When trying to determine which out of the long list of reboots or long-gap sequels that Hollywood has been releasing throughout the past few years were successful, 2015's Jurassic World would inarguably sit right near the top of the list. Directed by Colin Trevorrow, the film became one of the most financially successful in cinema history, even if its critical appeal dwindled the more time passed after its release. So much so, that the confirmation of Universal's franchise and sequel plans for the film were some of the least surprising announcements made last year.
In an interesting twist though, the highly-anticipated Jurassic World 2 isn't set to be directed by Trevorrow (who will be working on Star Wars: Episode IX for the next few years), but J.A. Bayona, whose last few films have all emerged as major dramatic awards contenders in their respective years. Apparently, the filmmaker will be implementing many of the same techniques he used on his most recent film, A Monster Calls, with the Jurassic World sequel.
Bayona confirmed that he and the rest of the film's creative team will be working to use even more practical and animatronic effects in Jurassic World 2 than its predecessor did while recently speaking with THR, saying that he believes it adds more heart to a film than just non-stop CGI:
"Obviously you don't have real dinosaurs — sometimes you have people playing dinosaurs — but we love animatronics and we're trying to do as much with them as possible. It's complicated because the audience now is so used to seeing CGI that they're sometimes reluctant toward animatronics. But at the same time, I think animatronics bring soul and reality to it. We're trying to find the balance between animatronics and CGI in order to cheat the audience so they don't know what they're seeing."
Bayona has had some experience directing using animatronics and practical effects even amongst heavy-CGI with A Monster Calls, which is on the receiving end of some serious awards buzz right now as well. That film, which follows the story of a young boy who conjures up a large tree monster to help him come to terms with his mother's (Felicity Jones) impending death, not only used a full motion capture performance done by Liam Neeson as the monster, but Bayona also had life-size models of the monster's head, arms, and legs made to be on set. So far, it seems like the technique has paid off well for him.
This will likely come as welcome news for Jurassic Park fans also, especially those who were disappointed by World's heavy use of CGI and VFX as opposed to animatronics, like the original 1993 film. Bayona has been an interesting and exciting choice to take over for Trevorrow since he was initially announced for the film, and it sounds like he'll be bringing a much different approach to Jurassic World 2 than Trevorrow did. With experience making mostly family-oriented awards dramas previously, the film is a much larger project for Bayona to take on, and marks yet another interesting addition to his growing, already impressive filmography.
- Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) release date: Jun 22, 2018