13 films and eight years into the #MCU, the magical, reality shattering world of Doctor Strange has made its way onto the big screen. The superhero movie with a difference is visually stunning, disorientating and befitting of the source material. Due to its success, it could be argued the mystical marvel has been a long time coming, and, perhaps, even overdue.
However, Scott Derrickson's exploration into the metaphysical took advantage of cutting-edge developments in technology, with key scenes crafted in a manner which added to the film's allure. One of the most awe-inspiring sequences — set in the Mirror Dimension — shows the city of London manipulated like aesthetically pleasing, city-sized origami.
Although similar sequences have been made before (comparison have rightly been made with Nolan's lucid dream world in Inception), those scenes in particular were carefully crafted down to the last meticulous detail. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, VFX supervisor Vince Cirelli (who worked on the film on behalf of Luma Pictures) revealed just how in-depth the design was. He said:
"When you're re-creating city blocks, you're dealing with huge amounts of digital information, and we needed to be able to manipulate it to make the buildings kaleidoscope and transform.
That required a new way of processing the information and newly developed tools that allowed us to take these big blocks of information and manipulate them in a layered approach.
"We would break up the city, and each building would become its own data set, so we were able to isolate and animate them."
Cirelli explained that digital replicas of entire cities had to be rendered in order to achieve the shape-shifting effects, while also being given the task of "making aspects of everyday life behave in a different way, in a way that's not natural."
Along with the mind-blowing Mirror Dimension, #DoctorStrange also turned to CGI for most of its key sequences. As well as Strange's trippy multidimensional tour, performance-capture was used to show Strange in both physical and astral form, while the features of leading star #BenedictCumberbatch were captured to provide the basis of powerful villain, Dormammu.
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CGI Made The Comic Book Star
Although special effects were relied on heavily, with 1,450 visual effects shots, Doctor Strange is still far from the most computer-reliant MCU movie. The cosmic spectacular Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) used 2,750, a little more than the 2,500 used by Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014). At the top of the list for most CGI heavy to date is last year's Avengers: Age of Ultron, with 3,000 visual effects shots.
In the same manner of all things computer related, CGI technology has enhanced and increased in effectiveness over a short space of time. The ability to generate such high-concept computer imagery has been the single-most effective catalyst in the rise of the superhero genre; perhaps the reason the market is now so saturated comes down to the fact that, years gone by, the tools couldn't match the imagination.
Now, though, comic book adaptations are leading the way in pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved with computer imagery, and Doctor Strange is the latest example of that. If the skills are where they are now, it's exciting to imagine what superhero movies will be brought to life over the next 13 MCU films, the next decade, and beyond.
Which is the best CGI heavy Marvel film?
(Source: The Hollywood Reporter)