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Weekly Update EP:01 Khaya Sithole , MK Election Ruling, ANC Funding, IFP Resurgence & More

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    Adrenaline-charged Ant-Man

    Your imagination will explode with Ant-Man, an imaginative trip with a miniscule superhero and his army of ants as they save the world.

    It's all about the magical Ant-Man suit, which allows master thief Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) to shrink in scale but increase in strength. He must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a robbery that will save the world.

    The film succeeds on all levels, fully suspending disbelief as it plunges the audience relentlessly into an awe-inspiring experience that will blow your mind and take your breath away.

    Ant-Man took me back to two of my greatest films of all time: Fantastic Voyage, a 1966 medical science fiction film about a scientist who is nearly killed in an assassination attempt, and the medical team who shrink to microscopic size and venture into his body to repair damage to his brain; and The Fly (1958), which tells the story of a scientist who mutates into a human fly after one accidentally flew into his transportation machine and switches their DNA. It was followed by two sequels, Return of the Fly and Curse of the Fly. It was remade in 1986 as a film of the same name by director David Cronenberg.

    Adrenaline-charged Ant-Man

    Ant-Man is a shrinking movie

    One of the things that was most important to director Peyton Reed was realising that, at its core, Ant-Man is a shrinking movie.

    "There's a long history of cinematic movies from The Incredible Shrinking Man, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, and just on up," says Reed, "but this had to be 2015's version of a shrinking movie and, by that, it means the bar is very, very high in terms of technology. It's got to look photo-realistic. We have to believe that he's shrinking and part of that is what are the methodologies? How are we going to do this? It used to be that you'd bring in the giant pencil or the giant baseball but we didn't use any of that in the movie."

    Describing the technologies employed on the film, Reed continues: "We used a combination of motion-picture macro photography, still macro photography, motion capture with the actors, motion capture with the stunt people, and then for every set we would build these miniature sets, called macro sets. Because if you're down small with Ant-Man, and he's running across a floor or running through a carpet, I wanted to feel those textures and make it really tactile. So that became the mantra: make it as photo-realistic as possible. Using the technology the way we do, we have the resources to make all those surfaces tactile and real, but we can still move our camera around as much as possible and that's the big technological revelation of the movie that sets it apart from all the other 'shrink' movies."

    Adrenaline-charged Ant-Man

    Ability to control ants

    Peyton Reed thinks that it is interesting when people talk about Ant-Man that they tend to only talk about shrinking down to the size of an ant and stealth technology. But the thing that is less talked about is Ant-Man's ability to control ants.

    "On the face of it, it sounds ridiculous but one of the things that I'm proudest of about the movie is that we show you in grand fashion what can happen with ants," says Reed. "We introduce the audience to different types of ants-Bullet Ants, Crazy Ants, Fire Ants, Carpenter Ants- and each of those ants has their specific skill set and we see how those skills are used to help out in this robbery. It really is one of the fun parts of the movie and when you see the movie, it absolutely answers the question: 'What can you do with ants?' When you see the movie you're going to realise what can be done and that to me is one of the secret strengths of the movie."

    Reed points out that the ants are a crucial part of the movie, but also a very tricky part of the movie.

    "We're asking the audience to accept these ants as real and as characters in the movie but it's not like A Bug's Life, as they're not like happy, goofy ants walking around," says Reed.

    "They're not silly. You have to buy them. Particularly there's a winged Carpenter Ant that Ant-Man flies around on, and a very important part of the comic book Ant-Man and the iconography of Ant-Man is that image of him flying around on an ant. That's tricky territory because you want it to look photo-realistic and real plus there's a bond that forms between Scott Lang and this ant. In fact, Pym is used to categorising these ants by using numbers and Scott feels it necessary to give this ant a name."

    Paul Rudd thinks the film will surprise audiences on several different fronts.

    Not easy to put into a box

    "One of the things I like about this movie is that it's not an easy one to put into a box; it's not a straight up comedy, it's not a straight action movie, but there are plenty of both," says the actor. "The characters are also going through what I think are very relatable and familial struggles. There's poignancy to the story. I think audiences will really connect with the characters in the film. On top of that, there's amazing action in both the physical world and the macro world that people just haven't seen before. It's really exciting, very cool and unique."

    Summing up, director Peyton Reed feels that people are going to have a good time when they watch Marvel's Ant-Man. "They are going to laugh a lot," promises Reed, "and I think it's an exhilarating movie. Obviously, all these heroes have a wish fulfilment aspect to them. There's something very childlike about the idea of shrinking. It's almost like being invisible."

    If you want to win a fabulous Ant-Man cap and T-shirt, tell us who plays the title role and send your answer and contact details with Ant-Man in the subject line to az.oc.oidutsgnitirw@ofni

    For more on the latest film releases, go to www.writingstudio.co.za

    About Daniel Dercksen

    Daniel Dercksen has been a contributor for Lifestyle since 2012. As the driving force behind the successful independent training initiative The Writing Studio and a published film and theatre journalist of 40 years, teaching workshops in creative writing, playwriting and screenwriting throughout South Africa and internationally the past 22 years. Visit www.writingstudio.co.za
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