Blu-ray will reveal new secrets in Day the Earth Stood Still

The upcoming Blu-ray edition of the recent sci-fi remake The Day the Earth Stood Still will give viewers a new chance to appreciate the film's visual effects, design and details, the filmmakers told reporters.

They included Jeff Okun, visual effects supervisor for the movie, who spoke to journalists during a press event for the release of Scott Derrickson's movie, which is due on Blu-ray and DVD on April 7.

Also in attendance during the two-day event was character designer Aaron Sims, who helped reinvent Gort, and AvP: Requiem director Colin Strause, whose company, Hydraulix, helped with the film's special effects. The following is an edited version of interviews conducted with the trio in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, Calif., on Tuesday.

Aaron Sims, is there anything that the narrative momentum of the theatrical experience might have concealed that you're especially happy will be looked at again on the forthcoming Blu-ray?

Sims: The effects are going to be amazing on Blu-ray. It should be incredible. I saw it in IMAX, which is really impressive to see it on a big screen like that, that big and clear, so most of the stuff is going to be great. I think, again, like a lot of the designs I did, like the alien, I really wanted to see it; I designed it out, and when I saw the film, it was like, "It's too bad we didn't see it all." But I understand the reason behind it. I mean, as a designer I want to see everything I designed.

Colin, what are you most excited to see revisited on the Blu-ray that you think was initially overlooked?

Strause: I think the one thing, especially in a lot of our shots, there's a lot of detail of the guys in the background shooting, a lot of behaviors of them running away and just how many things are [on screen]. I think sometimes when you're in the movie theater, it shakes with a little bit of gate weave, and part of the first viewing of something, you miss a lot of the little things. I find particularly as you watch this stuff in HD later in your own house, a lot more layers of the shots become visible, because you know what's coming up, you know what I mean? So from the audience standpoint, there's a different level of appreciation, because there isn't that element of surprise now, and now it's more about actually looking at stuff, appreciating things in the background that you haven't ever seen before. All of the stuff we spent all the time making no one gets to see, so it is kind of nice that if we put in all of this detail now, someone's going to see it again.

Jeff, what's the one thing that you think this Blu-ray will highlight that people may have missed when they saw The Day the Earth Stood Still in theaters?

Okun: That's a great question, and here's the answer. What I wanted to get across is that visual effects is hard. People think it's easy. It's not. It's hard! The reason is that back in 1978, when the VHS on Star Wars came out and they had the first really thorough behind-the-scenes [look], and it was all a bunch of visual effects geeks—sorry, Dennis [Muren]—we would say anything to try to get you to take us serious. Thirty years later, which is where we are today, these people, if you were 10 years old then, they're now my bosses, and we spent 30 years marketing visual effects as the land of the geeks, and if the button that you hit doesn't do it right, well, we hit another button that says do it right. So what I want to come through is that visual effects is an art; it's not the computer making it any more than Leonardo da Vinci's paintbrush painted the Mona Lisa. It's the artists sitting at the terminals, knowing their stuff, that's making this stuff.

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