Jurassic World Dominion VFX Supervisor Picks His Favorite Movie Dinosaur
David Vickery, VFX supervisor for the Jurassic World trilogy conclusion, Jurassic World Dominion, reveals his favorite dinosaur from the action-packed film. Dominion was released earlier this year, coming after the divisive Jurassic World sequel Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. At the end of the middle film in the trilogy, dinosaurs were released into the human world. Dominion picks up after that event and features a human world that has adapted to the presence of dinosaurs in their midst. The film features plenty of thrilling sequences involving dinosaurs interacting with everyday fixtures of the modern world, which provided an effective layer to the film, though some felt that more could have been done with the rich premise.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
Jurassic World Dominion was highly anticipated due to Laura Dern, Sam Neill, and Jeff Goldblum returning to the franchise alongside Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. Dominion also adds plenty of exciting new dinos, including the magnificent Pyroraptor, to the franchise's already impressive catalog. Working with visual effects company Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), the filmmakers brought to life creatures such as the film's big bad Gigantosaurus, the flying Quetzalcoatlus, the speedy Atrociraptor, and the territorial but herbivorous Therizinosaurus.
Related: Can A Spinosaurus Really Beat A T-Rex? Jurassic Park 3's Dinosaur Explained
Screen Rant had the opportunity to sit down with Jurassic World Dominion ILM VFX supervisor David Vickery for an exclusive interview. When asked whether he had a favorite dinosaur from the film, he took the question further and disclosed his favorite dinosaur in the entire franchise is the Therizinosaurus. Read the full quote below:
"For me, the best dinosaur in the franchise is, at the moment anyways, the Therizinosaurus, it's such an amazing creature. [Chuckles] If you look at a concept of the Therizinosaurus, it's seven meters tall, kind of like an ostrich, got a massive beak, meter-long baseball claws and feathers all over it. It doesn't look real and you don't understand how a creature like that could have existed, it's so bizarre. But the process of breathing life into that in visual effects was really a labor of love. Working on the digital feathers, we built a new feather system at ILM in Houdini, which allowed us to procedurally generate all the feathers on the creatures. Then it gave the artist the ability to simulate feathers and wind and water and snow and ice and bring all of those simulations into the same piece of software, so that they could all interact with each other beautifully. It lent a layer of reality and believability to those simulations, that is why the shots look so fantastic, and it's testament to the fantastic artists at ILM that pulled that off, but it's my favorite creature. The tension in the scene, as well, it was beautifully directed and acted by Colin and Bryce. But the animators at ILM did such a fantastic job of setting the tension and the poise and the slow movement, the slow creeping movement of the Therizinosaurus in that scene, is really a testament to their great work."
Practical effects are often praised by fans as superior to CGI due to the greater potential for interaction with physical set features and because of their more grounded feel. Vickery's description of merging practical, visual, and digital effects just goes to show how far technology can really go when filmmakers are enthusiastic about pushing the boundaries of familiar tactics. It can be easy to lose quality when moving from concept art to the screen, but based on Vickery's comments, this dino bears a striking resemblance to its original design. His passion for his favorite dino, the Therizinosaurus, clearly went a long way in bringing the majestic creature to life, and the filmmakers' hard work on the feathers for the Therizinosaurus and other dinos was much appreciated by dinosaur fans longing for a more true to history rendition of the stately creatures.
Though the first sequel trilogy film Jurassic World was praised by critics and audiences as an entertaining thriller, one of the main critiques of the film had to do with the use of CGI, which was described as excessive and a departure from the ground-breaking Jurassic Park films. In the second film of the trilogy, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, practical effects were blended with digital effects, but creators still relied heavily on CGI. As mentioned by Vickery, digital effects were definitely not absent in Jurassic World Dominion. However, director Colin Trevorrow made an effort to include many more animatronics rather than using CGI dinosaurs due to their enhanced ability to interact with actors in a scene. This approach certainly paid off, with the striking shots of dinosaurs interacting with the main characters being the highlight of the film.