Creating the Wonder of 'Cocoon'
Article by Jody Duncan Shay
Without benefit of unbridled violence, gross-out humor or food fights — apparent prerequisites for contemporary boxoffice success — Cocoon seemed a decidedly tame entry into the summer filmgoing sweepstakes. Not to mention the fact that in these times of youth-oriented fare, its principal cast consisted largely of veteran performers well into their Social Security years. But in director Ron Howards' hands, the Zanuck/Brown production — with its predominant emphasis on character and heart — finished a strong third among the season's boxoffice attractions. Helping to create the magic behind what Howard jokingly dubbed 'Close Encounters on Golden Pond' were the diversely-talented cinemagicians of Industrial Light & Magic, Cannom Creature Effects and Robert Short Productions who — separately and collectively — produced everything from lifelike mechanical dolphins to glowing extraterrestrials to flying saucers from distant worlds.
Backyard Adventures - Spielberg Style
Article by Janine Pourroy
When Steven Spielberg's Amblin Productions first approached Industrial Light & Magic with a request to purvey the few, minimal effects shots needed for The Goonies and Back to the Future, the proposal seemed innocent enough. The premier facility was well-accustomed to orchestrating visual effects by the hundreds for Lucasfilm's intergalactic space epics. But the fast-paced, tandem production scheduling of Amblin's earthbound adventures called for some decidedly different approaches — and compelled the already well-occupied ILM staff into a whirlwind of productivity. And although neither Goonies nor Back to the Future is considered a 'major effects film', each features several well-placed 'major effects'. Seasoned veterans of illusion Micheal McAlister, Ken Ralston and other members of Industrial Light & Magic — along with the films' special makeup experts — discuss life in the special effects fast lane and the ensuing challenges thereof.
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