A look back at the legendary special effects of the sequel to ‘Star Wars’

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<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "It is only appropriate that Ray Harryhausen and The Empire Strikes Back celebrate milestone anniversaries in the same year. 2020 marks the 100th birthday of the special effects pioneer behind vintage Hollywood glasses like The 7th trip from Sindbad and Jason and the Argonautsas well as the 40th anniversary of the second and best rate in war of starsSkywalker saga. “Data-reactid =” 32 “> It is only appropriate that Ray Harryhausen and The Empire Strikes Back celebrate milestone anniversaries in the same year. 2020 marks the 100th birthday of the special effects pioneer behind vintage Hollywood glasses like The 7th trip from Sindbad and Jason and the Argonautsas well as the 40th anniversary of the second and best rate in war of starsSkywalker saga.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "But they have more in common than the calendar year: The AT- ATs and Tauntauns that go through rich are inspired by Harryhausen’s menagerie of stop-motion creatures, from Cyclops to Krakens. “They had character, they had performance, and they had a purpose,” said Dennis Muren, who spent a childhood watching Harryhausen’s films, as a pioneering career war of stars F / X legend. “It was wonderful to look at them and the designs of the recordings were dynamic. Ray’s work grabbed you emotionally because it started with him. I am the same way: emotionally connected with the performance and design of a character who, in simple terms, looks really neat. “” Data-reactid = “33”> But they have more in common than the calendar year: The AT -ATs and Tauntauns that go through rich are inspired by Harryhausen’s menagerie of stop-motion creatures, from Cyclops to Krakens. “They had character, they had performance, and they had a purpose,” said Dennis Muren, who spent a childhood watching Harryhausen’s films, as a pioneering career war of stars F / X legend. “It was wonderful to look at them and the designs of the recordings were dynamic. Ray’s work grabbed you emotionally because it started with him. I am the same: to be emotionally connected to the performance and design of a character that simply looks really neat. “

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "He is currently Senior Visual Effects Supervisor and Creative Director at Industrial Light & Magic, Muren, first entered George Lucas's groundbreaking visual effects studio in 1976 when she was still making and photographing spaceships in a Van Nuys warehouse war of stars Blown up at the box office, Muren followed ILM into the Bay Area when Lucas set the course for a return trip to his distant galaxy. “It was by far the most difficult film,” says Muren The Empire Strikes Back came together behind the camera. “Everything has just gotten bigger. The spirit of the film was still funny and adventurous, but it had more romance, more action, the empire was bigger, and the universe was bigger than we thought in the first film. “” Data-reactid = “35”> Currently Muren, Senior Visual Effects Supervisor and Creative Director at Industrial Light & Magic, first entered George Lucas’s groundbreaking visual effects studio in 1976 when spaceships were still in a Van Nuys- Warehouse made and photographed war of stars Blown up at the box office, Muren followed ILM into the Bay Area when Lucas set the course for a return trip to his distant galaxy. “It was by far the most difficult film,” says Muren The Empire Strikes Back came together behind the camera. “Everything has just gotten bigger. The spirit of the film was still funny and adventurous, but it had more romance, more action, the empire was bigger, and the universe was bigger than we thought in the first film. “

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Muren's role has also been expanded richwhen he pointed out that he was leading the fleet of miniatures that play an important role in the film’s legendary opening series on the ice planet Hoth. With the advent of digital technology, which was still many years away, Muren and his team brought the rebel’s Tauntauns herd and the empire’s AT-AT Walker troop to life by hand. He followed the example of Harryhausen. “Data-reactid =” 36 “> Muren’s role has also been expanded richwhen he pointed out that he was leading the fleet of miniatures that play an important role in the film’s legendary opening series on the ice planet Hoth. With the advent of digital technology, which was still many years away, Muren and his team brought the rebel’s Tauntauns herd and the empire’s AT-AT Walker troop to life by hand. And he followed the example of Harryhausen.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "" I always think of the Cyclops from The 7th trip from Sindbadwho comes out of his cave roaring and angry and his hands up because he is ready to grab one of the sailors, ”explains Muren, who later won his first Oscar for his work on the film. (He currently has nine statues, most of them all living.) “That’s what I always want to incorporate into my work: there’s a reason why this creature is there. They don’t just give the audience an effect: They want them to feel some of it, be it ‘oh my god that’s amazing’ or ‘oh it’s really creepy’ or ‘wait this is impossible!’ “data-reactid =” 38 “>” I always think of the Cyclops from The 7th trip from Sindbadwho comes out of his cave roaring and angry and his hands up because he is ready to grab one of the sailors, ”explains Muren, who later won his first Oscar for his work on the film. (He currently has nine statues, most of them all living.) “That’s what I always want to incorporate into my work: there’s a reason why this creature is there. They don’t just give the audience an effect: They want you to feel some of it, be it “Oh my god that’s amazing” or “Oh it’s really creepy” or “Wait, this is impossible!”

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "In honor of richMuren led us through the seemingly impossible task of creating the Hoth sequence and through his own close encounter with his F / X hero. “Data-reactid =” 40 “> In honor of richMuren led us through the seemingly impossible task of creating the Hoth sequence and his own close encounter with his F / X hero.

<p class = "Artboard-Atom Artboard-Text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Yahoo Entertainment: You said that The Empire Strikes Back was the hardest war of stars To make film. What was the reason for the level of difficulty? “data-reactid =” 41 “>Yahoo Entertainment: You said that The Empire Strikes Back was the hardest war of stars To make film. What was the reason for the level of difficulty?

<p class = "Artboard-Atom Artboard-Text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Dennis Muren: Good, The dark threat It might also have been difficult because there was a lot of really groundbreaking work to get all the digital things going. But we had two superiors. To the richWe had just gotten out of Los Angeles and only brought 12 people out of the 50 in LA. We had to hire on site to get the job done. We all wanted to outdo ourselves, and George had already done that with the designs. The number of countries and battles you have seen in rich was at least five times more than you saw war of stars. You had an ice planet and a city in the clouds – what should it look like? “Data reactid =” 42 “>Dennis Muren: Good, The dark threat It might also have been difficult because there was a lot of really groundbreaking work to get all the digital things going. But we had two superiors. To the richWe had just gotten out of Los Angeles and only brought 12 people out of the 50 in LA. We had to hire on site to get the job done. We all wanted to outdo ourselves, and George had already done that with the designs. The number of countries and battles you have seen in rich was at least five times more than you saw war of stars. You had an ice planet and a city in the clouds – what should it look like?

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Any kind of compositing over a light color The background is very , very difficult, and the whole movie was full of it, in addition to your normal space battles, the vision was so big, and we had a couple of years to do that, but it took us so much time to get the fire to do it and people to do it, we all wanted what George wanted, what the audience wanted: to show you that this universe is so much bigger than what we saw war of stars. “data-reactid =” 43 “> Any kind of compositing over a light background is very, very difficult. And the whole movie was full of it, in addition to your normal space battles. The vision was so big and we had a couple of years Time to do it, but it took us so much time to make the fire and people to do it, we all wanted what George wanted, what the audience wanted: to show you that Universe is so much bigger than what we saw war of stars.

<p class = "Artboard-Atom Artboard-Text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "What was the most difficult part of the Hoth sequence in particular?“data-reactid =” 46 “>What was the most difficult part of the Hoth sequence in particular?

The first Tauntaun shot was one of the most difficult and interesting things. The story behind it was that George had brought this helicopter back from Norway [where the Hoth exteriors were filmed]and it was about 200 or 300 feet above the floor with the cameras looking straight down. He didn’t know if this setting would be necessary for the film, but at the end he said, “Yes, it is necessary to have this setting. Do you think there is a way to add a Tauntaun?”

There was no such thing! There were no chase marks on the floor that would have helped us create the stop motion camera map exactly with the movements of the helicopter, and then we could have combined them with an optical printer. But none of it was there. I was thinking about building a large model, but I didn’t think it would work with the background. George said, “Well, just think about it.” I thought about it for 15 minutes and figured it out in 15 minutes! I learned an amazing lesson from that: there is usually an answer, there is always a way to play around with what you know to try. If I had stopped thinking after 14 minutes and 59 seconds, we wouldn’t have had this shot in the film.

<p class = "Artboard-Atom Artboard-Text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "The Tauntauns definitely feel very Harryhausen in their design and behavior. Did their shape correspond to what you could achieve with stop motion at the time, or did the stop motion dictate its shape?“data-reactid =” 50 “>The Tauntauns definitely feel very Harryhausen in their design and behavior. Did their shape correspond to what you could achieve with stop motion at the time, or did the stop motion dictate its shape?

Dennis Muren (behind the camera) films Suzanne Pasteur (a friend of Lorne Peterson) on her horse as a reference for the Tauntaun movement. (Photo: Lucasfilm)

Dennis Muren (behind the camera) films Suzanne Pasteur (a friend of Lorne Peterson) on her horse as a reference for the Tauntaun movement. (Photo: Lucasfilm)

George came up with the idea of ​​a galloping horse and I think Ralph [McQuarrie] and Joe [Johnston] worked on the design. I was involved in how we wanted to create a shot that looked like it was real and was not bothered by any of the cameras. I don’t know how many shots we made of it – maybe 12 or 15 or so, and they were some of the last ones we did. There was a couple that George added at the very end. It was like: “After two years we can finally take a breather, but no, there is still a shot!”

<p class = "Artboard-Atom Artboard-Text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "I remember how I connected to them very much as a child – I always went through that it would be fun to ride them. “data-reactid =” 72 “>I remember how I connected to them very much as a child – I always went through that it would be fun to ride them.

<figcaption class = "C ($ c-fuji-gray-h) Fz (13px) Py (5px) Lh (1.5)" title = "Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) on a Tauntaun on the planet Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back. (Photo: Lucasfilm) “data-reactid =” 89 “>

Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) on a Tauntaun on the planet Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back. (Photo: Lucasfilm)

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "This results from the design and the purpose. It behaves not like an evil creature: it's a pretty big, bulky thing and it actually looks kind of cute with a horn and steam out of your nose, it's not a creature that could kidnap you or anything – it's just an animal that Last, this applies to everyone war of stars Films: The behavior is known so that the audience can refer to it. Also with the designs of the spaceships; I tried to show how they would settle to fly to another planet or something like an airplane in the air, even though there is no gravity in space and it never would. It looks really neat and you can relate to it. “data-reactid =” 93 “> That comes from the design and the purpose. It doesn’t behave like an evil creature: it’s a pretty big, bulky thing and actually looks kind of cute when horn and steam come out. It is not a creature that could kidnap you or anything – it’s just a pack animal. That applies to everyone war of stars Films: The behavior is known so that the audience can refer to it. Also with the designs of the spaceships; I tried to show how they would settle to fly to another planet or something like an airplane in the air, even though there is no gravity in space and it never would. It looks really neat and you can relate to it.

<p class = "Artboard-Atom Artboard-Text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "In relation to the AT-AT Walker, this is a case where you give character to a non-living thing. There are recordings behind the scenes of the ILM team that examines elephants as a reference for movement. “data-reactid =” 94 “>In relation to the AT-AT Walker, this is a case where you give character to a non-living thing. There are recordings behind the scenes of the ILM team that examines elephants as a reference for movement.

When we saw the designs, we thought they were like big animals. We went to a zoo in Dunn, California and put some chalk marks on the elephant and let it run from left to right and right to left with the camera on. That gave us the weight; These things would have weighed thousands of tons, and we had to make it look like it was gravity, otherwise it would just look silly – not as powerful and evil as it should look. We also shot the elephants in slow motion to make them look even bigger, observing features of how far the knee goes up and how far the body moves forward. Does the foot lift straight? Does it fall down again? All of this stuff was used as a foundation, so when we were animating we had a body part to do that.

We also had some really good devices to look at the pictures while shooting and to make sure the animation worked well. As now, there are all sorts of stop motion photographers, and ours weren’t done the way Ray would have, where you couldn’t tell if you had made a mistake, and could go back and say, “I’ve gone too far emotional? ”We could compare and say,” Oh yes, we moved it too far “and then changed it to move it to a better place. So it’s probably more of a flowing movement than you might have seen before, and that was important. Any kind of chatter in the stop motion looks like the mechanics of the walkers. They are all mechanical anyway, so the motors have to have small bumps. So that adds to the feeling, you know?

<p class = "Artboard-Atom Artboard-Text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "What was your favorite sequence besides Hoth? “data-reactid =” 98 “>What was your favorite sequence besides Hoth?

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "I don't know – they are all very different![[[[Laughs]]I really like the asteroid sequence; that could surpass Hoth a bit. It was also very difficult, but it was a lot of fun. George wasn’t interested in the beats of the action, but in the setting. There had to be some clarity to see what was going on, which was difficult because the asteroids came in from every direction. I made a model of this sequence and realized that everything had to be based on the Millennium Falcon that shot through the asteroids. We had the idea of ​​moving all the asteroids in one direction from one side of the screen to the other, and then you could show how the falcon performs evasive maneuvers. “data-reactid =” 99 “> I don’t know – they’re all so different![[[[Laughs]]I really like the asteroid sequence; that could surpass Hoth a bit. It was also very difficult, but it was a lot of fun. George wasn’t interested in the beats of the action, but in the setting. There had to be some clarity to see what was going on, which was difficult because the asteroids came in from every direction. I made a model of this sequence and realized that everything had to be based on the Millennium Falcon that shot through the asteroids. We had the idea of ​​moving all the asteroids in one direction from one side of the screen to the other, and then you could show how the falcon performs evasive maneuvers.

<p class = "Artboard-Atom Artboard-Text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Did you get the chance to meet Ray Harryhausen before his death in 2013? “data-reactid =” 100 “>Did you get the chance to meet Ray Harryhausen before his death in 2013?

<figcaption class = "C ($ c-fuji-gray-h) Fz (13px) Py (5px) Lh (1.5)" title = "The legend of special effects Ray Harryhausen is working on a model for a battle of the titans Character. (Photo: Courtesy of the Everett Collection) “data-reactid =” 117 “>

Special effects legend Ray Harryhausen is working on a model for a battle of the titans Character. (Photo: Courtesy of the Everett Collection)

Oh yeah. I was probably about 14 years old at the time and he was in the phone book, like almost everyone else in those days in LA when I called him, and he was living in Malibu, so my mother drove me home and me two hours away met him and his wife. They were just the nicest couple in the world. They invited me for an hour or two and we kept in touch. When I got older I went back to his garage and showed him my home videos and he showed me some of his early home videos. He was a kindred spirit. He later moved to England, so I didn’t see him much afterwards.

<p class = "Artboard-Atom Artboard-Text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Did he ever visit you while you were making? war of stars or rich?“data-reactid =” 122 “>Did he ever visit you while you were making? war of stars or rich?

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "No, but I saw him when I was working at Dragon slayer. We were in the same studio in England and he did battle of the titans. I think I brought him along to show him the kite and the back projection work. We worked on the next step beyond stop-motion, the combination of animation with a motion-controlled motorized camera. He wasn’t quite referring to it, and I can understand why: it may take five days if you’re lucky enough to get a full shot. At the end of the day, [his method] didn’t quite have the realism we had, but it also had the energy to just come in and grab the figure by hand and spend the next eight hours animating it. “data-reactid =” 123 “> No, but I saw him while I was working on it Dragon slayer. We were in the same studio in England and he did battle of the titans. I think I brought him along to show him the kite and the back projection work. We worked on the next step beyond stop-motion, the combination of animation with a motion-controlled motorized camera. He wasn’t quite referring to it, and I can understand why: it may take five days if you’re lucky enough to get a full shot. At the end of the day, [his method] didn’t quite have the realism we had, but it also had the energy to just come in and grab the figure by hand and spend the next eight hours animating it.

<p class = "Artboard-Atom Artboard-Text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "After rich and with things like the Tauntaun sequence, I realized that we had to break away from stop motion and try to look for something else. I would say that we couldn’t move the Tauntaun as far as we wanted and there were some shots that we didn’t finish. But George was extremely accommodating in everything, and there was a sense of real performance when it was all over. rich I’ve just opened it all up: you can see that you can tell a lot more stories, and they’re still going on. “data-reactid =” 124 “> After rich and with things like the Tauntaun sequence, I realized that we had to break away from stop motion and try to look for something else. I would say that we couldn’t move the Tauntaun as far as we wanted and there were some shots that we didn’t finish. But George was extremely accommodating in everything, and there was a sense of real performance when it was all over. rich I’ve just opened everything up: you can see that you can tell a lot more stories, and they’re still going on.

<p class = "Artboard-Atom Artboard-Text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "The Empire Strikes Back is currently being streamed on Disney +.“data-reactid =” 125 “>The Empire Strikes Back is currently being streamed on Disney +.

<p class = "Artboard-Atom Artboard-Text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Read more from Yahoo Entertainment:“data-reactid =” 126 “>Read more from Yahoo Entertainment:

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