Zemeckis, Robert

Tagged: Film | People

(1952-    ) US filmmaker whose early career as director and screenwriter was nurtured by Steven Spielberg through a series of flops until the success of Romancing the Stone (1984) enabled him to make his pet Time Travel project Back to the Future (1985). Besides that film's back-to-back sequels, his other major sf credit as director is Contact (1997), which won a Hugo for best dramatic presentation. He produced Mars Needs Moms (2011) and {REAL STEEL} (2011), and has also been active in Fantasy and horror. Zemeckis has been a strong promoter of new special-effects technologies, often building his narratives ingeniously around them: Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) dealing with the social as well as technical integration of animation and live action, and the multiple Oscar-winner Forrest Gump (1994) weaving a fictional narrative into American history using digitally manipulated archive footage. Beginning with The Polar Express (2004), Zemeckis championed the nascent technologies of performance capture and, latterly, 3D in a series of lavish and technically adventurous digital animations hampered by unsettlingly dead eyes and straining for expressiveness. From 2007 a studio, ImageMovers Digital, was funded by Disney until the arrangement was terminated in 2011 following the failure of Mars Needs Moms; ImageMovers' production facility was closed, its development slate with Disney cancelled, and the studio moved to a less generous relationship with Universal. Zemeckis's willingness to test the limits of emerging film-making technologies has yielded increasingly uneven results, but he was a major filmmaker for a decade and remains a significant innovator and risk-taker in the industry. [NL]


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