Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Prestige

          When making a movie, every single detail is thought about with great care.  The actor that will play the part, their clothing, and most importantly, the technology is all cautiously thought of. It is fascinating when someone looks deeply into the details of how a movie was technologically made.  Special effects, camera angles, make up and stunts are specifically done in order to give a certain perspective to the viewer. When observing the technology perspective of The Prestige, my view of the movie changed.  The camera angles and special effects used throughout the movie significantly altered the influence of the movie. 
            Everyone loves magic.  As a child magic shows seem to be the most mysterious, stimulating demonstrations.  So much time was spent trying to analyze every move the magician made in order to find out how it worked.  Most of the time, the trick ended up being incredibly simple resulting in mild disappointment.  The Prestige created a new perspective on magic. Instead of using illusions, it used science.  By doing so, this created a more realistic perception of magic.  While shooting the movie, stunts were a crucial part of their process. Lee C. Jaster explained that, “Sometimes the best visual effect is the one the audience doesn’t realize is there.” Many do not consider that while shooting the movie, the actors had to perform stunts (magic tricks) that they were required to train for.  They had to be fully prepared to be dropped into a tank full of water with their hands tied.  Many magic tricks are considered dangerous and actors cannot simply do them without preparation.
            The most famous trick that is performed in the movie is the transported man.  The entire movie is focused around this trick. However, until the end, the scientific design of the trick was not created. The special effects that were used for this trick are extraordinary.  The lighting is a crucial part because it creates the intensity that the director wants the viewer to feel.  The lightning-like blue beams that surround Hugh Jackman give the spectator a mysterious feeling because it is not something they’ve seen before. It adds to the effect of the unfamiliar aspect of the trick.  The special effect that adds even more to this is the deformation of his skin as the lights move around him.  His skin seems to move and warp as if he is becoming a hologram.  While initially watching the movie I did not notice this because I was so fascinated with what was happening but then I took the time to notice technical aspects of each trick. Something as small as warping his skin slightly as the lights move around him had a huge impact of the scientific and magical view of the trick. 
            While stunts and lighting have a great impact on the movie, nothing comes close to the setting. This movie was made to represent the turn of the 19th century.  Because of this, special effects were needed to represent the time frame that the movie was supposed to symbolize.  Although it is an incredibly basic detail that is crucial, many do not consider the work that it required.  Without the costumes, backdrops and props, no one would know when the movie was occurring.  It also helps grab the attention of the spectator.
            My appreciation for movies has significantly increased.  Focusing on the technical aspects of movies heightens the impact a movie can have on the viewer. So much work is put into making a movie as realistic and convincing as possible. Overall, The Prestige did a great job creating a movie that carefully constructed special effects that would positively enhance the story. 

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