Sci- fi feature 'War of the Worlds Goliath', a multi country collaboration

By AMRITA VALECHA | 28 January, 2010 - 15:26

Kuala Lumpur-based Tripod Entertainment, in association with Malaysia's Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), has collaborated with Los Angeles-based Epoch Ink Animation and Seoul-based Sun Min Image Pictures to co-produce 'War of the Worlds: Goliath', a 95-min 2D/3D animated feature film. Scripted by seasoned writer David Abramowitz and executive produced by the owner/publisher of "Heavy Metal" magazine, Kevin Eastman, the film is slated for mid-2010 worldwide Blu-Ray/DVD release and theatrical release in selected markets.

Talking to Animation Xpress Asia Pacific about how the collaboration between all the companies happened, Leon Tan, Executive Director of Tripod Ent. and the movie's producer, shared, "I first met Joe Pearson of Epoch Ink Animation at Tokyo International Film Festival in November 2006. He shared with me his treatment for "War of the Worlds: A.R.E.S." (as it was called then) and we decided to become partners. I roped in my other business partner, Micheal Bloemendal from Imaginex Studios and we created a joint-venture company with Joe called Tripod Entertainment, incorporated in Malaysia. We got the interest of the Malaysian Government, including the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), who recognized Tripod as one of the first equal partnerships between Malaysian and US parties in the animation field. They provided the funding and support for the production of "War of the Worlds: Goliath'."

"With funding in place, we then set up our key production team. Kevin Eastman and David Abramowitz came on board on the US side. Studio Climb, Imaginex Studios and BaseCamp Films joined up from the Malaysian side. Joe Pearson also brought in his long-time Korean collaborators, Sun Min Image Pictures, headed by Sang Young-Hwan, to handle the key animation. The production crew renamed 'War of the Worlds: A.R.E.S.' to 'War of the Worlds: Goliath', and revised and expanded the story and characters."

'War of the Worlds: Goliath' is targeted at the age group of 15 years and above and is a sci-fi action/adventure movie, in the 'steampunk' genre with a visual look that is a mix of Japanese anime and Western animation styles.

This story assumes that the events in HG Wells' original novel, "The War of the Worlds" actually took place. In HG Wells' book, the Martians invaded the Earth in 1899 but succumbed to Earth's bacteria. 'War of the Worlds: Goliath' opens 15 years later, in 1914, in New York City. Humanity has rebuilt its societies after the 1899 Martian invasion, integrating discarded Martian technologies into their cities, infrastructure, communications, transport, and military. A small international army, A.R.E.S., watches the sky, concerned that the Martians would eventually come back to finish what they have begun. When the First World War breaks out, the Martians take the opportunity to invade Earth again, more aggressive than before. Against this backdrop, the movie focuses on the adventures of the crew of the A.R.E.S. battle tripod Goliath as they form Earth's only defense against the Martian invaders.

Studio Climb did the key vehicle, prop and background designs for the movie while Sun Min Image Pictures is handling all the animation production for 'War of the Worlds: Goliath', including all 2D and 3D animation, from "layout to camera". Imaginex Studios is the creative audio house responsible for voice cast direction in Los Angeles and Kuala Lumpur, music scoring by its composer Luka Kuncevic, and the movie's sound design. BaseCamp heads the post-production and visual effects for the movie.

Leon added, "David suggested bringing the Highlander (a popular sci fi television series from the late 90's) actors together as a sort of "reunion", and this was well-received by Highlander fans and sci-fi fans worldwide when they heard of the news. Adrian Paul, Peter Wingfield, Elizabeth Gracen and Jim Byrnes all took key roles in 'War of the Worlds: Goliath'. Peter Wingfield plays our main lead, Eric Wells, the captain of the A.R.E.S. battle tripod Goliath. Elizabeth Gracen plays his second-in-command, Jennifer Carter, Adrian Paul is the handsome Irish chief engineer of the Goliath, Patrick O'Brien. And Jim Byrnes plays the Secretary of War, Teddy Roosevelt himself!"