CGNews takes a closer look at VES Awards nominee ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian’s.
Each year the VES Awards recognize outstanding visual effects within film, animation, television, commercials and video games. The nominees for the 7th annual VES Awards were chosen earlier this month by panels of VES members who viewed submissions at the FotoKem screening facilities in Burbank.
Over the next few weeks CGNews will feature each film nominated within the Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Motion Picture’s category. The films nominated in this category are: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Hellboy II, The Golden Army, Cloverfield and Iron Man.
‘The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian’
“The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” is the second of C.S. Lewis’s classic fantasy novels to be taken to the big screen. The film was directed by Andrew Adamson with cinematography by Karl Walter Lindenlaub and was released worldwide in the summer of 2008.
The story begins for the four Pevensie children a year after their return from their heroic adventures in “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe”. However time passes at a different pace in the land of Narnia and when Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy return 1,300 years have passed and Narnia is in grave peril.
Prince Caspian, the rightful heir to the Narnian throne, is on the run, pursued by evil forces lead by his wicked Uncle King Miraz. In desperation Caspian magically summons one time rulers of Narnia, the Pevensie children, who find an even greater test of their faith and courage awaits them.
The mamouth CGI effects project required for this film was led by visual effects supervisors Dean Wright and Wendy Rogers who spent over two years overseeing a team of over 1,000 digital artists around the world. Dean Wright also worked as the lead Visual Effects supervisor on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe’s.
The main visual effects work on Prince Caspian were undertaken by Moving Picture Company, assisted by Framestore and WETA; with Scanline producing the complicated work required for the water scenes.
‘We were tasked with making everything more realistic, while we were dealing with more characters and more variety too within each species, and the interactivity between the CG characters and the real actors was going to be increased. One of the more significant CG breakthroughs in recent years is the increased ability of digital artists to create a realistic interplay between live-action and CG characters in the same frame ‘ Dean WRight has said.
This was most evident in the memorable scene involving the youngest of the four Pevensie children, Lucy, when she is finally re-united with her beloved Aslan. This work was created by Framestore and in the scene Lucy affectionately tackles the majestic lion to the ground and embraces him for some 30 seconds or more.
The Framestore team also created several effects and effects-based sequences, including the children’s translation from the wartime London Underground station to Narnia; a dryad composed of petals; some scenes involving fleeing CG troops, and the film’s concluding scene in which a magical tree opens a door into other worlds, and through which the children return to their own.
“One of the initial tasks we faced was that of recreating something which had already been created. Data from Rhythm & Hues (who created Aslan for the first film) was the starting point for that, though for various reasons we used just the most basic model of theirs, rebuilding pretty much everything else. The animation rig, look-dev and so on were all our own.’ Framestore CG Supervisor Mike Mulholland.
Moving Picture Company provided nearly 900 animated character shots for Prince Caspian, most notably for the character of Reepicheep, a swashbuckling mouse-chief who leads a posse of mice into dangerous missions and daring castle raids.
MPC’s art department provided Reepicheep’s design, concepting his facial features, body and carefully detailed fur. Reepicheep was voiced by Eddie Izzard, giving MPC’s animation department a bold guide for bringing the character to life. Two book ending scenes feature intimate performances between the mouse and the movie’s young cast; Reepicheep’s first, distrustful meeting of Prince Caspian, and Reepicheep’s eventual rescue from near death by Queen Lucy. MPC also provided large scale battle sequences and a wide range of other characters.
This 2008 sequel is driven by the struggle between the banished Narnians and their enemies The Telmarines that results in many fierce battle sequences. While the newcomer Barnes (Prince Caspian) and the established Pevensie quartet of Moseley, Popplewell, Keynes, and Henley are all in fine form, the film is largely enhanced by its supporting cast. Briefly reprising their roles from the previous film are Liam Neeson, as the voice of Aslan, and Tilda Swinton, as the White Witch, actors who bring their familiar personas to this engaging and entertaining second chapter in the Narnia saga.
‘You may find Narnia a more savage place than you remember.’ dwarf Trumpkin’s warning to Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy.
Framestore has been working in digital film for over twenty years now, creating original and astonishing work that has helped make it the largest visual effects and computer animation studio in Europe. 2008 saw Framestore recognised at the film industry highest levels, as their work on The Golden Compass won both an Academy Award and a BAFTA for Achievement in Special Effects.
About Moving Picture Company
MPC creates high-end digital visual effects and computer animation for the feature film, advertising, music and television industries. A wholly owned subsidiary of Thomson, MPC has offices based in Soho London, Santa Monica LA and Vancouver Canada. International feature film work that MPC have worked on includes ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§10,000 BC’s, Tim Burton ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street’s and Elizabeth : The Golden Age.’s
Moving Picture Company
CG Society Production Focus Interview (by Jack Egan)
Prince Caspian: Ben Barnes
Lucy Pevensie: Georgie Henley
Edmund Pevensie: Skandar Keynes
Peter Pevensie: William Mosely
Susan Pevensie: Anna Popplewell
King Miraz: Sergio Castellitto
Trumpkin: Peter Dinklage
Doctor Cornelius: Vincent Grass
General Glozelle: Pierfrancesco Favino
Director: Andrew Adamson
Producer: Mark Johnson, Andrew Adamson, Philip Steuer
Executive Producer: Perry Moore
Screenplay : Andrew Adamson, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Production Designer: Roger Ford
Director of Photography: Earl Walter Lindenlaub