Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' Tom Hardy Says He'll Never Do Another Romantic Comedy Again Thanks To 'This Means War' David Fincher Apparently Thinks 'Dragon Tattoo' Sequel 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' Could Get Made David Fincher Apparently Thinks 'Dragon Tattoo' Sequel 'The Girl Who Played With Fire' Could Get Made Fall TV Preview: Our 22 Most Anticipated Shows For The Rest Of 2014 Fall TV Preview: Our 22 Most Anticipated Shows For The Rest Of 2014 TIFF Review: 'Still Alice' Starring Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin & Kate Bosworth TIFF Review: 'Still Alice' Starring Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin & Kate Bosworth Jason Reitman Calls ‘Labor Day’ "A Misguided Effort" Jason Reitman Calls ‘Labor Day’ "A Misguided Effort" David Fincher & James Ellroy Plotting 1950s Crime Noir Series For HBO David Fincher & James Ellroy Plotting 1950s Crime Noir Series For HBO Chris Evans On His Directorial Debut ‘Before We Go,’ Filming In New York, & ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ Chris Evans On His Directorial Debut ‘Before We Go,’ Filming In New York, & ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ TIFF Review: Liv Ullmann’s ‘Miss Julie’ Starring Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell & Samantha Morton TIFF Review: Liv Ullmann’s ‘Miss Julie’ Starring Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell & Samantha Morton Boardwalk Empire - Season 5 - Episode 1 Recap: “Golden Days For Boys & Girls” Boardwalk Empire - Season 5 - Episode 1 Recap: “Golden Days For Boys & Girls” Box-Office: ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Leads Slowest Weekend Of The Year & Surpasses ‘Iron Man’ & ‘Man Of Steel’ Box-Office: ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Leads Slowest Weekend Of The Year & Surpasses ‘Iron Man’ & ‘Man Of Steel’ TIFF Review: Tom McCarthy's 'The Cobbler' Starring Adam Sandler TIFF Review: Tom McCarthy's 'The Cobbler' Starring Adam Sandler TIFF Review: Kevin Smith's Horror Story 'Tusk,' Starring Justin Long, Michael Parks & Johnny Depp TIFF Review: Kevin Smith's Horror Story 'Tusk,' Starring Justin Long, Michael Parks & Johnny Depp TIFF Review: Noah Baumbach's 'While We're Young' Starring Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Adam Driver & Amanda Seyfried TIFF Review: Noah Baumbach's 'While We're Young' Starring Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Adam Driver & Amanda Seyfried TIFF Review: Dan Gilroy’s ‘Nightcrawler’ Starring Jake Gyllenhaal & Rene Russo TIFF Review: Dan Gilroy’s ‘Nightcrawler’ Starring Jake Gyllenhaal & Rene Russo TIFF Review: ‘The Drop’ Starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace & James Gandolfini TIFF Review: ‘The Drop’ Starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace & James Gandolfini 'Wolf Of Wall Street' Star Margot Robbie Circling Live-Action 'Ghost In The Shell' Remake 'Wolf Of Wall Street' Star Margot Robbie Circling Live-Action 'Ghost In The Shell' Remake The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes

'The Matrix' Anniversary: 7 Pre-Bullet Time VFX Effects That Blew Our Minds

Indiewire By Jessica Kiang | Indiewire April 3, 2014 at 12:07PM

15 years ago this week, a pair of siblings with only a modest cult indie movie under their belt, to that point, released a film you might have heard of: “The Matrix," a heady and immediately classic mashup of sci-fi, cyberpunk, Baudrillardian philosophy (or a distortion thereof) and anime, all wrapped up in an immensely compelling Messiah-myth story. On a macro level, the Wachowskis' film was such a successful fusion of all its various influences that it felt like something new, raked in just shy of half a billion dollars worldwide, and spawned a franchise (which we won’t talk about any further here for fear of spoiling the celebratory atmosphere). But on a micro level “The Matrix” was revolutionary too, delivering, in amongst some terrifically stylish set and costume design and spectacular action setpieces, one of the most jaw-dropping effects we’d ever seen to that point in a film: Bullet Time.
16

The Alien Water Pseudopod in “The Abyss” (1989)
Still one of the more beautiful special effects we’ve seen, the long tentacle of water weaving its way through the ship to find the awestruck Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Ed Harris at the end of it, was already an amazing shot before the hovering water alien starts mimicking her facial expressions. In fact, when we first were at this point watching the film, “The Abyss” might well have been a candidate for one of our favorite movies, but then that ending happened.

Factoid: ILM spent 6 months creating the 75 seconds of effects that make up this shot, thereby, along with substantial reshoots, forcing the film’s release to be delayed by over a month from its original July 4th slot. It also has contributed the mythos of James Cameron’s reputedly dictatorial on-set style; Ed Harris, for example, has refused ever to talk about the film again.

The Stained Glass Knight in “Young Sherlock Holmes” (1985)
We’ll be honest, it’s probably time we revisited this well-intentioned Barry Levinson-directed stab at bringing Holmes to a younger audience because really all we remember from its noisy hi-jinks and proto-Harry Potter boarding school set-up is a post-credits sequence that reveals [SPOILER for 30-year-old movie alert!] the baddie actually survived and is, sigh, Moriarty, and this one terrific moment in which a stained glass window comes to life and menaces a priest.

Factoid: Blink and you’ll miss it, but this is in fact the first-ever fully CG-animated, photo-real character in a film, and was created by a young man working for Lucasfilm at the time named John Lasseter.

Inside the Computer World in “Tron” (1982)
While the light cycles and lovingly rendered video game graphics of the original “Tron” are undoubtedly the first things this film calls to mind, even at the time, for us the most impressive part was how seamlessly the footage that contains live action, especially of the actors’ faces and some practical sets, was incorporated to blend seamlessly into the computer graphics. Considering the film was initially planned as pure animation, this is doubly impressive, and the grainy, monochrome faces of Bridges, Boxleitner et al. set into the neon-detailed costumes and landscapes are actually what give the film an aesthetic that looks tremendously retro-cool to this day.

Factoid: Perhaps surprisingly, one of the biggest cheerleaders for “Tron” was Roger Ebert, who awarded it 4/4 stars, called it “a technological sound-and-light show that is sensational and brainy, stylish, and fun” and closed his first annual “Overlooked Film Festival” with a screening of it.

This article is related to: The Matrix, The Wachowskis, Features, Feature, Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Superman

E-Mail Updates


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.