In which we “celebrate” ten years of Transformers and IMAX. : (

Look, IMAX is an amazing format. The sound and the picture can encompass you in ways that a lot of us have forgotten exist for cinematic experiences. It’s one of the main reasons to go to the movies these days. I’ll never forget the opening of The Dark Knight in IMAX. The film opens with you immediately in mid air with the surrounding cityscape of Gotham (Chicago) filling up every corner of your view. We push in on a window and it bursts. The rest is history, but that prologue ends with Heath Ledger’s Joker saying face to face with you, “Whatever doesn’t kill you, simply makes you strangerrrr.” It was one of my favorite movie going experiences.

And when you combine the large format of IMAX with 3D? Well, that sounds awesome!

But not everything is The Dark Knight, Gravity, or Doctor Strange. No, some things are Transformers.

I know these movies, all four or five or however many of them exist now make a billion dollars a piece. But does anyone really like them? And if you do, are you older than 7? And if you are older than 7, can you explain to me just what the fuck happens in any of them after the first one? Please?

These movies are some of the most technically impressive features we have, but the craft of all of the stunt work, record breaking explosions, and special effects work done by ILM are lost. Lost in the millions of CG mechanical pieces that all look the same in the midst of three cuts per second action that involves explosions and characters who I couldn’t name if my life depended on it. So as impressive as the technology is, and as good of a technical filmmaker Michael Bay is, let me know when Dunkirk is out.


Visual effects have played a major part in bringing the vision of the Star Wars series to life and with today’s technological advances, The Force Awakens had no shortage in opportunity or talent. The geniuses at Industrial Light & Magic released this visual effects reel, showing the detail and skills that went into authenticating the sets and characters.

The Force Awakens gave us the opportunity to once again push the boundaries of what is possible in character animation and visual effects while combining cutting edge practical effects and physical sets.

Watch the full behind-the-scenes video below.

As cool as this all is I always find myself stunned by what isn’t real. I think it goes back to remembering that many of the visual effects such as both Star Destroyer sets were created by computers in The Force Awakens but were 100% actual sets in the original trilogy. Sometimes I think that all of this technology we have at our disposal hinders us and over-complicates matters. Effects that could be dealt with more practically and not just with references or 10% of the sets outlined for reference. I don’t care how good of an actor you are – having tangible reference points in front of you helps your performance feel, well, real.

But seriously, the folks at ILM may as well be damned wizards. I can’t even begin to think of the hours that went into these effects. As much as I have concerns about modern visual effects I must admit that I believed a lot of the effects that weren’t practically done actually were. So hats off to the wizardry.