War of the Worlds
Alien Apocalypse
Article by Joe Fordham
In War of the Worlds, a gritty, contemporary retelling of the 1950s George Pal film, adapted from the novel by H.G. Wells, director Steven Spielberg reunites with longtime collaborators at Industrial Light & Magic and actor/producer Tom Cruise to put a modern spin on the classic alien invasion story, told from a more intimate point of view. Working at breakneck speed to accommodate a compressed shooting and postproduction schedule, ILM crews, under senior visual effects supervisor Dennis Muren and visual effects supervisor Pablo Helman, took advantage of upgraded digital tools and a revamped pipeline to produce the fearsome army of extraterrestrial tripod war machines intent on destroying the world.
Batman Begins
Starting Over
Article by Joe Fordham
Following an eight-year hiatus, D.C. Comics' masked crusader returns to the big screen in Batman Begins, directed by Christopher Nolan. For the newest installment, which traces the traumatic events of Wayne's childhood and his early adulthood as a means of exploring the psychological underpinnings of a superhero, Nolan rooted the film in a real-world sensibility that serves as a counterpoint to its comic book origins. Dan Glass and Janek Sirrs headed up the visual effects work, which included elaborate miniatures by Cutting Edge and Steve Begg, and digital effects by Double Negative, The Moving Picture Company and Buf Compagnie. Chris Corbould supervised the film's extensive physical effects, including a radically remodeled Batmobile.
Gamer Cool
Article by Jody Duncan
Director Rob Cohen once again demonstrates his penchant for visceral displays of speed in Stealth, a cautionary tale of technology run amuck in a not-too-distant-future where computer-controlled drone fighter jets are used in combat. For thrilling aerial scenes involving the drone and a fleet of futuristic stealth bombers, Cohen turned to a Digital Domain crew headed by visual effects supervisor Joel Hynek, tasked with creating digital planes and environments, as well as a host of miniature effects for the film. Physical effects supervisor John Frazier led the practical work, which included construction of an elaborate hydraulic gimbal enabling Cohen to shoot his actors in dynamically moving cockpits.
Fantastic Four
Overview: Kurt Williams on Fantastic Four
Article by Jody Duncan
Visual effects supervisor Kurt Williams discusses makeup and visual effects employed by a dozen vendors to create the superheroes and villains for director Tim Story's film adaptation of the Marvel Comics favorite, Fantastic Four.
The Island
Overview: Eric Brevig on The Island
Article by Jody Duncan
Industrial Light & Magic visual effects supervisor Eric Brevig reteams with director Michael Bay to create futuristic effects for The Island, about two members of a clone community who discover that they have been bred and raised as involuntary organ donors.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Overview: Nick Davis on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Article by Jody Duncan
Visual effects supervisor Nick Davis delves into the creation of Oompa Loompas and a fanciful candy factory for director Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Herbie: Fully Loaded
Overview: John Van Vliet on Herbie: Fully Loaded
Article by Estelle Shay
Visual effects supervisor John Van Vliet goes behind-the-scenes with a discussion of the physical and visual effects needed to manufacture a Volkswagen with a mind of its own in Herbie: Fully Loaded.
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