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Why Jurassic Park's Ice Cream Scene Is More Important Than You Realized

In 1993, Steven Spielberg brought audiences something they'd never seen before — and something they'd not soon forget — in the form of the original "Jurassic Park." The film was an ambitious adaptation of Michael Crichton's 1990 sci-fi novel that dealt with the potentially horrific outcomes of genetic engineering, and Spielberg's decision to opt for a combination of actual animatronic dinosaurs and computer graphics brought the creatures to life in a way that still largely holds up (via Empire). Of course, it's not just the special effects that make "Jurassic Park" the beloved classic that it is. There's also an exquisite tightness to the narrative that, in the hands of the master director, never allows the audience to see the work that went into its scaffolding.

In a recent video on WatchMojo, however, fans were given a glimpse at some of that well thought-out story circuitry. About an hour-and-a-half into the film, the outlet notes, Richard Attenborough's mysterious and misguided Dr. Hammond shares a quiet conversation with Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) while he dips into various containers of half-melted ice cream. (The desserts are melted, he says, because the power has gone out.) The scene brings viewers from the cold and damp of the dangers faced by the characters outside into a warm, candle-lit interior, and provides some insight into Hammond's delusional (almost sad) motivations.

But there's more going on here than you may have thought, and it impacts one of the most important later scenes in the film.  

Dr. Hammond accidentally saves Tim and Lex

In one of the movie's most memorable and heart-pounding scenes, Dr. Hammond's grandchildren Lex (Ariana Richards) and Tim (Joseph Mazzello) are terrorized by raptors in the park's enormous kitchen. Surrounded by steel and tile, the children struggle to move silently through the noisy maze of cabinetry, kitchenware, and commercial prep tables, but eventually manage to get one over on one of the raptors. When Tim spots an open freezer door, he makes a run for what he realizes could potentially be a raptor containment device. Initially, he falters on the slippery, ice-filled puddles on the freezer floor, but ultimately makes his way out, and slams the door on the raptor just in time for Lex to swoop in and lock the dinosaur inside. 

Of course, none of this would have been possible had Dr. Hammond not accidentally left the freezer door open during his ice cream raid on the powerless kitchen. Not only does this connection provide a convenient reason for the door to be open in the first place, it also reinforces some of the subtext buried in Hammond's character. He's a man whose good intentions ("I wanted to give them something that wasn't an illusion," he tells Ellie — "something that was real...") lack the foresight necessary to result in good outcomes. It is only when he unintentionally and carelessly leaves a door open that his actions result in something positive: Inadvertently, he manages to save his grandchildren.