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 Posted:   Feb 19, 2014 - 1:08 PM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

Mostly I agree, but they did not really know where they were going with Sting and the fatman. It just got a bit off the rails with those scenes. There were some moments of patchy effects too. Other than that, it is an interesting film for sure, not run of the mill.


Which effects do you think are patchy?
I ask because I am quite critical when it comes to FX, even in movies I love.

And regarding the use of Sting and the Baron, I don't think I've seen anything in the book that says they couldn't conceivably be like what the movie portrayed. And even if there was, there is certainly a perogative on the writers' or directors' part to make changes in characterization (or even physical appearance) in order to better serve the adaptation.
(I have a feeling Sting lobbied long and hard to get the role to bolster his resume. big grin)

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 19, 2014 - 2:02 PM   
 By:   Ado   (Member)

Mostly I agree, but they did not really know where they were going with Sting and the fatman. It just got a bit off the rails with those scenes. There were some moments of patchy effects too. Other than that, it is an interesting film for sure, not run of the mill.


Which effects do you think are patchy?
I ask because I am quite critical when it comes to FX, even in movies I love.

And regarding the use of Sting and the Baron, I don't think I've seen anything in the book that says they couldn't conceivably be like what the movie portrayed. And even if there was, there is certainly a perogative on the writers' or directors' part to make changes in characterization (or even physical appearance) in order to better serve the adaptation.
(I have a feeling Sting lobbied long and hard to get the role to bolster his resume. big grin)


Yeah, I mostly think that Sting is pretty terrible here, but it was something he wanted probably.

Otherwise, on that effects point, I think that the worms are sometimes pretty good, and them for some reason some shots are pretty obviously fake. Some of those effects around that shuttle flight that Paul and his mother take and crash are pretty fake, although I am a total sucker for model work. Some of the longer takes of those shuttle tram are not super great.

Within the time frame it was made, and without ILM working on it, well is pretty remarkable what they did. The moon shots with the moon tearing is one my favorite effects shots, even though that was probably just a simple slide projection or something silly like that. And I think that the shielded suit is pretty terrific.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 19, 2014 - 2:40 PM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

Otherwise, on that effects point, I think that the worms are sometimes pretty good, and them for some reason some shots are pretty obviously fake. Some of those effects around that shuttle flight that Paul and his mother take and crash are pretty fake, although I am a total sucker for model work. Some of the longer takes of those shuttle tram are not super great.
Within the time frame it was made, and without ILM working on it, well is pretty remarkable what they did. The moon shots with the moon tearing is one my favorite effects shots, even though that was probably just a simple slide projection or something silly like that. And I think that the shielded suit is pretty terrific.



I can understand your point about matte lines--they are obviously all over the place--but I'm excluding it because any movie that used bluescreen in the 1980's had matte lines in it. I'm not going to fault the film for using the only process for combining optical elements that was available at the time. And I'm certainly not going to judge what it looks like now by comparing it with the FX standards achieved currently in film.

The other FX look amazing. The worms and the combat shields (as you pointed out), the castle shield, even the ornithopter... they were all like nothing anyone had seen before. And perhaps that is one of the reasons they work. For instance, no one can say that the combat shield or the discharge from the weirding modules looked fake because no one could have ever known what they were supposed to look like. The very foreign nature of some of the effects themselves helped to suspend disbelief.

(The believability of the effects was assisted enormously by the physical sets. The design and color schemes were a visual feast. No one spends money to make sets like that anymore.)

Sting...
...that was around the same time as "Synchronicity", when his head was its largest. HA!

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 19, 2014 - 4:22 PM   
 By:   Ado   (Member)

Yeah, I am with you Octoberman, that old generation model work is so glorious crafted, I will give those guys a pass on the imperfection, and I still prefer the model work Star Wars films to the digitized models in the prequels.

Oh, another thing, few films have attempted a whispered voice over, and i think it works brilliantly well for an internal monologue.

Sting, yeah, talented guy sometimes, with music.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 19, 2014 - 5:19 PM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

Yeah, I am with you Octoberman, that old generation model work is so glorious crafted, I will give those guys a pass on the imperfection, and I still prefer the model work Star Wars films to the digitized models in the prequels.
Oh, another thing, few films have attempted a whispered voice over, and i think it works brilliantly well for an internal monologue.
Sting, yeah, talented guy sometimes, with music.



Talking about the film here reminded me of the original run when I saw it. I remember having gone to see it quite a few times then. On one particular trip out I took my little sister, who was 19 at the time. Nothing unusual about that, except that she is slightly challenged. But whereas I was expecting to have to explain everything to her, I was taken a little aback to find that she was following along with everything really well. I think that may have been due in some way to the internal monologues you just mentioned.

Man, it was awesome seeing it on the big screen. Total immersion.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 19, 2014 - 6:14 PM   
 By:   Ado   (Member)

Yeah, I am with you Octoberman, that old generation model work is so glorious crafted, I will give those guys a pass on the imperfection, and I still prefer the model work Star Wars films to the digitized models in the prequels.
Oh, another thing, few films have attempted a whispered voice over, and i think it works brilliantly well for an internal monologue.
Sting, yeah, talented guy sometimes, with music.



Talking about the film here reminded me of the original run when I saw it. I remember having gone to see it quite a few times then. On one particular trip out I took my little sister, who was 19 at the time. Nothing unusual about that, except that she is slightly challenged. But whereas I was expecting to have to explain everything to her, I was taken a little aback to find that she was following along with everything really well. I think that may have been due in some way to the internal monologues you just mentioned.

Man, it was awesome seeing it on the big screen. Total immersion.


There is something about how Lynch handles a narrative, he finds ways or making visual shortcuts to fold in tons of narrative, he had to with this one since the book is so much material. But he does it with all his films. One of the keys with Dune was surely that whisper narrative, which could carry us into understanding things while the images spilled over the screen. Oddly, the film is understandable, i mean, it is a really strange universe, folded space and all that, but visually and with small narratition it communicates those ideas. It is, I guess, underneath or outside intellectual sense, which is where Kubrick played in 2001 too, and somewhat in Star Trek TMP, and all of these were somewhat disliked at various levels.

Terrific that you and your sister could 'fold into' that space of the film.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 19, 2014 - 6:30 PM   
 By:   Joe E.   (Member)

Yeah, I am with you Octoberman, that old generation model work is so glorious crafted, I will give those guys a pass on the imperfection, and I still prefer the model work Star Wars films to the digitized models in the prequels.

Oh, another thing, few films have attempted a whispered voice over, and i think it works brilliantly well for an internal monologue.

Sting, yeah, talented guy sometimes, with music.


I think Sting is perfectly fine in this movie, actually.

The Star Wars prequels may have a lot of CG work, but they don't give up on physical miniatures, either (in fact, Star Wars - Episode I: The Phantom Menace actually used more physical models than the entire original trilogy combined).

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 19, 2014 - 6:54 PM   
 By:   Ado   (Member)

Yeah, I am with you Octoberman, that old generation model work is so glorious crafted, I will give those guys a pass on the imperfection, and I still prefer the model work Star Wars films to the digitized models in the prequels.

Oh, another thing, few films have attempted a whispered voice over, and i think it works brilliantly well for an internal monologue.

Sting, yeah, talented guy sometimes, with music.


I think Sting is perfectly fine in this movie, actually.

The Star Wars prequels may have a lot of CG work, but they don't give up on physical miniatures, either (in fact, Star Wars - Episode I: The Phantom Menace actually used more physical models than the entire original trilogy combined).



Ah, no, I think you are pretty wrong on that, if you mean visual effects shots, yeah, far outnumbered the others, but most objects were digitally rendered. Yes there were physical sets and elements, but most of those space objects were not physical models and several characters and important sets were entirely digital.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 19, 2014 - 7:02 PM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

There is something about how Lynch handles a narrative, he finds ways or making visual shortcuts to fold in tons of narrative, he had to with this one since the book is so much material. But he does it with all his films. One of the keys with Dune was surely that whisper narrative, which could carry us into understanding things while the images spilled over the screen. Oddly, the film is understandable, i mean, it is a really strange universe, folded space and all that, but visually and with small narratition it communicates those ideas. It is, I guess, underneath or outside intellectual sense, which is where Kubrick played in 2001 too, and somewhat in Star Trek TMP, and all of these were somewhat disliked at various levels.
Terrific that you and your sister could 'fold into' that space of the film.



Well, hearing a characters' thoughts has always been a tremendous aid in conveying expository material to the audience. A voiceover in a film has never bothered me. Every DUNE fan knows how many layers-upon-layers there are in the story and , frankly, I am still delighted that Lynch got in as much as he did and kept it coherent in a 2-hour movie. To this day each time I watch it I pick up some little thing I never noticed before.

When I was watching it the other day I recall specifically wondering, "How the deuce would someone come up with a way to visualize the folding of space nowadays?".
The answer, of course (or so I think), would be to do it in an abstract, almost poetic fashion. Let the audience's imagination fill in what you're not showing. You see the Navigator blending the images of the two world with the beam of light emanating from its mouth, but then at that point Lynch gives us the shot of the heighliners fading in at their destination (with Eno's beautiful music underneath, naturally). Whether this was by design or necessity, who can say? But it was simple and yet artistic.

EDIT: At this point I've gotta offer an apology to Mr. Greg for steering so far off-topic like I did. I just couldn't help running off at the mouth a little.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 19, 2014 - 7:16 PM   
 By:   Joe E.   (Member)

Yeah, I am with you Octoberman, that old generation model work is so glorious crafted, I will give those guys a pass on the imperfection, and I still prefer the model work Star Wars films to the digitized models in the prequels.

Oh, another thing, few films have attempted a whispered voice over, and i think it works brilliantly well for an internal monologue.

Sting, yeah, talented guy sometimes, with music.


I think Sting is perfectly fine in this movie, actually.

The Star Wars prequels may have a lot of CG work, but they don't give up on physical miniatures, either (in fact, Star Wars - Episode I: The Phantom Menace actually used more physical models than the entire original trilogy combined).



Ah, no, I think you are pretty wrong on that, if you mean visual effects shots, yeah, far outnumbered the others, but most objects were digitally rendered. Yes there were physical sets and elements, but most of those space objects were not physical models and several characters and important sets were entirely digital.


Lots were, yes, but there were a lot more physical models in there than most people realize.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 19, 2014 - 7:19 PM   
 By:   Ado   (Member)

Yeah, I am with you Octoberman, that old generation model work is so glorious crafted, I will give those guys a pass on the imperfection, and I still prefer the model work Star Wars films to the digitized models in the prequels.

Oh, another thing, few films have attempted a whispered voice over, and i think it works brilliantly well for an internal monologue.

Sting, yeah, talented guy sometimes, with music.


I think Sting is perfectly fine in this movie, actually.

The Star Wars prequels may have a lot of CG work, but they don't give up on physical miniatures, either (in fact, Star Wars - Episode I: The Phantom Menace actually used more physical models than the entire original trilogy combined).



Ah, no, I think you are pretty wrong on that, if you mean visual effects shots, yeah, far outnumbered the others, but most objects were digitally rendered. Yes there were physical sets and elements, but most of those space objects were not physical models and several characters and important sets were entirely digital.



Lots were, yes, but there were a lot more physical models in there than most people realize.


yes, but my point was that the ships were almost totally digital renders, whereas the previous 3 films were entirely physical models. I prefer the physical model, unless the digital one is just stunningly good, which I have not seen that many of.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 19, 2014 - 7:36 PM   
 By:   Joe E.   (Member)

Yeah, I am with you Octoberman, that old generation model work is so glorious crafted, I will give those guys a pass on the imperfection, and I still prefer the model work Star Wars films to the digitized models in the prequels.

Oh, another thing, few films have attempted a whispered voice over, and i think it works brilliantly well for an internal monologue.

Sting, yeah, talented guy sometimes, with music.


I think Sting is perfectly fine in this movie, actually.

The Star Wars prequels may have a lot of CG work, but they don't give up on physical miniatures, either (in fact, Star Wars - Episode I: The Phantom Menace actually used more physical models than the entire original trilogy combined).



Ah, no, I think you are pretty wrong on that, if you mean visual effects shots, yeah, far outnumbered the others, but most objects were digitally rendered. Yes there were physical sets and elements, but most of those space objects were not physical models and several characters and important sets were entirely digital.



Lots were, yes, but there were a lot more physical models in there than most people realize.


yes, but my point was that the ships were almost totally digital renders, whereas the previous 3 films were entirely physical models. I prefer the physical model, unless the digital one is just stunningly good, which I have not seen that many of.


"Almost entirely" just isn't the case, though, which is what my point was. There are many, many shots of physical models in the movie - often supplemented with digital creations, sure (for example, the pod racer shots typically have a CG animated driver character composited into the cockpit of a physical miniature pod racer), but there really are a ton of traditional miniatures used throughout the movie, and in fact there were more of them made for this one movie than for all three movies of the original trilogy combined.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 19, 2014 - 7:36 PM   
 By:   Joe E.   (Member)

Dupe post

 
 Posted:   Feb 19, 2014 - 9:26 PM   
 By:   Mr Greg   (Member)

EDIT: At this point I've gotta offer an apology to Mr. Greg for steering so far off-topic like I did. I just couldn't help running off at the mouth a little.

Carry on - the thread's main subject is done and dusted!! wink

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 20, 2014 - 4:45 AM   
 By:   Ado   (Member)

What is your source on that 'tons of models" Joe?

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 20, 2014 - 6:20 AM   
 By:   Joe E.   (Member)

Originally? StarWars.com (the official site), in coverage of the first prequels' effects, back in the late '90s / early 2000s; I've since seen it reiterated in various places.

I will try to find links to online articles. However, some of the best documentation may come from print, and I'll just have to tell you about the books and such and let you look them up on your own.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 20, 2014 - 6:40 AM   
 By:   Ado   (Member)

Joe

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars_Episode_I:_The_Phantom_Menace#Effects

While it sounds like they used some junk yard parts and some designed physical models as reference points, props and scanned objects, it sounds like they were very few actual on screen physical models. Whereas the previous three films did not rely on any digitized models or CG creations at all. So the actual on screen practical models is a lot fewer than you are thinking, although physical objects might have been a starting point, like Pixar does when they model a character with clay or something.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 20, 2014 - 7:17 AM   
 By:   Joe E.   (Member)

Joe

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars_Episode_I:_The_Phantom_Menace#Effects

While it sounds like they used some junk yard parts and some designed physical models as reference points, props and scanned objects, it sounds like they were very few actual on screen physical models. Whereas the previous three films did not rely on any digitized models or CG creations at all. So the actual on screen practical models is a lot fewer than you are thinking, although physical objects might have been a starting point, like Pixar does when they model a character with clay or something.


I saw that link while I was writing my previous post, and while it's technically compatible with what I said it does understate the use of physical miniatures on the production, possibly to emphasize the increased prominence of CGI in the movie. However, there are many visual effects shots that use both - a CG character puppet composited into the cockpit of a physically-built miniature vehicle (such as Sebulba in his podracer, for example).

There are a number of effects in the movie that are rather startlingly low-tech, in fact - for example, initial establishing shots of the starting line and spectator seating at the podrace not only use physical models for the buildings, but represent the teeming multitudes of spectators with ordinary cotton swabs with the heads colored, suspended through slits in the seating to allow most of their length to swing freely, thus giving slight movement to the heads above, creating the illusion of a shifting, moving crowd when viewed from a distance. Similarly, the waterfalls coming from the side of the cliff face on which the palace sits at Naboo were represented not by digital particle and fluid simulations, but by pouring ordinary salt, to create the illusion of white foam and spray.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 20, 2014 - 9:23 AM   
 By:   Joe E.   (Member)

Here's a look at some of what I was talking about:






... and some more miniature set work from Star Wars - Episode I: The Phantom Menace:



... and the source of those, a talk with veteran ILM modelmakers discussing their work over the years, including on both the original and prequel trilogies:

http://www.tested.com/art/makers/456482-ilm-star-wars-maker-faire-talk/

Apologies for being so slow to provide documentation; I'm at work, and I've been responding to this thread during idle moments. I'll try to provide a lot more evidence in the near future, but I've got a busy couple days ahead of me so it might be a while.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 20, 2014 - 9:42 AM   
 By:   Joe E.   (Member)

Oh, and apologies to Mr. Greg for the thread derailment. Should I start a new one for this discussion?

 
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