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Friday, February 13, 2009

81st Academy Award for Visual Effects

As promised in my previous post about the Academy Awards for the the best achievement in Visual Effects, I would like to create a post dedicated for my comments in this year's nominees for the said award.

The official nominees for the 81st Academy Awards for the Best Achievement in Visual Effects are:
  • Iron Man
  • The Dark Knight
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Luckily, I've seen all three in the big screen in the past. I would like to stress the fact though that these are just my personal comments and somehow, you may, or may not agree with me.

Iron Man. Plot: Tony Stark is the complete playboy who also happens to be an engineering genius. While in Afghanistan demonstrating a new missile he's captured and wounded. His captors want him to assemble a missile for them but instead he creates an armored suit and a means to prevent his death from the shrapnel left in his chest by the attack. He uses the armored suit to escape. Back in the U.S. he announces his company will cease making weapons and he begins work on an updated armored suit only to find that Obadiah Stane, his second in command at Stark industries has been selling Stark weapons to the insurgents. He uses his new suit to return to Afghanistan to destroy the arms and then to stop Stane from misusing his research. [Written by John Vogel of jlvogel@comcast.net]

Unlike the other two nominees, this movie is the most visual effects driven movie. I enjoyed the whole movie, much more its visual effects. The effects focus more on Iron Man itself. I have to admit, they look pretty real and the whole deal was very believable!

The Dark Knight. Plot:Batman raises the stakes in his war on crime. With the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent, Batman sets out to dismantle the remaining criminal organizations that plague the city streets. The partnership proves to be effective, but they soon find themselves prey to a reign of chaos unleashed by a rising criminal mastermind known to the terrified citizens of Gotham as The Joker. [Written by Peteagassi]

The realistic approach of the director make visual effects on this movie very limited. I can only think of the climatic battle scenes wherein the image and visual alterations have been made. Overall, it was Heath Ledger's performance that made the movie outstanding, but I doubt it'll win the award of this achievement.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Plot: On the day that Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans, elderly Daisy Williams nee Fuller is on her deathbed in a New Orleans hospital. At her side is her adult daughter, Caroline. Daisy asks Caroline to read to her aloud the diary of Daisy's lifelong friend, Benjamin Button. Benjamin's diary recounts his entire extraordinary life, the primary unusual aspect of which was his aging backwards, being born an old man who was diagnosed with several aged diseases at birth and thus given little chance of survival, but who does survive and gets younger with time. Abandoned by his biological father, Thomas Button, after Benjamin's biological mother died in childbirth, Benjamin was raised by Queenie, a black woman and caregiver at a seniors home. Daisy's grandmother was a resident at that home, which is where she first met Benjamin. Although separated through the years, Daisy and Benjamin remain in contact throughout their lives, reconnecting in their forties when in age they finally match up. Some of the revelations in Benjamin's diary are difficult for Caroline to read, especially as it relates to the time past this reconnection between Benjamin and Daisy, when Daisy gets older and Benjamin grows younger into his childhood years. [Written by Hugg]

This movie focused more on the performances of the actor and the movie itself, rather than the visuals that it carries. But I loved the movie, and it managed to pull great deal of imagery and visual effects! The alterations and the modifications can clearly be seen on the character's faces. I also liked the scene with regard to the war at sea. God, loved that!

My thoughts is that The Curious Case of Benjamin Button would win the award, but it will face very tough competition with Iron Man, which is likely to be favored.

Update: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button won the award! View the full list of 81st Annual Academy Awards winners.

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