Vancouver studio provided visual effects on The Amazing Spider-Man 2

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Image: Belief Net

Slated as the “most visually ambitious Spider-Man movie to date”, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 of course featured shots of the swinging hero flying through the skyscraper forest of Manhattan. But it was the villainous transformations of the film’s antagonists Electro and Green Goblin that ties the movie to Vancouver’s famous film industry.

Doug Oddy, Moving Picture Company‘s Visual Effects Producer, spoke about the Vancouver MPC facilities’ involvement with the film and what it was like working with director Marc Webb and his vision for the spidey revival.

It took a team of over 200 visual effects workers to produce 300 shots split across four main sequences in the film. Namely, the transformation of Max Dillon (played by Jamie Foxx) into the electric-eel powered, electricity controller Electro and Dane DeHaan’s metamorphosis from sickly Oscorp heir Harry Osborn into Spidey archenemy Green Goblin.

MPC Vancouver also provided the sweeping views of Manhattan as the titular character Spider-Man (played by Andrew Garfield) and love interest Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) embraced atop the Manhattan Bridge. MPC was also behind the film’s nerve-wracking plane sequence, where two airliners fly on course for a bird-on-bird mid-air collision, both unaided by direction from traffic control as Electro cuts the city’s power on a maddening rampage.

Some of the shots, says Oddy, even made its way into the film’s buzzworthy preview trailer debuted at last year’s Comic-Con.

“It was cool to have MPC be part of something so huge and significant to the promotion of the film,” says Oddy. “Comic-Con has become this huge cultural hub for everything comic book-related and more. To be a part of that is an honour.”

Of the work itself, Oddy says that MPC Vancouver got in on the film, and with its studio-owners Sony, fairly early in the movie’s development. The scenes took about a year to produce with final images sent in just this past March, four weeks before the film’s international release dates.

Oddy says that part of what drew him, and MPC Vancouver, to The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was Webb’s vision for capturing the youthful and cheeky, but also darker-laced, Spider-Man that he “recognized and connected with” more than the previous Tobey Maguire-starring films.

“I think Marc Webb has the best vision of what Spider-Man should be,” says Oddy. “The transition in the comic books is him growing from this adolescent, slightly cheeky, not really understanding what his responsibilities are in life teenager to having to deal with hardships and losing his uncle. So he had a darker edge and a chip on his shoulder and Marc Webb does a great job of embracing that aspect.”

Oddy also praised the performances of real-life couple Garfield and Stone, whose combined chemistry provided a main galvanizing storyline to the film that almost eclipsed the featured villains.

“At the end of the day,” says Oddy, “we are still part of the active audience and we want to go and have that same experience in the theatre whether we’ve worked on the film or not. It’s fun to forget the work that’s done behind the cameras and watch it for the story that it is and connect with the characters. And it certainly doesn’t hurt when it touches closer to what your expectations are.”

In the past, Moving Picture Company has worked on Man of Steel (2013) and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013). Their latest projects will include the much-anticipated films Godzilla (out tomorrow, May 16) and Maleficent (May 30). 

For more information on MPC, check out their official website www.moving-picture.com/.

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