Former 3-D hobbyist captains "Monsters vs. Aliens"

Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:11pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Phil McNally is such a 3-D buff he legally adopted the middle name Captain 3D, before his former hobby became a job making movies such as "Monsters vs. Aliens" jump to life in three dimensions.

When the animated 3-D movie opens on Friday it will feature voice work from Hollywood stars Reese Witherspoon, Kiefer Sutherland and Seth Rogen, but its real star is McNally and a behind-the-scenes team of animators.

The native of Northern Ireland studied furniture design in London, but instead became an animator and eventually landed a job at DreamWorks Animation SKG, where his longtime interest in 3-D became more than just a hobby.

As the studio's "stereoscopic supervisor," McNally supplements a fancy title with an absent-minded focus. He often has more than one pair of 3-D glasses atop his head.

"One pair tends to just keep my hair out of the way now and I've got another pair, and they can start stacking up if I forget," McNally said.

In "Monsters vs. Aliens," McNally and the animators used 3-D animation to bring to life an epic battle.

Susan Murphy (Witherspoon) is a bride-to-be transformed into a giant named Ginormica, who brings to mind the title character in 1958 movie "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman."

A reluctant hero, she teams up with the other monsters lead by a U.S. army general (Sutherland) to take on space invader Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson) before he destroys the world.   Continued...

<p>Stereoscopic supervisor Phil McNally is shown in this publicity photo released by Paramount Pictures to Reuters March 25, 2009. REUTERS/Lucian Capellaro/Paramount Pictures/Handout</p>