No matter where you are in the world, sometimes you just wanna have fun at the movies! Good on em’, I’ll bet this thing does huge business world wide… I’m rooting for that CG Mr. Go!
HONG KONG — “Mr Go,” which releases today in South Korea and on Thursday in China is a big bet by any standards.
Costing some $25 million to produce, the film is a hybrid live action/CGI comedy-drama about a Chinese gorilla who becomes a super-sized hero in Korea’s professional baseball league.
It necessitated amounts of motion capture and digital effects that are unprecedented in a Korean movie – the gorilla Ling Ling, initially animated by an actor wearing crutches strapped to his forearms, appears in about 1,000 of the film’s 2,000 shots. And it was filmed in native stereoscopic 3-D.That all required director Kim Yong-hwa to set up an off-the-shelf company, Dexter Film, and to employ 150 CG professionals.
On top of that the movie is structured as a full Korean-Chinese co-production, involving Korea’s Showbox/Mediaplex and China’s Huayi Bros. There’s a growing tide of these co-operative ventures, but it is still rare for Chinese companies to put up hard cash and take a minority position. Huayi is understood to have invested some $6 million as well as its p&a commitment. The Chinese studio named it as one of its four key movie releases of 2013.
With obstacles and ambitions of that scale, the film also needed some inbuilt advantages. It is based on a popular cartoon series “The 7th Team,” penned by Heo Young-man, which gives it an inbuilt audience awareness in Korea, though Kim has been free with his adaptation of the story. Second, Kim has a strong track record as director of hit “200 Pound Beauty” and sports comedy “Take Off.”
Kim says he was inspired by the empathy between characters in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” whereas FX supervisor Jung Sung-jin says he watched classic gorilla movies including “Congo,” “Rise of The Planet of The Apes” and “King Kong.”
Kim and Jung also report that they had to pick their VFX team very carefully and painstakingly help the animators to unlearn much of what they had previously established as working practice. Making the CG invisible was their biggest challenge