Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is the fifth film in the Jurassic franchise and in many ways is bigger and more impressive than anything that’s gone before it. You might be surprised to learn that Fallen Kingdom contains more dinosaurs than all of the previous movies put together – but that statistic isn’t necessarily the film’s most staggering. FANDOM visited Pinewood Studios to meet the practical and visual effects geniuses behind the dinosaur phenomenon – including Visual Effects Supervisors David Vickery and Alex Wuttke, and Creature Designer Neal Scanlan, who shared the fascinating figures behind the screen spectacle.
The Film is Two-Thirds Visual Effects
Vickery: “In the whole film there were a little over 1,200 visual effects shots. Doesn’t sound like a lot when you consider that modern big budget movies might have up to 2000 shots. But there are only 1800 shots in the entire film so two-thirds of the film was visual effects.”
Almost 40% of All Shots Are Dinosaur Shots
Vickery: “There were 700 dinosaur shots in the film and I think probably 250 of those featured an animatronic, or some sort of a performer.”
21 Different Species of Dinosaur Populate the Movie
Vickery: “And there were many different versions of each of those dinosaurs, so different textures and sizes and scales, because we had stampedes of dinosaurs. There were seven brand new dinosaurs which we’d never seen.”
More Than 10 Practical Dino Models Were Used
Vickery: “We had 10 or 12 animatronic or performance pieces. So there was Blue, there was a T-Rex, there was a Stegosaurus head, there was an Indoraptor. These were all completely camera-finished pieces that could be shot and kept in the final film. We also had baby raptors and three different puppets for that. There was a separate arm for Blue, and a separate foot for Blue. A full T-Rex, [and] from nose to shoulders; Indoraptor head, foot and claw.
We had an inflatable dinosaur which sounds a little bit insane even now when I say it, but it was an amazing performance tool that we brought to set that shows how big that dinosaur could be, how fast it could move. And it was really trying to use every trick in the book and it wasn’t always about trying to get something as beautifully detailed as Blue that could stay as a finished camera ready piece, but it was about: ‘How can we again engage the actors in that process?’ with any trick we could bring to the table.”
An Indoraptor Arm Used in a Deleted Scene Weighed A Ton (Not Literally)
Vickery: “We never got it in the movie but there was a scripted bit where an Indoraptor idly toys with this human skull. Which is a little bit dark. And I remember distinctly the second unit working here, and the Indoraptor arm weighed 25 kilos maybe, 7ft long. So you can imagine how hard that is. It straps on. Somebody actually wears it coming out of their chest to counterbalance … imagine how hard it is to puppeteer that so that the claw – the middle finger – neatly lands in the eye socket of a skull. And they did 20, 30, 40 takes. Couldn’t get it.
Scanlan: “It took 20 takes to bowl the skull in. We had to roll the skull in. It had to stop exactly with the eye [in the right place].”
Vickery: “At that point, people were looking at me going: ‘Hey, shouldn’t we be doing this digitally?'”
The Indoraptor is Made Up of “Dozens” of Different Animals
Scanlan: “From [the] teeth, to the eyes, to the…”
Vickery: “The crazy thing about the Indoraptor is it’s not a dinosaur, it’s a genetic hybrid. So we’re towing a very careful line between it becoming a monster … and it’s definitely not a monster, it’s supposed to be a dinosaur. And so the trick we used there in post-production is referencing real animals, something that as an audience you can relate to. So if the scales of the dinosaur look a little bit like a snake’s scales then you start to believe it a little bit more. But we referenced all sorts of crazy animals, like cassowaries and ostriches for the anatomy of their feet, sea urchins, even, we looked at for the spikes on his back.”
It also takes inspiration from the blue tongue lizard, red-bellied black snake, black tree monitor and cordylus niger among other real-life creatures.
600+ VFX Pros Were Involved in the Making of the Film
Wuttke: “There’s so many people involved in this process and everyone has their own idea of what they want this film to look like. I think one of the biggest challenges, knowing how incredibly talented all these people are, is giving everyone an equal voice in the process. I think, globally, across all the various VFX facilities that worked on this movie, there’s probably over 600 people and just trying to make sure that everyone gets their input is a huge challenge.”
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is available on Blu-ray in the US now and in the UK on November 5.