VFX Classics Spawn New Offspring With ‘Man of Steel,’ ‘Percy Jackson’

Superman, Greek Myths get 21st-century updates

Several of this year’s summer blockbusters have strong ties — either direct origins or strong inspirations — to some classic vfx titles that have become touchstones for this generation’s vfx artists.

Man of Steel,” the latest take on the Superman mythology, will bring back General Zod, the hero’s Kryptonian nemesis for a battle royale. This fight, though, will be shot cinema verite, in contrast to 1978’s “Superman: The Movie.”

According to vfx supervisor John ‘DJ’ Desjardin, it was a challenge to shoot a fight scene between two characters with superpowers while using a decidedly documentary-style of a camera work during the whole process.Vfx supervisor Dan Kaufman, who was heavily influenced by the late great Ray Harryhausen as a kid, found himself creating the kind of archetypal monsters immortalized by the master filmmaker for “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.”

“I saw ‘The Golden Voyage of Sinbad’ when I was a kid and that kind of spurred my interest in doing visual effects,” says Kaufman, citing the monsters and magic in the movie.

Kaufman went on to make Super 8 movies and tried to do his own stop motion animation and homespun vfx from there. Today Kaufman is especially proud of the two Cyclopses in “Percy Jackson.”

It was clear to “White House Down” vfx supervisors Volker Engel and Marc Weigert after reading the script the story had the feeling of a “Die Hard” sort of story. Little did they realize they’d have 900 shots for the film based as there’s little to no access to the White House or surrounding areas.

“Of course, we had a little thing of a Black Hawk helicopter attack in broad daylight,” says Engel, citing the film’s challenges.

Weigert is also quick to point out that the no-fly zone over Washington, D.C., was exactly where they needed to be flying to get the shots they desperately needed. This meant creating nearly all of the areas around the White House and Capitol in CG for the film as well as a car chase involving a presidential limousine onto the White House lawn. “And everything had to match perfectly (to Washington, D.C.),” says Weigert. “That was definitely the biggest challenge.”

More Film

  • netflix-the-little-prince

    Mediawan Closes In on Acquisition of Dimitri Rassam's ON Kids & Family

    Several of this year’s summer blockbusters have strong ties — either direct origins or strong inspirations — to some classic vfx titles that have become touchstones for this generation’s vfx artists. “Man of Steel,” the latest take on the Superman mythology, will bring back General Zod, the hero’s Kryptonian nemesis for a battle royale. This […]

  • China Box Office: Local Titles 'Youth'

    China Box Office: Local Titles 'Youth' and 'Dunjia' Dominate Weekend

    Several of this year’s summer blockbusters have strong ties — either direct origins or strong inspirations — to some classic vfx titles that have become touchstones for this generation’s vfx artists. “Man of Steel,” the latest take on the Superman mythology, will bring back General Zod, the hero’s Kryptonian nemesis for a battle royale. This […]

  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    Four Reasons Why 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Isn't One for the Ages

    Several of this year’s summer blockbusters have strong ties — either direct origins or strong inspirations — to some classic vfx titles that have become touchstones for this generation’s vfx artists. “Man of Steel,” the latest take on the Superman mythology, will bring back General Zod, the hero’s Kryptonian nemesis for a battle royale. This […]

  • Mark Hamill and Ted Cruz Get

    Mark Hamill and Ted Cruz Get in Net Neutrality-Related Twitter Fight

    Several of this year’s summer blockbusters have strong ties — either direct origins or strong inspirations — to some classic vfx titles that have become touchstones for this generation’s vfx artists. “Man of Steel,” the latest take on the Superman mythology, will bring back General Zod, the hero’s Kryptonian nemesis for a battle royale. This […]

  • 'Ethel & Ernest' Review

    Film Review: 'Ethel & Ernest'

    Several of this year’s summer blockbusters have strong ties — either direct origins or strong inspirations — to some classic vfx titles that have become touchstones for this generation’s vfx artists. “Man of Steel,” the latest take on the Superman mythology, will bring back General Zod, the hero’s Kryptonian nemesis for a battle royale. This […]

  • 'The Thousand Faces of Dunjia' Review

    Film Review: 'The Thousand Faces of Dunjia'

    Several of this year’s summer blockbusters have strong ties — either direct origins or strong inspirations — to some classic vfx titles that have become touchstones for this generation’s vfx artists. “Man of Steel,” the latest take on the Superman mythology, will bring back General Zod, the hero’s Kryptonian nemesis for a battle royale. This […]

  • 'Shape of Water,' 'I Tonya' Box

    Awards Contenders 'Shape of Water,' 'I, Tonya' Shine in Limited Release

    Several of this year’s summer blockbusters have strong ties — either direct origins or strong inspirations — to some classic vfx titles that have become touchstones for this generation’s vfx artists. “Man of Steel,” the latest take on the Superman mythology, will bring back General Zod, the hero’s Kryptonian nemesis for a battle royale. This […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content