Thursday, October 2, 2014

Gunnar Nystrom
Professor Waggoner
Intermediate Composition
2 October 2014
The Special Effects Phase
            People nowadays go the movies just to see the special effects. Modern day technology and innovation has turned the film industry into a flourishing dream world, an escape from what is real and sometimes boring. One movie series that many people have seen based solely on its entertaining
action and adventure is the Transformers series. From a sarcastic point of view it can be argued that the Transformers movie are just a bunch of explosions and CGI developed by director Michael Bay. Bay’s credibility has come to a point where he just makes action films with lots of explosions. Today we live in a world where the “screens are dominated by soulless movies full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”(Gianetti 35). In an examination of the original Transformers movie, one may find this to be somewhat true and if so, what is it that made this movie so successful?
            A short ways into the movie we get our first good look at Optimus Prime, the leader of the autobots. Optimus Prime takes the shape of an 18-wheeler truck as he drives up to Shia Lebouf and Megan Fox’s characters in the scene. Optimus then transforms into his natural, robotic form. However, his natural form is nothing natural at all! He proceeds into a twenty-five second transformation in which different parts of the truck move around in order to create a humanoid looking robot. When looking at the “behind the scenes” of the movie, it’s easy to uncover the details behind the production of the movie. As it turns out, most of the scenes were shot without any transformer in them. The robotic, alien like creatures were added into the film after the scene was shot. The movie editors used a type of editing software in order to visually add a general starting shape before adding the rest of the more complex features. In an interview with the movie’s visual effects supervisor, Scott Farrar explains, “when that crucial in-between involves over 10,0000 hand-modeled parts pulled out of an actual auto body, there’s a bit more filling in to do”. Optimus Prime’s transformation is incredibly complicated and when each part is “hand-modeled” and artistically detailed, it’s understandable that millions of people want to see it. After all, something so specific and meticulous provides an unbelievable amount of logical and ethical appeal to a movie.
            But visual special effects weren’t the only exciting part of the Optimus Prime transformation sequence.  During his so-called makeover, the directors added a variety of different sounds and music. While sounds aren’t necessarily special effects, they can definitely be considered as special when they’re not supposed to be there. The editors put in a variety of different metal clanking sounds, automobile exhaust noises, and decompression blares. The music on the other hand was quite fantastical, and expressed this idea of the mysterious and adventurous. The music and the sounds are supposed to amplify the special effects and the film’s emotional appeal. They did just that.
There is another scene towards the climax of the movie, which conveys a different type of special effect. In the city battle scene between the autobots and decepticons, Michael Bay introduces an intense array of explosions magnified by an enormous amount of gunfire. Explosions are definitely considered special effects because they bring something unnatural into the movie world. Even the slight digital blast coming from the cannons of the autobots is considered a special effect. In Giannetti’s Understanding Movies, she states how “pointless chases, explosions, gratuitous violence, explosions, lots of speed, explosions, and just for good measure, more explosions” are the basic for many of modern day society’s films (Gianetti 35). I would agree with this statement, because explosions induce the logical appeal that people desire when they go to a movie theater.
Overall, when you mix computer graphics with science fiction, you can show people things that no one ever believed could be true. This allows the special effects artists to provide their own credibility, because they can show people something they’ve never seen before and persuade them that this is what it looks like. However, “like the good doctor, we’re inclined to test the facts against our feelings and against the ethos of those making the appeal” (Lunsford 69). So one has to be careful because bad special effects can limit the logical appeal within the movie and the credibility of the creators themselves.

The Transformers movie definitely caught my attention because it created an unrealistic world that I thought was incredibly exciting. As a result, I give the movie’s special effects five out of five pickles for its work. Yet in the end, it was a film with a predictable plot, average acting, and just a bizarre romance. But the special effects, those were impeccable.

No comments:

Post a Comment