×

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.”

Popular on Variety

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

  • Leaving Neverland HBO

    HBO Seeks Dismissal of Michael Jackson Estate's Suit Over 'Leaving Neverland'

    HBO urged an appeals court on Friday to throw out litigation brought by the Michael Jackson estate over the 2019 documentary “Leaving Neverland.” HBO and the Jackson estate have been locked in a legal war ever since the premium cable network agreed to run the documentary, which chronicles child sexual abuse allegations against Jackson. The [...]

  • Denzel Washington

    Film News Roundup: Denzel Washington-Rami Malek Thriller Set for Early 2021 Release

    In today’s film news roundup, a Denzel Washington-Rami Malek thriller gets a release date, “Escape Room 2” gets moved, Paramount sets a double feature, “So Cold the River” wraps and the Sonoma Film Festival unveils its lineup. RELEASE DATES Warner Bros. has set the Denzel Washington-Rami Malek police thriller “The Little Things” for a Jan. 29, [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Writers Guild Says It Helped Negotiate 100 Deals for Agent-Less Members

    The Writers Guild of America has asserted that it has assisted in negotiating more than 100 deals in recent months for members without agents. The missive from the WGA West board of directors comes nearly a year after the guild leaders ordered their 15,000 members to fire their agents if the agents had not agreed [...]

  • the jesus rolls

    Émilie Simon Contributes Flamenco/Gypsy Vibe to John Turturro's ‘The Jesus Rolls’

    For French musician Émilie Simon, the flamenco-meets-gypsy vibe writer-director John Turturro was seeking for the soundtrack to his movie “The Jesus Rolls” turned out to be in her musical and genetical DNA. “This music originally comes from where I grew up in the south of France,” says the 41-year-old electronic musician, who has released five [...]

  • My Hero Academia Heroes Rising

    'My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising' ADR Director on Adapting the Anime for a U.S. Audience

    “My Hero Academia” has officially Detroit Smashed into North American theaters. Sony Pictures Television’s Funimation released “Heroes Rising” in the U.S. on Wednesday, grossing $2.5 million on its opening day. Theaters are showing the film, a standalone entry in the popular superhero anime based on the manga, with options for either subtitles or with an [...]

  • Lost in America

    'Lost in America': Film Review

    You might feel a sense of shame watching Rotimi Rainwater’s “Lost in America,” an expansive documentary look at the issue of youth homelessness in a country where the problem seems unthinkable, and its victims are so often invisible. You are likely to ask yourself how many times you have passed by a homeless child and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content