Alan Grant's Famous Brachiosaurus Reaction In Jurassic Park Was Sam Neill's Idea

Perhaps the greatest joy of having a new "Jurassic World" movie set to release is revisiting the original "Jurassic Park" again and praising its enduring charms. Steven Spielberg is perhaps the master of crafting thoroughly entertaining but also deeply meaningful blockbuster fare, and much of that comes down to his strengths in directing actors. Much of what we know and love about the 1993 classic stems directly from how much we care about the characters, which makes us actually feel something when they're placed in harm's way and must find a way to survive the hungry dinosaurs loose in the park.

But just as importantly, we might never have truly bought into those magnificent VFX and practical creations if it weren't for the pitch-perfect reactions from the cast of talented actors. Other than the glimpses in the opening scene, our first real look at the film's glorious depiction of dinosaurs comes soon after the characters arrive on the island of Isla Nublar and are given a quick tour before the main event. At first distracted by their cynicism of the place, it only takes one look at what's in front of them to realize the magnitude of what they're seeing.

And according to the actor himself, we have Sam Neill to thank for how well the character of Alan Grant sells the illusion.

Shock and awe

I can still remember my science teacher in middle school telling us how he openly wept when he first saw the Brachiosaurus in theaters, and to my great shame I distinctly recall my entire class laughing at him for admitting as much. Mr. Buchwalder, in the off-chance you see this, please accept my humblest apologies. I get it now.

The Brachiosaurus sequence in "Jurassic Park" has long been recognized as one of the most stand-out scenes in the entire movie, for good reason. Nobody depicts the powerful emotion of awe as well as Spielberg does, but in this case it was the legendary filmmaker's restraint that helped make this scene as great as it was. In an interview with THR, Sam Neill was asked about how involved Spielberg was in dictating how the paleontologist should react to seeing his old, dusty fossils literally come to life right in front of him for the first time. According to the actor, other than the famous moment where he forcibly turns Laura Dern's head to look, he was largely left to his own devices:

"I suggested something, which is an illustration of how I was never an action hero. (Laughs.) I said to Steven, 'Look, after a lifetime of imagining dinosaurs, to actually see a dinosaur, Alan Grant just might flat out faint.' (Laughs.) And Steven said, 'Yeah, okay.' So that's why you see me stagger around and I have to sit down and put my head between my legs."

Sometimes, the simplest reaction is the best and most relatable! Neill praises Spielberg's recognition to allow such a "human reaction" and we have to agree. The dinosaurs of "Jurassic Park" have always been the main attraction, of course, but the humanity we see along the way is what truly made it a classic.