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Face Off: Cosmic Conspiracy

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Face Off Cosmic Conspiracy

A challenge about imperiled aliens brings back some of that old Face Off magic.

The artists meet McKenzie out in a field, where they learn they’re standing in a crop circle. McKenzie says that the CIA and other government agencies “officially” consider crop circles hoaxes, but that some conspiracy theorists think they’re actually distress calls from aliens.

Let’s unpack that for a second here. First of all, it isn’t just government agencies who think crop circles are hoaxes. Scientists think so too, since people have been caught hoaxing them and several hoaxers have come forward to show how it’s done. But let’s imagine you’re an alien who’s in distress, and you need to contact the people of Earth for help. “Well Xarxaz, I’m pretty sure the best way to go about this is to flatten down some grain plants in weird patterns almost impossible for the humans to see and completely impossible for them to interpret.”

All silliness aside, this was a pretty neat idea for a challenge. All the teams did a solid job of incorporating their aliens’ distress into the design. I’d have liked to see some of the actual crop circle patterns incorporated as well.

We got to see some cool process this week, with Tanner and Daran making hand molds in alginate, then mixing materials to create really interesting and unique facial growths on their aliens. Then Michael Westmore came in and gave awesome advice all over the place. The stuff he said genuinely, clearly made all the designs better this week. Hearing Michael Westmore talk about dry brushing, that’s like catnip for me.

We don’t have Alana around anymore for killer one-liners, but instead we have Corinne’s inspirational wisdom: “Stop judging yourself based on what other people are doing.” Truth, Corinne! That is seriously good life advice, and apparently good Face Off advice too, since Corinne ended up winning this week. Her partner wanted to go bigger to match what other teams were doing, but Corinne had faith in the subtle details of their understated alien. The alien needed water, and he looked so cracked and dry. The paint was brilliant. The only flaw was that tattered robe, which looked like a patterned bathrobe from far away.

Graham and Chloe created a stretched out alien affected by warping gravity. The purple and silver paint gave it a classic, retro 50s sci-fi look that I really liked. Tanner and Daran’s alien had massive cheekbones and those odd pink glands. It was a nice slice of weirdness, and could easily have been the top pick. The lights in the hands felt a little gimmicky, and the hands had some prominent seams, though.

Rashaad and Tyler had a fun idea for a glutinous alien called a Toader. With its weird bulbous head, it was distinctive, though the hands sprouting from the chest felt a bit silly. Still, I give them credit for trying something a little wacky. Tess and Daniel created a very clean look for their alien, then afflicted him with fungus growing from his shoulders. I thought giving the alien’s head a mushroom shape was questionable.

Cat and Matt had this idea for a dark-skinned alien living with a dying, enlarging sun. That’s fine, but specifically referring to it as African felt very strange. The initial sculpt had ridiculous Mickey Mouse ears, and while I liked that they thought about biology and heat dissipation, a big frill would have done the trick. At Mr. Westmore’s prodding, they turned the ears into bony spirals with some interesting details. I actually liked that aspect of the design, but the face was basically Swamp Thing (Glen even called out the Swamp Thing nose). There were so many interesting possibilities for painting that face, but it was just a muddy brown mess.

George and Bethany created an alien affected by toxic pollution. While the metal cowl was cool (despite the tear and subsequent revision), the face was a bit plain and not very well executed. They had a cool idea with a respirator to show the alien’s inability to breath the toxic air, but it was a small piece that was taken off right away. Imagine an alien in a big metal mask that obscures the face. You’d basically sculpt a freaky looking robot since the actual alien is never seen. That would have been a cool direction to take this in.

I have to mention McKenzie’s dress for the judging segment. Stunning.

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Posted by on Tuesday, January 21st, 2014. Filed under Dark TV, Headline. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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