I have only just got around to watching the final in the trilogy that is the Pirates of the Caribbean - at Worlds End. I have been enjoying the soundtrack for a few months now and it still inspires me, awesome work by Hans Zimmer (grab it in iTunes!). The plot and scripts feels like a political intrigue drama, there are so many motives and threads all pulling their own way and weaving things together. Indeed the double-crossing deal-breaking characters actually make it all rather confusing actually. Now that I think in more detail about it, blimey there is alot of plotwork going on. Despite the exposition sequences, it is still unwieldy - it still works though with the humourous snippets, bountiful action sequences and just oh so much juicy pirating.
[screenshots from Pirates 3 thanks to the Rotten Tomatoes site]
The first movie is without doubt the masterpiece here and the second two films ride on that success. There is doubtless plenty of class in all three, but it is the original that stands out. It is great to have Barbosa back along with the joy of Capt'n Jack and the rest of the gang. Keira is good to see evolving through the film along with the now vast enseble cast. It is really the characters that make this whole enterprise work, with some healthy pirateness they are fun characters that all work together to make for a fun ride.
[promo images from Pirates 3 thanks to the Rotten Tomatoes site - showing off some of the awesome cast]
Even though the franchise might be character-driven, the special effects work is once again remarkable (great work at ILM as always). Some of the sequences I have no clue how they were done even, except that it would have involves a bunch of talented artists, some proprietry software and a bunch of time in compositing-land.
There are some nice articles on the tech out there. Barabara Robertson's CGSociety Article covers Geoff Campbell's creature modelling starting at the begining of his work from the early days. Below is one of the images from the article showing the version of Jack where he is all ship-like. Starting from a scan the modelling work is still very impressive and would have had to have been all nicely rigged to allow him to move naturally for us.
[cg jack image from the CGSociety article by Barbara Robertson]
Bill Desowitz's article VFXWorld explores a raft of ILM's cg work concentrating particularly on the ocean sequences. It is interesting that ILM chewed up 103 TerraBytes on At Worlds End - disk usage is becoming a significant factor - let along the amound of processing that they have going...
I also finished my Machinima for Dummies book, it was a fun little ride. With the coming of specific tools for doing Machinima like MovieStorm will that change the landscape of the artform so much that it will lose its appeal... Will it just be realtime CG Animation rather than the edgy experimental get-it-to-work inside a game world that it is today.