As Phil Tippett returns to his role as 'dinosaur supervisor' on 'Jurassic World,' we look back at some of his most memorable movie monster creations.
Colin Trevorrow, director of the long-awaited fourth instalment in Steven Spielberg's genetically engineered dinosaur series, announced Tippett's involvement in the now-traditional manner: via a tweet, the words "Welcome back, Phil" accompanying a photograph of the wizard-bearded FX master handling a familiar-looking T-Rex model.
Tippett, together with Denis Muren and the late Stan Winston, all won Oscars for their ground-breaking FX work on 'Jurassic Park,' which still has the power to take the viewer's the breath away twenty years on.
However, Tippett has been responsible for a great many extraordinary creatures before and since 'Jurassic Park.' Prior to moving into CGI, Tippett was a pioneer of go-motion, a variation on the traditional stop-motion technique made famous by Willis O'Brien and Ray Harryhausen.
Tippett worked on all three of the original 'Star Wars' movies, creating the 3D chess sequence in 'A New Hope,' the Imperial AT-TAT walkers and Tauntauns in 'The Empire Strikes Back,' and the monstrous Rancour in 'Return of the Jedi.'
He also created killer fish for 'Piranha;' arguably the best movie dragon ever, Vermithax in 'Dragonslayer;' a two-headed dragon in 'Willow;' and, perhaps most memorably, the menacing killer robot ED-209 in 'RoboCop,' as well as the less iconic 'RoboCop 2.'
Since moving into CGI, Tippett has been responsible for many of the best creations in the now-dominant SFX format. He produced yet another dragon for 'Dragonheart,' the marauding alien Arachnids of 'Starship Troopers,' and all manner of bizarre creatures for sci-fi comedy 'Evolution.'
He also directed the straight-to-DVD sequel 'Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation,' but the less said about that the better…
More recently, Tippett has been the subject of a great many internet memes, thanks to his tongue-in-cheek credit of 'dinosaur supervisor.' Understandably, many have questioned the man's supervision skills given how rampant the dinosaurs were running in that film, hence the many outraged cries of "you had one job, Phil, one job!" and "There were raptors up in the kitchen, Phil! In the god damn kitchen!"
We can but hope Tippett's 'supervision' skills are every bit as lax once 'Jurassic World' hits screens everywhere in June 2015.
What's your favourite Tippett creation? Let us know in the comments section below.
Ben Bussey is a freelance writer and comic book/horror/sci-fi fantasy fanatic, who can vividly recall being scared out of his wits by 'Dragonslayer's Vermithax and 'Jedi's Rancour as a little boy.
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