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August 28, 2007

Aliens vs Predator: Requiem Trailer

You want to know why I love this trailer? The directorial debut of the brothers Colin Strause and Greg Strause (Hydraulx) are keeping it old school! Predator was the first VHS movie I ever saved money for, bought and owned when I was a kid. I must have watched it hundreds of times and can still go back, watch it again, and love it!

From what we see in the trailer, all the Predator effects look vintage, from the Predator's POV heat vision, on screen graphics look, to the Predator's strobed-camo transparent look, it makes me happy to see this... :) Alien vs Predator was a beater, and this one very well might be as well, but still should be fun.

I'm not working on this show or anything, it's just because the Predator is one of my god damn favorite creature designs, So I look forward to having a blast catching this on the big screen come x-mas. (December 25th, 2007)

Plus: 20 Years ago Predator (1987) first came to earth and spilled some blood!

Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem - Hydraulx

Posted by dschnee at 11:31 PM

August 23, 2007


I caught the VES Screening of Danny Boyle's Sunshine @ Pixar last night... It has been a little over a year since I last caught a screening @ Pixar, and that was for Superman Returns, and as I've mentioned before, it is a truly moving going experience to see a film in the conditions of body trembling sound, outstanding picture quality, all super bright, vibrant colors, and throw in some great seats to boot, forget about it, it's the only way to see a show.

So we have Danny Boyle, After he took us on crazy ride both visually and psychologically in Transpotting, he took Alex Garland's novel The Beach and the studio's mucked with it, but still delivered a solid bit of cinema, I think. I really liked The Beach, I was a fan of Danny Boyle's after that. 28 Days Later wasn't great, but pretty cool, and Millions was charming.

So how did he take on the Sci-Fi genre... the image up on the right, the sun observation room on the Icarus II says it all, just awe. He brings such a chilling visual palate of style, cinematography, and in camera optical effects, mixed brilliantly with MPC's visual effects.

The visuals and the sound of the film are outstanding, and this carries throughout the entire film, and the first 2 acts of the film are completely engaging, the final act is more of a toss up, some folks were OK with it, (as was I) while many others felt it all went to hell in a hand basket, Freddy Kruger style... I think it held up just fine, not my favorite ending, but good indeed.

We had a special treat after the screening of Sunshine, as the VFX producer from MPC flew out from London to partake in a Q&A session after going through a breakdown of the VFX of the film.

MPC performed all of the shows visual effects from the monitors graphics and screens inside the ship, to the all CG Icarus I & II spaceships, and of course the Sun. They did a number of versions depending on how far or close they were to it, some of the most spectacular shots of the sun are through the observation room, and during the ending sequence as you actually pass through into the sun.

MPC did some amazing work on this one, I could have sworn some of those spaceship shots were miniatures, but with the help of compositing in real in camera lens flares on to the CG shots, it brought a level of realism unable to achieve otherwise.

I'd say go see Sunshine, it's a must on the big screen, and see it with great picture and sound, one great moving going experience. So go see it, then visit some of the links below...

See Also:
foxsearchlight.com/sunshine/ (official)
sunshinedna.com (Sunshine Goodies, videos, vfx, etc.)
moving-picture.com/sunshine (MPC's Sunshine Site)
sunshinefan.com (geek out)

See Also, Also: The Trailer

--- MPC's VFX ---

We had this amazing visual effects supervisor called Tom Wood, who worked out of MPC in London. The VFX are really wonderful in it, I think they belong to much higher budgeted film. I’m very proud of the work they did. Danny Boyle, Director

It’s impossible to see where reality ends and computer begins and, as it was our understanding the fire was one of the last great CG hurdles, we can consider that one clearly leapt. Olly Richards, Empire Magazine

The awesome CG Solar designs (by The Moving Picture Company) make this compulsion (…by the characters to view the sun) quite understandable, we too sit gazing at the playing light, fascinated and at its mercy. Ben Walters, Time Out Magazine

Danny Boyle has directed the feature film ‘Sunshine.’ Scripted by Alex Garland and produced by DNA Films and Fox Searchlight, the feature goes on general European release from April 5th 2007. The stunning visual effects work, a total of 750 shots, was carried out by MPC (The Moving Picture Company) and involved conceptualising and creating the surface of the Sun and the realisation of two enormous spaceships including mile wide sun shields. A DigitaI Intermediate grade was applied to enhance the mood of the production.

“It is the year 2057, the Sun is dying and mankind faces extinction. Earth’s last hope lies with the Icarus II, a spacecraft with a crew of eight men and women led by Captain Kaneda. Their mission: to deliver a nuclear device designed to reignite our fading sun.

Deep into their voyage, out of radio contact with Earth, the crew hear a distress beacon from the Icarus I, which disappeared on the same mission seven years earlier. A terrible accident throws their mission into jeopardy and soon the crew find themselves fighting not only for their lives and their sanity, but for the future of us all...”

MPC’s VFX team was tasked with building the Icarus I and the hero Icarus II spaceships over a short six months. In order to achieve this most efficiently, the team split the work between a number of people who each concentrated on modelling 75 individual modules that make up the Icarus II. The concept of a realistic ship being assembled in Earth’s orbit came from the Production Designer, Mark Tildesley, but the individual module designs were created by the VFX crew.

In the movie, the ship is not seen in direct sunlight, this presented an unprecedented and unique challenge to the lighting team. With the Living Section in the shadow of the shield they needed to to create an oppressive, claustrophobic feel to the infinite space around it. The shield itself measured 1 mile in diameter and was covered by individually operated 2 x 5 metre gold panels. To ensure their movement was appropriate for the action taking place, the animation team used MPC’s Giggle software to help generate the shield from 130,000 individual tile elements.

The second of MPC’s major tasks was conceptualizing the sun, the artists used NASA observations as reference. These are, at closest, 50 thousand miles across an image. However, in the movie the action takes place much more closely that that, so a period of creative exploration was required to conceive the final design. NASA images depicting the turbulent Sun captured at various wavelengths of light, gamma, x-ray and extreme ultra-violet, were used as reference for the visible Sun.

The close up Sun is an immense environment where everything was deliberately extremely chaotic and disorientating. The crew used Maya fluid systems to generate thick clouds and rigid body simulations to shatter the payload towards the end of the movie. Atmospheric particle elements burn holes in the payload and create contrails which help give a sense of speed during the descent. Extensive use of matte paintings incorporate large detailed vistas. The distant Sun was made up from many layers of surface movement with many small explosions and eruptions. To make it accessible and familiar to the audience, the cg version also contains many of the familiar elements found in the real sun, again sourced as reference from NASA archives.

The movie stars Cillian Murphy, Michelle Yeo, Chris Evans and Rose Byrne.


Posted by dschnee at 7:07 AM

August 22, 2007

The Spiderwick Chronicles are on MySpace

In your Face...Book! The Spiderwick Chronicles are on MySpace.com! If your into the myspace thing, Go Nuts right over here!

The official page link is: http://www.myspace.com/spiderwickchronicles and don't be bashful, Geek Out and ADD Spiderwick on your MySpace.

"Mark Waters, director of the upcoming fantasy film The Spiderwick Chronicles, told SCI FI Wire that the film will combine scares, fantastical creatures and comedy."


Posted by dschnee at 1:27 PM

August 15, 2007

Disney's Enchanted Movie Poster!


Posted by dschnee at 2:28 PM

August 11, 2007

Evolution of a Goblin

"Goblins are nasty, grotesque creatures which resemble lage toads. In place of teeth, they must use pieces of shattered glass or small, jagged rocks. They are fond of eating house pets."

This from co-creator of The Spiderwick Chronicles, Tony DiTerlizzi's Imaginoplis Blog

It was the first image completed (and is one of the designs I am most proud of) in Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide - and it was brought to life by the magic team of movie FX wizards at Phil Tippett's studio - the Spiderwick goblins. Or Diabolus vulgaris from the family Adentidae, as Arthur identified them in his Guide to the fantastical world.

But how did I arrive at a new design for a creature that has been rendered countless times in books, movies, games and toys?

I'd like to share some of the thinking that went into it as it exemplifies the philosophy I used when designing many of the creatures in the world of The Spiderwick Chronicles. My hope is only to inspire others to think out-of-the-box in keeping fantasy alive, fresh, and evolving through exciting design.

Evolution of a GOBLIN (part 1)

Evolution of a GOBLIN (part 2)

Evolution of a GOBLIN (part 3)

Evolution of a GOBLIN (conclusion)

Evolution of a GOBLIN (epilogue)

TONY D's Bio Acclaimed children’s book creator, Tony DiTerlizzi was born into an artistic household on September 6, 1969. Being the first of three visually adept children, it didn’t take long for his family and friends to realize that he was one talented kid. At an early age Tony began embracing the whimsical, the wondrous, and the fantastic, all of which sparked his wild imagination.

Young Tony grew up in South Florida amid palm trees and year-round sunshine. While he enjoyed being outdoors and nature, he also loved to draw, write, and create his own little books. During his childhood he was introduced to the work of Norman Rockwell, Arthur Rackham, Dr. Suess, Roald Dahl, and Jim Henson, all of whom inspired him and became major creative influences. With the support of family and teachers, Tony was able to cultivate his natural artistic talents. In college, he honed these talents at the Florida School of the Arts and later, at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale where he earned a degree in Graphic Design in 1992.

After art school, the young artist began a freelance illustration career, working for TSR's Dungeons & Dragons role–playing game. He continued to illustrate in the gaming field for most of the 1990s, working on games such as Planescape, Changeling, and the trading card phenomenon, Magic the Gathering, thus forging a place for himself in the field of fantasy art.

After seven years of successful work as a gaming and fantasy artist, Tony delved into the field of creating children’s picture books. With the publication in 2000 of Jimmy Zangwow's Out-of-this-World Moon Pie Adventure (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers), he fulfilled a childhood dream of writing and illustrating his own book. Jimmy Zangwow, which was lauded by critics, was followed the next year by Ted (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers), which also received high praise, including the 2002 Zena Sutherland Award. It was followed with his spooky picture book of Mary Howitt’s classic poem The Spider and the Fly (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2002) garnering him the 2003 Caldecott Honor and the moniker of New York Times best-seller.

In an effort to bring fantasy to younger readers, Tony created the The Spiderwick Chronicles with friend and author, Holly Black. Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing launched the series in 2003 where it was met with immediate success. Children and adults alike loved the adventures of Simon, Jared, and Mallory Grace in a world of faeries, trolls and goblins. Since then, Spiderwick has been published all over the world and translated in over 30 languages.

2005 saw the publication of Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You – a project Tony had been working on for years in an effort to bring highly detailed, naturalistic fantasy to children’s publishing. In 2008, Paramount Pictures will release a live-action movie adaptation of the series starring Freddie Highmore, Mary Louise-Parker, Nick Nolte and David Strathairn. And the Spiderwick Chronicles adventures will continue in the fall of 2007 with a sequel series, Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles, set to take place in Tony’s home state of Florida.

Tony lives and works in western Massachusetts with his wife (and manager) Angela, and their daughter. His latest picture book, G is for One Gzonk! (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2006), is not only a nonsense alphabet book, but an homage to the late Dr. Seuss–who inspired a young boy from Florida with dreams of one day becoming a children’s book creator.

Posted by dschnee at 11:04 AM

August 9, 2007

The Spiderwick Chronicles Video Game Announced


Los Angeles, CA - August 09, 2007 - Sierra Entertainment today announced development of The Spiderwick Chronicles, a video game based on the upcoming 2008 theatrical release of the same name by Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Films. The game, which will recreate the fantastical world of the Spiderwick film and best-selling book series, is in development at Stormfront Studios and will be available for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system, Wii home video game system, PlayStation2 computer entertainment system, Nintendo DS, and PC in February 2008.

"Sierra Entertainment is excited to announce that one of the most anticipated family entertainment films of 2008 will be coming to the world of video games as well," said Al Simone, senior vice president, Global Marketing for Sierra Entertainment. "The Spiderwick Chronicles video game will authentically recreate the world of Jared, Simon and Mallory Grace, putting gamers in their shoes as they discover a hidden world of fantastical creatures - sprites, ogres, goblins, brownies and more. Fans of the Spiderwick books now not only have the movie to look forward to, but will be able to live in their favorite fantasy world in this adventure filled game."

The Spiderwick Chronicles video game is based on the upcoming film adaptation by Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Films and will feature multiple playable characters, each with unique abilities. The Spiderwick Chronicles is a best-selling book series by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi in which twin brothers Jared and Simon, along with their sister Mallory Grace, embark on a perilous journey filled with adventure and danger.

The Spiderwick Chronicles video game is expected to be available at retail stores worldwide in February 2008. For more information on The Spiderwick Chronicles, please visit the game's official web site at www.spiderwickgame.com.

The Spiderwick Chronicles Video Game Announced

See Also: Screenshots

Posted by dschnee at 10:25 PM

August 7, 2007

Frank Oz comes clean about Stepford

C: Since your brought up STEPFORD WIVES, I think it's fair to say it was not a kindly received. What do you think happened there?

FO: I fucked up.

C: You blame yourself?

FO: Absolutely. I played it safe. For the first time, I didn't follow my instincts. And what happened was, I had too much money, and I was too responsible and concerned for Paramount. I was too concerned for the producers. And I didn't follow my instincts, which I hold as sacred usually. I love being subversive and dangerous, and I wasn't. I was safe, and as a result my decisions were all over the place, and it was my fault totally. And by the way, I'm very proud of many aspects of the movie. The people were great. But when you sense that there's no governing thought, or that the governing thought is kind of "Gee, I'm not sure where to go," you can sense it.

C: You said you weren't following your instincts. What were your instincts telling you to do with that material?

FO: My instincts were saying, “Don't do a big movie”. I had a very strong viewpoint to do the movie, but I didn't expect such huge stars. When the stars came, everything kind of ballooned up. My original instincts were to make it more intimate.

C: Do you feel like the presence of stars made you lose control of it?

FO: Not control, I was always in control. That's not the problem; I've done huge movies before. The problem was that it got so big that my instincts to make a small movie didn't mesh with how big it was getting, and I was losing my way a little bit. So it was completely me. I should have brought it all down and said, I'm sorry, I know we have all these huge stars but I don't care, I want to do something intimate. But I didn't, I went with the bigness of it and I didn't feel right about it.

Thanks Frank...

read more of Frank Oz and What Went Wrong On STEPFORD (aint it cool news)

Posted by dschnee at 10:36 PM

August 1, 2007

Tippett Brings Spiderwick Critters To Life

"...Plus, I hired a bad-ass crew. - It was like, 'Let me kind of learn while we're doing this and let's just make the (biggest), fantastic version of this movie we can.' And now I'm looking at the effects shots as they come in final and I'm like, 'Wow, I can't believe I shot that!' It seems so easy now and I forget the struggle it was to get it in the can." said director Mark Waters.

And that's where visual effects legend Phil Tippett came in. With films like Star Wars and Jurassic Park on his resume, Tippett certainly had the know-how needed to bring Spiderwick's critters to life.

"All of this is going to be digital work," explains Tippett. "All of the visual effects work is split between Tippett Studio and ILM. That was our intention going in to the shoot, because a great deal of these characters have extended dialogue and that's a very, very tricky thing to get with a puppet or an animatronic. And we definitely didn't want to have people in outfits or suits. We wanted to create the world that Holly and Tony had created and depict that, so the best way of going about that was doing it all digitally. Stop-motion would've been fine, but we don't do that anymore!"

The authors say that their inspiration for the books came from the old fairy tales, like the original Grimm Brothers stories, but also from specific folklore involving Faeries.

"People would go out into towns and talk to people about their real experiences with Faeries," explains Black of such folklore. "And they have really fascinating stories about how the Faeries would interact with people quite commonly and very organically. They were just out there. And if you stumbled on them, then you could be in trouble. And that's the thing that Spiderwick is about to me."

In response to Black's comment, Tippett jokes that "our job was to make the Faeries organic!" He says that what he and his team are doing conceptually is create the world that "Arthur Spiderwick" -- the character who did all of the illustrations in the field guide in the stories -- actually observed in the field.

"That's what we're cooking right now," says Tippett. "So these are invisible characters that Arthur has actually been able to see by the use of special Faerie accoutrements that he buys. He's able to actually become a witness for this hidden world. So he chronicles the characters or the creatures just like a normal naturalist would out in the field, (and) we're just trying to bring those characters to life and make them feel as if they actually belong in that environment."

Look for Tippett's Faeries and more this coming February...

complete article-SDCC 07: Exclusive: The Spiderwick Chronicles Interviews @ IGN.com

Posted by dschnee at 11:03 PM