The Martian
An Abundant Solitude
Article by Jody Duncan
Director Ridley Scott helms 20th Century Fox's screen adaptation of The Martian, the bestselling novel by Andy Weir. In the story, astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead by his crew and left stranded alone on the surface of Mars. Exhibiting extraordinary courage and ingenuity, Watney manages to stay alive on the hostile planet and, eventually, to resume contact with NASA, which — working with agencies around the world — launches an ambitious and high-risk mission to bring Watney home. Visual effects supervisor Richard Stammers oversaw the film's 1,100-shot visual effects assignment, which called upon the concerted efforts of MPC, Framestore, The Senate and others to create alien Red Planet environments, large-scale dust storms, various earthbound locations, and suspenseful, dynamic space shots. Special effects supervisor Neil Corbould orchestrated the film's practical, in-camera effects.
In the Heart of the Sea
High Seas Drifter
Article by Jody Duncan
Ron Howard directs this film, starring Chris Hemsworth, about the attack of the whaling ship Essex by a monstrously large and aggressive sperm whale that results in the loss of the ship and most of her crew. The true and tragic tale was the inspiration for Herman Melville's 19th century classic, Moby-Dick. The film's big whale and seafaring action were realized, in part, through visual effects supervised by Jody Johnson and delivered by Double Negative, while Rodeo FX extended art department sets representing 19th century Nantucket, Massachusetts. Special effects supervisor Mark Holt engineered gimbals to simulate a full-scale Essex set at sea, and also created in-camera storm effects, augmented to a raging squall by Scanline.
Crimson Peak
A Monstrous Love
Article by Joe Fordham
Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro brings his stylish take to a Gothic horror story, set in a crumbling mansion in Victorian northern England, where a young newlywed (Mia Wasikowska) discovers that her charming, sophisticated husband (Tom Hiddleston) and his cold-hearted sister (Jessica Chastain) are harboring supernatural secrets. Special effects supervisor Laird McMurray provided practical on-set effects, along with makeup effects supervisor David Marti and DDT Efectos Especiales. Visual effects supervisor Dennis Berardi and visual effects producer Jo Hughes supplied apparitions and otherworldly phenomena at Toronto visual effects studio, Mr. X.
The Death Zone
Article by Joe Fordham
Universal Pictures presents a gripping account of a mountain-climbing expedition that, in 1996, attempted to scale the world's tallest peak and instead met with tragedy and terror. Director Baltasar Kormákur retraced the ill-fated journey on locations in the Himalayas and the Dolomites, and studios in Rome and London. Makeup and hair designer Jan Sewell and special effects supervisor Richard Van Den Bergh assisted the production with visual effects supervisor Daði Einarsson, visual effects producer Roma O'Connor and artists at Reykjavík Visual Effects, Framestore, Important Looking Pirates, One of Us, Union Visual Effects, Milk VFX and Stereo D.
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