Pulling in over $65 million at the box office this past weekend, Jonathan Liebesman’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a bigger success than expected, which of course led to Paramount immediately giving the greenlight for a sequel. Though I loathed the Platinum Dunes production, I’m perfectly fine with another movie getting made, as no incarnation of the Ninja Turtles has been exactly the same as the one before it. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 could very well be the Godfather II of CGI-laden films centered on pop culture-loving giant reptiles and their rodent sensei. Here are five ways producer Michael Bay could easily get this follow-up to rise above its predecessor and skateboard into the good graces of those of us who were dismayed the first time around. Spoilers lay ahead.
One of the coolest part of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and there are a lot of cool parts to gawk at, is the wide array of fantastic alien creatures that populate the universe. The vast majority of them, with notable exceptions like Groot and Rocket who were done with motion capture, are practical in nature. Director James Gunn made sure that as much as could be done with applications, costumes, and make up was in fact done that way, and it gives an air of the concrete and real to the film that it might otherwise have lacked. And how we’ve god a big gallery of images that showcase exactly how these ends were achieved.
Dave White helped design the special effects make up and helped Gunn and company come up with the unique looks for characters like Gamora, Nebula, Korath, Yondu, and Drax the Destroyer. They employed everything from simple body paint to complex pieces that had to be applied. Some were easier than others, and only had to cover a small area, like a face, but then there are more intense challenges, like covering up Dave Bautista’s entire torso with a complicated pattern of raised tattoo-like add ons.
We won’t actually see the upcoming Star Wars Rebels, the first post-Disney buyout of Lucasfilm addition to the Star Wars canon, until October. We’ve seen clips and trailers, but now there’s a quick little short film to keep you occupied for a while longer.
Called “The Machine in the Ghost,” the action centers on the ship the main crew of characters fly around the galaxy in, which just so happens to be named the Ghost. While the machine the title refers to is the put upon little astromech droid named Chopper, who definitely fits into the R2-D2 mold of sassy, spunky, and not afraid to take matters into his own hands.
Yesterday we wrote about X-Men’s James Marsden joining the cast of HBO’s upcoming reboot of Michael Crichton’s Westworld as the hero. And what use is a hero without a villain to go up against from time to time? Well now they’ve lined up one of those, too, and they found themselves a good one: Ed Harris.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Snowpiercer and Apollo 13 star will play a character called The Man in Black. This sounds like an updated version of Yul Brynner’s robotic gunslinger character from the 1973 original (which was written and directed by Crichton). He is described as “the distillation of pure villainy into one man.”
If you happen to stumble upon a stack of cash that has an off-putting odor, it’s possible that Michael Bay just shit that money out, as the filmmaker has a way of doing that kind of thing. He’s having one of the strongest years of his career as both a director and a producer, with Transformers: Age of Extinction as the year’s current third highest earner (with $242 million domestically) and this past weekend saw Platinum Dunes’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles blow expectations out of the sewer with a $65 million debut. And while it was assumed that he would continue on this CGI character streak for the next 150 years (which is around 30 in Michael Bay years), it appears he might be removing himself from the Transformers game. Might be.
Bay’s possible future with the franchise gets completely buried in a USA Today story covering just how successful the filmmaker’s summer has been. (He also has The Purge: Anarchy in theaters along with TNT’s The Last Ship gathering big ratings and arguably more critical acclaim than his feature film efforts.) Bay, it’s said, “believes he will pass the baton for future Transformers movies to a new director while he turns his focus elsewhere.” As someone who is a general fan of Bay, just not his hulking alien robot franchise, I couldn’t be more pleased with this bit of news.
A while back we talked about “Force for Change,” a charity tie-in with the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII, where fans could win a small role in the film for donating money to UNICEF and their continuing efforts around the globe. Director J.J. Abrams appeared in a couple of videos that not only revealed the contest and prize, but also showed off some of the practical special effects that will appear in the movie. He even revealed a new version of the iconic X-Wing Fighter in the process. The contest is now over, and today he delivered a thank cool thank you note for fans, as well as revealing the winner.
“Force for Change” was a rousing success, raising more than $4.26 million dollars for UNICEF’s Innovation Labs, which are aimed at addressing serious issues facing children all around the globe, like nutrition, education, and access to clean water. These efforts include MobiStations, which are portable, solar-powered educational stations that can go anywhere they’re needed, as well as Rapid FTR (Family Tracing and Reunification), which is an app for mobile phones that is designed to bring together families that have been separated by natural disasters.