Take an enchanting journey through the development of special effects throughout the years.
Disney+ docuseries Light & Magic was released on the streaming service on July 27, 2022.
In true style, this documentary series Light & Magic was announced on Star Wars Day (May the 4th this year), and film fans can now rejoice and delight in a behind-the-scenes series by Lucasfilm, which has finally been released today. Lawrence Kasdan, an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker, takes viewers on an out-of-this-world journey behind the curtain where we get to see how everyone brought George Lucas’ visions to life. From Imagine Documentaries and Lucasfilm, executive produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, this documentary series has six episodes and is able to stream on Disney+. I’ve had this on my radar, even though I have worked on film sets myself, there is always something still so magical and impressive about how films are brought to life. From the drawing room to post-production, to filming day, to the editing. Along the way, there are tosses, turns, changes, ideas, breakdowns, and breakthroughs, and there is something vulnerable and insightful about watching the in-depth process.
Each episode is roughly one hour long, and each one focuses on a specific topic. We see special effects, animation, and virtual production and follow some of the most legendary filmmakers’ stories from their early careers until now. There are interviews with many of the team from Industrial Light and Magic, and then some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Ron Howard, Stephen Spielberg, and James Cameron. While Star Wars is the main focus of the series, we’re shown how ILM became the go-to place for special effects. ILM have worked on huge film sensations, which include Marvel and the Harry Potter franchises, so we get a little look into how they were filmed too.
Lucasfilm and Disney surely have made a lot of revenue from the Star Wars franchise, with more films and series hitting our screens each year. Many viewers are tired of the material, and much prefer the original three films. However, this docuseries is a special piece of film. Not only does it preserve the magic of the making of Star Wars, but it also shows us how ILM has been groundbreaking in the process of exploring technology and how they can bring stories to life.
In the first episode, we’re shown how the team first came together. When George Lucas started to create Star Wars, visual effects weren’t in existence, so that’s where people had to get creative. He has to find and bring a team together to get started on changing the film industry as we know it. As they said, they were building pieces from scratch – trying to make it look like a movie instead of kids playing around. The second episode is a continuation, and we’re shown their development of special effects, showing us how they make the technique as good as the illusion.
Episode three follows the huge success of Star Wars and how ILM started to get involved in computer graphics and develop the technology more. In episode four, we move away from Star Wars a little bit and head over to our favorite archaeologist, Indiana Jones, for the making of Raiders of the Lost Ark and see what techniques and tools were used in this film.
The fifth episode leaves the 80s and the 90s, and we learn how computer-generated graphics take over from practical effects and see how they’re used in Jurassic Park. How CGI has been developed and used now more than ever.
The final episode is focused more on the modern ILM, what they’re up to now, and more recent films they have worked on, but I was left wanting more. I wanted to see how visual effects work today and where they could go in the future. However, this is just because I could keep watching behind-the-scenes documentaries forever. Maybe this means we could be seeing a Season 2 on our screens soon? Maybe.
Documentaries like this make me want to quit my job and run into a film set. That’s how inspiring and entertaining they are. No doubt that ILM has had a massive impact on the filming industry and has been highly influential across the world. They looked like they have had a joyful life and career and will continue to amaze and inspire us with films in the future. I really enjoyed this series, and I highly recommend watching it if you’re a fan of films, any films, in particular Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and Harry Potter
What did you think of the Disney+ docuseries Light & Magic? Comment below.