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Oscar Analysis: Best Visual Effects

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This list yields a significant amount of contention between the nominees. I will start off with the fact that the judges are fed a fifteen minute clip of the best visual effects the respective film has to offer. So when analyzing these three films, the real question is:

Which film, if it were only fifteen minutes long, would kick the most ass?

I walked into War of The Worlds thinking to myself that this movie will be just like all the rest. I expected bad clichés and even worse “visuals” of aliens and their spacecrafts. What I found however, was a visual masterpiece. The spacecrafts not only look believable, but their effects are truly impressive. The man with the hardware and the director of visual effects, Dennis Muren, is a fifteen time nominee and eight time winner in this category. The other men involved in the visual effects of this film have all been nominated in this category at least once. Muren and Spielberg have worked together on winning films such as E.T., Indiana Jones, and Jurassic Park. Given Muren’s credentials and proven track record, I assure you that the visual effects in this film deliver the goods. The DVD of War of The Worlds is one of my favorites by far. It is a DVD that you would use to show off your new speakers or television to a jealous neighbor. Sadly, this film does not offer the fifteen minutes of awesome that it would need to prevail in this competition.

Now on to a film with one of the longest titles since LOTR: Insert Title Here. So for all intensive purposes, I will be referring to this film as Narnia throughout this review. Narnia boasts amazing visual scenes encompassing battle sequences, CG animals, and environmental wonders. The men behind the powerful visuals in Narnia have been nominated three other times and won once, all nods coming from Scott Farrar. This film is truly filled with eye candy but look no further than the trailer to find your answer. A movie trailer is supposed to pull the skirt up just enough to draw you in and give you some eye candy, and Narnia has a very short skirt. Most of the gems are already shown in a two and a half minute trailer that barely caught my interest. If Narnia were released in any other year that Peter Jackson was not releasing a movie, its visual effects would probably bring home the hardware.

King Kong delivered visual effects that brought a new dynamic to computer generated models. Jackson was able to create a relationship between his audience and a CG character in Gollum. He took it one step further in doing the same thing, but with the story’s protagonist. The film does not miss a beat from start to finish, flexing visual muscles though impossible sequences involving the eighth wonder of the world. Not since Jurassic Park have I felt that a CG character, or characters for that matter, interacted with their environment or each other so well. Peter Jackson presumably had a difficult task in front of him when deciding how to edit a film like King Kong to 15 minutes of eyeball molestation. By the way, Jackson’s team has won six out of eight of their previous nominations.


WHO WILL PROBABLY WIN: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe

Brian G. is a writer for Film School Rejects.

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  • Nick

    “for all intensive purposes” isn’t a phrase in the English language — or any language for that matter. It’s “for all intends and purposes.”

  • Its amazing how people like “Nick” can read an entire review and all he can do is criticize a grammatical flaw…besides the actual phrase is “for all intents and purposes”…if you want to quibble

  • By the way, nice review Brian G. of Filmschoolrejects.com

  • RogerMDillon

    Wompa, nice commercial for yourself or your friends, but they should be more subtle next time. Unless, you were concerned that a different Brian G might think you were referring to him.

  • Brian – Film School Rejects

    Does anyone have anything to say about the visual effects Oscar? Sorry if I offended someone with my grammar, but how about we talk about the subject?

    Film School Rejects

  • Steve

    Well, this is about the only Oscar category in which I have seen all of the films LOL.

    Frankly, I was underwhelmed by all 3 movies.
    “King Kong” was the same old story basically, but without the atmosphere of the 1933 original.

    “War Of The Worlds” focused too much on the central, small and not terribly likeable family (which, unbeknownst to me until later, apparently was a mistake that was not made in the original).

    “Narnia” was fine, but ultimately a kids movie, I had read a small portion of the books and come to that conclusion, the movie merely confirmed my suspicions.

    However, in terms of movies with the most thrills due to special effects, I would have to give it to “King Kong”. I am somewhat puzzled as to why “…Goblet Of Fire” is not in this category. Oh well…

  • They actually get the opportunity to present an hour long discussion of their current and previous work, how it’s new and relevant, and the studio pays to have a 1 hour DVD made of all of their materials and work. So if anything, they overly judge the films on the collective works of the nominees.