SKY BLUE -
Directed by: Moon Sang Kim
Screenplay by: Moon Sang Kim, Jun Young Park, Sunmin Park
Opening Date: February 18, 2005
What if a movie is stylistically the same as anime, but
wasn’t made in Japan? What would it be called then? (Besides
Titan AE?) What if it was made in another Asian
country instead? Would it be anime then?
Anyway, that’s probably what people would be debating
with the U.S. release of the 2003 Korean flick Wonderful Days,
which would get a limited release as Sky Blue.
Reviews have it that it provides some sumptuous eye
candy, but is lacking in the plot department – which makes it an all-new
complaint when it comes to anime, doesn’t it (note the sarcasm)? Or is it
anime in the first place?
Plot Summary for
Sky Blue (2005):
Would you know the color “sky blue” if you had never seen the sky in
SKY BLUE is a love story set against the forces of destruction, a
dystopian vision of Earth’s destiny, yet ultimately a reminder of our hope
for the future.
In the year 2140, mankind's reckless exploitation of the environment has
sparked a planet-wide catastrophe that has shielded the sun from view and
all but ended human civilization on earth. Only a small number of elites
possessing power and technology have been able to thrive, building a
magnificent, organic city named ECOBAN. Ecoban the city grows by itself
like a living plant, utilizing its Delos System to transform carbon
compounds into useable energy. JAY is a 19-year-old female trooper of
Ecoban who guards the city against the incursions of outsiders.
Thousands of refugees have come to Ecoban seeking asylum, but the elites
have barred their entry to the city and forced them to settle in the
surrounding Wasteland. The refugees have become Ecoban’s workers, known as
the “Diggers,” and are forced to mine the Wasteland for the carbonite
needed to feed Ecoban.
On patrol in the Wasteland one day, Jay witnesses a gigantic industrial
accident orchestrated by Ecoban's corrupt leaders against the refugees.
Upon seeing this act of cruelty, Jay’s loyalty is put to the test. When
she then encounters her childhood sweetheart SHUA leading a rebellion
against Ecoban, Jay must make the ultimate choice – whether to live for
duty, or very possibly die for love.
Shua goes to warn a group of Digger freedom fighters that his incursion
into Ecoban may lead to retaliatory strikes by Ecoban. Despite Shua’s
warnings, the rebels put their plan into action -- but it turns out to be
a deadly trap that leads the Ecoban troops to the headquarters of the
resistance. Later that night, Jay flees Ecoban to be with Shua.
Joining forces in rebellion, Jay and Shua risk their own chance at
happiness for the chance that the clouds may clear, and the people of
Earth might see the blue sky for the first time in their lives.
about Sky Blue:
• Origins in Korea
Although the production originated in Korea, it was always the intention
of the filmmakers to create two distinct versions of the film – one for
the Korean market and one English-language version for international
audiences. SKY BLUE is the English-language version of the Korean title
“Wonderful Days” by director Moon Sang Kim. In SKY BLUE, the original
version has been re-voiced and re-edited, and additional sound and music
scoring has been added. SKY BLUE received its North American premiere at
the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, and has since traveled to numerous
Festivals around the globe including Venice, London, Tokyo, Rio, Seattle,
San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Currently, both versions are available to
screen to all audiences in all countries.
• Storyboard & Design
The storyboard was meticulously worked for several years prior to
principal production commenced in 2001 order to ensure an accurate intent
of the director’s vision. The finished storyboard was then put together
into an animatic to smooth out and perfect points of continuity. After
having decided on character designs each scene was worked on extensively
to find what background and props would fit best. Every nuance in word
pronunciation and angle had to be in conjunction with mouth shape and
movement. Design plans for every background and prop Design is not an art,
but a science.
• Image board
The atmosphere, lighting and color of a particular spot was captured using
the storyboard and the background design as a basis. How are shadows in
the morning and at night different? What feelings do a wall splashed with
water and a building immersed in fog convey? These are the questions that
were addressed in this stage.
• Miniature Production
No matter how many detailed layers an animation uses there is always the
natural two dimensional barriers that filmed miniatures allow by giving a
new sense of depth and substance that is impossible to achieve with 2D
alone. Over thirty of Korea’s top miniature and model artists were
recruited to work for ten months.
• Preparing to film the miniatures
The staff’s crew when making the miniatures was only the tip of the
iceberg compared to the preparation stages of the actual filming. Because
the whole purpose behind using miniatures was to create a realistic sense
of depth and space, it was important to construct life-like airflow and
light during filming.
The concept of the movie was to combine 2D and 3D animation along with
miniatures and live action. To capture the miniature sequences on film,
the animators used The Sony HDW-F900, a cutting-edge digital camera still
in its prototype stages which was used in the making of “Star Wars:
Episode 2” by Lucas Films. There are only seven models in the world. After
making the proper arrangements, the lighting director and cinematographer
conducted a week’s worth of test in the U.S. The proper lens for filming
miniatures needed to have a narrow aperture and be able to focus on near
objects and further background elements at the same time. To achieve this
the production employed a Frazier Lens developed by Panavision. The
Frazier Lens, which had been used on “Star Wars: Episode 2” and was
credited for a Technical Achievement Oscar, was used on the film for the
only second time ever. However a significant obstacle in the filming of
“Star Wars: Episode 2” also greeted the production team -- the Motion
The team needed both a motion controller that could accurately manipulate
the lens and the camera itself. In order to combine different layers, the
same scene had to be filmed layer by layer, repeatedly, without error.
This was beyond human ability. Milo, a highly advanced motion controller
robot, was brought up for the task. However Milo’s fingers could not
withstand the weight of the camera. In the end, the staff removed Milo’s
digits and reinstalled the computer. The next pressing issue was that one
person could not simultaneously operate both the Frazier Lens and the
camera’s motion controller. Milo and the Frazier operating system ran
under different software, and their motors were also different, making it
impossible for the two to exchange signals. To solve this problem,
Panavision sent a technician to create a special board that Milo and the
Frazier could communicate through.
A series of experiments were conducted to study the effects of different
lighting on the colors of the final image. At Panavision studios in Los
Angeles, staff members filmed various objects under different lights and
at different exposures. This was compiled on an HD tape and sent to
headquarters in Korea, where the animators made sure the colors came out
the way they wished. Still unsure, the tape was tested again at Imagica in
Japan to fine-tune the camera settings.
Watch the first 8 minutes of Sky Blue and also
watch the trailer: