The Man in the High Castle Visual Effects Will Make You Question Reality

Winter time is binge time. The f-word and I are in #BingeMode. We powered through USA Network’s Mr. Robot after watching the show’s cast and crew collect accolade after accolade at the Critic’s Choice Awards and Golden Globes. Watching that turned us on to another USA show Colony featuring former Lost cast member Josh Holloway. I haven’t been this into USA shows since Silk Stalkings and Up All Night (when I was 11 or 12).

Anyway, we decided to take a crack at Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle upon seeing a 77% rating on Metacritic, 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, and 8.2 out of 10 on IMDb. And, it didn’t disappoint. Early in the series, we often wondered how the Nazis would be able to co-exist with the Japanese (SPOILER ALERT: Duh). But, the inquiry that was a very close second was, How was this show able to capture what America would be be like in a 1960s alternate reality in which Nazi and Japanese culture / propganda would be so pervasive? We had a feeling the placement of swastikas would absolutely have to be visual effects, but we really didn’t know the extent of post-production and effects work done.

From the description on Dailymotion:

“Amazon Studios’ “The Man in the High Castle” take places in an alternate history, set in a post-WWII world where the Axis powers ended up victorious. To create the look of a United States run by Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany, FX studio Psyop was tasked with creating difficult visual effects and environment work. Find out how they did it.”

One word after watching the above video from Wired: Wow. Right? We figured the swastikas had to be digitally inserted, but even the alternate reality cars with designs that would’ve been influenced by the Germans and Japanese engineering had they won World War II had to be created and edited in. Crazy. Even crazier, Amazon and their ad agency / agencies thinking they could actually place Nazi Germany and Imperial Japanese symbols in NYC subways.

Tough to market a show with such sensitive subject matter, but the reviews and word-of-mouth have delivered enough of an audience for Amazon to renew for Season 2. Anyone who’s seen the Season 1 finale has been fiending for more. Thus, to abate the addiction, we must discuss…

Here are my top 5 thoughts to those who’ve watched:

  1. Joe is the worst, I can’t sympathize with him at all and I don’t want him to end up with Juliana. My guess is we peel back way more layers of his personality onion in Season 2 to makes us relate… at all…somehow…ever.
  2. How are Frank and Juliana a couple? It seems like an arranged relationship.
  3. Ed, Frank’s buddy at the factory, is way way too nice to NOT be a plant or a spy. DJ Qualls, the actor who plays Ed, has come a long way since having sex… WITH A GIRL… in “Road Trip”.
  4. Is there anything more conflicting than seeing John Smith, a Nazi leader and family man, have to protect his ill son from being euthanized because of Nazi philosophy on the sick and also avoid an assassination attempt on his life by a fellow Nazi leader who actually WANTS to see Adolf Hitler dead? Like… there’s no rooting for ANYONE. Rufus Sewell, the actor who plays John Smith, deserves recognition. He’s got a familiar bad guy face, but you might recognize him from “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”.
  5. Another actor who was near perfect was Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, who plays Nobusuke Tagomi. The Season 1 finale had me thinking this dude’s either dreaming or has superpowers like time-jumping. Like some Bishop from X-Men type ‘ish.

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