Celebrating 35 Years of ILM Magic
It isn't easy encapsulating the history of the George Lucas Empire in a one-hour documentary, but Leslie Iwerks succeeds on several levels with Industrial Light & Magic: Creating the Impossible, premiering tonight on Encore at 9:00 pm from Starz. Iwerks not only has the background to comprehend it but also make it understandable for mainstream viewers -- building on what she accomplished with her acclaimed The Pixar Story, the highest rated doc on Starz.
Narrated by Tom Cruise (War of the Worlds, the Mission: Impossible franchise), Creating the Impossible features nearly two dozen new interviews with ILM and Pixar vets along with key directors (Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Jon Favreau and J.J. Abrams), elucidating the ILM touch and its legacy, from the early beginnings with Star Wars and such seminal benchmarks as the Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) genesis explosion and the stained glass knight from Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) to the CG breakthroughs of Terminator 2 (1991) and Jurassic Park (1993) right on through such recent innovations in Pirates of the Caribbean, War of the Worlds and Transformers.
"I found ILM to be similar to Pixar [which originated, of course, as the Lucas computer graphics division] in that it too has pulled artists and engineers together," Iwerks suggests. "It was cool to be able to go into that same creative collaboration. But I think ILM is a little different. They've done a lot more films [nearly 300] and helping with other people's content, but helping to make each film the best they can be in a visual effects way.
"I think for me it was really exciting to go into any film I was interested, peel away the layers and find out how they did it. They have content that shows that so we were able to incorporate a lot of that into the film, which is great.