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                                                   THE MOVIES
A PC game featuring the opportunity to create small films sounded almost to good to be true. In fact I left the complete "raising a film studio" aspect of the game aside and tried to squeeze a entertaining little film out of it...

That was at least the plan. Reality faced me with the hidden truth of limitations wherever you started to be creative. Soon one grew tired of the repetetive animations which didn`t deliver any surprises after finishing a few clips.

As a martial arts fan I couldn`t resist to put all the available moves in one film. The result was a little video starring the one and only ... .

A few of these animations were meant for "Horror" or "Zombie" films, but I didn`t hesitate to use them, therefore some scenes might be a little harsh. But, hey, weren`t the 70`s and 80`s films not like that?

                    

                         SUPPRESSED FORCE

                                                                                 




After that I put the game back to the shelf, though there were quite many films outside and some even with a nice storyline. Yet I found most of them too long and after watching all available animations in the "movie maker" within the game they were not surprising anymore when you saw them in films of others.

A while after the release of the "Stunts and Effects" Add-On I gave it another try. The idea came with watching "The Last Ninja" walkthroughs on youtube. The old classic on the C 64 which was groundbreaking in graphics and music at that time. In one video they used remixed music of the original tunes which boosted my interest, because it was what I really had to look for. All the years I kept the question inside of me, if they ever will renew these songs I grew up with? They did and I found amazing versions of the "Last Ninja" themes during my "research"
. The imagination of a "Last Ninja" Homage grew and eventually I started working on the film.

The real difficulty was to match the images to the music, as both should fit quite well. But, when you take the beat of the music as your editing guideline, the story comes short. 
In respect to the 80`s it had to involve a training sequence, followed by some cool opponents who are going to make the life of Mr. Ninja not easier.
Especially opponent-wise it was quite hard to find a few within the game who match the Ninja`s level of awesomeness, so I chose to imply modifications, or mods.

Hm, nice idea, but not easy to realize, if you haven`t done this before for this game. Looking for some worthy material I noticed the amazing work of some people who seemed to put their heart into creating these mods. Opponents were found (the Fantastic Four were replaced by the Joker) and new level textures were put on many objects. These fresh renewals even let the game shine in a new light for me and the possibility of using a green-/ bluescreen made the opportunities look like endlessly.

Soon I found out that the old limitations caught up on me again...

The must have training sequence with the Ninja and Bruce Lee created huge difficulties. In-game bluescreen looks like a nice touch, but in reality the low amount of colors makes keying a nightmare, so rotoscoping was the only answer.
But how? That was the big question. In the end I forced myself through frame by frame work knowing that this film will never be watched by a big audience.

After all the edges looked bad, but my patience was gone and planning on just a youtube release I hoped that this wouldn`t be noticed too much. Now youtube offers HD video... hmpf.

Anyway, I couldn`t hide my satisfaction by seeing the Ninja and Bruce on screen at the same time. This was not possible in the game by itself...


                  


One of the new character textures I found was the Sam Fisher look ("Splinter Cell"/ Ubisoft), which fit perfectly to his Shanghai appearance at that time and additionally fit to the footage I recorded during my stay in Shanghai in February 2007.

For the finale I tried to composite the game characters into this real life footage to keep it a little more interesting for viewers who already have seen enough in-game material from the game. Combining this material was actually fun and I hoped for adding a new touch to a film made with "The Movies".

After two months of boiling these ingredients I finally reached the finish line. Although the film cannot be compared to the former C 64 release of the game I do hope that it at least can deliver the touch of history to gamers around my age.

The final version uses in-game graphics from:

"The Movies - Stunts and Effects" (Lionhead/ Activision)
"Splinter Cell - Double Agent" (Ubisoft)
"Just Cause" (Avalanche Studios/ Eidos)
"Company of Heroes" (Relic Entertainment/ THQ)

Remixes of the "Last Ninja" Themes by:

Glyn R Brown, Instant Remedy, Markus Schneider, Jeansteam


"The Movies" Mods used in this video were made by:

Fraas Movies, Zapster, Norton, Rogue, The Punisher 99, Walvince, Rysto, Alphadrop, Freak 6010, Wayne Poe, Stormwhitelab, Dsquared


So, if you should have missed it and are interested, enjoy watching! (Press the HQ button for a better sound quality, at least...)


                           THE LAST MISSION