Paramount was kind enough to extend an invitation to GeneralsJoes to attend an exclusive press event that was taking place a couple of weeks ago (the same time we broke the news about the Resolute 7-Packs…the only downside? It was in Los Angeles, and with me being staged in New England…well, there were some obvious logistical difficulties. But GeneralsJoes’ influence extends everywhere :shifty: and a few hours later, I had an LA representative by the name of Mysterious Stranger who was cool enough to not only attend the event, but take some great pictures, and write up the whole shebang. I can’t thank him enough for taking some time out of his busy schedule to allow GeneralsJoes to bring some of this information to the G.I. Joe fandom. Click the “Read the Rest of This Entry” link below for the full report with images and all!
“Standing in front of you are Delta-6 Accelerator Suits.”
“What’s it accelerate?”
A couple of weeks ago I attended a press event put on by Paramount Home Video in anticipation of the DVD and Blu-ray releases of Star Trek, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Representatives from Hasbro’s Transformers and G.I. Joe teams were in attendance to discuss the history of the brands and how they evolved to where they are today. Some interesting factoids were mentioned specifically that G.I. Joe is the second best selling action figure line (behind Star Wars) and that 85% of men 18-35 years old now played with G.I. Joe. Some very telling information to be sure.
Also on hand were representatives from EA Games and Activision, each showing off the G.I. Joe and Transformers games respectively. The interesting difference between the two is that the G.I. Joe game is essentially the same across all platforms (with the DS being the only different one) while the Transformers game is a different experience on each system. The G.I. Joe game was designed with accessibility in mind and the designers wanted fathers and sons to experience the game together. From the game play I witnessed it’s a fairly straightforward arcade style “run and gun” and with the different difficulty levels offered it should be fun for everyone.
We were also treated to presentations by members of the ILM special effects teams for Star Trek and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen before a brief lunch break. After lunch is when we reached the highlight of the day for me – a visit to Legacy FX. Legacy FX, formerly Stan Winston Studios, is responsible for bringing to life creations from the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park to the suits worn by Robert Downey Jr. in the Iron Man films and they lent their expertise to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra by contributing two key pieces of technology to the film – the Mole Pods and the infamous Delta-6 Accelerator Suits.
Without a doubt one of the most controversial subjects before the G.I. Joe movie came out was the “accelerator suit scene”. Featured heavily in the marketing the accelerator suits were only a small part of the film but their prominence in the trailers had some fans worried that this Joe would be too different from their Joe. However what ended up on screen was an adrenaline infused action sequence that was not only exciting but also a crucial turning point in the film.
The Delta-6 Accelerator Suits were designed and built at the Legacy FX shop in the San Fernando Valley. From digital designs the artisans at Legacy built a total of 6 suits, 1 for each actor, 1 for each of their stuntmen and 1 backup for each. The first suit was designed and built around actor Marlon Wayans body scan as he was cast earlier than Channing Tatum and Tatum’s suit was then retrofitted to fit his stockier build. Total construction time from initial design to finished product was about 4 months and testing of the suits was done while the production was filming at Downey Studios in Los Angeles. This allowed the designers to make changes and adjustments before the trip to Prague for filming of the Accelerator Suit sequence. Weighing it at about 45 pounds, the suits are made of rubber body suits with the approximately 30 hard plastic parts clipped on making it easy to change them out should they need it. The actors slipped into the body suits and were fastened in by lacing up the back, a process that took about 15 to 20 minutes. The suits were designed to allow as much movement as possible and the design team applied the knowledge and experience they gained while building the Iron Man suits to make the Delta-6 suits more active and flexible.
Used primarily for “bookend shots”, those at the beginning and end of the action sequences, the suits were not without their problems. While filming in Prague the designers encountered a situation they hadn’t anticipated. The colder climate combined with the actors breath caused the insides of the helmet visors to fog up with condensation. A fix was devised and by installing small vents and fans that helped reduce the amount of condensation but there were still some moments when the physical visors were removed for close-ups and replaced in post with digital visors. The suits weapons were a combination of digital and practical effects. The guns, built by the films prop department and integrated into the suits actually rotated on the actors wrists and were activated by squeezing a trigger in the palm of the glove. The fired rounds and blasts were added digitally in post production.
The Accelerator Suit sequence was filmed on the streets of Prague and the production had to move quickly and efficiently as they moved from location to location. To make moving the suits as easy as possible the designers brought cases on casters to hold all of the many, many spare parts needed in case of any accidents on set and rolled the cases down the streets for each set up.
One thing collectors have commented on is the difference in color of the action figure versions of the Accelerator Suits, Ripcords is a lighter color than Dukes. This isn’t a variation on Hasbro’s part but in fact based on the coloring of the actual suits themselves, albeit in reverse. Ripcords filmed suit is actually a darker charcoal gray where Dukes is more of a gunmetal steel color. The difference is slight and on screen they appear almost identical. But having seen them up close and personal I can assure you they are in fact different colors.
Overall the entire day was a fun experience and a great little look behind the scenes of a film 25+ years in the making. I have to thank Justin for giving me this opportunity as well as Hasbro, ILM, Legacy FX and Paramount for making this a truly once in a lifetime experience.
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