Obviously someone went to great lengths adding all the little documentaries on the A.I. special edition DVD as separate titles on the IMDb, setting up the opportunity for other contributers, including myself to leave comments on each one. However, in the Special Visual Effects and Animation department some corners were cut. Instead of adding all 5 of the segments that are presented under that name, the overlapping main title was put up instead as well as for some reason the fifth sub-title, 'Animating A.I.'.
This part of the DVD focuses on the people from Industrial Light and Magic. In the first segment, 'An Overview' (5.11 minutes) visual effects supervisor Dennis Muren reminisces about a Thanksgiving '93 meeting he had in England with Stanley Kubrick. It was after Jurassic Park came out and the reclusive genius Kubrick wanted to discuss a secret pet project of his about a mechanical boy. A couple of years later, Muren was contracted by Steven Spielberg about the very same story and it is interesting to hear Dennis say that it wasn't until Spielberg got involved that he thought the project had a change of being done on a suitable budget. Muren also talks about the groundbreaking Previsualization system that allowed the crew to film scenes on a blue-screen and watch an estimation of the CGI set back immediately on a monitor. Finally he mentions that while the film starts off in a reasonably contemporary setting, it ends up in totally artificial one, pure A.I as it were.
8 out of 10
Segment # 2, 'The Robots' (3.25 minutes) features Scott Farrar explaining about the robots at the flesh fair again (basically the same stuff that was already covered in 'The Robots of A.I.'). Luckily he also goes into the creation of that amazing looking secretary robot in the films opening scene. Also, Pinochio gets mentioned a lot. This film was after all written by Steven Spielberg.
6 out of 10
Next up is 'The Models' (4.18 minutes). For once director/writer/ producer Laurent Bouzereau has more than one ILM sharing the spotlight. Visual effects art director Daid Nakabayashi mainly focuses on the creation of the fictional amusement park "Pinnochio world". Oh Steven. Steve Gawley joins in to explain dry for wet photography, since the entire park is only seen submerged during the film. Ginger Theisen adds some insight about the model making process and talks about adding computer graphic elements such as the Amphibicopter. Scott Farrar also pops up again to explain that Rouge City was a physical set for the first row of buildings were concerned, with CGI structures making up the background.
7 out of 10
On to 'The New York City Sequence Shot Progression' (2.51 minutes). Associate visual effects supervisor Doug Smythe reveals that a lot of the computer generated buildings were fabricated from photographs and cards. Also CG was the water simulation. The pivotal building where the lions weep however was a model about six feet tall. The only after effects in those particular shots were some power-lines that had to be removed (oh, and the Amphibicopter had to be added too I suppose).
6 out of 10
The last piece of the puzzle is of course 'Animating A.I.' (8.07 minutes) but I suppose you could skip this part of the comment and follow the link to it's own IMDb page instead. Animation Supervisor Hal Hinkel talks about the most important computer generated characters in A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Teddy was of course one of the main characters and only partially done in the computer, but the main problem was having to match it's movements to Stan Winston's puppet. Dr. Know was less of a problem as it was a cartoon style cg character. Naturally Hinkel was present at Robin Williams' voice-over sessions but thankfully there is no footage of this shown. For the creation of the Futuristic Robots (yes, they are robots, not aliens) and their spokesperson 'The Specialist', Hal and co studied the movements of Balet Dancers as well as actors with a very quiet presence like Alec Guiness and Ben Kingsly (who also provided the voice). Finally the Blue Fairy statue was probably the hardest character in the film to animate, as it was actually even more ambiguous than the Futuristic Robots (yet no one ever seems to complain about this statues of Mary inspired figure voiced by Meryl Streep).
8 out of 10, bringing it all up to a combined 7 out of 10
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