TED talks

Movies have always fascinated me, especially the animation movies. The Hollywood movies have used animation/graphics to a greater degree to simulate the real-life scenes. We are at times surprised by the thought of how the production team must have taken the shots and created the scenes. As an audience, it amuses me and makes me think about it. I wonder how they must have taken the shots – at times mixing the real-life scenes with the animated ones.

Here are 2 TED talks in which the speakers share their experience about behind the scenes of making a movie.

The first one is by Andrew Stanton, the writer of “Toy Story” and writer/director of “Wall-e” (BTW, Wall-e is my one of the favorite animation movies). An academy award winner, h

e shares his views about story-telling.

http://www.ted.com/talks/andrew_stanton_the_clues_to_a_great_story.html

The second one is by Rob Legato, who created movie effects  in the films like Apollo 13, Titanic and Hugo.

http://www.ted.com/talks/rob_legato_the_art_of_creating_awe.html

and do visit the TED website http://www.ted.com for more interesting and fascinating talks.

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Movie Review: Ice Age- Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Ice Age Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Ice Age Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Having seen Ice Age and Ice Age: The Meltdown I had many expectations from this movie, and the movie lived up to them. This movie and Surf’s Up were a real treat!

Ellie and Manny are expecting their first child, and Manny is obsessed with making life perfect and safe for the family, since his first experiences as a husband and father went bad when his family were killed by hunters. At the same time, Diego (Denis Leary) finds himself unable to catch a gazelle he has been stalking and decides to leave the herd, believing that he is losing his predatory nature as a tiger. Sid grows jealous of Manny and Ellie and “adopts” three apparently abandoned eggs that he finds in an icy underground cavern. Manny tells him to put them back, but Sid instead looks after the eggs, which hatch into baby Tyrannosaurus ‘ the next morning. Diego and Sid abandon the company of Ellie and Manny. Ellie asks Manny to cal them, back in their gang, in vain.

Ellie: This is the world our baby’s gonna grow up in, you can’t change that.
Manny: Guys don’t talk to guys about guy problems. They just… punch each other on the shoulder.

Although Sid tries his best to raise the three dinosaurs, their rambunctious behavior scares away all the other animals’ young and ruins a playground Manny built for Ellie’s baby. In an attempt to feed the little dinosaurs, Sid goes to milk a bull. He is humming while attempting to milk a bull, pulls on udders, bull chases Sid.

Sid (shouting while running from Bull) “I thought you were a female!”J

A female Tyrannosaurus, Momma, whose eggs Sid stole, soon returns and carries both Sid and her kids underground, with Diego in pursuit. Manny, Ellie, Crash, and Eddie follow as well and discover that the icy cavern leads to a vast jungle populated by dinosaurs thought to be extinct. Here, an Ankylosaurus threatens the herd despite Diego’s efforts to fend it off; they are saved from a further crowd of angry reptiles by a one-eyed, insane weasel named Buckminster, or Buck.

Buck has been living in this jungle for some time and is chasing Rudy (a huge white Baryonyx), intending to avenge the eye he lost to it. He agrees to lead the herd through the jungle’s perils to Lava Falls, where Momma has taken Sid and her babies. In the meantime, Sid and Momma try to outdo each other in feeding the offspring; he loses this contest, but is soon welcomed into the family regardless. The next day, however, Sid is separated from the family and attacked by Rudy. Sid is knocked onto a loose rock slab that is floating on a river of lava and about to plummet over the falls.

As the herd moves toward Lava Falls, Ellie goes into labor and a Guanlong pack strikes, causing a rock slide that separates her from Manny and Diego. Manny doubles back to protect her and Diego fends off further attacks, while Buck takes Crash and Eddie ahead to rescue Sid. Just as the sloth goes over the falls, the trio swoops in on a commandeered Pteranodon and saves his life. Manny reaches Ellie, and there is suddenly a reaction, the cry of a newborn baby, then he sees that it is a girl. He wants to name her Ellie, or Little Ellie, but Ellie instead names her Peaches after the fruit (the codeword they had chosen for Ellie to use if she went into labor during the trip). Sid is saddened at the fact that he never had a chance to say goodbye to “his” children as he returns to the herd and learns of Peaches’ birth.

Before they can exit the jungle, Rudy attacks at full force; Buck lures Rudy away from the group and is nearly eaten himself, before Diego saves him at the last second. They then ensnare him briefly, but he escapes and resumes his onslaught. The herd is saved by the timely arrival of Momma, who charges at Rudy and knocks him off a cliff. As she and her children wish Sid well, Buck – now without a purpose in life since Rudy is gone – decides to join the herd and live on the surface. However, a distant roar tells him that Rudy is still alive; he changes his mind and sends the herd home, blocking off the path to the underground jungle at the same time so that no one else can go down there. Manny and Ellie welcome Peaches into their frozen world and admit that Sid did a good job looking after Momma’s children (though Manny tells Diego that he will never let Sid babysit Peaches). Diego decides to remain with the herd, while Buck stays where he wants to be: underground, battling it out with Rudy.

As in the previous Ice Age films, Scrat does everything he can to retrieve his precious acorn. His efforts are complicated by the presence of the beautiful and wily Scratte, a female of his species, with whom he is instantly smitten. Scratte outsmarts him a number of times, once by demonstrating her ability to glide like a flying squirrel, but the two eventually fall in love after Scrat saves her from falling to her death in the lava river while she is unconscious. He even chooses to focus his attention on her instead of the acorn until the end of the film, when he tires of her finicky nature and reverts to his old ways. The ensuing fight between the couple leads to a volcanic explosion that hurls Scrat and the acorn back to the surface, leaving Scratte trapped underground. However, as Scrat is about to enjoy his acorn, a stray piece of ice falls on him and knocks the acorn back into Scratte’s hands. He screams in frustration, having lost both his love and his acorn.

Movie Review: Surf’s Up

Surfs Up

Surfs Up

I had watched this movie a long time back and could watch it again on HBO yesterday. I just loved this Penguin animated movie although Penguins feature in March of the Penguins, Madagascar, and Happy Feet. The direction is superb and voice casting and music is excellent. I would recommend watching this movie for motivation (not inspiration-as it comes from within). Here goes the review-

A documentary crew (of SPEN channel, SPEN is a parody of ESPN. It stands for “Sports Penguin Entertainment Network”. It is also a play on the scientific family name for penguins, Spheniscidae) follows the events of Cody Maverick (voiced by Shia LaBeouf) a small rock hopper penguin residing in Shiverpool, Antarctica (a pun on Liverpool, England). After a childhood visit from surf legend Zeke “Big Z” Topanga, Cody aspires to emulate the renowned legend by becoming a famous and respected surfer.

Eventually, talent scout Mikey Abromowitz arrives in Shiverpool scouting for surfers to compete in the Big Z Memorial Surf Contest. Cody joins the group of surfers, once he’s proven himself to Mikey, and quickly befriends Chicken Joe, an easy-going surfer from Wisconsin. Soon after arriving at Pen Gu Island (along with other prominent surfers Renato Mendes (Brazil), Rory Nubbins (Australia), and Tatsuhi Kobayashi (Japan)), Cody crosses paths with the local lifeguard named Lani Aliikai as she rescues the penguin child, Arnold, from “drowning.” Shortly thereafter, Cody has an altercation with the egotistical Tank “The Shredder” Evans, a large muscular penguin and nine time winner of the Big Z Competition, when he witnesses Tank hurling stones at Big Z’s memorial shrine. The disturbance catches the attention of promoter Reggie Belefonte, all too eager to allow Cody to challenge Tank to a surf-off on the spot. Unfortunately Cody’s inexperience with the challenges the competition has to offer leads to a terrible wipeout, and he is injured when he steps on a fire urchin. Lani takes Cody to the jungle home of a hermit called the Geek (voiced by Jeff Bridges) in order to get help for his injuries and to recuperate.

Upon waking up, Cody is quickly shooed out of Geek’s house. On the escort back, Cody realizes that he has lost his Big Z necklace. He shows Cody the route back to the beach, and leaves the young penguin be. A short time having passed, Geek has found Cody’s necklace in his hut and quickly returns to the path fork, finding Cody still sitting on the log, and returns the Big Z necklace. Geek then notices the log’s type, Koa (of which all the best surfboards are made), and decides to make Cody a surfboard.

While carrying the log back to Geek’s house, the two lose control of it and the log starts rolling down a cliff. The two run after it, and the young surfer notices what the cliff looks over: a beautiful and pristine beach. Unable to contain his curiosity, Cody treks down the steep cliff, inadvertently taking Geek with him. On the beach, Cody explores a toppled tree and soon realizes it houses several old surfboards, those of Big Z’s. Geek is seen investigating a dilapidated shack littered with messages of grief from Big Z’s fans, and from his reaction, Cody realizes that the Geek is Big Z.

Almost instantly, Cody’s excitement that his lifetime hero still lives is unleashed in a torrent of questions and theories as to what happened, much to the chagrin of Z, who quickly takes to hiding within his old home. Eventually Cody lures Z from the hut, having pulled Z’s old boards from their resting spot and attempting to surf with them out in the crystal blue ocean. Cody takes a few more wipeouts as he attempts to get Z in the water, but slowly manages to work tips from Big Z. Cody is told that he won’t be doing any surfing until he has made a board of his own.

Cody, eager to make his own board, is unwilling to listen to Z’s advice on making a surfboard. Z backs off, and allows Cody to pry his way through the wood, creating a “work in progress” gouged plank that quickly snaps once in the water. Cody becomes irritated and leaves the beach, leaving Z behind, Z all the time calling after Cody that he will come back. Cody runs into Lani, who reveals that she knew of Geek’s true persona, and that he was her uncle. Lani then takes Cody to a series of tubes in the island and after a thrilling race through the tubes and a “winning” landing in glow worm droppings, a shower, and a talk, Lani convinces Cody to return to Z. Cody complies, realizing his folly, and returns to Z’s beach, beginning work on a new surfboard under the bright moonlight.

In the morning, Z awakens Cody to start his training, but on land. Cody, initially irritated by the low-progress training, soon exclaims that he is “having fun.” Z then gives Cody the OK to go into the water, and joins him in the surfing. Lani soon arrives on the beach and joins the duo as they surf the rest of the day away.

In the evening, Cody asks Big Z to come and watch him surf in the Big Z Memorial Surf competition. Z is highly reluctant, becoming irritated with the questioning, but ashamedly reveals the truth behind his disappearance. Cody is in disbelief that his hero had given up. Tossing his necklace into the dark waves, Cody storms off, intending to win the contest alone. Cody continues through the forest and is caught in a trap set by the natives of Pen Gu Island. Chicken Joe appears, having been looking for Cody ever since his disappearance, and since had befriended and apparently traveling with the Pen Gu-ins, retrieves Cody just as the horn blows for the start of the Surf Off.

Taking the audience by surprise, the three finalists turn out to be Cody, Joe, and Tank. Tank attempts to take out Cody only to slip off his board. Tank is knocked out cold after colliding with some of the rocks, Lani coming to his rescue. Meanwhile, Cody is saved by Z, and together they swim back ashore. Z then reveals his presence to the crowd, and takes them to his beach to surf. Cody finishes talking with the documentary crew at this point and joins his friends in the water. The film ends with Z, Cody, Lani, and many others surfing the waves as the sun sets.

Cody’s brother Glen is seen mumbling and throwing the documentary crew’s equipment out of the window, ending the scene with “Go back to Hollywood!”

Surf’s Up has received generally positive reviews from critics, and the film is ‘Certified Fresh’ by rottentomatoes.com, with a 78% approval rating among reviews. Some noted that in spite of it coming so soon after many movies featuring penguins (March of the Penguins, Madagascar, and Happy Feet), it was able to stand out on its own.

Source: Wikipedia