David Vickery, visual effects supervisor for Jurassic World Dominion, compares the Jurassic franchise to Predator. Vickery, a seasoned professional in VFX work, worked as a VFX supervisor for both Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Jurassic World Dominion. Dominion released this year, and is the third of the Jurassic World films and sixth overall film in the Jurassic franchise. Predator was originally released in 1987, but the franchise has been in the news recently as a prequel origin story, Prey, was recently released on Hulu.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
Despite the modern franchise’s declining reviews, the Jurassic World films have been a massive success. Jurassic World Dominion was a box office hit, doing well with sales even in the face of massive competition like Top Gun: Maverick. These high box office grosses offset the major cost that goes into making a film to the scale of Jurassic World Dominion, for the studio spends millions of dollars trying to get every element of the adventure films right. Some of this money goes to mastering incredible special effects, as the films require massive amounts of CGI due to the presence of the dinosaurs and the cast’s battle with them. In the end, this money pays off, as even when some plot elements fail in the Jurassic World films, the incredible scale of its VFX is so visible.
Related: How Jurassic World Dominion Ruined The T-Rex’s Perfect Ending
Vickery sheds light on how the Jurassic films are set apart from franchises like Predator. In an exclusive interview with Screen Rant, the VFX supervisor discussed the necessity to create a “comic element” in the VFX for Jurassic World. He explained that “these movies are just about having fun,” so the VFX needs to match this tonally. He also delved into what Jurassic World is about at the core of its plot: “people being eaten by animals.” This is where the director compared to Predator, for although these two films are about the same subject at their most basic element, Predator is more “terrifying” because it lacks this “comic element.” Check out Vickery’s full quote below:
These movies are just about having fun, isn't it? It's such a fun moment, so unexpected. Without that comic element, that slightly comic element to these films, they would be terrifying, they'll be horror movies, and you need this sort of comic side of any Jurassic film or it just becomes Predator. People being eaten by animals, which is pretty scary when you think about it.
With this explanation, Vickery speaks to the importance of a VFX department in creating a film’s tone. An action film can gain a “comic element” from aspects such as the script, which can throw in jokes here and there to lighten the mood. This is a common tactic in MCU films such as Thor: Love and Thunder, which heavily employs humor in the face of the threat of Gorr’s destruction. On the other hand, Vickery’s insight reveals that it is not writing alone, but all the other visual elements including the special effects, that can lighten the mood of a film and divorce it from a horror genre film that is strictly terrifying, even if the subject is spine-chilling at its core. Dinosaurs eating humans may be horrific, but if their dinosaurs are imbued with their own sense of fun and character, that is going to beget a different reaction.
Vickery’s thoughtfulness clearly paid off, as the VFX for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Jurassic World Dominion are a far cry from something like Predator. Vickery will continue to be a presence on big-budget visual effects teams. He also worked as a VFX supervisor for Avatar: The Way of the Water, which releases later this year. With that film and his future work, hopefully Vickery will continue to render as tonally-appropriate atmospheres as he did for the Jurassic films.