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My thesis discusses why certain visual effects films stand the test of time, while others do not. Some films' effects become outdated very quickly, even within a year, regardless of how critically and popularly acclaimed they were upon their release. Yet others, like Jurassic Park, remain effective over a decade later.


I analyzed 10 films, covering both "good" and "bad" effects films, as well as a wide variety of different types of effects films : Jurassic Park, Forrest Gump, The Day After Tomorrow, Transformers, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Brokeback Mountain, The Bucket List, Children of Men, and War of the Worlds. Through my analysis, I discuss the importance of matchmoving, compositing, controlled scale of effects, as well as the role of cinematography in visual effects, and most importantly, the critical role of story.


The thesis also includes a short history of special and visual effects, including the all-important Digital Revolution of effects films.


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Visual Effects & the Test of Time