The best special effects ever

GollumI love really good special effects in films, but the more tech takes over, the more difficult it can be for actors. According to this article, acting with invisible people (who would be added later in post-production) in the new Hobbit movie pushed Iain McKellen to the brink! He said “Pretending you’re with 13 other people when you’re on your own stretches your technical ability to the absolute limits. I cried, actually. I cried. Then I said out loud, ‘This is not why I became an actor’. Unfortunately the microphone was on and the whole studio heard.” And Skyfall has a really interesting mix of CG and real effects as this article explains (look out for the spoilers though).

Here are a few of my favourite classic effects from the movies:

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The weirdest side-show acts ever

I’ve just been reading about carnival sideshows. They seem quite cruel to us these days, but maybe we haven’t changed as much as we think. Any magician will tell you, people are definitely still drawn to the weird and wonderful things in life. Here are some classic sideshow acts – would you have paid to see these?

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How to make animals talk

How amazing is this? A beluga whale has learned to make sounds that are freakily like human speech. Give it a listen – I promise, it is so weird!
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When magic tricks go badly wrong

Magic tricks can be genuinely dangerous, and do sometimes go wrong! In the spike and cups trick, for example, a spectator conceals a metal spike under one of three polystyrene cups while the magician’s back is turned. The magician then slams his hand down on the two empty cups, leaving only the one with the dangerous blade inside. That’s the plan, anyway. This clip has some real footage (not for the squeamish!) Who’s that handsome fellow?

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