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Awake In The Dark
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Old January 20th, 2006, 03:49 PM   #1
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Effects that blew you away?

Reading the Episode 3 posts below (that grew into a discussion of CGI potentially taking the "soul" out of film)...

Just seems a short time ago that I was a kid with my jaw agape at giant sandcrawlers & whatnot in the original Star Wars. Now effects are so advanced -- and commonplace -- that an amazing otherworldy vista, beautifully rendered, just seems a little ho-hum. I don't think Hollywood has gotten this fully. Their belief that (computer-created) visual spectacle can be relied on to sell tickets isn't paying off (how many people saw "chronicles of riddick", say? Which had some very nice effect work.)

That train of thought led me to what has to be one of my all-time favorite CG shots: in "Contact", the first view we get of the "machine" created from alien blueprints. And dang it, the camera pans across a control room to... a grainy TV monitor. It really seemed to me that the director was poking fun at the whole "blow 'em away with CG" attitude. Effects, in this realm anyway, should fill an audience with awe and wonder, not a sense of "oh... nice raytracing". And (for me anyway) that shot really worked. Yeah, we eventually got a nice tasty look at the thing (and when it exploded, with chunks splashing into the water--yeah!) but that first shot on the monitor had me going "wooooooo.... coooool!"

Anyone have some favorites? (Not just CG... the Psycho shower scene's a contender, right?) When have the effects REALLY worked to take you someplace else?

(And, regarding "Contact", I'll have to agree with South Park's Mr. Garrison regarding the ending...)
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Old January 20th, 2006, 06:36 PM   #2
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I always found all those flying cars in The Fifth Element to be very nice.
Really blew me away the first time...

Forrest Gump had subtle, good CGI too.
War of the Worlds too.
Jurassic park too, in CGI and animatronics.
Jaws was a bit less ;-) still a great film.
Titanic blew me away too, in the cinema. Not only the CGI but also just the massive sets.
And I can imagine seeing 2001 A Space Odyssee in 1969 was wooow too.


The arm in Requiem for a Dream had good makeup too, really disgusting.
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Old January 22nd, 2006, 02:16 PM   #3
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King Kong (as in the character in PJ's film)
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Old January 23rd, 2006, 11:05 AM   #4
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my all time favorite CG shot is the first time you see the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. I think because of this day and age that feeling will never be recaptured every again.
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Old January 23rd, 2006, 11:33 AM   #5
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I can't believe no one has mentioned Terminator 2 and the liquid metal effect of the T-1000.
[for CG effects]

[Of course, Cameron had used it in The Abyss]...

This was groundbreaking stuff and opened the floodgates..
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Old January 23rd, 2006, 12:28 PM   #6
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Lord of the rings the return of the king, they built the entire landscape for the battle outside minas tirith in the computer and mixed with the minas tirith minature and the program that they wrote called "massive" which let them create 350,000 orcs with indavidual brains so they didn't all act the same, that impressed the hell out of me.
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Old January 25th, 2006, 02:13 AM   #7
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John, i feel you on the T-1000, it was beautiful for its time. He's argubly one of my favorite movie villans too. so dang cold and calculating. I also really love the running dinosaurs scene in jurassic park. for non cg-stuff, i really liked the bullet time from The Matrix (esp when the bullet grazes Neo's knee on the rooftop) that was the last time i was stunned by and effects-type shot.
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Old January 25th, 2006, 11:01 AM   #8
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I have 3 or 4 that are burnt into the grey matter.

1). Eraserhead. Lynch still isn't talking about how or what the hell that thing was. (The "baby")

2). The Tom Cruise version of War of the Worlds. When those clothes were flying through the air, that sent chills through me. OK, the rest of the movie had several continuity issues but, that was psychologically damaging to me.

3). Sky Captain and the world of tomorrow. First, the Bleach Bypass was a nice touch. All that green screen and I can still get lost in the movie itself. Especially the scene with the electric head near the end. That CG was supposed to be modled after Sir Laurence Olivier.

There are more but they escape me at the moment...

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Old January 25th, 2006, 11:59 AM   #9
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- Jason fighting the skeletons in "Jason and the Argonauts"
- Sinbad fighting the wizard who can make himself invisible in "The Golden Voyage of Sinbad"
- riding the mechanical horse in "The Thief of Baghdad" (Zoltan Korda's 1940 film)
- parting the Red Sea in "The Ten Commandments"
- the oil in water effects in "2001: A Space Odyssey"
- the unmatched space scenes in "2001: A Space Odyssey"
- The transporter effect in "Star Trek" the TV series.
- the young people being incinerated in the carousel machine in "Logan's Run"
- Lightspeed in "Star Wars".
- the light sabres in "Star Wars".
- the death star blowing up in "Star Wars" (the original)
- the transporter accident in "Star Trek: The Motion Picture"
- the guy's head blowing up in "Scanners"
- The Enterprise escaping the Genesis effect in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan"
- the whole of "Tron"
- the incredible backgrounds in "Blade Runner"
- Medusa in "Clash of the Titans"
- Conan chopping apart the giant snake in "Conan the Barbarian"
- the spaceships in the end scene of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"
- Zod and his cohorts being trapped in the Phantom Zone in "Superman"
- Beloc's face being melted off in "Raiders of the Lost Ark"
- all of the mutated and mutating beasts in "The Thing"
- The Discovery and Leonov escaping the nova of Jupiter in "2010: Space Odyssey Two"
- The nuclear apocalypse in "Terminator II: Judgment Day"
- The T2 being being shotgunned and then reforming in "Terminator II: Judgement Day"
- The tornado in "Twister"
- the personal shield effect in "Dune"
- the demon in "Legend"
- heroes riding on flying swords in "A Chinese Ghost Story II"
- Siddhartha confronting demons on an ocean of fire in "Little Buddha"
- The first time they did the face morphing thing. The one I remember (and I know it wasn't first) was in "City of Lost Children" when they morphed a child's face into the old man's.
- the appearance of the raptors in "Jurassic Park"
- The really effective combination of live action with CG in "Jurassic Park 2". I'm speaking of the scenes where the raptors are trashing a shed with the gymnastic black girl in it. I found the movie otherwise pretty laughable but that scene where the raptors are interacting with the environment was quite good.
- the city morphing in "Dark City"
- the giant ships crashing together and coming apart in "Starship Troopers"
- Tom Hanks interacting in historical footage in "Forrest Gump"
- cities being hit by meteors in "Armageddon"
- the sound effects in the pod race scene in "The Phantom Menace"
- the transitions in the Michel Gondry video of the Chemical Bros' "Let Forever Be"
- ancient Rome in "Gladiator"
- the seamless wire removal in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"
- the scale and complexity of the giant waves in "The Perfect Storm"
- following the path of the bullets into people's guts in "The Quick and the Dead"
- bullet-time in "The Matrix"
- the seamless digital effects integration in "Saving Private Ryan"
- the sound effects in "Saving Private Ryan"
- the scale and vision of the initial battle scene in "The Fellowship of the Ring"
- the cave troll battle in "The Fellowship of the Ring"
- the beauty of Rivendell in "The Fellowship of the Ring"
- the expressiveness of the Gollum creature in "The Two Towers"
- the long shot in the opening act of "Dawn of the Dead" remake
- the perfect adaptation look in "Sin City"
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Old January 25th, 2006, 12:44 PM   #10
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Wow Keith ! What a great list ! I might have to double up on your list. ( Although sound effect's may be a different conversation ? )

The following are effect's that have blew me away.

- Close Encounters - the U.F.O.'s
- Jaws - Not just the shark, but that damn shark fin. (I was like 5 years old)
- Temple of Doom - The mine car chase
- Jurassic Park - the first time the Rex comes out to play
- Star Wars - the opening shot of the Star Destroyer also flying through the trench
- Empire Strikes Back - the AT - AT's, the Asteroid sequence
- Return of the Jedi - the bumrush of tie fighters in the final battle
- Titanic -
- The Matrix - Bullettime
- Black Hawk Down - the first black hawk that is shot down (CGI)
- Gladiator - The coliseum shot as they enter for the first time
- The Two Towers - Gollum
- Dawn of the Dead - The opening shot as Anna drives past the exploding
gas station from the car that hit's it
- Sin City - The entire process. Entire films can be officially be made in my
garage.

Recently, King Kong (The Ape itself) impressed me but it's been awhile since any other film blew me away with visual effect's that sold me.
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Old January 25th, 2006, 12:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathieu Ghekiere
...And I can imagine seeing 2001 A Space Odyssee in 1969 was wooow too.
Ha, I was there... and 8 years old to boot. A couple years later I got the excellent "making of" book. Amazing what they could do in the pre-CGI world.

Someone above posted about "the thing" remake... saw that in my teen pothead days. NOT A GOOD IDEA...
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Old January 25th, 2006, 12:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Hudson
- Sin City - The entire process. Entire films can be officially be made in my
garage.
Have you been following the "300" production? Zach Snyder does the "Sin City" adaptation but in color for Frank Miller's "300".

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Hudson
Recently, King Kong (The Ape itself) impressed me but it's been awhile since any other film blew me away with visual effect's that sold me.
Seconded on King Kong. Very impressive 'actor'.
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Old January 25th, 2006, 02:52 PM   #13
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Yes yes yes on 300 ! Zach sold me on DAWN 04 and I am totally looking forward to 300; again... movies are a changin' !
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Old January 25th, 2006, 05:47 PM   #14
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The dog with the man's head on the 70's version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers
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Old January 26th, 2006, 08:45 AM   #15
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Add cheesy but fun effects throughout "Mars Attacks".

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