“Jurassic World Dominion” roars into theaters this weekend. Set in the present day, not long after the events of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” dinosaurs now co-exist with humans.
While dino alums Tyrannosaurus Rex and the venom-spitting Dilophosaurus make their mark, director Colin Trevorrow also brought in bigger, badder and even feathered dinosaurs. To help bring them to life, Trevorrow turned to CFX supervisor John Nolan to built some new dinosaurs, including the biggest beast yet, the Gigantosaurus.
Nolan worked on building the creatures using mechanical rigs and collaborating with Industrial Light and Magic as well as VFX to create this new world where man and dinosaur co-exist.
Meet their new beastly creations below.
The most fearful dinosaur in the Jurassic franchise has been the Tyrannosaurus Rex, but for this installment, Trevorrow brought out his biggest animal yet: The Gigantosaurus.
In “Dominion,” the genetics company Biosyn is in possession of one of these creatures, keeping it within its sanctuary. Trevorrow says all the dinosaurs he used in the film actually existed, including the enormous Gigantosaurus. “I wanted to make sure everything was in the paleontological record,” he says.
“We were asked to do this six months ahead, and time started creeping away,” Nolan says. “At one point, he was going to do it CGI, but we just wanted to build some of it practically.
“We wanted this thing on the set for the actors, the DP, for Colin and for all to be able to light and shoot it and interact with it.
“Time just kept creeping away and then it got down to three months before filming and they asked if we could do it. We said, ‘Just let us go for it,’ and it was an absolute push to finish it. We worked with the special effects team and the visual effects. It’s such a perfect example of how the three disciplines of special effects, visual effects and creature effect complement each other.
“You have the creature that enters the scene walking in, that’s the CG version. All the close-up stuff is our version working with special effects and smashing into sets. We programmed the mechanical rig to match the CG movements perfectly. We only made the head and neck, and the guys at ILM added the rest of the dinosaur and they could extend it as much as they wanted to later on and create this seamless blend.
“It’s the biggest dinosaur that has been in films. His head is as big as a car and is absolutely huge.”
Pyroraptor and Therizinosaurus — feathered dinosaurs
After five installments, feathered dinosaurs finally appear. In fact, Trevorrow added two breeds of the feathered creatures.
“The Therizinosaurus was a herbivore and looks completely different than any dinosaur we’ve seen,” Trevorrow says. “Beyond being feathered, it has these claws that are the size of baseball bats, and even paleontologists aren’t 1000% sure why an herbivore would have claws that could kill anything.
“We approached the scene needing to justify why he would consider Kyla a threat and wasn’t trying to eat her. So, it very clearly feels like she’s getting in the way after that deer. It’ll kill you if it takes you’re getting in the way of its vegetarian meal.
“The Pyroraptor is our second feathered dinosaur. I think for anyone who is a scientist, a nerd for paleontology, watching these raptors throughout all these movies has grown pretty frustrating that they weren’t being represented as feathered as raptors were. It really allowed us to finally see something that a lot of people who care about dinosaurs had been waiting to see for a very long time.”
“In introducing the feathered dinosaurs, we take the feathers and material, as well as feather samples,” Nolan adds. “VFX then takes that top layer of feathers and scans them. They’ll put wind machines on them so they can work out which way the feathers fold over each other and move over muscle. We then gave them texture using foam latex.
“We use a lot of silicone, and what I love about silicone is it gives you that amazing translucent feeling.”
“The baby Nasutoceratops was created to show how much Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) had changed and grown throughout the trilogy,” says Trevorrow. “She’s become an activist, but also someone who was out there putting herself in danger and even breaking the law to protect these animals.
“It was a crucial scene. To start the film with a digital dinosaur would have sent one message, but to have this animatronic dinosaur that our characters are having to lift and move around with really sets the tone for how we were going to handle dinosaur interactions for the whole movie.”
Although the Stygimoloch briefly appeared in “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” look for more of the head-butting dinosaur as it makes a bigger impact in the latest installment of the franchise.
“We knew people had seen that in the previous film where Chris Pratt gets it to crash through the wall and head butts the wall,” Nolan explains. “We knew it was a headbutter. We looked at different animals in the world like alpacas and others. We also realized they had anti-ramming cages.
“So, he had the front half of the Stygimoloch in this anti-ramming cage, and what we did was put this Stygimoloch and this harness hanging inside the cage. It was such a great way to puppeteer it because the harness took the weight of the dinosaur and that allowed us to have someone from behind with its hand up its bottom and thrashing the dinosaur back and forth. You can see that in the film where the Stygimoloch is smashing its head around.”