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CINEFEX
... The Journal Of Cinematic Illusions
Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Technical Bimonthly Magazine from Riverside ,United States


- First issue: 1980
Special effects
From 1980, it explains the way special effects are made.
Only covers 2-3 films in every issue with many details and behind the scenes photos.
Publisher: Don Shay Editor: Jody Duncan
A quarterly publication. 112 colour A5 pages.
- Published by Cinefex
- Website: www.cinefex.com

Last updated:
27 February 2020

Recent updates


Special thanks for this page goes to:
Scott Matheson
Garry Malvern

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CONTENTS: 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 GALLERIES: 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 All

Issue 169
February 2020


Issue 168
December 2019


Issue 167
October 2019


Issue 166
August 2019


Issue 165
July 2019


Issue 164
April 2019


Issue 163
February 2019


Issue 162
December 2018


Issue 161
October 2018


Issue 160
August 2018


2nd cover

Issue 159
June 2018


Issue 158
April 2018


Issue 157
February 2018


Issue 156
November 2017


Issue 155
October 2017


Issue 154
August 2017


Issue 153
June/July 2017


Issue 152
April/May 2017


Issue 151
February/March 2017


Issue 150
December 2016


Issue 149
October/November 2016


Issue 148
August/September 2016


Issue 147
June/July 2016


Issue 146
April/May 2016
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: When Gods Collide
Director Zack Snyder sets the stage for combat with production designer Patrick Tatopoulos, visual effects supervisor John DesJardin and special effects supervisor Joel Whist, with other practical effects supplied by Ironhead Studio, Film Illusions and Vehicle Effects, along with visual effects pugilists at Scanline VFX, MPC, Weta Digital, Double Negative, Shade VFX, Teamworks Digital, The Resistance VFX and Gentle Giant Studios.
Deadpool: Smart-Mouthed Glory
In his feature directing debut, Tim Miller helms Deadpool, starring Ryan Reynolds as Marvel's outrageous anti-hero, who gains accelerated healing powers following an unauthorized military experiment. Deadpool's unique blend of violent action and dark humor is brought to the screen with the help of artists at Luma Pictures, Image Engine, Digital Domain, Rodeo FX, Ollin VFX, Atomic Fiction and Digiscope, under the supervision of visual effects supervisor Jonathan Rothbart, with practical duties performed on set by special effects supervisor Alex Burdett and makeup effects supervisor Bill Corso.
Hail, Caesar! :History in the Making
Directors Joel and Ethan Coen transport audiences to the Technicolor world of the 1950s with the quirky Hail, Caesar!, in which Hollywood fixer Eddie Mannix tries everything in his power to keep a movie studio's wayward stars in line. With an all-star cast including George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum, Hail, Caesar! sees visual effects supervisor Dan Schrecker and artists at Psyop, together with special effects supervisor Steve Cremin, using effects techniques both old and new to re-create the cinematic magic of a bygone era.
The 5th Wave: Cassie's World
Sony Pictures Entertainment and director J Blakeson bring author Rick Yancey's popular novel series to the screen. Starring Chloë Grace Moretz and Liev Schreiber, the film follows Cassie Sullivan, a young woman struggling to survive the latest in the waves of alien invasion as she searches for her lost brother. The production required interesting special makeup effects by Mark James Ross, as well as a variety of high-end visual effects by Shade VFX, Scanline VFX, Spin VFX, Clearcut FX, Method Studios, The Embassy and Mammal Studios.
Gods of Egypt: Q&A: Eric Durst
Visionary director Alex Proyas conjures a magical world inspired by the mythology of Ancient Egypt. In this special Q&A, visual effects supervisor Eric Durst talks gods, monsters and the truly monumental 2,550-shot workload shared between Iloura, Rising Sun Pictures, Cinesite, Tippett Studio, Rodeo FX, Fin VFX, Raynault VFX, UPP, Makeshift VFX, Comen VFX and Crafty Apes, working from extensive previs by Proof, Inc.


Issue 145
February/March 2016


Issue 144
December 2015
The Martian An Abundant Solitude Article by Jody Duncan,
Director Ridley Scott helms 20th Century Fox's screen adaptation of The Martian, the bestselling novel by Andy Weir. In the story, astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead by his crew and left stranded alone on the surface of Mars. Exhibiting extraordinary courage and ingenuity, Watney manages to stay alive on the hostile planet and, eventually, to resume contact with NASA, which — working with agencies around the world — launches an ambitious and high-risk mission to bring Watney home. Visual effects supervisor Richard Stammers oversaw the film's 1,100-shot visual effects assignment, which called upon the concerted efforts of MPC, Framestore, The Senate and others to create alien Red Planet environments, large-scale dust storms, various earthbound locations, and suspenseful, dynamic space shots. Special effects supervisor Neil Corbould orchestrated the film's practical, in-camera effects.
In the Heart of the Sea High Seas Drifter Article by Jody Duncan
Ron Howard directs this film, starring Chris Hemsworth, about the attack of the whaling ship Essex by a monstrously large and aggressive sperm whale that results in the loss of the ship and most of her crew. The true and tragic tale was the inspiration for Herman Melville's 19th century classic, Moby-Dick. The film's big whale and seafaring action were realized, in part, through visual effects supervised by Jody Johnson and delivered by Double Negative, while Rodeo FX extended art department sets representing 19th century Nantucket, Massachusetts. Special effects supervisor Mark Holt engineered gimbals to simulate a full-scale Essex set at sea, and also created in-camera storm effects, augmented to a raging squall by Scanline.
Crimson Peak A Monstrous Love Article by Joe Fordham
Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro brings his stylish take to a Gothic horror story, set in a crumbling mansion in Victorian northern England, where a young newlywed (Mia Wasikowska) discovers that her charming, sophisticated husband (Tom Hiddleston) and his cold-hearted sister (Jessica Chastain) are harboring supernatural secrets. Special effects supervisor Laird McMurray provided practical on-set effects, along with makeup effects supervisor David Marti and DDT Efectos Especiales. Visual effects supervisor Dennis Berardi and visual effects producer Jo Hughes supplied apparitions and otherworldly phenomena at Toronto visual effects studio, Mr. X.
Everest The Death Zone Article by Joe Fordham
Universal Pictures presents a gripping account of a mountain-climbing expedition that, in 1996, attempted to scale the world's tallest peak and instead met with tragedy and terror. Director Baltasar Kormákur retraced the ill-fated journey on locations in the Himalayas and the Dolomites, and studios in Rome and London. Makeup and hair designer Jan Sewell and special effects supervisor Richard Van Den Bergh assisted the production with visual effects supervisor Daði Einarsson, visual effects producer Roma O'Connor and artists at Reykjavík Visual Effects, Framestore, Important Looking Pirates, One of Us, Union Visual Effects, Milk VFX and Stereo D.


Issue 143
Fall 2015
Ant-Man
Microcosmos
Article by Joe Fordham
Disney and Marvel Studios introduce the latest character to the Marvel Comics Universe with biochemist Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), a former crimefighter who recruits cat burglar Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) to battle a rival weapons manufacturer in the development of a serum that can shrink a protagonist to ant size, imbuing microscopic combatants with super powers. Visual effects supervisor Jake Morrison and visual effects producer Diana Giorgiutti explored Lang's action-packed adventures in the microcosm along with artists at Double Negative, Method Studios, Luma Pictures, Industrial Light & Magic, Cinesite, Lola VFX and The Third Floor.

Terminator Genisys
Wrinkles in Time
Article by Jody Duncan
Alan Taylor directs the fifth entry in the Terminator franchise launched by James Cameron in 1984. In the new film, an alternate timeline reunites characters Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke), her son John Conner (Jason Clarke) and Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney). At the heart of the action/adventure are dueling Terminators, including the aging T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) from the first two Terminator films. Visual effects supervisor Janek Sirrs oversaw approximately 1,200 visual effects shots generated at Double Negative, MPC, Lola VFX, One of Us, and Method Studios. Special effects supervisor Mark Hawker provided on-set effects, while Legacy Effects continued its long history with the franchise, building practical endoskeletons.

Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation
Keeping it Real
Article by Jody Duncan
Tom Cruise returns as IMF agent Ethan Hunt in this fifth entry in the phenomenally successful run of Mission Impossible films, based on the '60s-era television series. In the film, written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, the IMF team is targeted for destruction by an equally ingenious and well-trained 'Syndicate,' requiring its most audacious feats of espionage and daring to date — matched by stunts and effects orchestrated by stunt coordinator Wade Eastwood and special effects supervisor Dominic Tuohy. Double Negative generated visual effects, under the guidance and direction of visual effects supervisor David Vickery.

The Walk
Skywalker
Article by Joe Fordham
Sony Pictures and Columbia Tristar present filmmaker Robert Zemeckis' gripping dramatization of the true story of Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a French high-wire artist who in 1974 attempted to walk a steel cable strung between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Visual effects supervisor Kevin Baillie and special effects supervisor Ryal Cosgrove provided enhancements to wire-walking environments, which Zemeckis and his production team conjured in IMAX 3D, assisted by visual effects artists at Atomic Fiction, Rodeo FX and UPP, and vertiginous stereographic conversions handled at Legend 3D.



2nd cover

Issue 142
July/August/September 2015


Issue 141
April/May/June 2015


Issue 140
January/February/March 2015
Interstellar: That Our Feet May Leave
Article by Jody Duncan
Christopher Nolan directs Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain in an adventure story about interstellar space travel. Co-written by Nolan and brother Jonathan, the film is a journey of discovery, realized in part through stunning visual effects images created by Double Negative. As he had with the Dark Knight Trilogy and other films, however, Nolan sought to capture as much action as possible in-camera, with on-set special effects orchestrated by Scott Fisher, and other practical effects by New Deal Studios.
Exodus: Gods and Kings: Gods and Kings
Article by Jody Duncan
Christian Bale, Sigourney Weaver and Aaron Paul star in director Ridley Scott's retelling of the biblical account of Moses leading the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt. Spain and Mexico stood in for Egypt throughout filming. Double Negative provided visual effects to imbue the film with a grandeur and epic scale befitting its source material, with additional effects support from MPC, The Senate, Method Studios and The Third Floor.
The Zero Theorem: Nowhere Man
Article by Joe Fordham
A neurotic computer genius (Christoph Waltz), employed by a vast futuristic company named Mancrom, attempts to find a mathematical formula that may lead to the meaning of life, but instead falls in love with a beautiful avatar (Mélanie Thierry) and slowly loses his mind. Filmmaker Terry Gilliam brings his idiosyncratic visual flair to create a nightmarish technological world and phantasmagoric landscapes working with production designer David Warren, special effects supervisor Nick Allder, and visual effects supervisors Felix Lepadatu, Jonah Loop and Fredrik Nord at LenscareFX, Haymaker, The Chimney Pot Group and Bold Turtle Productions.
Q&A: Tom Woodruff Jr. and Alec Gillis
Article by Joe Fordham
An in-depth look into the history and more recent adventures of special makeup effects designers and creature creators Tom Woodruff Jr. and Alec Gillis, co-founders of Amalgamated Dynamics, Incorporated. Woodruff and Gillis discuss their backgrounds in the burgeoning 1980s creature effects industry, early assignments at Stan Winston Studio, and their creative partnership that has spanned 25 years, encompassing Death Becomes Her, Starship Troopers, Tremors, multiple Alien films, and more recently Fire City: The Interpreter of Signs and Harbinger Down — a pair of independent monster movies, wrought with passion and 'crowdfunded' resources, that mark Woodruff's and Gillis' feature directing debuts.


Issue 139
October/November/December 2014


Issue 138
July/August/September 2014


Issue 137
April/May/June 2014
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Pete's Dragon
Article by Joe Fordham
Filmmaker Peter Jackson continues his epic trilogy, following plucky hobbit Bilbo Baggins to his fateful encounter with Smaug the Terrible, an ancient dragon that resides in the dwarf kingdom of Erebor. Special effects supervisor Steve Ingram, Weta Workshop creature designer Richard Taylor, senior visual effects supervisor Joe Letteri and crews at Weta Digital return to the Middle-earth of J.R.R. Tolkien, creating skin-shifter Beorn, giant arachnid denizens of Mirkwood, elven woodland realms, the Lake-town of Esgaroth and the subterranean terrors of the Lonely Mountain.
Game of Thrones
Songs of Ice and Fire
Article by Jody Duncan
Based on the bestselling books by George R.R. Martin, the award-winning HBO series has won legions of fans with its multi-faceted tale of power won and lost in the fictional land of Westeros. The show's epic environments and mythical creatures required visual effects of a scope and level of excellence rarely seen in episodic television. Interviews with visual effects supervisor Joe Bauer and artists from Pixomondo, BlueBolt, Screen Scene, Spin VFX, Gradient VFX, Entity VFX, Look Effects and Peanut FX take you behind the scenes of the Game of Thrones phenomenon.
RoboCop
RoboCop Retooled
Article by Jody Duncan
Twenty-seven years after director Paul Verhoeven introduced the futuristic cyborg crime-fighter, Robocop, director José Padilha tackles a retelling of the story. Whereas the original featured only old-school optical and practical effects, the updated Robocop relies on an artful combination of masterful practical suits and makeup effects by Legacy Effects, and visually stunning digital effects shots executed by Framestore, Method Studios, Soho VFX, Mr. X, Modus FX yU+Co and Cinesite.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Beautiful Dreamer
Article by Joe Fordham
Humorist James Thurbe's slender tale of daydreaming underachiever Walter Mitty, previously filmed in 1947 as a zany romp starring Danny Kaye, is updated as a wry and charming modern-day romantic fantasy starring and directed by Ben Stiller. Visual effects supervisor Guillaume Rocheron and special effects supervisor Mark Hawker bring Mitty's whimsies to life with a wealth of vendors, including Framestore, MPC, LOOK Effects, Hydraulx, Soho VFX, Hatch, Lola Visual Effects, Mr. X, Method Studios, Rhythm & Hues, Phosphene, Company 3 and Blind Squirrel. Mike Marino's Prosthetic Renaissance provided special makeup effects.


Issue 136
January/February/March 2014


Issue 135
October/November/December 2013


Issue 134
July/August/September 2013


Issue 133
April/May/June 2013
Oz: The Great and Powerful: Tempests and Teapots
Article by Jody Duncan
In this prequel to The Wizard of Oz, a conman's illusionist powers are put to the test when he is magically transported to the enchanted Emerald City, and runs afoul of three witches. Director Sam Raimi shot the film entirely on sound stages with help from special effects supervisor John Frazier, while visual effects supervisor Scott Stokdyk brought magical realms to life with the aid of Sony Pictures Imageworks, Luma Pictures, Evil Eye and Digiscope.
Jack the Giant Slayer: Giant Steps
Article by Joe Fordham
Director Bryan Singer rejuvenates an ancient English folktale in this film about a medieval farmboy who unwittingly causes a gargantuan beanstalk to grow up into the clouds, unleashing a fearsome race of giants who inhabit a vast floating island in the sky. Visual effects supervisor Hoyt Yeatman worked with Digital Domain to realize the giants with state-of-the-art performance capture, and with MPC, Rodeo FX, Soho VFX and Hatch to create fantasy environments and other effects.
Skyfall: Old Dog, New Tricks
Article by Joe Fordham
James Bond returns for his 23rd screen adventure in this high-octane caper involving a sinister cyber-terrorist with a grudge against the international spy community. Director Sam Mendes energized the film with a bold blend of full-scale practical effects engineered by special effects supervisor Chris Corbould, along with miniature and digital effects provided by visual effects supervisor Steven Begg and a host of vendors that included MPC, Cinesite, Double Negative, Framestore, Peerless Camera Company and others.
Les Misérables: At the Barricade
Article by Jody Duncan
A beloved stage musical is given new life on the big screen in this film adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic novel Les Misérables. Director Tom Hooper imbued the film with a gritty realism rarely exhibited in the musical genre, calling upon artists at Double Negative, The Mill and Utopia VFX to expand the scope of the production by digitally extending stage sets to authentically replicate 18th-century Parisian street scenes and other period settings.


Issue 132
January/February/March 2013
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
There and Back Again
Article by Jody Duncan
In this first installment in a planned three-part prequel, director Peter Jackson takes us back to J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth and a young Bilbo Baggins, who joins up with 13 dwarves in a quest to reclaim stolen treasure from the dragon Smaug. As he did in Lord of the Rings, Jackson collaborated closely with his effects teams at Weta Digital and Weta Workshop, with the latter providing dwarf designs and prosthetics, while the former offered up extensive digital environments for the film’s many fantasy settings, as well as dwarf scale effects and a state-of-the-art Gollum that benefitted from improvements in on-set performance capture and other technological advances in animation.
Cloud Atlas
Causes and Consequences
Article by Barbara Robertson
Adapted by filmmakers Lana and Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer from a from a sprawling novel by David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas covers six intersecting stories, and spans continents and time periods as it follows the transformation of a single soul through many lifetimes. The film's sweeping storyline relied on prosthetic makeup effects by Jeremy Woodhead and Daniel Parker, as well as countless visual effects divided among fifteen vendors worldwide, led by visual effects supervisors Dan Glass and Stephane Ceretti, who provided everything from set extensions and enhancements to full CG environments for a futuristic metropolis.
Life of Pi
The Calculus of Pi
Article by Jody Duncan
Ang Lee directs the film adaptation of Yann Martel’s award-winning novel about an Indian boy, Pi Patel, who, as sole survivor of a shipwreck that takes the life of his entire family, finds himself adrift at sea for many months in a small lifeboat shared with a Bengal tiger. Visual effects supervisors Bill Westenhofer worked with animation experts at Rhythm & Hues to achieve an utterly convincing computer generated tiger, who progresses from healthy to emaciated, while Legacy Effects provided animatronics support. Other contributing vendors included MPC, Crazy Horse Effects, LOOK Effects, Christov Effects, Buf, Lola VFX and Halon Entertainment.
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Q&A: Ray Tintori
Interview by Janine Pourroy
In this in-depth Q&A, special effects unit director Ray Tintori sheds light on how the makers of this Cannes and Sundance Film Festival favorite, about a young child who fights to survive poverty and Mother Nature on a storm-threatened atoll, realized the film's principal effect — the mythical ‘aurochs’ beasts — on a shoestring budget, through the use of creative and quirky practical solutions.


Issue 131
October/November/December 2012
The Dark Knight Rises: A Farewell to Arms
Article by Jody Duncan
For the final dazzling installment of his epic 'Dark Knight Trilogy,' director Christopher Nolan pulls out all the stops as Batman faces a ruthless mercenary and his most formidable opponent in an existential battle for Gotham. Relying heavily on in-camera effects, Nolan called upon special effects veteran Chris Corbould to orchestrate a range of spectacular effects sequences for the film, while Double Negative, under the guidance of visual effects supervisor Paul Franklin, contributed equally stunning imagery to realize Batman’s complex world.
The Amazing Spider-Man: Return of the Webslinger
Article by Joe Fordham
In this reboot of the popular franchise featuring Marvel Comics’ web-slinging superhero, director Marc Webb steps in with an all-new cast to explore Spider-Man's origins as Peter Parker, and his entanglements with a reptilian shape-shifter known as The Lizard. Sony Pictures Imageworks reprised its role as lead visual effects house on the film, with oversight from senior visual effects supervisor Jerome Chen and animation supervisor Randall William Cook, and a host of supporting visual effects vendors. In-camera illusions were the work of special effects supervisor John Frazier, stunt coordinator Vic Armstrong and Legacy Effects.
Total Recall: Recall Redux
Article by Jody Duncan
Colin Farrell assumes Arnold Schwarzenegger’s role as Douglas Quaid in a remake of the 1990 blockbuster, based on a futuristic tale by Philip K. Dick about a man who discovers that his memories are not his own, but have been implanted by sinister forces. Director Len Wiseman updated the original film's optical effects with a startling digital re-imagining of a futuristic, post-Apocalyptic world, delivered by lead effects house Double Negative and a supporting array of boutique vendors that included The Senate, Baseblack, Prime Focus, Lipsync VFX and MPC. Legacy Effects provided suits for an army of robotic police.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: Slayer in Chief
Article by Joe Fordham
Director Timur Bekmambetov brings novelist Seth Grahame-Smith’s satirical take on the life and times of America's 16th president to the big screen in this tongue-in-cheek horror film depicting Lincoln as fearless slayer of an insidious vampire sect responsible for enslaving the South. Special effects supervisor Matthew Kutcher and makeup effects supervisor Greg Cannom created Civil War battles and vampire effects, while visual effects supervisors Craig Lyn and Michael Owens oversaw period enhancements and stylized monster mayhem by more than a dozen vendors worldwide, including Weta Digital, Rodeo FX, Soho VFX, Method Studios, CGF and Spin VFX.


Issue 130
July/August/September 2012
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2nd cover
The Avengers: The Avengers Initiative
Article by Jody Duncan Jesser
Six of Marvel Comics' iconic superheroes - Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Hawkeye, Thor and Black Widow - come together in a clash of egos and machismo to thwart Thor's power-hungry brother Loki, who plots to enslave Earth's inhabitants with an invading alien army. Director Joss Whedon called upon visual effects supervisor Janek Sirrs and industry powerhouses Industrial Light & Magic and Weta Digital, aided by a dozen supporting vendors around the globe, to deliver the film's delightful blend of mayhem and humor.
Prometheus: Alien Genesis
Article by Joe Fordham
Filmmaker Ridley Scott returns to the science fiction genre with Prometheus, picking up the threads of his Alien mythology with yet another nightmarish tale in which a deep-space exploration team is sent to probe the origins of life on a distant planetoid. Visual effects supervisor Richard Stammers and creature and makeup effects designers Neal Scanlan and Conor O'Sullivan joined forces with MPC, Weta Digital, Fuel VFX, Luma Pictures and other vendors to bring the alien world, its futuristic technology and terrifying inhabitants to life.
Battleship: War Games
Article by Joe Fordham
Peter Berg directs this ocean-going sci-fi war film, in which Navy seamen battle malevolent extraterrestrial spacecraft that rise from the ocean floor to wreak widespread havoc. Industrial Light & Magic visual effects supervisors Pablo Helman and Grady Cofer led the effort to create naval hardware, alien vessels and creature effects with an eye toward a gritty realism. Contributing vendors included Image Engine, Scanline VFX, New Deal Studios and The Embassy Visual Effects, while Burt Dalton handled special effects.
Snow White and the Huntsman: Grim Fairy Tale
Article by Jody Duncan Jesser
Veteran commercial director Rupert Sanders makes his feature film debut with this lush, artistic adventure based on the classic Snow White fairy tale. Relying on old-school practical techniques in combination with visual effects to realize many of the film's fantasy elements, Sanders brings his vision to the screen with the help of visual effects supervisors Cedric Nicolas-Troyan and Phil Brennan, and more than a half-dozen vendors, including Legacy Effects, Digital Domain, Double Negative, Pixomondo, Lola Visual Effects, Baseblack, The Mill and Rhythm & Hues.

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