One thing most superhero movies have going for them is you know how they should look. When Batman, Spider-Man, or Iron Man put on their suits, the world around them doesn’t change. With the Flash though, when Barry Allen puts on his suit and taps into his powers, the world around him does change — at least to Barry — and figuring out what that’s going to look like is one of the challenges of adaptation.
You’ll see that play out in Warner Bros.’ new DC film The Flash, which is in theatres today. We’ll have a ton to say about some of its big spoilers in the coming days, but there’s one minor spoilery thing we wanted to write about first: the visual effects. In the film, director Andy Muschietti has to create a whole new visual language not just for when Barry is running (called the “Speed Force”), but also later in the movie, when he runs so fast he can turn back time (in a place called the “Chrono Bowl”). And anytime the movie is in the Speed Force or Chrono Bowl, any other human being that isn’t Barry looks, let’s say, weird. Almost like the film had to hit a release date and wasn’t able to finish the visual effects. Which sounds bad, but bear with us.
Note: We’re going to talk about a moment in the film’s opening sequence, nothing else, but just to be safe…
The first example, and the one we’re going to focus on here, is in the opening action sequence when Barry (Ezra Miller) runs to Gotham City to help Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) stop a falling building. As that happens, an entire nursery of babies fall out of the window and Barry has to save them all in milliseconds. The effects, as described above, look a bit off — so when Gizmodo spoke to the Muschiettis, director Andy and producer Barbara, about The Flash, we asked if that was the intention.
“No, we used all real babies,” Barbara joked, but then Andy gave us the real answer. “The idea, of course, is…we are in the perspective of the Flash,” he said. “Everything is distorted in terms of lights and textures. We enter this ‘waterworld’ which is basically being in Barry’s POV. It was part of the design so if it looks a little weird to you that was intended.”
And there you have it. If you see The Flash and wonder, “Wait, are those visual effects real? Did they finish that?”, the answer — whether you love it or hate it — is yes, they did. It was done on purpose and was the filmmaker’s intention to make sure what the Flash sees is different from what a normal person would see. Plus, in terms of the opening, it also has the side effect of making the sight of babies falling to their deaths feel slightly less traumatic.
You can read more from the Muschiettis, discussing Man of Steel connections, Grant Gustin’s absence, Michael Keaton’s addition, and the film’s controversies, at those various Gizmodo links. And we’ll have more next week.
Want more Gizmodo news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.
Editor’s Note: Release dates within this article are based in the U.S., but will be updated with local Australian dates as soon as we know more.
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