Favorite Moments: The Ringtone of Doom

We all have our favorite moments in movies, books, and games, moments that stay with us long after the story is over. This column is my attempt to examine my favorite moments and see why they stick with me.

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The Movie

‘Jurassic Park 3’

The Scene

Alan Grant and Erik have a heartwarming, conflict-free reunion with Erik’s parents and Alan’s protege, Billy.

Why it’s great

While ‘Jurassic Park 3’ is considered an okay movie by most Jurassic Park fans, it does feature one brilliant scene: The spinosaurus sneaking up on Alan Grant and the other reunited survivors, and announcing its presence via the ringtone of Mr. Kirby’s cell phone inside its stomach.

To me, this scene is great because it has several layers to it:

1. The reunion between Erik and his parents, who have been seperated for over two months.

2. The realization that Mr. Kirby doesn’t have his cell phone, leading us, the viewer, to try and remember where it is, as the last time we saw it was far earlier in the film, giving us enough time to gradually forget about it.

3. The sinking, ‘Uh oh’ feeling when we realize exactly where it is.

4. The revelation of the spinosaurus, and then realizing that it’s been watching the group in silence.

5. The idea that the spinosaurus was purposefully waiting to attack after everyone noticed it, which implies an intelligence dinosaurs don’t normally have, and even a dark sense of humor.

Is it a cheat to have the spinosaurus, the Kirbys, and Grant/Erik to be wandering all in the exact same area at a specific time when the phone jingles? Yes, but this is a time where such a far-fetched coincidence works, because it leads to a great scene that combines a heartwarming moment, humor, and then dread/terror all in a little over a minute, and manages to make a silly cell-phone jingle one of the most terrifying sounds in the world.

So, what can we take from this scene? It’s okay to occasionally have an impossible coincidence if it leads to a great scene, and making a corny sound effect herald the arrival of death and doom is a great way to have both terror and comedy coexist at once.

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