'Tis the season when children and adults alike need to escape the hustle and bustle of the holidays, and what better way to do that than to enjoy a movie at the theater? This year there are a lot to choose from: many highly anticipated releases filled with jaw-dropping visual effects and heartwarming animations.
In each issue of CGW, I try to maintain a balance of topics, with the goal of focusing on various cutting-edge applications of computer graphics. However, this edition is without question weighted heavily toward feature films. I realized that when planning the issue, but, I felt
CGW would be remiss if it did not bring you these stories.
Let's start out with some holiday spirit. And, what better way to get into the mood than with The Nutcracker? Some of you may have seen the ballet, perhaps taking in a yearly performance to kick off the season. Thanks to some Disney magic, the film takes young Clara on a quest to the Land of Snowflakes, Flowers, and Sweets, all created in wondrous CGI. And, to the ominous Fourth Realm, augmented with CGI. Of course, what would
The Nutcracker be without a ballet performance, here presented by the talented Misty Copeland? Or without the Mouse King, crafted with computer graphics? (See "Not Your Father's Nutcracker" on page 6 for the spectacular details on the visual effects. But a note: In order to get the story into this issue, we had to forgo the VFX images, which were unavailable at the time of this printing.)
Speaking of the holidays, Illumination extended the wacky world of Dr. Seuss' Grinch into a full-length feature animation. Fans old and new will be pleased with the transformation of the book's drawings and even the traditionally animated Chuck Jones TV special from the 1950s and '60s, respectively, into today's 3D CGI medium. There is an extended story and new characters, but all of the things we have come to know and love are still included. For an added treat, Pharrell narrates the story. (See "Spoiler Alert!" on page 12.)
In addition, Warner Bros. has rolled out the second film in the Fantastic Beasts series and the tenth in the Wizarding World franchise that started with the
Harry Potter series:
The Crimes of Grindlewald. In it, we are introduced to some new fantastical creatures in addition to those from the first film. And, the action moves from New York to London and Paris, with some amazing digital sets. (See "Magic in the Real World" on page 18.)
Back to the animation genre, Disney has released a sequel to the Wreck-It Ralph movie, transporting video game characters Ralph and Vanellope to the wide, wide world of the Internet. CG artists conceptualized and brought the massive Internet to life, creating Disney Animation's largest digital world and populating it with the most characters ever in one of its films. A word of advice: Watch for Easter eggs throughout! (See "Internet Explorer" on page 24.)
And lastly, the beloved Mary Poppins has returned to the big screen, bringing with her the same magic we fell in love with decades ago, only now the visuals have been updated for a new audience but still retain elements of its original classical style. (See "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!" on page 30.)
Of course, there are still other blockbuster films that will be theaters before year's end, including Mortal Engines, Aquaman, and others. Look for coverage of the digital work in those features in the next issue of
CGW and on CGW.com.