JURASSIC PARK III
About The Dinosaurs
The animal's look appealed to Johnston. "A lot of dinosaurs have a very similar silhouette to the T-rex," said Johnston, "and we wanted the audience to instantly recognize this as something else. The Spinosaurus has a long jaw, a long tooth row and a sail on his back."
The filmmakers wanted to challenge the Tyrannosaurus Rex, who dominated the first two movies, with a rival that could truly destroy the island. Homer suggested the Spinosaurus, which is larger and more vicious than the T-rex.
Or in the words of a scientist: "The Spinosaurus was a massive carnivore with the snout of a crocodile, a back fin resembling that of a
and the ferociousness of the Tyrannosaurus," said Homer. "It was the biggest meat-eating dinosaur that ever lived, and different from any animal we'd seen so far." Only one reconstructed Spinosaurus skeleton ever existed and it was bombed during World War II. So there is no representation of the
Spinosaurus, only records to suggest what it might have looked like.
"But we do know that it had a skull that was eight feet long, and a body that was about 60 feet long," Homer continued. "If we base the ferocious factor on the length of the animal, there was nothing that ever lived on this planet that could match this creature. Also, my hypothesis is that T rex was actually a scavenger rather than a killer. Spinosaurus was really the predatory animal."
The Spino offered Winston, ILM's Jim Mitchell and special effects consultant Michael Lantieri new challenges, too. "Our Spinosaurus is much bigger than the T-rex and almost twice the weight," said Winston. "From a machine standpoint, it works and moves faster and is more powerful." The 44-foot model required Winston and his staff, led by longtime associate John
Rosengrant, to remove a wall at his studio in Van Nuys to get it out of the building and onto a
flatbed truck for the late-night drive to Universal Studios' Stage 12.
The film features a savage battle between this new creature and the veteran T-rex, which has been dusted off and completely re-skinned for its third appearance in the franchise. While this Jurassic giant has gobbled up its share of screen-time in this film, the new predator finally puts T-rex in his place.
Joe Johnston described how the combined efforts of the Winston and ILM teams play out on screen.
"If you want to get in close and see subtle expressions, it's always Stan Winston's dinosaurs. They can definitely act," he said. "If you want to see them do anything very physical, it's ILM."
ILM's Mitchell, who has
worked with both Spielberg and
Johnston on earlier films and is a veteran of both previous Jurassic Park films, was excited by the advances made in Jurassic Park III. "The looks of these dinosaurs, the way their skin and muscles move, and how they behave in their environment, is far more detailed and explicit than in the first films. The Spinosaurus dives into a lake. He has to act in water. Some of the most dramatic real life images are the Spinosaurus in the water."
Rosengrant elaborated. "When our hydraulics team was creating the mechanics, they treated the Spino just like a submarine. There was never a single glitch."
Mitchell's ILM team designed some dinosaurs which were built completely in the computer, including the giant Brachiosaurus, an Ankylosaurus and a herd of Triceratops. "For the others, we had to mimic in our animation what Stan did with the live-action models," said Mitchell.
As with the 1997 sequel, Winston and his crew took advantage of advances in hydraulic and electronic technologies to breed their herds of lifelike dinosaur robotics. "There is as much science in what they're doing as there is in computer animation," said Kennedy. "Stan
and his people have brought a tremendous amount of believability to the
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