brachiosaurus earns bonus points for sneezing all over that annoying Lex and covering her in gallons of dino mucus.

Spinosaurus: Sure, it terrorized the humans and took down the T. rex in “JP3,” but it did so with a noticeable lack of panache. Then again, it proved it’s capable of eating a man and pooping out his still-working satellite phone. That trick must be a big hit at parties.

Dilophosaurus: This unassuming little guy is known for its distinctive neck frill and its ability to spit venom to blind and paralyze its prey. In reality, none of that was true. But it made for a straight-up gangster dinosaur who killed computer programmer Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight) before he could smuggle the stolen embryos off Isla Nublar in “JP1.”

Tyrannosaurus rex: Its massive footprint causing a ripple in that glass of water is an iconic movie moment. And its roar is still terrifying 22 years later. The T. rex didn’t just kill people, it did so while making a statement. In “JP1,” it ate lawyer Donald Gennaro (Martin Ferrero) while he was sitting on a toilet. Before running amok in San Diego in “JP2,” it barreled through the jungle with a dude stuck to the bottom of his foot like chewing gum, and it did the “Lady and the Tramp” spaghetti thing with its mate, using the body of equipment expert Eddie Carr (Richard Schiff). Having the surviving T. rex be taken out by Spinosaurus in “JP3” is the dinosaur equivalent of Jesse James being shot in the back by that coward Robert Ford.

Velociraptor: So cute when they’re tiny. When the baby poked its head out of its egg in “JP1” and imprinted on park creator John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), didn’t you just want to pinch its widdle cheeks? Then they grow up, learn to communicate and hunt in packs, set traps, operate door handles and tear off Samuel L. Jackson’s arm. The T. rex may have gotten top billing, but the velociraptors are the franchise’s breakout stars. They were so popular, they inspired Torontonians to saddle their NBA expansion franchise with one of the worst team names in major North American sports as the Raptors debuted just a year after the NHL’s similarly misguided Anaheim Mighty Ducks.