Although Jurassic Park 3D was only in theaters for a limited one-week engagement a few weeks ago, the franchise is making a huge comeback in pop culture. The long-pending Jurassic Park IV is scheduled to hit theaters next summer, so that’s as good a reason as any to look back at how the first film brought the dinosaurs back to life, if only on the big screen.
An article on Vulture perfectly illustrates how Gary Rydstrom, the sound designer for the original Jurassic Park film, made the dinosaurs sound menacing and real. Although no one knows what dinosaurs really sounded like millions of years ago, Rydstrom created their some of their distinctive noises using recordings of animals having sex. Yes, those dinosaur roars you heard in the Jurassic Park movies were the sounds of animals getting it on! Rydstrom explains:
“It’s somewhat embarrassing, but when the Raptors bark at each other to communicate, it’s a tortoise having sex,” said Rydstrom. “It’s a mating tortoise! I recorded that at Marine World … the people there said, ‘Would you like to record these two tortoises that are mating?’ It sounded like a joke, because tortoises mating can take a long time. You’ve got to have plenty of time to sit around and watch and record them.”
Of course, Rydstrom didn’t only record animals when they were feeling frisky. He also recorded sounds of various creatures animals reacting to certain things, or getting angry. The sound of Jurassic Park‘s fierce Tyrannosaurus Rex actually came from one of the smallest (and cutest) animals on the planet. Rydstrom recorded the sounds of his Jack Russell terrier, Buster, and slowed it way down. Here’s Rydstrom again:
The way they animated the T. rex was very doglike, especially when it grabs the Gallimimus and the lawyer and shakes them to death,’ said Rydstrom. ‘Every day I would see my dog playing with the rope toy and doing exactly that, pretending like he’s killing his prey.’ He continued, ‘In Terminator 2, I recorded the sound of Buster eating puppy chow, and that became the crunch when the T-1000 spiked that guy’s eye socket.’
Gary Rydstrom won two Academy Awards for sound design and sound mixing for his work on Jurassic Park in 1993. Over the years, Rydstrom was nominated 17 times, winning a total of seven Academy Awards for Saving Private Ryan, Titanic, and Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
You can read more about Gary Rydstrom’s work on Jurassic Park at Vulture. Does the Velociraptors’ bark sound like a tortoise having sex to you?