Thursday, December 17, 2009

Russell Crowe Hits with a "Missed" Back-fist in Robin Hood

Funny how stunt sequences can look so good on film, but the truth is there's more than meets the eye with them and if you play the scenes slowly, you'll see that they are not what they appear to be. Take this fight sequence in the movie Robin Hood directed by Ridley Scott.

You can see that Crow's back-fist strike is a clear miss. Sure, it's fast and with lots of water spray, but it's just a choreographed stunt that makes it appear that Crowe and his opponent are actually doing physical damage to each other. That's old-fashioned movie magic but the shortfalls cannot escape the magic of video that can be replayed and slowed down. Robin Hood also stars Max von Sydow, Cate Blanchett, and William Hurt.

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Daffy Duck is no Russel Crowe, but at least he's a less serious Robin Hood. He also makes you laugh with his antics with lovable Friar Tuck, Porky Pig. Ibidi-ibidi-ibidi-ibidi. Click here to place your order.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bad Guy Crashes Through Thin Doorway in The Spy Next Door

Hong Kong's Jackie Chan is in another action-comedy movie called The Spy Next Door. It's like The Tuxedo in which an ordinary guy gets to become a spy. But in this movie, Chan is already a spy, but he has to do his duty while babysitting for a neighbor.

While being a doting neighbor to the kids next door, Chan unknowingly gets them in danger when the naughty kids mistakenly downloads a code that the bad guys are after. They literally crash into the house and go after the kids. But the kids are ready for them with spy gadgets that make the tricks done in Home Along seem like, well, child's play.

In one scene, a kid use a force gadget on a big bad guy that sends him crashing through the bedroom doorway. You will notice in the sequence that the doorway wall is as thin as cardboard. Ideally, it should be several inches thick and made of concrete. But since this is a comedy movie, it's kind of acceptable, but not very realistic. Such a thin wall wouldn't really hold a door that's at least two inches thick along the borders.

See some cool spy gadgets here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Molar for a Canine Tooth Effects Blooper in Tooth Fairy

The comedy, Tooth Fairy, stars Dwayne Johnson as a loathsome ice hockey player who gets sentenced by the tooth fairies for wrongdoings committed against toothfairydom. To pay for his misdeeds, he must become a tooth fairy. It's a lot easier said than done of course and our hero must pass tooth fairy school before he is set loose onto the world!

Well, back to the blooper. In one scene in the movie, Johnson crashes into an opposing team's player who loses a canine tooth - or is it a lateral incisor? Anyway, the tooth that flies away and shown as a computer graphic animation (below) is clearly intended to be a molar. Molars, of course, are found at the back of the jaw and mandible and not at the front. You can see what canine teeth look like in the diagram on the left. The third picture below shows the source of the loosened tooth.

The tooth fairy from Hellboy 2: The Golden Army.
This isn't your fairy tale tooth fairy. It's actually the one from Hell Boy 2: The Golden Army. Yes, it's a nasty looking one but it's also kind of cute at the same time with that funny horse-like smile. Click here or on the image to place your order.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Camera Reflection Seen in Trucker Movie Starring Michelle Monaghan

Trucker is a drama about a single mother who's reluctant to become one after he estranged kid suddenly comes into her life and turns things upside down.

Trucker is a movie where there aren't any special effects or the usual bloopers associated with them, but there's this one scene where Monaghan pulls away in her truck that reveals the reflection of the camera on the truck's side (top picture).

It's really a brief exposure and the blooper would not really be noticed if you're not looking, but it's there. For a fraction of a second, you can see the camera and a few other unrecognizable "production" things reflected on the side as the truck moves along.

Trucker has garnered acclaim in independent film circles and Monaghan's unforgettable heartfelt performance has also been praised. It stars Nathan Fillion who we all know from Serenity.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tron Legacy Has Virtual Characters with Heads Too Small and Necks Too Long

Tron Legacy is another one of those movies that take things a step up from the original with a better story, better graphics, and of course, better animation. Also, let's not forget that this sequel to Tron is going to be released in high-definition 3D. How's that for a movie that was inspired by the most basic and mother of all video games, Pong? It's movie-making history as it happens!

Anyway, the time has come for the world of Tron to really take shape. When the original had to rely much on rotoscoping to get the backlit animations to acceptable quality, Tron Legacy uses state-of-the art computer graphics together with live animation (or something in between) - a feat that filmmakers of the 80s only dreamt of and hoped to happen. Now the technology is here and you'd guess everything would be perfect in this sequel. Well, maybe not quite.

While the movie as depicted in the teaser looks slick and cool, one thing does get your attention and gives you a quirky feeling that says "that's not right!" If you'll just look closely at the movie still above, the head of this rider is a tad small for his body and this also makes his neck too long. It looks as if his face is just projected onto the helmet's visor from the inside. In the real world, the mouth is generally hidden from view behind the chin guard, but in this case, it's not and the whole face can be seen.

Of course there's the argument that it's supposed to be just a representation of the real world or that the helmet used is larger than the typical motorcycling helmet. Still, you can't help but feel that there's something wrong with the proportions. But it's one cinema secret that may not really matter and the movie will still provide great entertainment no matter what.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cracking Sistine Chapel Effect in 2012 Obviously Overlaid

In the sneak peek at the end-of-the-world movie 2012, there's a part that shows the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel cracking right through Michaelangelo's well-known fresco painting depicting a man reaching out to a bearded Godlike figure. The splitting ceiling special effect is just a few seconds long and seems convincing, but the cinematic magic loses it's charm the closer you look.

If you notice in the two frozen frames, the cracks were obviously laid over the footage or still picture using graphics software. Notice how in the second picture below, that a small portion of the blue outline at the middle-bottom part has been "accidentally" erased when the advancing cracks were being added. Look carefully by comparing the two screen caps and you'll see it. The erasure can actually be seen moving along with the crack in the trailer.

Computer-generated cracking effects are funny in how they are sometimes laid over a scene carelessly with little regard for lighting and how the surrounding visual elements are affected. More often that not, they are simply colored stark black, when in fact, they wouldn't really look that way in reality. Because of the quick editing, mistakes in such graphic effects like those used in the 2012 movie are not obvious. In fact, a lot of the effects you will see in this movie are superb, in spite of the reported budget cut on the movie.

See the 2012 solar eclipse special effects mistake here.

Eclipse Effect in 2012 Trailer Is Unreal?

In the full trailer of the Roland Emmerich doomsday movie 2012, a solar eclipse effect is shown. Lately, the image of the total solar eclipse has been used by movie-making people in connection with the ancient Mayan civilization. Mel Gibson's Apocalypto is one example where a total solar eclipse plays a pivotal role in one of the movie's turning points.

So now we have 2012, which is based on the belief that the end of the world is to occur near the end of that year because it's also the time when the Mayan calendar ends. Now, we may have our personal beliefs and some of you may actually believe this or at least feel apprehension regarding it - which isn't really bad when it comes to getting publicity for the movie, it's still all a matter of speculation and a big waiting game, similar to the millennium bug issue. But we digress. It's the eclipse effect that you should pay attention to in this post.

If you watch the 2012 trailer, you might not notice anything wrong with the eclipse shown, and even astronomers may take a second look. But if you notice the way the moon creeps over the sun's face (from left to right, in the trailer) you'll see that it has a bite, like a cookie. It should really appear like a full circle that slowly covers the sun. Although the "bite" can arguably be called a flaring effect that only happens just before totality.

Flaring is really the result of overexposure from the bright light of the exposed part of the sun not covered yet by the moon. The 2012 trailer footage makes it appear that flaring occurred sooner than it should. Catch the trailer of 2012 here.

2012 is directed by Roland Emmerich, who also gave us Independence Day, Stargate, The Day After Tomorrow, and 10,000 B.C. It stars John Cusack and Amanda Peet.

Click here to know why the splitting-ceiling effect of the destruction of Sistine Chapel in 2012 could have been done with more care.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Drag Me to Hell Stunt Switch

Alison Lohman is a good actress, but like all good actresses, she also has a double for scenes that are too physical or demanding in terms of action and body punishment. In her movie Drag Me to Hell, she has a scene (movie still at the bottom) where a witch pulls her out of her car by the legs through the door.

The scene is a quick one, and viewers aren't able to tell if it is indeed Lohman or a stunt woman who got dragged. But if you slow down the scene and freeze one frame, you'd see that it's not Lohman doing the stunt but some other girl. It's obvious even with the face contorted on purpose (still warranted in the scene, of course) to avoid recognition. It's definitely a stunt woman who has a much longer face than Alison's.

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