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From unrealistic to sensational

How movie magic has evolved over time

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    Tina and Queenie Goldstein’s casual wear “dissolving” into their speakeasy dresses

Tina and Queenie Goldstein’s casual wear “dissolving” into their speakeasy dresses

Tina and Queenie Goldstein’s casual wear “dissolving” into their speakeasy dresses

Romy Van Ingen, Online Copy Editor

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Movies have been around since the early to mid 1900s, starting out as just five to eight minute reels of motion pictures. Now, they have become cinematic masterpieces that typically span for around two hours. Other than time, what are some of the major differences that separate movies from back in the day to movies from today?

Star Wars vs. Star Wars

When the Star Wars franchise first started in 1977, there were not as many options as to how the team of people working on the movie could make it look like a legitimate galactic adventure. For such things as the Force or Jedi mind-control, the special effects department had to get creative. As opposed to nowadays where they can use Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) and other methods which allow an object to look like it is gravitating towards you on its own, in 1977 special effects crews had to use other means. Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker, was quoted during an interview on the Graham Norton Show that during the first couple movies they would have “fishing wire” attached to whatever it is one was trying to control and they would “pull it out of my hand and then just reverse the film”, so it looked like it were being pulled towards him when playing the movie.

Jurassic Park vs. Jurassic World

Jurassic Park was a major blockbuster hit when it first came out in 1993, as was Jurassic World when it came out in 2015. Even though the movies are both based off of the same thing and are similar in many aspects, the way they created the movements of the dinosaurs has certainly changed. In 1993, the special effects department would still use some form of CGI, but they would have people dressed as dinosaurs in place of the actual dinosaurs that are supposed to be present, according to www.hollywoodreporter.com. The visual effects team also made animatronic creatures for the actors to work with.

“They [the dinosaurs] were a good size — human size. We had tryouts and we cast people from ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) as each dinosaur. We gave them a tail and did motion capture,” stated Tim Alexander, Visual Effects Supervisor.

In Jurassic World, they had body doubles for the raptors, but all the rest of the dinosaurs were completely CGI. The actors had to imagine the rest of the creatures while they were filming.

“Special effects have grown significantly in our lifetime. The image has become much clearer and the sound has been enhanced as well. It makes it much easier to enjoy movies,” stated junior Jakob Ocasio.

Harry Potter vs. Fantastic Beasts

The Harry Potter franchise and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them are relatively new movies, all coming from the 2000s. However, the progression of special effects throughout the movies are evident. The changes are very subtle, but one might notice the progression of color. In the first Harry Potter movie, the setting is less colorful than in the later Harry Potter movies and in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This is because new technology became available to enhance the color and brightness in movies.

As well as color, modern features are put into newer movies such as the way magic in these particular movies is conducted. The little nuances involved in magic are tweaked and enhanced to make it look more realistic. For example, the Thunderbird that appears in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was CGI as well as completely remastered for the film. The special effects department enhanced the gold color of the bird to make it appear more magical, appearing more mystical to capture the wonders of the magical world. Some other creatures were also added via CGI and given specific attributes, such as the Niffler (a small mole-like creature who loves everything shiny) and the Swooping Evil (a winged bat-like creature that rolls up into a tight ball).

Special effects will continue to progress as time goes on and, one day, society may have movies that will become more immersive instead of the laid back style they are now. However, movies have already progressed to include more advanced special effects and are meant to keep people enjoying them for years to come.

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From unrealistic to sensational