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A glimpse through the Wardrobe
December 20, 2004 8:02 AM   Subscribe

A glimpse through the Wardrobe (25meg Quicktime file) at WETA Digital's amazing work on The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Seems another one of my childhood favorites is being brought to life by those Kiwi wizards. The minotaurs look simply amazing!
posted by TetrisKid (27 comments total)

 
I bet the hardest thing for them to do (as with the TV adaptation), will be to make a lifelike lion. A cyclops or Minotaur is easy to fake, since none of us has ever seen one or has any point of reference. But we've all seen lions, and it will be the lion that makes or breaks the credibility of this feature.
posted by Faze at 8:18 AM on December 20, 2004


Very true
posted by TetrisKid at 8:23 AM on December 20, 2004


Beware the Uncanny Valley!
posted by odinsdream at 8:26 AM on December 20, 2004


At least the BBC made a lion that was unreal enough that it didn't fall into the uncanny valley- it was so obviously unreal that it was perhaps more believable. If one wanted, one could argue that although Aslan was clearly depicted as a lion in the books, he could have been nearly a lion, with a few godlike unreal features. (Just please don't make him radioactive like Santa in Polar Express!)
posted by wzcx at 8:27 AM on December 20, 2004


I find this kind of stuff fascinating. Especially the notion that, at this moment, people are working on things we won't see for another three or four years. It's just an incredible art. I have a great respect for it.
posted by odinsdream at 8:32 AM on December 20, 2004


New Zealanders on the move in a Last Unicorn remake, too.

(I'm more fond of Narnia and the Last Unicorn than I ever was of LOTR, and if anyone screws either one of them up, I will be a very upset wolfdog.)
posted by Wolfdog at 8:35 AM on December 20, 2004


december 2005?! arrrgh!
posted by moonbird at 8:37 AM on December 20, 2004


Man, I can't believe they got Harry Potter to do the special effects. That's awesome!
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:40 AM on December 20, 2004


I now know my answer to this question! These guys have an awesome job.
posted by knave at 8:45 AM on December 20, 2004


My favorite shot in the footage is of the minotaur ferociously roaring in front of a "NO SMOKING" sign.
posted by yankeefog at 8:49 AM on December 20, 2004


Their pronunciation of "Narnia" bugs me. What happened to the "r", anyway?
posted by Slothrup at 8:50 AM on December 20, 2004


They're in New Zealand.
posted by knave at 9:04 AM on December 20, 2004


Their pronunciation of "Narnia" bugs me. What happened to the "r", anyway?

They're in New Zealand.


What, the R's? Are we losing R's to New Zealand? Maybe we should have some kind of tarriff to address the R gap.
posted by unreason at 9:23 AM on December 20, 2004


I swear, WETA must be the source of the national economy of New Zealand!

And finally, a challenger for those people at ILM--betrayers of my childhood!!!!
posted by WolfDaddy at 9:38 AM on December 20, 2004


It's all fallout from LOTR. When I first heard about the three-picture, film-'em-all-at-once deal from New Line, I thought there might be some waves from it; as I learned more (e.g., building a whole new special effects shop from ground-up), I became convinced that LOTR would have a big impact, well beyond its gross and its marketing "tail".

When I saw Gollum, I knew I'd been shooting way too low.

When all is said and done, LOTR will have had positively revolutionary effects on the film industry. We can thank Jackson for starting the trip and driving the ship, and we can thank New Line for having the wisdom to go for it, but WETA themselves have gone much farther than they needed to. For anyone who hasn't seen the supplemental documentaries on the Return of the King special edition, I recommend them highly, and especially the WETA-oriented parts. It's clear that these people have a really outrageious, incredible dedication, and have really seemed to nail that nexus between craftsmanship and automation. Amazing people.
posted by lodurr at 10:23 AM on December 20, 2004


Their pronunciation of "Narnia" bugs me. What happened to the "r", anyway?

All those Rs are being put at the end of the word "nova" by that horrible band that sings that song, "Champagne Super Nova" which I will now be singing for the rest of the day.

Man, they bug me.

Thanks for the link!
posted by Rawhide at 10:24 AM on December 20, 2004


I don't know about the rest of you, but the Weta of New Zealand really creeps me the heck out.
posted by cavalier at 10:47 AM on December 20, 2004


The weta is indeed an ugly little sucker that is attracted to light. When I went on school camps they'd all flock in the lit-up toilet block and congregate in the toilets and sinks.

And our Rs have long-since migrated to the US, which is why kiwis say "wuhm" and Americans say "warrrrrm".
posted by tracicle at 11:21 AM on December 20, 2004


And finally, a challenger for those people at ILM--betrayers of my childhood!!!!

If you think ILM is to blame fo that, you'e baking up the wong tee.
posted by pmbuko at 11:38 AM on December 20, 2004


My favorite part of that video is when the Minotaur scares the shit out of the people on the bottom-left side of the screen when it roars. (How'd it do that?)

Man, those costumes look AWESOME. Kinda' puts a damper on my excitement re: the army of Wookies in EP-III.
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 12:03 PM on December 20, 2004


I wonder if they'll suck in any of those "Passion" viewers with this movie. "Narnia" is a Christian allegory, after all.
posted by fungible at 12:06 PM on December 20, 2004


New Zealanders on the move in a Last Unicorn remake, too.

(I'm more fond of Narnia and the Last Unicorn than I ever was of LOTR, and if anyone screws either one of them up, I will be a very upset wolfdog.)


Yep. All due respect to WETA, but there's more to a story than special effects. Narnia needs the heart of the story more than it needs state of the art CGI, and The Last Unicorn doesn't need special effects at all, really. In fact, without Peter Beagle's poetically descriptive prose, the story might become a little thin. The adapters might want to pay close attention to the scene at the beginning of the novel at the travelling circus, and the way the power of words turns the ordinary circus animals into mythological creatures. [/Luddite-ish harrumph, harrumph]
posted by jokeefe at 1:15 PM on December 20, 2004


Heavens! I saw the Disney copywrite at the end of the short video. I'm afraid...very afraid. Damn, why don't they just let the SciFi channel do the job?!
posted by johnj at 3:14 PM on December 20, 2004


I don't know about the rest of you, but the Weta of New Zealand really creeps me the heck out.

Right now, I feel exactly the same way I did when I first saw Camel Spiders on the hardforum. Now I'll have nightmares... again.
posted by odinsdream at 7:29 PM on December 20, 2004


Proof you don't need special effects.

I remember watching and loving the BBC's telling of a few of the Narnia books when I was a kid. I wonder if Weta can pull it off as well as they did?

Fungible, the BBC did it without crazy Christian beat-over-your-head allegory, but then, that's how it is in the books. C.S. Lewis's beliefs aren't really the strident rallying type.
posted by schroedinger at 9:34 PM on December 20, 2004


Did anyone see Mr. Tumnus in there? Or, the White Queen?
What about Turkish Delight?
posted by Shanachie at 7:43 AM on December 21, 2004


I wonder if they'll suck in any of those "Passion" viewers with this movie. "Narnia" is a Christian allegory, after all.

Actually, CS Lewis was pretty adamant that it wasn't an allegory, but rather a "supposal." That is, an allegory would be saying that the things that Aslan did correlate to things that Jesus of Nazareth did. For example, seeing it as an allegory would maybe have Aslan's freeing of Eustace Scrub from his dragon-ness in Voyage of the Dawn Treader as a parallel of Jesus driving Legion out of the wildman.

Instead, as a supposal, Lewis was saying, "suppose God created a world like Narnia, and suppose they needed redemption. How would God work that redemption, and how would God further interact with that creation?" His answer to that is Aslan.

To put it in other, more subtle terms, Lewis was saying "Aslan is not Jesus. Aslan is the Christ."
posted by Alt F4 at 6:05 PM on December 21, 2004


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