Frank Marshall has been around a long time, and had a hand in creating some of the most memorable sci-fi films in existence. Not surprisingly, he also left some fingerprints on the monstrous hit Jurassic World. So, what was the secret formula that helped the dino-sequel shatter box-office records?
In a fascinating interview with /Film, Marshall opened up about the approach the studio took in reviving the Jurassic Park franchise, and what he saw as a producer on the project. The big trick, according to Marshall, was to make a film that felt more like a true sequel to the first film — because most fans don’t actually remember much about the so-so sequels that followed it.
As anyone who has seen Jurassic World can attest, they certainly pulled no punches with the nostalgia-baiting. The film has a ton of callbacks to the original, and though it might’ve felt a bit slavish at times, most fans who grew up with Jurassic Park generally enjoyed the callbacks. It tried to recapture that classic magic with a fresh spin. It didn’t succeed in every way creatively, sure, but look no further than the box-office returns (and reviews) to realize a lot of folks still loved it:
“I think that it’s about trying to manage the expectations. I think they assumed that we were going to move on from number three and where do you go from there? So, you know, when you really look at what the movie is to me it’s more of a sequel to Jurassic Park … Yeah, so I think that what we wanted to do is not make a cynical movie. To make a movie that hearkens back to everything that everybody loved about the first movie. And I think because we had Colin who so appreciated and was so immersed in that first movie, that gave me obviously the confidence that he would deliver something that everybody would respond to and not look at cynically.”
Marshall also confirmed something anyone with a pulse could tell you, which is that the studio is already looking at ways to keep the franchise going with a fresh sequel. At the time of the interview, Marshall said he was actually set to meet with studio execs and Trevorrow about where the series could go next. So yeah, look for more dino fun to be coming back to the big screen as soon as possible.
As part of the wide-ranging chat, Marshall also touched on the elephant in the room regarding the effects work in Jurassic World, which look great but largely move beyond the practical effects of the original film for CGI. Marshall said the obvious reason is that CGI has evolved so much in the decades since Jurassic Park opened, though he pointed to some moments where Trevorrow & Co. did make a point of showing off some practical dinos when possible:
“Well, I think that the bit of irony here is that the reasons that it flip-flopped is that C.G. is now so real that the practical animatronics...you have to be very careful where and when you shoot them because a lot of times they don’t measure up to what we can do in C.G. Does that make sense? It is very fortunate in some of these scenes for the actors to be able to have something real to act with. It’s very difficult when there’s nothing there obviously. So you have to sort of pick and choose your scenes. We did have raptors in the cages as well that they were touching, so there were things for the actors to actually interact with. And that of course it’s just understanding from a directing point of view what’s going to be best for the scene.”
Jurassic World is open now and has been seen by pretty much everyone on the planet. What'd you think of the long-awaited sequel?