The technicians who made it possible for millions of spectators to travel “to a galaxy very far away” were the protagonists today of an act in which the Hollywood Academy paid tribute to the special effects of “Star Wars”.
Under the title “Galactic Innovations,” the Oscar-organizing institution hosted an evening at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills where they explored how the George Lucas sci-fi saga went from “Star Wars” special crafts effects. : Episode IV – A New Hope “(1977) to the digital resources of tapes like” Rogue One: A Star Wars Story “(2016).
The night began in the purest “Star Wars” style when the president of the Academy of Hollywood, John Bailey, appeared in the central hall of the theater accompanied by two Stormtroopers with his characteristic white suit and the rhythm of the famous “The Imperial March” that John Williams composed.
“This is the first time I’ve had a military escort,” joked Bailey, who promised attendees that tonight they would discover more “the secrets of the legendary journey of George Lucas” to the stars.
From millimeter models to hyperrealistic effects created by computer, the act of the Academy devoted much of its attention to technicians, halfway between visionaries and crazies, who with their extraordinary special effects facilitated that “Star Wars – A New Hope “became a tremendous blockbuster and a science fiction classic.
“In 1975 I received the script for ‘Star Wars’ along with an invitation to talk to George Lucas and (the producer) Gary Kurtz, the script was great (…): it had dog fights between special ships and things exploding. What could be better? “Joked John Dykstra, who created the company Industrial Light & Magic, which was the basis from which the special effects of” Star Wars “came out.
And is that although “Star Wars – A New Hope” won six Oscars, including visual effects and sound, it was not easy for this team of young people to take forward all the technological challenges that this production required.
Improving the movement and functioning of the cameras, achieving maximum perfection in the models or disguising what was impossible with assembly tricks were some of the resources used at a time when, as Dykstra recalled mockingly, “we had to put Real things in front of the camera and record them. “
“It was a perfect storm of talent and dedication,” he summarized.
The night included some descriptions only suitable for technology experts and special effects specialists.
But there were also moments for laughter as when John Knoll, supervisor of special effects in several tapes of “Star Wars”, told how C3P0 and R2D2, droids with a very precarious mobility, did not appear in plane, by magic of the assembly, when they had to go up or down stairs.
In this sense could not intervene anyone better than Marcia Lucas, winner of the Oscar for best editing by “Star Wars – A New Hope” and explained, step by step, the last scene of this film in which the rebels manage to destroy the Star of death.
“It was really important for me when I edited that scene because it had to be a surprise when Han Solo appears flying and knocks Darth Vader, who is spinning around, and Luke releases his shot and … the Death Star explodes”, he remembered.
“That moment had to be so fundamental that when Han Solo comes to save them the audience had to shout: ‘Yes, yes!’ And I think I got that to happen,” he concluded.