2008 Holiday VFX Sneaks: The Top 10 Movies
5. Quantum of Solace (MGM/Columbia Pictures, Nov. 14) 6. Twilight (Summit Ent., Nov. 21) 7. Australia (Twentieth Century Fox, Nov. 26)
Daniel Craig returns as 007 to find the baddies and closure from Casino Royale. Indie fave Marc Forster directs the 22nd James Bond adventure in breathless fashion while exploring the superspy's psyche for the first time. Kevin Tod Haug serves as vfx designer and revs up nearly 1,000 invisible effects with the help of Double Negative, Framestore, MPC, Machine FX and MK12.
Catherine Hardwicke directs the phenomenally popular teenage vampire love story from novelist Stephenie Meyer. Richard Kidd (Hancock) served as the overall vfx supervisor with CIS Vancouver handling lead duties under Geoff Hancock's supervision.
Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge) directs Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman in this class conscious adventure/love story set in northern Australia before the outbreak of World War II. Rising Sun Pictures, Animal Logic, Framestore and others provide digital mattes along with other 3D environments and CG animal herds.
5. Quantum of Solace (MGM/Columbia Pictures, Nov. 14)
6. Twilight (Summit Ent., Nov. 21)
7. Australia (Twentieth Century Fox, Nov. 26)
8. Valkyrie (UA, Dec. 26) 9. Transporter 3 (Lionsgate, Nov. 26)
Bryan Singer (Superman Returns) directs Tom Cruise in this suspense thriller based on the true story about World War II German officer Col. Claus von Stauffenberg, wounded in North Africa, who joins the daring and ingenious plot to assassinate Hitler. Sony Pictures Imageworks provides vfx enhancements with Rich Hoover (Superman Returns) serving as senior visual effects supervisor along with CG supervisors Peter Nofz (Spider-Man 3), Dan Eaton, Theo Bialek (Speed Racer) and Patrick Witting (Ghost Rider).
Jason Statham returns as Frank Martin, the ex-Special Forces operative who specializes in high-risk deliveries. Expect a lot more high-octane effects thrills, with Thomas Duval (Underworld: Rise of the Lycans) serving as vfx supervisor and work from Paris-based Mac Guff Ligne.
8. Valkyrie (UA, Dec. 26)
9. Transporter 3 (Lionsgate, Nov. 26)
10. Bolt (Walt Disney Pictures, Nov. 21) Bill Desowitz is senior editor of AWN and VFXWorld.
There's definitely a place on this list for the animated feature about eponymous canine TV superhero (voiced by John Travolta) that discovers he doesn't really possess super powers. VFX Supervisor John Murrah (Lorenzo, The Rock), who knows a thing or two about Michael Bay movies, helps conjure an opening thrill ride as if it were directed by the king of action. And Technical Supervisor Hank Driskill worked as the main liaison to the technology groups, which included R&D for new look rendering methods, normal painting techniques, a raypainting system and painterly shadow work.
10. Bolt (Walt Disney Pictures, Nov. 21)
Bill Desowitz is senior editor of AWN and VFXWorld.