Actors So Authentic “You’d Think They Were Digitally Produced”
Burbank, Cal. (SatireWire) – The soon-to-be-released Walt Disney film “Max Keeble’s Big Move,” which features real actors and actual scenery, is so lifelike that it’s almost as good as animation, say critics and moviegoers.
“I knew, intellectually, that there wasn’t a single bit of animation in the movie, but the way the characters behaved, it was so genuine you’d have thought they were digitally produced,” said critic Kyra Warkle, who caught a special sneak preview Thursday night.
Warkle added that the film was destined to become an unanimated classic, high praise which visibly humbled Director Tim Hill.
“If we can get people to suspend their disbelief, to think of the actors as real animated characters portraying flesh-and-blood people, and not just flesh-and-blood people awkwardly trying to come off as flesh-and-blood people, then we’ve done our job,” Hill said. “My hope is that one day, you won’t be able to tell the difference,”
The movie, due to be released Oct. 5, tells the tale of precocious seventh-grader Max, who seeks revenge on his enemies just days before his family is set to move out of town, only to learn his family is not moving after all. Actor Alex Linz, who plays the lead character in the film, said the key for him was letting go of his unconvincing corporeality.
“I tried to get into the heads of the animators that would have created my character and think like they would have had me think, move like they would have had me move,” he said. “It was like I was literally drawing myself right onto the celluloid.”
To aid in the quest, Hill utilized a pair of secret weapons. One was a specialized computer called the Animorphizer. Using it, scenes are animated, and sensors are placed on the arms, head, legs, and torso of both the digital characters and the actors. By being fed impulses, actors can then mimic the movements of their animated counterparts.
The other weapon: Hill brought in animators from the legendary Pixar and graphics experts from Industrial Light and Magic to work as consultants.
“For the most part, I thought the cast did a good job,” said IL&M’s Jaime Klark. “Only occasionally would I say, ‘Hey, a synthespian would never act like that.’ Then I’d computerize the character real quick and show them how real animated people behave.”
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