Face Off: Skull Island: Reign of Kong – Semi-Final Stress (Review)

Face Off had its semi-finale center on a new attraction at Universal Orlando Resort; “Skull Island: Reign of Kong.” With a grand prize of the winner being among the first people to go through the new “ride” and an all expenses paid trip to Orlando, stress was the keyword for all four contestants.

Face Off - Season 10

Face Off had its semi-finale center on a new attraction at Universal Orlando Resort; “Skull Island: Reign of Kong.”  With a grand prize of the winner being among the first people to go through the new “ride” and an all expenses paid trip to Orlando, stress was the keyword for all  four contestants.

The challenge was laid by McKenzie Westmore with help from the executive producer from Universal Creative whose team will bring the giant King Kong to life for the new attraction; Mike West.  After explaining the background to the island and it’s occupants, the contestants moved on to develop their evolved “dinosaurs.”

Each hopeful had issues this week with their creations. Either because it was the finale or because of the immense task in front of them. Mel had to start over (twice), Rob ran out of time, Walter broke his creature’s  wings and Mellisa may have been the only hopeful who did not exhibit any symptoms of stress.

The Orlando  attraction is due to open this summer and West was quite excited about the project and the challenge itself.

Face Off - Season 10
Mel

One day one, Mel started over and suffered from a case of constant “second  guessing.” Rob spent so much time on his creation of scales that he ran out of time for other things on his character.  By the end of day one, Mel had not completed her groundwork. Day two saw  her start over, again.

Face Off - Season 10
Melissa

Melissa was the only contestant who was not unhappy with anything to do with the progress of her creation. Rob  worried that the amount of time spent on scales had left him little time to paint and finish off his creature. He was right.

Walter manages to overcome his annoyance at the broken wing spring and Mel, despite starting over twice, almost managed to stay in the competition.

All of the hopefuls stepped up to the bar and even though Rob did not finish his creation, his prior three wins and the brilliant sculpt work on his character’s scales keeps him in for the finale.

Face Off - Season 10
Rob

The judges had a tough choice this week as all the contestants did well.  All agreed that Melissa’s creation was top-notch, so much so that she won the prize of the Orlando trip.

Before sending Mel home, Glenn Hetrick explained that the quality of her work on the latest challenge made it very difficult to pick who was sent home.

One comic moment was the monster noise made by Walter’s creature. Glenn loved the squeaky roar and declared it his favorite.   After sending Mel home, the remaining three were told a little about the next challenge and a very special guest.

Face Off - Season 10
Walter

Melissa was almost was excited at this week’s Face Off challenge as she was at the last one.  This time, however, she was in the groove and knocked it out the park.  Rob managed to impress the judges enough that despite his not finishing the work, he stayed in the contest and  drew massive praise from the panel.

In reality, all four of the finalist were praised at the quality of their work and it should be interesting to see what will occur in the last episode/challenge of the season.  Each one thus far has stretched the artists and their capabilities.

Face Off - Season 10
Pictured: (l-r) Glenn Hetrick, Ve Neill, Neville Page

The season 10 finale airs next  Wednesday on SyFy.

 

 

Ray Harryhausen (June 29, 1920 – May 7, 2013) RIP

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I remember seeing Jason and the Argonauts on television when I was young. The stop motion monsters and effects scared the bejeezus out of me. Years later when I was older and (I thought) more sophisticated, Clash of the Titans didn’t scare me, but it impressed the hell out of me.

It was after a 13 year-old Ray watched the 1933 film King Kong that he got hooked on stop-motion effects. In his words he was, “stunned and haunted. They looked absolutely lifelike … I wanted to know how it was done.”

He started experimenting with stop motion photography and was even working on a huge project when the release of Fantasia and later the Second World War interrupted his progress. After the war he began doing short films and wound up helping on his first feature film, the King Kong “knock off”  Mighty Joe Young.

Working on such classics as The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, and, of course Jason and the Argonauts just to name a couple, he kept making his short films. He also continued to experiment with stop motion and developed a split screen system called Dynamation.  In 1992 he received the Gordon E Sawyer Academy Award for technical achievement. While not all his films had great casts, budgets or outstanding scripts, his work was always the highlight of the film.

Ray was a multi-talented man who inspired Steven Spielberg and others in the film industry. After he retired he returned to sculpting and traveled the world giving lectures and exhibitions of his work. In 2004 he wrote his autobiography and  last year the documentary Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan was released.

When asked which creation was his favourite Ray said, “Medusa, but don’t tell the others.”

He was a modest and likeable man who will be missed by many. He was also a pioneer in the stop motion industry.

So long Ray, the party won’t be the same without you.

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Raymond Frederick Harryhausen, born 29 June 1920; died 7 May 2013