THE MUMMY RETURNS
Extra Special Effects
Visual effects are a vital component of action- adventure films and the effects for The Mummy set a high standard for the films that followed it. Universal and Sommers were determined to out-do that film's thrill quotient for the sequel, as was Academy Award®-winner John Berton, the mastermind who led the effects team for both films at the world-renowned Industrial Light & Magic (ILM).
"The first film had a great sense of adventure and dramatic storytelling that we tried to recreate with this film as well," said Berton. "There is spectacle and the tremendous story of these people and their battle against the forces of evil."
Berton had new tools available for the sequel. "The technology has improved vastly over the past two years," he explained. His team used the latest computer-generated special effects and animation techniques to make Imhotep, The Scorpion King and their many cronies and minions such dazzling predators.
"Imhotep has gotten a lot stronger since the first film," noted Berton. "He does more than just scare people in this movie he has interaction with them. So, there is more of a developed character in this film and that adds a new challenge for us in terms of making his performance look real. For me, the hardest thing is the creatures, because you are trying to bring something to the screen that has an organic realism."
Arnold Vosloo, who portrays the reconstituted mummy, enjoyed the technical challenge of acting for the effects sequences with The Scorpion King. "It can be tricky for an actor because for certain parts of the film, you are reacting to
something you think you can imagine, but of course ILM's imagination is far wilder than you can ever hope yours to be."
To ensure that the effects blended seamlessly with the cinematography, Berton and his team were always on hand when Sommers shot scenes that involved visual effects. "We needed to bring as much information to ILM as we can in order to rebuild the set in the computers," explained Berton. "We have a group of technicians we refer to as our 'camera match-move team' who track and measure the camera positions, which way they point, what the lenses are, everything. If the camera is moving, they know not only where it started and ended, but where it was in the middle and how fast it got there. All these things are really important for us to take a synthetic image and place it in the same space as the real image.
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