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Comments and Thoughts on Animation and Film

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Entries Tagged as 'Special effects'

Ray Harryhausen

May 14th, 2013 · No Comments · Filmmakers, Special effects, Stop motion animation

The recent passing of special effects animation master Ray Harryhausen has been widely noted. I must admit to having little to add to the many well-deserved hosannas. A disciple of Willis O’Brien, he was able to one up his mentor by gaining a measure of creative control that enabled him to produce a greater body […]

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Martin Scorsese’s Hugo

November 25th, 2011 · 4 Comments · American cinema, Film history and criticism, Filmmakers, French cinema, Special effects

Martin Scorcese makes a cameo appearance in Hugo. Right off the bat, let me say that Martin Scorsese’s Hugo is a wonderful film which I cannot recommend too highly. In a sense,it’s one of those generic, loving homages to the movies that come along every so often; though Hugo is in a class all by […]

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A Trip to the Moon: Back in Color

May 10th, 2011 · No Comments · Color films, Film and television archives, French cinema, Special effects

The Bioscope, Luke McKernan’s invaluable blog, notes that tomorrow the Cannes Film Festival is presenting “what may be the film restoration to beat all other film restorations — the colour version of Georges Méliès‘ Le voyage dans la lune (A Trip to the Moon) (1902).” While the film is far from being lost,  all known […]

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Deneroff’s Law … of Filmmaking and Everything Else

June 8th, 2010 · 1 Comment · Animation and live action, Animation technology, Special effects, Technology

After seeing How to Train Your Dragon and The Secret of Kells back to back, I noticed that both films finished with rather elaborate and visually complex climaxes. Such sequences have become commonplace in animated films these days, and can be seen in movies ranging from Astro Boy to  Shrek Forever After, a trend that […]

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Alice in Wonderland (1903)

March 4th, 2010 · No Comments · British cinema, Special effects

I just became aware of the British Film Institute’s YouTube Channel which is featuring the first screen version of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, which was directed  by  Cecil Hepworth and Percy Stow. The BFI, which is touting its restoration in conjunction with the release of the new Tim Burton film, notes that, at around […]

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Visual Effects Über Alles

December 5th, 2009 · No Comments · Special effects

From the for what it’s worth department: In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle on his work on The Twilight Saga: New Moon, special effects maestro Phil Tippett (seen here accepting the 2009 Georges Méliès Award for Artistic Excellence), was asked: Q: What’s the last movie you’ve seen with no special effects or visual […]

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The Soloist’s Synesthesia Sequence

May 23rd, 2009 · 6 Comments · Abstract films, Special effects

I went to see Joe Wright’s The Soloist mainly because it was based on the book by Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez; I haven’t read the book, but I do recall reading his initial column about Nathaniel Ayers, the homeless cellist which the film is about. (Lopez’s  columns were one of the things I […]

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More From Life: Ernie Kovacs

February 1st, 2009 · No Comments · Special effects, Television

The Life archive notes: "Electronic sight gag created by comic Ernie Kovacs in which he appears to be peering thru head of actress Barbra Loden as part of his TV special ‘Ernie Kovacs’." This and the photo below (which shows how the effect was done) were by Ralph Morse and done in March 1957, which […]

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Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D

September 2nd, 2008 · 1 Comment · Feature films, Special effects, Stereoscopic films

Eric Brevig’s version of Jules Vernes’ Journey to the Center of the Earth is not a film I would usually comment on, but several things piqued my interest. First, I’ve always been something of a sucker for stereoscopic films ever since seeing Bwana Devil, the film that started the first wave of 3D films,  when […]

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Willis O’Brien, Iwerks’ Multiplane Camera and Fleischer’s Stereoptical Process

March 4th, 2008 · No Comments · Special effects, Technology

This post is by way of a posing a possible historical question. In reading Richard Rickitt’s book, Special Effects: The History and Technique, I was brought up short by the following illustration (on page 184) of the miniature rear projection setup created by Willis O’Brien for the original King Kong (1933): O’Brien created this setup […]

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Animated Oscar Winners 2008

February 26th, 2008 · No Comments · Feature films, Short films, Special effects

The Oscar for Best Animated Feature went to Brad Bird’s Ratatouille from Pixar, beating out Persepolis, which was my favorite. In so doing, the members of the Academy went against the trend to honor smaller independent films in the Best Picture category, as opposed to blockbusters like Ratatouille. The Best Animated Short Film went to […]

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