"Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" arrives on Blu-ray today (it's already available on digital HD), and with it comes the opportunity to, at the very least, soak up all of the individual details that you might have missed when watching it on the big screen. There's so much packed into each and every frame -- rampaging dinosaurs, exploding volcanoes, oily businessmen -- that the ability to stop and re-watch scenes is very much appreciated. It's a testament to director J.A. Bayona that he was able to make a movie that could have been just another big budget sequel into something richer and more complex.
Everywhere on the special features, too, you get the feeling that he was pushing to creative an experience that was bigger and more expressive than the one that came before it.
So it was a thrill to get to chat with Bayona about what went into certain creative choices and asked him to go into the ending of the movie, specifically, unpacking things that we really weren't able to talk about when the movie first came out. If you're one of the three people who somehow missed seeing it theatrically, consider this a very big SPOILER WARNING. We go deep.
Moviefone: On the Blu-ray special features they talk about how you wanted each of these dinosaurs to have its own unique look and personality. Could you talk about what went into that decision?
Bayona: Well, I remember that talking about dinosaurs with kids, I was very surprised to see that when they talk about dinosaurs, they basically talk about texture and color and the skin tones. So I went to the guys at [visual effects house] Industrial Light & Magic and suggested that the dinosaurs have more color. And I wanted a specific personality for each dinosaur. So all of them, they feel a lot more colorful and they very different from each other. And also I suggested that, since it's been four years into the wild, I wanted them to feel wilder than the previous movies. So you'll see lots of scars of dinosaurs fighting with each other. They're not like in a zoo. Some of them you can see them with broken horns.
They also talk about the movie's villain, the Indoraptor, and how you wanted it to feel unfinished. Can you talk about how you landed on that idea?
For Dr. Wu creating a dinosaur is trial and error. So we liked the idea of the Indoraptor being an error. It's a prototype that went wrong. He's like a discharged animal. I liked that idea. No one is feeling him anymore, no one cares about him anymore. I liked that. It reminded me of Frankenstein's monster. That's the same idea.
It's interesting you brought up "Frankenstein," because on the Blu-ray you talk about how the scene where the Indoraptor comes into the child's room being a direct reference to the Frank Langella "Dracula." What about that version of Dracula spoke to you?
There is this Gothic element that is taken from the classic monster movies. This idea of long corridors … And I like that. Ever since I got the script from Colin Trevorrow, that scene with the Indoraptor coming into the window for Macy, it reminded me of that scene from "Dracula." I saw that scene when I was 5-years-old and I was so scared. I was afraid of the window after that scene. It reminded me a lot of that. So I wanted to somehow reference that seem. It's a very classic moments. It reminds me of the world of fairy tales, with the monster at the top of the tower. I liked that image that freaked me out as a child of Frank Langella crawling down and opening the window upside down.
You're obviously friends with Guillermo del Toro. What did you share with him? He is the foremost authority on monsters these days.
I show Guillermo everything I do. So he came into the editing room and I showed him a rough cut of the movie and he loved it. He gave me a couple of suggestions but he really encouraged me when he saw it.
Do you remember what some of his suggestions were?
Normally with Guillermo you talk about the pace. So we talked about making some scenes shorter or maybe making that one scene longer. But I have been doing that since my very first movie. It's such a privilege to be able to sit down with him. The same thing I did with Steven Spielberg. When you do a movie and you can get feedback from a legendary filmmaker like Steven Spielberg or Guillermo del Toro, it's such a gift.
So much of the end of this movie was shown in TV spots. Did you ever push back on that stuff?
Yeah. For sure there were moments we were asking for them to pull back a little bit because as a director, you're very insecure, and you want the audience to discover the movie for the first time in the theater. But at the same time, you see the job these guys did on "Jurassic World" and it was such a massive success and "Fallen Kingdom" is such a massive success. At a certain point you just have to trust these guys. Because your job is to make the movie and their job is to sell it. It's always a very delicate situation for a director because you always have the impression that you're showing too much. But that's not the way it works for these types of films.
During that montage of the dinosaurs in the wild, did you shoot anything else?
Yeah, when you think about the movie. There's not much space to experiment. So the entire epilogue was storyboarded and pre-visualized. And there was a lot of conversation about what scene would be the final scene in the epilogue. A lot of ideas were drawn but not included. There was a moment with the Stygimoloch in a supermarket that felt too comical for that moment so we decided not to include it.
What about the post-credits sting? Why was it important to end on that note?
That was a scene that was included in the epilogue but because it was the only nighttime scene I felt that it broke the chronological in the epilogue. I felt it was out of sync with the other scenes. It was the only nighttime moment and it was only night because we couldn't catch the sunset. That was a second unit shot and the second unit couldn't catch the sunset. And I decided not to include. It was a fun shot, because you think you're in Paris but obviously it would be impossible to be in Paris, and really you're in Las Vegas because the dinosaurs would be all over that area. So we decided to put that as a bonus for the fans at the very end.
Is it hard to turn the movies back to Colin Trevorrow?
I think it's great that the person who started it all will finish the trilogy. He is the architect of the trilogy and I think he's the right one to do it. I would love to do another "Jurassic" movie but I wouldn't want to do a "Jurassic" movie as my next movie. I always like to change a lot from one movie to the next. When you think about "The Orphanage" to "The Impossible" to "Monster Calls," they're very different. I'm not sure if I would like to do another "Jurassic" movie back-to-back.
Just one plot question that has been bugging me: why did they need Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard to come back to the island if Dr. Wu was already working for the bad guys and would have the same security clearance?
I think they have a very limited amount of time because of the volcano and they need the code, the microchip that Blue has, the only person that can locate her is Claire, because she has the hand scan to make the machine work. And at the same time Blue is so difficult to catch, they need Owen to get her as soon as possible, because the volcano is about to erupt. They need to move vey, very fast. Basically, it's for the urgency.
I accept that.
You've been thinking about that since you saw the movie.
I hope I answered your question!
"Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" is out on Blu-ray and digital HD now.