Thursday, 4 April 2013

Oz: The Great and Powerful - Review, concept art and making of

Over the short stay back at my family home, I was lucky enough to squish in time to go to the cinema with my parents and sister to see the film Oz: The Great and Powerful. Although I wasn't particularly bothered about seeing the film, even though I had heard great things from reviews, I was sceptical about how it would match up to one of my all time favourite childhood films, The Wizard of Oz. However I was pleasantly surprised by the interesting storyline and beautiful visuals, however one thing I really sadly missed was the handmade imperfections of the last film. The CG flying monkeys simply don't have the same feel at the original men dressed up in the original, the same goes for the wicked witch and her overly computer generated features. I know that this is a personal taste, and many people would prefer the modern take on the prequel to the classic, but if I were to make this film for myself I would make everything by hand and use very limited amounts of CGI (the bubble scene was phenomenal in its use of computer generated imagery and is a perfect example at to where it has enhanced the storytelling). Another thing I missed was Dorothy, Toto and the rest of the original Oz gang, with the magic red slippers and atual pathed yellow brick road, but of course this story is set before they arrive in Oz, so it would be silly to have such references (I did like the small hints throughout to the cowardly lion when he is scared off, and the use of scarecrows).
I then went on to look into how the film was made, and some of the concept work for the film. These environment sketches that I found have so much depth and although each is in a different drawing style, it is easy to see that they all belong to the same film, which is something I need to do with my work.
These character design sheets are really good examples to the detail and depth that they have gone into when illustrating what they want them to look like perfectly, and almost look identical to the final models used (in fact I thought they were examples of the 3D models), which is something I need to keep in mind in the future when designing, as usually I leave my designs unfinished and not to the final quality I would expect.

One thing I really enjoyed about the film was its opening sequence, mainly as I understand how it has been done using clever camera movements and layering on After Effects, and given enough time and the elements I feel that I could easily create something similar myself, which is something I have not felt before when watching films before.

Although this is quite a long video, split into tiny segments, it really shows how much of the set and props were actually real which really surprised me. When watching the film it felt as if everything had been created in the computer, with very little if any, solid sets or props, so seeing this after watching the film has really grown my appreciation towards the skill and talent of the production and post production teams for merging and crossing over the mediums so fluently. As I am interested in possibly working in the art department for film, I find this a slight relief as often modern action packed films rely solely on CGI for absolutely everything, meaning that the need for sets and props are eliminated.

1 comment:

  1. Nice review Sacha. Don’t expect to see the classic in top-form, just expect to see something like it, be happy, click your ruby slippers three times, and have a grand time. That’s what happened to me.