My confession this week? I was terrified of velociraptors. Absolutely terrified out of my mind by the damned things. To me, they were vicious little horrors. Fast forward a few years for the arrival of Beast Wars and a Predacon turned Maximal. I blame this guy:
Now, if you were a child of the 1980s, you were taught that dinosaurs were “big, slow, and stupid”. They were lumbering lummoxes who were easy to outwit and were extremely out-maneuverable. If you couldn’t beat the T.rex with your brain–and how could you not?–you could outrun it. Easy peasy, right?
Then came Jurassic Park. Things changed. Boy, oh boy, did things ever change.
Jurassic Park portrayed dinosaurs in a far more modern light; these creatures weren’t slow, stumbling lizards but quicker and more bird-like. The T.rex was a horrifying creature, the Dilophosaurus–my favorite for many years–was an adorable little terror who enjoyed munching on actors from Seinfeld. The Brachiosaurus was a large, gentle beast that could communicate with musical tones. I could go on, but I think you have the point.
Then, there were the Raptors. These creatures were basically ripped from my worst nightmare: intelligent, swift, brutal, they were killing machines.
I hated them. They were the stuff of nightmares and I hated them. Until the day I started watching Beast Wars.
By the time I was able to actually sit down and watch Beast Wars, the show had two seasons under its belt and was airing its third. Since the show had been syndicated and no station in my region was airing it, I simply hadn’t had a chance to watch. So when I finally got cable again, which had a dedicated WB station that carried the program, I was able to play catch-up with the prior seasons.
I was hooked almost immediately, as the characters and story pulled me in, but I was most intrigued by the Predacon traitor, named Dinobot.
He was brutal. He was cynical. He didn’t give two shits what you might think of him. He was the least cuddly, most untrustworthy character on the show. He was the absolute polar opposite of Bumblebee. He was the least likely character to ever catch my eye.
And I loved him. Sweet Primus, I loved him. He became my favorite fast. In the span of a few weeks, I went from hating Raptors, to a sort of grudging tolerance for them, to thinking that they were adorable. All because of Dinobot!
I have a decent Raptor collection now, with Dinobot among them. If Prime and I are in a store and I spot one, I coo over how cute it is and how I want to take it home with me.
I’ve seen the Jurassic Park and the Jurassic World films in their entirety. I’m not plagued by nightmares about Raptors trying to stalk and hunt me. If I do dream of Raptors, they’re protecting me, tooth and claw. It took a Cybertronian, wearing the guise of my least favorite dinosaur to change my opinion about them. One turncoat traitor made me love and appreciate the fierce beauty that is the Raptor. I think I’m the better for it.