Expect more fearsome and realistic dinosaurs in Jurassic World

Actor Chris Pratt as Owen Grady in Jurassic World. -- PHOTO: UIP
Actor Chris Pratt as Owen Grady in Jurassic World. -- PHOTO: UIP

It is the kind of big break directors dream about.

After making a small indie film, Safety Not Guaranteed (2012), writer-director Colin Trevorrow was tapped by none other than famed film-maker Steven Spielberg himself to helm Jurassic World, the new instalment of the hugely successful dino-thriller Jurassic Park franchise.

Spielberg directed the first two films in the series which began in 1993 and serves as executive producer here.

Speaking at a press conference at Park Hyatt Beijing on Tuesday, Trevorrow, 38, quips that Safety "cost about as much as this presentation (on Jurassic World) you're looking at right now".

What caught Spielberg's eye was his ability to successfully juggle different genres including romance, suspense and science-fiction.

Jurassic World, which opens in Singapore on June 11, combines all these elements on a much larger canvas. It stars Chris Pratt (Guardians Of The Galaxy, 2014) as Owen Grady, a man who respects the creatures, and Bryce Dallas Howard (The Help, 2011) as upright theme park operations manager Claire Dearing.

Both actors, also present at the press conference, were clearly thrilled about the project as well.

Pratt, 35, gushes: "I could not have picked a franchise I would want to be in more."

He saw the first movie in a theatre when he was 13 and the sense of wonder has stayed with him since.

"As a fan, I've been waiting for this movie to come out. And now the fact I grew up to become an actor and the fact that I get to be in the movie is astounding. It's really a dream come true."

As Owen, Pratt had to sprint, run and slide and "freak out while dinosaurs were chasing me".

It was also a physically demanding role for Howard who had to do plenty of running - in heels.

She had a "weird-looking" gait because the shoes would sink into the mud and so she had to run on her tippy-toes.

"I was sort of this tomboy and I would never wear heels as I would feel uncomfortable. At the end of this movie, I felt really strong and I felt really capable."

The two actors share a chemistry onscreen; off-screen, their easy comfort with each other shows, too.

After Pratt showers Howard with praise for her work ethic, without missing a beat, she deadpans: "He's just a nightmare."

She goes on to say he has "one of the best hearts" in showbiz and paints a glowing picture of Pratt, who is married to actress Anna Faris, both as an actor and a family man.

Apart from its human stars, Jurassic World also features new creatures. The star is Indominus Rex, a fearsome dinosaur created by the park to boost attendance figures.

In the two decades since Jurassic Park was released in 1993, film-making technology has improved by leaps and bounds.

Trevorrow points out the film-makers have the ability not just to create textures on dinosaur but to develop a muscle structure beneath the exterior which "you can see moving in a very animalistic way".

Also, the film was made to be seen in 3-D. The dinosaurs were rendered in native 3-D which gives them volume, weight and presence.

For the audience, all of these developments mean more awesome and realistic creatures, flying dinosaurs and underwater reptiles "that are much scarier and that much more effective".

One of the highlights of the film for Trevorrow is the sight of children riding on the backs of baby triceratops.

"We got to realise one of Steven's dreams from Jurassic Park. They didn't have the technology to do it at the time."

Perhaps another reason he was the right man for the project is simply that he is a fanboy as well. He treats the material with respect even as he brings a fresh perspective to it.

He says: "I don't feel like I directed Jurassic World. I feel like a whole generation did and I was channelling what I felt all of them wanted to see into this film."

bchan@sph.com.sg