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Plastic RealitySpecial Effects, Technology, and the Emergence of 1970s Blockbuster Aesthetics$
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Julie Turnock

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231163538

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231163538.001.0001

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World-Building and the Legacy of 1970s Special Effects in Contemporary Cinema

(p.263) Conclusion
Plastic Reality

Julie A. Turnock

Columbia University Press

This concluding chapter discusses the legacy of the 1970s special effects. Special effects technology enabled filmmakers to provide alternate world possibilities, prompting moviegoers to think about the world's transformation or alteration. Recent critics' dislike for excessive use of computer-generated imagery (CGI) in “over-animated” action films suggests the extent to which the original context, in which optical animation was conceived, has been largely forgotten. Many filmmakers quickly used technology to convey the negative potential for over-technologization to express pessimism and dystopia. However, films such as Zodiac and There Will Be Blood followed the style of 1970s filmmaking. Critic Mark Harris suggests that many still prefer 1970s photorealism, and that the novelty of physics-defying CGI has begun to wear out. Recent films like Avatar and Gravity show that 1970s filmmakers' goal to have complete aesthetic control over all aspects of the composite mise-en-scène have been realized.

Keywords:   1970s special effects, special effects technology, computer-generated imagery, optical animation, Zodiac, There Will Be Blood, 1970s photorealism, Avatar, Gravity

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