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Re: Velocirapor or Size

David Krentz <david_krentz@fa.disney.com> wrote:
               Date:  11/6/97

>Something always bothers me when it comes to model or illustrative
>representations of dinosaurs... THEY ARE ALWAYS MAXIMUM SIZE!
>Even in JP, maybe the Dilophosaurus was a young individual.

Right.  And the same goes for _Pachycephalosaurus_ in TLW: JP, though I
don't know whether such a young individual would be so well-endowed in
terms of head gear.  Probably not.

Actually, I find the maximum size animals on view in these two films to be
yet another inaccuracy.  It seems highly improbable that a _Brachiosaurus_
individual or a specimen of _Mamenchisaurus_ could reach maximum size in a
few years, even with a high growth rate.  Not that other glaringly bogus
sci-fi conceits wouldn't get in the way long before you get to that point! 
So now we add dinosaur cloning to our sci-fi bag of tricks, which was
already full of such snake oil as time travel, teleportation, sustainable
space colonies, and super quick space travel.  On the other hand, I don't
think that the "sense of wonder" would have come into play so much if we
had ONLY dinosaur babies on the screen to entertain us.

On 11-6-97, Ronald Orenstein <ornstn@inforamp.net> wrote:

>On both these points: I believe that one of the reasons Spielberg made his
>"Velociraptors" larger than life was so that some of the footage could be
done with >actors in body suits.  Utahraptor was indeed discovered after JP
started filming.

On 11-6-97, Charles W. Johnson <cwj2@eskimo.com> wrote:

>As far as I am aware, Spielberg's primary reason for increasing the size
of the >Velociraptors was to make them scarier.

Both points no doubt occurred to Spielberg.  As _Jurassic Park_ was first
being developed, Spielberg, who had been thoroughly impressed with the life
size King Kong robot on the tram ride at Universal Studios, had planned to
use full size animatronic figures for almost all of the dinosaur action,
supplemented by a minimal number of stop-motion shots which would be
enhanced with computer generated motion blur.  As we all know, computer
graphics took over the stop-motion duties, but full size puppetry and/or
dinosaur suits would be vital to the production, cutting post-production
time, giving the actors something "live" to react to, and allowing Steven
Spielberg to direct the performances of the dinosaurs on the set.  He
consulted with (monster maker) Stan Winston early on in the preproduction
phase, and must have discussed the "dinosaur suit" option during an early
phase of preproduction.  So I think that the scale of the so-called
"Velociraptors" was enlarged for both reasons, since this would address
both pragmatic and dramatic considerations.  It also should be pointed out
that the number of CG shots was only boosted later, as early tests enticed
Spielberg to allocate more budget and shots to the nascent technique.  As
for Michael Crichton's intentions: (dinosaur consultant) John R.Horner has
stated that Stephen and Sylvia Czerkas' life size running _Deinonychus_
sculptures were the inspiration for the "Velociraptors" in the novel,
_Jurassic Park_.  So it seems that the author had _Deinonychus_ in mind.

As for the credibility of the animals and situations in both films, I agree
that it would have been nice for Spielberg and his writers to have
concocted less egregious plotholes (TSFW) and more accuracy in the
depictions and actions of the animals (people included).  But as John
Horner has said (serving, I suppose, as a paid but reluctant apologist for
the films), they're as close as we have yet gotten to seeing real, live
dinosaurs.  The fact that we choose to discuss these films at all is, I
think, a testament not only to the way these films have captured the
imaginations (and cash) of the public, but also the point that the
depictions of the dinosaurs were not as far off base (according to the
modern paradigm) as previous feature film dinosaurs.  I mean, the
filmmmakers are still blowing it, but we're not talking Godzilla.

Ralph Miller III <gbabcock@best.com>

Don't blame me; he started it!