Directed by Taylor Hackford
Visual Effects Supervisor: Stephanie Powell
Visual Effects Design by Richard Greenberg

Visual Effects Produced by:

Supervisor: Robert Hodgson

Additional POP Film Credits






Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino star in this hellish thriller; a cross between THE FIRM and THE OMEN. Pacino is the antichrist running a New York law firm, and Reeves is, oh, I won't spoil it for you.

Besides the fact that THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE is a silly, overdrawn movie, the movie contains a surprisingly good number of visual effects that range from the subtle to the terrifying.

Among the invisible effects are a series of shots that take place on top of Pacino's building, outside his penthouse. Throughout about seven or eight shots, Pacino and Reeves walk on the the balcony - small walkways surrounded by a thin layer of water, falling of the building's edges. The overhead and side-angle shots of this synthetic phenomenon are quite convincing and cleanly composited, although the shots are rock solid--a moving camera would have further sold the effect. POP Film composited computer generated water to appear, where nothing existed in reality. Shooting at the top of a skyscraper, the walkways were constructed a few feet above the roof.

Pacino leads Reeves to the balcony of his office, to reveal a stunning view and an eerie pool of water that surrounds the walkways. During photography, the actors were asked to stare in awe of... nothing. POP Film created totally believable CG water for the sequence, which featured some dead-on, realistic reflections and highlights. To see more of this sequence, go to POP Film's web site.

An evening discussion between Reeves and a young lady on an outdoor terrace is the scene for over a dozen bluescreen composites, where the actors performed in front of a bluescreen, later to be replaced by the New York skyline. Nearly every shot in this sequence looked a bit odd; normal moviegoers can spot these sequences much easier nowadays. The sequence is much like a similar scene in HEAT, where two characters had an evening discussion out on a terrace. In both cases, the foreground and the extreme background are in perfect focus, which is a phenomenon that simply does not happen with non-effects shots of this nature. Add to this, in THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE, that the edge of the terrace, only a few feet behind the actress, is *out* of focus, while the skyline, supposedly hundreds of feet behind her are in *perfect* focus. This kind of manipulation of the composite leads the viewer's eye into confusion, and therefore the viewer must conclude that the shot is some kind of effect. The tracking of the foreground and background elements during camera moves is quite good, even during subtle, small camera moves.

Many cheesy morphs are utilized in the film, as well, reminding me of sci-fi films of a few years back, each of which used at least four morphing shots. In ADVOCATE, no less than four or five extremely traditional morphs are used. I call them traditional because they seem quite old fashioned. Even the beginning and end of the morphs are jarringly sudden, and do not seemed 'eased' in and out of transformation.

Some wonderful animation occurs as certain human characters quickly show their true colors, as demonic faces take over briefly, only to disappear. The demons are Rick Baker creations, while some fantastic tracking was necessary to blend various pieces of footage together. Two sequences utilize this effect brilliantly; the first scene where Reeves' wife witnesses a demon, and the second where two 'homeless' demons commit a nasty murder. These effects are the best in the film.

The movie concludes with dozens of bluescreen composites and digitally composited fire and pyrotechnic elements. Interestingly, the ghostly statues that come to life behind Pacino were actually actors filmed in front of a bluescreen underwater. This lent to the flowing, graceful, almost hypnotic movement of the statues. For the most part, the overall composites were crisp, especially the fire composites.

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