OTHER SCIENCE FICTION SERIES

50 Most Influential Visual Effects Films of All Time

POSTED BY: REGINAROADIE
UPDATED: Wednesday, July 25, 2007 16:16
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Wednesday, May 16, 2007 4:47 AM

REGINAROADIE


Hey All

Was checking my regular sites, and I found this story with the following list attached.

Eric Roth, Executive Director of the Visual Effects Society (VES), announced today the results of the VES 50: The Most Influential Visual Effects Films of All Time, which was determined by a vote of VES members. The VES 50 is the backdrop of the 2007 VES Festival of Visual Effects, which will take place the weekend of June 7-10 at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills.

"We’re thrilled to present VES 50. These films have had a significant, lasting impact on the practice and appreciation of visual effects as an integral, artistic element of cinematic expression and the storytelling process,” said Roth. We are equally thrilled about the programs that follow this theme and the industry’s living legends we have participating in them."

THE VES 50 (Bold and Italics indicates a tie score)

1. Star Wars (1977)
2. Blade Runner (1982)
3. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
3. The Matrix (1999)
5. Jurassic Park (1993)
6. Tron (1982)
7. King Kong (1933)
8. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
9. Alien (1979)
10. The Abyss (1989)
11. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
12. Metropolis (1927)
13. A Trip to the Moon (1902)
14. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
15. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
16. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
17. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
18. Titanic (1997)
19. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
20. Jason and the Argonauts (1963)
20. E.T. the Extraterrestrial (1982)
22. Toy Story (1995)
23. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)
24. The Ten Commandments (1956)
25. The War of the Worlds (1953)
25. Forrest Gump (1994)
25. Citizen Kane (1941)
25 The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (1958)
25. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)
30. The Terminator (1984)
31. Aliens (1986)
32. Mary Poppins (1964)
33. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
34. Forbidden Planet (1956)
35. Babe (1995)
36. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
36. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
38. King Kong (2005)
39. Planet of the Apes (1968)
40. Fantastic Voyage (1966)
41. Jaws (1975)
41. Ghostbusters (1984)
43. Sin City (2005)
44. Superman: The Movie (1978)
45. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
46. The Lost World (1925)
46. Return of the Jedi (1983)
48. What Dreams May Come (1998)
49. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
50. Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1958)
50. The Fifth Element (1997)

Normally these kinds of lists dissapoint me, but in this case I found it to be a very definitive, well thought out list that really took consideration of non sci-fi movies that were fx pioneers. I like that CITIZEN KANE got on the list not only for pioneering the used of forced perspective, but it's extensive use of matte paintings that allowed the movie to look more massive and epic than it's budget would have allowed. I like that METROPOLIS and A TRIP TO THE MOON was so high on the list since they were revolutionary for it's time over a hundred years ago. CE3K should be at #8 since it's advanced fx's are not that noticeable, but still revolutionary (the fact that you could pan to a special effect instead of having the camera locked down was a huge step at the time).

My only complaints is that ROGER RABBIT should be higher than it is since it's still the gold standard of seamless acting against nothing that'll be filled in later. You look at the interaction between Eddie Valiant and Roger and compare it to other instances of actors reacting to nothing, it still stands the test of time. WHAT DREAMS MAY COME should also be higher, in my opinion, since it really blew my mind the first time I saw it and how Robin Williams seemed to be walking around in a painting for real. It really did seem like he was in Heaven. Here's hoping Peter Jackson takes notes for when he does the Heaven segments in THE LOVELY BONES.

So what do you guys think?

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007 6:42 AM

CRUITHNE3753


One of my favourite effects is rather subtle. It's in LotR:The Two Towers, when Gandalf breaks Saruman's spell over King Theoden and life returns to him.

(And anyone British over about 30 suddenly goes "it's Yosser Hughes!")

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007 8:14 AM

SINGATE


That's a pretty damn comprehensive list, I expected older movies like Metropolis to be overlooked but it appears nothing was left out. Can't find too much fault with the order either, unless I were to get really nitpicky.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007 8:14 AM

CHRISISALL


VERY comprehensive.

Nothing to add Chrisisall

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007 9:14 AM

CYBERSNARK


One of my favourite effects is from LotR, the continuous effect of digitally tweaking actors' sizes to get Hobbits, Dwarves, Elves, Men, and prodigiously-tall Gandalf all existing in the same shots without relying on forced perspective or camera tricks.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007 10:21 AM

DERANGEDMILK


I agree, a pretty damn good list. I don't see how the new Pirates movie made it on their though. Its to new to be influential and I don't remember the effects being all that spectacular.
-e

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007 10:35 AM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by derangedmilk:
I agree, a pretty damn good list. I don't see how the new Pirates movie made it on their though.

I would have listed the first one...

Why's the rum gone Chrisisall

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007 10:48 AM

REGINAROADIE


Actually, in regards to DEAD MAN'S CHEST's visual FX, there actually a step forward for visual fx in one case.

Usually, when an actor is wearing a motion capture suit (basically blue spandex covered in ping pong balls from head to toe so that FX animators have a skeletal guide to work with when animating), they normally have to wear it on a soundstage under a rigidly controlled environment. But with DEAD MAN'S CHEST, the various members of Davy Jones' crew were able to go out on location in the Carribean and interact with the environment. When you say them come out of the water and walk out onto the beach, that was for real. EW.com did a really great article on it, explaining it in more detail and how it is a breakthrough for VFX artists.

While DEAD MAN'S CHEST script-wise may have left for something to be desired, the fact that you can go out on location and film it for real instead of on a soundstage is actually exciting for me. This could lead to a fuller immersion into a fantasy world.

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"Have you ever fired ONE gun whilst jumping through the air?"

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007 3:31 PM

WACKYNEPHEW


I think it's too long. For instance, the LOTR movies should be counted as one. The effects from The Abyss and Terminator 2 are pretty much the same I think. I would have included whichever one came first. The idea being that the one influenced the other. Unless each Star Wars movie broke some kind of new ground, I would group them together also. I would also differenciate between computer aided effects and the pre-computer age effects. Its seems to me that it took a lot more ingenuity to come up with cool special effects back in the day. Planet of the Apes had incredible make-up effects for its time. Not sure if it falls under special effects.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007 5:08 PM

REGINAROADIE


Well, when it comes to make-up effects, it's still a VISUAL effect. You could make the same argument for AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. It's main special effect was make-up, but it's one big gigantic leap for make-up. It was the first movie to win the Oscar for Make-up. The only two movies that won awards for make-up (APES and THE 5000 FINGERS OF DR. LAO, I think) were honorary Oscars. And given that most werewolf transformations are done digitally now and look really fake, that makes the transformation on WEREWOLF IN LONDON even more jaw-droppingly powerful.

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"No."
"Have you ever fired ONE gun whilst jumping through the air?"

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007 5:50 PM

WACKYNEPHEW


Granted, but it was the transformation itself that blew everybodys mind. That part where his hands stretch into the wolf leg was almost painful to watch! The make-up was awesome, but what impressed me was how they put that scene together to achieve that result. It was a great combination of special visual effects and make-up( sorry, I can't put them in the same category).I definitely do not have a problem with AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON being on this list.

Now I have to go rent it.

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"The lion and the calf shall lie down together but the calf won't get much sleep." Woody Allen

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Friday, May 18, 2007 4:11 AM

WHOOPS


What!! how can Fifth Element be bottom that has better effect than some up to date films i think.

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Friday, May 18, 2007 9:36 AM

CYBERSNARK


Fifth Element does have good effects, but it didn't really break any new ground. The most visually unique thing it did was to have an in-motion CGI morph (as opposed to having the character stop moving, morph, then resume movement).

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Friday, May 18, 2007 12:40 PM

LWAVES


Quote:

Originally posted by Cruithne3753:
One of my favourite effects is rather subtle. It's in LotR:The Two Towers, when Gandalf breaks Saruman's spell over King Theoden and life returns to him.

(And anyone British over about 30 suddenly goes "it's Yosser Hughes!")



Yeah, I could always see Bernard Hill going to Peter Jackson and saying "Gis a job. I can do that."

I can agree with most of the list, maybe not in the order, but most are there.

POTC shouldn't be there.
One of Sinbad or Jason And The Argonauts should go. Both pretty much use the same idea (personally I would keep Jason).
The Abyss and T2 for the same reason. The Abyss pioneered the effect but it's more refined in T2.
Only Star Wars should be there not the other two.
Same with LOTR, only FOTR should be there (although the main battle in ROTK is pretty hard to ignore!!!)

My top few would be (in order):
Star Wars
LOTR: Fellowship Of The Ring
Superman
Close Encounters
Jurassic Park
Blade Runner
The Abyss
The Matrix
Roger Rabbit
Toy Story
Forrest Gump
Jason And The Argonauts
Titanic
2001
Planet Of The Apes (60s version)



"If I hear voices and someone is really there, does that mean I'm going REALLY crazy?"

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Saturday, May 19, 2007 1:10 PM

CYBERSNARK


Quote:

Originally posted by lwaves:
POTC shouldn't be there.

Pirates had that seamless transition from live-Jack to CGI-motion-capture-skeleton-Jack --an effect that even the Matrix films couldn't match in quality (remember how CGI-Neo looked like a video-game model?). No cutting away, no switching camera angles --Brad Pitt just stepped back and became the CGI effect in a single shot. Perfect integration.

Pirates II was the first to have on-location motion-capture. That scene of Jones' Sea-Wraith crew walking out of the surf? That's real water splashing around their ankles.

Usually when people do motion-capture, they're on a bare soundstage, and the digital puppets are composited into the live footage (where the "human" actors are interacting with a ping-pong ball on a stick, or something). Pirates II had the actors "rigged" on location (and interacting with the props, sets, lighting, and even the elements), being captured in real-time with the rest of the cast.

-----
We applied the cortical electrodes but were unable to get a neural reaction from either patient.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007 1:25 PM

GIXXER


What I liked about the list was that they were mostly good films in their own right, and mostly the first of serieses (not sure if that's a real word...)and mostly not terribly recent.

With the honourable exception of Aliens, they avoided the "milk the idea for a lot more than it's worth, sod scripts and characterisation, we'll just sling in an extra 20 minutes of CGI, because the budget's six times the original's" syndrome.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007 3:12 PM

MISSTRESSAHARA


Quote:

Brad Pitt just stepped back and became the CGI effect in a single shot. Perfect integration.


Brad Pitt? BRAD PITT? What movie were you watching? Brad*mother-humping*Pitt? Ayiieeeee.

I can agree with some of those, but Citizen Kane, really? I'd take that off and Snow White (I know it was the first feature length animated movie, but I don't feel it belongs on a special effects list) and make all the sequeled movies into one as stated. But I noticed the later SW movies weren't mentioned, hmmm, wonder why? I mean Jar Jar alone.... oh, ya now I see.


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Tuesday, July 24, 2007 6:23 PM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


I really don’t know enough about it to judge, but I will anyway. It seem like Bladerunner should be further down the list then it is. Does its contribution to special effects really trump that of the Matrix, 2001, and Jurassic Park?

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was animated and like paper and paint animated, so why is it on the list at all?

Other then that, it seems to make sense. Most of the top ten, in one order or another, are pretty much what I would have suspected.




Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007 6:30 PM

REGINAROADIE


Well, I think with SNOW WHITE, not only was it the first full length animated movie, but I'm guessing it was one of the pioneering animated film to use the multi-plane method. On the FANTASIA DVD, they talk about one of the early technological breakthroughs Walt created was this thing where there was this machine that had all these layers of animation and background on panels of glass stacked on one another so that a camera could zoom and pan on an image. It was to give the illusion that the camera was in the animated world and that it could travel through the space of that world towards a specific location.

I'm guessing that was the tech breakthrough, I dunno.

But I do know that KANE definitly deserves to be on that list. It may not look it, but it is an FX heavy film that helped shape the film language that we take for granted. See my initial post, which goes into detail on the innovations of KANE.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007 12:45 PM

CLJOHNSTON108


Very comprehensive list, but I wish Contact & Apollo 13 would've been included.

(I'm still bitter about Apollo 13 losing the Visual FX Oscar to Babe! )

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007 3:48 PM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


Quote:

Originally posted by reginaroadie:
Well, I think with SNOW WHITE, not only was it the first full length animated movie, but I'm guessing it was one of the pioneering animated film to use the multi-plane method. On the FANTASIA DVD, they talk about one of the early technological breakthroughs Walt created was this thing where there was this machine that had all these layers of animation and background on panels of glass stacked on one another so that a camera could zoom and pan on an image. It was to give the illusion that the camera was in the animated world and that it could travel through the space of that world towards a specific location.

I'm guessing that was the tech breakthrough, I dunno.

Makes sense to me.



Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

-- Cicero

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007 4:16 PM

FUTUREMRSFILLION


Quote:

Originally posted by Cybersnark:
Quote:

Originally posted by lwaves:
POTC shouldn't be there.

Pirates had that seamless transition from live-Jack to CGI-motion-capture-skeleton-Jack --an effect that even the Matrix films couldn't match in quality (remember how CGI-Neo looked like a video-game model?). No cutting away, no switching camera angles --Brad Pitt just stepped back and became the CGI effect in a single shot. Perfect integration.

Pirates II was the first to have on-location motion-capture. That scene of Jones' Sea-Wraith crew walking out of the surf? That's real water splashing around their ankles.

Usually when people do motion-capture, they're on a bare soundstage, and the digital puppets are composited into the live footage (where the "human" actors are interacting with a ping-pong ball on a stick, or something). Pirates II had the actors "rigged" on location (and interacting with the props, sets, lighting, and even the elements), being captured in real-time with the rest of the cast.

-----
We applied the cortical electrodes but were unable to get a neural reaction from either patient.



Brad Pitt?


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