Thursday, February 21, 2013


As soon as found out that this blog entry was supposed to be about special effects in movies, I thought about the movie Limitless. This movie has some action sequences that I thought would be great to analyze. However, after going through the movie a second time; I found two consecutive scenes that include great special effects that enhance the overall quality, believability, and effectiveness of the movie. This film is about a young man named Eddie who stumbles upon a drug called NZT. It unlocks the full 100% capacity of your brain and allows you to do things otherwise impossible without the drug. Tasks such as cleaning an apartment or writing a book become extremely manageable in a superhuman way. These two examples are scenes in the film starring Bradley Cooper as Eddie Morra.
The first scene we will analyze is that where Eddie takes NZT and finds that his apartment is completely filthy and must clean it. On NZT the brain functions differently and is much more effective. Understanding Movies by Louis Giannetti states, “film artists interested in F/X materials need to be just as talented as artists in any other style or genre or technology” (Giannetti 35). He says that “what [is done] with the technology artistically [is what] counts” (Giannetti 35). This artistic prowess is represented onscreen in a very unique way. Instead of showing Eddie clean his room with super speed or fast forwarded, the scene shows multiple Eddie’s cleaning the room. One major thing that contributes to this well-done effect is that his apartment is a pretty small space. Because of this, his multiple selves are working on the room very close to each other. The scene is shot as if all ten Eddie’s are aware of each other, and even finish tasks that the others start. This all comes together to present a very stunning special effect that truly enhances the movie and its portrayal of life on these intelligence enhancing drugs. I believe that everyone that worked on this scene did a great job of showing what it is like inside another humans mind.
The second scene we will analyze occurs directly after Eddie cleans his apartment. Eddie is a writer, but hasn’t written anything worthwhile in a long time. He has been stuck in a prolonged writer’s block and has not been able to write his next piece. He writes a novel worth of material by the end of the night. The challenge with this scene is to show how Eddie does this in his superior mental state. In the movie Bruce Almighty, they showed Jim Carey’s character typing at a super high speed. Again the typical sped up, superhuman speed to show an increased ability. Limitless drifts from the traditional approach and decides to create a special effect that proves to make more sense and be more realistic. This NZT drug unlocks the full power of the human brain. It does not give the user inhuman motor skills. The filmmakers involved decided to show gold letters descend from the sky all around Eddie. These letters poured down all on Eddie’s laptop as he typed everything. The onscreen action infers that this is what Eddie sees in his mind. He sees all the letters forming words that he is going to type, and they are all clear, succinct thoughts. This effect works well to show his heightened state of mind and further enhances the overall effectiveness of the film.

These two scenes along with several others throughout the movie show how the use of effective special effects in Limitless add to the overall credibility, believability, quality, and effectiveness of the film. Because of these things I give this film 3 out of 3 tickets. I believe it uses special effects in a very unique way and it enhances the overall viewing experience of the film.


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