3D and CGI are pretty much the standard in Hollywood films. When it’s done right, 3D is an unbelievably effective effect. In my opinion, the 3D in Oz The Great and Powerful was some of the most amazing I’ve seen! Plus, the CGI characters blew me away. China Girl’s (Joey King) character was visually stunning! One of my favorite 3D moments in Oz was during the tornado scene when the stakes drove through the basket of the hot air balloon. I jumped! The 3D enhance our imaginative journey but didn’t make my head spin. Why did the 3D seem different from films like Avatar and how were the CGI characters created?
Director Sam Raimi talks about the challenges he faced when it came to working in 3D: “Yes, there were a tremendous amount of new challenges for me. I didn’t know anything about 3-D so I had to go to school and learn about it. I had to meet with technicians and study the camera systems. I went to effects houses and heard what the different visual effects artists had to say about working with the systems. I had to basically shoot some test days and see what the effects of convergence was on the audience and figure out why the audience gets a headache. I used to get headaches at 3D movies so I didn’t want this movie to have that physical effect on people.”
Raimi goes on to explain how delicately he handled the convergence from shot to shot. “You don’t want to dramatically change the convergence from shot to shot and have something breaking the screen plane in the foreground and then quickly go to a shorter shot where there’s something in the deep background, and then again cut to a shot where you’re playing the convergence in the foreground.” He added that “you have to let the audience’s eyes adjust. Have longer shots if you intend to make that dramatic adjustment. Or take them to a little stairway from convergence level to convergence level so that their brains can adjust as well as their eyes. Otherwise you’re making their heads work so hard, it’s forcing those eyes muscles and the brain muscle to work in a way it’s not used to working and it gives you headaches.”
What was the best way for Raimi to learn so much about 3D? He stated, “I surrounded myself with the best artists. Not just actors but artists. Storyboard artists, visual effects artists, concept artists, landscape artists, greenery-greenswomen and men and people that really knew how to create a world from the ground up because I had never created a world before. Every single blade of grass and little blossom has been thought out by an individual artist. Every insect is not from a library, is not from nature photography. It’s created by artists. There’s little zebra bees. You can’t even see them. There’s little-strange white-haired squirrels that are half-muskrat, half-squirrel, that inhabit this land. Giant creatures that lope like dinosaurs which you see only in the background but everything had to be animated and designed. I’d never been part of anything so gigantic before. That was a new challenge.”
Some of the most intriguing characters created by Raimi and his crew-China Girl and Finley (Zack Braf) the monkey. China Girl was a multi-dimensional creation. A marionette was created to develop her character and it performed in real time with the voice actors. Joey King was in the vocal/puppet booth lending her voice and movements. Her face was filmed and then added to the CG on China Girl.
As far as Finley the monkey, Zach Braf said that “it was a little tricky for me. When I was first cast, I was worried that I was going to be confined in an audio booth the whole time.” Finley was literally animated from Braf’s interactions with James Franco on his butt, hunched over, making himself as close to 36 inches in the vocal booth! Says Braf, “We ended up finding when I was actually there, when it was possible for me to be physically there, interacting with James, we were getting the best stuff. I really would just often scrunch down and just play the scenes straight with James. And they were three different cameras that were on my body and face. Sam cut that video footage together from the three film cameras to create the performance that the animators would eventually animate Finley off of.” So cool!!
Oz The Great and Powerful is a movie you have to see in 3D! The effect is brilliant and really adds to the excitement and depth of visiting this enchanting land. Oz the Great and Powerful is in theaters now!
* We did not receive monetary compensation for this review. Tee attended an OZ Junket and is sharing the information she gathered with TIM readers! The review is in our own words and is our opinion. Your results and opinions may differ.