Back in 2011, Fox announced that Tim Miller would be directing the Deadpool movie. My reaction is probably the same reaction as many other folks…..
Who the hell is Tim Miller?
Well now that Deadpool is a surprise hit, smashing box offices and defying fan expectations, let’s find out who the hell Tim Miller is.
Tim Miller is the co-founder of Blur Studios a visual effects, animation and design company he co-started with David Stinnett and Cat Chapman. The company has been around since 1995, collecting a TON work and being a being a pretty prominent company in terms of CGI. It’s impressive the amount of stuff they’ve done and Tim has directed a good deal of them. But, even knowing all that I’m not gonna lie, I was skeptical. Tim Miller was a first time feature film director and so I wasn’t sure if he was a capable storyteller. So while I’ve seen some of the really awesome title sequences he’s been involved in (like the AMAZING opening credits he did for the 2011 adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.) I haven’t watched anything of his to prove to me that he was a capable storyteller.
Or so I thought.
When I was looking him up I realized I have in fact seen a ton of his work….they just so happen to be these cinematic trailers for video games that he did with Blur Studios. I didn’t know he directed these. I simply didn’t do the research and to be fair, they don’t really put a lot of effort into letting the credits for these out in the open.
First lets look at the one that supposedly was the short video that got Miller the Deadpool job…..the DC Universe Online trailer.
Let me be clear, I’m not really into the SUPER darkening of the DC universe characters, so seeing a blood thirsty Superman just isn’t my jam. That being said, I had to admit that I watched this a lot when the trailer came out. These fights were excellently staged. It was a great balance of inventive super powered fisticuffs mixed with some well done hand to hand fights. So yeah, as an action set piece it’s pretty damn good.
This isn’t the only time Tim Miller has used Batman….
Again, damn impressive fight scene. I remember loving the Batman VS Deathstroke fight, and wishing that the Dark Knight moved like that in the movies. (and judging from the trailers for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, it seems like he is.)
Now this is all well and good but part of me is actually glad I didn’t know that Miller directed these. It honestly would have only added fuel to my skepticism. Yes, Miller could directed action really well but 1.) these are ANIMATED action scenes. Could he pull it off in live action as well? 2.) these don’t really tell me much about his skills at character and storytelling. I still would have been unsure of Miller as a director…unless you told be before hand that he also directed THIS…
That is one rocking piece of work. Yes, his skills at directing action is still represented (that lightsaber fight is incredible), but I remember being really impressed with how he set up the characters. It helped that the writing was solid, and with that solid writing Miller was able to convey all the information of the characters and the set up. He also showcased a real understanding of what makes Star Wars work in terms of pacing while still making it feel modern and not a throw back. It’s easy for me to say that this is was better than the prequels because that is such an easy pot shot…but seriously…..this is better than the prequels.
It’s kinda fun for me to look back on Millers work in these AFTER watching Deadpool because I can see what elements of his visual style he was able to translate from to his move into live action. In Deadpool he combined CGI and live stunt for the title character in the appropriate times. It’s mostly a guy on set as Deadpool in the fight scenes, except when it’s the super exaggerated moments in the film. I’ll be fair to say that his live action fight scenes aren’t QUIET up the level as his animated ones, but I got a feeling he’s only going to improve even more when he makes his next film. And that’s not a knock on the fights IN Deadpool, because they are REALLY good. But it’s Tim Millers ability to understand (and control) the tone in Deadpool that makes that movie work. He gets characters really well, and for a movie as strangely structured as Deadpool, to make sure the characters are still engaging in such a weird film is a real skill.
Hell, here’s Tim Miller in this video as he pitches what he wants to do with the film BEFORE they finally greenlit it.
The key thing to learn from this video? He barely talks about what he’s gonna do visually. He’s more concerned about character, tone and story. Here I was worried that Fox hired a dude who’s gonna be all flash and no substance…and instead I find out that he’s got a knack for the substance too.
Deadpool is a flick that gets better the more I see it and that’s a huge part in thanks to Tim Millers work as a director. To quote a newly Academy Award winning actor…AHEM…MR. Tim Miller….