Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Nothing to see here


I'd like to watch a movie, a very specific one in fact: "Chronicles of Narnia; th Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe", but I can't... hence the sigh.

When I was working at Rhythm & Hues (a movie special effects company), I got to see it come to life while watching the render queue during the night shift. Often I would check everything on the queue, seeing scenes in various phases of completion: plain footage with the actors wearing green leggings where the goat-legs hoofs would go, lighting added, color enhanced, compositing done... really fascinating stuff. sometimes I would even see amusing 'bloopers' the animators would run as tests. Once I saw a scene where Aslan, lion christ-figure, stepped out of the tent wearing pink leather pumps! ^_^

We as a studio had a lot riding on that film because we always had to work on crappy movies, like Riddick and Garfield and Scooby-doo. The effects were always great, but those movies didn't give us much in the way of bragging rights. Finally we got the 'Lord of the Rings' quality movie we've been waiting for, and I've been waiting a year to see it in the theaters! ..Cue Kyra moving to Japan, and add another 1/4 of a year to that. Crap.

LLW already came out in America... and I'm STUCK HERE where it doesn't come out until MARCH!! Also, if you thought movies were expensive back home, here ticket prices are usually $18 for general admission. Ugh I swear, this is a terrible place to live for movie fans. The only movies I've seen while I've been here are 'Corpse Bride' (gotta love Tim Burton!), the new 'Harry Potter' flick, and 'Batman Begins'. I wanted to see Charlie and the Chocolate factory, but I couldn't convince myself it was worth $18 to see, and decided to wait until it comes out on dvd.

So what IS out in the theaters? Let's see. As of today, I have my choice of:

  • Harry Potter (which I've seen)
  • 'Mr & Mrs Smith'
  • 'Chicken Little'
  • 'Arashii no yoru ni'. This is an animed film about a sheep who befriended a wolf. It is also unfortunately made for audiences whose age I could count on one hand.
  • 'Yamato' (think the Titanic, where instead of a cruise ship, the Titanic was the biggest, bestest battleship of WW2).
  • and 'Memoirs of a Geisha' (titled SAYURI here).
I kind of want to see Sayuri, but not in Japan, watching everyone cringe at the burbank-studio filmed, entirely-in english, Hollywood version of a geisha world. I've been asking people what they thought about it, some people were interested in seeing japan through western eyes, some were utterly horrified at the thought of chinese actresses playing the geisha ^^;;
Incedentally, I saw Kill Bill here, you could almost feel the pain of the audience when Uma Thurman and Lucy Liu 'spoke' Japanese. There there, you poor souls... but now you know how I feel when you say 'makudonarudo' for McDonalds! ~_~

Oh, right, the holidays! Hope everyone had a nice time! I did ^_^ however it's impossible to get a real christmas tree here, I really miss them. :( But I got a big box of presents and candy from my parents (god bless'em) and had a nice roast chicken dinner complete with a 'Christmas Cake' and a bit of bubbly with the in-laws. ^^ yum! .. it was the first time I was given a bowl of white rice to go with roast chicken. This is a terrible place for Atkins, you simply can't escape the ever present bowl of rice.

So what's a christmas cake, you ask? Sneaky cake companies and bakeries invented a 'christmas tradition' of having a sponge cake covered with whipped cream and strawberries. They really caught on here, being delicious, kind of fancy, and not too hard on the budget. Most people make them themselves from a kit. Think of them as a gingerbread house only a bit more edible.
More neighborhoods have been getting festive with lights on their houses! I made a bunch of gingerbread cookies and gave the ones that escaped my belly to the neighbors. Not much you can do with our tiny microwave/ conventional oven combo as it only goes up to 200 C, but I've discovered you can make a damn good cookie. ^^ If you have.. the skills, that is. ^_-
I'm going to Nagano (the mountains) to get snowed in. I mean.. visit the Shinkai Shrine! There is a temple where Takeshi's grandparents live that has their last name. We're going there to check it out ..I mean, pray, or something. What should I pray for? Perhaps world peace, or a winning lottery ticket. ..but seeing as the temperature is in the negatives up there, I'll probably end up praying for all of my toes and fingers to remain free of frostbite. ^_^;;

Happy 2006 everyone!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw "Rhythm & Hues" for the credits for Narnia and I was like, "KYRAAA!!!!"

Not to be negative, but the SFX weren't that great.

10:16 AM  
Blogger Kyra said...

*sniff* don't make me cry, I can't defend it cause I haven't seen it!!

7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I wasn't that fond of the special effects in Narnia. Not that they were bad, it was more that the director over did them to the point that they ended up as as kind of garish. (Although seeing Aslan in heels would be wonderful...)

On the other hand, if you can get ahold of the Serenity DVD, you'll not only get to see a great show, with special effects that are *exactly* the way they should be (i.e., so well done that you don't even stop to think that, wait, this isn't part of the movie), but you'll also get to see a wonderful featurette where the people from Rhythm and Hues get to talk about how they made the effects and why, in Joss Whedons words, they were "f**king awesome*.


11:07 PM  
Blogger Catherine Weaver said...

I enjoyed the movie and I thought the special effects were well done. It was a fantasy, so everything had a bit of a glow about it, but I thought it was appropriate for the genre. The goathoof feet were really believable and the expressions on the animals faces were great.

12:48 PM  

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