There were so many fantastic VFX movies last year. From the (Hollywood) blockbusters such as The Avengers, The Hobbit, Prometheus or a film that didn’t get as much attention as it deserved; Looper, or even Total Recall that didn’t do so well at the box office but Double Negative’s work on it was top notch.
One however, stood out from the rest. Life of Pi was the most beautiful movie of the year. Sure the work on the tiger was unbelievable, even with the tiger swimming sequence being real, it was still superb. But that’s not why Life of Pi got my attention. Life of Pi was a complete package. How a movie should be. Good directing, story telling, acting, cinematography (in this case married heavily to vfx) and a visual effects that enhanced everything to a level beyond anyone’s believes. A creative collaboration at all levels. Even the 3D Stereo delivery was flawless, did you notice the aspect ratio changing in the flying fishes sequence and the fishes actually coming outside the frame?
What is not even remotely close to a complete package, is the behind the scenes story. The VFX studio responsible for the work, Rhythm & Hues, filing for bankruptcy, The Academy (Oscars) cutting the VFX team speech short just when they were about to address the recent difficulties for the VFX industry and while there was a protest going on outside. It is just such a big shame that Life of Pi will go down as movie that won the VFX Oscar that tasted so bitter!
People working in VFX are there only for one reason, their love and passion for the films and arts. They tolerate all the difficulties, instability and unfair working conditions just out of their love for the craft. However, when on top of everything else they see their work and contributions are not respected, then all the other problems come to surface. I hope whatever happen from now no, and with the awareness raised to the state of VFX industry, and a new movement starting amongst VFX artists calling for unity, film studios will work towards establishing mutual respect and understanding, and for once not driven purely by numbers and maximising their own profit, there’s enough here for everyone!.
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