Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is Pretty Bare Without CGI

Until someone actually harvests dinosaur DNA from a mosquito, the extinct stars of Jurassic World will always be artificial. Acting into the open air is more difficult than it looks onscreen but seeing the before footage without a single velociraptor is always fascinating. What is even more astonishing about the latest installment, Fallen Kingdom, is that the entire Isla Nublar didn’t exist either. The VFX masters at Image Engine just released a reel showing off multiple stages of digital effects created for the film.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom | Breakdown Reel | Image Engine VFX from Image Engine on Vimeo.

There are understandable challenges with filming a major movie during a live volcanic eruption. The quakes, the flying rock, and the molten lava can all be pesky problems on set. Image Engine stepped in to deliver an erupting island out of the clear blue sea. Literally. The entire island was digitally constructed. That involved not only developing the topography, but also adding shadow, cloud cover, and that steaming volcano.

The island is bubbling but mostly peaceful when the team arrives. However, the eruption finally comes and there is some major destruction. Flying hot rocks pummel the harbor. In reality, there were only a few practical explosions on set that provided a little smoke. Most were added digitally. Even that escape in the truck? Completely virtual.

As for digital dinosaurs, Blue is the star here. Image Engine added the domestic velociraptor with VFX, which isn’t as simple as dropping some code into the scene. The animation has several layers including a frame, thermal map, and the top layer of detail. 1993’s Jurassic Park threw the first dirt on animatronic effects, but director Colin Trevorrow ironically resuscitated the art for Fallen Kingdom. Legendary puppeteer Neal Scanlan brought practical dinosaurs to the film to enhance the human-dino interactions. There was a real puppet for portions of the Indoraptor, but it appears that Image Engine ran point on Blue’s scenes. Pretty impressive for all of the emotion she conveys and physical contact she has with other characters when nothing was there before.

Featured Image: Velociraptor Blue in “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.” When the island’s dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen and Claire mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event. Welcome to “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.” Photo Credit: Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment, Inc. and Legendary Pictures Productions, LLC.


Kelle Long

Kelle has written about film and TV for The Credits since 2016. Follow her on Twitter @molaitdc for interviews with really cool film and TV artists and only occasional outbursts about Broadway, tennis, and country music. Please no talking or texting during the movie. Unless it is a musical, then sing along loudly.