Best Movies’ Special Effects
I am really fan of older SF films, good old-school horrors and action movies. So I’ve decide to made a list of greatest special effects in movies that I have seen. Damn, it was hard! Which one to put on a list, which one to drop out, is this effect better than other, was this effect spectacular and significant at the time… This was really hard work, but with some help from my friends, we made this list. It’s not some kind of “final-top-something-list-of-all-time”, just our choice of special effects that we love, those little things in movies that only fans notice. Hope you’ll enjoy it!
Total Recall (1990)
The revolutionary use of motion capture was accomplished for the skeletal CGI characters (moving behind an X-ray screen) in the subway shootout scene. The film won a “Special Achievement Award” for its Visual Effects by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
Terminator 2:Judgement Day (1991)
Terminator 2 was the first mainstream blockbuster movie with multiple morphing effects and simulated natural human motion and realistic movements for a major CG character. It was the first film to use ‘personal’ computers to create its special effects. The lethal, liquid-metal, chrome T-1000 cyborg terminator (Robert Patrick) was the first computer graphic-generated main character to be used in a film. This was the first major instance of a CG character in a film since Young Sherlock Holmes (1985). He was capable of ‘morphing’ into any person or object. The liquifying-solidifying robot’s humanoid texture was layered onto a CG model to create the effect. Over 300 special effects shots made up 16 minutes of the film’s running time. This film won the year’s Academy Award for Best Achievement in Visual Effects, defeating Backdraft and Hook.
Lawnmower Man (1992)
We were amazed with the Virtual Reality scenes in this movie. This film contained ground-breaking special effects – introducing a computer-generated VR to films for first time. It was the first feature film in the 1990s to use computer animation to explore the subject of virtual reality. It was also one of the first films to record a human actor’s movements in a sensor-covered body suit – a technique called Body Motion Capture (that is now used for everything), to control the movements of a CG character. There was one imaginative and surreal CGI sequence of virtual reality sex (or cybersex), the first of its kind, in this science-fiction thriller loosely derived from Stephen King’s short story.
Jurassic Park (1993)
They’re alive! The scenes of the living, eating, and breathing dinosaurs used mechanical animatronic robots and miniature models in stop-motion, frame-by-frame processing. The scene of the night-time attack of the T-Rex on a lawyer cowering in a toilet used live action and digitization – the first example of a computer-generated human stunt double, involving hyperrealistic rendering. This film from Steven Spielberg was the Academy Award winner for Best Achievement in Visual Effects defeating The Nightmare Before Christmas and Cliffhanger.
Independence Day (1996)
A remake, unofficially, of the original The War of the Worlds from 1953, this world doomsday film displayed a monstrous-sized UFO that entered Earth’s atmosphere, and a spectacular, well-publicized scene of the destruction of the White House, filmed with 9 cameras. $75 million was spent on models and miniatures – the film had more miniature model work than any other film up to its time. CGI work included the depiction of F-18 Hornets, debris, alien attackers, missiles, and light balls. This blockbuster film was the winner in the Academy Award race for Best Achievement in Visual Effects defeating Twister and Dragonheart.
The Fifth Element (1997)
There were an extra-ordinary amount of individual FXs in this film, including a futuristic New York City skyline, a regeneration sequence during the creation of Leeloo in which a sophisticated machine built her skeleton, and strapped muscle tissue onto the bones, and its most celebrated sequence that I really love – the cab chase with flying cars. The cars were created both as motion-control models and CGI versions.
The Matrix (1999)
One of my favorite movies of all time! This imaginative, visually-stunning film made reference to prototypical elements of the 21st century high-tech culture, such as hacking and virtual reality, and included bullet-dodging. Digital effects dubbed “flow-mo” and “bullet time” – slowed-down, rotating action – were created with suspending actors on wires, using motion capture, and filming segments with multiple still cameras shooting from multiple angles, and then enhancing the pictures with CG interpolation. Other features included time-freezing, camera tracking around frozen action, shoot-outs, wall-scaling, virtual backgrounds, biomechanical monsters with tentacles known as Sentinels, and airborne kung fu between Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving).
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003)
This was the three-time Oscar winner for Best Achievement in Visual Effects for three consecutive years!! In each of the years of the award, this film series defeated Artificial Intelligence: AI, Pearl Harbor, Spider-Man, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. This is enough, and you all know what we talk about: wonderful world design, armies, Balrog, Ents, and of course, Gollum.
Superman Returns (2006)
This sequel used realistic, dramatic CGI, such as in the federal bank robbery scene of a slow-motion bullet from a hand-gun crushing itself against Superman’s eyeball, after he blocked bullets with his chest being fired from a gigantic rooftop machine gun toward two security guards. It also used CG in the recreation of the role of Superman’s biological father Jor-El (Marlon Brando) in the Fortress of Solitude sequence in the film’s opening. The FX team used archival film footage from the first two films along with CGI interpolation, modeling and animation to create a three-dimensional image while he delivered new dialogue that existed previously only as vocal tracks.
The film had a desaturated, sepia-toned, artistic look. Animatronics were used for various animals. Although filming took only 60 days, it took over a year in post-production to finish the film. Zack Snyder’s very original, highly-stylized telling of the Battle of Thermopylae (from Frank Miller’s comic book novel) was shot mostly with a super-imposition chroma key technique. The actors were filmed before blue-screens, upon which backgrounds were filled in with more than 1,500 CG shots.
Visionary director James Cameron’s monumental work was this futuristic, epic 3-D live-action film, with ground-breaking, Oscar-winning special effects. Much of the film’s reported budget of over $300 million was spent on CGI.
Star Wars episodes 4-6
Well, for the end, the best! Memories…We were kids when we first time see these classics, and it was kinda epic for us. Maybe someone will disagree with this, but I don’t care. Movies that left us speechless, and we were all amazed with this. I just don’t know what to say when all is said about these films. I think that I’ll watch it again : )
I know that we missed some movies, like Star Wars episodes 1-3, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, Shrek, Spider-Man, Pirates of the Caribbean, few Pixar’s movies, but like we said, this isn’t final list; we just picked the movies that we can watch over and over again.