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Face Off — Two Heads Are Better Than One

Posted by Ed Grabianowski on February 13, 2013

Face Off 405, Two Heads Are Better Than One

On Face Off, the contestants create multi-headed giants out of foam and paint to promote a movie that’s so packed with CGI it looks like a cartoon.

Everyone heads off to the Magic Mountain theme park (promotion!) where they run around, have fun, then run into McKenzie near a giant fake redwood tree. Bryan Singer shows up. He’s not my favorite director, but he’s a pretty big name, so I wonder how they roped him into this…oh, he’s got a movie coming out with giants in it. I guess guesting on Face Off is a lot more fun than talking to Jay Leno. So the contestants have to make giants, and they have to have more than one head.

Since we have an even number of contestants left, it’s a team competition, with everyone paired off at random. Anthony gets stuck with Autumn, and the success or failure of their design seems less like it will depend on actual sculpting and painting skills, and more on Anthony’s Autumn-management skills. “I have to make her think she has more control than she actually does,” he says. Mild-mannered Anthony is quite the Machiavellian!

Meagan gets stuck with Jenna, who still has hand problems. I’ve already addressed this before, so I’ll just say, rough week for Meagan, but what can you do? They have problems all along, and very few of them seem directly related to Jenna’s hand. There just seems to be a general ineptitude throughout the process. The design was somewhat boring (stacked heads is kind of cool, if not totally original), and they didn’t really run their molds correctly or build the top head so that it would be able to stay in place on top of the model.

It was very nice that the producers subbed in some giant-size models this week. Some of the teams didn’t really increase the size of their models at all, yet they still came across as giants. Michael Westmore’s mentoring visit was exceptional as always. He offers solid, practical advice, but he isn’t afraid to express skepticism at a design. He was very worried that Fox and Chris would be unable to finish their massively ambitious design.

And what a design! I loved it from the start, that they were swinging for the fences with a crazy design featuring the model as a tiny guy being held in place by a two-headed giant. The two foam heads towered above the model, and the whole thing was ten feet tall. While the finished product was not as polished as some of the other work this week, and the costuming was clearly hurried and rough, that thing just made me grin every time it was on screen. I can’t believe they pulled it off, and deservedly won top looks.

House and Wayne did a giant based on a tree, with the second head acting as a puppet controlled by the model. It was very cool, with a realistic paint job so skillfull you didn’t even notice it at first. It just looked natural, not like a “paint job” at all. The puppet head also worked very well and didn’t have the “sock puppet” vibe that’s been a problem on Face Off before.

The malformed giant that Autumn and Anthony ended up creating was interesting. Not great from far away, partly due to a somewhat bland costume, but up close, it was the most emotive giant. The main head looked a bit sad, and reminded me of Young Frankenstein. The demonic head poking out the back was awesome, and the head bursting out of the chest looked like it was in agony. Anthony’s wet eyes and mouth paint job looked very realistic and creepy.

I was skeptical of Alam and Eric’s idea at first – a giant that stuck other giant’s heads on his feet. They were going for a slightly cartoonish, folklore inspired look, and I think they captured it. Even though the main face sculpt was a little primitive, I ended up liking this design quite a bit. The atypical blue paint scheme helped, too. The judges hated it, though, and stuck it in bottom looks.

In the end, Meagan and Jenna turned in a total mess. I’m not going to pile on (although, missing one boot and one glove was hilarious and a perfect symbol of how inept this team was). The judges were clearly trying to be somewhat kind to Jenna. But Jenna was also feeling terrible about holding back her teammates each week, and Glenn pointed out that she hasn’t shown any signs of getting better (either from her injury or in terms of raw ability and technique). It was a painful send-off, but one that needed to happen.

We’re still at the point in the season where there are contestants on the show who simply aren’t very good at this stuff. People who make terrible (or just boring) design choices, people who don’t have the experience to create successful molds and apply pieces, and poor sculptors. Face Off really shines when everyone’s been paired down until you’ve got the best facing off against the best. So we need a few more eliminations before things really get good.