Tag Archive: Zack Snyder


Review by C.J. Bunce

Moviegoers either love or hate Zack Snyder movies.  His latest, Netflix’s Army of the Dead (reviewed here), is very different from the typical movie he directs, which includes 300, Watchmen, Sucker Punch, Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Justice League.   Despite taking on a heist movie and a zombie picture in a major action movie, he wrote, directed, and took over the camera for Army of the Dead.  The result was a mash-up that may appeal to regular Snyder fans or anyone else.  This month to accompany the film, Titan Books released Army of the Dead: The Making of the Film If you liked the movie, and especially if you’re a fan of the horror genre and zombie films, you will want to check it out.

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ARMY OF THE DEAD

Review by C.J. Bunce

Zack Snyder finally did it.  Despite taking on a heist movie and a zombie picture in a major action movie, he wrote a script and delivered the type of action blockbuster he has not yet been able to create.  Army of the Dead is his first movie to get it right, a load of tropes, a mash-up of genre ideas, a tightly written story with a great cast, and wall-to-wall fun.  Not a comedy like Shaun of the Dead or iZombie, Army of the Dead features the right amount of humor for this story, while incorporating all the expectations of any fan of the father of the genre, George A. Romero.  Rivaling the incredible action and effects in 6 Underground, it also rises to become one of Netflix’s most promising productions.

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Perhaps the best part of the film Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice were the two behind the scenes books that provided superb coverage of the costumes, props, and vehicles from the film: the Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice Tech Manual reviewed here, and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice: The Art of the Film, reviewed here.  These books demonstrate that despite the negative reception of a film by audiences, fans of the beloved characters have some resources to find inspiration for their next cosplay or prop-building project.  The next in the line of books probing behind the scenes of the DC Comics universe created for the big screen is this summer’s Wonder Woman: The Art and Making of the Film by Sharon Gosling (author of Planet of the Apes: The Art of the Films Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of Planet of the Apes).  Anyone needing good source photographs of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman and the Amazon warriors of her origin story for their next cosplay project will find some great references here, including photos of the greatest of the Amazon warriors, Robin Wright’s badass general Antiope, plus swords and shields of key characters developed for the film.

The best section of the book provides interviews with two-time Academy Award-nominated production designer Aline Bonetto (Amélie) and Academy Award-winning costume designer Lindy Hemming (Topsy-Turvy) as they discuss the planning and development of audiences’ first look at Themyscira on film.  Both worked together closely coordinating design elements between their departments as concepts were developed.  You’ll find 192 pages of artwork, marketing images, on-location photographs, and costumes as they were sketched and later finalized for wear, all in quality color photographs on thick paper stock.  Costume designer Lemming notes that the entirety of the Amazon warrior costume components were prepared by hand, without 3-D printers or similar modern techniques, intending for the resulting products to look as the characters themselves might have made them.  Although Gadot’s costume was already set prior to Hemming’s involvement due to Wonder Woman’s introduction in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice–the costume was designed by Academy Award-nominated designer Michael Wilkinson (American Hustle, Tron: Legacy)–Hemming discusses re-designing the boots and attempting to make the rest of the costume more comfortable for Gadot, and this was an element for the other costume designs as well, many of which would be used for stunt and action scenes requiring significant movement.

Two-time Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor Bill Westenhofer (The Golden Compass, The Life of Pi) managed the film’s significant use of CGI along with practical effects where possible.  Westenhofer discusses stunt sequences (including the end of film fight scenes) and points out where the film required digital rendering to illustrate the story’s grand environments.

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Although it still has that same look and feel of the recent Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice–it actually looks more like last year’s Suicide Squad–Warner Bros. revealed the latest team-up trailer for Justice League today at Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con at the San Diego Convention Center.  This time the studio is smartly leaning on the success of Wonder Woman to reveal the inclusion of Themiscyra in the movie.  We’ve seen Ben Affleck’s Batman, with his best work probably his cameos in Suicide Squad, and we’ve seen Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman this year in the first solo Wonder Woman title film.  Jason Momoa’s Aquaman and Ezra Miller’s Flash have had some screen time in various images from Warner Bros. promoting this film, and the last trailer (here) highlighted Ray Fisher’s Cyborg.  Now, in this nearly four-minute long trailer, they all get to be seen.

Justice League, another Zack Snyder creation handed off for last-minute clean-up work to Joss Whedon, arrives in theaters later this year along with Wonder Woman, Logan, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, and Spider-man: Homecoming.  Will Justice League deliver enough punch to equal The Avengers?  Can Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment ever stand a chance at catching up to the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

This is the best look at the League in trailers for the film so far.  This looks more like the work of Whedon than Snyder, or are we just hopeful?  Check it out for yourself–here’s the latest trailer for Justice League:

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Although it still has that same look and feel of the recent Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice–it actually looks more like last year’s Suicide Squad–at last DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. revealed the first full-length, team-up trailer for Justice League this weekend.  We’ve seen Ben Affleck’s Batman, with his best work probably his cameos in Suicide Squad, and we’ve seen Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman previewed in Batman v. Superman.  Jason Momoa’s Aquaman and Ezra Miller’s Flash have had some screen time in various images from Warner Bros. promoting this film.  So what’s new is this preview really gives us a better look at Ray Fisher’s Cyborg.

Justice League is another Zack Snyder creation, hitting theaters this year along with Wonder Woman, and from the opposing brand Logan, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, and Spider-man: Homecoming.  Will Justice League deliver enough punch to equal The Avengers?  Is there enough “wow” factor to take on all the superhero movies hitting theaters this year?

This Justice League (dropping the “America”) is consistent with the more recent incarnations of the DC squad, but it’s definitely not the Superfriends most older fanboys and fangirls are familiar with.  Cyborg is definitely the new kid on the block.  Former J. Jonah Jameson actor JK Simmons (who voiced the character as recently as 2015) will take some getting used to as the new Commissioner Gordon.  But the biggest challenge will be viewing DC Entertainment’s opposing Barry Allens.  The Flash rose to become the best superhero series on television last year, with the lovable Grant Gustin as the great speedster.  It’s hard to explain a need for two actors in the same role in the same year from the same studio–it’s not like the dueling Quicksilvers over at Marvel in The Avengers and The X-Men films emerging from separate studios.

Check it out for yourself–here’s the latest trailer for Justice League:

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gadot-wonder-woman

Seven months out and the marketing for the 2017 superhero film Wonder Woman is in full force.  DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. have released the next trailer for the 2017 release Wonder Woman, along with three new character posters.

Taking a cue from the Marvel Universe’s first golden age adaptation Captain America: The First Avenger, DC’s first effort at a Wonder Woman ties its first story back not to World War II but World War I.  With Monster director Patty Jenkins helming the first big screen film featuring Wonder Woman–and no Christopher Nolan or Zack Snyder, we may have hope for this film, yet the cinematography, camera angles, and action sequences in the previews unequivocally owe plenty to Zack Snyder’s 300. 

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Gal Gadot returns from this year’s Batman v Superman as Wonder Woman with Star Trek’s Chris Pine back on a motorcycle, this time as Steve Trevor.

new-wonder-woman-trailer

Both Gadot and Pine look promising as these classic comic book characters.

Check out the latest trailer for Wonder Woman:

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new Flash SDCC 2016

Although it still has that same look and feel of the recent Man of Steel franchise, at long last DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. revealed the first trailer for Justice League at San Diego Comic-Con this afternoon.  And of course, for better or worse, it’s down one superhero.  Not Superman… no Green Arrow.  And no Black Canary.  Just sayin’.

Next year’s Justice League is another Zack Snyder creation, hitting theaters next year along with Wonder Woman, previewed here at borg.com earlier today.  Although Jared Leto is rumored to be on of the villains in the film, we haven’t seen any villains yet confirmed.

Old timers should know this Justice League (sans the “America”) is consistent with the more recent incarnations of the superfriends squad.  So we have Ben Affleck returning as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, and Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as the new Barry Allen/The Flash, and Ray Fisher as Cyborg.  Looks like we have a new borg variant to be inducted into the borg Hall of Fame this year.

Cyborg and Batman SDCC 2016

Straight from Comic-Con, check out this trailer for Justice League:

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Batman+v+Superman+The+Art+of+The+Film

What you might be surprised to find in Titan Books’ new hardcover book Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Art of the Film, is how much the book is a book of ideas.  Inasmuch as many of the ideas made it to the screen, so many didn’t, as revealed in dozens of pages of concept art.  It’s what most “Art of the Film” books are about, but because of the polarizing effect the movie has had on fans of the characters it is also helpful in seeing what the director and writers were going for–what they were trying to convey on the screen.

Although the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Tech Manual, reviewed last week here at borg.com, has more cross-appeal beyond fans of Batman and Superman, this coffee table style book is more for fans who loved the film, those wanting to understand it better, and those looking for an archive of Batman designs for reference.  Fans who like the movie and want a “souvenir book” will appreciate the close-ups of the supersuits and vehicles from the film, the colorful page layouts, and the roughly chronological plot points that re-tell the story from a creator’s standpoint, from idea to final rendering on the screen.

Batman_v_Superman_Dawn_of_Justice_The_Art_of_the_Film excerpt A

Actors including Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Jeremy Irons, and Jesse Eisenberg, explain the motivations behind their characters.  Commentary surrounding images are provided from director Zack Snyder, the film’s production designer, art director, hair stylist, concept artists, director of photography, and costume designer, but most of the explanations for ideas behind the concepts come from producers including Deborah Snyder, and production designer Patrick Tatopoulos.

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Tech Manual A

Although the film is taking its lumps in the critics’ arena, you can’t deny that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has plenty of clever new tech to show off, especially for the newest big-screen version of Batman.  Not only do we have a new Batsuit, we have Bat armor, and a new arsenal of fun toys aka weaponry.  And then there are the vehicles–a new Batmobile, a new Batwing.  Any art director that gets to dabble in the world of Batman knows what it’s like to be a kid with the keys to the candy store and whether you’re a fan or not of Zack Snyder’s story, he did manage to create an interesting new look for DC on film.

A new book from Titan Books takes a detailed and deep dive into the making of the movie. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Tech Manual, a full-color, quality hardcover released this month, is a nicely crafted behind the scenes tie-in, offering plenty of cross-appeal.  If you’re a fan of the movie, or if you’re a fan of Batman and Superman at all, you’ll enjoy this look behind the scenes at the props and costumes of the film.  If you’re a fan of the moviemaking process, you’ll appreciate the presentation of the set design in hundreds of images and interviews about the creative process.  And if you’re looking to cosplay Batman, Superman, or the new Wonder Woman, you now have unprecedented access to detailed costume photos, especially for Batman, with all you need to fabricate your own utility belt, cowl, cape, and Batarangs.

Bat Supes A

Most of the book is about Batman, primarily since the Superman of this new film is in essence the Superman from Man of Steel–so little was needed to be updated for this movie, whereas Batman and the Batcave were entirely re-imagined.  Superman and Wonder Woman and their costumes only receive a few pages each.  The book features concept art, blueprints, set design and construction detail, and graphic design pieces made for the movie.  Look for interviews with concept artists, the Batmobile builder, the propmaster responsible for weapon design, and director Zack Snyder, all providing insight into the movie’s visual narrative.

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Batman v Superman clip

Really hoping Batman stomps Zack Snyder… I mean Superman… into the ground in this flick.

It’s a brief clip, but the latest look at next year’s much awaited new DC Comics movie incarnation.  It’s all leading up to the release of another, longer trailer tonight.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is in theaters March 25, 2016.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com