Willis O’Brien is considered to be one of the first artists who started working with stop-motion photography. Before inventing the technique of stop-motion animation he worked as a cartoonist and a marble sculptor. His contribution into the stop-motion animation is difficult to overestimate. When creating the models for the movies he substituted clay for rubber which made the models look more real. While working on special effects for movies he met Marcel Delgado who back then worked in the Institute and specialized on making miniature creatures which later were used in stop-motion animation. O’Brien noticed Delgado’s talent at once and wanted to work together with him in stop-motion animation. Though Delgado refused from the start as he wanted to be an artist rather than to work for the movies, with time O’Brien managed to convince him to work together with him and they started creating “The Lost World”. They continued working together and soon became the most respected and well-known team working with special effects.
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“The Lost World” was released in 1925 and was considered to be a fascinating movie about dinosaurs. Many people were deeply impressed by it but all those people cared about were special effects and loud sounds. Nobody looked deeper than just a moving picture. Of course for those who know nothing about animation the movie seemed perfect. Indeed, the animation is a bit better than in all other short-animated movies of those times but in fact “The Lost World” deserves some criticism because there are moments which can be argued upon.
The first thing to mention is that in “The Lost World” stop-motion effects are very rough. Though this film is considered to be one of the most impressive ones due to its special effects it can be easily seen that later movies by Willis O’Brien are animated in a better way though he continued using the same technique. It seems that the techniques O’Brien used, which were combining split screen, numerous exposures, mattes with stop-motion photography, were too much for the time the movie was created. If O’Brien made this movie a bit later he wouldn’t spent so much money on it and the quality of “The Lost World” would have been much better. In a hurry to make a popular movie and show what he can O’Brien produced a movie with rather primitive special effects.
Secondly, the film is overwhelmed with these special effects and after watching it one remembers only the effects but no what the movie was about. The aim of each movie is to impress people by an interesting story and to evoke emotions such as fear, compassion or at least sympathy. When people hear the title “The Lost World” all they can think of is that the movie is full of special effects but if they were asked to tell what the movie was about most of them would answer very indefinitely “Something about dinosaurs”.
And finally, for his movie “The Lost World” O’Brien uses the topic which was already used in tens of movies. The story about dinosaurs is very frequently observed and there is hardly something new which could be told about them. It is in fact the same story about the attack on the dinosaurs on people as in Spielberg’s movie which was released prior to “The Lost World”.
To sum it up, the movie by Willis O’Brien which caused a lot of positive feedbacks in the time it was released is not so good as most people think for what seems great on the surface may turn out to be absolutely different if to look inside of it.