Thursday, April 16, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Desert Planet Looks Like Mars

A scene from Star Wars: The Force Awakens with a desert backdrop that looks like the flank of Mt. Sharp on Mars.

Science-fiction movies are getting closer to reality. In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, panoramic scenes on a desert planet similar to Tatooine seems to have been designed taking into account photos taken by NASA's rovers on the surface of Mars, specifically images of Mt. Sharp in Gale Crater where the Mars Science Lab, Curiosity has been doing science work, allowing people on Earth to see what it's like on another planet. You can compare the scene from the movie above where there's a fallen Star Destoryer, to the actual photo of Mt. Sharp on Mars below and you will see similar visual elements. The sunset photo at the bottom was taken by the rover Spirit on another part of Mars. See how the hue of the atmosphere is similar to what's depicted in the scene.

The flank of Mt. Sharp as photographed by the rover Curiosity on Mars (color-corrected for Earthling eyes).

The artists behind the planet backdrop of Tatooine did, and are, doing a good job in depicting what could possibly be the actual look of Tatooine from the surface, taking cues from the environs of Mars. With the help of actual photos from the surface of the red planet, Tatooine becomes more real and plausible. So, what the filmmakers need to do now is find photos of planets to match the environments of the planets Dagobah, Hoth, and Endor.

An actual sunset on Mars as taken by the rover, Spirit. See how the blue hues match what's in the Star Wars scene?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sanctum Plays Your Deepest Fears


There's a movie called Sanctum executive-produced by James Cameron, that promises to play your deepest fears. It's about getting trapped in the belly of the earth surrounded by suffocating cold water. Sanctum is a movie about explorers - cave divers to be exact - who go on an expedition into the deepest and most inaccessible cave system in the world (can't have it any less). The opening if this fictional cave is huge and goes straight down. Base divers jump off the edge and into the darkness below just for kicks. But there's more to this cave that goes deeper into the earth, where a labyrinth of tunnels and caverns awe the imagination and earn the respect of the most experienced explorers!

The story of Sanctum is pretty simple, and the usual group of people who end up forced to make life-saving decisions and sacrifices is used. Of course, some of the members of this group will die with the last few getting into a conflict that brings out the worst (or the best) in them. Usually in such movies, at least one of the characters will opt for self-preservation and abandon the group. But since this post is not about story spoilers, you better just watch the movie.

As a movie about extreme adventure, Sanctum is a must-see movie because it will take you to a place few people get to experience. It can be expected to be visually grand and breathtaking. It's being filmed in 3D is perhaps one good reason in itself to see this film. There's actually a real cave similar to the one shown in Sanctum. It's called the Cave of Swallows (left) and has the world's deepest cave shaft. It's so deep the whole of the Empire State Building can be slid inside easily. It's found in the middle of a rain forest in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. You'd think that the producers of Sanctum would shoot inside this cave, but they wanted it to be easy, so they made cave sets at Warner Roadshow Studios with one making use of Warner's $2.1 water tank.

Sanctum, set in Papua New Guinea, is actually based on a true-to-life story that involved the film's producer and writer Andrew Wight, who was trapped with fourteen other people after the exit to a submerged cave system in the Nullarboor Plain of Australia, collapsed during a storm. A documentary of that event was made and now that drama has become the basis for this feature film, Sanctum. Wight has worked with friend Cameron before in Ghosts of the Abyss.

Watch the trailer of Sanctum here.

Do you have a thing for frogs and giant squid-bots in subterranean caverns? If you do, then this official B.P.R.D. King of Fear # 3 comic book is just right for you! Yes, it's a guaranteed collectors' item. Click here or on the image to order your B.P.R.D. King of Fear #3 comic book.