After trumping Hollywood’s ParaNorman, Madagascar 3 and Tinker Bell: Secret of the Wings to win the Best 3D Animated Feature at the Los Angeles 3D Film Festival, WAR OF THE WORLDS: GOLIATH (WOTWG) is set to be released nationwide in Malaysia on the 15th of next month.
Produced by the Tripod Group based in Kuala Lumpur and Los Angeles, the film is Malaysia’s first ever science-fiction animated movie in digital stereoscopic 3D. A press conference was held at GSC Signature The Gardens last Tuesday and a 5-minute sneak peek of the film was screened in 3D for the media and invited guests. The main producer, Tripod Group CEO & co-founder, Leon Tan, was present that morning along with the key members of the company and the crew & investors of the film.
WOTWG, directed by Joe Pearson, is a spin off sequel of the 1898 novel “The War of the Worlds” by H. G. Wells. It’s an 85-minute animated
steampunk story of war, comradeship and courage under fire.
The story takes place in an alternate-reality New York in 1914, fifteen years after a failed Martian invasion.
At the eve of World War I, the Martians stage a second attack, stronger and
more powerful than before, to complete what they had begun.
But this time, they meet a very different Earth. This time, the humans fight back. Enter the adventures of the young multinational crew of the Earth battle
Tripod “Goliath”, in the crucible of combat against the Martians.
Prior to receiving the award in Los Angeles last month, WOTWG was premiered at the San Diego Comic Con in July which created a social media sensation worldwide. Tripod was then invited to screen their movie at Cameron Pace Group, Avatar director James Cameron’s 3D facility in Burbank California.
“WOTWG has Malaysian DNA all over it. Our top local talents were involved on the film’s story, concept art, storyboards, background design, production coordination, 2D ink & paint, voice acting, music, sound design & effects, voice casting & direction, final mix, editing, post-production, colour grading, final output and stereoscopic 3D,” said Tan during his presentation after the trailer was shown. The local trailer is a little cheesy and less intriguing compared to the international one that indicates that there are violent and sex scenes. “The film may have a PG rating here with very little or no cuts,” said Tan during the Q&A session with the media.
Why ‘Goliath’, the name of a villain in the bible? “We just thought it’s ironic. We know its biblical meaning but since we’ve already put a lot twist in story so why not the name as well,” responded Tan to the question by one of the invited press. “Also, it sounded a lot better than ‘War of the Worlds: David’,” added Gavin Yap, who was responsible for voice casting, direction & the voice for the character Dmitri the Helmsman.
WOTWG will also feature the first ever Malaysian 3D animated sci-fi hero, Raja Iskandar Shah, a Bugis prince from the then-British colony of Malaya. The character is voiced by veteran TV and stage actor, Tony Eusoff, who was also present at the press conference. “Shah is the only Malaysian character in the story so we wouldn’t want to take any chances with it,” said Yap with Tan adding, “Shah is an intriguing character that no one (in the US) has ever seen before and there wasn’t any controversy at all (about the character, a Malaysian, being the hero and scenes of him praying, etc). You’ll even get to see him use a Kris during the pivotal parts of the film.”
The only well known name on the list of voice actors is Adam Baldwin, who appeared in a number of American movies and TV series. “It’s actually not a bad thing when animation does not have a cast of superstars. Viewers won’t be pre-occupied worrying about whose voice is whose when watching the film,” responded Yap on the matter.
War of the Worlds: Goliath‘s target audience in Malaysia are children aged 10 and above that enjoys action adventure animations whereas the international release targets teenagers aged 15 to 20. “You should watch this if you’re a sci-fi fan, a war movie fan or just an animation fan. This kind of animated films are rare these days,” said Yap.
I’m a huge fan of The War of the Worlds because of its thrilling alien invasion plot that I, as a commoner, can relate to if I was in that horrifying situation. WOTWG, however, is a totally different thing. It’s a science fiction action cartoon more than anything else. Personally, I wasn’t really impressed by the 5-minute sneak preview shown. The style of the character design and the cheesy dialogues are pretty much like the typical American cartoons we see on TV. Yes, it features other nations in the battle against the visitors instead of the usual United-States-saves-the-world rubbish, but by just watching the trailer and reading the synopsis, we can already predict how the story’s likely gonna be. It gives me the feeling that it’s the kind of production that had focused on creating cool visuals more than a good plot and script. But let’s give it the benefit of the doubt. I shall post a review once I’ve seen it. (UPDATE: Click here to read my review!)