This season's blockbusters prove that great science fiction and futuristic-tech-filled flicks don't need to rely solely on CG tricks—innovative props can still blow an audience's mind. Here are the best examples from this summer's lineup (we'll try not to spoil anything).
Like many of you, I saw Avatar this weekend. And even though the fairly positive early reviews had tempered my skepticism, I still had doubts as to whether I would enjoy Avatar's almost entirely synthetic, effects-driven, Papyrus-loving world. Despite this, as a devotee of all things futuristic, I was going to give it a shot. And now, unlike John, who wasn't quite as moved, I'm poised to embrace our 3-D harbinger of the future of movies. Here's why.
By John Scott LewinskiPosted 12.15.2009 at 12:30 pm 71 Comments
It's an intriguing paradox--the success of a film as technologically elaborate and ambitious as James Cameron's Avatar will come down to a simple question: Will audiences marvel at the movie's groundbreaking production methods enough to forgive Cameron's curious choice to frame everything on a script that is, almost above all else, obsessed with the evils of technology in the wrong hands?
Imocapimage courtesy Animation Weekly News
Much like puberty and Ramadan, the movie awards season begins earlier and earlier each year. But this year, the nerds get to fire the opening salvo. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (emphasis on the "Sciences") has released its short list of nominees for the Science and Technical Oscars. The list includes some of the best known names in computer animation and special effects, like Pixar and Industrial Light and Magic, as well as some less famous companies that have been quietly changing the process of filmmaking.
The latest installment in the series promises to offer brilliant digitally-enhanced scenery and creatures
By Gregory MonePosted 05.22.2008 at 7:56 am 0 Comments
Remember those weird ghoulish souls coming out of the Arc of the Covenant in the first Indy flick? Well, Hollywood has come a long way since then. And while Indiana Jones himself may have lost a step since he last appeared on the big screen, the effects backing him up this time promise to be a vast improvement. In Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the fedora-wearing adventurer will encounter strange creatures, including an army of monkeys, race through some wild jungle scenery and face-down thousands of man-eating ants - thanks to Industrial Light & Magic.
From the gadgets in Get Smart to the gamma rays in The Hulk, we rate the scientific jargon quotient of the summer's hottest flicks
By Gregory MonePosted 04.11.2008 at 2:48 pm 0 Comments
Its blockbuster season, and that means mad scientists, angry robots and a certain flexibility with the laws of physics. Heres our guide to movies made especially with PopSci fans in mind. In it, a roundup of the season's best (and worst) geek candy, along with our expected gibberish quotient, so youll know which lines are pure comedy—even if no one else is laughing.
The high-speed stunner Speed Racer resets reality by creating a fantasyland out of nothing but computers and imagination
By Corey BinnsPosted 04.11.2008 at 1:44 pm 1 Comment
Go, Speed Racer
A fully composited single image from the Speed Racer movie. More than 500 effects artists worked on the film.
Filming conventional high-speed action fare is hard enough, but to bring the classic cartoon Speed Racer to life, the Wachowski brothers had to contend with 300mph racecars sporting fanciful features like robotic reconnaissance pigeons and wheels that can rotate 180 degrees. With 2,300 visual-effects (VFX) shots—twice as many as last year's eye-popping 300—it heralds the future of summer-blockbuster fare: The entire movie, aside from the human actors, exists only in a computer.
While the stars bask in glitz, the unsung heroes of today's effects-laden blockbusters continue to work on one of the linchpins of CG graphics: realistic water
By Stuart FoxPosted 02.22.2008 at 6:40 pm 0 Comments
New York City has just been destroyed by a 40-foot-tall deluge. Pirates battle around a giant, violent whirlpool. Without years of work by the 2007 Scientific and Technical Oscar winners, none of those images would have made it to a computer—and then a multiplex—near you.