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Special Effects: Best and Worst

posted by Nell Minow

Den of Geek has made a list of the best movie special effects shots of all time — and the worst.
Special effects go back to the very beginning of film. The first great genius of special effects was George Melies, a stage magician. He was the one who figured out that he could make people appear and disappear by stopping the camera. His film “A Trip to the Moon” is still filled with charm. The rocket ship smashes into the face of the man in the moon. His moon creatures are delightfully acrobatic. The explorers come back to earth by just jumping off!
I visited the German museum of film in Frankfurt and learned that the German word for special effects is “filmtricks.” It has little to do with resources or technology — the special effects in the original 1933 “King Kong” hold up well more than 80 years later, and I think the best special effects of 2008 were in “Iron Man,” where they were almost entirely mechanical and not computer-generated. Just like everything else about the movies, it is the humans who make the difference, not the machines or the money.
Thanks to iorek for the excellent link!

  • Dustin Putman

    These are terrific links, Nell. Thanks so much for bringing them to our attention. A person could spend hours just reading it and watching all the clips. A great compilation, too!

  • jestrfyl

    WOW – what a topic to suggest! I love special effects. The problem is that they have become so prevalent that it is hard to identify just which is the best. In acutality, the best special effect is the one that you don’t even realize has happened. This is not possible when exploding planets or animating dinosaurs. But in so many other things special effects simply cover a budget or time shortfall. It gets so there are almost no films without sepcial effects – perhaps a list ofthese might be interesting.
    Anyway, I commend highly the film “F/X” – which involves a murder and special effects.
    Add to this, I would like to see moe recognition for the stunt people in films. They offer their very bodies for a special effect. Most outrageous, flamable, farthest fall/throw, best double, best trick with an (actual) animal, most gagas in one film, mosts gags in one year, and a few more catagories would be interesting.

  • Marty

    The ability to produce decent special effects in the UK is something we are seriously lacking. Our stuff is terrible.

  • Flu-Bird

    The space battle from STAR WARS,the burning of atlanta from GONE WITH THE WIND, the battle between the USS ENTERPISE and the klingon vessel from STAR TREK VI, the tornado from WIZARD OF OZ,the bird attcks from THE BIRDS,the giant squid attck from 2Q0:000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA,The giant ants from THEM,

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