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Special Effects in older films


Loki

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They were showing T2 again on ITV, which I watched... again. You may love or hate him now, but T2 is an incredible tour de force on the part of Cameron. The pacing of the film, the action sequences... peerless. And the special effects STILL look good, I can't understand it. All other sfx films tend to look shit within about 5 years, but Jurassic Park and T2 still look great.

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The worst one is probably League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen - within about 2 years of that coming out, I watched it on tv and it looked shite. There's a bit near the start where someone's house blows up and you can see the flames have been overlaid, it's absolutely horrendous work.

 

The best is Blade Runner - effects were all in-picture and still look magnificent.

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Escape from LA has got to be up there for worst aged special effects, it looks hideous, Georges melies films look more real than that.

 

Agreed. I love Carpenter, but this is/was absolutely poxy looking, especially considering this landed the same year as Independence Day, Mission:Impossible and Twister - all of which still reasonably stand up today. Even The Craft and the bastard Arrival had better effects than this, on a much lesser budget.

rs4pqu.jpg

 

Looking at it now, I have to watch it again. Fonda surfing alone may make it worth a repeat viewing...

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Escape from LA has got to be up there for worst aged special effects, it looks hideous, Georges melies films look more real than that.

 

Probably sacrilege but the original Star Wars films and the redone special effects versions have both aged horribly.

 

Tron actually still looks good for a CGI/Special Fx film as did FX- Murder by Illusion last time I saw them

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The CGI Jabba in the special edition of Star Wars is shit, Scorpion King in the Mummy Returns levels of shit!

 

FX has aged well mainly because its all practical special effects, can't go wrong with some good old fashioned practical effects, especially in a horror movie (CGI blood can fuck right off, the lazy bastards)

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Every time this topic of conversation comes up I invariably mention Jurassic Park. It still looks really fucking good! Any time I see it on TV I end up getting sucked in and watching it again and it still amazes me how well the effects have held up.

 

The inserted CGI in the old Star Wars looked shit immediately when it was done, it's not even a case of ageing badly.

 

 

 

Edit: Just noticed that Loki already brought up Jurassic Park in his initial post.

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Jurassic Park is ridiculously good still.

 

The main reason I think that some effects age and others don't is to do with how much of the effect is CGI and how much is old-fashioned models/props.

 

Although all the talk at the time of release was about the computer special effects (Silicon Graphics IIRC) a hell of a lot of it is animatronics and latex. Also, Spielberg is a master of showing as little as possible of an effect (c.f also Jaws). Where George Lucas sets up a shot like "Ok, the camera is pointing at a crowd of 10,000 people and 20 pod racers fly past in full frame), Spielberg will go "and the dinosaur disappears between these two (real) palm tress".

 

The best CGI shots are the ones that add to a real scene subtly. Fight Club is an incredible film in terms of computer special effects, but nobody really notices they're even CGI shots!

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This might be too far back from what the thread's looking for but there's an old 1932 film called Haunted Gold with John Wayne and there's a great stunt in that which was great for the time, with a coal mining truck being suspended in the air. Couldn't believe it when I saw it. It's a really fun old horror/mystery Western. Can't find a link to the scene online but it's on VEEHD.

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Besides the scene in Aliens where Ripley and Newt are on the landing pad waiting for Bishop / Alien Queen coming up in the lift, the rest of the movie looks, and is, fucking magnificent.

It's relatively new, but I'm throwing the ending of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in there too. It looked like something from a SyFy Disaster movie starring Brian Dennehy.

Van Helsing looks horrendous.

The Superman Hoover Dam scene looked disgraceful. Even as a child it removed me from my enjoyment of the movie...

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Jurrassic Park is pretty much the perfect film. It's still my greatest cinema going experience too. Got taken on opening night as a surprise from my parents. Even to this day I'm blown away at how good it looks. And I've said it before, but the reveal of the dinosaurs ("Welcome To Jurrasic Park") is pretty much the best scene in any film ever. I get tingles just thinking about it. Spielberg at his absolute best (apart from maybe Jaws.)

 

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Jurrassic Park is pretty much the perfect film. It's still my greatest cinema going experience too. Got taken on opening night as a surprise from my parents. Even to this day I'm blown away at how good it looks. And I've said it before, but the reveal of the dinosaurs ("Welcome To Jurassic Park") is pretty much the best scene in any film ever. I get tingles just thinking about it. Spielberg at his absolute best (apart from maybe Jaws.)

 

 

I've said this before as well. It's also my favourite scene of any film. It's sublime, it's perfect, everything is just... exactly how it should be. The camera, the build-up, the music, the pitch-perfect reactions of all the characters... all of that before even factoring in the fact IT'S A REAL DINOSAUR RIGHT THERE ON THE SCREEN and remembering how that moment saw my ultimate childhood dream come true... it gives me goosebumps every time, and to be honest, if there was a thread for "scenes from films you aren't supposed to shed a tear watching but sometimes do if you're in a particular frame of mind" I'd mention it there as well.

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I rewatched T2 for the millionth time again the other day and thought how some of the effects have aged very badly. The morphing, mainly, looks terrible. Morphing is probably the one overall special effect that's aged the worse across the board. The shot where the liquid metal shotgun wounds morph into the undamaged police uniform is the worst of the entire movie.

 

Phantom Menace is the best example of CG looking shitty within about two years of a film's release, as the many tedious droid battle scenes look like a cartoon now. The Special Edition Jabba, as has already been mentioned, is fuck awful. Even the 2004 update looks like a PS2 cutscene. Puppet Jabba though? Still looks great. And more importantly, you still buy it.

 

Here's the update. 97 on top, 2004 below.

 

Jabba03.jpg

 

I love when directors boast that their effects will never be bettered, like someone in 1995 saying they'll never, ever run out of space on their 100mb hard drive. The Wachowskis said that Matrix Reloaded would have sequences that nobody would ever be able to replicate (and even if they were talking about the freeway chase, they're already wrong), and James Cameron said the CG in Avatar would never be bettered. Fast forward ten years and you'll probably see better effects on some throwaway CBeebies show. Bullet Time was incredible when the Matrix came out. Then within 3 months it was in fucking chocolate bar adverts.

 

As Loki says, the best CG is the stuff you don't even notice or think about. This video blew my mind. It's a showreel of before and after greenscreen shots. Even Ugly Betty!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=playe...p;v=clnozSXyF4k

 

Similarly, this Game of Thrones VFX reel is a great example of effects you never notice, but which add so much depth.

 

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