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September 24
2018

ISSUE

Web Exclusive

An Explosion of VFX Still to Come in 2018

By IAN FAILES

2018 has already been an exceptional year for blockbuster visual effects film releases – Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, to name a few.

But it’s not over yet. The rest of this year, particularly the final quarter, looks to have an incredibly impressive array of VFX-filled films. VFX Voice previews just some of these notable upcoming releases.

Venom

Release date: October 5

A spin-off of the Spider-Man franchise, Venom is directed by Ruben Fleischer and stars Tom Hardy as a journalist who comes into contact with an alien symbiote. Visual effects-wise, that means a whole lot of complicated transitions between Hardy and the Venom alter-ego, a CG creature. Visual Effects Supervisors Paul Franklin and Sheena Duggal are heading up the VFX effort, with DNEG as the principal vendor.

Watch the trailer for Venom.

First Man

Release date: October 12

Director Damien Chazelle’s follow-up to La La Land is the story of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. From footage shown from the film, it already appears to make a restrained use of visual effects to depict aspects of the Apollo launches. The VFX was overseen by DNEG, led by Visual Effects Supervisor Paul Lambert, in what looks to be a more personal story about NASA’s lunar mission.

Ryan Gosling stars as Neil Armstrong in First Man.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Release date: November 2

Disney continues its live-action adaptions of classic fairy tales with this effort starring Keira Knightley and Mackenzie Foy. Lasse Hallstrom and Joe Johnston are directing. Expect to see a myriad of environments, creatures and toys brought to life via visual effects. Max Wood is the Production Visual Effects Supervisor, with MPC as the lead vendor.

See the trailer for The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Release date: November 16

David Yates once again helms this continuation of the story within the Harry Potter universe, which introduces audiences to a younger Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law). Get ready for fantastical creatures and magical effects, as curated by overall Visual Effects Supervisors Tim Burke and Christian Manz. The lead VFX houses are DNEG, Framestore, Method Studios, Image Engine and Rodeo FX.

A fantastical creature from the upcoming The Crimes of Grindelwald.

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Release date: November 21

This sequel to the CG-animated Wreck-It Ralph is directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnston and tells the story of the arcade characters breaking out into the Internet for a whole new set of adventures. Walt Disney Animation Studios is handling the animation and effects of what appear to be vast worlds and several familiar Disney characters and franchises.

Watch the trailer for Ralph Breaks the Internet.

Welcome to Marwen

Release date: December 21

When the trailer for Robert Zemeckis’s Welcome to Marwen broke, it was instantly intriguing, not only because it tells the true story of a man (played by Steve Carrell) who, as a form of self-therapy, builds a WWII-era replica town and populates it with dolls of himself and others, but also for how visual effects were used to help create that side of the tale. Kevin Baillie is Production VFX Supervisor, with Atomic Fiction and Framestore providing effects work.

A scene from Welcome to Marwen, which makes use of CG character animation for the dolls.

Mortal Engines

Release date: December 14

Long-time Peter Jackson associate Christian Rivers is directing this adaptation of the futuristic dystopian steampunk Mortal Engines novels. The striking imagery of entire cities now mounted on moving tracks and in battle is being delivered by Weta Digital. The visual effects supervisors are Ken McGaugh, Kevin Smith and Luke Millar.

The trailer for Mortal Engines.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Release date: December 14

Certain to stir up audience’s current expectations about what an American-made piece of feature animation should look like, Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse looks to be a unique take on the Miles Morales/Spider-Man character. Every frame of the 2D/3D production seems unique, and was handled by Sony Pictures Imageworks, with VFX supervision by Danny Dimian.

A frame from the upcoming Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Bumblebee

Release date: December 21

A spinoff of the Transformers franchise directed by Laika’s Travis Knight, Bumblebee will once again feature computer-generated robots and plenty of fighting-related visual effects by Industrial Light & Magic (the VFX Supervisor is Jason Smith), but this time set in the late 1980s and focusing on the famous yellow-car character taken in by a teenage girl (Hailee Steinfeld).

Watch the trailer for Bumblebee.

Alita: Battle Angel

Release date: December 21

For a long time it was thought James Cameron would direct this adaptation of the manga Battle Angel Alita, but Cameron is producer here, with the film – about a salvaged cyborg warrior – directed by Robert Rodriguez. Weta Digital and VFX Supervisors Joe Letteri, VES, Eric Saindon and Nick Epstein are leading the charge of crafting the fully digital cyborg, which was performance captured by Rosa Salazar, with DNEG and Framestore also on board.

A close-up on Weta Digital’s Alita.

Aquaman

Release date: U.K., December 14; U.S., December 21

James Wan’s Aquaman, part of the DC Universe, tells the origins of the underwater superhero. The production features diverse challenges: underwater sea life and fight sequences, and plenty of above-water action. The production VFX supervisors are Charles Gibson and Kelvin McIlwain. Several studios, including ILM, MPC, Method Studios, Scanline, Rodeo FX and Weta Digital, are working on the film.

Watch the trailer for Aquaman.

Mary Poppins Returns

Release date: U.S., December 19; U.K., December 21

For Mary Poppins Returns, director Rob Marshall enlisted Emily Blunt as the titular governess, who comes back to the now-adult Banks children in London. Production visual effects supervision was undertaken by Matt Johnson, with principal studios Cinesite, Framestore and Luma Pictures leading the VFX charge. 2D-animated sequences by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Duncan Studios will also appear in the film.

A still from Mary Poppins Returns.

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