The movie The Hurt Locker has been nominated in this year’s Academy Awards for Best Picture. Also, its director, Kathryn Bigelow, has been nominated for Best Director. It is now out on DVD. I had downloaded the movie and watched it on my laptop, on the flight out to California.
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The Hurt Locker is set in Iraq, in 2004, at the height of the violence there. The film revolves around a three-man bomb disposal team. It stars Jeremy Renner as Sargent Will James, the man who actually disposes of the bombs. He is the one who wears the protective suit, pictured above. Anthony Mackie play’s Sargent Sanborn, the nominal team leader and Brian Geraghty play’s Specialist Owen Eldridge who is caught in-between the other two characters.
The film includes heaping helpings of violence and suspense. What makes this movie not just another action movie is the character of Will James. He arrives after his predecessor is blown-up. The movie’s opening features a quote that announces that war is a drug. Will James is a main-lining addict. His cavalier approach to the deadly situations that he and the team find themselves in, conflicts with Sanborn’s by the book approach.
If this unit were a family, then Will James and Sanborn would be the parents and Eldridge their child. Eldridge strives to hold together this dysfunctional family, while trying to hold himself together in a situation that is way out of his league. Where as Eldridge and Sanborn only hope to escape Iraq, Will James is in his element.
Xtra Normal is an online animation creating website. Its motto is, “if you can type, you can make movies”. While their motto is literally true, as my attempt illustrates, there is a difference between making a movie and making a good movie. While I succeeded on my first try in making a movie with Xtra Normal, I’ll be the first to admit that it isn’t very good.
The computerized voicing leave a lot to be desired. Sometimes it is even unintelligible. I suspect though that an experienced user could work around the system’s limitations and do better. There is a limited set of characters to choose from, but unless you plan on doing a wide-ranging exploration of this medium, the available selection should be adequate.
In addition to voicing your text, Xtra Normal offers a few additional controls. Each of the canned scenes, come with a dozen different camera shots. I used different camera shots to “animate” the video. There are also a few controls that allow you to actually move the characters. There are also a number of sound effects.
Detonation Films is a website that sells special effects video clips. Most of their clips deal with explosions, but they have other effects too. While most of what they offer is for sale, there are plenty of free effects to be downloaded. I’ve always been able to find what I need for free. I used select frames from one of their free videos to make today’s header.
I’ve included, again, the photo of Pooh and Ray. Mainly because this post needed more color. I first used it here, when I had them review Avatar, at the beginning of the year. Those 3D glasses are still really styling.