Quick Horror Review: Halloween III – Season of the Witch (dir. by Tommy Lee Wallace)


halloween-3-season-of-the-witch-movie-poster-1982-1020194512-1And then, in 1982, the story of Halloween went off the rails in what I feel was the coolest way possible. And to think, some felt Rob Zombie’s Halloween II went off the mark.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch was mostly a flop when it was released. It managed to make the money to cover the film’s budget, but the film was hurt by the lack of connection to the original series. I think most people at the time were just expecting to see more of Michael Myers and wondered just what the hell this was about. Imagine if The Force Awakens had absolutely zero ties to the main characters in the Star Wars Universe. Actually, you might end up with The Ewok Adventure, but that’s a different review for a different time. Still, Season of the Witch was just that kind of shake up when it was released.

Tommy Lee Wallace sat in the director’s chair this time around. Having actually played Michael Myers in the first Halloween film, Wallace does well here, showing he learned something about setting the scene. It all moves well, and the pacing isn’t too slow. Viewers expecting gore and attacks might find themselves sighing and fast forwarding a bit, but then again, it’s not that type of film. Season of the Witch has a slew of jump scares, though it does go a little overboard in the second half of the movie. Were it cut down to an hour, Season of the Witch could serve as a good Tales from the Darkside / Crypt episode. As a horror story, the body count is low (which is typical for a Carpenter story anyway)

From a writing standpoint, Season of the Witch is solid, though somewhat predictable. Writing duties were handled by John Carpenter (who couldn’t fully walk away from the project), Nigel Kneale, and Wallace himself. My favorite horror tales are the ones that surround the one or few individuals that have discovered something wicked, only to find that they can’t seem to get anyone else to believe what they’ve witnessed. It’s one thing to be chased by a maniacal killer or space creature. It’s another thing entirely to find out you’re the only thing standing between the creature and the rest of humanity. Films like The Wicker Man, every version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Count Yorga: Vampire are examples of this, and Season of the Witch handles this very well, particularly after everything is revealed to our hero and to the audience. Okay, the truth’s out. Who’d even believe you, if you told them? That’s always bothered me. The focus in Halloween deals more with it’s Celtic origins and the celebration of Samhain, and this honestly adds to the creep factor if you do a bit of background reading on it.

Season of the Witch starts a few days before Halloween, with a man on the run from men in black suits. He’s able to defeat the men after him, but not without taking on a few injuries. It’s in the hospital that we’re introduced to our hero in Dr. Dan Challis, played by Carpenter film alum Tom Atkins (The Fog, Escape From New York & Night of the Creeps). Challis has a pretty normal life – a good job, a wife and two kids. When the new patient warns him about some strange danger looming on the horizon and passes along a Halloween mask, Challis decides to share his information with the man’s daughter, Ellie (Stacey Nelkin). Ellie believes that her father died due to foul play, and nothing is going to stop her from finding out why it happened. Challis makes a quick call to the Missus, lies about what he plans to do (he spends a great of his conversations with her like this, as he’s basicially cheating on her), and  continues on the mission. Dan and Ellie find their way to a small town called Santa Mira and to Conal Cochran (played by Dan O’Herlihy, also in The Last Starfighter & Robocop), owner of the Silver Shamrock company.

The trailer and videos actually give away more of the film than I ever could. If you have the chance to watch it, give a try. I don’t think it’s the worst film ever, but others expecting knife wielding killers may find themselves disappointed. Besides, if you take nothing else away from the film, there’s always the catchy Silver Shamrock Jingle to remind us of the fun in Halloween. The jingle was created by Wallace and Carpenter, with Tommy Lee Wallace providing the vocals and reminding us all to get our Silver Shamrock masks.

Quick Review: Disney’s The Jungle Book (dir. by Jon Favreau)


THE JUNGLE BOOK

Without giving away the film, I haven’t much to say about Disney’s The Jungle Book other than I enjoyed it. Granted, it’s one that’s been done a number of times. 

When the trailer for Disney’s The Jungle Book was released, I was happy for it. It was good to see Jon Favreau back to directing bigger productions. After the misstep of Cowboys & Aliens and the success of Chef , it seems like he’s really back on track in a big way. That was my reason for seeing the film this past weekend.

Note that I’ve never seen the Disney Animated Version of The Jungle Book. I can’t really make any comparisons, other than the music, having listened to songs as a kid.

The Jungle Book is the story of Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a young boy who lives in the jungle and is raised by both a pack of wolves (lead by Lupita Nyong’o and Giancarlo Esposito) & a Panther named Bagheera (Sir Ben Kingsley). Evil rears its ugly head in the form of a Tiger named Shere Khan (Idris Elba), who wishes to have Mowgli killed because he knows how dangerous he can become once grown. Can the pack protect him, or will have have to find a way to save himself? That is pretty much what you need to know about the plot. I felt the movie had a number of comparisons to the Lion King (and even one reference to Return of the Jedi). Still, it manages to move at a good pace. Unlike Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, I didn’t find myself rolling my eyes or counting the minutes until a bathroom break appeared. 

Casting in the Jungle Book is pretty good. There’s hardly a cast member out of place, though not everyone is given a great deal of screen time. It is Mowgli’s story, after all. Idris Elba is menacing as Shere Khan. Scarlett Johannson (Chef, Iron Man 2)  plays Kaa the Snake and has a song on the score. Bill Murray’s Baloo is cute and cuddly, but the biggest casting surprise has to be Christopher Walken as Big Louie. The film even manages to contain a few musical numbers, though I don’t know if it could be classified as a musical. Those moments are few and far between.

Visually, The Jungle Book is downright beautiful. The animals are rendered so well (in some cases) that one might suspect they had actual animals on hand for a reference or at least some on set. It’s still early, but this is a movie I’d tuck away until the next awards season, at least where the Visual Effects are concerned. The 3-D version of the film has some great moments, but I wouldn’t consider it a requirement to actually see it in this format.

Some elements early in the film may be frightening for the youngest of viewers. Tigers are meant to be scary, so Shere Khan definitely worked for me. The same goes with Kaa and with Louie. Overall, The Jungle Book is set to be a major hit and it’s nice to see Favreau with a directorial win.

Quick Review: How to Train Your Dragon 2 (dir. by Dean Dublois)


how-to-train-your-dragon-2-poster1-690x1024Ah, Berk. That fictional far away land where Dragons once plagued humans, until a young boy made friends with a Night Fury and changed everything.

How I’ve missed this place.

Fox & Dreamworks’ How to Train Your Dragon 2 brings us back to its dragon riding fun, taking place 5 years after the events of the first film. While the story doesn’t have the same level of depth as say, Kung Fu Panda 2, it still manages to be an enjoyable thrill ride when the dragons are taking flight.

Since this is an animated feature, let’s do visuals first. The animation is roughly the same as the original, with a bit of aging here and there for the main characters, but both the colors and the depth of field are a major standout. Cinematographer Roger Deakins (Skyfall) was brought back on board as  a consultant for the lighting, focus and color tones and it definitely shows. If at all possible, this film should be seen in its 3D format. The flight sequences are a joy to behold and when they’re not flying, you shouldn’t find yourself squinting and pinching your nose too much. Chris Sanders wasn’t on hand this time for the writing and directing, although you can still see his designs all over the film.

Additionally, there were a number of technical changes that improved the process. Just as Pixar did with Renderman, Dreamworks ended up creating their own software, Apollo. Apollo uses two tools – Premo, which allowed the animators better control of characters through the use of Wacom tablets. Even more magical is Torch, a lighting system developed with Deakins’ assistance that allowed for more natural setups in animation. One of the best uses of this is when Hiccup is surrounded in a dark room and needs to use his sword to illuminate the area. It’ll be interesting to see how it’s used in other Dreamworks projects.

All of the familiar characters are back – Jay Baruchel’s Hiccup is a little older, and much wiser than in the original, with he and Toothless mapping the lands around Berk during their flights. Hiccup’s flair for gadgetry hasn’t left him, as in this film, the character is introduced almost as a medieval Batman. Between he, his father Stoic (Gerald Butler) and his girlfriend / Dragon Racing Champion Astrid (America Ferrera), they get the bulk of the screen time. His friends, played by Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse,  and Kristen Wiig, felt more like cameos than anything else here. Then again, they really didn’t have that great a part in the first film. Toothless, the Unholy Offspring of fire and darkness itself, is still as cuddly and emotive as ever, despite not being able to actually speak. Through the film, both Toothless and Hiccup find themselves growing up in different ways and their relationship is at the heart of everything here. Hiccup and Stoic still have family issues, this time centering around Hiccup preparation for becoming Chief of the town after Stoic steps down.

When Astrid and Hiccup discover dragon hunters (Lead by Game of Thrones’ Kit Harrington, whose character here still knows nothing), they find a new evil on the horizon in the form of Drago (Guardians of the Galaxy and Blood Diamond’s Djimon Hounsou), who is building a dragon army to do some harm.

Where the movie may stumble is in its last act. It felt abbreviated to me, but as this is meant for children, I suppose it’s not meant to be that long of a film. Clocking in at 102 minutes, it moves fast. For a kid’s film, Dragon 2 rises to some interesting heights that even adults would appreciate. The film doesn’t assume you need to be retold everything you may have missed in the first film, though it does reference some elements of it. The themes of the story are coexistence (between humans & dragons), leadership, friendship and family, and they’re done well.

Quick Review: Fast & Furious 6 (dir. by Justin Lin)


url-6Thinking back on the original Fast & Furious film, I still find it hard to believe it’s done so well over the years. The longevity of the films owe a lot to the Saw series, which seems fitting considering that the original director of that film will take over the reigns for the next installment. Both series have managed to take events from all of their films and weave this strange tapestry with it. Once you think one story is over, the writers somehow jump back to an earlier scene and pull out a new thread for everyone to follow. Gimmicky? Perhaps, but it works, at least for this tale.

To sum up Furious 6 in a nutshell, Dominic Toretto’s team has to help Hobbs (the lawman who was after them in Furious 5) stop a former SAS agent who is using cars to facilitate his acts of terror. Why get involved, one asks? Hobbs sweetens the deal by showing Dom that his formerly believed dead girlfriend Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is…wait for it….not dead, and is working with these bad guys.

It’s like General Hospital with Cars. I’m such a sucker for this franchise.

If you’re new to the Furious films, the opening credits sum up the last 5 movies in a Spider-Man 2 like montage. You have your main heroes, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker), who are kind of like criminals only they take down bad guys to better others (or themselves). Along with them is Dom’s sister Mia (Jordana Brewster), who is the mother of Brian’s baby boy, Jack (not to be confused with Jack Jack from The Incredibles). Then there’s the crew, made up of most of the characters from all of the Furious films leading up to 6:

From 2 Fast 2 Furious, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Tyrese Gibson return as two friends of Brian’s. Tej (Bridges) is the team hacker (wouldn’t be complete without one) and Roman (Tyrese) is the comic relief.

From Tokyo Drift (the 3rd and my personal favorite) comes Sung Kang, who plays Han. While he met his end in that film, every movie after the 3rd takes place somewhere before this film, believe it or not. This makes the ending of Tokyo Drift a little baffling when you see Toretto at the end of it. No matter what the writers decide to do with future installments, they’ll eventually have to circle back to how Dom got there.

From Fast & Furious. (No. 4) – We have Gal Gadot as Gisele, a former IDF member who was an accomplice to a drug cartel leader. Ironically, Gadot actually did some work with the Israeli forces, which I found interesting. She is the only member of that film to come back to the series as Don Omar and Tego Calderon sat this one out.

And finally from Fast Five, you have Hobbs (The Rock) and his former partner from Brazil, Elena (Elsa Pataky).

So, you have the setup. One of the things to understand about this (and some of the earlier ones) is that you’re working in a “Popcorn Reality”. The action’s all well and good, but in the course of all the driving, you’ll almost expect to see at least one or two action scenes or stunts that just don’t make any kind of practical sense. These GTFO moments are in great supply in Furious 6 – A runway chase that lasts a good 15 minutes, yet seems impossibly long for any plane to actually use for a take off. A “flip” car with the ability to send other cars launching into the air. In any other movie, most people would scoff and walk out. For this, it’s almost the norm and if you don’t care, it’s actually fun. Lin has been able to take the chase scenes about as far as they can possibly go, and I can’t really imagine what else they could try to push things, really.

Of particular note is Luke Evans, who plays the villain, Shaw. I didn’t really care for him in Tarsem’s Immortals, but  was good here, trying to be as much a Bond baddie as he can. Another addition is Gina Carano, who takes the place as Hobbs partner this time around. She’s a bit more light hearted here than she was in Haywire, and gets to showcase her fight skills. However, in a movie that’s already packed with stars performing particular roles, she doesn’t really have much to truly do other than to be Michelle Rodriguez’s sparring partner. Not a terrible thing, just something I noticed.

Is it worth it? Well, considering that most of the movies that came out since Fast & Furious 6 was released haven’t fared too well (Yes, I’m looking right at you, After Earth), it’s a safe bet if you also understand that this all revolves around cars driving very smooth and fast with near unlimited shift points. If you don’t like cars or racing, this might not be your cup of tea. There’s a lot of shooting at some points, which might  round things out for action fans. It’s a quick way to burn 2 hours. If you also managed to see at least the last film in the cinema, then this is a given – though you’ll probably be able to put 2 and 2 together before the story’s half done.

Also, do stick around once the credits start, as there’s a scene that will come up to help lay the groundwork for the next installment.

Quick Review: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (dir. by Don Scardino)


url-2I don’t have a whole lot to say about The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. It’s such a compact, little film, there’s not much I can say without telling everyone the entire story. The trailer is the movie, let’s put it that way.

When I was little, I owned this deck of magic playing cards. On the back of every card was a circular pattern that told the reader what card they were holding, the next card in the deck and the card at the bottom of the set (if they were shuffled correctly). It only lasted a few days, but the effect of doing the trick – that look of amazement when the trick actually worked – was pretty cool. Once that time passed, the trick was stale and predictable.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is kind of like that. It’s a film that probably won’t be very memorable in the long run, especially when you have other films about magic like Neil Burger’s The Illusionist and Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige. At the start, it seems awesome, but once the story arcs develop, you may start wondering if you need to stick around for the rest. Truth be told, it’s not a film you have to rush out to see, though there are some scenes to laugh at. On the other hand, if you’re going to the movies just to be entertained, to just laugh for a while, this may be what you’re looking for.

After receiving a magic trick set as kid and watching a training video by the great Rance Holloway (Alan Arkin), young Burt Wonderstone decides he’s going to be a magician. He and his new best friend decide to train together over the years, enjoying the tricks until they become The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and Anton Marvelton. They end up doing so well that they become the headliners for a major Casino for the next 10 years, and this strains their friendship. Anton enjoys the magic for the entertainment it is, and Burt considers himself royalty, feeling a sense of entitlement for all the perks he receives. When Steve Gray (Jim Carrey) appears on the scene with his new tricks, Burt and Anton find themselves facing some serious competition. Can the duo come up with something as amazing as Grey serves up? Can Wonderstone deflate his incredibly huge ego?

The story, written by Johnathan Goldstein (Horrible Bosses) and John Francis Daley (Freaks and Geeks) is not bad for what it’s offering. Of the last 3 films I’ve seen (Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Identity Thief, Jack & the Giant Slayer), it easily has the best pacing, but you can almost close your eyes and dictate what the next scene is going to be. There’s not a whole lot in the way of surprise, story wise…which I guess is what all the magic is for.  Not saying I could ever come up with anything better, though. For the director, Don Scardino, if this is first movie coming off of the 30 Rock episodes he’s done, he does a good job of keeping the story moving. The cast does well, but there’s nothing amazing with anyone here save for Carrey and Arkin. Carrell is basically himself in this film, which works well enough, and I felt that Buscemi was almost reenacting his role from The Big Lebowski. As a group, it seemed to make sense that Buscemi was the straight man to Carrell’s role.

Carrey’s Steve Grey is a lot like a David Blaine or Criss Angel, performing a mixture of illusion and stunt effects.  I have to admit that while I’m not a huge fan of Carrey’s recent efforts, I really don’t think this film would be as fun as it is without him in it. That the movie offers him up in small doses actually helps things. Olivia Wilde was nice as Wonderstone’s new assistant, but I would have liked her to do just a little more, or even better, she could have played a great rival. The same can be said of Alan Arkin, who had me smiling for most of the time he was in the film (though his appearance does kind of leave something of a plot hole in the story, but that’s just me).

The magic itself is more or less hit or miss. Depending on who you’re watching, the “tricks” were either worthy of a chuckle, made you simultaneously laugh and wince (Just about all of Grey’s were that way) or they showed one or two that made the audience at my showing gasp. For those moments, the movie was worth it, and the comedy is definitely there. Overall, I’d see this again if it were on cable or someone showed it to me, but it’s not a film I’d run right back to.

If only I could get that damn Abracadra song out of my head.

Quick Review: Silver Linings Playbook (dir. by David O. Russell)


slpIn Silver Linings Playbook, Pat Solitano (formerly Pat Peoples in the novel written by Matthew Quick, played by Bradley Cooper) is recently released from a mental hospital to the care of his parents. Obsessed over reclaiming the love of his ex-wife, Nikki, he sets out on exercising and reading books to become better when he sees her again. Working under the notion that positivity, mixed with great effort can lead to a Silver Lining, he uses this new outlook to focus on his goal. Of couse, this doesn’t happen without some hiccups. There’s one key scene in the film where he asks his parents where his wedding tape is, and starts tearing through boxes around the house searching for it. With Led Zeppelin’s “What Is And What Should Never Be” blasting in the background as everything escalated, I had an Anton Ego Ratatouille moment.

My mom had this thing where she’d shift from High to Low. Some days would be quiet, but if the wrong word or event happened, she’d explode either into a fit of activity or anger. We would be sometimes careful to not trigger this – “set her off”, she would say. My clearest memory is of having Alice in Chains’ “Don’t Follow” turned up really loud on the family stereo (and on repeat by her request) as she proceeded to break various objects in her bedroom. She isn’t the only one in the family who has that happen with her. My cousin has this thing where at night she has to check all of the burners on the stove at least 2 times before she’s satisfied they’re fine and off. She says she knows everything’s correct the first time, but says she needs to be sure.

We all have our quirks. When people burp around me, I feel compelled to say “Bless You”. It’s only right.

So, sitting in the theatre and watching Silver Linings Playbook, it all felt very familiar to me. The great thing -and possibly the problem near the very end – about it is that the film isn’t completely A Beautiful Mind in it’s sense of seriousness. I’ll admit I found myself smiling and laughing through a lot of it, just as much as I winced during Pat’s trouble spots. As he returns home, he finds his father (Robert DeNiro in a fine performance) already skeptical about him, but content that he has his son back to watch the Philadelphia Eagles games and to be his lucky charm. After being invited to dinner by one of his friends, Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), who seems to be just as different as he is and he discovers that she’s been in contact with Nikki. She’ll help send word to her about how he’s doing (because a restraining order keeps him from doing so), if he will help her perform in a dance contest. This ends up starting a good friendship between the two and we start to find that Pat is doing better as things progress.

Director David O’Russell keeps the story centered on the two leads. Both Cooper and Lawrence are energetic and have this really great chemistry between them that makes it feel like they had a lot of fun working on this movie. What’s better is that there isn’t a single person in the supporting cast that doesn’t feel like (to me, anyway) that they were miscast or out of step. They could make a tv series with this cast, and it would be watchable. O’Russell also changes the nature of the story in his adaptation, making the dance sequence itself a major focus on the growth between Tiffany and Pat (and by extension, the family and friends). He also eliminates a side story where Pat’s mom leaves his father because of the Dad’s obsessive nature with the Eagles, choosing to replace it with some more heartfelt and/or moments between DeNiro and Cooper (who coindentially worked together in Limitless). I felt it tightened up the story overall.

Another element I enjoyed was the film’s use of music. Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour” serves as a song that’s important to the story (in the same way that Kenny G’s “Songbird” was to the novel) and as I mentioned before, the Zeppelin song also worked. Alabama Shakes, which are a group new to me, also had a good song with “Always Alright”. The music of the film felt similar to Juno for me in a lot of ways.

The only problem I had with Silver Linings PlayBook, the only thing that didn’t work for me was the way the film ended. Dealing with something as serious as any kind of mental disorder, especially one where there are meds involved, it’s a serious thing. I’m not saying that one in Pat’s situation can’t be with anyone, far from it, but the film paints a picture at the end that everything will be just fine and simple. I don’t know I agree with that. Fine, perhaps, but certainly not simple. Granted, the story sets up such a social tapestry for Pat that if anything were to go wrong, he’d have people who would rally behind him. The ending just makes it seems that he no longer has any quirks and possibly robs an otherwise perfect from a bit of reality.

Overall, the Silver Linings Playbook is a feel good film that’s definitely worth seeing, with an ensemble cast that helps to elevate the great performances by both Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. The lack of a heavy-handed nature towards the issues with the main character help the comedic elements of it, but also stutter steps it at the very end for me.

Quick Review: Dragonslayer (dir. by Matthew Robbins)


DragonslayerPosterBefore I came on board here at The Shattered Lens, I joined in on Live Tweeting, where you watch a movie with a group  of people, while tweeting about it at the same time. Imagine being one of those audience members in Mystery Science Theatre 3000, and you’ve a rough idea of how fun it can get. Our own Lisa Marie Bowman does this every Saturday with her group, the Snarkalecs, as they cover the SyFy Movie of that week.

On Saturday Nights around 11pm Eastern(or just about every Saturday), Kevin Carr (over at Fat Guys at the Movies) hosts his Late Night Live Tweet, which I’ve participated in from time to time over the last 3 years. Tonight, they’re talking on 1981’s Dragonslayer on Netflix Instant.

Dragonslayer is one of those films that flopped at the box office, but remains iconic for its representation of dragons and for having been Industrial Light and Magic’s first Visual Effects production outside of any of the Lucasfilm movies (Raiders of the Lost Ark and the first two Star Wars films). Even though ILM was popular for what it did for those films, they were considered somewhat exclusive (or rather it’s my belief that they were). Dragonslayer became ILM’s test of whether they were a go to effects studio for the rest of Hollywood. It didn’t quite work out for the film, but at least ILM did well. At one point, the amount of lens flares in this movie would make J.J. Abrams proud.

Walt Disney Pictures, wanting to get into something a little more adult, came up with Dragonslayer just before Tron, but because of then graphic nature of the film (at least by their standards) supposedly had Paramount Pictures handle the distribution of the film and keep their hands clean. The movie contains blood, immolation and a hint of nudity, which seemed unbecoming of the Disney label. Over the years, Disney would come up with Touchstone Pictures, Buena Vista Pictures, and Hollywood Pictures for their more adult fare. I think Disney even had Miramax at one point.

The story behind Dragonslayer is pretty straight forward. In a faraway land in the Dark Ages, a group a people seek out an old wizard named Ulrich (Sir Ralph Richardson – Watership Down and one of my favorites, Time Bandits) to have him slay the dragon known as Vermithrax Pejorative. Why would anyone want to kill a dragon? Well this particular dragon spends it’s time burning nearby villages and to keep it from doing so, the land has a lottery where the winner – a young maiden – is offered as a sacrifice. On looking at the evidence provided – some scales and a claw (to which Urlich exclaims “That’s not a claw, by the gods….that’s a tooth!”), the wizard refuses and asks the team to look for another Dragonslayer. They inform him that he is indeed the last of his kind. His apprentice, Galen Bradwarden (Ally McBeal’s Peter MacNicol) feels that maybe they could do the job, but before Ulrich can get on his way, he is challenged by the head of the King’s Guard, which leads to the wizard’s demise.

Galen, on cleaning up the wizard’s castle, stumbles upon a glowing amulet that enhances his magic ability. then takes it upon himself to get rid of the Dragon after discovering one of Ulrich’s glowing amulets and the ability to perform magic. As a kid, I thought that amulet was the coolest thing. There are of course some complications, mainly the fact that the Monarchy believes having the sacrifices and the Dragon are a good thing, but like all Disney movies, it all works out.

From an acting standpoint, Dragonslayer is okay. None of the performances are really award winning, and actor Peter MacNicol has gone on to say that he was embarrassed to have done the film, and doesn’t even mention it when referencing anything he’s done. Actor Ian MacDiarmid, who played Emperor Palpatine in the Star Wars films, plays a priest in Dragonslayer, which was nice to see.

ILM’s biggest contribution to Dragonslayer was the use of a then new effect called “Go-Motion”. The idea was that most effects at the time were stop motion, similar to what you’d see in a Harryhausen film like Clash of the Titans, As a result, it was often very easy to tell when stop motion was being used due to the jerky but accepted movements of characters. Go Motion used puppets on computers to track their movements, inducing a motion blur and give the appearance that puppets were moving more naturally. I guess it was a lot like rotoscoping for the Lightsaber effects. ILM tried this out with some success in The Empire Strikes Back, and a combination of either Stop Motion or Go Motion was used in many films right up until CGI came along. The look of the Dragon itself was very aggressive and its look can be seen in similar films like Reign of Fire. Most of the effects haven’t held up very well at all under HD, and you can clearly see some of the areas where effects start and end.

It should be noted that Stop Motion is still in use today and is very popular with animated fares like The Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline, and the Academy Award Nominated Film, Frankenweenie.