The Great Wolverine Workprint Internet Leak (and Other Tales of Horror)

I had a look at the Wolverine workprint that found it way onto the internet (passed on from a friend of a friend who knows a guy who once dated a girls who’s brother etc etc – I would never myself download any movies…)
Anyway, as I was saying, I had a look at it.
It’s an early cut with lots of pre-vis CGI and probably edited before the recent reshoots, but on the whole I must say I’m pretty damned excited. Yes about the movie but more so about what it could mean for the industry and film fans.
I don’t believe it should be seen as a threat to the movie industry and serve as a watermark incident in Hollywood’s fight against internet pirates, although if the movie does anything less than fucking brilliantly at the box office I’m sure the knee-jerk reaction of the industry execs will be just that: blame piracy again and clamp down on sub-contractors and employees, all the while crying about the holes in their pockets and the mass-market thievery by internet thugs who fund terrorism and eat babies.
So far (and true to form) Twentieth century Fox’s response has been to claim it is an old rough cut without FX, music etc (fair) and that it “may contain an April Fool’s Virus”.
Awesome, well done; like that tactic has worked so well for you to date.
Seeing this version gives an incredible glimpse into the moviemaking process, particularly at how complex a ‘simple’ scene can be, with its many layers of composited videos and all the work that will ultimately go into colour-correcting them, masking them and then applying FX to convincingly blend it into the scenes we take for granted in the cinema. It’s exciting to see. It certainly makes we want to check out the final release to compare and see how they polished it, cleaned up the editing, smoothed out the narrative and so on.
And I’m not the only one: according to a great article over at newteevee.com, the torrent forums are full of fans eager to see the final cut. After all, the FX, explosions and blood-n-guts are what they want to see, not Hugh Jackman dangling from a wire.
My sincere hope is that the movie does very well, mainly because Mr Jackman has put in a lot of effort and (to my knowledge) is it’s producer so he has a lot riding on it. If it does, the industry would do well to consider the prospect of the opportunities represented by this incident: include the fans in the testing process – allow them to see early scenes (perhaps not the whole movie next time, we want some surprises) and study the responses.
In this case, if this had happened earlier, they could have learned much from the public’s reception of the movie and adapted it accordingly. For example, I think the use of some of the staple characters of the X-Men universe is shoddy in places: not wanting to make the mistakes of the first X-Men and use few characters and waste time on exposition, they’ve chosen to somewhat clumsily throw in many new faces/old favourites all the way through the movie, not really giving us the opportunity to really warm to any of their sociopathic niceties. If much of the response from the forums and fan-sites were to say the same, the film-makers would be foolish not to reconsider some of the characters or the way they’re edited.
Of course, all this is unlikely to happen. As it is, many of the articles written about the incident are what you would expect: Chicken Little responses bleating about further proof of the death of an industry. For example, have a look at CrunchGear‘s John Biggs, who believes “we are witnessing the rise of media terrorism”
What a fucking arsehat*!
It’s nothing nearly that sinister; it certainly wasn’t a deliberate and mutli-pronged attack on a people and their way of life by an opposing group holding mutually exclusive beliefs. In all likelihood, it was some sub-contractor working the nightshift at an FX house pissed off that his hours or pay have been reduced due to the recession and who happened to be working on Wolverine at the time; if it had been the Duchess we would be writing about Kiera Knightly and the scary sight of her flat chest without CGI cleavage. Or not.
Anyway, here’s hoping the movie does well enough at the box-office, until the DVD/Blu Ray is released and pirated all over again. And that they include the workprint-cut on the DVD extras so we can revisit the entire behind-the-scenes joy again and again.

See and download the full gallery on posterous

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