Over a decade ago, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow laid the foundations for today's effects-driven blockbusters. Why haven't its creators made a film since?
The Visual Effects of Mad Max: Fury Road - Visual effects supervisor Andrew Jackson said: “I’ve been joking recently about how the film has been promoted as being a live action stunt driven film - which it is, but also how there’s so little CGI in the film. The reality is that there’s 2000 VFX shots in the film. A very large number of those shots are very simple clean-ups and fixes and wire removals and painting out tire tracks from previous shots, but there are a big number of big VFX shots as well.” [more inside]
For better or for worse, audiences will get the opportunity to see an all CGI Peanuts movie in 2015. The first trailer was released today and it looks... not bad. Producer Paul Feig has promised a minimum of modern touches. We'll all find out one year from now.
Tiny Worlds: a series of films about tiny machines in the city like a tiny bulldozer, a tiny logging truck, and a tiny submarine.
Without visual effects the average blockbuster movie would look like this. However as Hollywood comes under financial pressure they are putting the squeeze on the VFX industry that they rely on, who are in turn passing the pressure onto workers. Now VFX workers are organizing a protest in time for the Oscars, which will be celebrating visual effects as the companies responsible for them close down. [more inside]
Revisiting Cinefex - a nostalgia wormhole into the golden age of model work and practical effects and the odd piece of early CG via backissues of the quarterly magazine of motion picture visual effects. The latest issues covered touches on Young Sherlock Holmes's Stained glass knight - mainstream cinema’s first fully-rendered CG character created by Industrial Light & Magic's Pixar group.
Transformers 3 scene from The Island. SlashFilm passes along the news that Michael Bay recycled shots from his 2005 film The Island in his new film Transformers: Dark of the Moon, saving costs by adding different CGI to the same car chase scenes. "I’m not sure how often this kind of thing happens, but my guess is that it happens probably more than you would think."
It was bound to happen eventually. After a quarter-century, 26 Academy Awards, and an unparalleled streak of eleven artistic and commercial triumphs, Pixar's latest project, Cars 2, is Certified Rotten. Critics have assailed the film as a slick but hollow vehicle for Disney's $10 billion-dollar Cars
merchandising industry "lifestyle brand," replacing the original's serviceable tale of small-town redemption with zany spy games, hyperactive chase sequences, and even more lowbrow aww-shucks potty humor from Larry the Cable Guy. But it's not all bad news! Along with a fun new Toy Story 3 short, preceding today's (3-D) premiere showings is a first look at next year's Brave -- a darkly magical original story set in ancient Scotland featuring the studio's first female lead (and director). Evocative high-res concept art [mirror] is available at the official website, and character sketches have leaked to the web, with the apparently striking teaser trailer sure to follow. Also, be sure not to miss the sneak peak of Brave's associated short, "La Luna"!
Many would agree that the advent of CGI has made movies worse, not better. Blogger Gin and Tacos makes the argument eloquently: "The fundamental problem is that CGI, rather that being a tool that allows directors to explore new creative possibilities, just enables laziness."
A look behind the surprising amount of CGI used during the production of Black Swan. [slyt] [nsfw] [spoilers]
Toy Story 3 hits theaters today, and it's already winning universal acclaim as an enchanting and heartbreaking wonderwork, employing understated 3D and a "real-time" perspective that deftly capitalizes on the nostalgia and can't-go-home-again angst of a generation that grew up with the series. It has a strong pedigree, with 11-year-old predecessor Toy Story 2 the rare sequel to equal its forebear, 1995's Toy Story (itself the first CGI feature in history). And it joins a lofty stable of films: over the last 15 years, Pixar has put out an unbroken chain of ten commercial and critical successes that have grossed over $5 billion worldwide and collected 24 Academy Awards (including the second-ever Best Picture nom for animation with Up), a legacy that rivals some of the greatest franchises in film history. But there's rumbling on the horizon. Although the studio has been hailed for its originality (of the 50 top-grossing movies in history, only nine were original stories -- and five of them were by Pixar), two of their upcoming projects are sequels, both of them based some of their least-acclaimed films (Cars 2 in 2011 and Monsters, Inc. 2 in 2012). And while 2012 will also bring
The Bear and the Bow Brave, the first Pixar flick to feature a female protagonist [previously], fellow newcomer Newt has been canceled. With WALL-E/Up/Toy Story 3 guru Andrew Stanton focusing on his 2012 adaptation of John Carter of Mars and with forays into live-action already in development, does this mark the end of the golden age of Pixar? Or is this latest entry lasting proof that even the toughest case of sequelitis can be raised to the level of masterpiece? [more inside]
Brad Pitt is no spring chicken, but it still took some work to put an 85-year-old version of his face on a child's body in his newest movie. The first step: a new markerless, wireless, uncanny-valley-clearing motion capture process, termed "volumetric cinematography" by the effects studio. [more inside]
Seeing The Matrix yesterday (and just before it, the preview for the third Terminator movie) reminded me of this old David Foster Wallace essay"F/X Porn", in which he points out how Hollywood blockbusters have become the equivalent of your average "2 for $10.99!!" XXX rentals. [Google cached version here.]
It's the plot, stupid. USA Today runs their usual insightful commentary about the upcoming release of Lilo and Stitch. It obsesses over the absence of CGI graphics pointing to Atlantis as evidence for the failure of traditional animation to draw box office. Funny me, I thought that Atlantis bombed because of a plot better left in 50s serial format, a cast of sterotypes rather than characters, and no sense of humor beyind dirty French jokes repeated over and over again. And is huge success of Pixar due to their pioneering animation, or their brilliant comic talent? What causes FX myopia anyway? Granted I can understand why fanboys obsess over the wrong things in a movie. Do the studios set it up by trying to hype each new summer release as the next big technical development (while the artistic development gets trumped by Waking Life and Insomnia?)
Computer Review While Final Fantasy is the first movie to have only computer generated actors, it's gotten few good reviews. All Things Considered, found a reviewer who wholeheartedly liked it: their Mac G3. Listen with RealAudio: 14.4 or 28.8 (via Macintouch)
Episode II loses the 'humanity' of R2-D2 Artoo to be totally computer-generated? Kenny Baker smells a rat as the Industrial Light and Magic boys wire up a dustbin for motion capture...
Admittedly, this is nerdy-precedent cool, but methinks it will yield celluloid hemlock. Although, if it does work, maybe they can start augmenting the often less-than-lifelike performances of certain flesh-and-blood starlets (who are usually already augmented in other ways). HOO-ah! indeed. Brave new world, and all that.