The number one cable movie of 2009. 11.4 Million viewers. Five hundred "stunning" visual effects shots. Pretty impressive!
Shot in Puerto Rico, this acclaimed Disney Channel event feature is based on the characters of the hit "Wizards of Waverly Place" television series, now in production on its third season. The show follows the adventures of Alex Russo (Selena Gomez) and her brothers Justin (David Henrie) and Max (Jake T. Austin) as young teenage wizards growing up in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of NYC. There is a lot of VFX magic happening on the show, and the new movie takes that to a whole new level.
The story follows the family on a trip down memory lane to the tropical vacation paradise where their parents first met. In a fit of rage, the reluctant Alex wishes that her parents had never met. The wish is granted and they are thrust into an alternate dimension. The kids find they have only a few hours to fix the problem or they will cease to exist. They take an exotic journey through the island’s remote rainforest in search of the "Stone of Dreams", a mystical wizard relic capable or reversing the accidental spell.
"The interesting thing about this movie from a visual effects perspective was the large variety of shots and sequences. This allowed us to build a diverse global artist team to execute all the necessary elements", says VFX Supervisor Dan Schmit, who was present for much of the filming in San Juan early this spring. As with most television films the post turn-around was very short. "This made some of the bigger more work-intensive 3D scenes like the Jungle Chasm and NYC Subway sequences, a major challenge", Schmit add, "but we still delivered an incredible VFX package on time and on budget."
Engine Room has collaborated on over 25 original Disney Channel Movies and numerous DC television series over the last eight years, but the Wizards Movie was the by far the biggest and most ambitious project yet. Based on its success, there is speculation about a sequel. Having given the show’s viewers an incredible visual effects feast with the first film, who knows where the Russo family’s next adventure will take us?