ParaNorman’s a fairly new one, made in 2012, which is the sort of thing that might make the casual observer (or someone who hasn’t seen it) think, “Well, of course it’s mostly CGI, why wouldn’t it be?” ParaNorman, though – as anyone who’s seen it knows – is a stop-motion film in the spirit of Wallace and Gromit and a handful of other films that take a looooong time to make because you take a picture, then move the figures around a little, then take another picture, then move the figures around a little, repeat what feels like a billion times. What’s different about ParaNorman is that it’s the first stop-motion film with characters whose faces were printed on a 3D printer, which is pretty cool.
Ghostbusters is one of the most iconic movies of our generation. There are quite a few scenes that leave us asking “how did they do that” throughout the movie. One of the most memorable scenes is with the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man walking down the streets of New York, stomping on cars and smashing into buildings. What many people didn’t know is how this was filmed. In reality this was all set up as a miniature model and a real person was in a marshmallow suite.
Braindead (aka Dead Alive)
That looming, bearded figure there looking like he’s about to grab up that streetcar, rip the top off and feast on whomever’s inside is Peter Jackson, who you might know now as the director of a slightly classier film trilogy, one that won a boatload of awards and made all the money. (Stay tuned, it’s coming up.) Before he grabbed Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson was best known for having made a handful of ultra-bloody, ultra-quirky B-movies in his native New Zealand – Braindead (Dead Alive in the U.S.), Bad Taste and Meet the Feebles, which, to be fair, isn’t so much bloody as pitch black – on a barely shoestring budget, so whatever’s happening in the shot above shouldn’t really be all that surprising. It’s fair to say, though, that if you have any stomach for splattercore and haven’t seen his early stuff, you should fix that as soon as you can.
Lord of the Rings
Dead Alive is what Peter Jackson can do with eighty-five bucks, a couple gallons of blood, and a bunch of friends helping him out. Here’s what Peter Jackson can do when he has a virtually unlimited budget, a legendary property to adapt, and no inclination to film hundreds of zombies being ground to mulch by a lawnmower: make one of the most widely acclaimed trilogies in film history. Considering that he managed to make an entirely regular-sized man, Ian Holm, look like a Hobbit through the use of nothing more than some camera tricks, it shouldn’t be too surprising to learn that Jackson and his team built tons of supremely detailed shooting models, like the one above, to flesh out their vision of Middle-Earth.