Special Effects: Still in Search of Wonder

Special Effects: Still in Search of Wonder

Special Effects: Still in Search of Wonder

Special Effects: Still in Search of Wonder

Synopsis

Designed to trick the eye and stimulate the imagination, special effects have changed the way we look at films and the worlds created in them. Computer-generated imagery (CGI), as seen in Hollywood blockbusters like Star Wars, Terminator 2, Jurassic Park, Independence Day, Men in Black, and The Matrix, is just the latest advance in the evolution of special effects. Even as special effects have been marveled at by millions, this is the first investigation of their broader cultural reception. Moving from an exploration of nineteenth-century popular science and magic to the Hollywood science fiction cinema of our time, Special Effects examines the history, advancements, and connoisseurship of special effects, asking what makes certain types of cinematic effects special, why this matters, and for whom. Michele Pierson shows how popular science magazines, genre filmzines, and computer lifestyle magazines have articulated an aesthetic criticism of this emerging art form and have helped shape how these hugely popular on-screen technological wonders have been viewed by moviegoers.

Excerpt

Special effects have always been a magical form. Belonging to no single media, they flicker most brightly in the moment at which all media appears most modern. Before the emergence of cinema at the end of the nineteenth century, many different forms of public amusement enchanted audiences with their wonder-working special effects. Throughout the early part of the century, lavish displays of industrial light and magic were mounted in the form of phantasmagoria and magic shows, pantomime, exhibitions of new technologies, and science lectures and demonstrations. Visitors to these popular amusements were drawn by the expectation of having all manner of curious, mercurial, and startling images materialized before their eyes. Both the wonder-workers responsible for the creation and exhibition of this imagery and the popular media that circulated advertising and reviews of it invited audiences to view it as magic. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, computer-generated visual effects are not only a major attraction of Hollywood blockbuster cinema but one that, despite being produced within an industrial context that is more highly rationalized than ever . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.