Ever since I was aware of Antony Johnston’s podcast premise – discussing with a guest why something has been unfairly derided – I suspected someone would get around to Zack Snyder’s Watchmen film. A couple weeks ago, when I saw Merlin Mann tweet a lot about Watchmen I suspected he might be the guest on the show doing that. He was. Turns out.
I always get a little trepidatious about people discussing the film for a few reasons:
- I worked on visual effects for the movie.
- Most people do not like the movie.
- It is my favorite movie I’ve ever worked on in my 9+ years of doing visual effects.
Set trepidation to maximum:
I enjoyed listening to the episode, overall, and I’m recommending you listen as well. One of the more surprising aspects (to me, anyway) is that this was the first time Antony had seen the film.
My opinions about the project are strongly colored by my time working on it. When I think of it, I think first of the Dr. Manhattan shots, and then about everything else. The amount of effort, and time, people put in isn’t immediately evident to viewers, but it was all difficult VFX back in 2008 (keep in mind the movie was released in Spring of 2009). It was a huge team effort. Animation, effects, textures, rigging, lighting, resource management, compositing – literally everyone.
Most of my favorite shots are the subtle ones, where there’s just a curl of the lip, and a tilt of the head. The subtle churning of effects under his skin providing some extra life. Most of that is overlooked in the film, particularly if the film is just a general affront to your sensibilities as a comics fan. That’s a shame, from my point of view, but I am a little biased.
Many of the shots are still used in my demo reel.
Fortunately, Antony and Merlin agree that they approve of Dr. Manhattan. That’s all the validation I really need. Group hug.
Also, I’m really sorry about blowing up Rorschach.