Spring 2013 Animation and VFX Film Preview
Now You See Me – May 31th
Jesse Eisenberg, Morgan Freeman, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, Michael Caine and Mark Ruffalo star in this story of a group of magicians who pull a stunt so unbelievable they’d need some CGI to back them up. Opting to give back to their crowd, they transport a bank vault’s worth of money from Paris to Vegas in three seconds, earning standing ovations and whole lot of heat from the police. Though much of the cast was reportedly hesitant to get involved with the picture because of its reliance on VFX, it’s a safe bet Rodeo FX, Modus FX, Image Engine, The Garage VFX, ILM, Baked FX, Prologue Films and Persistance of Vision (who did all the previs) made sure they looked good pulling that rabbit out of their hat.
Man of Steel – June 14th
Could there possibly be more riding on the success of this one? After a lackluster return to theatres in 2006, Superman has been trapped in a no-fly zone for so long that Marvel heroes have all but eclipsed the memory of his legendary exploits in the minds of moviegoers. Man of Steel hopes to turn the tide with a complete reboot of the franchise that just might pave the way for the long-stalled Justice League project and bring the expanded DC universe back to the big screen in grand fashion. Talk about having the weight of the world on your shoulders – no wonder Supes looks so stressed in the trailers! Helping to lighten his load (and help Henry Cavill take flight) are a veritable JL of VFX: Film Illusions FX, Weta Digital, The Moving Picture Company, Double Negative, Look Effects, Pixel Liberation Front and Scanline VFX.
Monsters University – June 21st 2013
If Pixar had a fun buddy/kid flick in 2001’s Monsters Inc., with this picture they have something far more compelling. University is a coming-of-age prequel that explains how Mike and Sully became the colleagues who managed so successfully to scare kids for a living in the original, in spite of having been completely at odds in the classroom. See, it turns out young Mike Wazowski was the one who had his heart set on being a “scarer” back when he and Sully first met. As we all well know from Inc., the little green guy doesn’t exactly get his wish. This is a tale of having to deal with life’s unexpected twists and turns, turning opponents into allies and coming to grips with the idea that you may not be able to accomplish everything you set your mind to. And yes – the characters are still all fuzzy, funny monsters created by some of the best CG animators in the business. Frankly, college never looked better.
World War Z – June 21st
This horror flick some five years in the making pits Brad Pitt against hordes of decrepit zombies in a face-off for the fate of the planet – hardly a fair fight. Based on Max Brooks’ novel, which recounts through interviews how humanity survived fighting against flesh-eaters for a decade, this one boasts a script begun by Babylon 5 scribe J. Michael Straczynski and ultimately completed by Matthew Michael Carnahan. On the effects side of things, Prime Focus World, Legacy Effects, The Moving Picture Company, Cinesite and The Third Floor bring to life seemingly endless seas of zombies as they attack and overrun cities across the globe like roaches. Warm Bodies, this ain’t.
White House Down – June 28th
One can only wonder how secure the Obamas are feeling these days, with three films in as many months depicting the destruction of their historic home. Unlike G.I. Joe: Retaliation or Olympus Has Fallen, however, Down’s villains are apparently homegrown. While America relies on the skills of Channing Tatum’s policeman John Cale to save the day, director Roland Emmerich – master of disaster spectacles like Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and 2012 – turns to Method Studios, Scanline VFX, Mokko Studio, Image Engine, Crazy Horse Effects and Prime Focus to keep the explosions a-comin’, just in time for the 4th of July.
James Gartler is a Canadian writer with a serious passion for animation in all its forms. His work has appeared in the pages of Sci Fi Magazine, and at the websites EW.com and Newsarama.com.