The name "Vastatosaurus rex" means "Ravager-Lizard-King". "Ravager" comes from the Latin term "Vastato", or "Vasto", which means "devastate, ravage, or to lay waste." "Lizard" comes from the ancient Greek word "sauros", which was combined with a Greek and Latin root to get the word "saurus". "King" comes from "rex", which is the Latin word for "king".
Vastatosauruses look much like their Cretaceous ancestors, having the build of a theropod, with digitigrade legs, small arms, and a muscular neck that supports a large head. The creature's head is rounded, much like a Tyrannosaurus, however, their snouts are much shorter in comparison, with the jawline bearing a few less teeth as well. The overall tooth design remains the same as a T. rex however, being very thick, and blunt, used for deep puncturing of its prey. The tooth design works in tandem with the Vastatosaurus immense jaw strength, allowing for immediate deep injuries, over light, less penetrative slashing.
The dinosaur's arms still retain a short length, however, an additional digit has been added bringing up the count of fingers from the iconic two, to three, much like a dinosaur from the Allosauridae family. Its feet, much like its predecessors are tri-toed and are broad in design, aiding in supporting the creature's weight. Unlike its ancestors however, the Vastatosaurus features a legitimate waist, with a large amount of space between the rib-cage and hips of the creature. This allows for the creature to make quick turns in the jungle.
Its skin is a greenish gray hue, possessing scales along the spine and generally smooth skin everywhere else. The skin turns into a pale tan color along the creature's underside. Its eyes are a blazing and distinct orange, as well.
For the 2005 film, the roaring, bellowing and growling of the V. rex is adapted from the vocalizations of lions, alligators, boars, horses and pinnipeds (such as seals, sea lions and walruses).
In the game, the V. rex sounds different as they're given new original roars. While very loud, it appears to be similar to that of a vulture while they also appear to produce lion sounds as well. Some of the creature's roaring from the game were reused for King Ghidorah in Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
These dinosaurs don't display intelligence on the level of King Kong, however, during the events of the film, the group of Vastatosauruses seen showed a surprising level of cunning, being able to distract, group attack and ambush Kong during their fight.
As lone predators outside of groups, these creatures displayed a conscious effort to act as ambush predators, taking their prey by surprise, as seen with the V. rex's first attack on the Foetodon, and then the two subsequent attacks on Ann Darrow.
While Ann Darrow was being chased by a Foetodon, a sub-adult Vastatosaurus rex appeared and killed the Foetodon by crushing it with its jaws. Upon seeing Ann, the V. rex chased after her. Ann managed to hide on a fallen tree, but a second V. rex, a full grown male, appeared and attacked her. Thankfully, King Kong arrived and rescued Ann. The V. rex attacked Kong, and was soon joined by the sub-adult after it finished eating the Foetodon.
Kong took on both V. rexes, only to find himself attacked by a third one; the matriarch of the pack. Kong quickly killed the sub-adult V. rex by smashing its head with a boulder. The other two V. rexes then tackled Kong off a cliff, causing them to become tangled in vines. Kong battled the V. rexes through the mess of vines and tried to reach Ann as the V. rex matriarch tried to attack her. However, as more vines snapped, Ann fell onto the matriarch V. rex's jaws, to which Kong held it open with a large amount of vines. Said vines began to give way, making the V. rex matriarch slowly drop towards the bull, who had its own mouth open awaiting the small prey item's descent. However, as Kong leaped down to kick its mouth shut, the Matriarch's mouth was able to close, and Ann was sent falling from the action, leading to her landing on the bull V. rex's snout. The resulting squirming of the dinosaur resulted in the vines breaking entirely, sending both Ann and the carnivore to the forest floor.
However, Kong smashed the matriarch V. rex against the cliffs, killing it, before dropping down into the same area, right behind Ann as the bull V. rex advanced on her. Ann retreated behind Kong and allowed him to defend her. After a vicious struggle, Kong grabbed the bull V. rex's jaws and pried them apart until they snapped, killing the mighty saurian.
V. rexes have been shown to understand and coordinate group efforts in taking down large prey, much like modern predators, and their hypothesized prehistoric counterparts. To add to this, despite their large stature and generally loud presences, Vastatosauruses can remain whisper quiet if need be, being able to take a Foetodon, Ann Darrow and Kong by complete surprise.
The jaws of the Vastatosaurus are extremely powerful, following the lineage of powerful jaws granted by the family of dinosaurs known as Tyrannosauridae, most famously, that of the Tyrannosaurus rex. The same principles apply to its tooth design, which is akin to a railroad spike in design which, when used in tandem with its powerful bite, could easily prove supremely painful, or outright fatal to its targets.
Vastatosauruses displayed immense physical strength with a lone specimen being a solid match for Kong, let alone the three that attacked him at once.
Endurance and Stamina
They have shown to be able to take punishment from Kong well enough enough to continue fights that other predators would attempt to escape from. Their reinforced skull allows them to take a lot of trauma as well, as multiple V. rexes took strikes and blows to the head from Kong, only to get back up and keep fighting.
Speed and Agility
Due to their ribcage and waist design, these dinosaurs have supreme agility in comparison to their predecessors. In addition, they also possess a long stride which can be used in tandem with their footspeed to allow them to cross large distances in a surprisingly quick fashion.
Despite their strength, the lack of length to their forearms results in the V. rex having a shortcoming in physical combat. This vulnerability was exploited by Kong, who was able to keep a V. rex at bay easily, with the latter unable to push forward without proper forearm length, until its partner came in to assist.
Vastatosauruses make an appearance within the licensed movie game for the 2005 film. They appear within the titular level V-Rex, where a lone specimen appears and kills off numerous sailors from the Venture. Jack Driscoll is tasked with distracting the creature as Carl Denham and Ben Hayes attempt to open a door to allow the trio to escape. They're successful, and the creature stops giving chase soon after hearing Ann. This Vastatosaurus is later killed by Kong in a film scene between levels.
A lone V. rex is seen in a canyon later on, having killed a Brontosaurus. It attempts to chase the trio, but they manage to escape through a small crevasse. Later on, a V. rex duo's encountered by the rapids of Skull Island, chasing the group once more. They almost devour them, before Kong intervenes, killing them both.
Sporadically, V. rexes are seen past this point, with one ambushing and almost eating Ann and Jack, who barely elude the creature. Another is then seen warding off Englehorn's plane, as well. This creature is subsequently killed by Kong, who then encounters and kills three more at once in a small, water filled canyon.
Younger, smaller V.rexes appear as mini-bosses in some of Jack's levels as well. The first one is encountered in a cave in the level "Venatosaurus", in which it is fought after a large pack of Venatosaurus threatening the protagonists is defeated by the combined efforts of Jack and Hayes. It will also fight any surviving Venatosaurus left in the level. Two more appear in Kong's Lair, and the last one is fought when Ann and Jack escape from Kong.
In gameplay, the dinosaurs are very powerful when playing as Kong, and outright invincible when playing as Jack. While playing as Jack, the player is given the task of distracting the dinosaur by using the game's foodchain system to stave off its advancement. As Kong, the player must engage in melee combat with the dinosaurs, before being able to finish them off with the iconic jaw snapping finisher, or via a backbreaking attack. Younger V.rexes can be killed by Jack but are very tough thanks to their armored skin and can bring down stone shelters like their adult counterparts.
- King Kong's fight with the final V. Rex uses the same fight choreography as the T-Rex fight scene from the original film.
- The 3 V-Rexes were the replacements of the Tyrannosaurus rex from the original 1933 film.
- A Vastatosaurus Rex serves as the main antagonist in the Universal Studios attraction King Kong: 360 3-D, along with Skull Island: Reign of Kong in Universal Studios Orlando.
- According to Peter Jackson and the staff of Weta Workshop, the three Vastatosaurus rex in the 2005 film were meant to be a family; they were comprised of a Matriarch (the second V. rex killed by Kong in the chasm, as well as the largest of the three), a fully grown male (the final V. rex killed by Kong), and a juvenile (the first V. rex killed by Kong and the one that chases Ann first).
List of appearances
- King Kong (First appearance)