The 3rd and final volume of Guardians of the Galaxy takes us through Rocket’s tear-jerking origin story and finishes off the trilogy in a crescendo of visual effects.
Wētā FX’s work on the film includes building the city on Counter Earth – based on Seattle and adding some unexpected elements inspired by other US cities.
The enormous ruby glass pyramid that unexpectedly breaks off and ascends from the surface turns out to be the Arête – the space ship of the High Evolutionary – measuring an astonishing 3.5 kilometres across.
It’s so large, Wētā applied city-builder techniques to procedurally generate the layout and dressing for the 62 square kilometres of surface area of the Arête.
The subsequent destruction of the civilization on Counter Earth features explosions, lava and multicoloured smoke, collapsing buildings, and flooding and devastation.
We simulated concrete, glass, metal, plastic, cables, earth and grass all simultaneously interacting with each other to fracture, bend, tear and snap. Using multiple layers of detailed destruction was key to achieving a realistic look.
The Layout team provided guides for the placement of fires which our FX crew procedurally utilized to source fuel for the pyro simulations.
The Abilisk Pit sequence shows Mantis, Drax and Nebula separated from the others and locked in a huge cargo hold with the enormous and (initially) quite terrifying creatures.
Wētā led the third act and were primarily responsible for the outer space shots in the big final battle – this included space environments filled with stars and nebula that were designed to draw the eye and drive the narrative.
The biblical proportions of Peter Quill’s narrow escape from the crumbling Arête amidst fireballs, embers and smoke required many layers of FX simulations to execute in a way that was realistic, but suitably dramatic.
The final battle also features a “oner” shot from the battle onboard the Arête, which comprises18 separate plates shot at 120 frames per second, digitally stitched together by our team, showcasing the heroes dishing out pain in typical fashion. The sequence is two-and-a-half minutes long and was proposed and developed in close collaboration with the director.