Zack Snyder has directed ‘Watchmen’ the DC Comics graphic novel inspired release for Warner Bros Studios. With VFX Supervised by John ‘DJ’ Desjardins, MPC completed 250 shots on key sequences in their Vancouver studio. The work includes the full range of digital VFX including 3D environments and cityscapes, CG Owl Ship, digital doubles and a variety of complex fx work.
A complex, multi-layered mystery adventure, ‘Watchmen’ is set in an alternate 1985 America in which costumed superheroes are part of the fabric of everyday society, and the Doomsday Clock (which charts the USA tension with the Soviet Union) moves closer to midnight.
When one of his former colleagues is murdered, the outlawed but no less determined masked vigilante Rorschach sets out to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes.
As Rorschach reconnects with his former crime-fighting legion (a disbanded group of retired superheroes, only one of whom has true powers) he glimpses a wide-ranging and disturbing conspiracy with links to their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the future. Their mission is to watch over humanity ?‚àö√ë¬¨‚àÇ. but who is watching the Watchmen? ……
This is the world of ‘Watchmen,’ the big-screen adaptation of the most celebrated graphic novel of all time, brought to life for the first time by visionary director Zack Snyder.
‘People always said Watchmen was the unfilmable graphic novel,’ says Zack Snyder. ‘The story itself is a pretty straightforward mystery, but inside of that, there this huge plot that has international intrigue and a super-villain and everything you want from a superhero story. It doesn’st owe anything to any specific genre; it just its own, true to itself and all of its characters.’
Watchmen first appeared as a 12-issue limited comic book series. It was originally published by DC Comics from 1986 to 1987, then republished as the now legendary graphic novel.
The blood-stained ‘smiley face’ on the cover, the image of a clock face advancing one minute closer to midnight, and the twelve-chapter structure are all emblematic of the richly complex work that has long been credited with elevating the graphic novel to a new art form: Watchmen is the only graphic novel to win the prestigious Hugo Award or to appear on Time magazine 2005 list of ‘the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present’.
Working from Yale town, Vancouver, MPC’s VFX Supervisor Jess Norman oversaw a team of 35 VFX artists. Key members, including CG supervisor Max Wood were brought over from London to join the team. MPC Vancouver utilises the same pipeline and tools as MPC London, which allowed the team to successfully achieve the full gamut of visual effects challenges. Autodesk Maya is complemented with a suite of proprietary tools written in-house by the MPC R&D department. Shots were rendered in RenderMan and MentalRay, and composited using Shake.
‘The visual effects are a partner in the movie. Whether it was extending practical sets or inserting floating blimps in the skyline, or rendering Rorschach mask or Dr. Manhattan body?‚àö√ë‚àö√Üthose are all things that have to go into the pipeline”. Zack Snyder.
MPC’s invisible effects work appears in many scenes, and starts with the high impact opening sequence ‘Blake’s Demise;’ a fast-paced, hand-to-hand combat scene taking place in a high-rise condo. To add to the adrenalin fuelled atmosphere, the team created the completely digital cityscape seen outside the smashing window. Blake aka The Comedian gets thrown out of the window. As well as adding crashing glass and doing a digital double takeover MPC added a CG version of the iconic smiley pin following Blake down to his death on the street.
MPC creates high-end digital visual effects and computer animation for the feature film, advertising, music and television industries. With studios based in Soho London, Santa Monica LA and Vancouver Canada, this award winning facility has worked on many high profile projects including The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Quantum of Solace and the classic Cadbury ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§Gorilla’s Moment’s.
For more information about MPC visit: www.moving-picture.com.
Malin Akerman – Laurie Jupiter/Silk Spectre II
Billy Crudup – Jon Osterman/Dr. Manhattan
Matthew Goode – Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias
Carla Gugino – Sally Jupiter/Silk Spectre
Jackie Earle Haley – Walter Kovacs/Rorschach
Jeffrey Dean Morgan – Edward Blake/The Comedian
Patrick Wilson – Dan Dreiberg/Nite Owl II
Director – Jack Snyder
Producers – Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin, Deborah Snyder
Screen Writer – David Hayter & Alex Tse
Graphic Novel Creator – Dave Gibbons
Executive Producer – Herbert W. Gains & Thomas Tull
Director of Photography – Larry Fong
Production Designer – Alex Dowell
Editor – William Hoy
Composer – Tyler Bates
Costume Designer – Michael Wilkinson
Visual Effects Supervisor – John ‘DJ’ Desjardin