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Movie: Doctor Strange
What it’s up for: Visual Effects

I will honestly say that I am not the best person to accurately assess the visual effects for Doctor Strange. I have some astigmatism so I tend to prefer seeing movies in 2D over 3D. My astigmatism also led me to be completely tripped out by the distortion effects in this film. (I’m glad I didn’t see it in 3D. It wouldn’t have gone well.) However, the visual effects are the primary focal point of Doctor Strange and it’s easy enough to perceive why.

Doctor Strange is based off the Marvel comics character by the same name. This film is Steven Strange’s origin story. Strange, a highly skilled surgeon, injures his hands in an accident and must learn to cope with life outside the hospital. In his search for meaning and healing, he discovers a realm of sorcery and finds a power within himself that he never imagined.

This is a Marvel movie. It’s good. It’s quite good. I, personally, didn’t like it as much as some of the other films, but there’s no denying its quality. The story line is intriguing. The characters are complex and interesting. But the effects are what makes this movie stand out. Part of the sorcery in the film includes creating alternate realities and opening portals to new areas. The result is basically what would happen if you filmed a movie through a kaleidoscope. It’s amazing to watch. All the CGI effects were seamless and impressive. However, it pales in comparison to the innovative effects in The Jungle Book and Kubo and the Two Strings (which is getting its own post).

the-jungle-book

MovieThe Jungle Book
What it’s up for: Visual Effects

When they first announced the concept for this movie – live action with motion capture animals – I, like many, was quite confused on how it would play out. Little did we know how WELL it would work.

The Jungle Book is….The Jungle Book. It is the live-action adaptation of the Disney animated feature. It does include some additional elements from the book. It is not simply a shot-for-shot remake. In fact, although it keeps much of the plot from the cartoon (as well as some musical elements), the story ventures far enough away from the original to keep you engaged and guessing what will happen next. I absolutely loved it. It is my favorite of the live-action remakes so far. It was better than Cinderella and immensely better than Maleficent. I think they finally figured out that if they change the plot around too much, people won’t like the film. This one has just the right balance.

Now, for the effects: SWEET MOTHER OF MONKEY MILK. Sorry for the lack of professionalism but seriously…it’s like they trained real animals to talk and act. The evolution of the animation of fur and hair has really reached its peak. I was blown away by how real everything looked – animals and environment alike. Neel Sethi (Mowgli) was the only one on set for most of the filming of this movie. He acted by himself to imaginary animals in an imaginary environment on a green screen set. He should get a special award just for that. He also did a great job as an actor.

Predictions
Having seen 4 out of 5 of the Visual Effects movies at this point, I’m going to have to go with The Jungle Book.

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