Mad God: What happens when the best practical VFX artist, ever, writes a film?

A teaser for Mad God.

By now, anyone who would agree to the label of “film fan” knows the legendary Phil Tippett. Perhaps the greatest visual effects artist of the last 50 years (if not ever), Tippett brought to life the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park and the creatures of Star Wars while also enriching many, many stellar visual feasts like RoboCop, Willow, and Starship Troopers. Heck, Starship Troopers producer Jon Davison has famously said he did that film for one reason: “I wanted to do a movie with Phil Tippett. I wanted to do a giant bug movie with Phil Tippett.”

Despite his lengthy, award-riddled career, one filmmaking feat had eluded Tippett until this year—being the writer/director of a feature film. Tippett has finally crossed that goal off the list, too, with the arrival of Mad God on the festival scene (including its North American premiere at Fantasia Fest last month).

Tippett has apparently had the visions and ideas behind Mad God for three decades. But this passion project perennially remained on the back burner as he took on all those highly, highly successful commercial projects. This creative struggle has been chronicled somewhat in two documentaries, the career-retrospective Phil Tippet—Mad Dreams and Monsters and the Mad God behind-the-scenes project Worse Than the Demon (which his daughter Maya directed for her undergrad thesis). Recently, the VFX legend told The Observer he started working on Mad God after RoboCop 2, which means this dates back to 1990. (About three minutes of work on 35 mm from then made it to 2021).

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