Posted on Wednesday, May 20th, 2009 by Brendon Connelly
Trailer Addict have captured a sequence from Backlot Buzz that features Robert Zemeckis and Jim Carrey talking about their upcoming adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, revealing some quite astonishing new art and explaining some of their process. You can see the clip embedded below the break.
I think that I’m in the minority – so far! – in being convinced about this one. The story is a corker, Zemeckis is a fine, fine storyteller and Carrey is a wonderful choice for the various roles he’s been given: Scrooge and the various ghosts. As you’ll hear in the clip, Zemeckis cast one actor in all of those parts as the spectres are readable as projections of Scrooge, facets of his character.
Amongst the concept art you’ll see are images of Ebenezer Scrooge at various stages of his life. There’s a seven year old incarnation that ranks alongside the puppy Gromit from the opening credits of Aardman’s Curse of the Wererabbit for sheer cartoony cuteness. Interesting how handsomified Carrey looks in the two mid-range ages, though that’s largely down to the smoothing out of the skin, I suspect, and the extension of the chin… though that definitely bends back on him (literally) in the oldest, basic incarnation.
The candle spectre (the Ghost of Christmas Past, I presume) is a particularly wonderful design, and a brilliant use of motion capture techniques.
I’m starting to suspect that Zemeckis’ insistence on working in motion capture over and over is nothing but live action’s loss and his gain. He’s pushing the envelope with the technology further and further, though perhaps not in the respects most viewers are immediately aware and most concerned. Which is to say, he’s elaborating on the possibilities of motion capture in all sorts of exciting directions but still not finding a way well clear of uncanny valley. That day will come, however, and then Zemeckis will the most experienced director with a new and super flexible toolkit.
I love live action, I love cel animation, I love stop motion animation, CG animation and all of the above combined. People tend to agree with me on those. Where I meet more resistance is in my love of motion capture right along side them. Like 3D, I think, it still has some way to go to prove to the most of us that it’s more than a gimmick.
Hopefully A Christmas Carol will play some part in this proof.