This summer dinosaurs, yet again, invaded our cinema screens with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Set three years after Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) saw the destruction of the Jurassic World Theme Park, the pair had to return to the Island of Isla Nublar to save the dinosaurs that were left from an erupting volcano, however, this was just the start of their problems with a newer menace in human and dinosaur form that threatened the planet.
To celebrate the home entertainment release of the dino adventure, we were invited down to Pinewood Studios to take a look behind the scenes of how the movie came to life and uncover the hidden secrets behind some of the amazing creatures and scenes.
Our first stop on the magical movie tour was a look around the iconic Pinewood Studios. Steeped in more than 80 years of movie history, the studios are the home of the majority of the Carry On films as well as the epic fan favourites of Star Wars and Bond. Just stepping onto the vast grounds transports you to the land of dreams; it’s certainly a humbling experience. Our first dive behind the scenes of Fallen Kingdom was at the Underwater Stage – a stage were illusions were shattered. Within the film, during the eruption of the volcano humans and dinosaurs alike where making a dash towards to the sea when Owen and Claire happen upon a translucent sphere. The underwater scenes in the sphere where filmed in this location. Set over two floors, the 1,200,000 Litre capacity tank is permanently filled. Accompanied by an underwater filming platform, numerous specialist divers and underwater specialists, this scene alone took a period of 5 weeks to film.
As we walked through the vast lot we passed the likes of the infamous 007 stage, the Stanley Kubrick building and many stages and streets that are named after many a significant actor of movie moguls. Apart from that, there really wasn’t much too see apart from the demolishing of a gigantic set, sorry Star Wars fans but any sign of life on this saga was very much on lockdown from our eyes.
Most epic blockbusters wouldn’t be able to bring to life a world of wonder and visual impossibilities without the tirelessly impeccable work and skill of the VFX teams, ILM in particular. None more so than this year’s return to Jurassic World. The most notable and glaringly obvious use of visual effects in J.A. Bayona’s darker and visually gothic picture was, of course, the dinosaurs. Bigger, better and more realistic than in previous episodes of the franchise, the highest attention to detail was paid to create its movie magic and animatronics made a big return.
During the afternoon we were ushered over to the John Barry Theatre (which is situated at Pinewood) for an insightful VFX presentation from the ILM team (Neal Scanlon, David Vickery, Jance Rubinchik and Alex Wuttke) who worked on the film.
What We Learned
- 1200 Visual Effects sets were used
- There were both old and new dinosaur introductions in Fallen Kingdom. In all, 21 Unique Species
- 30% of the film’s budget was used on Visual Effects
- To make sure the dinosaurs were as real as possible the team started by exploring fossils and factor in how they would move and evolve at a very early stage.
- For the finer details such as the skin and colour, they took a more practical approach and looked at the closest living relative of the dinosaur. These included Elephants, Snakes, Lizards, Sea Urchins, Iguanas and Crocodiles.
- The animatronics started life from a 3D Printer. Teeth were made with soft rubber.
- The genetically made Indorapture was actually an inflatable when filmed opposite the actors, with visual effects added at a later stage to make it look real.
- When it came to the animation of the dinosaurs, weight and size was a major factor in getting the movements right. They wanted them to be seen as animals and not monsters. Again, referencing to closest living animals was used.
- A number of scenes/callbacks from the previous film where used and placed into the new film.
- Bayona instructed them to use influences from old gothic horror films such as Nosferatu.
- If you watch closely enough, Bayona also requested a number of easter eggs that relate directly to Steven Spielberg. Keep your eyes peeled for a few references to ET.
Come the end of the day, Neal Scanlon very kindly introduced us to an injured yet somewhat lively Blue. Whilst laid out on a platform, we were lucky enough to get up close and personal with the extremely lifelike dinosaur for a few picture opportunities. Thanks to the team of men placed under the platform manning the movements of the sick dino, there were a few moments where we could have lost a finger or two ourselves.
During our visit, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Creature Designer Neal Scanlon, ILM Visuals Effects Supervisor David Vickery, Animation Supervisor Jance Rubinchik and Visual Effects Supervisor Alex Wuttke were on hand to answer our questions on injecting life into the latest film in the franchise. Watch our interviews with the crew below.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, out on Blu-ray & DVD on 5th November