Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Batmanned

With the considerable firepower of Ads and Matt-the-VFX, Dale-the-tunes, Glen-the-sound and Tom-the foley all laser-targeted onto the extended Cannes trailer, in a distant part of London at least some work on the actual movie continues unabated.

Not that the work that the others are doing won’t make it into the final movie; it’s all about prioritising their activities. All the right notes, but in the wrong order.

But in the darkest recesses of Brockley, London SE4, Rup-the-titles is currently sat surrounded by unpacked boxes calmly plugging away at our opening title sequence, unaware that elsewhere on the zombie rollercoaster people are manically throwing digital blood about the place and learning French.

I’ve known Rup-the-titles since I was a kid, when he and his brothers were known to all in the area as the under-age drinkers. Thankfully, things have moved on; he got older.

In some ways, Rup has wound up with the hardest story-telling challenge of the whole movie. We open the film on day zero of the apocalypse to show the lovely Kate-the-scream falling foul of Captain Jamie-the-marine and getting covered by the officer’s mess; we then re-join the action 15 months later. And, as you can imagine, quite a lot has happened in this time.

And there ain’t nowhere else to show it except in the titles.

So, in 1:45 seconds, Rup has been tasked with the responsibility of showing a load more soldiers going zombie, a bunch of people getting bitten, the total collapse of civilisation as we know it, the scary zombies slowly rotting away to shambling bags of pest, the start of the fight-back, and the establishment of the enclaves within which the survivors all congregate.

Oh, and he should really try and get the names of the cast in there too.

And the chosen medium? The animatic; a living comic with bits of animation, camera pans and zooms. Not our idea, but his, and judging by the early test footage that he has sent through it’s a stroke of genius. This is going to be a lot of fun on the big screen.

But it was only when Rup mentioned that he had hooked up with an illustrator for some of the more detailed punch-ins that cogs started turning in Charmed Central.

Being the flighty London socialite that he is, Rup doesn’t just know any old flavour of illustrator; enter the formidable Mike Dowling, with titles such as 2000AD and Batman in his artwork canon.

Damn!

Wait a minute. We’ve got a moment in the title sequence when we see humanity reassert itself against the rotting zombie plague; a ragtag band of wannabe soldiers running and gunning through the badlands. Isn’t this basically the same backstory we had written for Mac, Zombie Resurrection’s unhinged bane of all things undead?

You know, wouldn’t it be quite cool to see Mac getting his gun off in the title sequence?

Yes. Yes it would. Can Mike make it so?

And so once again we shamelessly drag the newly muppeted Jim Sweeney back down to our level; any attempts to try and escape the clutches of the zombie horde by working with Ken Loach will ultimately prove futile.


There are very few things out there that go beyond cool: becoming a cuddly toy is just about the only thing that comes to mind. But into this tiny list we now need to include getting your face drawn by the guy that gets paid to sketch Bruce Wayne. We always knew that Mac was going to be most people’s favourite character in the film, but I had no idea that Jim was going to be bogarting all the after-dinner treats like this. Immortalised.

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