When I think of War of the Worlds I think of this.

One of the coolest alien invasion ships ever. However, this wasn’t what H.G. Wells envisioned when he wrote the famous story. I’m sure he didn’t envision the radio drama, the Asylum take, and Tom Cruise movie, either. Heck, I have an Elseworlds story with Superman fighting the Martians. Yes, there are many takes on the classic story but someone is hoping to do another one.

Outside of ditching my favorite Martian vehicle for the classic walking tripods of Wells’ story, there haven’t been a lot of attempts to truly adapt the original story. I’m not sure if these guys are going full adaptation, either, since all they have is a “proof of concept” video. That was all it took to get one of my favorite movies, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, going. The interesting part of this concept video, however, is that they’re not using the usual CG style, but stop-motion for the Martian craft. Stop-Motion. In 2011. I didn’t think anybody did that anymore.

From the Bleeding Cool article I heard about this from:

Amongst the producers on this new production is Stephen Chiodo, stop motion legend and co-director of Killer Klowns From Outer Space. The director is Justin Kohn, a veteran animator who worked on Coraline, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Life Aquatic and many more. When it comes to frame-by-frame puppet fiddling, these guys more than know their stuff.

The catch is that this trailer is for an as-yet unshot film. It looks as though Kohn wants to use this as a proof of concept to gather funds for the full length production.

I’ve always been a supporter of using stuntwork, models, and animatronics/puppetry whenever possible, because a physical object looks better than the computer generated version. Star Trek: The Next Generation had an actual 3D model made up for the Enterprise-D, scanned it into a computer, and manipulated it digitally. I wish more productions would do that.

Stop-motion has its disadvantages, however. It takes a lot of time to move each piece a small enough distance to reduce jerky motion as much as possible, and one slip means you have start the whole thing over again. Ray Harryhausen was a master at the art, and even his work is dated by today’s standards, as much fun as the result is to watch. You kids today (who should get off my lawn) don’t realize that at the time this was considered amazing and life-like because there hadn’t been anything like it before and offered advantages that a guy in a costume or a puppet couldn’t.

By itself it isn’t bad, but combining the stop-motion with the live actor is where the challenge comes in I thought they did rather well. The green screen is only obvious in the scene where the guy appears to be sitting outside his house but clearly isn’t. You can see more of that in this behind-the-scenes footage they shot.

Overall I rather enjoy the work and appreciate the effort it took to design, build, and animate the Martian vessel. I wish them the best of luck in getting this movie produced. You can see more behind the scenes footage, and I assume updates on the film, at Kohn’s YouTube page.

About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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