Monday, 19 May 2014

Mechanical Maps

It seems I am not alone in my wish to pay tribute to the Game of Thrones animated map: there are plenty more tributes and parodies out there on the Internet. Here are a few I particularly liked: Firstly "The Simpsons" take which you may have seen - a match made in heaven.

Huge amount of skill in this extendable castle illusion.

Purdue University staying fairly close to the original Game of Thrones sequence.

I love this! a very professional job with a social media theme for HootSuite.

And amazingly, a blatant rip-off of the Game of Thrones map - in a classic computer game from 1994.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Double Jeopardy Part I [Review: Muppets Most Wanted]

I waited years for a decent adaptation of Dostoyevsky's The Double - then two come along at once! A sincere but naive young man works in a backbreaking and thankless role - managing a cabaret show. Every decision he takes seems to backfire, and just when things can't get any worse a mysterious stranger appears, almost identical to the hero yet effortlessly popular and successful, and worse - nobody else notices the difference.

There are many ways of indicating to the audience that what they are watching is actually psychodrama. Muppets Most Wanted takes an unusual approach. At first glance everything appears normal but if you look closely you may notice that almost all of the characters are portrayed by brightly coloured puppets, clearly to indicate that they are aspects of Kermit's splintered personality.

The cause of the splintering becomes clear: Kermit's longstanding internal conflict over his feelings for Miss Piggy. Now his ego is banished to a metaphorical Siberian prison while his id, in the form of Constantine, runs the show in more ways than one. However a series of subtle cinematic devices serve to indicate that they are two sides of the same frog - the beauty spot that supposedly distinguishes them but can appear or disappear too easily, or the beautifully filmed scene where the two characters see each other through a mirror. Admittedly it's a loose adaptation but I think Dostoyevsky would be proud to think that his work had inspired this intelligent and challenging film.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Milestones [Reply To All]

There are so many little milestones in the making of a film. After another day of work with the Reply To All editor and animator, we've finally got a rough cut that goes from the beginning right to the end. There is still a lot of work to take this rough cut to a polished final version, but for now this is our Golden Spike moment.
We've also replaced the scenes that Premier Pro decided to delete randomly. Everyone's a critic! And even in placeholder stills our family of animated co-stars are looking great.

 I've also completed a couple of other projects: my London Mechanism animation (a whim that became a minor obsession), plus a transformation scene that will appear soon in a promo video. I'll post more about that project soon. So there will be a short breather before our producer returns from Cannes and work continues on Reply To All.

Monday, 5 May 2014

London Mechanism

My animated tribute to a certain fantasy TV series...

Produced in Blender 2.68, scored in MuseScore.

A Tuf Act To Follow [Review: Tuf Voyaging]

Five mercenary treasure hunters are on the trail of a real find - a massive ancient starship packed with bioweaponry and genetic secrets. They need a ride willing to keep his mouth shut, so they turn to the eccentric, cat-loving captain Haviland Tuf.

Tuf Voyaging is a novel, or more accurately, a series of novellas detailing the adventures of Tuf as he styles himself an Ecological Engineer, travelling the galaxy with his newly-acquired seedship and offering its services for a sharply-negotiated price. It's written by some upstart fantasy novelist called George R.R. something who you've probably never heard of.

Tuf is a curious character - a hermit who prefers feline to human company, smarter, greedier and more devious yet also more honest and honourable than most of his fellow humans. His personality contains the genetic seeds of some of George R.R.'s other characters - in my mind he appears as Varys, perhaps due to the intelligence and the curious interweaving of deviousness and honour, but he also has Ned Stark's determination and is capable of breaking one of his beloved cats' necks as a mercy when it becomes infected.

The stories presented here are fun and inventive. They're also well thought out, although somewhat over-moralistic, not unlike much Golden Age sci-fi. The central theme is power and its' many abuses, something that crops up once or twice in Game Of Thrones too.