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Jurassic Park is one of the biggest franchises in the world. The original held the title of biggest movie of all time until Titanic came around. Yes, they are giant blockbusters full of visual effects, but really they’re monster movies at their core. Each one finds different scenarios in which humans try not to get eaten by dinosaurs. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, director J.A. Bayona’s entry, finds a way to get the dinosaurs inside a mansion. Imagine being trapped indoors with dinosaurs!
“That’s one of the first ideas that Colin [Trevorrow] pitched me was this kind of second half of the movie that plays a little bit like a haunted house movie with dinosaurs sneaking through corridors inside of a mansion and sneaking through windows, that kind of gothic world,” Bayona said in a phone interview.
“For me, one of the intentions was going back to the original Jurassic Park and the kind of suspense that Steven played in the second half. We all remember the scene of the velociraptors chasing the kids in the kitchen. For me it was a chance of playing suspense and the space in a more interesting way, playing with claustrophobia and tighter locations.”
Raptors in the kitchen are one thing. But the T-rex, Stegosaurus and other breeds won’t even fit in your standard duplex. The Lockwood mansion of the finale is a large enough space to give dinosaurs plenty of hiding spaces, and lots of room for humans to run away.
“From the moment you decide to get a dinosaur inside a mansion, there were a lot of conversations with the special effects guys, visual effects and production designer in order to fit dinosaurs inside the mansion and make it believable,” Bayona said.
“One of the major challenges was how to create the scene of the auction in order to make it believable. We decided that the whole space is like a garage of old cars, suggesting that Lockwood had a collection or cars or something. So that gave us the possibility of having these big doors. It was a space that you can imagine the space of a millionaire where he can store lots of cars, luxury cars. We were playing with it, with the production designer, to make it believable.”
Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) watches from the outside this time, but even Goldblum was wowed by the horror influence.
“Boy, there’s so much edge of your seat cliffhanger-y stuff in the beginning and then that horror movie section with the gothic mansion plays visual references to Nosferatu, I thought were really spectacular,” Goldblum said.
The dinosaurs in Fallen Kingdom are brutal. Gorehounds will be pleased. Bayona knows the trick to getting away with dismemberment in a PG-13 movie.
“You play with those limits,” Bayona said. “One of the limits is that you cannot show human blood. You cannot show much human blood. There’s a limit for that. These movies, you need to come up with very creative deaths because one of the fun aspects of watching one of these movies to enjoy when the bad guys are eaten by dinosaurs. You really need to think about creative ways of showing without showing. There is a moment, for example, one of the characters has his arm eaten by the Indoraptor. It’s pretty wild but you don’t see any blood in that moment. That’s the way you go. It’s a little bit like the way Alfred Hitchcock was playing with censorship in the old times. Somehow you put yourself in the same position. I try to play with the rules in order to create a bigger impact without crossing the red lines.”
The Spielberg movies were pretty brutal too. He made horror movies that were PG, although some of those were the reasons the PG-13 rating was invented in the first place.
“I think you take a look at Steven Spielberg movies, he plays from time to time with suspense and also with horror,” Bayona said. “There are moments that are pretty violent in Jaws or even in the first Jurassic Park. When you see the first appearance of the T-Rex and the way he attacks the kids in that scene, it’s definitely a horror movie and you can see people jumping in the theater and grabbing their seats. There’s tension. There’s suspense and I love it. That’s one of the things that I love the most from the first Jurassic Park. From the very beginning, when Colin pitched me the story, that was one of the goals in this movie. Go back to that sense of fear and suspense.”
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has a different look than the previous four films. It is the first Jurassic film in the widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio. We have A Monster Calls to thank for that.
“The main reason that they did the other movies with a [1.85] aspect ratio was to frame the dinosaurs, to have more space to frame the dinosaurs considering the difference of height between the humans and dinosaurs,” Bayona said.
“The thing is that I was coming from shooting A Monster Calls with the same aspect ratio. The two lead characters were a kid and a giant tree monster. I never had problems framing the story so I just told Steven [Spielberg] that I wanted to change the aspect ratio. He understood and he supported my idea 100%.”
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom opens June 22 in the U.S.