SYDNEY – Fin Design + Effects has brought its VFX expertise to newly released genre-defying Chinese blockbuster, Animal World. Directed by Han Yan, the highly-anticipated film stars Hollywood legend Michael Douglas and Chinese megastar Li Yifeng, and sees sword-wielding clowns battle monsters.
Loosely based on Nobuyuki Fukumoto’s manga, Ultimate Survivor Kaiji, the action-packed film follows a young man, who attends a mysterious gambling party on a ship. If he wins the game, his debts will be cancelled. However, things aren’t so straightforward and the hero soon finds himself plunged into a chaotic world.
Boutique design and VFX house, Fin, worked closely with production company Bang Bang Pictures to deliver key visuals to aid the storytelling. Fin called into action all elements of its bespoke visual effects pipeline to create photo-real clowns and the monsters they battle.
One of the most notable of these elements is a mind-melting glitch effect that transforms the hero into a sword-wielding, fighter clown. Another key design challenge, entrusted to Fin, involves several fully computer-generated moments (Limboland) that help explain the rules and theories behind the game of survival which the film revolves around.
Stuart White, VFX Supervisor at Fin, commented: “Rather than go with a traditional motion graphics treatment to explain the gameplay, we chose instead to create an imaginary space which we called “Limboland”. It represents a room inside our hero’s mind into which he retreats to plan his strategy in the game. The visual elements of cards and art deco design are all lifted from the world in which the action takes place, but his mind has mashed them up into a room that only he can see.”
John Dietz, VFX Supervisor at Bang Bang Pictures, also said: “I knew I could rely on Fin to jump into a shot that hadn’t been fully fleshed out and fill in all the creative blanks. The team over there has been awesome at latching on to the unique look established in the movie and spinning that out into new material”
Chris Spry, Executive Producer at Fin, added: “Working with John and the team at Bang Bang has been a thoroughly enjoyable and creatively rewarding experience. Working off a broad brief, we underwent much pitching and creative brainstorming to create something truly fresh and original. In particular, the ‘Limboland’ beats of the film are long and need to be informative and crystal clear while remaining interesting to the audience. We delivered just over 100 shots and our artists pushed the boundaries of creativity on all of them. This is the kind of project everyone at Fin loves to do”.
With studios in Sydney and Shanghai, Fin makes it easy for Chinese filmmakers to access some of the world’s best visual effects artists and their design-driven style. Animal World marks the second Chinese feature film that Fin has worked on this year, having created an exciting drone-attack sequence for the box office smash-hit, Operation Red Sea. Other recent credits includeThor: Ragnarok for Marvel Studios and Logan for Twentieth Century Fox.
Animal World was released on 29 June across China and the UK.