VES Names Top 50 Vfx Flicks

The Visual Effects Society (VES) today unveiled its ‘VES 50: The Most Influential Visual Effects Films of All Time.’ Star Wars was voted No. 1 by members of the organization, who also placed the other two parts of the original trilogy on the list as well. The VES 50 will serve as a backdrop for the 2007 VES Festival of Visual Effects, which will take place the weekend of June 7-10 at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills.

Star Wars is an obvious choice, given the major leap in technical execution and imagination that it represents. The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi ranked 11th and 46th, respectively. Coming in at No. 2 behind Lucas’ seminal space opera is Ridley Scott’s futuristic noir thriller Blade Runner, which pulled just ahead of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the only fully animated feature to make the list, though it ranked low at No. 45. And while most vfx artists cite stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen as a major influence, Jason and the Argonauts and The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad appear around the middle of the list. Harryhausen’s mentor, Willis O’Brien, fared a bit better as the 1933 version of King Kong scaled to No. 7. Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake came in at No. 38.

Jason and the Argonauts ended up in a tie with E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial forr No. 20. Other ties include Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1958) and The Fifth Element (1997), which crossed the finish line neck-and-neck to share the No. 50 spot.

‘These films have had a significant, lasting impact on the practice and appreciation of visual effects as an integral, artistic element of cinematic expression and the storytelling process,’ says VES exec director Eric Roth. ‘We are equally thrilled about the programs that follow this theme and the industry’s living legends we have participating in them.’

The VES Festival will feature a panel discussion on the VES 50. Moderated by Academy Award-winning vfx supervisor John Knoll, the session will feature fellow Oscar winners Richard Edlund, Dennis Muren, Doug Trumbull and (tentatively) John Dykstra. Other programs will include: ‘The Art of the Miniature: What Can You Get Me in Two Weeks?,’ ‘Vfx Manipulation: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility’ and ‘Pre-Viz: All the Ins and Outs.’ The Festival will kicks off with an opening night party at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 7. The full schedule and information on buying festival passes or tickets to individual events

is available at the official website, www.visualeffectssociety.com/vesFestival.cfm.

The VES 50

1. Star Wars (1977)

2. Blade Runner (1982)

3. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

3. The Matrix (1999)

5. Jurassic Park (1993)

6. Tron (1982)

7. King Kong (1933)

8. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

9. Alien (1979)

10. The Abyss (1989)

11. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

12. Metropolis (1927)

13. A Trip to the Moon (1902)

14. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

15. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

16. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

17. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

18. Titanic (1997)

19. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

20. Jason and the Argonauts (1963)

20. E.T. the Extraterrestrial (1982)

22. Toy Story (1995)

23. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)

24. The Ten Commandments (1956)

25. The War of the Worlds (1953)

25. Forrest Gump (1994)

25. Citizen Kane (1941)

25 The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

25. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)

30. The Terminator (1984)

31. Aliens (1986)

32. Mary Poppins (1964)

33. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

34. Forbidden Planet (1956)

35. Babe (1995)

36. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

36. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

38. King Kong (2005)

39. Planet of the Apes (1968)

40. Fantastic Voyage (1966)

41. Jaws (1975)

41. Ghostbusters (1984)

43. Sin City (2005)

44. Superman: The Movie (1978)

45. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

46. The Lost World (1925)