Thursday, 10 November 2016

5 of the Best SFX in Hollywood

Film has had a long history, and for as long as there has been cinema magic, there has been special effects. Let’s take a quick look at 5 key examples of film’s ever-improving SFX, presented in chronological order.


Dir: Steven Spielberg, 1975 “Well, this is not a boat accident! And it wasn't any propeller; and it wasn't any coral reef; and it wasn't Jack the Ripper! It was a shark!” Of course, the practical effect-filled Jaws had to make an appearance on this list. Nicknamed “Bruce” by the film crew after Spielberg’s lawyer Bruce Ramer, the iconic fake shark may look a little dated now but you have to remember that back in ’75 this shit was terrifying. As far as audiences were concerned, it was a real shark. A timeless classic of tension, the film focused more on what you didn’t see – but when you did see the fishy bugger, it was scary.

Check out Jaws HERE


Dir: Steven Spielberg, 1993 “They're moving in herds. They do move in herds.” 18 years later, Spielberg was back with more big-toothed creatures. This time, they were dinosaurs! Using a mixture of practical and CGI effects, Jurassic Park’s dinosaurs were stunningly believable back in ’93. Hell, the practical ones still look brilliant now. Sure the CGI might leave a little to be desired by today’s standards but boy, this is a legendary bit of SFX history. Welcome…to Jurassic Park! A classic of special effects, and a classic of cinema.

Check out Jurassic Park HERE


Dir: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski (then The Wachowski Brothers), 1999 “Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?” Parts of The Matrix look shit now. There, I said it. But take yourself back to 1999. After you’ve partied like Prince told you to, put yourself into a cinema seat and watch The Matrix. It was ground-breaking stuff. Those fight scenes, and bullet-time sequences? The film was ahead of its time. Superb. Again, it’s pretty shit now. But…there you go. It’s an important part of SFX history all the same.

Check out The Matrix HERE


Dir: Gore Verbinski, 2006 “Life is cruel! Why should the afterlife be any different?” Remember the first time you saw Davy Jones, 10 years ago? That drippy squid-faced dickhead looked impeccable. And to be fair, he still does. I found myself recently revisiting a little bit of Dead Man’s Chest for some reason that I cannot fathom, and was taken aback by how well the SFX had held up. A truly staggering piece of work by Industrial Light & Magic. You can almost reach out and feel his slimy tentacles…if you’re into that sort of thing, you sick puppy.

Check out Pirates Of The Caribbean HERE


Dir: Alfonso Cuarón, 2013 “Well, you've gotta admit one thing: can't beat the view.” Gravity wasn’t a great film. But it sure was stunning to look at. The film’s visual effects supervisor Tim Webber has stated 80% of the film was CG, and yet it could’ve easily passed for real. The amount of work that went into the effects here is staggering – just as an example, a manually controlled lighting system of 1.8 million individually controlled LED lights was built to simulate the authenticity of unfiltered light in space. That’s dedication.

Check out Gravity HERE

Of course, this is just a tiny selection of sexy-looking special effects. This list could’ve easily been a top 50 and I still would’ve been spoiled for choice. What do you think is the best-looking film of all time?

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