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Finding Nemo 3D
Finding Nemo 3D

MY MOVIE WEEK... with Mike Shaw

Soaking up the sequels

The intermittent drip-feeding of details about the new Avatar movies continues, this time with producer Jon Landau updating the world on how the back-to-back productions are coming along.

As you’d expect from a man who has continuously pushed modern filmmaking forward, director James Cameron is trying out new techniques in the sequels, including underwater performance capture.

Landau said: “We have kept a team of digital artists on from Avatar to test how we can create performance capture underwater. We could simulate water [with computer graphics], but we can’t simulate the actor’s experience, so we are going to capture performance in a tank.

“They are looking at what we did before with reflective markers and how we record reference photography so that as we are going through the editorial process and the postproduction workflow, we can see what the actors did and make sure that the final performance up on screen represents that.”

In case you were concerned that Cameron had forgotten about a story, Landau added: “The sequels will wrap up the story arc of our two main characters.”

Avatar 2 is scheduled to open in the UK on December 19, 2014, with Avatar 3 set to arrive on December 18, 2015, but there is very little chance those dates will remain.

» A big release like Zack Snyder’s new Superman film needs a big-name composer, so it’s excellent that Hans Zimmer is handling the soundtrack.

Given his work on Inception and the Batman trilogy with Christopher Nolan, it seemed obvious that Zimmer would be the natural choice to score the Nolan-produced Man of Steel, but apparently Zimmer did not see it that way.

The German composer said: “A journalist asked me at an Inception party if I was going to do Superman, and I hadn’t even heard of it, so I went, ‘Absolutely no way.’

“Somehow in the noise of that party, that got misconstrued as ‘Absolutely Hans is doing it.’ It was all over the internet that I was doing Superman, and I’d never even met Zack.”

But it all worked out fine: “I phoned Zack up, ‘I’m really sorry, this wasn’t my doing, this is a misunderstanding.’ And he said, ‘Oh! It’s great that you phoned. Maybe we should meet and talk.’”

Well played, Zimmer, you sly boots.

However, once he got the gig, he faced another problem; handling a character strongly associated with an iconic piece of music – the wonderful theme written by John Williams for the Christopher Reeve flicks. Zimmer said: “That was daunting. Seriously. He’s the greatest film composer out there, without a doubt, and it happens to be one of his iconic pieces of music, so I spent three months just procrastinating and not even getting a start on the thing, because I was so intimidated.”

Apparently the way he got around it was by taking a completely different approach to others who have worked on the god-like Kryptonian.

“I kept thinking of the story as, ‘What does it mean to be an outsider who really wants to join the human race?’”

Zimmer is a great composer because he isn’t one of those who says ‘Here are some strings, chuck them over everything. Now give me my money’. He’s willing to try something new and attempt to innovate. All this is making me even more excited for Man of Steel.

Fun fact: One of Zimmer’s early jobs was doing the theme tune for the deathly-dull BBC gameshow Going for Gold.

»About a year ago, I talked about Pixar’s plans to make a sequel to Finding Nemo, and it’s only now that Disney and Pixar have announced the title: Finding Dory.

How very clever.

As the title suggests, the new film will focus on the forgetful sidekick from the original (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) and introduce her family. Other characters like Marlin and Nemo will still be present.

Director Andrew Stanton, who also handled the original film, said: “There is no Dory without Ellen.

“She won the hearts of moviegoers all over the world — not to mention our team here at Pixar. One thing we couldn’t stop thinking about was why she was all alone in the ocean on the day she met Marlin. In Finding Dory, she will be reunited with her loved ones, learning a few things about the meaning of family along the way.”

Which sounds soppy as all hell. Nonetheless, I’m sure it’ll turn out great – Pixar rarely puts a foot wrong. Sure, it’s ANOTHER sequel, but the studio does have three wholly original movies on the way, as well as two follow-ups (Monsters University and Finding Dory), so there are still some new ideas kicking around.

At the moment, Finding Dory is pencilled in for November 2015.

GI Joe
GI Joe

Wrestling with his film career

The Rock may have lost at WrestleMania last weekend, but his box office star burns brighter than ever, with his latest film, G.I. Joe Retaliation, having one of the biggest Easter box office openings of all time.

Unsurprisingly, this has led to studio Paramount and toy manufacturer Hasbro to start talking up a third film. Nothing is set in stone yet, but it’s a solid bet that Dwayne Johnson (The Rock’s real name) is already being courted.

This second G.I. Joe film was delayed while it was converted into 3D (something that seems to have actually helped the release, rather than damage it), so a third one will likely be planned to be in 3D from the beginning. It might even have a decent story ... although that doesn’t appear to have stopped the first two from making a ton of cash

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