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Trivia Quiz Answers

1. C. The tip- off is that the parted waters are quivering, just like a bowl of JELL-O(tm). Just before this point in the film Moses parts the Red Sea. This was accomplished by filming water pouring down two sides of a U-shaped tank and then running the film backwards, making the water appear to divide. Keeping the walls of water apart, however, while the Israelites walked through, was much trickier. A slab of JELL-O(tm) was sliced in two and filmed close up as it jiggled. This shot was then combined with live-action footage of Israelites walking into the distance, creating a near-perfect illusion.

2. C. The real Kong was a puppet 18 inches high with a metal skeleton covered with foam rubber and rabbit fur. A technique called stop motion brought him to life. Animators posed Kong, exposed a shot, then moved him a tiny bit and exposed another shot; 24 such shots last one second on the screen. Kong's fur was pushed down every time animators handled him, and his skin appears to ripple as a result.

3. B. The Rains Came spared no expense to create an earthquake, a breaking dam and flood, and a collapsing temple. Having survived all these special effects cata-clysms, the heroine played by Myrna Loy succumbs to an invisible disaster at the end of the film: a cholera epidemic.

4. D. Many movies rely on several different techniques to produce an important effect. For example, Jurassic Park used a mix of animatronics, puppets and computer animation to create its famous dinosaurs. Similarly, the best known movie twister ever—in The Wizard of Oz—was created with actual tornado footage when shown in the far distance, a coiling stocking when shown in the middle distance and a gigantic burlap bag emit-ting a cloud of dust when shown close up.

5. C. In what is one of the most complex special effects sequences attempted, the massed forces of the Rebel Fleet take on the Death Star at the end of Return of the Jedi. Legend has it that among the hundreds of ships in the shot are a sneaker and a few sticks of gum. Whether or not this rumor is true, it points out a key fact about perception: that we interpret things we see indistinctly in the background when our attention is focused elsewhere in "the frame." Thus an oblong object in the distance, like a shoe, suggests a spaceship—if there are real-looking spaceships in the foreground.

6. C. The sequence shows the T-1000 morphing into a succession of human forms that it has assumed earlier in the movie. The realism of these transformations is made possible by the ability of computers to take one image and systematically transform—or morph—it into another. It is almost impossible to imagine movies such as Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Jurassic Park or The Mask without the magical illusions made possible by computers.

7. D. Toy Story is the first feature film created entirely with "CGI"—computer- generated imagery. Parts of Jurassic Park and Casper have digital characters (dinosaurs and ghosts respectively), but Toy Story has gone all the way, rendering every single element with sophisticated mathematical models. Over 800,000 hours of number crunching went into the final film, which works out to more than a week of computer time for every second on the screen.

Some specifics: Sid the sadistic kid has precisely 15,977 computer-generated hairs; a typical tree in the film has 10,000 leaves; up to 10 separate layers were applied to each patch of human skin, controlling freckles, blushing, facial hair, oil layer and wrinkles; humans started out as skeletal models programmed to move the way real skeletons do; toys had their own unique movements, with 212 animation controls needed for Woody's face and 58 in his mouth alone.

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