Wednesday, January 29, 2014

10 Things I Love About Movies, Part Three.

I was hoping to keep updating this on Fridays, but this last week got away from me.

3. Visuals (Special Effects)

I already went on about the CG aspect of visuals, now I want to go on about practical effects; makeup, props and stuff that’s right there with the actors as they’re filming. This obviously hits pretty close to home for me as I’ve finally settled into working in creating this sort of stuff myself – not for film specifically, but that’s besides the point here.

Special effects makeup, prosthetic appliances, you can call them whatever you want, but the notion of taking a bit of foam latex (or whatever works I guess) and gluing it on someone’s face to transform them into something else is pretty awesome to me.

If there’s a monster in the trailer, I’ll probably be interested. It goes without saying really. However, if it’s only onscreen for 5 minutes during the whole movie while the rest is uninspired chatter and idiots wandering about in the dark – I’ll probably hate it. There’s nothing more disappointing than the promise of seeing something interesting and having to wait and wait just of catch a glimpse. Some movies can pull it off, but that’s another point for later.

For now, we’re talking makeup and stuff. A great example of everything I’ve mentioned up to now is Hellboy II: The Golden Army. You’ve got an awesome cast, some amazing CG visuals and then some really great practical effects and makeup.  This movie is going to come up a lot on this list by the way – just wanted to let you know. Not only is it filled with some amazing looking creatures, it’s well done at that. Knowing the time, effort and skill it takes to just turn out a single piece of makeup that covers a person’s face, it really makes you appreciate it more when you see a full body suit.

The whole sequence in the Troll Market was one of the coolest sequences I’ve ever seen. EVERYTHING there was made, it wasn’t an existing set, they weren’t extras who looked a little weird. It was a huge set, everything  was a makeup/costume/puppet of some sort – the effort to create this was monumental.  This is exactly the sort of imagery that I’ve always wanted to capture in a movie, so there’s no doubt it’s something that would draw me into watching it.

That’s not to say that everything with a scene of crazy creatures is going to be a favorite of mine, there still has to be a couple more elements to it than that, but it’s definitely a good starting point. There’s a lot of movie that you might be thinking right now, “Oh, he must love whatever random movie you’re thinking of.” But, you might be wrong. For instance – and I’m sure I’ll suffer nerd rage over this – not a huge Star Wars fan. I used to be when I was a kid, but as I grew older I realized it was missing something for me to really keep it in my mind as a movie I love.

Another great example are the Lord of the Rings movies. I read The Hobbit as a kid and was always aware of these books, but to be honest I had no further interest. When I saw the first movie, Fellowship if the Ring, I thought – “meh, it was alright.” I guess only because I had no idea of what to expect and never had an interest before. However, that “meh” soon changed and now I think the movies are awesome.  Especially after seeing all the production extras – all that was beyond amazing and made me really appreciate Fellowship more, and upon seeing the other two I went in with a completely different mindset. And since then the two Hobbit movies have been pretty awesome so far as well.

I guess the kind of things I like about movies are also sort of confined, generally speaking, to specific genres as well when you really think about movies with grand visual effects and loads of special effects. I’ll have to think about that for next time.

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