I recently saw a screening of DreamWorks Animation's new film, Madagascar, and interviewed the production designer Kendall Cronkhite and visual effects supervisor Philippe Gluckman about turning furry animals, lush jungles modeled after Rousseau (with four million leaves deforming in a single frame), oceans and flames into digital images that shape a story and a complex, animated world. "For the water, realism was not so much the goal," Gluckman said, "but exactly to choreograph what the story needed and match it with the visual design from the art department." He described the foam patterns of water, timing of waves and the way splashes behave as "cartoony physics."
Below are links to my video interviews, complete with clips from the movie, which opens on May 27 and features the voices of Chris Rock, Ben Stiller and Jada Pinkett Smith. My brief review: It's a fast-paced comedy that moves from urban spaces to island jungles, with amazing graphics (fur, water, elastic movement and more) that maintain the animated feel but adds a whole other dimension. The story line isn't as strong as Shrek or Pixar's Incredibles, but it's still better than most of what gets put on a big screen.