Industrial Light and Magic

Pacific Rim: VFX

Taking a break from Comic-Con, it’s time to look back at a movie that made quite the splash in San Diego last year and is currently in theaters, Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim. At that time, there was but a trailer for the giant monsters vs. giant robots movie, but the buzz was electric. One calendar year later, the film has made it’s way to theaters and has opened much softer than expected by the Warner Bros. accounting department. All the same, it’s a movie I, myself said was more fun “than anything else we’re going to see towering above us on the big screen this summer” in our review. One of the biggest draws of Pacific Rim: the scope of the action and the scale of its participants. Most of which is accomplished via the mastery of the folks at Industrial Light & Magic and Spectral Motion, among others. Under the watchful eyes of VFX supervisors John Knoll and James E. Price, and animation supervisor Hal Hickel, a team of artists created some of the most impressive icons of Summer 2013. Care to know how they did it? Good, because we just so happen to have a video explaining the “Digital Artistry of Pacific Rim.” Watch it for yourself just after the jump.

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commentary-jurassicpark3

Even though there’s pretty much no information about the upcoming Jurassic Park 4 film that was announced earlier this week, you’ll find plenty of speculation and discussion about it on the interwebs. So why not jump on that bandwagon and dissect the famous dinosaur movies? Yeah, we’d all like to go back to the original Jurassic Park for this Commentary Commentary, but sadly, Spielberg hasn’t sat down to record his thoughts on that or the sequel. That means we’re left with Jurassic Park 3. The plus side is that we get Stan Winston’s take on the whole thing as he is joined by other members of the film’s special effects team. And on to the commentary…

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The Avengers 360 Shot

As the year slowly winds to a close, now it as good as any time to reflect on some of our very favorite scenes, stunts, and effects from the best films of the year, and few projects had quite as many memorable scenes, stunts, and effects as Joss Whedon‘s The Avengers.The Marvel-made universe of The Avengers was so jaw-droppingly rendered that’s not surprising that audiences just sort of wholesale accepted much of what was on screen, getting caught up in the action instead of wondering how the heck they did that. Until now! Industrial Light & Magic has shared a new video (via ComingSoon) that breaks down some of the challenges of the film’s epic final battle and how they crafted them with their magic and/or light. As ILM tells it, the film “posed many visual effects challenges, [and] one of the larger challenges was pulling together the ‘tie-in’ shot during the third act of the film. Rather than frames, this single shot is measured in minutes on screen and is one of the longest effects shots in the film. It incorporates both practical special effects and extensive digital visual effects by ILM. The New York City environment that serves as the setting for this shot (and virtually the entire alien invasion) is computer generated by the visual effects team at ILM.” Check it out after the break!

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the definitive voice heard late at night. Well, it depends upon what room of the house you’re in, but it’s pretty unmistakable. It’s loud, it talks about movies and TV shows and it does not appreciate it when you just feign interest. We begin this evening with a shot of Ken Watanabe in the forthcoming Japanese remake of Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven. See, they remake our stuff, too. Although I’m sure this will be much better than the American version of Ringu.

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Disney and Lucasfilm

Though it’s definitely the biggest and most immediate piece of news, there’s more going on with Disney’s acquisition of LucasFilm than just the release of Episode 7. For starters…

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Visiting ILM

“Is it okay if I take a picture of that?” Visiting Industrial Light & Magic isn’t just another assignment. Even a seasoned movie blogger knows that much. This job takes you all kinds of interesting places — sets in the middle of the Bayou, the snow covered mountains of Utah, even the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. But a trip to San Francisco, home of LucasFilm and ILM, that’s something special. It doesn’t matter so much that my first trip to the house that George built (before he went crazy) was in honor of Battleship, a movie-sized adaptation of a classic board game. What matter is that I got to stand next to the original Vigo the Carpathian painting from Ghostbusters 2. Of course, there was also a bit of learning about visual effects from some of the brightest minds in the business, all in celebration of Universal’s big watery explosion known as Battleship.

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Can it be? Is it true? Have the stars aligned to ensure that J.J. Abrams is ready to start rolling cameras on Star Trek 2. According to Star Trek Movie, January 15, 2012 is the day that Abrams takes a seat in the director’s chair, tugs his uniform down and calmly says, “Make it so.” Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof are currently polishing a script to fit within the budgetary confines that Paramount has outlined. Apparently Industrial Light and Magic is already working on some of the effects shots that can be done before filming even starts. So it’s finally happening. Now, the only real question is whether it will be ready for its vague 2013 release date. With a full year of production, it seems more than likely. How will you celebrate?

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Junkfood Cinema

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; I am not Banksy. But like that ninja/superhero street artist, I appear from nowhere and deface your perfectly good internet walls with my tasteless taste in movies. I will eviscerate history’s most problem-laden cinematic missteps before circumventing any notions of a favorable reputation by singing the film’s dubious praises. To drive the proverbial nail into the coffin, and into your aorta, I will then pair the movie with an appropriate junk food selection to ruin your swimsuit season. South by Southwest is a film festival that carries with it a debauchery only outdone by the Mos Eisley-level of scum and villainy that is Fantastic Fest. With the daunting schedule of pounding beers, drinking lager in line for various films, and taking a break from running from venue to venue with an ice cold brew, it can be really hard to grant the same level of attention and diligence to one’s weekly features that one normally does. But luckily for me, the Ain’t It Cool News secret screening during SxSW provided the perfect fodder for this week’s column. This week’s snack: Dragonslayer.

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Gore Verbinski’s Rango is not a spoof or satire of westerns. It is, in fact, a genuine western. Keeping that in mind, Verbinski hasn’t made an animated film with modern “of-the-moment” pop-culture references and a wacky hip soundtrack. Rango is no Shrek or Madagascar. The archetypes, the story, the score (courtesy of Hans Zimmer) and style is done in an old-school fashion, but with a slight twist. This isn’t Verbinski’s first western outing. The Pirates of the Caribbean films are total odes to the western and even some of Verbinski’s smaller-scale films – such as The Weather Man and The Mexican – feature the stampings of the genre. As for the realism, Verbinski wanted to keep his animated feature as grounded in live-action filmmaking as much as possible. Here’s what the soft-spoken eclectic director had to say about not making a western spoof, avoiding perfection in animation, and the meta aspect of Rango:

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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