Mark's homemade 'special effects'
Pearl Harbour in 60 seconds?
Local film-maker Mark Wong has made it to the final five in Empire's 'Done In 60 Seconds' competition. Find out how he recreated Hollywood blockbuster Pearl Harbour in just one minute...
As the movie tagline says... 'It takes a moment to change history. It takes love to change lives... And it takes one man's ingenuity to make Pearl Harbour in 60 seconds!'
Mark and May as Danny and Evelyn
Mark Wong, from Cherry Hinton near Cambridge, has reached the ultimate pinnacle for any amateur film-maker, with his version of Pearl Harbour being shortlisted for Empire's 'Done In 60 Seconds' competition.
The competition challenges budding film-makers to create a 60 second version of their favourite movie, and this is the second year running that Mark has been one of the five finalists. Last year, he made 'Speed in 60 Seconds' using the local Cambridge bus service!
An aeroplane attacks Pearl Harbour
This year's tongue-in-cheek film was made on a shoestring budget using homemade props, and very much played for laughs. Mark explains why he chose to recreate Pearl Harbour:
"It's a really long movie but it doesn't have that complex a storyline. When you go to see it, what you're really waiting for is the attack on Pearl Harbour, you don't need to see the whole two hours of love story building up beforehand, or the whole hour of 'America strikes back' afterwards. So I set myself a real challenge to make a three hour film in 60 seconds."
In the full-length film there is a spectacular 40-minute action scene where the Japanese blow up Pearl Harbour. So how did Mark recreate the explosive special effects of the Hollywood blockbuster?
Mark's model ships get 'blown up'
"I built a miniature 'effects' tank in my garden, which was essentially some pond liner filled with water! I then got a series of model war ships which I packed full of fire crackers and that's the effects you see in the film. We've got boats blowing up, planes flying in and attacking, guns blazing! Lots of it is just sound effects and when you put it in slow motion it looks wonderful!"
Mark also built a full-scale replica of the cockpit of a World War II P40 War Hawk plane, the only thing missing was the control panel on the inside!
Mark in his full-scale model cockpit
Mark plays the character 'Danny', his two friends Bob and May were 'Rafe' and 'Evelyn' and his brother played the Japanese kamikaze pilot. The four-man crew also filmed some footage at Duxford next to a real P40 from Pearl Harbour, which delighted aviation enthusiast Mark: "It was great to have this genuine link with what we were filming and it gave us a bit of detail - if no one else notices at least I do!"
If Mark wins this year, he'll get to go to the Empire Awards ceremony in London and hob-nob with stars from the British and international film world. The winner also receives a computer with editing software, but Mark says the main reward would be the approval of his peers: "To have this crazy hobby of mine, which I've had since a child, actually recognised in some way would be a wonderful stamp on all the silly little films that I've made since I was a teenager."
Let's hope he doesn't lose this year's battle for top spot... as Mark's character Danny says in the film "It isn't training over there, it's war, where losers die and there aren't any winners, just guys who turn into broken-down wrecks."
To view Mark's film visit the Empire Online website:
last updated: 11/03/2009 at 12:02
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