INDUSTRIAL LIGHT AND MAGIC: The Art of Special Effects by Thomas G. Smith

INDUSTRIAL LIGHT AND MAGIC: The Art of Special Effects

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A celebration of the company that has brought us R2-D2, E. T., Darth Vader and the thousands of astonishing special effects that turned such films as Star Wars, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom into box-office blockbusters. Highly detailed, clearly if occasionally overwritten, and crammed with more than 450 color illustrations (eight of them gatefolds), this will prove irresistible to serious cinemaphiles interested in the latest technical developments in filmmaking. Less dedicated moviegoers may. on the other hand, find this mammoth volume tells them more than they really want to know. Industrial Light and Magic, formed in 1976, was marked from the beginning by the inventiveness and enthusiasm of its small staff, most of them under 30. Smith, for five years the company's general manager, has successfully captured this spirit, telling not only of the technological breakthroughs but of the intra-office hi-jinks as well. He points out that in one sequence of Star Wars, a staff member's tennis shoe was substituted briefly for one of the model spaceships. (It's still to be seen, if you know where to look.) When Smith turns his attention to the intricacies of such matters as computer graphics, optical compositing, model building and matte painting, his explanations are easy-to-follow, even when he falls into the ""gee-whiz"" mode. The weakest segments of the lengthy narrative are those which deal with the biographies of the various ILM employees. Whether a staff member spends his spare time hang-gliding or auto-racing is of little interest to even the most insatible special-effects buff--but it is a small quibble when balanced against Smith's first-of-a-kind revelations. An impressive and welcome combination of text and graphics that should prove as popular as the adventure epics it explicates. And for its specialized audience, a real find.

Pub Date: Nov. 6th, 1986
Publisher: Ballantine