Love it or hate it, there’s no denying the J.J. Abrams sequel Star Trek Into Darkness contained a shitload of CGI effects, and most of those effects looked pretty spectacular, regardless of what was actually happening within the story. As such, Into Darkness is one of those movies that probably works better when watched on mute. (Except for when Simon Pegg is on, because come on, it’s Simon Pegg.) Industrial Light & Magic recently began unveiling a few featurettes for the film, detailing just how much work went into creating some of these massive sequences. If you’d like to get a video picking apart what went into writing the script, just look at yourself shrugging in a mirror and you’ll have a good idea.
The video above shows a speech-free assortment of scenes built up from nothing into spectacles of fake spaceships flying across fake sky bridges from one fake building into another, all within a fake city. It’s quite astounding really, and there’s no question as to why 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture didn’t have anything like this in it. It just wasn’t possible, although Shatner’s acting skills appear as if they were created on a computer of the era.
The next two clips from ILM break down both the opening Red Planet scene and the sequence where the Enterprise crashes into the ocean and futuristic San Francisco. You won’t see Abrams or any of the film’s stars here, but there are quite a few members of the effects crew talking about the work that went into the scenes, including visual effects supervisors Pat Tubach and Roger Guyett, CG environment supervisor Barry Williams, and others. Witness the creation of a San Fran that will never be.
And now you can see how an entire planet was created from a piece of set that was only about 50 feet across, as well as how the planet’s inhabitants were all pretty much effects supervisor Paul Kavanagh in a mo-cap suit.
Here’s hoping a new writing staff and director will help bring this rebooted franchise back to the interesting side, where we don’t have to worry about fake characters as well as fake settings. But with ILM still there, because those guys are amazing.