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The long listing of the technicians on a film such as "Explorers," which was produced by Edward S. Feldman and David Bombyk, with Michael Finnell as executive producer, emphasizes the enormous amount of people and hours required to bring fantastic visions to screen. A few seconds on film might take weeks, even months, to visualize, test and perfect before it is ready to be photographed. And while computer graphics have enhanced the possibility of intricate effects, it remains an extraordinarily complex and intricate field, where even one tiny imperfection in any element will ruin the effect.
Having just emerged from more than a year of intensive production, post-production and promotional activities for "Gremlins," director Dante achknowledges he was contemplating a rest--until he was charmed by the script of "Explorers." "After all the complications on all the effects pictures I've done, this is just a sweet little movie about these kids," Dante smiles, with a cue to read between the lines.
Long-time colleague and executive producer Finnell quickly lends meaning to Dante's loaded remark: "A Roman army is about the only kind of effect we do not have in this movie. We have optical effects, including blue screen composites, miniatures, matte paintings, motion control and stop motion animation. Added to that, major computer graphics, which had to be coordinated between Omnibus and ILM, not to mention the makeup effects."
"On top of that," Finnell adds, "during production we had physical effects--steam, water, fog, smoke, pyrotechnics--and giant set pieces that were engineered to revolve and turn as needed."
All the months of work and hundreds of painstaking hours brings one "so close to the film you can lose your objectivity," supervisor Nicholson states. "You may see minute flaws and fear that audiences will see them." So it's that wonderful moment when the film is first shown to an audience and it responds positively when the creative personnel know they have achieved what they set out, with their visions and their technical expertise, to achieve.
"The most exhilarating moment of all," Nicholson states, in recollection as well as anticipation, "is when the audience is so carried away on this magical adventure that they will let out a collective 'Wow!' at an effect you have helped create."
Audiences are likely to do just that with "Explorers."
"We've got to go up again! There's something out there we don't know anything about! We can't just sit here...."