Jurassic Park changed movies forever, with its utterly believable computer-generated dinosaurs. But did you know they were originally going to use claymation instead? Just in time for Jurassic World, we’ve dug up nine fascinating facts about the making of the original Jurassic Park.
Some other facts that didn’t make it into this video...
Michael Crichton originally planned Jurassic Park as a screenplay. And it was a very different story. Crichton told Cinefantastique:
It was a very different story... It was about the person who did the cloning, operating alone and in secret. It just wasn’t satisfactory. The real conclusion for me was that what you really wanted in a story like this was to have a sort of natural environment in which people and dinosaurs could be together. You wanted the thing that never happened in history: people in the forest and swamps at the same time as dinosaurs. Once that notion began to dictate how the story would proceed, then everything else fell into place, because there are certain things that I wanted to avoid, like the dinosaurs in New York City – that’s been done.
The top half of the T-Rex was an airplane flight simulator. In addition to radio-control, cable-actuation, and computer-governed hydraulics, Stan Winston’s crew came up with the idea of strapping the top half of the T-Rex to a flight simulator. Winston told Cinefantastique:
That concept came from Craig Caton, one of my key mechanical coordinators... It limited a certain amount of shooting ability, because for many of the shots we would only be able to shoot the T-Rex from the waist up, but it seemed like a perfect way to do the broad moves-it’s a tried-and-true method of taking a lot of weight and giving it a multi-axis.
Winston’s crew also created a “insert head,” that was hoisted by a 13,000 pound crane. And insert legs. And for the more complex movements of the T-Rex, he came up with the idea of a “performance-capturing Waldo.”
Winston explained, “I came up with the idea of recreating the dinosaurs’ inner structure mechanically – which we had already done in mock-up-so that we knew how everything would move. For every joint or axis of motion, we placed a linear potentiometer – which is a slide-pot, so to speak, that looks like a little piston. If we could get those little pistons to match the movements of the hydraulics, then instead of putting them on a control board, we could put them in place of where the hydraulics would be in the full-size character. This gave us a small version of the insides of the big version, so that any movement we gave to the small T-Rex as a puppet – holding onto it as a puppeteer and moving the head – would go right into the dinosaur, and he would do what we wanted, in real time. It worked beautifully.”