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Former 3-D hobbyist captains "Monsters vs. Aliens"

By March 25, 2009Newswires

Former 3-D hobbyist captains "Monsters vs. Aliens"

By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Phil McNally is such a 3-D buff he legally adopted the middle name Captain 3D, before his former hobby became a job making movies such as "Monsters vs. Aliens" jump to life in three dimensions.

When the animated 3-D movie opens on Friday it will feature voice work from Hollywood stars Reese Witherspoon, Kiefer Sutherland and Seth Rogen, but its real star is McNally and a behind-the-scenes team of animators.

The native of Northern Ireland studied furniture design in London, but instead became an animator and eventually landed a job at DreamWorks Animation SKG, where his longtime interest in 3-D became more than just a hobby.

As the studio`s "stereoscopic supervisor," McNally supplements a fancy title with an absent-minded focus. He often has more than one pair of 3-D glasses atop his head.

"One pair tends to just keep my hair out of the way now and I`ve got another pair, and they can start stacking up if I forget," McNally said.

In "Monsters vs. Aliens," McNally and the animators used 3-D animation to bring to life an epic battle.

Susan Murphy (Witherspoon) is a bride-to-be transformed into a giant named Ginormica, who brings to mind the title character in 1958 movie "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman."

A reluctant hero, she teams up with the other monsters lead by a U.S. army general (Sutherland) to take on space invader Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson) before he destroys the world.

The film is reminiscent of 1950s monster and alien movies. Rogen`s character B.O.B. is a brainless mass of goo, like the title character in 1958 movie "The Blob."

It was also in the 1950s that Hollywood had its "Golden Era" of 3-D movies and produced films like the 1953 "It Came From Outer Space" using the technology.

McNally said the latest string of 3-D movies since the 2004 "Polar Express" has produced fewer films, but been more sustained than the shortlived 3-D boom of 1952-1953.

McNally is a member in the 116-year-old Stereoscopic Society of the United Kingdom, an organization that revolves around the long history of 3-D photography.

"For me it`s always been one of these serious hobbies which is out on the fringe somewhere, and I`d dig out the slide projector when friends were over," McNally said.

"So it`s been so long that it`s something I`ve done as a side issue it`s still a real surprise to me that it`s here right now in the mainstream," he said.

By the end of the year, more than a dozen 3-D movies from Hollywood studios will have played in theaters, and McNally will keep a bespectacled eye on all of them.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

The original story can be found here: … s_monsters

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