Friday, May 13, 2011

'Priest' gives hope to 3D conversions and makes vampires scary again


If you are a fan of horror, action and real vampires you need to see Priest this weekend.  Priest is based on the graphic novels by Hyung Min-Woo.  This isn't an adaptation of the stories though.  Priest takes place in the future after the vampires have been defeated.  Humanity is ruled and protected by the church in a walled off city with the belief that the vampires are gone.  After a former niece (Lucy Collins) of a former priest (Paul Bettany) is kidnapped, it appears that the vampires have returned.

This movie was not shot in 3D, but was transferred in to it.  Right off the bat this information makes all of us nervous.  That ended up not being the case for this movie.  Why?  When we were screened footage from the movie, we didn't know it was transferred.  It honestly looked like it was shot in 3D.  That's not us sucking up.  Rabbi Marauder and myself were honestly surprised to learn that it was a conversion.  

Even Paul Bettany was surprised with how well it looked.  He told us, "I was so f***in shocked.  It is so shockingly good.  We have found ourselves in the crazy situation of having the best of both worlds.  We were able to shoot this 2D movie on some of the most beautiful lenses that have ever existed in the 70's - anamorphic lenses - that just look so rich and gorgeous.  And then we go through this really long post conversion, which from my point is a real bummer when someone rings you up and says we're delaying the release of the movie by 8 months.  But I'm so pleased they did and they took the time on the conversion because I thought it looked beautiful."

Paul is right.  When you look at the scenes that cover the desert, it feels like a never ending shot.  You get the idea that this is a desolate land.

We wanted to talk a little bit more about the decision to transfer to 3D instead of shooting it with 3D cameras.  Priest director Scott Charles Stewart said, "We talked about 3D when we were in prep.  We wanted to shoot on film because it was a big landscape movie and we wanted to shoot with anamorphic lenses.  At the time no one had accidentally f***ed up the whole 3D thing, or not so accidentally, by releasing a movie and doing a conversion in 6 weeks."

One of the advantages that Scott had was having Sony on his side with making sure that the 3D conversion looked good.  He brought up the fact that Sony is a consumer electronics company that sells 3D televisions.  They know that people don't want to buy those if there isn't something good to watch on it.  

Don't think that this movie is just all 3D fun and that's it. Priest finally gives movie audiences a frightening vampire that you know could kill someone, not make a tween fall in love with it.  As co-star Cam Gigandet (who plays 'Hicks') put it to us, "Our vampires don't sparkle.  If our vampires were up against any of the Twilight or True Blood ones, they would be taken out (snaps his fingers) like that."  

From the first huge fight between Priest and the vampires - which is fantastic - you know that this movie is taking vampire lore back from the tweens.  Suck it Twilight!  

One of the breakout stars in the movie is Lily Collins, who plays 'Lucy Pace' - the niece of Paul's 'Priest'.  From her opening moment which turned her, as she said, in to the screamer.  We wanted to know if being in a movie like this has turned her in to a fan of comics or graphic novels.  "I was always a fan of fantasy and fairy tale.  So for me being a part of something like this that's part of alternate universe, or another world, is always something I've wanted to do."

There may even be some people out there that recognize Lucy from her days as a news correspondent for Nickelodeon.  She told me that the confidence she learned from meeting and talking to new people really gave her the confidence to become an actress.  She said that she does find that now during interviews she'll find herself asking the interviewer questions out of habit.          

While we're all reacting to what we've seen on the screen, and many only have that as reference to Priest, what does the creator of the graphic novels think of having his characters turned in to a movie?  Min-Woo told me, "At first I was little bit nervous about a different story, different characters, so I was little bit concerned about it.  But now I'm really relieved."  When asked about what he thinks when we looks at the movie poster, he had just one thing to say.  "It's awesome!"

It's about time we start making vampires scary again, and Priest does a great job at that.  

Priest opens in theaters today.  

What say you?

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Jungle Jesse

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