Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom review

For inSing

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM

Director : J.A. Bayona
Cast : Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Isabella Sermon, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, B.D. Wong, Geraldine Chaplin, Jeff Goldblum
Genre : Action / Adventure / Sci-fi
Run Time : 128 mins
Opens : 7 June 2018
Rating : PG-13

Just as life finds a way, so has the Jurassic Park franchise. There was a 14-year break between Jurassic Park 3 and Jurassic World, but the response to the latter showed audiences were hungry for more dinosaur mayhem. Jurassic World grossed $1.6 billion worldwide and became the second-highest-grossing film of 2015, making a follow-up inevitable.

Three years have elapsed since the events of the last film. The Jurassic World theme park lies in ruins on Isla Nublar, off the coast of Costa Rica. An impending volcanic eruption threatens the remaining dinosaurs who roam free on the island. Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), former Jurassic World operations manager-turned dinosaur activist, has founded the Dinosaur Protection Group to save Isla Nublar’s Saurian inhabitants.

Claire is contacted by Eli Mills (Rafe Spall), the executor of Sir Benjamin Lockwood’s (James Cromwell) estate. Lockwood was the partner of the late John Hammond, creator of the original Jurassic Park. Mills needs Claire’s help to facilitate the evacuation of the island. Blue, the last Velociraptor, is still alive. Claire ropes in Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), the dinosaur handler who raised Blue, to help locate her. Claire’s employees at the Dinosaur Protection Group, paleo-veterinarian Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda) and systems analyst Franklin Webb (Justice Smith), join the mission too. Owen and Claire soon find themselves entangled in a nefarious conspiracy that could throw the world as we know it into irreversible chaos.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom comes extremely close to blockbuster perfection. Hiring J.A. Bayona proves to be a canny move on the producers’ part. The filmmaker kickstarted his career with the Spanish horror movie The Orphanage and made the disaster drama The Impossible and the dark fantasy fable When a Monster Calls. This is by far the largest project he’s presided over, and he worked closely with the previous film’s director Colin Trevorrow and producer Steven Spielberg, who directed the first two Jurassic films. The result is distinctly atmospheric, with an emphasis placed on scenes of sustained tension, without sacrificing the grand spectacle audiences come to these movies for.

Trevorrow co-wrote the screenplay with Derek Connolly, and they’ve devised a great reason to return to Isla Nublar. At first, the story seems like a re-tread of The Lost World: Jurassic Park, complete with paramilitary personnel rounding up the surviving animals and Ted Levine as a grizzled big-game hunter. Then, the movie swerves in an interesting direction, one which the trailers have misdirected us away from.

The film is paced marvellously, packing in action – and more importantly, action with some variety to it. It’s a given that most of the characters will spend a lot of time running away from dinosaurs. There’s that, to be sure, but there are also creepy, well-staged moments steeped in shadows and incorporating a sense of claustrophobia that are exceedingly effective.

Several of the dinosaurs possess enough personality to be accepted as characters. Blue’s bond with Owen is further developed, and both she and the T. rex get their share of ‘hero’ moments. Animatronic effects are used more than they were in the preceding film. Neal Scanlan, the creature effects supervisor for the recent Star Wars films from The Force Awakens onwards, oversees the practical dinosaur effects. He and his team have done excellent work, and the computer-generated visual effects are a notch above those seen in the previous film too. There’s even physical comedy courtesy of a rambunctious Stygimoloch.

The film is at its best when it echoes and builds upon the themes inherent in the first film and the source novel by Michael Crichton. The manmade dinosaurs could be viewed as an affront towards nature, with nature now reclaiming itself by way of the volcanic eruption. Hammond and Lockwood opened Pandora’s Box, and there’s no coming back from that. Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm pops up in a cameo reiterating his initial fears of the implications resurrecting dinosaurs would have. These creatures were intended as theme park attractions, which seems innocent enough, but the applications for this technology were never going to stop there. The film tackles this in a slightly deeper, headier way than one might expect from summer popcorn entertainment.

Owen and Claire are good people who have unwittingly been used by bad people for their own ends. Both characters seem less like the broad caricatures they were presented as in the previous film, giving Pratt and Howard more to work with. Owen and Claire grapple with their involvement in Jurassic World, and how much of the chaos that unspools in this film is their fault. They also find themselves in the thick of the action and have so many near-misses that they come across as at least a little superhuman.

Some of the new characters are played a little too broadly, especially Justice Smith’s anxious tech expert. The human villains aren’t dimensional enough and have straightforward, avaricious motivations.

The new addition to the cast that stands out is Isabella Sermon, who plays Lockwood’s precocious granddaughter Maisie. Beyond being the requisite imperilled child each of these movies must have at least one of, she becomes integral to the plot and protecting her gives Owen and Claire a secondary objective.

The new dinosaur being highlighted is the Indoraptor, following in the clawed footsteps of the previous film’s Indominus rex. Just as the Velociraptors have generally been scarier than the T. rex in previous Jurassic films, the vicious Indoraptor is considerably more menacing than the Indominus rex, proving a formidable foe for our heroes, human and dinosaur alike.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is the best film in the series since the first. It packs in all the exhilarating theme park ride-thrills we expect from the series, while attempting to bring the moral and ethical quandaries at the heart of the premise back to the surface. The film is a satisfying experience, while naturally leaving the door open for a sequel. Stick around past the credits for a fun little stinger scene.

RATING: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Jedd Jong

San Diego Comic-Con International 2015: The Cosplay

Hey everyone, I’ve just returned from my third year at San Diego Comic-Con. While I didn’t have as good an experience as last year, I’m not taking the privilege for granted and as with the two previous years, here is my series of mega picture posts. Here we go with – 

THE COSPLAY

Kicking it off with a cosplayer as Jay Garrick, the original Flash! In the bottom left hand of the display case, you’ll see the prop helmet from that amazing moment in the Flash season finale when it tumbled out of the portal.

“I will break you!” “I will make you tell the truth!”

Gender-flipped Joker and Poison Ivy
Gamora! 

Batman of Zur-En-Arrh, with Bat-mite in a baby bjorn. Or maybe that’s Bat-mite with Zur-En-Arrh as a backpack

5 + 11!

Ridiculous abs. Just ludicrous. Unbelievable. Other superlative adjectives.

With LeeAnna Vamp

GlaDOS

Zatanna attempts to keep Batman out of Deadpool’s grasp

Pretty hard for Deadshot to miss because Batman’s right there in his hand.

Reverse Flash: “grr, curse you Barry!”

Fourth Doctor!

This gentleman can’t help but give a far more amiable smile than the Joker’s known for. Still cool!

The chainmail section on this Green Arrow’s costume is neat!

Look close enough and you can see the Batman figure blush.

Hey Kristoff!

Lots of Mad Lovin’ couples, as with most years.

It’s Slumber Party Harley! D’aww.

Agent Carter’s a little thrown by someone who’s fallen in from the wrong universe.

Stormin’ it up

This Comedian has the psychotic grin nailed pat!

Hey 11! 

Fraggin’ great Lobo!

Hooked on a feeling and shooting straight!

“Mr. Fredricksen, may I please have a photo?”

There’s the War Doctor in the middle! NO MOAR! 

Arkham City Harley!

KidPool

One of many Harleys rocking the Suicide Squad movie look.

Sisterhood of the con-going dresses

I am the one who knocks! And is the first in line for the exclusives!

Mega-Man!

Raven

Well hello there Amy Pond!

Bat-villains, including a gender-flipped Harley Quinn!

The Arkham Knight look for Harley’s one of the favourites so far.

11 is 10’s mum? Awesome!

The Boy Who Waited and his Kissogram beau! 

Steampunk Poison Ivy!

Pretty much the best Spider-Gwen cosplay I’ve ever seen. I think she might be Maid of Might cosplay. 
“Who’s scruffy-looking?”

Hey 12! How about a hug!

Don’t blink. Blink and you’re…

TOO LATE!

Why yes, I would kiss that Ms. Quinzel.

Just the sweetest-looking Ariel!

The Black Queen, Jean Grey

Loki and Black Widow looking great together!
Love this Barry’s good-natured grin
X-cellent! And an Adorable Cyclops leading the charge, too!
Another lovely Arkham City Harley!
No disintegrations Boba!
Steph Batgirl!


I was wearing just the right shirt for it, too!

Jurassic World Margarita Guy! Just about my favourite cosplay this year.
Squirrel Girl’s guns
It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad Wonderful World


Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver group cosplays were very popular this year!

Captain Cold and Golden Glider have Ollie in their sights!
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Sith Lord
Cruella de Vil, Cruelle de Vil, if she doesn’t scare you, no evil thing will…
Darth Revan
Ash celebrating the release of Ash vs. The Evil Dead raising his boomstick!
Capable from Mad Max: Fury Road
Love this Gamora’s costume and makeup, and it helps that she looks like Zoe Saldana too!
This gender-flipped Quicksilver from Days of Future Past is adorable!
Cutest little Berserker rage
Lady Deadpool
Boba Knievel
Hey Poison Ivy! Hmm, that looks a lot like an Ariel wig. 
Eye candy for all.
Knirhs!
Double serving of Owen with a print of T. rex concept art!
Triple Pratting at Comic-Con
Back to back Pratt!
Really rad Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch – that Quicksilver in particular has quite the likeness to Aaron Taylor-Johnson!
This George Lucas cosplayer was carrying a sign that said “Jar Jar 4 Life” on one side and “Greedo Shot First” on the other.
The World’s Finest – doesn’t matter that Batman’s six inches tall.
Awesome throwback with Batman and Joker from Batman ’89!
Immortan Joanna and Nux
Lady Sif and Thor
John Hammond, who has spared no expense.
Red Hood

Arkham Knight Red Hood

Check out the back of that jacket!
Ring ring! Shame!

Hey kids, it’s Mikey!

Gender-flipped Indy

And gender-flipped Han!

A.I.M. soldiers – for science!

An appropriately sinister Jafar

Gender-flipped Daredevil taking on the Kingpin

Claire has had it with Owen’s antics

Let it not be said that I studied theatre for nothing!

Cap and Widow

Flash and Batgirl

More Poison Ivy

Lara Croft

And a Lara based on the reboot game!

Great Scott, it’s Doc Brown!

Double dose of mini-Ahsoka, joined by Boba Cap

Beyond.

Cutest lil Thor

The mum’s Ursula and the daughter’s Ariel…messed up but wonderful!

Poison Ivy

Black Mask

’66 Catwoman

Comic-Con wouldn’t be complete without a Slave Leia!

Excellent Daenerys cosplay!

Mother of Raptors

Gender-flipped Green Arrow

Morpheus offers the red pill or the blue pill.

Jem! Truly truly outrageous!

Think McFly!

Great Scott, it’s a timey wimey confluence of temporal voyagers!

Another Margarita guy carries his beloved cocktails away from the Pterosaurs

Black Widow and the Winter Soldier

Rogue and Angie from Agent Cater

Galactus, right before devouring that world

Casey Jones, with an Arrow figure since Stephen Amell’s playing the character in the next film.

Ace Ventura, Mutant Detective

Uncharted: Drake’s Convention

Zoey and Mal from Firefly

And we cap it off with a tale as old as time. Gorgeous Belle (which is a tautology)

Resurrecting the Dinosaurs: the special effects of Jurassic Park

As published in Issue #64/65 of F*** Magazine

Text:
RESURRECTING THE DINOSAURS
F*** goes back to the genesis of the Jurassic Park film series and explores the movie magic that brought the park’s denizens back from extinction
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By Jedd Jong
This June, Jurassic World continues the legacy of a film franchise that has enthralled audiences with its depictions of prehistoric beasts stomping among (and occasionally chomping on) mankind. The first Jurassic Park movie, which was released in 1993, broke more than its share of ground in the realm of special and visual effects that marked a great leap forward in filmmaking technology. In the story, it is InGen’s geneticists who clone dinosaurs from preserved DNA, but behind the scenes, it was Stan Winston Studio, Tippett Studio and Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) who resurrected these titans of a bygone era.

Jurassic Park is based on the 1990 novel of the same name by Michael Crichton. Even before the book was published, a fierce bidding war for the film rights was sparked. Universal Pictures, director Steven Spielberg and Amblin Entertainment won the rights. Spielberg had a tough time working with animatronic creatures on Jaws, which was plagued by constantly malfunctioning mechanical sharks. The plan of action was that the dinosaurs of Jurassic Parkwould be created with the joint methods of stop-motion puppets and full-scale animatronic dinosaurs.
Spielberg first turned to theme park attraction creator Bob Gurr, who was working on a King Kongattraction at Universal Studios. Upon realising that particular method was infeasible, the director sought the help of Stan Winston, a legendary special effects creator whose studio was responsible for the monsters of the Alien, Terminator and Predator franchises, amongst other films. “Everyone who does the kind of work we do are dinosaur fans,” Winston professed. The puppets, which would be used for wide shots of the dinosaurs in motion, were to be created by animator Phil Tippett. Tippett had devised an improved stop-motion animation technique called “go-motion”, which he used on the film Dragonslayer. The addition of digital motion blurring would reduce the jerkiness that is characteristic of stop-motion animation.

Winston engaged concept artist Mark “Crash” McCreery to begin designing the dinosaurs; McCreery’s artwork informed by palaeontologist Jack Horner, who has been a consultant for all the Jurassic Park films so far. Among Horner’s contributions was the then-recent discovery that dinosaurs were more closely related to birds than they were to reptiles. Initially, the Raptors would’ve been depicted with snake-like flicking tongues, an idea Horner nixed. The intent was that these would be living, breathing creatures that the audience could buy as real animals rather than otherworldly movie monsters. The design process started a full year before actual production began. “We wanted these dinosaurs to be authentic, not ‘Hollywood’ dinosaurs, and so we really did our research,” Winston said.
Over at pioneering visual effects house ILM, famous for their work on the Star Wars saga, visual effects supervisor Dennis Muren was in charge of digitally enhancing Tippett’s puppetry work and exploring new uses for computer graphics in the making of the film. In the midst of pre-production, ILM presented computer-generated test footage to Spielberg, which depicted a heard of skeletal Gallimimus running through a field. It turns out that actors aren’t the only ones who practice method acting as the ILM animators studied under a movement coach and performed the Gallimimus run to provide their own reference material.
Animators Mark Dippé and Steve Williams later worked on animating a walk cycle for the T-rex. Spielberg was impressed, saying “it was so authentic and smooth, I said ‘well that’s the future, that’s the way it’s going to be from now on’…this technology came along and changed my movie forever and in that sense changed the world forever.”
Naturally, Tippett and his go-motion animation team were devastated by this change of approach to the wide shots. “It was a big emotional moment, like when your dog dies,” Tippett recalled.

“We’re extinct, we’re the dinosaurs, and that irony wasn’t lost on any of us,” said dinosaur motion supervisor Randal M. Dutra. This was given a nod in the dialogue of the film, when palaeontologist Dr. Alan Grant says “we’re out of a job” and mathematician Ian Malcolm corrects him by saying “don’t you mean extinct?” However, the work that Tippett and his team had developed did not go to waste – the elaborate go-motion puppets were used to create animatics (moving storyboards) that helped Spielberg plan the action beats precisely and served as a guide to the other animators and puppeteers involved. Tippett’s team also designed a telemetry system called the “Dinosaur Input Device” that could project tactilely manipulated movements on a scaled-down armature onto the full-sized animatronic dinosaurs, lending a hands-on element to the way the digital dinosaurs were controlled.
Years later, Tippett became a minor internet meme due to his credit as “dinosaur supervisor”, with posts on tumblr jokingly berating him for the mayhem brought about by dinosaurs as depicted in the film. In 2013, he sent out a tweet in response, playing along with the joke: “Everyone on the internet thinks they could be a better dino supervisor – BUT YOU WEREN’T THERE.”
Principal photography began in August 1992 on the Hawaiian island of Kuai. The first dinosaur to be filmed was the sickly Triceratops, built full-size by Winston’s shop. The Triceratops was sculpted by Joey Orosco, who used reference photographs of elephants and a white rhinoceros taken at a local zoo. The Triceratops puppet was positioned over a pit that could accommodate up to 11 puppeteers.
Prolific human actors like Sir Richard Attenborough, Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum were cast in Jurassic Park, but the biggest star was undoubtedly the full-size animatronic Tyrannosaurus rex used to film the main road attack. “It’s one thing seeing a great big model, [but] a model that moves and breathes and works with you was something else,” Neill noted. The hulking animatronic creation was set up at the largest soundstage in Warner Bros. Studios, dressed to mimic the T-rexpaddock and main road that had been built in Kuai.
Even after being up to the task of designing and building a mechanical behemoth that had to act opposite the human cast, Winston and his crew had another major hurdle to overcome. Spielberg thought that having the scene take place in the rain would be more exciting and that it would enhance the atmosphere. The T-rex was calibrated for weight and not designed to be waterproof. After spending some time under the rain machines, the giant robot would begin to vibrate uncontrollably because the foam rubber skin had started soaking up water. The crew had to dry the T-rex off by slapping it with shammy towels.
The other signature sequence from the movie is the “Raptors in the kitchen” scene, in which two Velociraptors stalk Tim and Lexi into the visitor’s centre’s industrial kitchen. Actor Joseph Mazzello, who played Tim, called the Velociraptors“the scariest thing I’ve ever seen.” The way these creatures moved had to be deliberate and reflect a frightening intelligence. “I remember being on set for the kitchen scene and looking behind a counter and seeing about 15 people all operating a different part of the Raptor,” Mazzello added.
For McCreery and art department coordinator John Rosengrant, their work on Jurassic Park wasn’t restricted to sitting behind desks. In addition to designing the dinosaurs, McCreery and Rosengrant got to play them, getting into specially designed Raptor suits to portray the two dinosaurs in the kitchen sequence. To simulate Raptor anatomy, the performers had to assume an awkward pose inside the suits, as if they were skiing. “My back would go out after about 30 minutes,” Rosengrant recalled, “and that was after having trained a couple of hours a day for weeks.”
“It was exhilarating but torture at the same time,” McCreery agreed. “It’s kind of scary because there’s that claustrophobic-type feeling. You’d have a little monitor in front of your face and then that would go out and you’d be blind and hoping you were doing the right thing.”
For the moment in which the Raptor leaps up onto the countertop and when there’s fast running involved, it’s handed off to a CGI Raptorto allow for more fluidity. “That’s a great, great sequence showing basically all the tools working [together], every one of ‘em,” said special effects supervisor Michael Lantieri.
One often-overlooked element in making the dinosaurs convincing as actual animals is sound design. Sound designer Gary Rydstrom was tasked with creating vocalisations for the T-rexthat weren’t the usual monster movie roar. The T-rex’s roars were a combination of recorded samples from baby elephants, alligators, tigers, whales, and Rydstrom’s own pet Jack Russell terrier, Buster. The Velociraptors’ signature screech came from combining noises from geese, horses and dolphins. In addition, there was a bizarrely risqué source for the Raptors’ calls: “It’s somewhat embarrassing, but when the Raptors bark at each other to communicate, it’s a tortoise having sex,” Rydstrom revealed.
 Jurassic Park was a box office smash and a hit with critics as well, spawning three further sequels, the latest of which is this summer’s Jurassic World. Stan Winston Studio and ILM continued to collaborate on The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III. After Winston’s death in 2008, Lindsay Macgowan, Shane Mahan, John Rosengrant, and Alan Scott, who had worked at Stan Winston Studio for over 20 years, founded their own company, Legacy Effects. Legacy Effects is in charge of creating the animatronic dinosaurs for director Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World, with Tim Alexander supervising the visual effects at ILM. Tippett Studio is involved in the process as well. While the trailers for the film have drawn some flak for a supposed over-reliance on computer-generated imagery, it is encouraging that several key behind-the-scenes figures from the original Jurassic Park are returning for the fourth go-round. We trust that these movie magicians’ handiwork will thrill new audiences and remind long-time Jurassic Park fans of how they first became spellbound.