We recently got another trailer for "Interstellar," Christopher Nolan's highly-anticipated science fiction epic due out in November. Its star Matthew McConaughey maintains this will be one of the biggest films any of us will be experiencing in our lives. The word is that we will see and experience things unlike ever before as we don our IMAX 3D glasses. Big words. That said, many movies have changed the game and surprised us over the years.
The truth though is that for every over-the-top explosion or 3D effect nobody asked for in the first place, Hollywood has made some truly amazing advancements over the last few decades. We're talking about the kind of advancements that actually make you watch a movie like you would a watch an illusionist — and wonder to yourself, "How the hell did they do that?"
They call it the magic of the movies for a reason, and as such, here’s a look at the top 10 films (in chronological order) that took their craft to an exciting new level and caused a visual revolution in theaters.
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"Tron" was the first time CGI was massively used in a movie.
It’s not that "Tron" (1982) was the best movie ever made, but it was one of the most creative. This was the first time computer-generated imagery had ever been used to such a massive extent in a movie. Visual effects group MAGI used a “SynthaVision” process to render the graphics, which basically means it made the computer see simple shapes as solid objects with density.
This occurs mostly in scenes where the Lightcycles and Recognizers are used, which normally corresponded to scenes where live actors weren’t the focus — because at the time, the technology didn’t exist for live-action figures and CGI animation to be used together. Instead, filmmakers needed to use hand-drawn animation with the live-action shots (mixed with editing) to create what you saw on screen.
Here’s the where things get even more fun though: Many Disney animators initially refused to work on "Tron," as they felt computers would put them out of a job. A little more than two decades later, those fears came true and Disney closed their hand-drawn animation studio in favor of CGI. However in the irony of ironies, Pixar guru and industry visionary John Lasseter eventually ordered the facilities re-opened, as he saw the value in both type of releases.
Another fun fact? Tron was disqualified from the 1982 Visual Effects Oscars, as voters felt the film’s computer-aided effects were considered "cheating."
One sequence in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” cost over $5 million to produce.
The irony of a movie like "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" (1991) is that it stands on its own so well that you forget it’s a sequel. Nobody talks about the original to the same extent they do this one — and if we're being honest, the less said about the later sequels, the better.
A large part of that "T2" success is because of the visual effects used that earned the team an Oscar. Unlike something like "Avatar" that is mostly CGI, only a fraction of "T2" is comprised of effect shots. The most famous of them all, though, is the T-1000 morphing sequence, which cost over $5 million to produce over an eight-month period.
Not since "Tron" nearly a decade earlier had a film looked to change the game in the same way "T2" did — and it was noticeable. Utilizing Industrial Light and Magic’s “Cyberscan” (photorealistic CGI) technology, they projected a laser over the face of Robert Patrick, who played the T-1000 model, and then they were able to build the 3D visuals over the scan.
They then paid extreme attention to how Patrick carried himself while shooting the scene and matched up his movements with the character’s movements. Director James Cameron also borrowed the liquid effects from his 1989 hit "The Abyss," to fully round out the impressiveness of the scene.
There are only 4 minutes of CGI dinosaurs in “Jurassic Park,” but it was revolutionary in 1993.
The movie brought dinosaurs to life on-screen … freaking dinosaurs. How is this not an accomplishment? Believe it or not, though, while "Jurassic Park" (1993) is thought of as CGI-heavy movie, it’s really not! Director Steven Spielberg had several actual audio-animatronic dinosaur models built, because they brought a sense of depth and actual realism to this film. However, there were some shots that CGI had to be used for, and those were very much among the first of their kind.
As many critics have pointed out, this was a movie about dinosaurs — and if the grand reveal the first time you really see one wasn’t spectacular, the movie would be seen as a failure. As a result, Spielberg had to ensure those first moments when the extinct creatures made their debut were nothing short of magical and he conspired with the famed Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) group to pull off the illusion. It worked!
See the rest of the story at Business Insider