There's More Going On Than We Know - Insights on 'Jurassic World'
by Alex Billington
November 26, 2014
Up until this week, many of the most secretive projects in development at Hollywood have been kept very private, with few details and even less imagery. A few Star Wars tidbits have leaked out, but in regards to Jurassic World, a number of major details were finally revealed in the footage in the first official trailer. It's hardly a teaser trailer, even though it is labeled as that, but it does show quite a few shots of dinosaurs, the full theme park, Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and raptors. So what do we know? It's not a story about dinos on the loose, it's actually about genetically-modified hybrid dinosaurs that end up on the loose.
One of the first interesting discussions to hit the web following the trailer debut is this piece on SlashFilm by Peter Sciretta titled: "Stop Complaining, 'Jurassic World' Almost Featured Dinosaur-Human Hybrids; Filmmaker Defends Genetically Modified Dino Concept". Sciretta republished and then updated a story they originally ran in 2012 showing concept art of dinosaur-human hybrids that looks awful, but the good news is that's not the route they went in the end. Instead, he explains, it's just a "bigger, badder, and genetically-modified dinosaur" like the one they hint at in the trailer (but don't actually show us yet). To top it off, he includes a meaty quote from director Colin Trevorrow who explains why they made all the choices they did.
The version of Jurassic World we got a glimpse of in the trailer is directed by Colin Trevorrow who also co-wrote the script, along with Derek Connolly. However, an earlier draft (by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver) contained the human-dinosaur combo, though thankfully they threw that out. Trevorrow explains his vision:
Yes, there will be one new dinosaur created by the park’s geneticists. The gaps in her sequence were filled with DNA from other species, much like the genome in the first film was completed with frog DNA. This creation exists to fulfill a corporate mandate—they want something bigger, louder, with more teeth. And that’s what they get. I know the idea of a modified dinosaur put a lot of fans on red alert, and I understand it. But we aren’t doing anything here that Crichton didn’t suggest in his novels. This animal is not a mutant freak. It doesn’t have a snake’s head or octopus tentacles. It’s a dinosaur, created in the same way the others were, but now the genetics have gone to the next level. For me, it’s a natural evolution of the technology introduced in the first film. Maybe it sounds crazy, but most of my favorite movies sound crazy when you describe them in a single sentence. […]
We’re trying to tell a bold new story that doesn’t rely on a proven formula, because the movies we watch over and over again are the ones that surprised us, that worked when they shouldn’t have. I understand the risks of leaving the safe zone. We’ve all been disappointed by new installments of the stories we love. But with all this talk of filmmakers "ruining our childhood", we forget that right now is someone else’s childhood. This is their time. And I have to build something that can take them to the same place those earlier films took us. It may not happen in the same way everyone expects it to, but it’s the way I believe it needs to happen.
It's very hard to argue with what he's saying here, especially because it really does make sense in the grand scheme of things. Of course they need to do something different and surprise us considering this is the fourth Jurassic Park movie, and third sequel. And fans are excited, but cautious. However, the idea of the genetically modified dinosaur does seem to be pushing things too far, but his defense is strong. We may think we've figured out the story from the trailer, but obviously there's much more to it that we have yet to see. There's more going on behind-the-scenes, more going on regarding the decisions in terms of the script and what they're showing us in the trailer. But what about all that bad CGI? Don't be so dismissive just yet.
One of the most glaring CGI shots in the trailer is the opening gate that the monorail rides through. It's the iconic centerpiece of the Jurassic Park universe (updated to say "Jurassic World") but looks so completely fake in the footage. A number of fans brought up this concern with Colin Trevorrow on Twitter, who replied to them explaining that shot was created just for the trailer and won't be used in the actual movie. Instead, they did actually build the new park gate out of "real wood, concrete and steel" and it will be featured in the movie, but we haven't seen those shots yet. Here's the tweets where Trevorrow replies about the real gate:
@alexfieldsman the gate will be practical. Real wood, concrete and steel.
— Colin Trevorrow (@colintrevorrow) November 25, 2014
@TheHoyt08 The gate is practical, the environment isn't. That shot was made specifically for the trailer. The film will be different.
— Colin Trevorrow (@colintrevorrow) November 25, 2014
Very interesting that he admits they made shots specifically for the trailer. This isn't an uncommon practice (in fact it's quite common to re-use or create shots just for a trailer), however it's usually something that no one mentions, and is kept a secret because when the movie comes out everyone will forget about it and just appreciate what's on the screen then. That will certainly be the case here and I'm looking forward to seeing Jurassic World next summer, but I can't deny I'm a bit concerned after the first teaser trailer. I don't know what I was expecting/hoping to see, but I found more to be worried about than excited about. However, I'm still confident Trevorrow will deliver a great movie. (If you haven't seen it, watch Safety Not Guaranteed.)
I was one of the people harping on the bad CGI in the Jurassic World trailer, but of course I am well aware that they still have 7 more months left to polish the VFX and CGI. And I expect it to look fantastic by the time the movie hits theaters next June. In today's interconnected world, the moment a trailer drops for a highly anticipated movie every last frame is scrutinized and analyzed and discussed in incredible depth. We all know that trailers are just sleek video packages designed to make us excited, and don't always represent the actual movie they're selling, but we have that desire to analyze and figure it all out anyway. As is the case with pretty much everything in Hollywood, there's so much we have yet to see. Including that hybrid dino.