Jurassic Park VFX Supervisor Explains Why The Film Was The ‘Perfect Movie’ To Revolutionize Visual Effects


1993’s Jurassic Park didn’t just launch a popular franchise that recently marked the end of an era with Jurassic World Dominion. It was also a groundbreaking movie for visual effects, with computer generated imagery being combined with animatronics, stop motion and other practical effects to bring these dinosaurs to life. As we approach the 30th anniversary of Jurassic Park, Dennis Muren, the visual effects supervisor, explained to CinemaBlend why this high-ranking entry in the list of best Steven Spielberg movies was the “perfect movie” to revolutionize visual effects for the general public.

Dennis Muren is among the many people who are interview in the Lawrence Kasdan-helmed six-part docuseries Light & Magic, which explores the history of Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and the impact the Lucasfilm division has had on entertainment. Tied into the docuseries becoming available to stream with for Disney+ subscribers, I chatted with Muren, as well as Phil Tippett, who created the go motion for Jurassic Park’s dinosaurs as the production’s “Dinosaur Supervisor.” When I asked Muren how it felt to be at the nexus of Jurassic Park being such a massive turning point for the film industry with regard to the relationship between visual effects and special/practical effects, he noted that while he sees 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day (which he also worked on) as being a bigger deal, he understands why Jurassic Park specifically caught on with a lot of people. In his words:

That’s everybody else’s view. My view was the break was… there was a whole period when that was going on that the breakthrough film was really Terminator 2 for me because it put everything in place. But the subject matter wasn’t something that got a lot of people and it didn’t show up as much about as an effect as a dinosaur does. So I was as surprised as anyone, or more people probably, than seeing the best looking photographic, moving dinosaurs you’d ever seen were gonna knock people out that much. A lot of the credit has gotta go to ILM and us being able to pull off, and Phil and everybody worked on it, but a lot of it to Steven who made a perfect movie for that. When they get out of the Jeep at the beginning of Jurassic [Park] and they walk up and, and he goes, ‘Look at that, it’s a dinosaur’ or something like that, that’s exactly the audience’s feeling. And I’ve had more people comment on that one shot as knocking them out than probably any shot I’ve ever worked on. And Steven brought the audience with them in that whole introduction to it because they’ve been talking about it for like 15 minutes, right? And here it is, and it delivers. It’s amazing, and I never see that stuff going on as it’s happening because there’s too much.



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