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CLASH OF THE TITANS

Gods And Monsters
Apart from the human characters and in keeping with the mythology of the story, "Clash of the Titans” is filled with mythical beasts and creatures—from the winged Pegasus to the deadly Medusa to the giant, scorpion-like scorpiochs and the ultimate monster, the fearsome Kraken. Creating these creatures involved a blend of practical and visual effects elements.

Visual effects supervisor Nick Davis notes, "We were dealing with Olympus and with Hades, so we had heaven and hell, and we had gods and monsters; there were aspects of the fantastical inherent in the story. But at the same time, we wanted it to be photo-realistic. We want people to believe a horse is flying and that harpies are real within the realistic grounding we've given the movie.”

For the scorpiochs fight, Davis' team began by blocking out what characters would be in the massive battle. They worked with the director to determine the scale of each scorpioch, which was approximately 25 to 30 feet, from claw-to-tail.

The special effects team, led by special effects and animatronics supervisor Neil Corbould—who, as a teenager, worked on the original "Clash of the Titans,” adding feathers onto Bubo the owl—built a full-scale rig to act as a makeshift scorpioch, in order to give the actors something with which to interact during the fight sequence. "The crossover between special and visual effects was close on that rig,” says Corbould. "Nick designed this fantastic 3D scorpion, which we used as the design for a physical model for the rig.” The effects team then used a remote system to operate the rig via joystick controls.

"We also had a ride-rig, which was a computer-programmed gimbal, with the shell of a scorpioch on top of it,” says Davis. "The character Draco leaps onto the back of it and goes on a wild, spinning ride.”

"It was a very technical rodeo ride,” adds Corbould. "It was capable of moving a meter a second in every direction—up, down, and with a complete 360-degree rotation as well. Plus we had 30 feet of track that could go up and down. It was quite difficult to stay on; it really threw you around.”

Their most difficult challenge with the rig itself was the speed. "Scorpions really move quickly, so we tried to attain that level of speed,” says Corbould. "But we had to slow it down a bit. Even a stuntman couldn't have stayed on it at its top speed.”

Just getting the rig up to the location was an incredible undertaking, as filming in a national park in Tenerife—Teide, the third tallest volcano in the world—meant strict guidelines had to be followed. The crew could not take any vehicles off the path up to the set. This meant taking the hefty scorpioch rig as far up as they could go by truck, and then physically hand-carrying it in sections over the rocks to the set. The final rig took four days to build, with the full rig, computer and operating equipment having to remain at the elevation, in the elements, across the four days. The team could only hope that it wouldn't blow away each night.

Davis' team also used a combination of CGI and motion capture to bring to life the Medusa, the Kraken, the harpies, and Pegasus, among others. Unlike any incarnation of Medusa before, this version of the lethal character not only has a head crowned by snakes, but also a body that is half-human, half-snake, and able to hunt her unwanted visitors with stealth and steel. Digital effects turned Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova into the gorgon whose looks do kill.

Perhaps the mythical creature most critical to the story was the flying horse Pegasus, a truly majestic animal. Leterrier offers, "Pegasus is a winged horse, he's the companion of the gods, and no human has ever ridden one. He initially fights Perseus, which is yet another obstacle for our hero to overcome.”

"The problem with flying<

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