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Building the JURASSIC WORLD Apatosaurus

As we addressed in a previous article of behind-the-scenes features for Jurassic World that this video itself contains some visuals from the movie that may be considered a bit spoiler-ish. So if you’ve not seen the film yet, stop now and maybe check out some of our E3 coverage.

For those who HAVE seen Jurassic World, you know that there’s finally a sequel to Jurassic Park that actually feels like a proper sequel. The Lost World: Jurassic Park: we use too many hyphens: lets put the name of the film second: hyphen and Jurassic Park III: William H. Macy edition had the look of the JP world but lacked a certain something. It might be the inexplicable gymnastic routines (the added sound effects in that clip are out of this world) or the talking raptors that make the first sequels feel less than, but it’s also the lack of heartfelt moments.

I would posit that, other than the T-Rex’s first attack where he willed a cliff into existence, or the raptors clever-girling their way through the kitchen, the scenes that really stick with people are the more emotional ones like the first reveal of dinosaurs from the jeeps and, of course, the under-the-weather triceratops scene. In the world of dinosaurs, we know the ones that wouldn’t eat us are more on par with our pets so it’s these scenes that stick with us. The minds behind Jurassic World knew this very well and made sure we’d have a similar moment with the poor Apatosauruses (Apatosauri? Apatosaurlings?) that the Indominus Rex attacked for sport.

For that, those minds employed the skills of Legacy Effects. A effects company born out of people who worked for the legendary Stan Winston are behind some of the most iconic films in the last few years. Name an cool effect in blockbuster in the last couple years and they are probably responsible making some part of it. Iron Man’s suit, the frost giants in Thor, Pilot suits in Pacific Rim, pretty much any practical make-up effect or costume design over dozens of movies have Legacy Effects to thank. With the Jurassic World Apatosaurus, it took a combination of classic and modern techniques to bring it to life. 3-D scanning the artist’s original concept to scale it up to a size that felt right and a team of sculptors, painters and animatronic puppeteers to bring us the final humongous creature we see in the movie. Thanks to the work of a small army of phenomenal artists and craftsman, Legacy Effects is able to continually contribute to some of the most memorable films.

We were literally faced with the death of a gentle giant and part of the reason that scene is both so effective and affective is that the apatosaur’s head was as real as possible. Through the actors being able to perform to something real, we were given a more emotive scene since they were acting to an actual thing and not something on a green screen. The on-screen time for this build is relatively short but it is and will remain memorable due in no small part to the effort put into making it feel as real as possible.

Pros and cons for both practical effects and CGI. Lets discuss in the comments below!

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