Making Jurassic World Feel Like A Real Theme Park Was A Huge Challenge For The Props Department

"Jurassic Park" is all about illusion. The original film used a mix of groundbreaking CGI and animatronics to create the most realistic dinosaurs ever seen before in a movie. Despite John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) arguing otherwise, the dinosaurs themselves are as much an illusion in the text of the story: man-made facsimiles of creatures long ago vanished from the Earth.

2015's "Jurassic World" had a whole new issue when it came to selling this fantasy. The premise of "Jurassic World" is that the park is open to the public as a SeaWorld-esque tourist destination. According to the film's prop master Guillaume Delouche, the biggest challenge he and his team faced was convincingly portraying Jurassic World as a real-life theme park. 

"Jurassic World" was partially shot in the shuttered Six Flags New Orleans, but the film also needed more minute details to capture the feeling of a theme park, from in-universe Jurassic World merchandise to some extra touches to extras' costumes. Let's look at some of the specifics of what Delouche and his team contributed to "Jurassic World."

An actual reason for product placement

The original "Jurassic Park" was a merchandising juggernaut. The film even has a self-reflexive nod to this. During the scene where Hammond and Ellie (Laura Dern) talk about the park's failures in the visitor's center, the establishing shot shows shelves with "Jurassic Park" merchandise such as t-shirts, lunchboxes, water bottles, and plushie dinosaurs; a reminder of how Hammond's vision is coming undone.

As Delouche explains in a behind-the-scenes feature, "Jurassic World: How the Props Were Put Together," his team recreated some of the long-vanished "Jurassic Park" merch, such as cups with plastic dinosaur heads. The film's corporate sponsors even chipped in beyond money: Coca-Cola supplied cups, while Hasbro provided dinosaur toys, complete with packaging. "Jurassic World" had an in-universe reason for the product placement; the film's sponsors and their logos' presence can be explained as them being sponsors of the park. 

The props team didn't stop at merchandising. As Delouche explained in the feature, "The park is staffed by employees who have to look the part." So, the prop team designed both custom Jurassic World security shields for extras playing guards and nametags for extras playing other employees. For the nametags, they added dinosaur names, inspired by how Universal Studios theme park employees have nametags with their favorite movies printed on them. Likewise, they made sure to have extras carry Jurassic World brochures, resembling the ones at real zoos or theme parks.

No one but the most eagle-eyed viewer would pay attention to these details. However, the fact that these details are in the background, with no extra attention paid to them, helps make the setting feel authentic. When you're selling an illusion, the small details matter as much as the big ones.