Captain America: The Winter Soldier Goes Blu

As good as Captain America was, The Winter Soldier is even better, thanks to the conspiracy thriller component added by the Russo brothers, and the Blu-ray/DVD set from Disney looks and sounds stellar. It’s a wildly fun and exciting mash-up.

Everything is amp’d up, from Cap’s confusion to SHIELD’s implosion to Robert Redford marvelously playing against type to the charm of Anthony Mackie’s introduction as Falcon.

But then the Russos (Anthony and Joe) have always been attracted to incongruity. After all, their Arrested Development series was a cross between absurd comedy and reality TV. “The vitality of the Marvel franchise is dependent on pushing it in new areas and finding something fresh to bring to audiences and surprise them,” Anthony reflects. “We knew that we were going to do that with this movie by putting it in the political drama and perhaps by doing it in a more grounded, real world version of what a superhero movie can be.

“That first scene was about transitioning to this [mash-up] before getting into the heavy stakes of the movie and the darker tone that it becomes. And we have a freedom in that opening scene that slips away as the movie progresses in terms of being light. And bringing Falcon into the world, he’s a kindred spirit and Cap is in need of new relationships, having lost everything, and his contact with SHIELD is confusing and unreliable.”

The big coup of Winter Soldier, of course, was snagging Redford to play Alexander Pierce, the ruthless senior SHIELD official and member of the World Security Council. It’s a far cry from All the President’s Men or Three Days of the Condor, which was very appealing to the Cleveland-based Russos. They even took inspiration from Henry Fonda’s iconoclastic turn in Once Upon a Time in the West.

Meanwhile, there’s a next-gen Helicarrier and it’s the biggest model in the history of ILM. The Helicarrier is a complete rebuild from The Avengers, which took quite a beating, more than 1,400 feet long and fully weaponized like a high-tech pirate ship with a dozen next-gen Phalinx guns. Plus they replaced the turbine engines with the Stark Repulsor engines . The story goes that Tony Stark was tired of taking a beating and offered his tech assistance.


“It’s got the big guns on the deck, the super weapon, and the underbelly surveillance hub, where the Cap and Winter Soldier fight takes place,” explains ILM visual effects supervisor Russell Earl. “The Russo brothers wanted everything to be grounded in a reality even if it was technology that we don’t necessarily have. And that included the guns on deck, which are more World War II than sci-fi. We did 90% modern and 10% World War II.”

ILM used  Katana lighting and this was first project using V-Ray for Katana for the helicarriers. Maya and ILM’s Zeno package were used for camera blocking and rough layout. They also used 3ds Max Vray for environments. The proprietary Flip solver Plume package were used for water shots effects sim. Destruction shots were done with thinking particles in 3ds Max. Proof supplied the previs, providing a progression of where they are in space and the damage inflicted.

Bonus features include:

Audio Commentary: The directors and screenwriters Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely discuss the influence of the ’70s conspiracy thriller along with their shooting style and VFX and Cap’s unique place in the Marvel universe.

On the Front Line: An Inside Look at Captain America’s Battlegrounds: Marvel’s Kevin Feige, the Russos and key members of the cast and crew go deeper into the production.

On Set with Anthony Mackie: Cut the Check!: A fun look at Machie’s involvement.

Deleted and Extended Scenes: “Hill and Sitwell Talk Loyalty,” “In Pursuit of Captain America,” “Nick Fury’s Circle,” and “Widow Reveals Her Past” with optional commentary from the Russo brothers.

Steve Rogers’ Notebook : An explanation of Cap’s notebook and how the items on his list are different in various international versions of the film.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Blu-ray, Clips, Movies, previs, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production

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