- Member: jhfong
- Studio: Ingress Productions
- Title: Pikadiator
- Premiered: 2003-04-04
- Gladiator Trailer Theme
AWARD WINNER: Comedy, Sakura Con 2003.
(Reprinted from :)
I honestly wasn't expecting this video to win an award. It was just a silly idea I had, and after working on it for a month I was worried I was spending too much time on it. What I really wanted to focus on for the Sakura Con 2003 AMV contest was my Key the Metal Idol drama video, "All Is Full of Geist", which ended up not being screened at the contest. But as before, I was overwhelmed by the great response the audience gave this video, and I'd like to thank everyone who voted for it.
After finishing the video, I was also concerned that I was treating this concept too seriously. Maybe that's just because after I've spent such a long time living with the concept of Pikachu talking like Russell Crowe, it doesn't seem like such a novelty to me anymore. Beyond that, I wanted this video to point out the inherent absurdity of the Pokemon universe: here people are living in a world filled with strange creatures possessing fantastic powers, and their entire culture involves pitting them against each other in combat? This reminds me of something composer Hans Zimmer said in an interview on the Gladiator DVD about the piece of music featured on this trailer. Unusually for action music, it's written in waltz tempo, 3/4 time. Zimmer said he did this to express that while Roman civilization was elegant and sophisticated, it was nevertheless based on slavery and violence. But since I didn't watch the DVD until after I'd finished this video and submitted it to the con, I didn't know this at the time I was working on it.
The original version of the video, which was the one screened at the contest, used sound from the QuickTime trailer (available at ) that I downloaded from the official Gladiator website when I first got the idea to do this video a couple of years ago. Its sound was compressed with the QDesign Music codec, which introduced audio artifacts that I wasn't satisfied with. I'd put in a request for the Gladiator DVD at my public library, but I wasn't able to get it before the contest deadline. The file I'm making available to download uses audio from the trailer on the DVD that I digitized later. However, the QuickTime trailer was very useful to me as a template on which I could build all the cuts I needed to make in the video. The first thing I did was open the trailer in Premiere, place it in an overlay channel, and chop it up into individual shots, with the caveat that they couldn't be completely frame-accurate because the trailer was 24 fps and I was making the video in 29.97 fps. Then, when I digitized my footage, I used the boundaries of each shot to trim my clips, and when I had each shot positioned, I deleted the corresponding segment of the original trailer. It practically edited itself.
Almost every shot in the video corresponds to a shot in the trailer -- whenever there's a shot of the cheering crowd at the gladiatorial games, I replaced it with a shot of the crowd at the Pokemon tournament. All the shots of the Colosseum were replaced with the Pokemon arena and, of course, the heavily Romanesque Viridian City Gym. The biggest deviation from the structure of the original trailer comes between 0:46 and 0:49, in the lines "Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife." To represent the son and the wife, I spliced in shots of the Pichu shocking themselves with their own electrical attack and Puka, the blue-eyed surfing Pikachu, passing out after her owner rescues it from drowning. (I suppose it's the closest thing to a female Pikachu we've seen in the show.) The tricky parts of assembling this video, as with all movie trailer videos, involved matching up the sound effects and lipsynching. It's hard to lipsynch Pikachu because it's only got three mouth positions, and in retrospect perhaps I should have tried drawing some extra mouth positions to represent "s" sounds and so forth. I'm not that happy with "And I will have my vengeance" at 0:51, for instance, but it doesn't even help to refer back to the original video since Russell Crowe doesn't move his lips much when delivering that line.
For this and most of Maximus' other lines, I wanted to find as many instances as possible of Pikachu looking angry, which isn't that easy. Of course, the concept of this video goes against Pikachu's character -- that's why it's a parody. I used a lot of footage of Pikachu's clone from the first movie and Mewtwo Returns, the latter being the source of the clips for the "Father to a murdered son" speech. The shot of Pikachu turning and glaring after the "The gladiator..." title at 0:30 (which matches a similar action by Russell Crowe in the trailer) comes from the Orange Islands episode where Pikachu is being influenced by Butch and Cassidy's mind control device. The "They said you were a giant..." line at 0:58 uses a shot of the giant theme-park animatronic Pikachu looming over Jesse and James from the "Island of the Giant Pokemon" episode.
I made all the text overlays from scratch in Adobe Illustrator, and I animated the slow zooms in After Effects. I was able to use exactly the same font used in the original trailer, CG Omega Bold scaled down by about 90% horizontally, and so almost all the title cards are reproduced exactly as they were in the original. "Created by Satoshi Tajiri" replaces the original title "From director Ridley Scott", and the "Pika pi pikachu pika pika!" title at the end of the video replaces "May 5 2000 A.D." The "Pikadiator" title was created in Photoshop with Flaming Pear Software's Super BladePro plugin .