In the 2017 theatrical version of Justice LeagueThe mother boxes were never allowed to be much more than the space objects that Steppenwolf had collected for ultimate power or whatever. However, like everything in Zack Snyder’s version of the film, the boxes are given an expanded role. With the extra screen time, Snyder and the rest of the filmmakers wanted to make the boxes themselves something like characters, and that’s where sound design came in.
In an interview for HBO Max’s Director’s Cut Release, Justice LeagueCo-sound designers Scott Hecker and Chuck Michael, who worked on both versions of the film, tell Polygon that the team’s goal was to give the boxes their own personality. They don’t speak words, but they do speak
“It’s an organic computer like the one described in the film at some point,” says Michael. “So we have to work from both sides. There’s a lot of synth and stuff like that […] But there are also some vocal elements that we also processed to try to make it feel more organic […] And it changes based on what it is doing and what it is feeling. “
Part of the Mother Boxes personality was creating a consistent set of sounds that meant certain things. Everything from waking up the boxes to moving them to “winding up” the boxes when Steppenwolf got closer had to have a distinct sound that meant certain things. Finally, the team transformed these noises into a functional language that Hecker calls “boxology”.
“We had to create some kind of language for this thing and what it would sound like in different situations,” explains Hecker. “And after Chuck talked about it and worked together, he really took it another hundred feet in the cool. He was our greatest boxologist in this endeavor. “
According to Michael, he approached the boxes themselves almost like a more traditional performance.
“I see everything in the sound as a performance, be it a car or a door or a person, an animal or a creature. So when we go for what performance and what they do, we change our sound to suit that, and [for the Mother Boxes] We used organic and synthetic materials for this, ”says Michael.
Both Hecker and Michael state that the hardest part of getting the Mother Boxes right was their persistence. From scene to scene every four hours Zack Snyder’s Justice LeagueYou had to make sure that every single little noise the mother boxes made was coherent.
“You can’t throw anything completely different into it,” says Michael. “Everything has to fit on the same palette of sounds. It all has to be the same language. “
In fact, Hecker hopes that after just a few scenes, the audience will perceive the moods of the boxes in different situations and be able to foresee how they will behave.
“We really wanted to [them] to have [their] own personality and being as predictable as a person’s personality. “