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The Director Of MONSTER HOUSE And Robert Zemeckis Take Flight With AIRMAN!!

Merrick here...
Robert Zemeckis will produce a Gil Kenan directed adaptation of Eoin Colfe's book AIRMAN (available HERE).
Based on a book by Eoin Colfer, story centers on Connor, a boy who lives on an island off the coast of Ireland, where his father is the king's bodyguard. When the king is murdered, Conor is blamed for the crime and thrown into prison where he passes the solitary months designing a flying machine that he will use to save his family.
...says Variety HERE. The project will be scripted by Ann Peacock (the first NARNIA movie, NIGHTS IN RODANTHE) and will be a motion capture extravaganza a-la Zemeckis' BEOWULF (as well as his forthcoming takes on A CHRISTMAS CAROL and YELLOW SUBMARINE). The AIRMAN movie is gonna cost $150 million - which I hear is actually a little less than some of the other motion capture stuff we've already seen (if the figures I heard were accurately presented). Maybe I'm being incredibly naive, but...if these damn pseudo-cartoons are costing as much as, if not more than, live-action fare...where's the upside to this technology? Am I missing something? This said, I'm an enormous fan of MONSTER HOUSE - which Kenan directed - so more power to him. I never saw CITY OF EMBER, his MH follow-up. Was it OK?

Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 20, 2009, 12:40 p.m. CST


    by ATARI

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 12:42 p.m. CST


    by Amfpsych

    Yeah, I'm a dick

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 12:43 p.m. CST


    by Amfpsych

    I don't like you one bit

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 12:47 p.m. CST


    by catlettuce4

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 12:48 p.m. CST


    by redcode

    City of Ember sucked. It reminded me of Logan's Run in a bad way. It needed to be a lot tighter. Why do a CGI movie that costs $150? Good point. That is way too much considering you could do a live action feature with that much money. Computers, graphics and talent are becoming more plentiful by the day. Why is it so expensive? Voice talent? It's ridiculous!!!

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 1:05 p.m. CST

    Fucking idiots

    by rosncranz

    Seriously 150 million dollar mo-cap film? This technology is idiotic! "You see the point is it look like real people...sort of, I mean it definitely won't look real but it's not going to look like a cartoon. And the best part is it will cost way more than it would to do it those ways!" So damn stupid.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 1:18 p.m. CST

    The director of Monster House and Robert Zemeckis?

    by tonagan

    I've heard of Monster House, but I'm not familiar with this "Robert Zemeckis" movie. has it come out yet?

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 1:19 p.m. CST

    Is Bob's wife still doing Porn?

    by cookylamoo

    She was GOOD at it.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 1:24 p.m. CST

    by Tangent

    I quite enjoyed city of Ember (except for the whole "big creature in the sewers" thing) and Monster House was fantastic. And way to go tonagan. Always love me a good "dangling modifier" joke.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 1:41 p.m. CST

    Cit of Ember was literally just OK

    by awepittance

    pretty forgettable, some really cool moments visually but the world felt kind of phony and bill murray was underused.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 2 p.m. CST

    It's official...

    by drompter

    Robert Zemeckis has given up working with real actors.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 2:01 p.m. CST


    by slone13

    You DO know how motion capture works, right?

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 2:13 p.m. CST


    by Maverick1

    Sounds good to me.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 2:24 p.m. CST

    Motion Capture

    by MediaNerd

    You guys realize that it's an animation device, not a modeling device right? So it has nothing to do with the look of the characters when you whine about dead eyes and uncanny valley appearances. That's all Bob's bad art direction. Mo-cap is in pretty much every film that has a cgi humanoid-ish character...Quit blaming a tool for one guys art style...

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 2:25 p.m. CST

    The CHRISTMAS CAROL trailer before WTWTA...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...but me in a bad mood for ten minutes. Just fucking terrible...and even more offensive on the big screen.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 2:26 p.m. CST

    ...and CITY OF EMBER was unwatchable...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...and I enjoyed the book and was looking forward to it.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 2:35 p.m. CST

    Star Trek Voyager did an episode like that

    by lockesbrokenleg

    Janeway built some flying machine on the holodeck to get away from some aliens.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 2:45 p.m. CST

    Monster House = fawesome

    by HarryCalder

    and fawesome = fucking awesome. But really, Bobby Z., what the hell, man? You want to put time into something as shitty-looking as "A Xmas Carol" and you can't get around to a Roger Rabbit sequel? And this new me a Steamboy-rip-off vibe, though that's probably completely offbase and unfair...

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 2:48 p.m. CST

    $150 Million is granted to a director whose not a

    by ghostcuster

    household name, on an unproven premise, not based on any sort of license. I'm all for original stories, but this just has terrible investment risk written all over it.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 2:57 p.m. CST

    Does Conor live on Craggy Island?

    by Dingbatty

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 3:01 p.m. CST


    by Dingbatty

    The author Eoin Colfer has done pretty well in the wake of "Harry Potter rip-off /cash-in genre" of cutesy urban fantasy for pre-teens. But this'll probably fail like Spiderwick (which was a shame because Holly Black is really cool, and DiTerlizzi is a genius; but it's not really their fault that the filmmakers sucked).

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 3:23 p.m. CST

    Not only could you do it live-action for 150 million,

    by Jardinier

    you could do a *proper* keyframed CG film à la Pixar. And guess what, it would probably look a thousand times better and more believable. Mo-cap as a technique for limited use in live-action films is fine and tends to work very well, but doing entire films this way is retarded, both aesthetically and financially. <br>I'm familiar with the argument that filmmakers like Zemeckis *need* to produce these creepy-looking films so that the generation of filmmakers that comes after them have the technique at their disposal in a functional and affordable manner... I don't buy it. The comparatively primitive SFX of 2001 or STAR WARS *didn't* look shitty back then, and they still don't today (and I was born after STAR WARS came out, so this isn't nostalgia talking).

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 3:26 p.m. CST

    Monster House was mo-cap

    by belasco_house

    and looked good cos the style wasn't trying to look too realistic. It's the pointless Beowulf stuff... oh I've bored myself. You know what I mean. Gives mo-cap a bad name.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 3:27 p.m. CST

    City of Ember was really interesting.

    by Rorschach1

    Great premise. Really good actors for being as young as the two leads were. And it was really well-made. I mean, I don't blame someone for not liking it, because it is essentially a darker children's movie. But I really enjoyed it. I wouldn't call it "just ok" and definitely not "unwatchable". Go into with the right mindset and I think you'll really like it.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 3:33 p.m. CST

    They got hollow eyes...dead a DOLL'S eyes...

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    ...they don't seem to be livin'...

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 3:37 p.m. CST

    Gil Kenan is a cool dude

    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    interviewed him for Monster House and he has an energy around him. A sort of feeling I got this buzz around Kenan. The same one I got around Gondry and Lynch. This guy is gonna break out if he gets the right project.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 3:39 p.m. CST

    MONSTER HOUSE was okay

    by Jardinier

    But it wasn't as good as it's sometimes made to be, compared to similar pictures like THE GOONIES. The story was fun enough and the animation of the non-people was decent, but the main characters still moved weirdly. It wasn't as horrible in that respect as POLAR EXPRESS, but still a bit creepy (and not in a good way).

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 3:39 p.m. CST

    Medianerd: people aren't complaining about art style

    by Flip63Hole

    They're complaining about the fact Zemekis seems to be incapable and unwilling to try to work with humans, to make movies for humans. Until he makes real movies, Zemekis is dead to me (dead eyes and all).

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 3:41 p.m. CST

    The longer I think about that...

    by Jardinier

    What I think I liked most about MONSTER HOUSE was its direction in terms of camera movements, editing, et al. Stuff that, you know, you can do in live action. <br> I haven't seen CITY OF EMBER, though, so I don't know how Kenan fared with real cameras as opposed to virtual ones.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 3:48 p.m. CST

    Mo-Cap=Movies that look like fucking Video games

    by conspiracy

    And bad ones at that.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 4:04 p.m. CST

    The human eye can detect Bullshit....

    by conspiracy

    No matter how visually "stunning", and "real" looking these Mo-Cap/CGI laden films get..the human eye will never accept them as true. Maybe it is the physics, or the fact that for some unknown reason WE can tell something does not physically exist...but for whatever the reason, people do not accept these films readily.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 4:37 p.m. CST

    City of Ember -- What was up with that ending?

    by PoorOLtinTin

    Great Art Direction, Production Design, Story had some great ideas, but it was the ending that deflated the whole thing for me. Without getting too into it, the whole thing was way too easy, and what was up with that hole, they could just see right down? Did it never rain? Nothing EVER fell down there before? It just bugged me so bad it killed the rest.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 4:48 p.m. CST

    City of Ember

    by jazzgalaxy

    I really enjoyed it, if for no other reason than it insisted to be different than most crap put out these days. I do agree that the ending is a little underwhelming, but all told, I thought it looked great and was a lot of fun. Seriously, Kenan could direct Bioshock with ease. Also, I loved Monster House. I'm very interested in whatever Kenan does next. As for A Christmas Carol, I didn't think much of the earlier trailers, but the last one I saw in 3d looked pretty interesting.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 5:15 p.m. CST


    by lockesbrokenleg

    My trained eye could also detect when they used matte paintings and models in older films. What's your point?

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 5:27 p.m. CST

    Hey, remember

    by TommyGavinsEgo

    when Zemeckis used to make MOVIES? <p> <p> Good times.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 5:32 p.m. CST

    Wake me up when Zemeckis works with flesh-actors again.

    by Raymar

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 6:41 p.m. CST

    City of Ember deserved a better run than it got.

    by OutlawsDelejos

    I watched it, thought 'well that was good' and that was it. I probably wouldn't revisit it though. Nice to to know it didn't kill Kenan's career though.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 6:42 p.m. CST

    Embrace the mo-cap

    by slone13

    <p>Cause it's not going anywhere.</p> <p>And it's the only way I'm ever going to get the further adventures of Marty McFly and Doc Brown anyway.</p>

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 6:47 p.m. CST

    Pinocchio was mo-cap

    by Professor Falcon

    Albeit a crude early form of the technology. And it's considered one of Disney's true masterpieces. When it's done right it can look amazing. But you guys should keep bitching about stuff you have no real concept of.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 6:52 p.m. CST

    Glad to see a Colfer film, but Artemis Fowl is his best

    by pipergates

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 7:02 p.m. CST

    More Zemeckis mo-cap crap? Whoooo cares.

    by Orbots Commander

    So, Zemeckis apparently gave up shooting a film with real actors, eh? Ah well. I held out hope after Beowulf and even after this upcoming Christmas Carol disaster in the making, that Z. would return to making real movies again. <p> It looks like he's not going to, ever, so we can all write him off.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 7:09 p.m. CST

    lockesbrokenleg...Models physically exist..

    by conspiracy

    As do the paintings. Something about how light hits them, or the way they film, somehow makes them more acceptable to most viewers. This is best seen in the Star Wars movies. The originals used real sets, paintings and models..the dust on the buildings was real, the light falling on the models was there in fact not a mathmatical calculation of where light and shadow should say nothing of the fact that these props all took up physical space, they were real in that respect, the looked "lived in" not cgi perfect. Watch the Prequels...even the best CGI in those films lacks 'heft'..something is just wrong about them compared to the old school effects or actual sets built on location.</p><p>I do not know one film fan who honestly prefers CGI anything to real physical effects. CGI would be best employed to touch up practical effects...not replace them, and Mo-Cap anything just feels wrong to most people I've talked to. About the only place CGI has a place is those films which could not exist without a Pixar film, or something like Transformers which, for better or worse, could NOT be made any other way.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 7:13 p.m. CST

    Bad taste has nothing to do with mocap

    by Chesterfield Slacks

    It Bob Zombie's obsession with putting his crappy "velvet crying clown painting" taste to bear on decent stories, using technology that basically sterilizes and neuters the original idea, drawing attention to its flaws and novelty. Essentially like rubbing a dirty dick on precious childhood icons. Don't support this nonsense.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 7:38 p.m. CST

    Dude, Conspiracy

    by lockesbrokenleg

    paintings are no different from using computers. I know you hate CG to the core, but you have to admit that without CG we wouldn't have many of today's films - including things like Saving Private Ryan.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 8:32 p.m. CST

    "What's the upside of this technology?"

    by ThusSpakeSpymunk

    There is no upside to motion capture. It's an industry fixing a problem that doesn't exist and doing its best to promote itself as the solver of that problem. They've managed to convince Hollywood (thanks to Pixar) that kids only want bright shiny mocap movies featuring talking and/or singing animals, and Hollywood - the totally creatively bankrupt place it is right now - have taken the bait. This movie could be made live-action for $40m and pull in $60m domestically and $70m worldwide, with another 30-40m on home video. But the thing is - if people realize the emperor's only wearing little motion-capture balls and nothing else, they'll see the balls and realize it's just ... balls.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 8:37 p.m. CST

    The Brain DOES Detect Bullshit

    by ThusSpakeSpymunk

    It's why you'll never see - despite Harry's assertions to the contrary - people revisiting ANY mo-cap movies ... POLAR EXPRESS, BEOWULF, even MONSTER HOUSE. They're creepy. They look WEIRD. And not in the kickass ROCK AND RULE kind of way of weird. Just weird. They're ugly, too. Nasty, crotchety, ugly. They're not pleasant to the eye. This is why AVATAR looks so utterly phony compared to ALIENS. This is why AVATAR aka JAMES CAMERON'S GAYLIENS aka JAMES CAMERON'S LAZER CATS will fail.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 9:41 p.m. CST

    Lockes...I do not Hate CGI...

    by conspiracy

    but it should be used sparingly, only where Practical effects and physical sets are impossible; and I say this as a HUGE computer nerd. My first computer was an Apple IIe, I embraced the computer age probably before many of you were born; hell, my wife has a degree in computer hardware engineering...and everytime we see a completely CGI just strikes us as "fake"; lacking the physical reality of something like the Creatures from the Cantina scene in Star Wars. No matter how unrealistic those things may look to a child raised on HALO cut scenes, the CGI creatures and completely computer generated "sets" in something like the Prequels are even worse. Nope..CGI should be used to enhance the physical...not replace it, in my opinion anyway.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 9:47 p.m. CST


    by MediaNerd

    Yep, no one here ever re-watches the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Matrix tril, King Kong, Star Wars, Mummy Series, Marvel Movies (Spidey, X-Men, Hulk, ect), The Dark Knight, Harry Potter, PotC, Gladiator...add in any late 90s-now movie with a crowd scene...oh and lets not forget how much the kids love their video games... <br><br> Clearly there is no place for this vile technology.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 9:58 p.m. CST

    The Eyes of the Dragon ripoff?

    by PRbuick

    "Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of Delain, King Roland is murdered and his son and heir, Peter, is framed for the crime. Peter and his loyal friends must battle an evil wizard and Peter's usurper brother, Thomas, for the throne. Imprisoned in a tower, Peter conceives an escape plan that will take him years to execute before taking on Flagg, the powerful sorcerer who has masterminded this coup."

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 10:50 p.m. CST

    MoCap is very valid tech

    by Chesterfield Slacks

    for digital stunt work, for making humans do dangerous, or impossible things, to have humans or animals move about in impossible worlds. Not as an excuse to replace all the actors and have them do all the other normal shit that humans do to tell a story...then it's "See! We can do really magical stuff with CG!" not "we can tell a magical story, with a little unobtrusive CG help" Benjamin Button benefited from mocap to tell the story because they couldn't do it otherwise. Taking a subtle, well-loved childrens book and pushing technology over style is just mind-bogglingly selfish.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 11:10 p.m. CST

    Looooooved City of Ember

    by Atomica

    Watch it. If you'e not a douche, you'll likely enjoy it.

  • Oct. 20, 2009, 11:34 p.m. CST

    Jim Carrey is a human cartoon character.

    by Dingbatty

    No reason not to just have him play Scrooge in the flesh, if you want to do a super silly version. Well, there are many reasons why ACC doesn't need yet another entry, but if they must...

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 2:35 a.m. CST

    Did you know the Star Wars prequels had more

    by lockesbrokenleg

    models and on location shots than the OT? Fuck off haters.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 3:56 a.m. CST

    Fuck Robert Zemeckis

    by AsimovLives

    Fuck Robert Zemeckis up his fucking ass.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 4:29 a.m. CST

    Said it before, and I'll say it again

    by Mr Gorilla

    BEOWULF was a cool film. It had a grown-up script. It had great performances. It wasn't paced like many films are - for people with the attention span of a crack baby. It had fantastic music. It was 'about' something - mythmaking, our need for heroes, sins of fathers returning in their sons, temptation, etc. It was, to my mind, the kind of film that isn't made much these days: intelligent entertainment. Zemeckis is maturing as an artist, and no one is noticing. They just want him to re-make Back to the Future - which IS amazingly, brilliantly entertaining. And, I'm sorry, but even the stupidest Zemeckis film (What Lies Beneath) is still quite a rollicking night out at the cinema.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 4:36 a.m. CST

    Oh, on the CG thing...

    by Mr Gorilla

    May I refer the honourable gentlman to a comment I believe Guillermo Del Toro once made, about people who are against CG for the sake of it being idiotic snobs. It's all about how you use it, no? Personally, with BEOWULF, I loved it.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 7:19 a.m. CST

    City Of Ember

    by micturatingbenjamin

    Was pretty damned cool. Monster House was also cool. Nice to see this guy getting more work. He makes complex kid flicks.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 7:38 a.m. CST

    UP cost $175 million.

    by Droid

    Is anyone complaining about that not being live action? Jesus tittyfucking christ you cunts just complain about everything. Motion capture is a form of animation. Get over it. Beowulf was a fucking great flick.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 8:45 a.m. CST

    Gollum, Kong

    by bah

    Is anyone willing to say Peter Jackson's motion capture characters were failures? Putting aside the character, even Jar Jar was convincing. Granted, they weren't human characters, but they were humanoid enough, and Gollum's eyes certainly didn't have that Zemeckis-dead look. I vastly prefer traditional effects over CGI, but mo-cap is not a resounding failure.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 9:59 a.m. CST

    Professor Falcon:

    by Jardinier

    PINOCCHIO wasn't mo-capped. At most, you can say that some of the characters (most notably the Blue Fairy) were *rotoscoped*, but that's not the same thing as slapping tennis balls on some actor's face and letting a computer do a substantial amount of the work for you. Besides, guess what, it's pretty noticeable compared to the rest of the animation (cf. also the Prince in SNOW WHITE, probably Disney's most heavily and most obviously rotoscoped character).

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 10:16 a.m. CST

    Zemeckis needs to have contact with a human again

    by Robots In Das Guys

    And Monster House rocks. Wich probably means I should check out City of Ember...

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 1:32 p.m. CST


    by Chesterfield Slacks

    All the humans in that movie could have been live action in enhanced environments and it would have resonated even more. Can't watch creatures from the 'uncanny valley' knowing how much they cost and how many uncredited artist bust their balls to ultimately get a "meh" reaction. What a fucking waste of money.

  • Oct. 22, 2009, 6:35 a.m. CST

    fuck it, let Zemeckis do what he wants...

    by TheDark0Knight

    I think he is doing some really good work, its not his best work, but it is definitely interesting & he seems to be super passionate about it. He'll direct live action again don't worry. Christ, at least he hasn't been making shit about Titanic for the past 10 years like Cameron did, at least we have actual stories coming from him...why is all of aicn constantly pissed?

  • Oct. 22, 2009, 6:35 a.m. CST

    fuck it, let Zemeckis do what he wants...

    by TheDark0Knight

    I think he is doing some really good work, its not his best work, but it is definitely interesting & he seems to be super passionate about it. He'll direct live action again don't worry. Christ, at least he hasn't been making shit about Titanic for the past 10 years like Cameron did, at least we have actual stories coming from him...why is all of aicn constantly pissed?