Movie Magic: The Black Panther (Captain America: Civil War)

These days as a mover goer I know full well that practical effects combined with CGI can create virtually any type of effect imaginable. 

Though what I find infinitely more interesting is when a movie’s special effects are so seamless that I don’t know that what I happen to be looking at is a special effect, which brings me to Captain America: Civil War.  

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There were two scenes where I recall the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) was a full-on CGI character: when he was sliding down the side of a building when chasing the Winter Soldoer (Sebastian Stan) and another when he was slowing hinself down after momentum carried him beyond the Soldier in a second confrontation.

Beyond those two instances, I assumed that the character–as well as many of the locations–were entirely practical.  

Imagine my surprise to learn that virtually every scene featuring the Panther had three or four layers of CGI over a practical stuntman, and most of the locations were CGI enhanced as well!

Movie magic indeed.  

Cars 3 – Teaser Trailer

The first time I had seen the Cars 3 teaser trailer was during Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and someone seated nearby remarked:

“That’s pretty dark for a Pixar movie.”

Whoever this astute moviegoer was, he took the words right out of my mouth because not only is this trailer–tonally speaking–dark but it makes the movie that came afterward almost optimistic in retrospect.  

The Fog (2005) – Postmortem

Screenshot 2016-08-23 23.05.50.pngAs I have said time and again, I am not fond of remakes.

More often than not they don’t add anything to the original–did we really need to know about Michael Myers difficult upbringing in Rob Zombie’s Halloween reboot?–or they add details that seemingly are there just to differentiate them from the original.

The thing is, as far as remarks go, Rupert Wainwright’s remake of The Fog (it doesn’t help that  John Carpenter directed the original) isn’t terrible.

It’s not particularly good, but it’s different enough that you don’t at least hate yourself for wasting an hour and a half that you will never get back.

What works is the whole leprosy subplot–in the original I don’t recall the movie going into huge detail about what William Blake was doing with the gold–but in the reboot the point was to get his people to a place where they could live in peace because they were suffering from leprosy.

He was building a leper colony!  It’s a pretty clever idea that the movie unfortunately doesn’t take advantage of (there’s a scene where one of the ghosts comes in physical contact with a person, and she’s decays like she’s caught leprosy on steroids).

Unfortunately it’s an angle that they don’t deal with again.

They could have also done more innovative things with the fog itself, especially when you take into account that the bulk of it is CGI, but unfortunately they don’t.

It’s a movie full of wasted opportunities–especially compared to the original–but at least you don’t feel your time slipping away like digital fog.

 

The Secret Life Of Pets – Trailer

The Secret Life Of Pets – Trailer 1

With voice talent provided by Louie C.K. and Kevin Hart, you’d think that The Secret Life Of Pets would be pretty awesome, never mind funny.

The Secret Life Of Pets – Trailer 2

But if the reviews that are coming in are any indicator, then seeing this movie is akin to flipping a coin: you don’t know what you’re going to get, though it’s going to be either one of two things:

Either  really, really bad or pretty smart and amusing.

The Secret Life Of Pets = Trailer 3

And I have no idea which, but since I don’t particularly care about animated movies–I’ll see something from Pixar (The Incredibles are well, incredible) though I don’t find myself interested in most others, like as the Ice Age or Minions movies.

The Secret Life Of Pets – Official Final Trailer

Then again, Universal has at least $104 million reasons to think otherwise.

Pete’s Dragon – Trailer

I’m not quite sure what to make of the retooled Pete’s Dragon except that it’s apparently nothing like the original, though oddly enough, what they both share in common is the significant role animation plays–though in this instance it’s the result of–more likely than not–hundreds of computer artists, as opposed to relatively few of the hand-drawn variety.

Another change is that Pete this time around is a wild child in the vein of a young Tarzan or Mowgli–who also happens to have starred in another Disney movie that’s doing really, really well.

Either way, not too interested though Robert Redford has apparently being shared among Disney’s various divisions.

Finding Dory – Trailer 2

Before watching the latest trailer for Pixar’s Finding Dory I was prepared to not like it.

After all, I find Ellen DeGeneres’ voice irritatingly ingratiating and in this particular context so saccharine cute that if I were diabetic I’d be worried about falling into a coma.

That being said, the trailer is pretty captivating. The animation is oftentimes so life-like, the motion of the various sea creatures so fluid that the if it weren’t for their anthropomorphic tendencies they’d approach the photo-real.

As it stands I still think that DeGeneres overdoes it a wee bit, but the movie is filled with so much wonderfulness–typically of the CGI and voice-talent variety–that it’s easy to overlook relatively minor issues.

Postmortem: The Core (2003)

Jon Amiel’s The Core wasn’t a success at the time, which is a pity because it’s pretty engaging. It plays very much in Irwin Allen wheelhouse, except on a greater scale.

What’s also important is that Amiel brings a humanity to his characters typically missing from such movies, so despite a pretty ample amount of CGI–it gets heavy about a third of the way through–it’s not at the cost of the performances.

And what a cast!  Actors like Delroy Lindo, Hillary Swank, Aaron Eckhart, Stanley Tucci and Tchéky Karyo elevate material that would under most circumstances come off a bit schlocky.

Due to unforeseen circumstances (another way of saying that due to the United States military meddling with things they shouldn’t causes the problem in the first place) the molten metal that surrounds the Earth’s core has stopped rotating, which according to the logic of the movie–which may or may not be true, I have no idea–is creating all sorts of freak weather occurrences, such as lightning storms beyond anything seen before, and issues for animals that rely upon the planet’s electromagnetic field for navigation, like birds, whales and dolphins.


I forgot to mention that the electromagnetic field that protects the planet from lethal solar radiation is also powered by the rotation of the molten mantle, so if it stops, the protective envelope will eventually dissipate as well.

So the Military finances the creation of a submersible named the Virgil that, instead of water, is designed to penetrate the Earth’s crust.

The mission ends up greater than any member of the craft, and I understand that; though the movie is particularly quick to sacrifice certain crew members when the script requires it–though Lindo isn’t the first to do so, which is something, I guess.

As I implied, there’s a logic, but that doesn’t make it any less irritating though overall The Core is a pretty fascinating movie.