Spin­ning a Stun­ning Web

Sony Pic­tures An­i­ma­tion’s Spi­der-man: Into the Spi­der-verse de­liv­ers a fan­tas­tic look­ing ad­ven­ture, fea­tur­ing many di­verse ver­sions of Mar­vel’s beloved web­slinger. By Ramin Za­hed

Animation Magazine - - Features -

A few years ago, when the hot writ­ing/pro­duc­ing team of Phil Lord and Chris Miller were ap­proached by Sony Pic­tures An­i­ma­tion to work on a new Spi­der-man pro­ject, they knew that they didn’t want to see just an­other runof-the mill su­per­hero movie. They wanted the pic to look fan­tas­tic and pay homage to clas­sic comic books of the Golden Era. They also didn’t want to re­peat any of the old Peter Parker sce­nar­ios.

“We al­ways felt like the magic of this char­ac­ter is that any­one could be be­hind that mask,” ex­plains Lord, who co-wrote the screen­play with direc­tor Rod­ney Roth­man. “One of the rea­sons we fell in love with Miles Mo­rales from the comics is that writer Brian Bendis put a com­pletely new char­ac­ter back there. He’s from Brook­lyn, he’s got a strong fam­ily, he’s a lit­tle bit younger. So, we just thought it was a great way to remix the Spi­der-man story and tell it from a dif­fer­ent point of view.”

Di­rected by Bob Per­sichetti, Peter Ram­sey and Roth­man, Spi­der-man: Into the Spi­der-verse fol­lows the ad­ven­tures of young Miles Mo­rales, who dis­cov­ers the lim­it­less pos­si­bil­i­ties and chal­lenges of be­ing a su­per­hero. As he tries to fit into a new school he learns about his strange new pow­ers and the fan­tas­tic new multi-verse where dif­fer­ent ver­sions of Spi­der-man co-ex­ist. He soon finds him­self be­ing men­tored by the orig­i­nal Peter Parker as he tries to save the world from clas­sic, pow­er­ful vil­lains from the Spi­der-man mul­ti­verse.

Spi­der-man: Into the Spi­der-verse al­lowed the film­mak­ers to add new di­men­sions to Mar­vel’s be- loved web-sling­ing char­ac­ter, who was first in­tro­duced by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1962. “We are all lucky to have been able to work on this phe­nom­e­nal prop­erty that has such a huge au­di­ence in­vested in it,” say Per­sichetti (head of story on The Lit­tle Prince and Puss in Boots). “That’s why we could be bolder with our vis­ual choices and make the movie look dif­fer­ent from what a sum-

mer or win­ter block­buster is ex­pected to look like. Our goal was to ex­pand the vis­ual style and color pal­ettes, and de­liver a movie that might seem dif­fer­ent than any of the other Cg-an­i­mated movies we have seen in the past. One of the strengths of the comic is that it man­ages to en­cap­su­late in one im­age a re­ally synched, pow­er­ful story point, mo­tion or ac­tion. In our process of an­i­ma­tion, we tried to achieve that same thing.”

Led by the di­rec­tors, the artists and vis­ual ef­fects team at Sony Pic­tures Image­works ex­per­i­mented with a daz­zling vis­ual style that pays homage to the look of vin­tage comic books. As direc­tor Peter Ram­sey ( Rise of the Guardians) ex­plains, “Of course, dozens of Mar­vel movies lean on that look while telling a cin­e­matic story, but I can’t think of any other an­i­mated film that make this much of a vis­ual state­ment. That’s why au­di­ences have had such a great re­ac­tion to the film’s orig­i­nal trailer and clips so far.”

Ram­sey, one of the top African-amer­i­can di­rec­tors work­ing in an­i­ma­tion to­day, y, says y it has been es­pe­cially re­ward­ing to work on n a film cen­tered on a su­per­hero that comes mes from a di­verse back­ground. “Un­til re­cently, ntly, the scarcity of he­roes and lead char­ac­ters ac­ters that are not white has al­ways been een a bit of a sub­tle men­tal stum­bling bling block for peo­ple of color,” he shares. ares. “I be­lieve that the in­tro­duc­tion n of Miles Mo­rales as Spi­der-man Man sparked a re­nais­sance and a trend end to reimag­ine and fea­ture char­ac­ters cters that are not white and not male. That’s the story we set out to tell.” For direc­tor Rod­ney Roth­man (writer on 22 Jump Street), the movie has a lot in com­mon with a metic­u­lously planned, epic live-ac­tion pro­ject. “Ev­ery frame had to be care­fully crafted,” he ex­plains. “Our gen­eral ap­proach was to push ev­ery as­pect of the movie in a way that we haven’t seen be­fore. In terms of story, just like the orig­i­nal graphic novel, it’s all about Miles Mo­rales’ story, his fam­ily and their re­la­tion­ship. We have all these ex­cit­ing el­e­ments of a su­per­hero movie and the var­i­ous char­ac­ters and var­i­ous pos­si­bil­i­ties of the mul­ti­verse, but the heart of the movie is all about Miles’ re­la­tion­ship with his fam­ily.”

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