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Special Effects : Still in Search of Wonder - Michele Pierson

Special Effects

Still in Search of Wonder

Paperback Published: 23rd May 2002
ISBN: 9780231125635
Number Of Pages: 256
For Ages: 22+ years old

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Designed to trick the eye and stimulate the imagination, special effects have changed the way we look at films and the worlds created in them. Computer-generated imagery (CGI), as seen in Hollywood blockbusters like Star Wars, Terminator 2, Jurassic Park, Independence Day, Men in Black, and The Matrix, is just the latest advance in the evolution of special effects. Even as special effects have been marveled at by millions, this is the first investigation of their broader cultural reception. Moving from an exploration of nineteenth-century popular science and magic to the Hollywood science fiction cinema of our time, Special Effects examines the history, advancements, and connoisseurship of special effects, asking what makes certain types of cinematic effects special, why this matters, and for whom. Michele Pierson shows how popular science magazines, genre filmzines, and computer lifestyle magazines have articulated an aesthetic criticism of this emerging art form and have helped shape how these hugely popular on-screen technological wonders have been viewed by moviegoers.

It is something of a cliche to think of special effects as 'movie magic,' but Pierson helps us to understand the substance behind that cliche, tracing our current fascination with computer-generated imagery back to discourses about magic and popular science in the late nineteenth century. Much as these earlier magicians helped to excite public interest and shape popular perceptions of emerging technologies, Pierson shows how CGI has become one of the most visible aspects of the digital revolution and how effects-laden films have often sought to examine their own precarious position somewhere between simulation and reality. -- Henry Jenkins, Director, Comparative Media Studies Program, MIT author of Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participator Intriguing... This is not a 'nuts and bolts'history of onscreen magic, but a specific analysis of the 'cultural reception'that visual effects have enjoyed throughout the history of cinema. American Cinematographer [A] ground-breaking book... Pierson's journey through the history of special effects offers us an important new perspective which has previously been left out of cinema-related academia and formal criticism. -- John McGowan-Hartmann Senses of Cinema

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introduction: Special Effects and the Popular Mediap. 1
Magic, Science, Art: Before Cinemap. 11
Natural Magicp. 17
Science Fictionsp. 22
Scientific Americanp. 33
Millennial Magicp. 46
From Cult-Classicism to Technofuturism: Converging on Wired Magazinep. 52
The Limits of Convergencep. 58
Photon and Stop-Motion Animationp. 66
Corporate Futurism/Technofuturismp. 77
Home Productionp. 89
The Wonder Years and Beyond: 1989-1995p. 93
On Genrep. 101
Reinventing the Cinema of Attractionsp. 118
Digital Art Effectsp. 123
Retrofuture/Retrovisionp. 131
Crafting a Future for CGIp. 137
The Case of Editingp. 140
Disaster Strikesp. 145
An Aesthetics of Scarcityp. 149
The Public Life of Numbersp. 155
Conclusion: The Transnational Matrix of SFp. 159
Notesp. 169
Bibliographyp. 201
Indexp. 227
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780231125635
ISBN-10: 0231125631
Series: Film and Culture
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 22+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 256
Published: 23rd May 2002
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.23 x 15.24  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.34