The movie industry has consistently relied on some type of visual effects. Whether it was A Trip To The Moon by Melies or the impressive Kong in King Kong (1933). As time progressed, the amount of special effects utilized in films is constantly increasing. The early years of film making relied on practical effects, now the majority of effects are created through the use of a computer.
The power of VFX helps to transform the simplest of ideas into monumental, larger-than-life productions. Hollywood has heavily progressed in terms of creating realistic visual effects in its movies.
Here’s a great video that goes through every VFX Oscar winner throughout the history of the award. It’s pretty cool to see how technology keeps drastically altering filmmaking.
Timelessness of a visual effect.
There are a number of factors that play into the timelessness of a visual effect. There are shots such as the dinosaur in Jurassic Park that stand up to this day. But we know that we have progressed. With that shot, it changed what was possible with CG animation integrated into live action. However primarily, the lighting, texture and shader tools were limited at that point, so we have progressed substantially in terms of how refined we can make the texture maps that are applied to the CG character. The reality of today’s movie going audience is that they have become increasingly sophisticated. They expect perfection. Consequently, if they do not see it on screen then they are disengaged from the reality that looks fake.
Story and character.
However, let us not forget that the two most important and essential elements of any movie are story and character. There is no amount of spectacle that will compensate for the lack of good story or compelling characters. We’ve seen countless examples of movies that have too much spectacle. The story is then either lost or confused. Audiences go to see movies not just to see the visual effects. They are ultimately interested in the characters and in connecting with those characters by living through their experiences. It is the visual effects that serve to create the environment in which the story and characters live. But if you don’t care about those characters, it doesn’t matter what visual effects you use because you’re missing those two other elements.
At the same time, bad visual effects will take an audience out of a potentially great story. If you’re distracted by a character facing a supposedly serious challenge, with a comical looking visual effect, all of the emotion of the character is lost. So they need to function together.