SAN FRANCISCO--Disney spent the last couple of decades making mermaids into friendly, lovely creatures bursting with curiosity and love (see "The Little Mermaid" and "Splash"). It took about a year's work from the visual-effects pros at Industrial Light and Magic to return the fair ladies of the sea to their classical, bloodthirsty ways.
To show off the effects studio's work on the billion-dollar-grossing "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" as it arrives on Blu-ray next month, ILM's Ben Snow (visual-effects supervisor) and Aaron McBride (art director) sat down with reporters at George Lucas' Presidio compound here earlier this month to discuss the challenges of creating mermaids beautiful enough to lure Johnny Depp to water and ferocious enough to devour him.
"Classically, mermaids were beautiful but deadly creatures," Snow said. "We were excited to bring them back to that tradition. But the challenge was developing creative concepts that preserved their beauty while making them scary again." … Read more