Special Effects | Chicago Reader

Special Effects

This 40-minute Omnimax infomercial for the rerelease of the Star Wars trilogy (it also features visual effects from Independence Day, Jumanji, and Kazaam) received major funding from the National Science Foundation, which probably only demonstrates what suckers we all are as taxpayers. It calls Star Wars “a major turning point in special effects history,” though I'd argue that 2001, a movie that dissolves the very notion of the special effect by placing it in the service of some higher artistry, was more important in that regard. (Georges Melies, rightly singled out here as the father of the special effect, had the same idea, though he's condescended to and represented by a terrible print of one of his films.) If you believe that special effects should consist of nothing but explosions, animal stampedes, and the like (they're done mainly with scale models) and like the idea of movies selling other movies, then this is probably your cup of tea. This movie also boasts a second “remake” of the climax of King Kong; it's vastly inferior to both its predecessors, though it still provides an eyeful in Omnimax.


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