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3-Point Belt Review Vol.7: Elyte Excellence

Awesome Elysium

VFX Review: Elysium (Neill Blomkamp, 2013)

1. Dear blog reader,

STEPHANIE and A CRAZILY WELL-INTEGRATED KEY-FRAMED CG ROBOT FROM ELYSIUM request the pleasure of your company at:

THEIR WEDDING

Saturday, 24 August 2013

2. Ceremony and Reception Venue:

18 Paradise Rd

Third Arm of the Star

Elysium Habitat, Outer Space.

It’s a stunning  environment, partly created by digital sky replacement over Miami. If you’re commuting from the shockingly dirty slums of Earth, please remember to wipe your feet. We don’t want your diseases clinging to our impeccable doormats.

3. Finally, please ensure that all +1 guests are agreeable with the fact that the film Elysium is in fact AWESOME because of its story that doesn’t stuff around, solid character performances and partially in-camera VFX/SFX elements that support the film rather than bore you to death with CG. To all those who don’t agree, please remain on Earth and continue to compare it to your VHS of District 9 (an equally awesome film), while Stephanie lives it up in a elitist habitat watching Elysium on her Super Hi-Def Awesome-Ray.

RSVP by seeing this movie immediately. Hope to see you there!

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3-Point Belt Review Vol.6: Bear With Me

Marky Mark learns a lesson.

Marky Mark learns a lesson.

Ted (Seth MacFarlane, 2012) *WARNING – TERRIBLE PUNS*

Guess Who's Back?

Ted’s ballin’. DON’T FORGET IT. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Ted himself is balllllllin’! That’s what the rapper 50 Cent would say. That bear is brilliantly composited into the shot. Then Fiddy would invite Mark Wahlberg to his Candy Shop to tell him –

2. “Yo Marky Mark, you’re bear-ly making eye contact”. Seriously Mark, haaaavveee you met Bob Hoskins? He could make “eye-contact” with a 2D Roger Rabbit, why can’t you make eye contact with Ted? I mean, he’s right next to you on the cou- what? Whadda ya mean Ted’s not really there? He’s a mo-capped CG character?! THAT’S IMPAWSIBLE!

3. Ok, not to have a grizzly view on everything, but the sound is tinny and the plot is bear-ly there. It’s one of those stories where you can’t totally identify the obstacles. You start losing focus and thinking about what’s for dessert. Pretty claw-ful right? If MacFarlane had just thought about building a paws-ible climax, I wouldn’t be stuffed from my distracting brownie dessert; I’d be all stitched up from paying attention to the jokes along the way.

“Hey Stephanie, hit us with one more terrible teddy bear pun.”

Ursus arctos middendorffi /kodiak bear/ Kodiakbär

Someone maul her. Make it stop. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fur sure. What to do you want to hear?

 

3-Point Belt Review Vol.5: Sparkly Warp Speed

Benedict Cucumberatch hands out today's special.

Benedict Cucumberatch hands out today’s special.

Star Trek: Into Darkness (J. J. Abrams, 2013) *SPOILER ALERT*

1. “Captain Zulu, proceed to new and improved warp speed.”

Instead of ye olde lens distortion, there’s a trail of warp particles left lingering behind. And when I heard how you travel through the trail with stereoscopic vision, it’s one of the only times I’ve regretted watching a film in 2D.

"Smooth Criminal" music video. Shows...

What happens when gravity malfunctions. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2. Great action scenes that use VFX appropriately: The “roly-poly” scene (where the ship’s internal gravity malfunctions) wouldn’t work without CG props falling to indicate the direction of gravity. The garbage barge, “can of whoop-ass” scene? Wouldn’t work without awesome keying and flying barges (obviously). Let’s not forget ANY SHOT INVOLVING A SPACESHIP.  Shield your eyes people, the rays of awesome are blinding!

3. I wish I had something to complain about, but I don’t. That’s not to say it’s the most amazing film ever, but it’s definitely a safe sequel that ticks the boxes for entertainment.

VFX? Great.

Soundscape? Excellent.

Storyline/pacing/cast performance: all up to scratch!

Sure some people found the underwear scene offensive, but seriously – who cares? At least it wasn’t a Megan Fox crotch shot. Hmm, need something to poke at…ooh, ooh, I know! Cumberbatch! Great name, huh?

3-Point Belt Review Vol.3: Not So ‘Crood Awakening’

The Croods - Give Eep some angst by removing her mother.

The Croods – Give Eep some angst by removing her mother.

The Croods (Chris Sanders, 2013)

1.To the visual effects department: all the simulations were beautiful. The dust clouds were fluffy and the fur had a beautifully ‘sheepskin run’ quality about it.

Russian Rainbow Gathering. Nezhitino, August 2005

Deep, man, deep. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2. Character designs = wonderful! This includes fanciful takes on what prehistoric animals could have been, à la flying turtles and land whales. It’s actually a very clever ploy to suck in the audience so that our experience of a new world parallels that of the Croods so that we become Croods ourselves. Woah, analysis = deep.

3. It’s rare to see an animated family with the parents both intact (The Incredibles is one) and I think there’s a reason for it.

The crux of the movie revolves around a father-daughter struggle where the mother’s existence is superfluous. In fact, she hinders a potentially more angst-ridden relationship struggle for the daughter, like Hiccup in How to Train Your Dragon or the poster child for angst, Harry Potter.

Original image description from the Deutsche F...

Now I can have a satisfying movie experience AND ignore Hitler! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I can prove it – squint one eye, raise your thumb and whenever the mother – Ugga – comes on screen, cover her face and block your ears. Wow, the movie continues seamlessly! I honestly think she’s just a baby carrier. How insulting. And on another note, even though I was entertained while watching it, I would have much preferred The Croods to have been the Aardman claymation – Crood Awakening  – John Cleese set out for it to be. Hello, I’m a 90s kid, and I will watch anything reminiscent of the cavemen TV series Gogs!

3-Point Belt Vol.2 – Clash of Actors?

Who knew pretending to be Greek could be so easy?

Who knew pretending to be Greek could be so easy?

Clash of the Titans (Louis Leterrier, 2010)

Clash of the Titans (2010 film)

Sexy kraken. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. What went right: the seamless fusion of the wings to the Pegasi (my plural for Pegasus), the subtly convincing, venom veins (woo, alliteration!) on Perseus’ arm and the kraken. Kraken = money scene. Brilliantly designed creature.

2. What went wrong: unoriginality. A lot of reviews rip on the CG but I think it’s the writers’/director’s fault the plot makes any VFX flaws stick out like a sore thumb. However, I do have to say, why didn’t they design original effects? Why did they choose to pick Hades to materialise like a dementor? He could have entered in a much more evil Lindsay Lohan kind of way. And why is Medusa so humanoid? The design has been seen before, let’s think for ourselves people!

3. My remarks throughout the whole movie:

Lord Voldemort

Hades needs sex-ifying. Get Draco to slap some tan on him. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

‘Hey, isn’t that Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) playing Hades?’

‘Hey, isn’t that Mr Tough Danish Bond villain (Mads Mikkelsen) playing Mr Tough Greek captain guy?’

‘Hey, isn’t that the captain from 300 (Vincent Regan) playing a Greek king?’

‘Hey, isn’t that Dr Jekyll from League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Jason Flemyng) playing Greek Dr Jekyll?’

The biggest problem I had (besides bad storyboarding and writing) is this jumble of characters ripped from other roles. It’s like they grabbed every actor who resembles one cast character in another movie, slapped fake tan and eyeliner on them and BOOM! – you’re Greek. Do we have no faith in choosing other actors for a role they haven’t played before?

English: Sam Worthington at the 2010 Toronto I...

Mate, I’m true-blue Greek, swear on Mum’s Vegemite pavlova. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And on a more important note, I loved the mismatching accents. I REFUSE to watch a tale about Greek mythology UNLESS it stars actors who keep their Downton Abbey English, their Taken Scottish and their rinky-dink Australian accents. True blue blokes.

3-Point Belt Review – Vol. 1

TPBVol1_eyes

Hey boys and girls! Strap in. It’s time for a movie review!

The 3-Point Belt Review will be my attempt at being sooper edumacated about what’s hot and what’s not in VFX. Basically, each film only gets 3 observed points. Only 3. Because I don’t like long movie reviews. I’m generation Y. Me need instant gratification NOW! [Slams fists down]. Let’s cut to the cheese people.

Independence Day (Roland Emmerich, 1996):

  1. Miniatures and kabooms (pyrotechnics) = awesome!
  2. Respectful use of CG where props can’t be used.
  3. Damn good writing. In the words of the South Park police: “Nice”.

Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

  1. The CG melts into the sets beautifully due to well-planned VFX.
  2. Set design and the props – perfetto! Fantastically whimsical and true to steampunk.
  3. You know those cupcakes that look really delicious with all that icing and sprinkles but taste like plastic headphones? That was the writing/editing/directing. TERRIBLE pacing, disjointed plot and characters lacked depth. Ugh.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (Robert Zemeckis, 1988)

  1. Seamless integration between 2D elements impacting the real world.
  2. The most convincing interactions don’t occur physically but through EYE CONTACT WITH A CARTOON BUNNY.  I doff my hat to you Bob Hoskins.
  3. Campy but it has a clear plot and motivations, plus Doc from Back to the Future.

E.T (Steven Spielberg, 1982)

  1. Excellent mechanical puppetry and props (aha!) to Matthew DeMeritt for walking on his hands in the suit for some scenes.
  2. Fairly convincing green screen and spaceship, which is remarkable for its time.
  3. Confusing character motivations and acting at times. In other words, the Mum is really weird. Why are you so negligent? She needs Dr Phil to tell her to get real.

Ben-Hur …..errr, I mean Argo (Ben Affleck, 2012):

Ben-Hur (William Wyler, 1959) was a bit scratched and around the cool rowing scene, it became unwatchable. So we watched Argo instead, and –

  1. For whatever VFX is in there, it’s subtle and unnoticeable. The illustrated storyboard intro also immediately piqued my interest.
  2. Yes, it was AWESOME!
  3. No, it is not completely true to facts. Don’t cry about it. If you want a doco, go watch angry polar bears with Sir David Attenborough or something.