VFX Supervisor Interview: ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’

“We always want to be the best, strive to push everything as far as possible”, visual effects supervisor Sean Walker proudly says of its team of artisans who have been at the forefront of visual effects for nearly three decades. “Weta Digital is very unique in that we are a house at the end of the world and have an incredibly talented team.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.

SEE ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ Reviews: ‘Breathtaking’ Fight Scenes and Tony Leung’s Villain Steal the Show

Walker and his team’s work on “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” recently advanced (along with nine other films) to the list of visual effects finalists for this year’s Oscars. All members of the film academy’s visual effects branch are now invited to view the video presentations of the ten shortlisted films during the competitive VFX “bakeoff” taking place on January 29, after which branch members will vote for nominate the films that will make up the final five nomination spots in the category. Since the official launch of the current MCU canon, it’s garnered ten Best Visual Effects nominations, from 2008’s ‘Iron Man’ to 2019’s ‘Avengers: Endgame’, but so far none have won that elusive Oscar. . That could change everything this year, with three more MCU movies joining “Shang-Chi” on the shortlist (“Black Widow,” “Eternals,” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home”), with “Shang-Chi” a likely frontrunner just scored a visual effects nomination in a feature film category of the Visual Effects Society Awards.

“Shang-Chi” is the 25th film in the hit MCU film franchise and pop culture phenomenon. Framed as an origin story based on the Marvel Comics character Shang-Chi, it was directed by Destin Daniel Cretton from a screenplay he co-wrote with David Callaham and Andrew Lanham. It introduces us to Shang-Chi, who is forced to confront his past when his father, the leader of the mysterious Ten Rings organization, leads Shang-Chi and his sister Xialing to search for Ta Lo, the legendary village said to be home to mythical places. beasts. The casting is led by Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, alongside Awkwafina, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Florian Munteanu, Benoit Wong, michelle yeo, Ben Kingley, and Tony Leung. The wuxia-inspired fantasy epic is Marvel Studios’ first film with an Asian director and a predominantly Asian cast. It received positive reviews from critics and fans, grossing over $432 million worldwide, cementing it in the ten highest-grossing films of 2021.

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Like its cohort in the MCU, this film is typically a visual effects-heavy spectacular, with jaw-dropping visual sequences helmed by a number of international visual effects houses, including Oscar-winning New Zealand company Weta. , who was tasked with creating the world within the mythical Ta Lo.

As visual effects supervisor, Walker oversaw the film’s groundbreaking water effects, the delicate and realistic grading of the harsh Australian sun to make Ta Lo look more appropriate and treacherous, and the extensive digital double work on the many characters featured in the film. . However, perhaps most memorable was the creation of the two giant dragons that inhabit Ta Lo; the Grand Protector, a wingless aquatic gargantuan; and the Dweller of Darkness, a malignant sprawling creature that feeds on the souls of its prey.

“We approached it in different ways,” Walker says of the dragons. “The main thing being that we wanted to anchor him in reality no matter where we were, we always wanted to shoot the action because he was a natural cameraman so if we were running along the belly of the beast, we wanted to s “We wanted to make sure that if someone was running over it they would try to follow the action,” he says. “We wanted to make sure it was at an angle that looked a lot like more to a point of view. It really helps connect the audience to the action because you feel a lot more involved and are there with the action as it all happens.

TO PREDICT the 2022 Oscar nominees until February 8

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