A Documentary Tribute to the Wizardry of ILM

For over 35 years, the LucasFilm company Industrial Light and Magic has been a pioneer and trendsetter in the field of visual effects.  ILM has set the standard for bringing to the screen virtually anything a screenwriter or filmmaker could imagine.  This weekend, a documentary will air on the Encore network called Industrial Light and Magic: Creating the Impossible, chronicling the history and milestones of the ultimate special effects house.  Directed by Leslie Iwerks who also gave us The Pixar Story and narrated by actor Tom Cruise, the special will tell the tale of what it calls "the visual effects studio that transformed Hollywood."

Starting with innovative practical effects in Star Wars, ILM revolutionized the impact of visual effects in movie-making.  While some people might decry Hollywood's over-reliance on FX tricks, ILM has made its mark by making everything from spaceships to aliens to dinosaurs to futuristic cityscapes look completely real and believable, as well as more subtle illusions.  ILM has laid the groundwork where even amateur filmmakers now have affordable tools to create special effects that might have been impossible a few decades ago. If anything negative can be said, its work has led to easy and affordable FX software and techniques that have now proliferated like a plague, causing many movies to actually look less believable when created by less experienced hands and imaginations.

ILM, nevertheless, has deservedly won a string of awards for its achievements in noteworthy films such as Jurassic Park, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Back to the Future, the Harry Potter series, Iron Man, Avatar, and many more.  It broke new ground with digital morphing, computer generated imagery, 3D animation, and many other visual effects touchstone accomplishments.

The Encore documentary features interviews with moviemakers George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Jon Favreau, J.J. Abrams, Jerry Bruckheimer, and John Lasseter, actors Samuel L. Jackson, Robin Williams, and Seth Green, effects guru John Dykstra, and many others.

Tune in and discover how ILM came to be and how it continues to bring magic to the big screen.