“Raiders, Raptors & Rebels” Special Shows PT Lots Of Love

I recorded the Science Channel’s special “Raiders, Raptors & Rebels” that aired Sunday night and finally got around to watching it last night. The show was a look at 40 years of ILM’s visual effects achievements and how they inspired inventions and uses in the non-movie world.

It was a fun show looking back at a lot of ILM’s big pivotal moments: ANH, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Young Sherlock Holmes and Willow, Terminator 2, Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean 2, etc. with a nice hefty segment on the prequels. George Lucas of course made many appearances as did PT effects supervisor John Knoll. It was nice to see the prequels get recognition.

If you missed it, keep checking the Science Channel’s site to look for rebroadcasts. There might also be bootleg video on YouTube.

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12 Responses to ““Raiders, Raptors & Rebels” Special Shows PT Lots Of Love”

  1. Hunk a Junk Says:

    I just watched it too and, man, it really drove home the point that Star Wars used to be about innovation and pushing filmmaking farther — making new tools for creative artists. Now, Star Wars is just about dredging up as much Gen X nostalgia as possible and replicating what was done 30 years ago. On Jedinet they posted a video of Mythbuster’s Adam Savage from SDCC geeking out about Phil Tippet being asked by JJ to replicate the ANH Millennium Falcon chess set using traditional stop motion. Adam was all moist about how great it was that they were making that scene, I guess, the old ‘right’ way. So forget innovation or showing audiences things they haven’t seen before. Now it’s just about replicating things we HAVE seen before using the same old methods that were done in the past — and somehow they pat themselves on their backs for their “creativity.” I don’t get it. I really don’t.

    I also saw the TFA trailer in a theater showing Ant-Man today. Someone explain to me how the opening shot of the star destroyer crashed in the desert is any more or less “realistic” than any digital matte painting in the PT. It looked like a digital matter painting. I’m sure I’ll like the movie, but the reaction from PT haters and the media about how much “better” the effects are than the PT when they’re really no different is going to be stomach-churning.

    • Stefan Kraft Says:

      Hasn’t Stop Motion evolved since 1976? Would be funny if you could tell the difference and they had to use “outdated” technology to let it look like the original holochess…
      I also have to think about the digital Yoda where they had to replicate some quirks of the puppet to let Yoda move like Yoda.

      I am curious why they want to replicate the holochess sequence. Nice homage or just pointless nostalgia? We’ll see.

      • Stefan Kraft Says:

        “replicate” = bring back the holochess. Sorry, I have typed before thinking.

      • Hunk a Junk Says:

        Why do they want to replicate the holochess sequence??? Fan service. So a million 50-year-old fans can simultaneously release in the theaters. More and more it’s seeming like that’s all this movie is going to be about.

      • jarjarbacktattooguy Says:

        50 year old fans? Funny. They don’t make movies for anyone over 34 any more, unless it’s a Woody Allen movie. This is a fact.

        If they were really aiming the sequels and spin-offs at Gen Xers and Boomers, they wouldn’t be hiring all these flavor-of-the-month hipster directors like Gareth Edwards and Rian Johnson (barf!).

        If they were making this movie for my generation, they would have hired a director popular in the 80s and 90s. They would have hired John McTiernan. That guy could use the work, last I heard he was working as a Wal-Mart greeter.

        Everyone is making a big deal about the use of practical effects (rightfully so, perhaps), but there is more to these movies than just f/x.

      • Hunk a Junk Says:

        jarjarbacktattooguy, in this case, yeah, they are. Disney is clearly trying to win back the disgruntled fans who hated the PT and, in large part, that is the older fans — the ones who grew up on the OT. JJ Abrams (49) isn’t directing 8 or 9, he’s directing this one as a “passing the torch” movie. It’s specific to this movie. Gareth Edwards isn’t shooting on film stock and so far they’re not screaming “practical effects” every time they talk about Rogue One. TFA, however, yeah, is all about getting the older unhappy fans back on the bandwagon again. And as people have talked about on this site a lot, there is no “rightfully so” in this nonsense about practical effects. There were more models made for TPM than the entire OT combined. All the PT used practical effects and sets. TFA will use as much (if not more) digital effects as TPM. There are links all over the net for this. This “practical effects” stuff is just a marketing campaign to signal to pissed off fans (mostly the older ones) that “hey, we’re not making THOSE movies, m’kay? We’re making a movie like the ones you like. We can’t come right out and say that, so we’re using this dog whistle instead.” BTW, I’m no yungin’. Guys like Adam Savage are my age, they’re vocal, they go to conventions, they have kids (who, much to their disappointment, probably like the PT and CW) and they buy movie tickets. I don’t buy the “they don’t make movies for my generation” argument at all.

      • Stefan Kraft Says:

        Since I have some spare time, my overall thoughts (and hey, opinions and comments are for free 😉 )

        In general, I do not exactly know what the ST will bring. I always bought the interpretation that GL told his basic SW story within 6 episodes (he first wanted to make 12, then 9 movies, but he decided to “abbreviate” the whole Saga for (serious) personal reasons).
        Now, madediaman/gallandro1 has posted several comments on another article where he explained why GL (probably) changed his mind. Personally, I think GL is one of the few people that could continue the “Skywalker Saga” after Ep VI. He has always had good ideas anyway, and he has always tried to challenge the “formula of SW” (think about EP V vs. EP IV or the topics of the prequels vs the topics of the OT).

        How do I judge the current situation? I think the new SW movie is a passion project for almost all involved. This includes JJ Abrams, regardless of what you think about him as an artist. And JJ has every right to use the tools he deems to be suitable for his movie. Real sets that are larger than sets another director would have built because that other director would expand more of it with digital matte painting? I am cool with that. Shooting on film because JJ prefers to do so? Why not, Nolan and (particularly) Tarantino do this, too, for personal or artistic reasons.

        Now, there are some things that bug me. I will call them “strange” and not “bad” (yet) because I have not seen the movie.
        – The marketing seems to focus a bit too much on nostalgia. Stormtroopers & a (wannabe?) Sith in the trailers? X-Wings and (normal) TIE fighters years after the battle of Endor, i.e. not really new designs? (We got A- and B-Wings between the battle of Yavin and the battle of Endor, not to forget TIE Interceptors…) This could all just be marketing (“we will show the old stuff everyone knows, but the final movie will have plenty of new stuff”), but I am not really convinced because of two reasons I will explain below.
        – The marketing not only seems to focus a bit too much on nostalgia, it also seems to try to address some of the hateboy criticisms. As many readers here, I cannot help but to get the impression that perceived flaws of the prequels are addressed, namely the “lack of practical effects.” Blue/green screens? Don’t worry, we emphasize that we use “real sets” and that we go to a “real desert.” Too much CGI? Don’t worry, we will of course build models as done for the OT. Again, I don’t have a problem with that if Abrams thinks for whatever good reasons he has that it has to be like that. The thing that I find strange is that, yes, the prequels did that, too, so why (implicitly) promote the wrong perception that the PT was only CGI? And is all this just done because “the OT did it in this way, so we have to re-use these methods”? (So if the OT were shot in black and white, JJ would also do that for EP VII? By the way, EP I was shot on film, but EP III on video, but which movie is criticized less by hateboys?)
        – I do not know (obviously) what the story will be about. However, we have all heard that GL’s original story treatments were probably abandoned for the most part. Now, I do not believe that GL is the only one that can write stories that expand the mythology of SW. (Remember Darth Plagueis? I really like that book.) However, the stuff I have heard makes me hesitate a bit. (“SW is a western” – obviously because EP V was full of western-like scenes, wasn’t it?) Combine this with the “nostalgia factor” you have seen in the trailers, and my first impression is that the movie will just try to copy some story elements of the OT (simple good-vs-evil story, some space battles and lightsabre duels). Meanwhile, the stories told in the prequels may simply be ignored.
        I may (and I hope!) that I am wrong, and I am maybe already jumping to conclusions (there are several new characters played by young people after all, and I have heard that one character was planned to be a member of the Dooku family – whether that is still the case remains to be seen).

        Should my concerns become a reality, then I fear that this might indeed backfire for Disney. Ask the average moviegoer or TV watcher what she thinks about SW. She will probably mention the OT, the prequels (maybe she did not like them as much as the OT, but only a bit), TCW, and Rebels. But it is all SW to her. And the young fans? Ahsoka, Jar Jar and Rex are their heros, and Sidious as well as Dooku the villains. Darth Vader is bad, yes, but he is also Anakin who is saved by his son at the end. And the special effects? The young fans probably don’t care how much CGI was used because all the current movies they watch use it, too.

        To sum up: I have the impression that EP VII seems to focus too much on the OT and on nostalgia. And the marketing seems a bit too much to distance itself from the PT. Still, I am hesitant to judge anything yet because I do not know the final movie.

      • Stefan Kraft Says:

        Oh, and if you are excited for EP VII – GO FOR IT and ENJOY THE RIDE! There is nothing like a “wrong” SW fan – except if you humiliate others who prefer or like parts you do not.

  2. Jim Raynor Says:

    The nostalgia obsession is ridiculously pronounced among Star Wars fandom. Even other hardcore and obsessive fandoms don’t act like this.

    Ant-Man is the current #1 movie at the box office, and guess what, it contains a ton of CGI from ILM. They could have used puppets and other old fashioned techniques from back in the day. The shrinking effects and the ants could’ve been done in the same way as Honey I Shrunk the Kids (the movie that Marvel once tried to beat with Ant-Man way back in the 1980s). But who actually wants to see a movie done that way today?

    Life should be about moving forward, not perpetually looking back. Things must be pretty sad if they peaked at the movie you first saw way back in 1977.

  3. Hunk a Junk Says:

    It’s also notable that the RRR special had two very noticeable absences: Kathleen Kennedy and JJ. Here’s a special about ILM with plenty of Star Wars footage and nobody in the new regime thought that was an opportunity to market their new product? Kennedy is the president of the company that owns ILM. She had nothing to add? I’ve said it before, I suspect there’s a split between Kennedy and Lucas. I won’t be surprised if we don’t see them together in the same place (at least by design) for the near future. If Lucas is even at the TFA premiere I’ll be shocked.

  4. Marshall Says:

    I just saw the doc on YouTube and it was really awesome to see how the technology at ILM influenced real life science. I doubt this new Star Wars movie will inspire any new scientist – or politicians ;). My only complaint with the doc was when it came to motion capture they focused on Davy Jones instead of Jar Jar Binks or even Draco from Dragonheart.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      “Dragonheart” tends to be forgotten, I agree. ILM won an Oscar for its work on Davy Jones and well, you know…

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