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Rare behind the scenes shots of Empire, Raiders, E.T. and more

11.11.2010

I'm not sure how decades later these kinds of photos keep getting dug up, but they are very cool to see. Vanity Fair is running a new piece that has some pretty neat behind the scenes looks at classic films like EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, ET, JURASSIC PARK and TERMINATOR 2.

A lot of it goes to show how special effects USED to work, with lots of modeling and camera trickery. Today we can't even have these type of shots, as it's just James Cameron and George Lucas standing in warehouses with everyone wearing black suits with glowing balls attached to them.

Check out the pics below, but click on them to head over Vanity Fair for explanations, bigger versions and more films.

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Extra Tidbit: Do you think CGI has made movies better or worse overall?
Source: Vanity Fair

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12:47PM on 11/11/2010
CGI has made movies into celluloid junk.

Example:the entire SyFy original movies!
CGI has made movies into celluloid junk.

Example:the entire SyFy original movies!
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12:47PM on 11/11/2010

Cool pics

On CGI, I'm on the fence because I don't mind seeing CGI, but only done in the right way.
On CGI, I'm on the fence because I don't mind seeing CGI, but only done in the right way.
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12:48PM on 11/11/2010
These are some great, great photos.

As for CGI.. I think it made movies better overall, but people take advantage of it as an art form and that tends to ruin a lot of films. Instead of getting a really cool, realistic costume, they'll get some cheap CGI which sticks out horribly. For example.. Zodiac used CGI to perfection.. a lot of people had no idea CGI was even used in that film, which means they used it brilliantly. A film like Avatar or Clash of the Titans took it to extremes,
These are some great, great photos.

As for CGI.. I think it made movies better overall, but people take advantage of it as an art form and that tends to ruin a lot of films. Instead of getting a really cool, realistic costume, they'll get some cheap CGI which sticks out horribly. For example.. Zodiac used CGI to perfection.. a lot of people had no idea CGI was even used in that film, which means they used it brilliantly. A film like Avatar or Clash of the Titans took it to extremes, relying on the CGI instead of using it to enhance the movie.

All things are great.. in moderation. My favorite CGI comparison is probably fast food. It's good when you have it once in a while.. but if you eat a ton of that shit you're gonna turn into a fat asshole that gets heart disease at 41.

Avatar is that fat asshole.
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12:50PM on 11/11/2010
CGI is neither good nor bad. It's like fire. I think filmmakers using it has been bad for movies. Bad filmmakers. Also, I think James Cameron and George Lucas did more for physical effects than most filmmakers have. Cameron's 'Aliens' is an example of this, and 'Terminator 2' uses both practical and CG. Lucas produced two of the movies referenced on this page and created a company that solely did effects work. I don't think you can fault those guys for embracing technology.
CGI is neither good nor bad. It's like fire. I think filmmakers using it has been bad for movies. Bad filmmakers. Also, I think James Cameron and George Lucas did more for physical effects than most filmmakers have. Cameron's 'Aliens' is an example of this, and 'Terminator 2' uses both practical and CG. Lucas produced two of the movies referenced on this page and created a company that solely did effects work. I don't think you can fault those guys for embracing technology.
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12:52PM on 11/11/2010

FML

FML
FML
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1:10PM on 11/11/2010
When used in moderation, CGI is a good thing. It's when they smear it all over the screen (I'm looking at you Lucas) and force actors to act scared of imaginary monsters on a big, green set that it all turns to shit.

I definitely prefer the models and sets and matte paintings of old, though. There's a feel to them you just can't get with CGI. I'd like to see them start doing a hybrid of the two. Kind of like how they did with Moon, which was excellent.
When used in moderation, CGI is a good thing. It's when they smear it all over the screen (I'm looking at you Lucas) and force actors to act scared of imaginary monsters on a big, green set that it all turns to shit.

I definitely prefer the models and sets and matte paintings of old, though. There's a feel to them you just can't get with CGI. I'd like to see them start doing a hybrid of the two. Kind of like how they did with Moon, which was excellent.
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+7
1:32PM on 11/11/2010
CGI should be used as a tool... not a weapon.
CGI should be used as a tool... not a weapon.
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2:01PM on 11/11/2010

the double-edged sword

It's given the very talented a powerful tool to bring a new level of effects. It's also given hacks a short cut to some awful looking junk. It would have been hard to make a movie like District 9 on a shoestring with models, matte paintings and animatronics. On the other hand, we wouldn't have movies like the Aeon Flux adaptation.

It's lowered the bar for entry (good and bad) and it's raised the stakes for the masters of the medium... giving us movies like the ones that come out of
It's given the very talented a powerful tool to bring a new level of effects. It's also given hacks a short cut to some awful looking junk. It would have been hard to make a movie like District 9 on a shoestring with models, matte paintings and animatronics. On the other hand, we wouldn't have movies like the Aeon Flux adaptation.

It's lowered the bar for entry (good and bad) and it's raised the stakes for the masters of the medium... giving us movies like the ones that come out of Pixar.

Lucas might be the best example of all of why CGI has no effect on the quality of a movie. He's done puppets and models, and he's done 360 degrees of greenscreen. It's his ability, or inability to make a compelling story that makes or breaks the movie, not the slight of hand that is done in the telling.
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2:05PM on 11/11/2010
Depends on how much and how well its down. When its over killed like George did in the prequels, its bad. When its used in such way as Sin City, its excellent
Depends on how much and how well its down. When its over killed like George did in the prequels, its bad. When its used in such way as Sin City, its excellent
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2:24PM on 11/11/2010
I think it was the wooden acting, horrible dialog and overwhelming desire to sell toys that ruined the prequels, not the CGI. Too many matte paintings and puppets didn't ruin ROTJ - it was the ball-less cop-out of an ending. On a sheer technical level, the special effects in Sin City are more distracting than those in the prequels. But since there's an actual story, they have something to serve. The prequels look like one big SFX test reel, because nothing is holding them together. Except
I think it was the wooden acting, horrible dialog and overwhelming desire to sell toys that ruined the prequels, not the CGI. Too many matte paintings and puppets didn't ruin ROTJ - it was the ball-less cop-out of an ending. On a sheer technical level, the special effects in Sin City are more distracting than those in the prequels. But since there's an actual story, they have something to serve. The prequels look like one big SFX test reel, because nothing is holding them together. Except Mattel.
2:27PM on 11/11/2010

A Crutch

A lot of my friends believe that I out right hate CGI, however this is not the case. I merely hate the fact that if you have a decent CG department, most studios use it a crutch of sorts.

Look at movies nowadays that have plenty of scratch to use a good stunt team, with practical effects, who use CG, but only as a means to compliment everything they already have, i.e. Iron Man.

Unfortunately, these movies usually yield the same in the box office as its CGI counterpart, i.e X-Men Origins:
A lot of my friends believe that I out right hate CGI, however this is not the case. I merely hate the fact that if you have a decent CG department, most studios use it a crutch of sorts.

Look at movies nowadays that have plenty of scratch to use a good stunt team, with practical effects, who use CG, but only as a means to compliment everything they already have, i.e. Iron Man.

Unfortunately, these movies usually yield the same in the box office as its CGI counterpart, i.e X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and therefore most times the studio will take all of the extra time and money out of the equation. Which almost always leads to an inferior movie.
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3:13PM on 11/11/2010
CGI is fine by me. I love Sky Captain and Speed Racer which was basically all CGI, but the people that made the movies didn't forgo good storytelling. Some movies just think if they make cgi worlds that the worlds will sell the film. I just have to mention too that Jurassic Park, the movie that made CGI big, still holds up amazing today. Hopefully it will still look good in HD when the blu-ray finally comes out.
CGI is fine by me. I love Sky Captain and Speed Racer which was basically all CGI, but the people that made the movies didn't forgo good storytelling. Some movies just think if they make cgi worlds that the worlds will sell the film. I just have to mention too that Jurassic Park, the movie that made CGI big, still holds up amazing today. Hopefully it will still look good in HD when the blu-ray finally comes out.
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+1
4:02PM on 11/11/2010

Extra Tidbit

It really depends on the movie. I think CGI is one of the many things that killed the new Star Wars trilogy but when you look at movies like Spider-Man and Iron Man, it works pretty well. I miss the days of massive sets. I watched the making of all the alien films recently and the sets they designed were incredible, now they just paint them in.
It really depends on the movie. I think CGI is one of the many things that killed the new Star Wars trilogy but when you look at movies like Spider-Man and Iron Man, it works pretty well. I miss the days of massive sets. I watched the making of all the alien films recently and the sets they designed were incredible, now they just paint them in.
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4:58PM on 11/11/2010
I just thought about this and to defend CGI, it is good for directors that don't have the funding to build huge sets. As I mentioned I really liked Sky Captain but that movie would have never had the funding to build all that stuff but it still looked beautiful on the big screen. Lucas doesn't have that excuse though so he gets a thumbs down in the use of CGI department. The one other thing I hate is the use of CGI stuntmen. I would prefer a real person.
I just thought about this and to defend CGI, it is good for directors that don't have the funding to build huge sets. As I mentioned I really liked Sky Captain but that movie would have never had the funding to build all that stuff but it still looked beautiful on the big screen. Lucas doesn't have that excuse though so he gets a thumbs down in the use of CGI department. The one other thing I hate is the use of CGI stuntmen. I would prefer a real person.
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+2
10:42PM on 11/11/2010
I miss knowing there was a real physical hand-on-ness to the whole FX game in back the day...like knowing there was a hand in a puppet, or that it's all a beautifully created matte was charming...now CGI seems cold and lifeless....there was warmth and love in the old school FX world. Just look at Muren's face in the pictures...it's all over him.
I miss knowing there was a real physical hand-on-ness to the whole FX game in back the day...like knowing there was a hand in a puppet, or that it's all a beautifully created matte was charming...now CGI seems cold and lifeless....there was warmth and love in the old school FX world. Just look at Muren's face in the pictures...it's all over him.
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11:26PM on 11/11/2010

wait, wait, wait. someone liked speed racer!?

besides me?
besides me?
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