The Michigan Daily Sunday, December 9, 1984 Page
Richard Edlund on making movie magi
By Byron L. Bull
On a recent visit to Los Angeles,
Daily associate editor/film critic
Byron L. Bull recently spent some
time with special effects producer
Richard Edlund of EEG (Effects
Entertainment Group) who has
worked at George Lucas's ILM ef-
fects facility, creating the opticals
for the Star Wars trilogy, Raiders
Of The Lost Ark, and
Poltergeist.Most recently Edlund
supervised the EEG production
crew for the visual effects on
Ghostbusters and the just released
E: What did you think? Do you think
that looked any better?
D: I thought the effects were quite im-
pressive considering the ground they
broke,but they just felt.., artificial...
not quite right.
E: It's in its infancy and I think, being
interested in the future of effects.. .
well I just don't see it happening in the
next four or five years.
D: Is there anything in 2010 that you're
not satisfied with, that you wish maybe
you'd had a little more time or money to
E: I've never finished a picture that I
wouldn't have liked to have done more
with. There are several small things I
would have liked to have done over
here, but I'd give anything to have had
another month on Ghostbusters. The
effects would have been polished twice
as much. Half the shots in that picture
were Take Ones, and we could have
polished those babies up and it would
have been a perfect film. How much
that would have made at the boxoffice,
I don't know. But, there's a couple of
shots in that picture I cringe about, but
I can't think of any in 2010 that I feel
that way about.
D: Since Ghostbusters seems to
represent your apotheosis of your work,
what's your proudest shot in that film?
E:' My proudest thing about Ghost-
busters is the look of the picture. I think
we came up with a distinct look that
doesn't resemble that of any other ef-
fects picture. I tend to take the over-
view as oppossed to going into specific
D: Were you given free reign to do
whatever you wanted with the effects in
E: Pretty much, in fact we storyboar-
ded much of the picture for Ivan Reit-
man, the director, to show him how to
plan and lock off his shots. We also did
lots of conceptual development,
designing the look of the picture. You
know. It's like a creative clothes dryer,
you throw ideas in there with a bunch of
other people and they work around each
D: What was the greatest problem
facing the production, from your end?
E: Time. Time and money.
Everytime I've done a picture it's those
two. When we signed on we knew what
the release date was already, so the
chief enemy is time and it's like
mustering for a war. You show up on
the soundstage and you have to make
do with the materials at hand, you
make do with what you have. It
requires a lot of inventiveness and
ingenuity to pull it off. We usually shoot
with about 300 percent in mind and
hopefully we end up with maybe 150
D: Do you think that an effects team,
given carte blanche, can be a
dangerous thing? I'm thinking abut the
fiasco Robert Abel had with the first
Star Trek film...
E: I think the problem there was the
approach and not their budget. I think
they started to get out of hand, too
much hardware that was too difficult to
build, too expensive, and really un-
necessary. They ended up with a
behemouth that if one technique didn't
work, nothing did. We at EEG take a
more pragmatic approach. We build a
lot of hot rods, cloud tanks, robotic
devices, special animation stands, but
only when we need them.
D: Did you leave ILM (George Lucas'
effects facility) because you felt con-
E: Absolutely. I felt that I was banging
my head up against the creative ceiling
and that I couldn't go anywhere. I
didn't feel any animosity, it was just
time to make a move, and Douglas
Trumabal at EEG had decided to give
up the effects mantle and concentrate
on his projection system, Showscan. So
we worked out a deal with him and I
became his partner, the head effects
supervisor/manager of the facility.
D: Showscan represents a tremendous
advance in the film process, but it
seems to be hindered by a lot of
logistical/expense problems, how's it
E: Great, and I look forward to doing a
big effects picture in Showscan
someday that would be unbelievable. I
think Showscan is extremely innovative
and it's the thing that should happen to
theatrical motion pictures. It is hap-
pening, but it's going to take time, time
and money. It took a lot just to get
theaters to equip for Dolby. It was for-
ced down their throats when Star Wars
and Close Encounters came out. Now
they're muscling theaters to put in THX
sound (a Lucasfilm innovation) or they
Putting men into space was a breeze for Edlund after busting ghosts.
won't get the next produst. You have to
force these people to upgrade their
facilities. Showscan is such an in-
credible jump in quality, so much bet-
ter than normal film because it's not
only 70 millimeter it's running at 60
frames per second as opposed to 24,
that it makes your head swim. Here
you're getting two and a half times
more visual input. It's much better
than IMAX, which is still only at 24
frames a second. Keep in mind that
when you see a movie you're watching
images for only half the time you're
there. The other half of the time the
shutter is closed, which causes that
noticable strobbing, the flicker on the
screen. Here, the information you're
getting is replenished at two and a half
times that rate.
D: Do you think Showscan is possible
in a climate where older single theaters
are now being cut into two, three, even
four screen complexes, and where you
can walk into any mall and confront a
sixteen miniscreen nightmare?
E: Sure, but I don't think Showscan is a
part of that climate. Showscan
requires a different setting, with a huge
screen, like a coliseum.
D: So Showscan films will be more like
an event than a movie?
E: Yes, it'll probably be a bit more ex-
pensive to see, but it'll definitely be
D: Have you any inclination to follow
Trumbal's lead and try your hand at
directing a feature?
E: Ah.. . I'm not sure thatI'm the type.
I think I'm more of a producer and I'll
stick with that. I liked Brainstorm and
Silent Running, but I think that Douglas
is really more of an innovator and not a
director. I see him as more of a
Thomas Edison of film.
D: With large budget, spectacle orien-
ted films like this getting so much at-
tention at the studios these days, do you
think it'll hurt smaller, more charac-
ter oriented films?
E : I don't think there's a lack of those
films being made. In fact those are the'
kind of films I personally like, that I go
to see, films like Raging Bull and Ten-
der Mercies. But I don't think that Star
Wars or 2010 will hurt them because
people also like to see that type of film,
as their popularity shows.
... cinematic Merlin
Daily: The newest thing in special ef-
fects seems to be computer generated
optical effects, which you used to create
Jupiter for 2010. Do you see that
technique replacing minuatures and
motion control effects in the future?
Edlund: No. The thing about computer
generated images is that at this point,
they're limited to producing hardware,
machines. Did you see The Last Star-
ARS MUSICA l
Lyndon Lawless, Music Director
DeNiro and Streep fall in love
By Emily Montgomery
T HE COMBINED efforts of two ar-
tists as talented as Robert DeNiro
and Meryl Streep could only result in
something good. The Deer Hunter was
proof of this and the couple's latest
joint-venture, Falling in Love is no dif-
True to its title, Falling in Love is a
love story. DeNiro and Streep play the
lovers, Frank Raftis and Molly
Gilmore, respectively. The only
problem with their seemingly wonder-
ful relationship is the existance of a
Mrs. Raftis (Jane Kacymarek) and a
Mr. Gilmore (David Clennon).
Director Ulu Grosbard has a little fun
with the viewer in the first few scenes of
"Falling." We see Frank and Molly, as
strangers, just missing each other as
they both struggle through the flow of
people on a New York subway. We see
them sitting on the same train, just
seats away from each other. And we
listen in on phone calls each are making
in adjoining public phone booths. As
they talk, it seems as though they are
talking to each other with their similar
comments, questions and responses,
but they're not, because they don't even
know each other. It's all just Grosbard
This all changes one day while the
two are out searching for Christmas
presents for their respective spouses.
They collide at the door of Rizzoli Books
and through the confusion of retrieving
the dropped parcels, their purchases
are shuffled. On Christmas morning
the mix-up is discovered, causing each
to start thinking about the other. With
another couple of chance meetings on
the subway train, their relationship
gains its roots.
Falling in Love would be just an or-
dinary sappy love story if it weren't for
the brilliance of Streep and De Niro.
The dialogue of their characters, Molly
and Frank is simple, but they manage
to make it work. The lines don't sound
stupid when Streep and DeNiro recite
them, they sound human. With all the
rhetoric and perfection of verse
missing, the relationship seems more
real. After all, for most people the ex-
perience of love isn't as perfect and
romantic as Debra Carr and Burt Lan-
caster rolling on the beach in From
Harvey Keitel portrays Frank's recen-
tly divorced and about to be remarried
friend Ed and Dianne Wiest (the soft-
spoken mother from Footloose) plays
Isabelle, Molly's female confidante.
Like all best friends, both give advice
as freely as water flowing from a
faucet. That advice is to do whatever
makes Frank and Molly happiest. It's
the standard "Whatever's best for you.
That's what's important" line, we've
heard in so many similar situations in
so many films before, the advice only a
good friend would give, but in
Falling it's more. These talk
sessions give Molly and Frank a chance
to express their true feelings about
each other, feelings they aren't quite
ready to express to each other.
With a love story that requires the
break-up of a marriage in order for it to
work, it's hard to keep sympathies on
the side of the lovers/cheaters. There's
a tendency for the viewer to feel sorry
for the wronged spouse, or in this case,
spouses. But Frank and Molly don't
seem like cheaters. The viewer is too
caught up in their real love relationship
to feel badly for their mates. It seems
more like each has finally found the
right one. They've found each other.
Falling in Love is proof that we, the
viewers, don't need a lot of special ef-
fects in order to enjoy a film. It seems
lately the movie industry has gotten in-
to the habit of producing just one
Raiders and Gremlins after another and
has stepped away from a basic essen-
tial to any story, the human element.
Falling in Love has that element.
with POLLY CASTOR
and HULUSI OZOKLAV
reading from their works
Monday, December 10,- 8:00 p.m.
5~~A~X12, >Y~g a ei
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6:00 p.m. Coed Volleyball
7:00 p.m. Alumni vs. Varsity
8:30 p.m. Sandwich Buffet
Jan. 2: 8:00 p.m. Alumni vs. Varsity
Hockey, Southfield Civic Center
If you have used books to sell-please read on!d
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U-M DEPARTMENT OF THEATRE AND DRAMA
HOT L BALTIMORE
As the Semester end approaches-bringing with it a period of heavy book selling by
students-ULRICH'S would like to review with you its BUY-BACK POLICY.
Used books fall into several categories, each of which-because of the law of supply and
demand-has its own price tag. Let's explore these various categories for your guidance.
REMEMBER, sell your books before the Holidays while the demand is HIGH.
After the Holidays we may have all the stock we need for the winter semester.
CLASS I. CLOTHBOUND
A texbook of current copyright-used on our campus-and which the Teaching Depart-
ment involved has approved for re-use in upcoming semesters-has the highest market -
value. If ULRICH'S needs copies of this book we will offer a minumum of 50% of the list
price for copies in good physical condition. When we have sufficient stock of a title for the
coming semester, URLICH'S will offer a "WHOLESALE PRICE" which will be explained later
in this article.
CLASS II. PAPERBOUND
Paperback are classified in two groups: A. Text Paperbacks; B. Trade Paperbacks.
A. Text Paperbacks will be purchased as Class I books at approximately 1/3 the retail value.
. Trade Paperbacks would draw an approximate offer of 20% of the list price when in excellent
Some of the above Class I or Class II books will be offered which have torn bindings, loose
pages, large amounts of highlighting and underlining, or other physical defects. These will be
priced down according to the estimated cost of repair or saleability.
Each semester various professors decide to change text for a given course.
We advertise these discontinued books and sell many of them at schools where they are still
being used. ULRICH'S does this as a service to you and pays you the best
"WHOLESALE PRICE" when you sell them to us with your currently used books.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 9: 2-5, 6-10
MONDAY, DECEMBER 10: 7-11
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11: 7-11