Saturday, May 05, 2007

$100M worth of sand?

I can still remember many years ago when, after I sat through a "blockbuster" (and quite dull) Schwarznegger movie with an enormous budget, I vowed not to go to the theaters to watch any movie with a budget of $100 milllion and higher. Talk about ridiculous uses for so much money!

So when I read the following juicy details about the special effects in Spiderman 3, well, I felt a little bit ill:

Blockbuster season's
most expensive movie star isn't a clean-cut actor. It's a pile of sand. It took a 30-person f/x team two years of CG-heavy lifting to crank out Thomas Haden Church's villainous Sandman. The laborious supporting character is also rumored to be a big reason Spider-Man 3 ran an estimated $100 million over its original $200 million budget. "This isn't just an effect like a twister or a tidal wave," says Scott Stokdyk, visual f/x supervisor. "Because it's a character, each particle of sandpile has to roll and have a direction and a target and start forming in and be part of a flow that forms into a volumetric shape." The illusion meant a crash course in developing software simulators that made sand behave like a fluid or a gas one instant and a sack of tiny marbles the next. Sand supervisor Doug Bloom says: "We did six years of R&D in two years. We honestly started the project not knowing how we'd be able to finish it." But will Spidey 3 hit box office pay dirt? Only time will tell.

They spend $100M just on getting the special effects right for the Sandman villain? What the hell is wrong with them, and wrong with us, with humans, that we would tolerate such a disgusting expenditure of money at a time when there is so much pain, so much need?

I know, I am such a whiner. Fine. Whiner, I will be. I will not see Spiderman 3 in the theaters. Maybe I will bother to watch it someday on an airplane, or at home.


Unknown said...

HERE HERE!!!! It flogs me how humans waste money. Don't get the wrong idea, I believe in Capitalism. I believe someone should make a buck! But why does it seem that making a buck is no longer the sentiment but making as much bucks as possible. We no longer earn money to afford a roof over our heads, food in our bellies and clothes on our backs. Todays mentality is I need a mansion that I will never use throughly, I need to eat out every time I am hungry at the BEST resturaunts and I must only wear designer cloths that cost a fortune. I love special effects in movies. It is ridiculous that the special effect cost 100 million dollars. How about we use a different villian and bring the cost down. Oh well, I guess I am a minority in this world of Capitalists.

Michael O'Neill said...

Steven, now really. Where do you think that 100 million goes? A black hole where the hungry people can't get it? That money gets spent on hardware and software and .... gasp ... developers not to mention real estate, food and so much more. Why do you fall into the bleeding heart liberal intellectual traps so easily so often?

Steven Feuerstein said...

I think that I will just refuse to acknowledge criticisms from people who accuse me of being a "bleeding heart liberal". Maybe I am going old and cranky, but I find that offensive. Compassion is a commodity sadly lacking in this world and to make it sound like that is a bad thing is just nasty - even if Michael didn't mean it that way, and I am quite sure he didn't.

Anyway, for those of you who would like to get thoroughly disgusted by the money WASTED on movies, check out: