With his latest project Blade Runner 2049 released, it’s a great time to get re-acquainted with The Movie Art of Syd Mead: Visual Futurist (Titan Books, $50). The 250+ page hardcover is the most comprehensive collection yet of Mead’s visionary conceptual work over the past 40 years. With images, sketches and never-before-scene material, each page gives fresh insight into the master’s creative practice.
Brush up on your superhero lore with the limited edition DC Universe: 10th Anniversary Collection Blu-ray box (WB, $300 SRP). In addition to 30 animated DCU movies and five shorts — from classic comic-book arcs like Superman Doomsday to toon originals like Gods and Monsters — the set includes over 20 hours of brand-new and classic bonus content, exclusive collectible coins and a 40-page adult coloring book. (No, not the “I left ‘safe search’ off doing a Google image search for Harley Quinn” kind of adult.) Take home the interlocking action of The LEGO Ninjago Movie on DVD, BD, BD 3D and 4K ($29, $36, $45, $45) from WB, and relive Green Ninja Lloyd’s (Dave Franco) struggles against the forces of ultimate darkness — lead by his dad! The upper echelon releases tack on tons of extras, including behind-thescenes featurettes, mini-movies, music videos and deleted scenes. Feed your visual sweettooth with the pure eye-candy of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (Lionsgate, $40 BD). Adapted from the popular French comics, director Luc Besson takes full advantage of cutting-edge animation and vfx to follow Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Loreline (Cara Delevigne) on a frenetic interstellar adventure. Also on 4K Ultra HD ($43) and DVD ($30).
5Happy 77th birthday to Hayao Miyazaki, who is working hard as ever on his “final” feature, How Do You Live?
friends and has a life-changing effect on the lives of the misfit animals he meets on his journey. In the film’s thrilling climactic scene, Ferdinand has to face the matador El Primero in a packed arena, but he valiantly stays true to his peaceful nature, and inspires all those around him as well.
The plan to bring Ferdinand’s tale to the big screen began more than six years ago when Saldanha was stilling working on Rio 2. “I was very excited when I found out that Fox and Blue Sky were thinking of developing a movie based on the book,” he recalls. “I had read the book and fallen in love with the story and its wonderful message of acceptance and diver- sity. I thought that this was the right moment to take this lovely little book and develop it into a family movie for today’s audiences.”
For long-time Blue Sky Studios producer Lori Forte, the film offered a chance to reunite with Saldanha, who had worked with her on the first three Ice Age movies. “Carlos had wanted to work on a movie which had a bull as its main character,” she recalls. “I loved working with him on the Ice Age movies, and I missed him terribly. I knew that he was passionate about this project, and his strong feelings for the story and its message also inspired me and everyone else around him.” ‘The more research we did, the more it became obvious to us that people can interpret the story in so many different ways … Our story has a deeper meaning in the difficult world that we all live in today..’
Glorious Colors & Dynamic
Designs Art director Thomas Cardone ( Rio 2, Horton Hears a Who!, Ice Age: The Meltdown) says when you mention Ferdinand to people everyone seems to remember two basic things about the story. “Everyone says, ‘Oh yeah, that’s the movie about the bull who only wants to smell flowers and doesn’t want to fight,’” he points out. “I found the project instantly appealing because it’s a big story with a few characters, so you can create this intimate feeling. It is not a movie where someone has to save the world, but it’s a story with a lot of heart.”
Cardone notes that character designer Sang Jun Lee came up with the philosophy for
whole shape and style of the movie.”
Ferdinand’s inner emotions are also reflected in the choice of background locations. As Cardone explains, the farm in Ronda the heroic bull longs to return to is depicted as a green and happy place, with lots of flowers and vegetation. “But the bull ranch where he is imprisoned is arid looking, which you also get in Spain during the more severe seasons,” he notes.
The region’s white stucco buildings with their terra-cotta roofs also provide neutral backgrounds against which the artists played around with memorable splashes of color. “We placed bold colors, like a bright blue wheelbarrow, a turquoise bucket or a green farm implement, against the neutral canvas,” recalls Cardone. “We would also balance the compositions with differently colored animals. The color red was especially reserved for specific key moments, like Ferdinand’s favorite poppies in the farm, or the carnations in the bull ring, or the matador’s cape.”
One of Cardone’s favorite scenes is the climactic sequence where Ferdinand faces El Primero in the ring. “I love the lighting and the drama of it,” he notes. “Staging is very important to us, and we worked hard to bring out the light and shadow values in that sequence. The fight is held in the afternoon, so half the stadium is in light and the other half is in the shadows. Ferdinand is dark against the light background, while the matador is light against the dark. It really amplifies the emotions and really makes the scene pop.” The art director points out that all the artistic elements work nicely together to deliver the heartfelt message of the movie. He concludes, “I think this movie has such a big heart, so I was very pleased with the way the style, the design, the lighting and all the technical element join forces to serve a common goal.” Fox/ Blue Sky’s Ferdinand will begin its theatrical journey on December 15.
I was so tired. I said, ‘Okay maybe it’s time to tell this story; maybe I can do it right now.’”
He turned the story into a graphic novel, then adapted it to the screen. The other two tales — A Baby to Deliver ( Un bébé à livrer), which is based on another comic by Renner, and The Perfect Christmas ( Le Noël parfait) — were directed by Patrick Imbert. In the former, complications arise after a lazy stork cons Pig, Rabbit and Duck into taking a baby to her proper home. In the latter, when they break a plastic decoration on Pig’s barn, Rabbit and Duck think they’ve killed Santa Claus and in-
‘ I think the watercolor also makes a film look warmer ... If you want a film to look like the good old days, you have to go inside the computer and ‘break’ something to give the art the correct feeling.’