Review and photographs by Jordan Bestwick, edited by Plesiosauria.
For my first ever post for Dinosaur Toy Blog, I was not sure what to review. But with Jurassic World having recently come out and seeing some great previous reviews of toys in the Jurassic Park series, I eventually decided to start with one of my favourites when I was a child. This was the Tyrannosaurus rex from the Jurassic Park III ‘Re-ak-a-tak’ series and has very recently survived a major clear out of old toys from my household. Regular visitors to the dinotoyblog will know this toy is the exact same shape as the Arctic version reviewed by plesiosauria last year. Despite this, I’d like to think of this review as a sort-of extension, giving my thoughts on aspects of the ‘Re-ak-a-tak’ version which also applies to the Arctic version without repeating previous reviews.
Starting with what sets the two toys apart: colour scheme. I generally like the colouration, not so much on the grounds of accuracy but for basic common sense. If you were a hungry carnivore living in woodlands, what other colours would be better for ambushing prey than various shades of green and black? The purple streaks however are more reminiscent of military than carnivore camouflage with seemingly little thought to how they were applied, most notably around the lower jaw. The characteristic ‘open-wound’ of the Jurassic Park III series is another slight bother. Even when I first got the toy I didn’t understand the need for a large gaping hole in its side. It’s almost as if Hasbro were trying to be ‘too cool’ with their designs. Despite these faults, I nevertheless find this T.rex a very visually pleasing specimen.
Another major positive of this toy is the arms and legs fully rotate 360ᴼ, allowing a range of poses to be strut. Perhaps most importantly, this allows the body to be held in a pose believed correct by palaeontologists without falling over; tail fully off the ground and level with the body and head. For too long palaeontologists have had to deal with toys of dinosaurs dragging their tails along the ground like giant overgrown lizards (partly inspired from Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel The Lost World) when we knew they didn’t. Toys like this can still show people, adults and children alike, that dinosaurs were active, dynamic animals and all it takes is a simple pose.
Moving onto sounds, like all toys from the Jurassic Park III line, the T.rex has two distinct sounds, activated by different buttons. The more obvious of the two is a button within the gaping wound resembling a piece of exposed muscle. Press it and you receive an anguished roar as if from a wounded animal, which I suppose is pretty apt when you think about it. The second button is on the throat which needs to be held down quite deeply for a second before any noise comes out, but that tiny wait is worth it. From the throat comes not just a roar but an almighty bellow, not unlike from the film series. Every time I press it’s almost like being back at the end of the first Jurassic Park film when the T.rex let out her triumphant roar after killing the two Velociraptor.
However, not meaning to be a killjoy I regret to inform readers that evidence within the last couple of years has pointed towards T.rex being unable roar like in the films and instead could only manage a giant hiss like a giant crocodilian. Of course Hasbro does not have nearly 15 years of foresight with which to manufacture toys, so it’s nothing to be held against this T.rex but it seems a shame that toys of this iconic dinosaur may never roar again in the name of scientific accuracy.
In conclusion, this iteration of T.rex is a good-looking and well-sounding model that was, and is, a joy to play with. As well as surviving the 2015 extinction event (i.e. childhood toy clear-out) this T.rex will almost certainly be on my desk when I start my PhD in palaeontology in autumn.
Sometimes available on Ebay.com here.