I got to see the preproduction offices for Guillermo's next Hellboy movie when Mike and I had lunch a week ago to talk a little story for the next Hellboy Animated. The design work being done is incredible but that shouldn't be a surprise if you've seen stills of Pan's Labyrinth... which is only about a month away. It's like a little clubhouse for the cool kids.
Anyway, we went next door for lunch and instead of
talking story we talked about the advance reaction we were getting to Sword of Storms. Thank you all for your compliments, by the way. The internet response has been overwhelmingly positive. I hear your frustration with not being able to buy the DVD yet. Even the people who didn't love the movie had good things to say about it. Christopher Drake's score was considered very strong by most viewers. We're investigating the option of putting it out as a customer premium when you purchase the DVD at certain stores. I've heard bits and pieces of the score for Blood and Iron and it's just as strong - yet completely different as is the movie.
So I was talking to Mike about the action sequences between Liz and the big monster. Relax, no spoilers follow. Those sequences were both rushed and late. You think you're standing back and looking at the whole but you're too close to it and there's no time to re-conceive it. There's plenty of nice action in those sequences but they feel repetitious. There's not a strong build.
Mike responded by describing several sequences out of the Abe Sapien mini-series he's writing. Jaw droppingly good - exciting, weird and hilarious. It was an extended action sequence with little dialogue. It broke up the action into separate kinds of action - confrontation, chase, confined space, surprise revelation, etc. Applied to the Liz action sequences - maybe the thing should have chased them onto shore, maybe the geography could change - instead of them always looking up at the thing, maybe they could've climbed higher and be looking down for one of the sequences. The fire effects were too even. There should be a little fire the first time, then more then when Liz finally unleashes the damn island should've started to melt - she and the monster could've disappeared in a cloud of steam as the lava hit the water.
Woulda. Shoulda. Coulda. That's not just the value of hindsight, it's the value of time. As I wrote in an earlier entry - in live action, every effects shot is the result of a literal meeting between many department heads so that the shot is done efficiently and safely. There's no way a moment like that gets short change.
What does all this introspection help? The next movie. Not Blood and Iron, that ship sailed long ago. We're getting in the final footage now- painfully late, but great looking. No, I mean the third, un-greenlit movie. The new script will be written with the lessons learned fresh in my mind and the fan reaction we've had to the first movie.
More on that movie, and Blood and Iron, in the future. -- Tad