Thursday, 12 December 2013

Cinematic Spaces Unit 2 - Secret Lairs Crit Presentation

Film Review - The Shining (1980)

Fig.1 The Shining

The Shining (1980) is another film by famous director Stanley Kubrick, it is also another horror film that has great cinematography and art direction, though unlike Kubrick's other famous film 2001: A Space Odyssey this film has a clear narrative which helps audiences determine the reasons behind specific set design and colour schemes with more ease. The Shining is about a family who spends the winter in a plush hotel in the middle of nowhere, on top of a large mountain, alone, for Jack's work responsibilities, so he can do some writing. As the realisation of isolation kicks in for Jack, in this huge hotel, Jack starts to become mentally ill. Mentally unstable to the point where he starts having visions with old guests of the hotel, and plots to murder his entire family. 

It is not just Jack that is affected, Danny, Jack's son has a special psychic gift that is referred to as "Shining" in the film, that has always been with him, and as the isolation and cabin fever of the family gets worse, that audience sees more clips of Danny and "Tony," the voice behind his "Shining ability, going on about themes of death. Film critic, Thomas Patrick talked about the deterioration of both characters saying "Danny begins to see visions of the past and future.....Meanwhile Jack begins to lose his mind as evil spirits corrupt him and he begins a violence-filled rampage throughout the hallways of the hotel." (Patrick, S.D). One of these visions of Danny's is when Danny is going around on his little bike and sees the twin girls that were mentioned to be brutally murdered by their father, the caretaker of the hotel. A disturbing vision, but it gives audiences a clue of the thoughts of Jack later on in the film when he meets, the known "Caretaker."

Fig.2 Murdered Twin Girls - The Shining

In terms of set design, there are a couple of notable scenes, one of them being the scene where Danny is going down the hallway, with the infamous room, 237, which plays a part in a scene with Jack later on. However in this scene with Danny the first things that are mentioned in terms of its design is the hideous carpet and the low angle camera angle that follows on behind Danny, so audiences see this narrow corridor. The carpet gives off a sickly and strange mesmerising vibe, there are horrible orange, brown and red colours with a highly abstract pattern. The abstract patterns of the carpet may be deliberately so to en-capture audiences, to trap them, pursuing this idea of a claustrophobic atmosphere, where there is little room to escape, along with the narrow corridor. The camera angle mentioned is also an essential part to capture this creepy, claustrophobic, isolated atmosphere, movie critic, Mel Valentin talked about the reasons for this uneasy camera angle and the emotions it highlights. "Like an unseen predator, Kubrick's camera prowls behind Danny, sometimes uncomfortably, claustrophobically  close, as Danny's Big Wheel crosses hardwood and carpeted floors." (Valentin, 2005).

Fig.3 The Shining and The Steadicam

Another scene where Kubrick displays strong set design within The Shining is when Kubrick goes from this dark, claustrophobic atmosphere to a bright and open spaced environment, the change seems to be quite dramatic, is in the bathroom scene where Jack is seen to be talking to the Caretaker. The lighting in this scene is very bright and intense, there is a use of bright blood red and white, it's so bright and intense it could be argued to be quite a violent colour scheme, despite the use of white. It is also unusual because it looks like quite a scientific colour scheme and design, it looks a lot like Kubrick's set design for the colonized areas of his film 2001: A Space Odyssey but this strange décor takes place in a scene where everyone is dressed as if they're at a formal party in the 1920s. This may be a symbol of the future, the thoughts that Danny, or more so namely Tony, mentions which is of murder and death, which would explain the bright blood red colour, along with the influence a character from the past is having on Jack, encouraging him to murder his "naughty" family, a contrast of both past and future. 

Fig.4 The Shining

Overall The Shining is a greatly crafted horror movie, that uses cameras and set design to really exuberate the feelings of loneliness, isolation and strangely, claustrophobia in such a big environment. It covers the feeling of being followed and watched very well, which is something that a lot of contemporary horror films do to create an uneasy atmosphere. However, in terms of narrative, it can be debated whether Jack actually saw the ghosts of the hotel from the 1920s and talked to them or if he just hallucinated the entire thing and used the Caretaker as a self conscious excuse to why he wants to murder his family, rather than just admitting he has become mentally unstable from the effects of isolation and cabin fever. Film critic, Roger Ebert briefly analyses this idea, saying "..Three people descend into versions of madness or psychic terror, and we cannot depend on any of them for an objective view of what happens. It is this elusive open-endedness that makes Kubrick's film so strangely disturbing." (Ebert, 2006). 

Ebert, R [Online] At: (Accessed on 10.12.13)

Patrick, T [Online] At: (Accessed on 10.12.13)

Valentin, M [Online] At: (Accessed on 10.12.13)

List of Illustrations:
Fig.1 The Shining [Poster Art] At: (Accessed on 10.12.13)

Fig.2 Murdered Twin Girls - The Shining [Film Still] At: (Accessed on 10.12.13)

Fig.3 The Shining and The Steadicam [Film Still] At: (Accessed on 10.12.13)

Fig.4 The Shining [Film Still] At: (Accessed on 10.12.13)

Final Outcome: Secret Lair of the Solar Mob Boss - Maya

Outcome of the Secret Lair of the Solar Mob Boss. \(Q.Q)/ Not allowed to upload better quality images of PSD or Tiff. (pT.T)p...Sad times...but Final Render done ^^

Production Designer Profile - Ricky Nierva

Film Review - Repulsion (1965)

Fig.1 Repulsion

Repulsion (1965) is a horror film about a young woman named Carol, who has a fear of all things intimate and sexual with members of the opposite sex, this is later suggested to be brought on by the demons of  her past. Carol lives with her sister and when her sister goes on vacation with her lover Carol is left alone and slowly starts hallucinating and begins to go psychologically mad. This is a film that not only has great cinematography, with the use of camera angles and bizarre environments but also a film about sexual expression, namely the lack of when it comes to Carol. However its main basis for content is sex, which is significant because it was a film that was made in the swinging sixties, a time when the world started to rejoice over the acceptance of sexual expression. As critic Alan Bacchus stated in part of his review"...Represents a unique place in the filmography of Roman Polanski...but in the 1965 it plays as an antidote to the prevailing attitude of exuberant sexual freedom, a horror film of sorts for the swinging 60's." (Bacchus, 2009).

Repulsion doesn't hesitate to make full use of its iconic horror camera angles, the film starts off with an extreme close up of Carol's eye and slowly zooms out, shortly following with a camera angle that looks as if someone is following her down the street. Being as Carol is a beautiful woman she quickly gets attention from a male bystander on the street who she ignores. Naturally Carol is a socially awkward woman, she doesn't appear to have much of a personality and she continually displays traits that are often associated with those who are nervous or have anxiety issues, such as biting her nails and playing with her hair. From the audiences point of view at first, these habits may seem like confidence issues, which may be true but later on audiences learn that there are far more sinister forces behind her personality. 

Fig.2 Repulsion

Carol's obvious anxiety with things sexually related becomes more apparent in a scene where there is a couple having sex and Carol tries to blank out all of the sounds of the situation. What is strange is that Carol actually has a male suitor of her own but it is obvious that she doesn't show any interest in him, though she does try to conform and tries to kiss her suitor but hates it and runs off in a panic, Carol only actually seems comfortable and sociable around her sister and her female colleagues at work. Which leads to speculation that she may be a lesbian, one of the only times you see her smile and laugh in the film is when she is talking about a movie with one of her female work friends. Though things seem relatively harmless with Carol psychologically with her at first, when her sister leaves her on her own things get out of hand with Carol's mental stability.

When Carol's sister leaves it seems as if audiences have entered an entirely new atmosphere, audiences really start to see the world through Carol's eyes, and her scary hallucinations along with it. One of the first being her sexual nightmares, frequently throughout the film audiences see suggestions of Carol being raped while she sleeps, and it appears to be the same man every time, which leaves audiences to question who that man is that she is picturing raping her. However, the real famous horror cliché that is used consistently in horror films these days, mainly ghost ones, is when Carol looks in a mirror and at first everything is fine but as she closes the mirror a man appears behind her and of course rapes her, but not physically, Carol just hallucinates it, this is a perfect example of famous and effective cinematography shots. Smalley, a movie critic discussed this idea saying"Our first hint that we have entered a new world is when, along with her, we catch a glimpse of a man's figure in the mirror......Soon after, we are thrust into her (literal) dream and nightmares. And things grow increasingly worse from there, until the viewers struggle to tell whether what is happening to her is real or imaginary."(Smalley, 2011).

Fig.3 Repulsion Invisible Eyes

As Carol's mental health continues to deteriorate and get worse, so do her hallucinations, and in regard to what Smalley said, some parts of the film make the viewer wonder if what ever audiences just witnessed if it actually happened. One of the main aspects of the film that make audiences question this at first is the scenes where she is shown murdering men, who she feels sexually threatened by, even though the first man, her suitor, doesn't seem to make any advances onto Carol but we see her brutally murder him anyway. Another murder is when she murder's the landlord who comes for his overdue rent pay, though he does try to make sexual advances onto her. At first it is questioned whether she actually managed to commit these crimes or if it was all in her head as there are many other hallucinations in the film, however, it is later discovered when her sister returns that Carol did indeed murder the men. 

A memorable scene in Repulsion for its cinematography aspects, is a part of the film where Carol's hallucinations go wild and she visions arms coming out of the walls around her and grope her breasts and touch her, this is an obvious indication of how Carol feels about the world around her, and how all men seem to be after in her eyes. It is a scene that is very familiar with the scene in La Bete et la Belle with the arms holding candles coming out the walls, but in Repulsion the hands are a figure of her imagination and invade her personal space. In a similar time frame to this scene, shots of the wall and ground crackling around her, as if her world is crashing down with her personal fears. This cracking of the walls may also be seen as a representation of her personality, her mental wall is breaking down, as her illness gets more severe. One thing in the entire film that is interesting and bizarre is Carol's fascination with this dead lamb, that she was supposed to have for dinner, but instead decided to keep it rotting away in her sister's apartment. Lambs are a symbol of purity and innocence, something that Carol is considered, with her lack of sexual experiences with men, however the lamb is also rotting, this may signify Carol's pure and innocent mind rotting away throughout the film, just as the lamb rots away. 

Fig.4 Repulsion Wall Cracks
Fig.5 Repulsion Hands

Overall Repulsion is classic horror film, that contemporary horror films seem to have taken inspiration from with some of its clichés, like being followed and the man in the mirror. It has great cinematography in terms of its shots and its atmosphere, which ends on an thought provoking note, when it shows a family photo of Carol with her family and she is seen significantly staring at the male figure in the photo with great disgust, this may be an indiciation of why Carol is like she is, perhaps she was sexually abused as a child. As film critic Derek Winnert sums up "The Screenplay by Polanski and Gerard Brach is a model of intelligence, subtlety and the power of suggestion and's a polished, startling-looking film thanks to Gilbert Taylor's fine, imaginative cinematography." (Winnert, 2013). 

Bacchus, A [Online] At: (Accessed on 9.12.13)

Smalley, G [Online] At: (Accessed on 9.12.13)

Winnert, D [Online] At: (Accessed on 9.12.13)

List Of Illustrations:
Fig.1 Repulsion [Poster Art] At: (Accessed on 9.12.13)

Fig.2 Repulsion [Film Moment] At: (Accessed on 9.12.13)

Fig.3 Repulsion Invisible Eyes [Film Still] At: (Accessed on 9.12.13)

Fig.4 Repulsion Wall Cracks [Film Still] At: on 9.12.13)

Fig.5 Repulsion Hands [Film Still] At: (Accessed on 9.12.13)

Secret Lair - Digital Set Pipeline

Note: Although I did UV map, I can't find the saved file with the UV mapping in its history. :S

Orthographic Views - Hero Prop

Orthographic Views - Lair

 Orthographic Sketches Side and birds eye, Orthographic View Front.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Film Review - Black Narcissus (1947)

Fig.1 Black Narcissus

Black Narcissus (1947) is a psychological drama about a group of nuns who engage in a new project to create a nunnery on top of a cold mountain up in the Himalayas. During their time up in the Himalayas the nuns experience problems and tension with the atmosphere, with one particular nun struggling to fight against her inner sexual desires and expression more and more as she becomes attracted to a local ambassador, Mr. Dean. Though it is interesting to face a story with the inner desires of nuns, it is a film that is famous for its beautiful scenery and set design. "Winner of Academy awards mainly for Best Art, this is visually a very beautiful movie." (DiDonato).

There are a few scenes that stand out among this film as being visually captivating, one of them being the scene where one of the nuns is ringing the bell atop the nunnery. For this scene the production team used painting as backdrops, creating this visually stunning camera angle, showcasing the stunning environment around these nuns. Throughout the film the interior decorations for the rooms look like paintings, the walls look like paintings and the floors look like paintings, all of these create a very unique style for films and may be said to represent the serene and spiritual nature of the nuns themselves, that is of course until sexual desires overtake Sister Ruth's thoughts. The serene nature of the rooms can also be symbolism for the nuns relationship and closeness to God, as the decorations look very heavenly and pure. "Alfred Junge's hand-crafted art design give this film exceptional production values to boot" (Farr). However, as the "unholy" sexual thoughts of Sister Ruth continue to strengthen, the colour scheme seems to change as the film goes on. 

Fig.2 Black Narcissus Himalayas
Fig.3 Black Narcissus

When Sister Ruth is on the edge, thinking about her secret desires for Mr.Dean, and they only get even stronger when she becomes jealous of another Sister who seems to be getting more attention from Mr.Dean there is a notable scene where she is sat in dark blue lighting, with intense red lighting. The contrasting dark colours with the red can be a representation of her frustration, as colours that seem to be so opposite in intensity naturally seem to be attacking one another rather than synchronizing with them in harmony, like a pale blue and white naturally would. The colour of red is also a known colour of lust, romance and desire, it can also be associated with violence, and this emotion of violence becomes more apparent to Sister Ruth later on in the film, and so the use of the colour red becomes significant in the way that Sister Ruth is thinking in this part of the film. 

There is another scene in Black Narcissus where the colour red is used deliberately to show the change of thought and emotion in the character of Sister Ruth which is another noteworthy scene where Sister Ruth is putting on lipstick. This is another scene where a dark blue lighting is used, however the blue is a lot darker and more sinister, again reinforcing Sister Ruth's "corrupted" mind of thoughts. Over time the film's scenery has changed from a holy, pure tone in decoration and lighting to a Gothic and dark tone. With this sinister lighting there is close up camera angle of Sister Ruth's lips as she applies this blood red tone onto them. Looking at the consensus at what lips are associated with symbolically, plump lips are a symbol of a woman's sexual power and femininity alone and with the blood red tone this enforces this sexual symbol of lust that Sister Ruth has for Mr.Dean and the act she is willing to commit to get him for herself. When Sister Ruth's advances on Mr.Dean are not taken the way she had hoped, after sexing herself up for him, and she gets rejected she goes on to try and push, her seen "competition" for Mr.Dean off the top of the bell cliff, but instead falls off herself, after Sister Clodagh avoids the fall. 

Fig.4 Black Narcissus
Fig.5 Black Narcissus

Overall, Black Narcissus is a visually captivating movie, especially impressive for the time period it was made in, before huge advances in technology and CG art for the backgrounds and sets of the movies. It may have been seen as a highly controversial film for the time period it was made in as well, with the themes of sex and sexual desires as its main undertone in story, making it arguably risqué for its time period. It's production art is incredible and its story takes an unpredictable turn, as it dramatically goes from a drama to what some might call a horror in a very short amount of time, with the horror cliché camera angles and suspense. "Its setting is exotic, its situations comedic and its third act takes the film a totally unexpected and amazing direction." (Ewing, 2009).

DiDonato, R [Online] At: (Accessed on 6.12.13)

Ewing, J.B [Online] At: (Accessed on 6.12.13)

Farr, J [Online] At: (Accessed on 6.12.13)

List Of Illustrations:
Fig.1 Black Narcissus [Illustration] At: (Accessed on 6.12.13)

Fig.2 Black Narcissus Himalayas [Film Still] At: (Accessed on 6.12.13)

Fig.4 Black Narcissus [Film Still] At: (Accessed on 6.12.13)

Fig.5 Black Narcissus [Film Still] At: (Accessed on 6.12.13)

Character Bible

Submission Disk Artwork

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

@Phil Concept Art: Maya Paint Over - Secret Lair Concept Art

I painted my concept art again, and as the world hasn't been destroyed I just wanted to make it look cold outside as the world has just a massive frost, but I tried to make it more interesting, with the solar essence being a part of a unique display, making it look feminine, and added some elements from older thumbnails, with the added prison hanging from the ceiling. Kept the more digital look and the colours warmth and sun based.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Animation Lesson 5 - Zoetrope Planning

This is my plan for my Zoetrope animation, the end does seem weird on 1 play through, but as a Zoetrope is a continuous looped animation, it doesn't matter. d(^.^d) Being as I like fantasy and mythical creatures a lot I decided to go for a simple animation of a mermaid swimming. \(^.^)/ For better quality see the youtube link (:

Film Review - Edward Scissorhands (1990)


Edward Scissorhands (1990) is another unusually beautiful film directed by Tim Burton. Tim Burton is known for his quirky and out of the ordinary style and this film is no different. Edward Scissorhands is a take on a mixture of the Frankenstein tale  and on the classic "Beauty & the Beast," tale, just like La Belle et La Bete (1946) though unlike La Belle et La Bete the context of the classic tale has a different approach in how it is placed in a contemporary society. It is about an kind and gentle young man who has scissors for hands and who falls in love with a beautiful adolescent girl, though the young man is actually an invention that was left unfinished due to the early death of his creator, a lonely scientist, who created him for companionship, teaching him art, poetry and etiquette. 

At the start of Edward Scissorhands the audience is presented by a shot that guides audiences through the inside of a snow globe that then leads us to a serene mystical castle in the snow, setting peaceful mood for the film, like the personality of Edward Scissorhands through the use of great visual language, this introduces us to the the start of the story. Shortly afterwards the audience is shown a grand master shot, that greatly shows the viewers the contrasting difference between the main protagonist Edward and the people of the suburban neighbourhood. Creating a highly colourful suburban area and placing it at the bottom of a huge dark mythical castle, the difference in style and colours was no mistake on Tim Burton's part. In the neighbourhood all the houses and cars are a shade of pastel and its inhabitants all wear brightly coloured clothes , the suburban neighbourhood looks very artificial, which audiences later find out reflects the personality of most of the neighborhoods inhabitants. "...gothic castle crouches on a mountaintop high above a storybook suburb, a goofy sitcom neighbourhood where all the houses are shades of pastels and all of the inhabitants seem to be emotional clones of the Jetsons." (Ebert, 1990).


The film starts off with Peg, an Avon representative, doing her daily errands trying to sell Avon products with little success, until she stumbles across Edward's castle. Taken aback with delight Peg sees the beautiful garden of the castle, before knocking on the door, with no reply Peg becomes curious and explores the castle further, where there is a much different atmosphere. Left alone since his inventor's death Edward lives in a run down castle, the interior possesses a dark Gothic quality, it is surrounded by dust and cobwebs and broken windows, it all looks very dead,  something you'd see in a ghost story, which expresses's Edward's loneliness, but his garden is bright and alive with magnificent grass sculptures, a representation of when he is at his happiest, his kind nature and how his soul is very much alive. Eventually Peg runs into Edward, though startled at first, she soon realises he is not a danger and becomes sympathetic with him, as he accidentally slices gashes in his face every time he tries to move hair from his face, with Peg being a mother herself her maternal instincts kick in and she offers to take Edward home to look after him. "Peg is alarmed at first by the flash of Edward's lethal blades. But her maternal instincts are soon aroused. Edward is a hazard, slicing gashes in his face every time he wipes away a stray of hair." (Travers, 1990).



When Edward enters the neighbourhood, the inhabitants do what is expected and gossip about the "strange man" that is with Peg and they all ring each other up about it, with the religious woman claiming Edward has been sent from hell. In Peg's home Edward notices a family portraits, particularly Peg's daughter, before a series of events occur where we comically see Edward try to do everyday things like eat dinner or get dressed and we soon realise just how much of an outsider Edward really is in this suburban area. After Edward is introduced to the rest of the neighbourhood, forcefully by the self-proclaimed leader of the housewives, Joyce, they soon discover his innocence and kind heart, and take advantage of it as well as his talent. Edward starts creating grass sculptures in everyone's gardens and this shows that the heart of Edward and acceptance of Edward becomes apparent within the neighbourhood, for a time. 

Everything seems to be looking good for Edward and he becomes happy, as he feels wanted and welcome, despite his obvious deviance from the norm of the rest of the neighbourhood. From the hopes of starting his own business, to becoming a national  celebrity and the chance to gain real hands, and Joyce, being a lonely housewife even makes sexual advances onto him, though this isn't a good thing, however it shows that the people of the neighbourhood have looked past his unusual appearance and love him for his talents and kindness, but despite all this Edward charmingly and consistently maintains his lovable innocence. Until Kim, Peg's daughter, returns home and her boyfriend, greedy for his father's money, pressures Edward to break into his dad's secret room, using his scissorhands, as it was discovered earlier Edward could unlock doors when Kim had forgotten her key. Just wanting to please Kim and help people Edward innocently agreed to help Kim's boyfriend leaving him to get trapped and caught by the police, while Kim wants to go back to help him as he's innocent her boyfriend, a coward, drives off, not taking any responsibility. The police let him go as they realise he doesn't know any better and know he wouldn't do it with malicious intent. 


After this event the neighbourhood starts to turn hostile towards Edward, reinforcing him as a lonely outsider once again, with just Peg, Kim and the rest of their family supporting him, Joyce even claims that Edward made unwanted sexual advances towards her to the other inhabitants. This hostility becomes more intense when Edward unintentionally ends up harming those he loves, when Kim is in the midst of her feelings for Edward she dances under the an ice statue of Edward's. An iconic scene that people remember and love from the film, due to its beautiful and loving gentle display, before Edward asks her to be careful of the ladder he is on, as he doesn't want her to get hurt but accidentally cuts her face and Kim's boyfriend sees this in the wrong light and starts attacking him even though Kim admits it was her fault and it is nothing. 

The hatred for Edward escalates more when he tries to save Kim's younger brother from being run over by her boyfriends car, although he does successfully save his life he accidentally draws blood and he is chased out the neighbourhood. With Kim's boyfriend being the main reason behind the people's hate towards him. The ending of the film is bittersweet, Kim runs towards Edward's castle to see Edward and confess her feelings for him, which was not always so, when first meeting him she was terrified and hated him but she soon realised how gentle and kind he was and started to fall for him, despite his sinister appearance. When Kim tells Edward she loves him and asks for him to embrace her, sadly and sweetly Edward says he can't before Kim embraces him, then the boyfriend runs in tries to kill Edward before Kim kills her boyfriend, telling Edward to hide while she tells the angry people of the neighbourhood that both Edward and her boyfriend died, so that they would leave Edward alone. Kim never sees Edward again.



In conclusion Edward Scissorhands (1990) is a magical, visually stunning and heartbreaking film, the set designs are unique and clever, with the artificial "happy" neighbourhood representing the characters that live there well, excluding Peg's family, with their lies and false warmth and kindness as Peg was also seen as an unwanted inhabitant at the start of the film when she was selling her Avon products. Edward's castle showcases his loneliness and need for some love and care and the way the neighbourhood changes with the influence of Edward being more apparent as he is more accepted, even to the neighbourhood dogs. The visuals leave a massive impression on its audiences and so does the character of Edward. It is common play for Burton to create an outcast film, as they are more personal to him as he was an outcast growing up in California, but his personal touches make the films more magical and inspiring. "The Visual representation of suburban life is skillfully and imaginatively portrayed through the eyes of the outsider, of Edward and no doubt the eyes of self proclaimed odd-ball Burton Himself." (Horne, 2003).

Ebert, R Edward Scissorhands [Online] At: (Accessed on 13.11.13)

Horne, D Edward Scissorhands [Online] At: (Accessed on 18.11.13)

Travers, P Edward Scissorhands [Online] At: (Accessed on 13.11.13)

Fig.1 Edward Scissorhands [Poster Art] At: (Accessed on 13.11.13)

Fig.2 Edward Scissorhands, Neighbourhood [Film Still] At: (Accessed on 13.11.13)

Fig.3 Edward Scissorhands, Castle [Film Still] At: (Accessed on 13.11.13)

Fig.4 Edward Scissorhands [Film Still] At: (Accessed on 13.11.13)

Fig.5 Edward Scissorhands [Film Still] At: (Accessed on 18.11.13)

Fig.6 Snow Dance [Film Still] At: (Accessed on 18.11.13)

Fig.7 Ice Sculptures [Film Still] At: (Accessed on 18.11.13)

Monday, 18 November 2013

Rough Character Design - Solar Mob Boss

For the character design, I roughly drew straight into photoshop with a graphics tablet and then used influence from the comic books and pin up style of art for the very bold basic colours. I also wanted her to still look scheming.

Thumbnails Set 2

For these thumbnails I kept with the contrast between the cold and warmth in the colour scheme but also I did these painting straight onto photoshop with colour, without sketching it out in greyscale first. I also wanted to keep the idea of a gadget with the hero prop ideas, as well as the feminine symbolism with the garter ideas. Another idea from the OGR was to have Myra, my Solar Mob Boss, lock up a scientist who may have invented the Sun Essence, that Myra went on to steal from the world to exploit. One thing I need to do when developing these thumbnails is include the intense shadows, to stop it looking less happy and more sinister, because I was focused so much on getting an intense colour I had forgotten about intense shadows to get the atmosphere across better.

Thumbnails Set 1

As I recently started again, when it came to these thumbnails I wanted to take on ideas from my OGR with the planet freezing over due to the lack of sun, so I tried to include this aspect into my thumbnails. I have done my thumbnails rougher than previously so I can get a basic idea without taking too much time. So I quickly sketched out rough outlines then coloured them in. For my hero prop I thought of the idea of having a garter with the sun essence entombed into the garter, as my character is female, gems are a luxury and a garter is seen as a very feminine, sexy accessory. I also tried to make it look slightly robotic to make it seem more like a gadget.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Film Review - La Belle et La Bete (1946)

La Belle et La Bete (1946) was directed by Jean  Cocteau and Rene Clemet, it is essentially a French film. It is an enchanting film about a beautiful young maiden who falls in love with an ugly Beast, who at first seems to cruel and frightening. Something significant about the date this film was released, it was released a year after the end of World War II. Cocteau wanted to create an inspiring and enchanting film to help with the toll of War. "Cocteau, a poet and surrealist, was not making a children's film but was adapting a classic French tale that he felt had a special message after the suffering of World War II: Anyone who has an unhappy childhood may grow up to be a Beast" (Ebert, 1999). It is a classic Beauty and the Beast story, though there is also a lot of significance and relation to another fairy tale, the original Brother's Grimm story of Cinderella. 

In the original Brother's Grimm story of Cinderella, Cinderella's father lost his wife and married a rich woman, along with the step mother came the two wicked step sisters who forced Cinderella to work for them and mocked her. Although La Belle et La Bete doesn't showcase a step mum figure it does have the two wicked sisters explained, whether or not they're step sisters is unclear, which is not something that you see in modern takes on the story of Beauty and the Beast, such as Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Another link to the Brother's Grimm story of Cinderella in relation to La Belle et La Bete is the father temporarily goes away and asks the step sisters and Cinderella what they want when he returns, the step sisters asked for fine dresses and jewels, though Cinderella only asked for a branch from the first tree. In La Belle et La Bete typically the sisters ask for luxury items whereas Beauty/Belle only asks for a simple rose, which leads to the introduction of the Beast/Bete in the La Belle et La Bete. 

Belle's father runs into the Beast, while taking a rose from the Beast's garden which angers the Beast as he threaten's Belle's father, telling him that he will kill him here and now unless one of his daughters swaps places with the father and comes to him, the Beast. Because Belle feels guilty for her father's predicament she decides to go to the Beast, creeping away in the night on a magical white horse that the Beast gave to the father for that very use. It is within the Beast's lair where you see the beauty of the production design, not only is the exterior beautiful and grand, with the blossoming of flowers and life, which could be seen as a symbol of the character of the Beast himself, a flower waiting to be blossomed with a little love and care from another, Belle.  But also with the interior decor, when the audience is first introduced to the interior of Beast's enchanted castle there is a creepy yet captivating atmosphere. The castle itself is alive, the lights in the corridors are hands that move outwards to hold the light closer to the corridor, giving light.

It is within the Beast's castle, where you see clear influences for Disney's Beauty and the Beast, and how you can really see the separation between a children's film and an inspiring story. In Disney's Beauty and the Beast, instead of the furniture being eerily silent but still alive the furniture is transformed into lovable cartoon sidekicks, making it more child-friendly. The alive and silent hand candles in La Belle et la Bete may again have relations to the War that just ended, the hands look may represent the hands of the dead in the war that have awakened and carry on living in the homes of families, in their memories. A candle is also symbolic of hope in the catholic faith, and at the time of this film Catholicism was the dominant religion in France, and so the idea of hope after the War is very prominent and inspiring.  While Belle is exploring the castle in La Belle et La Bete there is a scene in which is Belle is going down a corridor and it looks as if she is almost magically gliding across the floor, increasing the magical and enchanting vibe this film possesses. The female statues also open their eyes and blow smoke, again pushing the aspect of the castle being alive. It can be noted that these statues also look incredibly creepy, which may frighten children, making La Belle et La Bete no mere children's tale. "Cocteau transforms the architectural space into living, breathing form." (Miller, 2002). 

Upon exploration of the castle Belle runs into the Beast, causing her to feint in sudden shock and fear, but instead of being a brutal beast that her father described and killing her, the Beast gently carries her away and lets her rest upon a luxurious bed. When Belle awakens the Beast asks her to join him for dinner, it is within these dinner scenes where the camera angles truly reflect the unease and deep thoughts of the character of Belle. Belle waits at the dining table and the Beast appears behind her and approaches slowly, much like the suspense you see in contemporary horror films. This shot not only represents Belle as being seen as a helpless victim but also as the Beast being an intimidating character, though it is the much the opposite idea for the Beast as the film continues and audiences truly get to understand the character of the Beast and sympathize with him. Although Belle appears weary of the Beast at first as the film goes on she continues to grow a fondness for him and enjoys being in his presence as he becomes this kind and generous character who yearns for nothing more than to be loved. "Beauty begins to understand the Beast and seeks out his company. He acts gallantly at all times, talking of how his entire kingdom is built from magic and showing that he is, perhaps, more human than anyone else that she knows." (Cannon, 1997).

The underlying meaning of the original story of Beauty and the Beast is never judge a book by its cover and the symbolism for this meaning is clearly portrayed. When learning of her beloved father's illness Beast gives Belle permission to return home to look after her sick and dying father, before begging her to promise him that she will return or he will die and giving Belle a magical glove, which takes her to the place she most desires, and a magic mirror to show her where someone is. Upon her return of home, the sisters once again begin mocking Belle and steal her mirror and when looking into the mirror they see an ugly reflection staring back at them, a representation of their ugly hearts, though they would be generally considered attractive on the exterior. But when Belle has looked in the mirror before she sees her true persona, showing she is true of heart.

Belle's sisters try to scheme behind Belle's back in an attempt to kill the Beast after learning of his riches, causing Belle to stay longer at home than she intended, which starts to have its affect on the Beast and begins to kill him, as he warned, though her father starts to recover. Belle starts to worry for the Beast as she now cares for him and returns using the magic glove, but as she arrives though at first she struggles to find the Beast she eventually sees him near death, dying on the garden floor. As the Beast is dying the sister's scheme is still in effect as the man who wants to marry Belle, though she refused before because she didn't want to leave her father, tries to invade the Beast's secret room, for its treasures. But is instead shot by an arrow from a statue that lies within and is transformed into the Beast, but dies and the Beast that we know is transformed into a Princely figure and recovers. Showing that it is not appearance that determines a Beast but the pureness of heart and soul.  Though confused at first Belle knows the man before her is the Beast as he has the same kind soul and they float off to the sky and live happily ever after. 

In conclusion La Belle et La Bete is a visually enchanting, captivating and inspiring film. The costumes are beautiful and the makeup of the Beast is incredibly realistic, and the special effects are superb considering the time period it was in. The camera angle shots are used incredibly well at giving audiences a clear view of not only the situation and mind set of the character shown but also at making the world in this film seem highly fantastical, surreal and magical. The sets are beautifully designed and there is a great use of symbolism, reflecting the situation of the country at the time was built, inspiring its watchers. La Belle et La Bete has also been a highly influential film for modern fantasy and fairy tale stories, Disney's Beauty and the Beast would not be as captivating and magical as it is today without the help of this classic film.

Cannon, D La Belle et La Bete (1946) [Online] At: (Accessed on 7.11.13)
Ebert, R Beauty and the Beast (1946) [Online] At: (Accessed on 7.11.13)
Grimm's Fairy Tales, Cinderella [Online] At: (Accessed on 7.11.13)
Miller, M Simple Twists of Fate [Online] At: (Accessed on 7.11.13)

Fig.1 La Belle et La Bete (1946) [Poster Art] At: (Accessed on 7.11.13)
Fig.2 Sisters (1946) [Film Still] At: (Accessed on 7.11.13)
Fig.3 Belle in Garden [Film Still] At: (Accessed on 7.11.13)
Fig.4 Enchanted Castle [Film Still] At: (Accessed on 7.11.13)
Fig.5 Fireplace [Film Still] At: (Accessed on 7.11.13)
Fig.6 Mise en Scene [Film Still] At: (Accessed on 7.11.13)
Fig.7 La Belle et La Bete [Film Still] At: (Accessed on 7.11.13)