During this year’s Oscar telecast, Ang Lee‘s long-gestating adaptation of the Yann Martel novel Life of Pi took home four major awards, and perhaps the most deserving of all was Best Visual Effects. Thought to be an unfilmable work since the book hit shelves in 2001, due to the nature of its plot, Lee finally brought it to screen with help from many other dedicated workers.
Accepting the award was Bill Westenhofer (alongside Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer, and Donald R. Elliott), a visual effects supervisor for Rhythm & Hues, the company that recently collapsed after financial bankruptcy — despite Life of Pi grossing nearly an astounding $600 million worldwide.
While over 40-million viewers tuned in to the ceremony, few were likely privy to the controversy going on just across the street, and one permeating Hollywood, as over 400 visual effects workers lined up to protest. Burdened by the recent closure of Rhythm & Hues, visual effects artists in general are often one of the most underappreciated groups in Hollywood. With strict deadlines, little recognition, and studios attempting to cut costs at every corner, work is moving outside of Los Angeles.
Visual Effects Society executive director Eric Roth (different one) recently laid out a call to action, including bringing tax incentives back to California and calling for a VFX congress where workers can air their grievances. So, we wanted to bring this issue to your attention in a different way. All of us know how much visual effects work goes into blockbusters like The Avengers and Transformers — and in general, the massive teams that construct the fantasy worlds we see in these tentpoles do stellar work – but its more germane to showcase some subtler examples on how, precisely, Hollywood would collapse without its CGI workers.
With its permeation into the world of filmmaking, one may be surprised at the vast majority of films nowadays (and pretty much every modest release) that takes advantage of VFX techniques. We’ve rounded up six examples of films from the last decade that either use subtle CGI or visual effects in places one may not be aware of, all in an attempt to shed light on just how vital this work is to keeping the current system afloat. Check out six different visual effect breakdowns below, read some statements (here and here) from the workers themselves, and let us know your thoughts on the issue at hand in the comments.
Children of Men
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Rust & Bone
In the case of evaluating David Cronenberg, — or at least forming the sort of career narrative seemingly essential to auteurist analysis — it’s inevitable to propose something of a rupture within his oeuvre: the very evident graduation from grindhouse to arthouse, and, with it, an ascension from body to mind. What dictated these labels […]
Every week we dive into the cream of the crop when it comes to home releases, including Blu-ray and DVDs, as well as recommended deals of the week. If we were provided screener copies, we’ll have our own write-up, but if that’s not the case, one can find official descriptions from the distributors. Check out […]
Writing about the films of Robert Bresson usually begins by informing reader that his films must be discussed through a trance of hushed tones and quiet veneration. There is no room for rushed judgement or quick-witted observations; Bresson makes Serious Art, as opposed to Hollywood directors who do not. There are the key phrases to […]
With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we believe it’s our duty to highlight the recent, recommended titles that have recently hit the interwebs. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of […]
Latest posts from Beats Per Minute