Tuesday, November 15, 2005

ALEX FUNKE TAKES GEORGE DOWN A NOTCH


The new issue of Entertainment Weekly, their Holiday Movie Preview, features a splashy article on director Peter Jackson’s King Kong remake. Buried within that article is a paragraph that, after enduring so much knee-jerk genuflection at the altar of digital effects and digital cinema by a certain high-profile director of a certain greatest postmodern art film ever,* was pure tonic to discover. Let me share it with you:

“Creating a believable, photorealistic Kong was just the beginning of the challenge for Jackson’s army of effects experts. Unlike Lord of the Rings, which used various locations all over New Zealand, Jackson decided that his Kong, like the original, would be filmed mainly on soundstages. Skull Island, Kong’s jungly home, was created almost entirely in miniatures; there are twice as many miniature shots in Kong as in all three Rings movies combined. At one point during postproduction, George Lucas dropped by the set for a hush-hush visit. Alex Funke, supervising director of visual effects photography, proudly showed off his miniatures department’s handiwork, which was meticulously crafted down to the tiniest piece of plastic jungle foliage. “George said, ‘Of course, we could do all that digitally,’” Funke says. “We said, ‘Yes, of course you could. So?’”

Alex Funke, you are my hero.

* Incidentally, if you buy any of this incredible load of post-coital rationalization, then you probably also believe that Our Poor Creatively Shackled Empire Builder will actually begin making some of these avant-garde experimental films he’s claimed for nearly 30 years now that he’s always wanted to do, instead of continuing to tinker with his great postmodern art film until he can’t chew his own food anymore. (A 3-D version of “Episode IV” is slated for 2007—how very avant-garde and experimental!)

P.S. Today marks one year since I made the inaugural post on Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule. I wanted to say thank you to all of you who have been so encouraging and helpful to me with this project, and for your enthusiasm, and your constructive criticism too. I wasn’t sure if I could sustain something like this, but the adventure and the fun of it has really taken hold of me. I sincerely hope this blog is as much fun to read as it is to write. I look forward to even more fun and more creative challenges in the years ahead.

13 comments:

Peet said...

Congratulations, Dennis. Keep up the good work!

Dave Robidenza said...

George Lucas is not only snobbish and self-important, he's also a hypocrite. Or did I not caption numerous bonus pieces for the Revenge of the Sith DVD that featured model makers and set builders? In fact, I remember one documentary mentioning that the rendering power to create very large and detailed sets digitally would be cost-prohibitive. Props to Peter Jackson for making the artistic decision to shoot with practical sets and miniatures and props to Alex Funke for standing up to Lucass's (sic) rude comment. (Imagine walking up to a craftsman showing off a handmade piece of furniture and remarking, "Oh, that can be turned out on an assembly line now.")

blaaagh said...

Hahaha! This post has really put me in a good mood. And may I add my hearty congratulations to you, Dennis, and thanks for a year of fun and good reading. Oh, and I watched "Born to Kill" last night until I HAD to go to bed--what a terrific movie! Compelling from the first, and doesn't let go. Had to force myself to shut it off--but I'll catch the rest tonight.

Birdman said...

Congrats! You are an inspiration!
Professor Wagstaff for Prez!

aaron w graham said...

Congrats on the one year anniversary of this blog. Here's hoping it lives far on into the future.

aaron w graham said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brian said...

I liked the Aidan Wasley piece when I first read it, if only because I appreciate readings of films along the most unlikely lines possible. It didn't change my mind about Lucas though, and this anecdote is wonderfully illustrative of his cloistered cluelessness.

Congrats on year 1! Excited to see what year 2 has to bring!

Roscoe said...

Don't they use CGI on the models in post?

Not that, that matters but its worth thinking about.

beege said...

The following comment is totally unrelated to the Alex Funke post:

Dennis, THANK YOU. I'm not sure who this person is, but he/she has got me a little concerned. They are off, for what it's worth, but close enough to make me nervous. :)

And especially thanks for you comments about my ministry. If we knew one another in real life, I'd probably hug you. :)

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Beege: My sentiments exactly-- only in reverse-- well, you know! (Reminds me of when I was little and my mom would say "I love you" and I'd say "Me too," which wasn't exactly the right response from a meaning standpoint, but the meaning came across nonetheless.)
(This comment can be seen in its complete form on your blog!

beege said...

And after that second reply, you've earned yourself a smooch on the cheek. ;)

Murray said...

Hey Cousin, Hard to believe that it has been 1 year since I got that little email from you with a link to your new blog. I hardly knew what a blog was until I started following yours. I have enjoyed being a participant, but more I have enjoyed the comradeship of those who regularly participate in this blog. Keep up the good work Dennis, and for all of those who regularly participate in this blog, it is a pleasure to blog with you.

Thom McGregor said...

I love blogging with you too, Murray. And, Dennis, belated congratulations (at least in print) on the 1st anniversary of your wonderful blog. You are the Blogman. Even though it's taken your attention, already filled with kids and too much work and baseball and drive-in societies, further away from me, I can see how much your writing and, maybe more importantly, your being read and responded to, has meant in your emotional and intellectual life. You deserve all the praise you are receiving. Your writing is keen, intelligent, heartfelt, passionate and always compassionate, and refreshingly free of typos (with my occasional help). I wish you'd get more sleep, but I'm so happy you've found this outlet for your creativity, and I'm so glad that so many wonderful minds have responded with the same kind of intelligence and good-heartedness that you exude in your writing. Happy birthday, SLATIFR.