Aristomenis Tsirbas makes the move from graphic designer and film editor to director with the new 3-D animated "Battle for Terra."
The Canadian says the years he spent working on advertising commercials, television and film projects prepared him for the film's challenges.
"Battle for Terra" is the story of survivors of a destroyed Earth in search of a new planet. Terra could fit their needs, but the current occupants all have to die to make it suitable for humans.
The director answers a few questions about his new film.
Question: The film has a very smart script that deals with topics like ecology and genocide. Were you concerned it would be too much for youngsters?
Answer: When I originally wrote the basic outline 15 years ago, it was meant to be a live-action film for adults. When I got closer to being in a position to make the film, it made more sense to make it animation. I also realized kids have an appetite to see films where there is something to chew on. Kids are smart. Kids are very aware they are inheriting a world that is rather damaged. It is up to them to reverse the damage that our generation has caused.
Does the smart script make the movie more entertaining for the adults who accompany their children to the showings?
It is a risk, because some may mistake this as a film that won't appeal to young people or adults. After screening it in dozens of theaters, the opposite is true. Kids seem to really enjoy the film. Adults also seem to enjoy it because it is not merely a distraction for children. It has a broad appeal.
Why make it in 3-D?
I wanted to make the film in 3-D from day one. At the time of production , there was no way to sell that idea to investors. When we started, 3-D didn't have the acceptance it has now. In 2008, as we were finishing the film, I brought up the idea of 3-D again. Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions were very attracted to the idea. I told them it would only take three months to re-render it.
How did to you get actors like Evan Rachel Wood, Brian Cox and Luke Wilson as voice talents?
I always wanted Brian Cox because he is such a tremendous voice actor. We wanted Evan Rachel Wood because I am a fan of her acting. Also she plays from the heart and we thought she would be appropriate for Mala. To our amazement, Brian Cox was the first person to show interest in the story. He signed on board early. When that happened, a buzz started going around the acting community and other actors started to read the script. We got lucky because the people we really wanted responded positively to the script.
TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at email@example.com or (559) 441-6355.