In this captivating narrative masterpiece, Tilda Swinton shines as Alithea, an academic who embodies refined elegance and spirited determination. Her adventure begins in the bustling city of Istanbul, staying in the famed Agatha Christie room of the Pera Palace Hotel. This setting pays homage to the renowned author who crafted "Death on the Nile". Alithea was introduced as a "narratologist" – an expert in studying stories – and valued her independence dearly. However, beneath her poised exterior, she harbours a deep-seated longing that she finds challenging to admit.
The plot takes an intriguing twist when Alithea succumbs to a fainting spell during a lecture. This incident, seemingly a hallucination, might be a profound, ancient summons. The enigma intensifies in her hotel room, where cleaning a bottle from an antique store unleashes a Djinn. Idris Elba's portrayal of this Djinn masterfully balances gravitas, humour, and depth. This mythic being is not just any genie – his immense size, particularly evidenced by his massive foot entering through the bathroom door, is truly awe-inspiring.
Alithea, knowledgeable in genie lore, cautiously considers Djinn's offer of three wishes, aware of the potential perils. The film ingeniously inverts the classic wish-fulfilment narrative, transforming it into a riveting exploration of desire and its ramifications.
The Djinn's recollections, including his tenure as confidant and educator to the Queen of Sheba, set a grand, mystical backdrop. The storyline traverses a maze of history and fantasy, augmented by stunning production design and spectacular visual effects. The film is a visual spectacle, surpassing even the grandeur of Cecil B. DeMille's epics, with wonders like a self-playing lyre that underscores Solomon's mesmerising song.
Yet, these narratives are more than just visual marvels. They delve into the intricacies of human nature, contrasting love and hatred and revealing our bravest and darkest selves. The movie portrays a rich mosaic of human triumphs and tragedies, culminating in a profound reflection: despite technological progress, we remain enigmatic beings.
As Alithea probes deeper into Djinn's stories, she confronts her repressed emotions, particularly the absence of love in her life. The Djinn's accounts, rich with raw human emotions, range from intense violence to varied expressions of desire. One notable tale involves a would-be ruler trapped in a lavish prison of his desires, highlighting the complexities and extremes of human aspiration and longing.
This cinematic odyssey invites viewers not just to experience a story about stories but to contemplate the essence of storytelling and its influence on the human heart and soul.
The film features an astonishing 596 VFX shots, enriched by over 150 FX/CG assets, creating a mesmerising visual narrative. Addressing the demands of the narrative, we tackled a range of complex effects. Despite their fleeting appearances, each effect was crafted with meticulous attention to detail, adhering to director George's exacting standards.
A central aspect of our narrative is the character of Djinn, profoundly shaped through FX simulations. Every aspect of his being demanded a unique approach to visual development. The Djinn Bottle Vortex, depicting his dramatic disintegration, is our most complex creation. His essence is also captured in the mesmerising vapour trails of his kisses, the luminous energy from his fingertips as he browses books, and the enchanting aura he creates, transforming modern chaos into harmonious music.
Our challenges were varied and imaginative, from melting and reshaping bottles to creating exploding hair intertwined with liquid gold and crafting organic-looking nebulas.
The character roster is equally fantastical, featuring a range of mythical beings observed by a CG-rendered entourage of Solomon's followers. Highlights include the black, smoky figure of a Djinn transforming into a human, evoking both awe and fear.
I don't think another production will ever have the same level of craziness in work and home life. I treasure George and Doug. They're incredibly talented, charming, funny, crazy, and royalty here in Australia. It all started with the most entertaining and shortest job interview and ended in a dusty trailer out in Broken Hill on the set of Furiosa. We traversed the globe to the bustling streets of Istanbul, Agatha Christie's room where she wrote Death on the Nile and Primrose Hill in London, to Jodrell Bank and the Large Hadron Collider, from myth to modern day. Moreover, we survived filming and post-production during the panic of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Directed by - George Miller
My Role - Production VFX Supervisor
Screenplay by George Miller & Augusta Gore , Produced by - Doug Mitchell, George Miller, Cinematography by John Seale, Production Design - Roger Ford, Edited by Margaret Sixel, Music by Tom Holkenburg, Production Companies - FilmNation, MGM Studios
Production VFX Producer - Jason Bath, Vendors - Method Studios: VFX Supervisor - Glenn Melenhorst, Fin Design + Effects: VFX Supervisor - Roy Malhi, MrX: VFX Supervisor - Simon Maddison, SlateVFX: VFX Supervisor - David Booth, Stage 23: VFX Supervisor - Jonathan Hairman, New Holland Creative: VFX Supervisor - Brendan Savage
©2022 Kennedy Miller Mitchell pty ltd