Ridley Scott's new film Exodus: Gods and Kings recasts the myth of Moses in typically grimdark swords-and-sandals fashion. It... ain't so good. Want something more artful? Look no further than The Prince of Egypt [alt], an underrated masterpiece of DreamWorks' traditional animation era. Directed by Brenda Chapman (a first for women in animation), scored to spectacular effect by Hans Zimmer and Stephen Schwartz, and voiced by, among others, Voldemort, Batman, and Professor X, the ambitious film features gorgeous, striking visuals and tastefully integrated CGI in nearly every scene. It also manages the improbable feat of maturing beyond cartoon clichés while humanizing the prophet's journey from carefree scion to noble (and remorseful) liberator without offending half the planet -- while still being quite a fun ride. Already seen it? Catch the making-of documentary, or click inside for more. [more inside]
Today saw the release of the first trailer for The LEGO Movie, and there are some interesting things to note about it. [more inside]
Paths of Hate is a highly stylized Polish CGI animated short movie which to an extent mimics traditional cel animation, but goes far beyond what's practically possible with traditional techniques. It also has some excellent, high-intensity aerial combat. Possibly NSFW for some light blood and gore.
Foodfight! is an computer-animated "movie" starring Charlie Sheen, Hillary Duff, Eva Longoria, Wayne Brady, and Christopher Loyd. Set in a supermarket that transformed into a city when the lights came off at the end of the day and inhabited by mascots for food products coming to life. After a theft of company's computers in 2003, and numerous other delays, the film would not see the light of day until 2012 [more inside]
Nants ingonyama bagithi baba! It's been nearly two decades since that glorious savanna sunrise, and once again The Lion King is at the top of the box office. It's a good chance to revisit what made the original the capstone of the Disney Renaissance, starting with the music. Not the gaudy show tunes or the Elton John ballads, but the soaring, elegiac score by Hans Zimmer which, despite winning an Oscar, never saw a full release outside of an unofficial bootleg. Luckily, it's unabridged and high-quality, allowing one to lay Zimmer's haunting, pulse-pounding, joyful tracks alongside the original video (part 2, 3, 4), revealing the subtle leitmotifs and careful matching of music and action. In addition, South African collaborator Lebo M wove traditional Zulu chorals into the score, providing veiled commentary on scenes like this; his work was later expanded into a full album, the Broadway stage show, and projects closer to his heart. Speaking of expanded works, there were inevitable sequels -- all of which you can experience with The Lion King: Full Circle (download guide), a fan-made, three-hour supercut of the original film and its two follow-ups. Want more? Look... harder... [more inside]
Fede Alvarez, a Uruguayan filmmaker, posted a short live action/CG video on YouTube back in early November (prev). The short, which features mysterious robots destroying Montevideo and cost approximately $300 to make, received interest from Hollywood days after being online. By the end of November, news spread that Alvarez signed a deal with Ghost House Pictures, reportedly worth $30 million. For now, Alvarez has a six-figure holding deal to wait while Ghost House hires a high-end scribe to turn the idea into a feature. The six-figure deal will be applied against a seven-figure fee if Ghost House makes the film, though Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert are already set up to produce the film. (via) [more inside]
CGI-brows (link goes to video on Vimeo which contains a naughty word but is otherwise SFW.) A short mockumentary about extreme emoting through SFX by RocketSausage (Dir. Andrew Gaynord) which has won the Virgin Media Shorts People's Choice Award for 2009.
The Fountain "No matter how good CGI looks at first, it dates quickly...So I set the ridiculous goal of making a film that would reinvent space without using CGI." Director Aronofsky tapped into the microphotography work of Parks and Parks to bring a new look to special effects in science fiction cinema.
Nonononono, After You (.mov): A short animated film by Christopher Cordingley, graduate of the Ringling School of Art and Design. The school's computer animation portfolio is worth a browse; there's some real talent being nurtured there. (Last four links are to .avi files.)
Our Whizeels iz tha Shizeel Awesome compositing, audio and 3D work. I like art that make me want to step in to its world, (Note: QuickTime). The incredibly low barrier to entry for this kind of project, as compared to 10 or even 5 years ago blows my mind.