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July 1, 2005

War of the Worlds

I had planned to wait until the weekend for this show, but curiosity, eagerness, and impatients twisted my arm into taking in this event last night. I had also planned to read the book before this weekend, then see it, but soemtimes that isn't for the best, and just to take in the experience for what it is... And what it is, is astonishing! It's an awe-inspiring thrill ride with a solid hour of suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seat, the other hour is good as well, ;)

The entire movie follows Cruise's character (Ray Ferrier), documentary style, so whatever he knows you know, and not much else outside of his radius of awareness. Which is great, compared to other similar end of the world type movies where you see the big picture of global destruction. Sadly, this movie ends as fast as it begins, it felt like an hour and a half, but running time was 117min. It starts and ends with the first and last chapters of the H.G. Wells Classic, yet tweaked a bit, and narrated by Morgan Freeman. But, I wanted to know more before it just ended. I think it was lacking one more solid scene to establish more the hows and whys, and I feel they had time to do it. Yet I can't deny it was a fantastic ride, I'd see it again, and I know I'll be picking up the DVD. ;)

The visuals, amazing. The documentary style keeps you in a certain place fully knowing of where the action is, and you keep wanting to see more, if the camera just gets over that hill... and it does pay off with fantastic shots of the Tripods and their extermination of us humans. There is one scene in paticular as Cruise and his family are leaving New York in a minivan on the freeway, the camera is outside the car and goes around it several times seamlessly to an overhead shot as they drive off, it starts off so seamless and your involved in the story that its not until after a minute of this that your like damn, look at this shot, and it keeps going...

Quote from Dennis Muren on this shot done by Pablo Helman's team:
"That was one of the most challenging ones, actually. That was made up of about nine pieces of film with invisible edits. It's all blue screen, but any department could have screwed that shot up. Tom and the actors were always shot on the stage, and then the car and backgrounds were shot. It was all just beautifully combined together into what looks like one shot. There's no way that you could shoot that for real. It's almost two and a half minutes, maybe a little longer than that."

The Compositing? God damn seamless... there wasn't a lot of rough spots, everything was integrated extremely well, especially on the tight 8 month schedule. Kudos to ILM and their compositing team.

But like I said they show us things but never fully explain it all, which is part of being in Cruise's POV, but dag nabbit, one more sequence to pay us off please!

Lastly, what I found interesting is that VFX Supervisor's Dennis Muren and Pablo Helman were in the end credits (in nice huge titles) before Tom Cruise and the other actors... awesome.

Here are a couple Interviews from VFX Supervisor Dennis Muren on War of the Worlds:
- ComingSoon.net's Muren Interview
- IGN's Muren Interview

- War of the Worlds: A Post 9/11 Digital Attack - VFXWorld.com Article


Posted by dschnee at July 1, 2005 7:29 AM