We live in a special time. It’s truly the Renaissance of visual effects. While there have been numerous film sequences that amazed at the time, the ones listed here really stuck with me.
I easily could have created a Top 20 — it might have included the pre-crime interface scenes from Minority Report, or the speeder bike chase from Return of the Jedi. But the moments below really stand out for their innovation, creativity, and art direction. So, without future adieu…
You may have read my gripe about the first Star Wars film and how, at the time, I had wished it had been about Earth and our future. Well, I had forgotten all about that nonsense by the time the Millenium Falcon took on the TIE Fighters. I thought when Han and Luke used the laser turrets, I’d seen something truly new and remarkable.
That scene had nothing, though, on the final battle over the Death Star. When the Rebel fighters dove in to the equatorial trench to exploit the stations one and only weakness, I was speechless. To this day, I’m not sure any effect has topped this one. This is one thing George Lucas got completely right.
The first time Captain Picard, I mean Gurney Halleck (Patrick Stewart), activated his cubistic, amber, energy shield to fight young Paul Atreides (Kyle MacLachlan), I was completely entranced. This was one of those “Wow, I’ve never seen that before!” moments that I will never forget.
While I think Dune was a pretty inconsistent (and incomprehensible) film, this scene and its visual effects will always be with me as one of the most creative and futuristic images ever.
Hey, I just realized that Patrick Stewart is in two of my favorite effect scenes. Interesting. Anyway… When Gurney Halleck, I mean Captain Picard, and the newly-emotionalized Commander Data (Brent Spiner) need to investigate the circumstances surrounding strange astronomical events, they utilize the coolest observatory ever.
This room features expanding holographic galactic displays and a central catwalk control console. If you haven’t ever seen this, check it out. It was one of the truly magical visual effects moments in all of Star Trek. Honestly, the YouTube video doesn’t do this justice; you had to see it in a theater to get a sense of how epic it was.
Is it the over the top violence or the cheesy teen romance that keeps this film from getting full props for its visual effects? Regardless, Starship Troopers has some of the best space scenes ever created. Not only did the following sequence thrill and suck you in emotionally, it gave the true sense of scale that a space battle like this would have. I also love the ship designs. I hope the new remake does the original justice.
While I’m not a big fan of the Matrix trilogy at large, I did enjoy their use of clean, futuristic white space. As Morpheus’ ship, the Nebuchadnezzar, returns to the underground city of Zion, it’s guided into port by a team of disembodied human controllers using a Matrix-like interface.
What’s so interesting to me is look and feel of the black-lined graphics — the way the controllers touch and manipulate the objects in the air. I thought it was truly fresh and captivating.
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