Monday, June 20, 2011
Did Falling Skies Skitters Escape from Super 8 Movie?
I watched the premiere of the new TNT series Falling Skies last night and enjoyed it. The characters drive the storyline more than its aliens and special effects, and that's always a good thing. So far, thumbs up! (Visit the microsite.)
Nevertheless, I could not help but notice the Super 8 clone running around in Falling Skies. "Skitters," as the TNT series characters call one class of aliens in the story, look a lot like a scaled-down version of the giant alien in the latest J.J. Abrams movie, Super 8. The human characters are currently battling these insect-like skitters and also "mechs," giant metal robots. The dialogue last night, however, foreshadowed that the aliens ultimately invading Earth may be humanoid.
Steven Spielberg is connected to both Falling Skies and Super 8 as a producer; so, is the resemblance of the two creatures a coincidence or did the series and the movie use the same special effects house?
The houses are not the same. MastersFX, Todd Masters, CEO, co-designed the Skitter creature featured in Falling Skies "working with Steven Spielberg’s designers and the CG house Zoic," according to SciFiAndTVTalk. However Neville Page, also the man behind the Cloverfield creature, designed the alien for Super 8, and it seems Abrams wooed him to the project.
I'm not saying these two gifted special effects artists copied each other because really, when it comes to creature design, the movie industry seems to be running out of ideas. There seems to be a rise in a ET-meets-Alien-meets-Starship Troopers hybrid. But as far as these two productions go, it's possible the person connected to both had some influence. Does Spielberg have a soft spot in his heart for multi-legged aliens? Only his creature creators know for sure.