Monday, February 8, 2010
Been thinking about this character a little lately. He is one of only three people who gets eaten by a raptor in the movie. He is also the only white person to be eaten by a raptor. I don't know if that's circumstance or raptor preference. Well, I can make inferences. The raptors looked like they were really into eating Tim and Lex, and the one that ate Arnold (Samuel L. Jackson) would totes have eaten Sattler too, if she hadn't somehow outrun it despite her broken foot and Laura Dern-specific hysteria. So probably circumstance. Still, there are only two black characters and both are raptor'd. Slightly suspicious.
Anyway, the point is, Muldoon is underrated, because you have the strong personalities of Ian Malcolm, John Hammond, Alan Grant and Dennis Nedry to deal with, so it's hard to see this secondary character for the gem that he is. He has three wonderful moments in the movie. Priceless, beautiful lines. The first is in the opening scene, with his frenzied shriek of "SHOOOT HER!!!" as the first black victim of a raptor is being dragged into the raptor box. It is as intense as Muldoon ever gets, including his own death.
The second line is my favourite from him. Muldoon is not onboard with the whole park idea, and probably never has been. He's doing his job, and you get the sense he does it with reluctance. After all, nobody knows the raptors like he does. Grant may be the scientific expert, but none of the fossils he's unearthed have ever pulled a living man out of his hands and into a raptor box for violent consumption. You know? That changes a dude! So when Muldoon is describing how the raptors never test the same part of the fence twice, warning ominously that "they remember," (that's it; my favourite line from him) the scene gets really weighty. Muldoon's been watching the raptors and learning about them, but he also recognizes that the raptors are watching him and learning how to systematically test for vulnerabilities in their captivity. Muldoon and the raptors have been facing off for a long time. Like, literally facing off: actually just staring at each other and becoming insane with rage and respect on both ends. That's definitely my interpretation of it, but this is my blog, so don't even try to revoke my poetic license.
The last line is his most famous. Having been tricked into following a decoy raptor while the alpha raptor stalks him to his left, Muldoon realizes that he has been outsmarted and the battle of wits is finally over. He congratulates the raptor like the gentleman he is, saying "clever girl" and then he gets his head chomped on really hard, and the rest is obscured by a palm frond.
That's a really good story arc for a secondary character. I'd like to see more Muldoons in other movies, regardless of genre. It would be a genuine motivator. If the Valentine's Day poster had a Muldoon in one of its little star boxes, I'd think about going, instead of thinking about puking just a little bit on each individual A-lister.