|THE FRANCHISETHE FORCESTAR WARS|
GKids has snatched up North American theatrical rights to “Lupin the 3rd: The First,” the latest anime feature in the popular “gentleman thief” franchise, written and directed by Takashi Yamazaki “Stand By Me Doraemon,” “Dragon Quest: Your Story”. GKids will release “The First” produced by TMS Entertainment and Marza Entertainment Planet in 2020 for Oscar qualification in both Japanese and an all-new English language version.
Based on the legendary manga series, “Lupin III,” by the late Monkey Punch, “The First” marks the first CG-animated addition to the movie franchise. Arsène Lupin III is hired by young female archaeologist named Letizia to steal the infamous Bresson Diary containing the secret to a powerful energy from a dark cabal devoted to resurrecting the Third Reich in the 1960s. Through a series of adventures that includes trap-filled tombs, aerial escapades, and daring prison escapes with his trademark wit and visual finesse, Lupin III uncovers his family's literary origins.
Monkey Punch's “Lupin III” manga began in 1967 and has spawned a diverse range of movies, manga, TV, video games, a theme park ride, musicals, and, most significantly, Hayao Miyazaki's feature debut at Studio Ghibli, “The Castle of Cagliostro 1979, currently streaming on Netflix. “The First” follows the high-tech antics of “Lupin the Third Part 5″ 2018 and the erotic charms of “Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine” 2012.
“As someone who has been a fan of Lupin III since 'The Castle of Cagliostro,' I was blown away by the quality of animation and storytelling in 'Lupin the 3rd: The First,'” said GKids President David Jesteadt. “Director Takashi Yamazaki has taken such incredible care and detail in creating Lupin's first adventure in CG, and I am hopeful that audiences fall in love with the film as much as I have.”
This year GKids previously released “Ride Your Wave” February 19, the anime romantic fantasy about the connection between music, the ocean, and immortality from Japanese director Masaaki Yuasa “The Night is Short,” “Walk on Girl”.
A former MythBuster has crafted an animatronic Baby Yoda that will tour children's hospitals to cheer up kids — and potentially bring balance to the Force.
Grant Imahara, a longtime robotics expert on “MythBusters,” recently completed an animatronic of “The Mandalorian” Season 1's breakout character and unofficial mascot of the 2019 fall television season. The resemblance to the little green character, whose official name is The Child, is uncanny: There's the little brown robe, big green ears, and tuffs of wispy white hair. The creature also boasts the same cute movements that helped Baby Yoda make for some of yesteryear's most viral TV moments.
CNET interviewed Imahara, who currently works as a consultant for Disney Research and as a mechanical designer at Spectral Motion, about the animatronic and its complicated design process in an article published Monday morning. Imahara began building the animatronic by crafting a digital model before creating mechanical systems for the eyes. While a variety of mechanical factors went into the design, Imahara used 3D printing, rather than machining parts, which significantly expedited the process.
While digital modeling and 3D printing made for an easier project, Imahara still had to invest significant time into programming the animation and handling the animatronic's small head, where most of its levers and servos are located. Imahara also discussed crafting the animatronic mouth flap, so it could convey convincing emotions, and added that his Baby Yoda's giant floppy ears made for one of the process' trickiest steps.
“I opted for a simple mouth flap so I could make sure that was capable of doing his signature 'pouty mouth' movement,” Imahara told CNET. “The mechanism that took the longest was the ears. They’re huge levers and the silicone skin acts as a spring, resisting movement, so I upgraded these servos several times, adding more and more torque and size until everything moved smoothly. In the end, the struggle with the ears was totally worth it. They help convey so much.”
Imahara, like countless other “Star Wars” fans, was immediately enamored with Baby Yoda when the creature popped up early in the popular Disney+ “Star Wars” show. By the series' third episode—by that time Baby Yoda had already used the Force to lift a giant alien, got handed off to and subsequently rescued from a villainous Werner Herzog, and met a handful of skeevy Jawas—Imahara was thoroughly convinced the creature had clear animatronic potential.
“After the third episode of 'The Mandalorian,' I knew I had to make my own Baby Yoda,” Imahara told CNET. “I was an animatronics engineer in the ILM model shop before 'MythBusters,' and worked on...
There’s one particularly telling and effective moment in The Skywalker Legacy, the feature-lenght documentary that’s included on the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker home release that sums up much of the ambivalence and consternation that some had with J.J. Abrams’ return to the Star Wars universe. After showing the intricate construction of a giant, practical snake monster, the doc cuts back to footage of Jabba The Hutt, that old analogue beast that slithered its way into our hearts. The sentiment is clear – we’re making movies like we used to! A celebration of practical effects, the dripping of k-y jelly to give viscosity just like the old costume days, it’s all there. There’s excitement on set, everyone talking about how amazing it looks, how lifelike, how this is how you’re supposed to do movies like this.
Cut to Visual Effects Supervisor Roger Guyett who shatters the myth, letting us know the creature was replaced by a CGI version in post.
Guyett’s resume is mighty. Having made his bones on groundbreaking films like Twister and Casper, he helped Spielberg bring the events of D-Day to screen in Saving Private Ryan, helped bring to life the best looking film in the Harry Potter series, Alfonso Cuarón’s Prisoner of Azkaban, and even made the theatrical version of Rent feel more than a stage production. Guyett has had many collaborations with Abrams – from the Star Trek Reboots through The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker he was even second unit director on the former, as well as working with George Lucas on Episode III to round off the prequels. He’s in a unique position to speak to these changing landscapes of epic filmmaking.
We spoke at length about the apparent contradictions and indulgences in making a Star Wars film, and he made the case for why nothing was wasted and all contributed to the final presentation. He was erudite and open to the discussion, making for a dream conversation with a man who quite literally has helped shape what amazes us on screen for decades.
The following has been edited for clarity and concision.
We see practical effects being championed as almost a marketing ploy with the “postquels” as a mix of nostalgia and an attempt to delineate from Lucas’ second trilogy. In some ways the love of the practically-realized snake undercuts the extraordinary CGI you and your team accomplished, and raises questions about why the need to fetishize the on-set inclusions when they’re replaced anyway. Could you talk about that ethos, that somehow doing stuff on a computer is a “cheat” while doing an effect practically is not?
I think at the end of the day we’re all trying to do the best that we can, trying to make the best, most dramatic or emotional movie we can visually. I’m coming from figuring out how do you get the most...