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Awake In The Dark
What you're watching these days on the Big Screen and the Small Screen.


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Old May 14th, 2006, 09:14 AM   #31
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In terms of truly being blown away, Jurassic Park's dinosaurs would probably be the big draw dropping moment where the hype actually equaled the visual experience(I just wish the movie they appeared in had the showmanship of a Harryhausen flick--far from it. That movie was a narrative mess with the only things propping it up are the 6 minutes of CG and Williams music).

Gollum and the Balrog in Lord of the Rings was the last really stunning unique fx creatures I can think of in terms of showing something new.

But before that, JP, and before Terminator 2 even, the water creature in the Abyss--especially when it took Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio's face. That was the fx that made me see the future was going CG.
Although the stain glass knight in Young Sherlock Holmes also was a stand out.

Then I would say more subtler effects--like the half eaten guy who was thrown up by the worm in Deep Rising, or Master and Commander's artifically created ocean backdrops.

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth would be another choice, even though I only got to see it after JP. I was still impressed by the animation and blur effects.
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Old May 14th, 2006, 08:45 PM   #32
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One effect that I wonder how they did it was the scourging during "The Passion of the Christ". It looked completely realistic and the makeup work was astonishing. I would have to second the mirror scene in "Contact" Such a simple and seamless shot that when you look back on it do you realize how amazing that was to pull off. As for others I would have to say "Gollum". Not since Yoda from "Empire" has a synthespian seemed so real. Those folks at WETA have cracked the "eye" problem that plagues so much CGI.

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PS: To see a good example of the "eye problem" check out Polar Express. Creepy.
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Old May 15th, 2006, 03:56 AM   #33
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I don't know about you guys, but I thought King Kong's special effects were good, but not outstanding. There were too many shots that drew me out of the whole experience and said 'this is CG'.

For mine, the trick is to use camera angles and movement that could be achieved by a 'real' camera. I know for all you CG buffs out there, this is very limiting and actually defeats the whole purpose CG in VFX was invented, but when the CG snaps you out of the film, it's useless.

But I have to agree with Kelly that Jurassic Park has the best special and visual effects. As far as they have come, I still think the scene where Grant is running in front of the T-Rex holding the flare has to be one scene imprinted on my mind since I was a kid when I first saw it.

Maybe someone could start a thread on 'worse SFX' ever.

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Old May 15th, 2006, 09:37 AM   #34
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nice list ya'll =). contact is one of my fav movies =).

anyway, i think my fav effect of *ALL* time absolutely is animating still pictures. yes, film itself is one big visual fx ;). most people forget that =^).

coming in a close second is most of George Melies's "magic" fx before that other George came along close to a century later ;).

other than that, there's been few surprises.
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Old May 19th, 2006, 10:10 AM   #35
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The opening scene of Xmen 2 with Nightcrawler blew me away......
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Old June 4th, 2006, 03:53 AM   #36
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I Nominate "The Rocketeer"

I just watched this Disney movie from 1991. I think the special effects were the best, because they all looked very real and not CG at all. It was a big spoof, of course, but the acting and fast-moving scenes made it a lot of fun. If I could have seen this when I was about age 12, I would have wanted to watch it a dozen times over.

It has a rocket backpack, a GeeBee Special Super Sportster, The Hindenburg,
a Spruce Goose glider, mobsters fighting alongside G-men against Nazis, a North by Northwest/Mount Rushmore-type scene on top of the dirigible, a human King Kong and my old favorite, Beeman's Pepsin Gum, played a crucial role. Even the leading lady's special features looked real. The HOLLYWOODLAND sign and the Griffith Observatory were featured. There were a lot of inside 30s-era jokes, that not everyone would catch. Such as when the Spruce Goose glider sailed out of the hangar, the Howard Hughes character said, "The damned thing DOES fly!".

Unlike so many fantasy-based movies that use unbelievable technology and contraptions, everything in this one has actually existed in a functional form, which gave it credibility (as long as you let your imagination fly a bit loose).
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Old June 7th, 2006, 10:15 AM   #37
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I've been seeing some superb CGI lately. The best CGI has advanced to the point that you can't tell the difference between the real-world and the effects. Some good examples I've seen:

War of the Worlds (2005)
The effects were superb, but a particular example that stands out to me were the aliens in the basement.

I, Robot
Some scenes had obvious CGI, but the robots themselves were amazingly real.

Master and Commander
What can I say? The effects were seamlessly invisible, which is the highest honor one can give. (Okay, okay, I know, the effects weren't all CGI. It was superb work all around.)

Spider-Man 1 and 2
Good effects generally, though I'm still not sure they've got the CGI swinging Spidey man exactly right. The standout for me would have to be Doctor Octopus.

Reign of Fire
If there's one movie that could make you believe dragons were real, this is it.

Sahara
Okay, probably not one you would have picked, at least for the reason I did. I didn’t pick it for some big splashy effect, but rather the desert solar power plant. I was amazed when I learned from the behind the scenes that it was nearly all CGI. It was totally realistic and perfectly blended with the live action footage.
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Old June 7th, 2006, 10:58 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher Lefchik
Reign of Fire
If there's one movie that could make you believe dragons were real, this is it.
Most compelling poster. Suggesting Apache helicopters versus dragons!

Instead, dragons ambush the military column. NOoooooooo...
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Old June 7th, 2006, 12:15 PM   #39
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Everything Douglas Trumbell (2001, Silent Running, Blade Runner, CE3K), John Dykstra (Silent Running, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica), and Brian Johnson (2001, Alien, Space:1999, Dragonheart) have done. All of the CGI that the team created in the episodes of Babylon 5 were stunning and groundbreaking too (all on workstations).
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Old June 8th, 2006, 02:56 AM   #40
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I for one will never forget the battle between neo and the hundreds of agents smiths' in matrix reloaded. I had to catch my breath.
The island is another recent films that really delivered on the visual effects front. When I actually saw the making of featurette I was surprised to find out most effects I had thought to be CGI were in fact real live action.
X-men III is also visually compelling and exciting.

How come nobody has brought up TRON yet?
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Old June 8th, 2006, 08:26 AM   #41
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i didn't think TRON was that great =(. even if i saw it in the 80's. the conept is interesting, but the execution (even given limitations of technology). i'd rather it not be done then. yesh, i realize that it needed to start SOMEWHERE and progress to a point that we're in today... but still, didn't like that film much.

meanwhile, re: matrix, i loved matrix revolution. the rain fx are amazing
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Old June 8th, 2006, 08:39 AM   #42
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the thing about tron is that it's the porcess that blows me away. I like the movie and luckly saw it in the thearters.

Now I can honestly say The last star fighter reallly takes the cake. I know that i has ega graphics (just joking). What it is about that movie is that all the space stuff is kept the same. So theres no real mix and match od real life to computer.

Also Dragonslayer which as far as I can tell is the movie which gets dragons right
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Old June 8th, 2006, 11:24 AM   #43
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The original: Dawn of the Dead.... need I say more?
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Old June 8th, 2006, 10:47 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Loh
Most compelling poster. Suggesting Apache helicopters versus dragons!

Instead, dragons ambush the military column. NOoooooooo...
Ha ha, you're right! I just looked up the movie poster online, and sure enough, here come the Apaches...

Only problem is, there are no Apache copters in the entire movie.

Oh well, great dragon effects nonethless.
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Old June 8th, 2006, 10:55 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Goldman
Now I can honestly say The last star fighter reallly takes the cake. I know that i has ega graphics (just joking). What it is about that movie is that all the space stuff is kept the same. So theres no real mix and match od real life to computer.
You know, when I picked up The Last Starfighter DVD on a whim from our library I had no idea it was the first movie to ever attempt photo realistic CGI (Tron takes the honors for the first CGI, but it was used to simulate computer innards from what I understand. In other words, pretty much simple geometric shapes, which were much easier than the complex imagery required for The Last Starfighter).

I tell you, seeing the The Last Starfighter really makes one appreciate how far CGI has come. If you can believe it, the relatively simple (by today's standards) The Last Starfighter CGI effects brought a CRAY supercomputer to its knees.
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Last edited by Christopher Lefchik; June 9th, 2006 at 10:10 AM.
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