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Special Effects: 'The Scorpion King' (2002)

Video  -  Documentary | Short  -  1 October 2002 (USA)
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Two short documentaries about the computer generated creatures The Scorpion King faces on his quest: 'The Cobras' and 'The Fire Ants'.

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Title: Special Effects: 'The Scorpion King' (Video 2002)

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Two short documentaries about the computer generated creatures The Scorpion King faces on his quest: 'The Cobras' and 'The Fire Ants'.

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Documentary | Short





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1 October 2002 (USA)  »

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This featurette is featured on the Collector's Edition DVD for 'the Scorpion King,' released in 2002. See more »


Features The Scorpion King (2002) See more »

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Digital creatures to be more precise
18 August 2009 | by (Rijswijk, ZH, Netherlands) – See all my reviews

Chuck Russell makes it clear at the start of this two part documentary that his film The Scorpion King may have spun off from The Mummy sequel The Mummy Returns, but as far as he is concerned, it's settings are actually less far fetched and fantastical as well as being set thousands of years earlier. Naturalisty designs and true to life elements were what he was going for, in a story based on characters rather than creatures. For this reason whenever there was a dangerous yet lifelike animal to be seen on screen that could for safety or practical reasons not be performed with actual animals, the computer generated doubles had to look extra convincing.

The first segment concerns the cobra that Kelly Hu as the Sorceress (which is how she is credited at the end of the film, not as Cassandra) pulls out of a jar and shakes in Memnon (Steven Brand)'s face. Here Russell notes that it's actually easier to create a realistic looking T-Rex with CGI than it is to do a creature that everybody can see at a zoo or maybe even keep as a pet (if you're so inclined). Also note that The Scorpion King's special effects were done by Centropolis and not Industrial Light and Magic like the two Mummy pictures. This is even more surprising considering how much the effects discussed in the second half of this documentary were copied by ILM for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull...

The creation of the Fire Ants is the subject of the last part, making it seem that all the special effect work for TSK involved making creepy crawly creatures (not so, the first half fleetingly shows some of the digital background coloring and enhancements that was done to expand the photography). This time around Russell has a lot to say about preparing The Rock (as well as sidekick Grant Heslov) for acting with insects that were never actually there. The went through a lot of rehearsals and exercises beforehand, from which came the idea of having the Rock crush a couple of ants with his powerful chin. Chuck calls the ants themselves 'math science and art all wrapped together' and mentions that the shot in which they first reveal themselves is one of the more successful optical effects in the picture. Such a modest director he is.

7 out of 10

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