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January 2018

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Page 39 of 43 38 POST JANUARY 2018 VISUAL EFFECTS n 1995, two kids playing a mag- ical jungle-themed board game unwittingly released a man-child trapped in the game for two and a half decades. In doing so, they unleashed a host of powers and creatures (includ- ing charging rhinos, flying bats, angry lions, hungry crocodiles, stampeding elephants and more) into the town where they lived. The only hope they had of stopping the mayhem was to finish the game. That family adventure film, called Jumanji, was a box-office success. Released in mid-December 1995 by TriStar Pictures, it became the 10 th highest-gross- ing film that year. Almost 22 years later to the day of the original release, Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures rolled the dice with a brand-new adventure, releasing Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. This time, four teenagers as different as can be find an old video game during detention and soon find themselves transformed into the game's avatars each had selected and then transported into the dangerous jungle world of the game. Like the others before them, they must play Jumanji and win before they become part of that world permanently, or worse. The new Jumanji is directed by Jake Kasdan; Sony Pictures Imageworks' Jerome Chen serves as the visual effects supervisor. GAMEPLAY EVOLUTION As the filmmakers point out, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is not a sequel, but rather a continuation — another Jumanji adventure in the same universe as the first movie. The big difference is that in the original production, the elements of Jumanji were transported to our world; this time, the players are the fish out of water in the Jumanji world, where they must work together to be released from the supernatural hold the game has on them. In the original film, with principal pho- tography in New England, a combination of traditional techniques (puppetry and animatronics) and cutting-edge digital effects by Industrial Light & Magic were used. Back then, ILM developed new software used to create the first pho- torealistic CG hair and fur, for the film's digital lion and monkeys. Also, ILM's Caricature software gave the animators the ability to move shapes on a charac- ter's face to create expressions, while iSculpt let modelers create large libraries of facial expressions. "I saw [the original] Jumanji in the theater when it came out, and the ef- fects were very unique for its time — the animals and the whole notion of a game that could come alive," says Chen. But the connection to the film goes even deeper. "It also so happens that the visu- al effects supervisor on that movie was Ken Ralston, who would become one of my mentors. From a professional stand- point, I couldn't resist the opportunity to work on a franchise that one of my mentors supervised," he adds. In the new film, some things are certainly different. First of all, the movie was shot in Hawaii. "For the audience to believe our heroes really had been pulled into the jungle, we had to go to the jun- gle," says producer Matt Tolmach. "Hawaii has a variety of lush jungle environments that gave us everything we needed." And when reality was not enough, production designer Owen Paterson performed mag- ic of his own, transforming the landscape into one reflective of the fantastical world of the Jumanji video game. Moreover, the Hawaiian backdrop provided plenty of reality when it came to things that creeped and slithered. But this was the world of Jumanji, so everything had to be bigger and badder than it is in real life — oversized mosquitoes, rhinos, hippos, snakes, jaguars and more — all cursed by the Jewel of Jumanji. THE JUMANJI EFFECT Like its predecessor, the new film contains a mix of practical and digital effects, this time by a number of vendors, including Crafty Apes, Mammal Studios, Iloura, Rodeo FX and Moving Picture Company WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE I IN NEW JUMANJI FILM, TEENS FACE THEIR FEARS, AND CREATURES BIG AND SMALL BY KAREN MOLTENBREY, CHIEF EDITOR OF CGW Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was shot on-location in the actual jungle, Hawaii, to make for a more believable setting.

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