‘Jurassic World Dominion’ Director Explains Why COVID-19 Delay Was an ‘Advantage’

It wasn’t easy to see the silver lining during the height of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. People were sick and dying. Businesses closed. Going out in public was rare. But the shutdowns might have been a good thing for Jurassic World Dominion‘s effects team. The movie that gave star Chris Pratt one of his best opening weekends used the pandemic shutdown to its advantage when it came to the visual effects, as director Colin Trevorrow explained.

Director Colin Trevorrow attends the premiere of 'Jurassic World Dominion.' Trevorrow said the coronavirus pandemic shutdown was an advantage for the visual effects team.
Director Colin Trevorrow attends the premiere of ‘Jurassic World Dominion’ | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Colin Trevorrow says ‘Jurassic World Dominion’ does effects differently

Trevorrow’s hands were all over the Jurassic World trilogy. He wrote and directed the first, wrote and produced Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and wrote, directed, and produced Dominion. He was the creative force guiding the trilogy, including the special effects.

Before Jurassic World Dominion hit theaters, Trevorrow explained that the special effects were different from the first two films.

Dominion has its share of CGI dinosaurs, but the effects didn’t spend all its time sitting at computers. The final film in the trilogy relies on more puppets and animatronics blended with digital effects to create its dinosaurs. 

As the movie shut down production due to the coronavirus, Trevorrow and the visual effects team used their time to their advantage.

Coronavirus pandemic shutdown was an ‘advantage’ for Trevorrow, ‘Dominion’ effects team

Jurassic World Dominion started filming in February 2020. It shut down in March after a few weeks of work before starting again in July, according to IMDb. 

Trevorrow and the effects team turned that downtime into an advantage, though. The movie relied more heavily on dinosaurs puppets and robots blended with computer effects, and the time away from the set helped the filmmakers figure out the process, as the director said (per IMDb trivia): 

“For many of us, Dominion was already the biggest creative challenge of our lives before the lockdown. The shooting schedule really worked to our advantage — the first four weeks we put to film were mostly sequences with dinosaurs in them. So that allowed us to get a head start on [visual effects] and workshop some of the newer elements without the pressure of a looming deadline.”

Colin Trevorrow

As Trevorrow said, he shot most of the early footage with dinosaurs and other visual effects in mind. When the production paused, it was an advantage not having to rush through the effects process to meet a deadline. And for a fictional movie, Dominion is more factually accurate with its beasts than many might realize.

The dinosaur depictions are pretty accurate in several ways

The list of dinosaurs in Jurassic World Dominion is a long one. In addition to the beasts we’ve come to know and love, we see Ankylosaurus, Parasaurolophus, Dreadnoughtus, Iguanodon, Giganotosaurus, and others. It’s not a nature documentary, but the movie gets a lot right with its dino depictions.

For example, seeing dinosaurs stampede through the snow isn’t movie fiction, according to scientists.  The raptor Blue’s motherly instincts are true to real life; some fossils have shown mother dinosaurs tending to their nests. And the mammoth Dreadnoughtus is portrayed and proportioned just as it would have been millions of years ago.

It might not be the best Jurassic movie, but Trevorrow and the Jurassic World Dominion effects teams put in the effort to make sure the dinosaurs looked and behaved realistically.

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