Sunday, September 27, 2015

High Wire Vertigo

Now with Add On.

Robert Zemeckis discusses his latest feature.

Q: Dick Cook [at Disney] was ousted and your ImageMovers Digital animation factory [also at Disney] was shuttered. What happened to The Walk?

ZEMECKIS: Well, the next thing I knew I was trying, and trying, and trying to get somebody else to make it. And then finally, gratefully, Tom Rothman had the courage to step up.

Q: A technologically groundbreaking movie, made for a price I’m told was $34.7 million. What’s not to like?

ZEMECKIS: Well, I think I can safely say that every single producer who produces a movie, and every single independent financier who finances a movie, and every single studio, they all passed on this. ...

Q: Is there a parallel in your own career, where you just had to do something people told you was impossible?

ZEMECKIS: Mike, every movie I’ve ever made has been a high-wire act, always flying without a net. Always flying without a net. I mean, I know exactly what Philippe [the wire walker] was going through. Obviously, I don’t put my physical body in jeopardy, but I understand the feeling of walking a tightrope. ...

Mr. Zemeckis has always made interesting movies, all the way back to Used Cars with Kurt Russell.

I think the problem with his motion capture features, and he made a number of them, is that audiences are a little creeped out by the Uncanny Valley, by characters that are almost ... but not quite ... human. Because it's difficult to stay in the story when the "almost full realism" dynamic pulls your head away from the events unspooling onscreen.

Spielberg had the same problem with Tin-tin (the movie) that Zemeckis had with A Christmas Carol: It ain't live-action and it ain't animation. It's some strange hybrid. .

Add On: The Walk gets a big reaction in New York City premiere.


Unknown said...

I disagree about the uncanny valley. I can remember scenes going from videogames such as Onimusha an thinking this technology should be used for a movie. I think Zemeckis rushed the medium before it was ready for movies plus, the style of animation should've been used for a different type of story then just another Christmas tale right off the boot.

Steve Hulett said...

I think mo-cap and live-action style animation works well in the right situation. Avatar (a mostly animated feature), did exceedingly well.

But with the exception of Polar Express, most of Zemeckis's mo cap features under-performed.

Unknown said...

Shhhh can't call Avatar an Animated film

Plus I think most of the stories were just meh to begin with.

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