Gone are the days when the success of a film was dependent on a strong plot and eloquent dialog. The film industry is now doing a lot more to grip the viewers. With the dawn of this century, special visual effects changed the game completely, and understandably so.
Special effects make us believe that there is a planet called Pandora with an elaborate ecosystem, wizards can fly around on brooms, and Yoda can lift a ship wing with mind control. For the past twenty years or so, visual effects have actively sparked meaning into the expression “Movie Magic.”
Our home entertainment systems have been trickling this magic into our lives for two good decades. There is nothing better than an affordable internet connection that offers you a great TV bundle. Check out Popular TV-inclusive plans at Xfinity for some of the Movie Magic directors like Chris Nolan, David Fincher, Peter Jackson, and Peter Jackson have been creating through special effects.
Every couple of years, a movie comes out and we think the VFX guys have somehow topped everything they have done before. However, some movies remain all-time favorites when it comes to special effects. Let’s look at some of them:
1. Dawn of The Planet of Apes
Although a little old, this movie was way ahead of its time in regards to what could be accomplished with special effects. Although the creators of this film have since created a lot of accredited films, making a film completely from the perspective of an animal is a whole other ballgame. In this case Caeser, the sentimental ape estranged from the man who raised him.
The CGI-based apes in this movie displayed a variety of emotions through their expressions. This was not an easy feat to accomplish. This performance was brought to us by the same artist who enacted Gollum in Lord of the Rings, Andy Serkis.
Rupert Wyatt, the creator of this film shed some light on how they did not use any real apes in the film. From an animal cruelty perspective. The apes used in Hollywood films are stolen from their mothers and raised in captivity. They are then trained with fear-based and traumatizing exercises.
This compassionate precedent is why Dawn of The Planet of Apes makes the list.
Paul Franklin is undoubtedly the kind of turning images to life. If Batman Begins and Dark Knight Rises are not a testament to his skill, Inception does it for him. His partnership with Chris Nolan is an unstoppable one.
With Nolan’s cinematic prowess, and Franklin’s breathtaking CGI, they had Parisian streets turning over and buildings appearing from nowhere. Inception was the perfect ratio of special effects and live action. The rest of the wow factor in this film was the doing of miniature technique. This was the perfect way to execute the dream-within-a-dream premise of the film.
3. Ex Machina
Ex Machina received the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects and good reason. A programmer is invited to spend a week in the home and facility of the CEO of his company. There he meets a half-human, half-machine, fem-bot and is to determine the depth of her sentient nature.
The unique factor in the production of this film is that the scenes with Ava the fem-bot were shot twice, once with Alicia Vikander and once without. Without any green screen whatsoever, all the special effects were added in post-production.
This is a very painstaking task to pull off, yet they did it seamlessly. They rotoscoped Vikander’s hands and face on the frame with the rest of the body created with CGI effects. Including, but not limited to the back of her head. They executed the body movements of the character using Vikander’s animation data. This gave way to one of the most authentic cyborgs of live-action cinema.
4. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Another film that displayed unbelievable dexterity in VFX is The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald adapted for the screen by David Fincher starring Brad Pitt. You can’t have these many stars in one feature and not have it bag Oscars like a dream.
With this new and ground-breaking VFX technique, they recorded Pitt’s expressions to superimpose them on other actors who played the role of Benjamin Button at different ages. This age-reversal technique was a stroke of genius and many directors have used it since.
There is a reason the film Gravity has been dubbed the 2001 Space Odyssey of our time. The recording went on for a good four to five years alone. The creators, the Cauron brothers conducted heavy research for everything to pass the fact-check test with flying colors. They built everything with perfection and attention to detail.
The VFX team went through countless photo archives of NASA to achieve authenticity and accuracy. Seems like it paid off. Since this was not a fantasy film the room for error was next to none. The entire film was shot in a lightbox that they fashioned with no less than four thousand LEDs to recreate the sun and starlight in space.
Most of the film is shot with Clooney and Bullock strapped into a 10×10 box. The brilliant part is how the leads managed to carry out their roles with ingenuity suspended mid-air. This means that about 80% of the creation we saw on the screen was special effects that created a breathtaking space visually.
If we sift through Hollywood for unbelievable special effects, we could go on and on. There is the Harry Potter Franchise and The Lord of The Rings Franchise were phenomena of their own. Not to mention the Blade Runner 2049 release that brought a dead cast member to life through VFX. However, these movies were ground-breaking in their capacity because they pioneered some of the most brilliant techniques in VFX.