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Why One Shot In George Clooney’s Failed Disney Ride Movie Was So Challenging Explained By VFX Artist


  • VFX artist Todd Vaziri reveals that one shot in Disney’s Tomorrowland was exceptionally difficult due to multiple complex elements all intersecting.
  • The shot in question features a young Frank Walker flying through the city with a jetpack, and it includes the use of real photography, multiple cameras for reflections, CG thrusters, and a fully CG double.
  • Despite its impressive visual effects, Tomorrowland underperformed at the box office, with its high budget, lackluster storytelling, and confusing marketing contributing to its failure.

One VFX artist who worked on Tomorrowland, the Disney ride adaptation movie starring George Clooney, reveals the one shot that proved to be exceptionally challenging. Released in 2015, Tomorrowland is directed by Brad Bird, telling the story of aging inventor Frank Walker (Clooney), who teams up with a young woman to uncover the mysteries of a mysterious utopian city that seemingly exists only in their collective memory. The movie earned somewhat mixed reviews and underperformed at the box office.

During an appearance on Corridor Crew‘s “VFX Artists React” series on YouTube, veteran ILM VFX artist Todd Vaziri reveals that one shot in Disney’s Tomorrowland is one of the most difficult shots that he’s ever had to work on.

The scene in question involves a young Frank Walker flying through the city with a jetpack strapped to his back, and Vaziri explains that there’s far more VFX wizardry going on than some viewers might realize. Check out his comment below:

“A complicated shot. There’s a lot of elements and it broke our brains, particularly from a layout point of view and environments.

“The thing about that shot is, it’s the boy, he’s on a turntable, he’s just standing. There’s a grip moving him around. He’s being filmed with two cameras simultaneously. There’s another camera that’s getting his reaction in his reflection. So from a layout point of view, of course you have to flop that image. It also means you have to match-move both images because the cameras are moving, the boy’s moving, the camera and the boy are moving slightly differently in the plates.

“Then we have to project him into the reflection, we have to put CG thrusters and stuff beneath him. From the jeans down, that’s CG. Everything we do in the foreground has to be similar to the background. In addition, he’s wearing a leather jacket but he’s moving at incredible speeds. We need to make the jacket ruffle, it wasn’t ruffling on set.

“When he emerges and we see the city in the background, your eye is to go the gorgeous, amazing, utopian environment of Tomorrowland. And you miss the fact that I used him going into the sun to wipe on a fully digital double of him. Using the light, it was the perfect split line.”

Related: Why Disney’s Tomorrowland Was Such A Huge Box Office Flop

Tomorrowland’s Box Office Failure Explained

Made on a budget of around $190 million, the bar for success was set unrealistically high for Tomorrowland. Ultimately, the film ended up making about $209 million at the box office, failing to break even and joining Disney’s other failed sci-fi movie John Carter as a major disappointment. The budget alone is at least partially to blame for Tomorrowland‘s failure, with something more in the $100 million range likely more appropriate in hindsight.

Tomorrowland‘s Rotten Tomatoes critics and audience scores both sit at 50%, suggesting that only about half of each group gave the film a positive review. The CGI and VFX are frequently mentioned as one of the film’s major strengths but, unfortunately, the storytelling and characters simply don’t cut it for a large portion of reviewers. The film is proof, then, that great effects can only get you so far, and that there needs to be something deeper to really get audiences on board in a big way.

The marketing is another area where Tomorrowland fell short. The plot and general premise of the movie wasn’t easy to convey in short, bite-sized ads, and it wasn’t entirely clear exactly what the movie was actually about. Despite these shortcomings, however, there are interesting ideas at play in Disney’s Tomorrowland, and some of the VFX sequences, in particular, remain remarkable feats.

Source: Corridor Crew/ YouTube

This story originally appeared on Screenrant

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