I just finished watching Bright on Netflix, and it was okay (review forthcoming) though a few minutes prior I noticed an email from studioADI (the guys who supposedly–a word I use because I wasn’t there, and have no idea of what went on one way or the other–did a lot of the practical effects on the movie) saying that their entire crew was left out of the credits!
And that’s really, really odd and something I’ve never heard of happening before.
Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Alien: Resurrection, along with David Fincher’s Alien 3, are considered–and rightly so–to be the worse movies in the Alien franchise.
In reference to the the former, that’s probably true, but doesn’t tell the whole story. For instance, Joss Whedon (Serenity, The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron) wrote the movie, and had a few things to say about the casting as well as how he final product veered from his screenplay.
Another point is that, despite the issues revolving around the casting or story–what’s the point of giving the Alien Queen the ability to reproduce like mammals do, anyway? Not only is it oftentimes painful (which may aid to bond the mother and her offspring), mammals typically produce much less offspring than insects, which the Aliens essentially are.
So when the entire premise of your movie is a wash, it’s typically a bad sign.
That being said, studioADI handled a lot of the practical special effects–Ripley models, the full-sized Alien Queen, etc–and their work is easily the best part of the movie.
And while it wasn’t not enough to save the movie, visually speaking, it came damn close.
“Harbinger Down isn’t a bad movie, though it mimics a much better one.”
Alec Gillis, besides being the director of Harbinger Down, runs StudioADI along with Tom Woodruff, so it goes without saying that practical special effects are in his blood.
And indisputably the greatest practical effect-based horror film is John Carpenter’s The Thing, so it’s logical that Gillis would use it as inspiration for his feature debut.
The problem is that Harbinger Down so slavishly mimics Carpenter’s movie that it only serves to show how Gillis would have probably been better served by a more original story, though even that would have not even been too big a hurdle for me to enjoy this movie if it were better written and cast because a lot of the dialog doesn’t ring particularly true, and isn’t helped when many characters pivotal to the plot are almost Asylum-quality (Lance Henriksen is an exception; though at least initially the editor of the movie seemed reluctant to let scenes breathe, which would have went a long way to help flesh characters out. It’s also worth mentioning that the movie plays better the second time around).
And I know that I already mentioned that Harbinger Down apes Carpenter’s movie, though the opening is from Carpenter’s movie, which is a bit much (it’s actually not, but so close that the difference is almost negligible).
it’s taken filmmakers long enough to realize that ‘quality’ and ‘horror’ aren’t necessairly mutually exclusive terms, if movies like The Babadook and It Follows are any indication.
Though it goes without saying that we’ll continue to get drek like Ouija (good idea, remarkably uninspired movie) and Paranormal Activity, but that’s okay as long as the good stuff continues be green-lit as well.
And speaking of ‘good stuff,’ StudioADI has cut an international trailer for their upcoming love letter to H.P. Lovecraft and John Carpenter’s The Thing, Harbinger Down.
The significance being that if there’s an international trailer, it assumes that at the very least that the movie will be released in theaters overseas, though I get the feeling that it will be lucky to get a limited run in theaters on this side of the world (though It Follows was was originally going direct to video, before someone thought better of the idea and released it to theaters).Trailer
And who knows? One successful adaptation of a Lovecraft-like movie could conceivably get studios to approve others.
I liked most of I Am Legend, based on the story by Richard Matheson, though my admiration stopped at the computer-generated effects, which tended toward the cartoony. What makes matters even worse was that StudioADI was actually working on practical special effects on the movie for a time (which actually effected the way that I looked at the director, Francis Lawrence for awhile, and not in a good way).
Included in the video are concept drawings, clay maquettes as well as actually makeup tests on models (it got that far before the approach was abandoned).
The makeup work looks pretty awesome and would have made a decent movie significantly better, which is why I am mystified they didn’t go with it.
Every since the television series based on Irwin Allen‘s Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea I’ve had a love affair with submarines in movies, though the more realistic they appear, the less I am interested.
For instance, the cramped and claustrophobic submarines–which is more in line with actual submersibles–from movies like The Hunt for Red October or Crimson Tide, I don’t care too much for, but give me something like the SeaQuest from SeaQuest DSV (despite being being CGI as opposed to practical) and I’m all over it.
Which is why I am posting this clip from StudioADI of a submarine they built as a test model for James Cameron for a very real dive he did to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, knowledge that I feel comfortable in saying would in some way contributed (and who knows, may have helped to inspire) to their upcoming Harbinger Down.
And in case you’ve forgotten about Harbinger Down, which sounds like an awesome mix of a nautical thriller, H.P. Lovecraft, and John Carpenter’s The Thing, here’s the official trailer.
Bob Woodruff, Jr. and Alec Gillis of studioADI, the practical special effects house behind a lot of your favorite movies, including the Predator and Alien films, as well as the upcoming Kickstarter-funded practical horror film, Harbinger Down) are two men that clearly enjoy their work.
You can see the devotion and craftsmanship that their effects shop brings to every creature they make, even when their creations don’t appear in great movies, such as X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the effects they designed for fan-favorite anti-hero, Deadpool.
This disdain occasionally spills over to the creator of the effects.
In the above clip Gillis and Woodruff are explaining why Deadpool looked as he did.
And Gillis makes a great point, which is that special effects houses, aren’t necessarily in control over how a character looks, when all is said and done.
The thing is, I knew that already and while I also hated how Deadpool ended up, the effects-works itself (which is the only thing that studioADI is actually in control of), was spot-on.