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Old 09-01-2005, 13:43   #1
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Top Ten Special Effects

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/4158961.stm

Good to see some of the pioneers at the top.
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Old 09-01-2005, 14:02   #2
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I would discount all CGI which I regard as having more to do with cartoons than proper special effects using models. So Gollum, the Matrix, Spidey and T2 can say bye-bye.

I would mention 2001's spaceships and everything by the god-like Ray Harryhausen - especially his iron collossus Talos from Jason and the Argonauts.
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Old 09-01-2005, 14:20   #3
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I'm not sure how, in any way shape or form, Star Wars' opening shot outdoes anything in 2001: if they're going to wax ILM they could have at least picked the second Death Star attack from RotJ. That still holds the record for most elements optically printed.

How about some Melies? Or Phil Tippet's go-motion in Dragonslayer? Or Pal's The Time Machine and War of the Worlds? Or Bottin's amazing make-up for Darkness in Legend?
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Old 09-01-2005, 15:45   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anephric
I'm not sure how, in any way shape or form, Star Wars' opening shot outdoes anything in 2001: if they're going to wax ILM they could have at least picked the second Death Star attack from RotJ. That still holds the record for most elements optically printed.

How about some Melies? Or Phil Tippet's go-motion in Dragonslayer? Or Pal's The Time Machine and War of the Worlds? Or Bottin's amazing make-up for Darkness in Legend?
Technically the Star Wars opening maybe may not be the most ground breaking special affects, but hey that what happens when you allow people to vote

I would have said 2001, but there you go.
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Old 09-01-2005, 15:54   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Thirnis
I would discount all CGI which I regard as having more to do with cartoons than proper special effects using models. So Gollum, the Matrix, Spidey and T2 can say bye-bye.
You talk as if the Matrix is entirely CGI. A lot of the Matrix SFX are indeed done with models, traditional set explosions, stunt men and all that jazz. The Wachowskis wanted it that way because they felt it looked more realistic.

As for bullet time, which is what the entry in the top 10 is for, this was something that was actually achieved by placing loads of still image cameras around the shot and then playing the images back in sequence as if they were film. It was groundbreaking and fully deserves its place.

Last edited by Squirrel God; 09-01-2005 at 16:00.
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Old 09-01-2005, 16:06   #6
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'Timeslice' wasn't invented for The Matrix, was it? I thought it had been used in wildlife docs and the like previously...
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Old 09-01-2005, 16:20   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anephric
'Timeslice' wasn't invented for The Matrix, was it? I thought it had been used in wildlife docs and the like previously...
Timeslice uses one camera that moves around a rig doesn't it?

They couldn't get one camera to move around fast enough or smoothly enough for the bullet time shots (presumably because of the amount of movement involved in the objects of focus) so they placed lots of cameras in a circle and timed them to go off near simultaneously.

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Old 09-01-2005, 16:30   #8
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Give me Mr Harryhausen's wonderfully wobbly monsters over that video game tosh everyday of the week.If I see one more film that features 'bullet-time' I will not be held responsible for my actions and I will hunt down every computer nerd who presses buttons in the name of CGI.
The space ship appearing from out of knowhere in Star Wars was an incredible cinematic experience, it just went on forever and ever and left me in a state of total awe as a youngster, ok it's been ripped off in every sci-fi movie ever since but I do think it rightly deserves that number one spot.
Wouldn't complain too much if King Kong had beaten it tho.
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Old 09-01-2005, 16:41   #9
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glad to see the work of Mr Bottin is in there ...
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Old 09-01-2005, 16:52   #10
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Oh and surely Rick Bakers werewolf transformation FX from An American Werewolf in London should've been in the top ten over say Spidey 2 at the very least.
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Old 09-01-2005, 16:55   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cure
Oh and surely Rick Bakers werewolf transformation FX from An American Werewolf in London should've been in the top ten over say Spidey 2 at the very least.
And it still stands up to the test of time.
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Old 09-01-2005, 17:26   #12
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I still say Mr. Bottin's most sublime work is in Legend...
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Old 09-01-2005, 19:34   #13
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Should be the King at the top but it's nice to see that not everyone has succumbed to the dubious allure of CGI.
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Old 09-01-2005, 19:40   #14
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Moonraker, anyone? I'm serious!
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Old 09-01-2005, 19:54   #15
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Isn't it astonishing that Willis O'Brien's special effects are still so damned thrilling after 70 years, and probably even more astonishing, and very, very pleasing, that King Kong is still held so high in public esteem?

Sadly, I won't be around to vote, but seven decades hence, I wonder if, say, The Matrix would even figure anywhere in the public consciousness, never mind a magazine poll...
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Old 09-01-2005, 20:05   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panavision
Moonraker, anyone? I'm serious!
Another vote for Moonraker! Bearing in mind a) no-one had seen a real shuttle launch at the time and b) the technology available in the 70s, the effects are pretty damn good.

And The Spy Who Loved Me! That oil tanker could be the real thing (apart from when it splits in two, obviously...).

Derek Meddings' work may have been variable (Land That Time Forgot... Mmm.) but at his best he was brilliant.

But Harryhausen's Argonauts skeletons are my fave of all time.
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Old 09-01-2005, 20:14   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aardvark
Another vote for Moonraker! Bearing in mind a) no-one had seen a real shuttle launch at the time and b) the technology available in the 70s, the effects are pretty damn good.
By the same yardstick, Byron Haskin's 1958 sci-fi film Conquest of Space, which features among other effects, a 'spinning wheel' space station a decade before Kubrick, is astonishing
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Old 09-01-2005, 20:26   #18
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I love the effects in Things to Come: delightfully whimsical... really quite beautiful. Similarly The Thief of Baghdad.

I could also gush for an age about Cocteau's use of theatrical sleight of hand in La Belle et la Bete... and the amazing transformation scene in Mamoulian's 1932 version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde... which is still incredibly striking to this day and could've only been done in monochrome.

*sigh* Makes me pine for a more innocent, dreamy age of cinema where things were done in-camera (this is the only aspect of Coppola's Dracula that I admire) and not ushered through renderfarms.

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Old 09-01-2005, 20:30   #19
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The Nostromo landing on LV-426 in Alien
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Old 10-01-2005, 13:13   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Hodson
By the same yardstick, Byron Haskin's 1958 sci-fi film Conquest of Space, which features among other effects, a 'spinning wheel' space station a decade before Kubrick, is astonishing
Try to see The Moon and Beyond from the Disneyland tv show it features many of the same concepts as the aforementioned film but the effects are even better!

The good thing about Moonraker is that the effects are for the most part multiple exposures on the original negative without the use of motion control which meant it must have been mind-bogglingly stressful work.
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