Star Wars opening 'best special effect'

The opening scene from Star Wars has been voted the best special effect in cinema history.

The first glimpse of the colossal Imperial Star Destroyer still has film fans awe-struck nearly 30 years after it was first seen.

The 1977 classic beat competition from state-of-the-art modern movies including The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Matrix.

In a galaxy far, far away, a rebel ship races into the distance pursued by blasts of gun fire.

Then its pursuer comes into view – a ship so vast that it took moviegoers’ breath away when the film first hit the big screen.

It topped a poll conducted by SFX magazine to find the greatest ever special effect.

“Star Wars winning the best special effects sequence ever shows just how significant the film is to movie fans,” said SFX editor Dave Golder.

“Even now, nothing beats the feeling you get when you see this huge flying spaceship coming across the screen – which is breathtakingly enormous.

“It was the Big Bang of modern special effects, redefining the way space ships should look on the big screen.”

Most of the special effects in the top 10 were from older films.

The climax of 1933 classic King Kong, in which the giant ape climbs the Empire State Building with Fay Wray, was second.

Third was the gruesome moment in The Thing (1982) in which a severed head sprouts spider’s legs.

The skeleton fight sequence from 1963 film Jason and the Argonauts - ground-breaking in its day – was fourth.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s shift-shaping nemesis T-1000 from Terminator 2: Judgment Day, played by Robert Patrick, came fifth, followed by the Krell machinery in 1956 hit Forbidden Planet.

Gollum from Lord of the Rings, the computer-generated character based on British actor Andy Serkis, was seventh.

The Matrix “bullet time” effect, in which time appears to slow, came eighth.

Ninth was the famous scene in which an Alien bursts out of John Hurt’s chest.

The most recent film to make the list was last year’s Spider-Man 2, in which Spidey fought evil Doc Ock aboard a speeding train.

The predominance of older films comes as no surprise to Golder.

“I’m not at all surprised that film fans are rejecting the modern reliance on CGI (computer-generated imagery) for special effects,” he said.

“Film fans aren’t against progress and there are many occasions in films like Jurassic Park and Lord of the Rings where CGI really gives a new dimension you just couldn’t bring with traditional methods.

“On the other hand, there is nothing as satisfying in seeing a film with a massive special effects bill like the recent Van Helsing being thrashed by a 70-year-old stuffed gorilla.”

:: The February issue of SFX magazine is on sale from January 19.

Top 10 Special Effects:

1 Star Wars – opening shot (1977)

2 King Kong – climax (1933)

3 The Thing – spider head (1982)

4 Jason and the Argonauts – the skeletons (1963)

5 Terminator 2: Judgment Day – the T-1000 (1991)

6 Forbidden Planet – Krell machinery (1956)

7 The Lord of the Rings trilogy – Gollum (2001-2003)

8 The Matrix – bullet-time (1999)

9 Alien – chest burster (1979)

10 Spider-Man 2 – train fight (2004)

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