The socks. The hat. The accent. What did Robert Muldoon have in Jurassic Park that you don’t recall immediately? The game warden from Kenya was a man of high intellect. He had seen raptors at their most curious stages (for example, testing the electric fences for weaknesses), and I’m sure at their most admirable stages as well. He was taken out of the franchise too soon, and although I’m honestly not sure where else he would have fit in down the road, I think the possibility to see him again could have been there.
What Steven Spielberg did with Bob Peck’s outstanding character is genius. Sadly, on April 4th this year, it will have been 19 years since Bob Peck passed away from cancer. To honor his memory, let’s briefly discuss the stellar job he did with this character and why Robert Muldoon is a JP legend.
A common theme throughout most of the JP franchise is that good guys live and bad ones meet their ultimate demise. In fact, sometimes you don’t have to be a “bad guy” to seal your fate in this series — all you need is a lack of respect for the power of dinosaurs. If you see them as assets or look at them with dollar signs (I’m thinking of you, toilet boy), then you’re most likely as good as dead. Nedry, Genaro, Ludlow, Hoskins, Dieter Stark (with a particularly brutal and prolonged death); all met ends that seemed to make sense. They all had agendas that looked past the fact that these were big, powerful and living animals that deserved to be treated with more respect. One of them in particular, Dieter Stark, had a well-deserved death — death by what seemed to be a thousand compys eating him alive for zapping one of their own with a taser for no reason.
Other deaths came as a slight surprise. The character wasn’t money hungry, he or she didn’t not respect the animals. They were simply expendable, I guess. Think of Eddie Carr, Udesky and Zara. Eddie went out a hero, trying to save his new friends. I find his death to be one of the more depressing endings of a character in the JP universe. Udesky was just trying to help find a child. The worst thing Zara did was not pay better attention to her boss’ nephews. There are more of these types of deaths out there, but those are the ones that come to my mind first.
One of the reasons that Jurassic Park got this franchise started on such a powerful note is because some things happened that you never saw coming, including the death of Muldoon. You may have guessed that Genaro would die — but by being plucked off the toilet? Not many could have guessed that, I’m sure. When Nedry met his end (which I still find to be a particularly disturbing scene, bravo Mr. Spielberg), I knew it had to be done. He had caused so much destruction and loss of life due to his greed. But when he got back in his Jeep, I thought he had bought himself just a little more time. I was wrong. And who could have predicted Ray Arnold’s arm giving Ellie the surprise of her life?
And then there’s Muldoon. Muldoon had so much respect for these animals. It gives me shivers when he is crouching past the raptor enclosure with Ellie and he sees that they’ve escaped. The terror in his eyes and voice is unforgettable. Never once did we ever get the slightest hint that he cared about money. He didn’t want to see harm inflicted on a single person. He was genuinely angry that locking mechanisms had not yet been put on the vehicle doors, as an example of that. In the end, he gave his life to save Ellie’s and ultimately, the rest of the survivors. I still even find myself wondering if he was serious or sarcastic when he told the main group, “they should all be destroyed,” referring to the raptors. He watched Jophery die. He knew what these creatures were capable of and didn’t deserve what he was given.
With Muldoon, Spielberg had to make his audience understand that in this universe no one was truly safe. Respectful or not, these animals were vicious, cutthroat and your attitude towards them meant nothing in the end. The way he died was perfectly executed; he went out in a legendary way. The comfort that JP fans can take in his death is that he looked his predator in the eyes. He even got to acknowledge her intelligence and her hunting ability. In essence, when he gave us his last line, “clever girl,” he was basically saying, “Well done girl, you got me. Respect.” After that point, it’s best to not listen, because the JP legend goes down in a horrifying and undeserved way.
Jurassic Park is a fierce franchise with even more to come. Henry Wu is going to have a grisly end, you can bet on that. The theme of the first movie carries over through every installment of the series. That theme is that just because you made them, doesn’t mean these living creatures are mindless assets. Mills, Wheaton and others in Fallen Kingdom, like Hoskins, don’t get that. It’s probably a safe bet that they won’t make it out either. As Owen once said, “They’re alive. They’re thinkin’.. I gotta eat. I gotta hunt,” and, well, you know the rest.
What do you think? Do you think of Muldoon as a legendary JP character? Let us know your thoughts below!
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