Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cowboys and Aliens: Cables for Tractor Beams?

Cowboys and Aliens is a film about "cowboys" in the 19th century fighting off an alien invasion in a town in Arizona. The cowboys and indians theme is so passe and politically incorrect these days, which is probably why the producers of this film opted to go for the far-out story angle - using aliens instead of Native Americans as the bad guys. In fact, in this movie, the Arizona natives help the cowboys out a bit.

Cowboys and Aliens presents extreme contrasts, with 19th century technology against super advanced weapons of destruction from outer space. What can a lowly cowboy do against an alien fighter ship that's got an arsenal of ray guns and grapplers that snag people up into its belly? In the movie, actor Daniel Craig's character has the answer attached to his wrist. It looks like a fancy flashlight, but it's got a secret. But, that's not what this post is all about. It's about the cables used by the aliens in kidnapping people. Why no use tractor beams?

In Cowboys and Aliens, there are scenes where the alien ships kidnap people at random. The victims are lifted up, or rather pulled up, into the air by what appears to be a cable. The cables appear to be those used in movie stunts where a harness is used to support the stunt person or actor, but in the trailer of Cowboys and Aliens, it would seem that the cables are part of the technology used by the aliens. It's strange that cables are used when those aliens are supposed to have technology that gives them command of gravity. The tractor beam is reasonably the better choice. But the producers of Cowboys and Aliens probably opted to use cables instead of optical effects to give the alien ships a more industrial "feel." If that's not the answer, it could be that the special effects people only forgot to digitally remove the cables during post production. =)

Cowboys and Aliens also stars Harrison Ford as a grumpy sheriff-like figure.

Cowboys and Aliens lighting effects blooper 

Cowboys and Aliens trailer

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ryan Reynolds As Green Lantern: Slim Superhero

Ryan Reynolds plays The Green Lantern sans big muscular arms.

Superheroes are supposed to be heavily-built and muscular, right? That's how that always appear in the comic books. But of course, such physical attributes aren't really realistic in real life, so when actors play superheroes like Superman, you can expect their physiques to be less than defined, unless they're computer-generated, of course. But computer-drawn characters are only good for animation, and critics and awards judges may not give the actors who voice and portray them much thought, even when "emotion-capture" technology is used, like in the case of James Cameron's Avatar.

Now here's the Green Lantern movie (starring Ryan Reynolds) that had taken so long to be realized. This DC Comics character is one of those that had to wait for movie-making technology to catch up in order that the effects - particularly those used for the hero's power ring, becomes convincing enough for viewers and not campy and crude. The makers could easily have given Reynolds enough bulk to match the green suit, but instead, they chose to keep the actor's slim body and just "texturize" it with an organic-looking suit generated by the Green Lantern ring. Compared to other super hero characters played by other actors, Reynolds's Green Lantern is relatively slim with lightweight arms.

Is that bad or good? 

Judging by the looks of the character, it's not bad at all. One can imagine how artificial Reynolds's body would be if it's beefed up more with the use of computers. His slim but chiseled look makes him more believable and down-to-earth - like he's a real person who bleeds and uses the ring only to give him a boost, so to speak. Even with lightweight muscles, Reynold's is pretty convincing as The Green Lantern, given the very human attitude he projects. Yes, he's got a sense of humor which lends fun to an otherwise serious movie. Definitely a hit for kids and adults alike!

Not everyone will get the chance to be a Green Lantern, but at least one can pretend! Order here to get your own Green Lantern Honor Guard Ring Prop Replica!

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