March 8, 2011

Oscars vs The Box Office 2010

In 2010, 4 out of 5 movies nominated for Best Visual Effects, were also in the Top 10 highest grossing movies worldwide... respect? No, your funny, but there's an Eclipse at #6 with a 50% rotten tomato rating!

Posted by dschnee at 11:01 PM

May 26, 2009

Drag Me To Hell Screening

Who said being cursed and punished, gummed and punched multiple times by an old mysterious gypsy women isn't a great time? Mrs. Ganush made Drag Me To Hell for me one hell of a time!

I won a couple of tickets to an advanced screening of Drag Me To Hell from It was a fan and press event at the Metreon in San Francisco. Pretty much packed full and the crowd was really into it, lots of energy with lots of people jumping, shrieking and laughing.

I had a blast, plenty of 'ohhly shit' and great 'haha, no way' moments when that feeling of fright and startlement rushes over you, even if you tried to look away, the sound elevates with so much intensity, your heart can't help but race until the pay off hits!

Drag Me To Hell is a simple fun thrill ride that takes us along this 3 day curse set against a young women working as a loan officer at a local bank. Her choice to make the tough decision denying another extension for an elderly women's mortgage, (in hopes to gain a promotion) as a result a dark curse is brought forth brutally by the old 'gypsy' women. Alison Lohman who plays the loan officer Christine Brown, did a good job, she was fun to watch. It's pretty much non stop awesome once she enters the parking lot to leave for the night... the gypsy women is there waiting for her and all hell breaks loose!

Our work held up pretty well (low budget style), we book ended the movie with the visuals in the very first scene with the boy being 'enter movie title here', and the final sequence at the train station. We also did a handful of shots with the pesky fly, it all looked great. I don't want to ruin anything from the movie, so I won't talk about any of the shots I worked on, but at some point I will...

fantastic thrill ride, loved it, and proud to have been able to work on it!

Drag Me To Hell opens this Friday, May 29th, definitely check it out!

Ohh BTW, curently Dragged has a 94% Fresh Tomatometer Reading, nice.

Posted by dschnee at 11:57 AM

May 3, 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Reviewed

So I went out to breakfast with some good friends of mine, and after some discussion, we decided to up and go see Wolverine this afternoon... I read the script many months ago and my feeling was that of a good solid action piece, something fun and entertaining, but no real depth, not much origin focus, no true Logan character development. They say a movie is made 3 times... once when it's written, once when it's filmed, and once again when it's all edited together. So I let the script slip away from memory and kept a little hope along with me as we worked on the post production.

I watched the leaked copy last month, and I wasn't impressed, I didn't hate it, but I didn't like it at all. I was very interested in seeing how that end cooling tower sequence ended up though, and to be fair, even your favorite movies looked rough at a work print stage, so seeing the finished product vs the work print is something that should to be done.

Now as far as a finished piece is concerned vs the work print, they pretty much pulled it off, sure there were a handful of really bad VFX work, but the rest of it was pretty tight and came together nicely. In particular was the that cooling tower sequence at the end... what can I say, considering I know what they had to work with, with those horrible plates, with the time constraints, again, they pulled it off, and in that respect I was impressed. At least I think this was the case, now that I think about it I found myself looking at the tower itself 90% of the time... :) So I'd have to watch it again to see how it all really looked and felt, how did you all feel about the look of that sequence?

I was excited to see they 'did' indeed use the 5 shots I was able to complete when young Scott Summers is beside Diamond Girl. Summers removes his eye cover and blasts the soldiers behind the windows with his laser beamage right before the end battle vs Deadpool. I worked pretty hard on those, so it's nice for use to have something in there despite how things ended up. I think they also used another of our shots when young Scott Summers is being chased by Creed in the high school, he jumps and spins with his beam tearing through the hall. So by my count, they used 6 Tippett shots in the film but no credit to this shall to be found.

As for the story, I really wished they would have focused more on developing Logan's character, rather than a sequence of events to shallowly tell the tale, take some time and reveal the true nature of who Logan is and how he becomes the Wolverine. I don't know, in an origin story you just might want to tell the us about his mutant healing factor and how it works, maybe touch upon his acute sense of smell, sight, and sound... ohh yeah, and those bone claws of his?

All and all, It in now way comes close to 'The Dark Knight' territory, not nearly as effective as 'Iron Man', but it's not 'Daredevil' either.

Maybe someday a great director will take on 'Wolverine' leaving behind any crappy 'X-Men Origins' setup the next film / slash spin-off angle of the bangle...

Posted by dschnee at 9:18 PM

January 1, 2009

Happy New Year! and my Best Films of 2008

Here are the top 10 films I enjoyed the most in 2008, from those I have seen anyway...

10 - I'm leaving this one open to any of the following still on my list to see from 2008: Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father(Kurt Kuenne), The Counterfeiters(Stefan Ruzowitzky), Milk(Gus Van Sant), Man on Wire(James Marsh), Frost/Nixon(Ron Howard), Choke(Clark Gregg), Che(Steven Soderbergh), The Fall(Tarsem Singh), JCVD(Mabrouk El Mechri), Doubt(John Patrick Shanley), The Reader(Stephen Daldry).
9 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Steven Spielberg)
8 Iron Man (Jon Favreau)
7 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (David Fincher)
6 Wall-E (Andrew Stanton)
5 Gran Torino (Clint Eastwood)
4 Cloverfield (Matt Reeves)
3 The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan)
2 The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky)
1 Slumdog Millionaire (Danny Boyle)

Worth a Mention:

Burn After Reading (The Coen Brothers)
Hellboy II: The Golden Army (Guillermo del Toro)
Pineapple Express (David Gordon Green)
Wanted (Timur Bekmambetov)
Kung Fu Panda (Mark Osborne & John Stevenson)
Tropic Thunder (Ben Stiller)
The Spiderwick Chronicles (Mark Waters)

So what am I looking forward to in 2009?
Watchmen(Zach Snyder), Tokyo!(Joon-ho Bong/Leos Carax/Michel Gondry), X-Men Origins: Wolverine(Gavin Hood), The Soloist(Joe Wright), Tyson(James Toback), Star Trek(J.J. Abrams), Terminator: Salvation(McG), Drag Me To Hell(Sam Rami), Public Enimies(Michael Mann), Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen(Michael Bay), Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince(David Yates), Inglourious Bastards(Quentin Tarantino), 9(Shane Acker), The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus(Terry Gilliam), Where the Wild Things Are(Spike Jonze), and maybe 2012(Roland Emmerich)...

The Informers (Gregor Jordan)
The Escapist (Rupert Wyatt)
Rudo Y Cursi (Carlos Cuaron)

Posted by dschnee at 10:42 AM

July 7, 2008

Of Hellboys and Dark Knights

I am in great anticipation.

This Friday (7/11), Guillermo del Toro treats us with Hellboy II: The Golden Army - trailer | Next week (7/18) Christopher Nolan unleashes The Dark Knight - trailer | after that, I declare summer officially over! (for movies that is, go outside, get some sun dammit!)

Posted by dschnee at 10:50 AM

July 6, 2008

Wall-e was great!

I caught a VES screening of Wall-e today @ Pixar, and I thought it was great!
retro artwork by Eric Tan

See Also: The Little Robot That Could

Posted by dschnee at 1:00 PM

June 28, 2008

Movie Day

This was the first time I have gone to see 3 movies in one day, whew, getting tired even writing it... there have been many double features, but no trilogies. First up was the The Incredible Hulk, then I lightened the load with Kung Fu Panda, and topped it off with some sweet assassin action with Wanted.

Hulk was decent, but not great, and for the most part It's more Incredible than the first HULK. I thought Kung Fu Panda brought the awesomeness on screen, it wasn't amazing, but a whole lot of fun. I ended the evening with a treat, I Wanted more from of that fantastic action, more of those dramatic highly detailed extreme close up shots, and to be honest a bit more from the ending, but It was a blast to watch as it had a lot of candy for the eye... and it has MoFree in it!?!
enough said.

Posted by dschnee at 10:09 AM

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: (official) (Sunshine Goodies, videos, vfx, etc.) (MPC's Sunshine Site) (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

May 25, 2007

At World's End

Pirates 3 is out! I caught an 8pm showing last thursday night hoping to catch that new Enchanted trailer... no dice. It was playing at California Theater in Berkeley, so it may due to the not so main stream aspect of it, in fact all 3 trailers they spliced in front of Pirates 3 didn't seem to match up with Disney, so will have to catch that another time.

As for the movie, It was damn fun! A good number of the audience dressed up like pirates, some pirates gifts and booty were given away before the movie started, the crowd was completely into it, cheering, laughing, cheering, and more laughing. They crammed a lot of funny into this last one, something that as lacking from Pirates 2.

Since then I've heard a lot of complaints about it being to long, and the story to hard to follow... but I was along for the ride... the 'edge of the world' sequence with the 2 pirate ships battling in the all CG Maelstrom around the gigantic whirlpool was amazing. The amount of rain, debris, explosions, wood chunks, broken bits, water hitting the lens and fading away, and all of the awesome cg pirates with Davy Jones completely brought you into their world. Kudos to ILM and the vfx work in that sequence.

I don't know, I enjoyed it, not much else to say... see also: Aruna's take on At World's End

Anyone catch the Enchanted trailer?

Posted by dschnee at 7:03 AM

March 2, 2007

A David Fincher Film

zodiacMovie.jpgZodiac was released today! The return of one of my favorite directors, David Fincher.

When I first heard he was doing this film, I was slightly un-interested, but then I thought back to Seven, The Game, and even Panic Room... but this one's based on the real deal, and there is something very intriguing about someone who is a serial killer, well I think he only killed 5, so that takes him out of that category, but I think it's the cat and mouse aspect of it, the mystery, the why, the how, the how most usual people never would do such things sparks a great deal of interest in those who do. Add this with Fincher's style and direction, should be good. I'm looking forward to seeing this tomorrow. The critics so far love it with 87% ripe.

"A subtle, dialogue-driven thriller that delivers with scene after scene of gut-wrenching anxiety and tension."

The media as of late has re-opened the case, brought amature slueths some publicity, and is making the book from which the movie was made more popular than ever.

"Based on the actual case files of one of the most intriguing unsolved crimes in the nation's history, "Zodiac" is a thriller from David Fincher, director of "Seven" and "Fight Club." As a serial killer terrifies the San Francisco Bay Area and taunts police with his ciphers and letters, investigators in four jurisdictions search for the murderer. The case will become an obsession for four men as their lives and careers are built and destroyed by the endless trail of clues."

See Also:

Posted by dschnee at 6:49 AM

December 18, 2006

Charlotte's Web Screening Review

Ok, Ok, Ok... I admit it, my bad, I sincerely have to eat all my words and take back all the 'creepy comments' I've had for the look of the spider Charlotte, I thought she looked fantastic! Especially in the spring time when she was healthy. But the work Rising Sun did with the web making sequences and camera work, and the look, feel, and animation of the webbing was very well done.

Onto the movie itself, Humble, Radiant, and Terrific pretty much sums it up. I thought it turned out great, it flowed by with ease and the near 2 hours felt like 1 and a half. The opening and closing credits were done in the style of Garth Williams Illustrations like the images from the book come to life in 2.5D, traveling through the images in 3D space (think the opening credits for Carnivale). watch it here!

The Rat did in fact Rule, especially for his close up's, the fur and animation looked damn good seing it so large on screen. It was very cool to see Tippett's work come and go through out the film as well, a lot of times we will work on one or 2 sequences and we see our work then that's it... but everytime we see Templeton, we ge to see the work!

click below for the rest of the review...

The crows were halarious, I really wished they got some corn though... I worked on a pretty tough shot after they were chasing Templeton in the junk yard they crash into big metal fridge and land in some pepto bismo pink paint, it looked really blue from the DI or color timing... much too blue for my taste, but It was still fun to see.

Wilbur was voice cast perfect, I enjoyed evertime Dominic Scott Kay said "Great Name!" and the work that R+H did with Wilbur was great as well, even the back flip, ;) - R+H always rocks the mouth replacement stuff though.

Lastly, the work that really was fun to see was the 'weeeeeeeeeee' sequence that I think Fuel handled with all the tiny spiderlings crawling from the egg sack and casting their webs in the air flying away, it was so cool and so well done, the voices, the animation, the intigration, all superb.

Ok, I know I've given it a lot of praise, but what can I say I liked it, it pulled on your heart-strings a bit and I'm proud of the work Tippett Studio did on it, and proud that I got to work on a few shots for a great movie for children, one I will get to show mine someday.

I can mention some dislikes though, the geese felt way too puppeted and felt very odd most all the time. (sorry Fuel) I think Fuel did the talking geese, but they obviously didn't do complete head and neck replacements just beak work for the dialog, so it's not their fault, :) Not a movie killer but a bit hard to watch.

There is also a noticalbe progression with the look of Templeton, and I think the DI had a role to play in it, Templeton looked very contrasty and dark in the first sequence, and over the course of the movie he had a better filled in light quality to him really showing off the look of him and the fur, some of this was the ever improving look of the rat, but the color timing and DI didn't help us out, :)

And I must admit as much as I liked the look of Charlotte the spider, as she aged and looked more sickly and desaturated It wasn't really working for me anymore... and we never did get to see the crows again after the fair, we needed one more sequence or even a few more shots to bring them back and finish their development off.

It was a fun night, the experience of watching it with the entire crew is always a good time, we get to hear a few choice words and stories from the supervisors, we laugh at the horrid previews, cringe at some others, clap when we finally get to see our first Templeton sequence play through, and bask in some of the other visual sequences from the other talanted vendors, while sharing our work with friends and family enjoying what turned out to be, dare I say it, a great movie.

Posted by dschnee at 9:46 PM

July 11, 2006

Superman Returns Pixar Screening

VES held a screening of Superman Returns tonight, I held out a couple of weeks to see it @ Pixar. The theatre at Pixar is a true movie going experience, the sound and picture there is just fantastic, and it's a stark reminder that most theatres simply stink in terms of picture and sound wait why do I go to the movies? :)

I went with my fiance and one of her close friends and her husband from overseas here for the wedding, they got a kick going to Pixar, as I did, checking out Pixar and the artwork on display, we took a small tour before the show started. I hadn't been there since the Starship Troopers 2 screening so it's still fun and exciting for me as well.

As far as Superman Returns goes... I Loved It! Great fun, it had some superb action sequences and camera work that felt great for the boy in blue. I thought the VFX looked great, nothing stood out I was just along for the ride, good stuff.

I'll be updating my blog with a slew of updates soon, playing catch up on some recent events and tidbits... I went off and got married and honeymooned, so I'm back now, and back at work, and getting back in the groove of things, so stay tooned for some new posts soon, thanks.

Posted by dschnee at 11:20 AM

June 6, 2006

The Omen - 6.6.06

Just got back from watching the The Omen (2006) remake of the (1976) The Omen, and since it was released today, tuesday, 6.6.06, my fiance thought it'd be great fun to catch it on this fancy numbered day.

It was pretty good, it made me jump a few times (but I'm a wuss, so...), got the juices flowing, had nice art direction, and it was great to see how the deaths of those around Damien played out.

I was taken back and excited to see that Mia Farrow from Rosemary's Baby played Mrs. Baylock, Damien's 'new' nanny in the film, great hommage to a classic!

Anyhow, a couple links below if your interested... ohh and there were some VFX in this flick, kudos to Warwick Campbell over @ Cinesite!
(they did the the cool as hell 'death scenes')

The Omen Returns: Heed the Devilish VFX
The Omen Trailer(s)
The Omen Official Site

Posted by dschnee at 10:10 PM

December 21, 2005

KONG, Kong, kong... pt2

Ok, so I was able to go see this epic again with my family over the weekend, and this time I was able to sit back and enjoy the ride.

It was exciting, and full of energy, my fiance kept looking over at me but I wouldn't turn away from the screen, I was homed in. It's a fantastic story so some of the action that occurs is a bit over the top and outside reality, but it wasn't about being grounded in reality, you can just go on this adventure in awe and laugh along this ride.

After all is said and done, it's still a bit long, some of if needed some tightening up. And other pieces never panned out, what happend to Jimmy? They built up the relationship between Hayes and Jimmy, but after they capture Kong, we never see what happend to Jimmy...

The other thing that was brought to my attention that didn't bother me until I thought about it is, once Jack and Ann fly off on the bat wing and land in the river, they cut to them running in the jungle pretty much at the native wall, I don't think this bothered me because it was leading up to about 6 of my shots in that seq, hehe but it's a huge leap from wet in the river to dry running in the jungle. Anyhow the movie works, a touch long, but some of the best action to be seen on the big screen for me, with a solid heart warming story.

As for the VFX, I've read a lot of threads and reviews and talk of the terrible spills, and dodgy this, black edges that, crappy weta compositing... and huge praise on Kong, the fur, the animation, etc.

There are a few moments and shots I cringe at, one of them my own shot that was an omit, but made it's way back int he cut. But as for the rest, I could care less, all the vfx shots are sucsessful and some are beautiful, and some are a bit dodgy, and tons nobody even thinks about being a vfx shot, but you know what? It doesn't matter one bit, it's still great work and fun to watch. Even if Ann in Kong's hand looks fakey at times... it is fake, :)

The team of compositors at Weta are made up of the best in the industry, bar none. So I'm sticking my tongue out to all the Kong Komp Bashers out there, =P

good night, and good luck.

Posted by dschnee at 9:27 AM

December 14, 2005

KONG, Kong, kong... pt1

The time has come and past, I caught the 8pm showing of King Kong on opening night with some friends, friends from Tippett, my housemate from Weta, and a slew of others. What can I say... it was great to finally see it up there on the big screen, all 3+ hours of it, whew.

I must admit, it was a bit hard for me to fully emerse myself in the movie, partly because of working on it and curiosity of paticular shots that I was waiting to see completed. So this took me out of the drama a bit, I think the length contributed a smidge to it as well, but god damn, did that gorilla look guuud! I'm still amazed at how well Kong looks.

I really enjoyed the water sequence when the Venture and it's crew start into the fog outside the island, that was a great ride and the start of the fantastic adventure the audience and I were about to take. Also because I saw how difficult those shots were and watched a lot of that sequence progress and finish up while I was there at Weta, it looked great.

I'm truly looking forward to seeing this one again soon, it was a bit of a blur looking back on it now, some what surreal, at times I'd focus on the audiences reactions, like I said I wasn't fully along for the ride but sort of watching it go by. So I think I will save any more commentary until after I see it again this weekend.

I was very excited to see that I made the credits for this epic, and with all the damn compositors up there I nearly missed seeing it!?! (bottom left hand column) :) I couldnt figure how they would leave anyone out of the credits, everyone worked there butts off on this one, and it shows.

A huge congratulations to all of the Weta Digital artists and technicians, and of course the compositors that sent this one home, simply amazing work.

Posted by dschnee at 11:27 PM

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:
-'s Muren Interview
- IGN's Muren Interview

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

Posted by dschnee at 7:29 AM