BOOK REVIEW: Industrial Light & Magic - The Art of Innovation
From 1995's "Casper" to 2011's "Rango," and most everything in-between.
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There are very few companies that I personally follow so closely that it’s like an obsession. Industrial Light & Magic is certainly one of them. The special effects house created by George Lucas began with the breakthrough film Star Wars in 1977, and was also the birth of this new group of talented artists that became ILM. These artists broke all the rules, writing the new rule book for special effects... then rewriting it again ...dazzling audiences with effects that were never seen before. We look forward to a new movie featuring the wizards of ILM as intently as we did a movie with our favorite actors. There have been two books documenting the earlier years of ILM: Thomas G. Smith’s Industrial Light & Magic: The Art of Special Effects and Mark Cotta Vaz & Patricia Rose Duignan’s Industrial Light & Magic: Into the Digital Realm. Now writer and producer Pamela Glintenkamp gives us a closer look at the last sixteen years with Industrial Light & Magic: The Art of Innovation, a behind the scenes look at all the innovations from 1995’s Casper to 2011’s Rango, and most everything in-between.
What’s great about Pamela’s book is that it takes its time on key films talking with the artists about specific achievements, hurdles, and innovations that made those films memorable for them. Companioned with over 400 images from ILM’s breakthrough films, the special effects story is a fascinating one, despite the more heavy use of computer or digital effects in this time period.
Other points of interests throughout the book are the many “Road to ILM” where many of the artists detail the path of their careers and how they reached their goal of working in visual effects. A complete list of ILM Credits can be found in the back of the book along with some very fun ILM crew photos and a listing of Awards won by the company. A forward by director Jon Favreau (Swingers, Iron Man) and a Preface by director Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean, Rango) are also included.
Now, the book is not without its errors (some dates are incorrect and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? does not have a question mark in its title, a mistake found in all previous ILM books as well, and Masi Oka’s name (of Heroes fame) is spelled incorrectly) but it’s the first book to celebrate the artistry of ILM in its recent years and remains an enormously attractive account of ILM’s recent years. This is a great coffee table resource for fans of film and effects, now available at bookstores everywhere, retailing for $50.
1995: Casper, Jumanji
1996: Twister, DragonHeart, Mars Attacks!
1997: The Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition, The Lost Word: Jurassic Park, Men in Black, Titanic
1998: Deep Impact, Saving Private Ryan
1999: The Mummy, Galaxy Quest, Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
2000: The Perfect Storm
2001: The Mummy Returns, Pearl Harbor, A.I. Artificial Intelligence
2002: Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, Minority Report, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
2003: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
2004: The Day After Tomorrow, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
2005: Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, War of the Worlds, Jarhead, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
2006: Mission: Impossible III, Poseidon, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
2007: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Transformers
2008: Iron Man, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
2009: Terminator Salvation, Star Trek, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Avatar
2010: Iron Man 2
Review and Photography by David Yeh
Review Sample Courtesy of ABRAMS