The best use of all of those practical fx today never should call attention to themselves as that but just be a part of the mix in delivering shots. Nothing bugs me more than "oh we are going practical...yay!" without considering if CG is better for a particular technique. It reminds me of some of the PR overkill for Star Wars Episode Seven where the producers crowed nonstop about practical fx yet the finished show ended up having as many or nearly as many CG shots in it than any of the prequels and Ep. VII didnt even use any models and miniatures like the prequels did! That was annoying how they oversold that.
As usual, we're all preaching to the same choir.
The press stuff for pretty much any of the recent Star Wars films is the worst offender for this (but honestly, any action/FX movie that's been released in the last three years has had obnoxious levels of "hur dur doin' it all 4 realz" in their home media behind-the-scenes).
That's what I loved about that brief Youtube link about Scanlon's work in FK
- they were proud to be contributing practical work, but nobody was turning their nose up at the CG work or bragging about the practical work. And the fact that they straight-up say "these shots were specifically planned for practical work" - THAT is how you do it. You know the mediums, you know their strengths, you break down the script and say "this can be achieved practically, but that can't" and so on. FK
simply had more story-based reasons to see dinosaurs in more restrictive close-ups and laying on tables or covered with blankets that lend themselves so well to animatronic work.
I rewatched JW
in prep for Fallen Kingdom
, and I tried to specifically pay more attention to the composition of shots and how they relate to the potential use of practical work/animatronics/puppets. I know that I've said this before, but the high-octane nature of the action and just the way the dinosaurs are filmed do not lend themselves to a lot of in-camera work. They just don't. But I did
notice some shots that could've (note: could
have, not necessarily should
have) used animatronics.
-Instead of just the head/first five feet of the neck of the Apatosaurus, I'm a firm believer that the entire creature's body could've been practical. It's viewed in all of, like, two shots (a big wide shot showing the whole thing and then a medium that follows Crisp Rat as he walks from the tail to the head).
-Many close-ups of the Raptor heads as they're held in restraints (minimal movement, all that's visible is the head and neck)
-The odd baby-dino in the petting zoo as they're held or eat food out of kids' hands
-If they wanted to be ambitious, an Indominus Rex hand and head could've been built for certain shots that have lots of interaction with the actors on set
A small handful of shots or moments, but enough that I feel it might've appeased those nostalgia purists crying for more animatronics (not that we really need to try and please them...). But then of course the problem becomes making sure that the animatronics and CGI blend between or within shots, since that's the main problem these days.