For all the advances we’ve seen in movie technology over the last two decades, you just can’t beat good ol’ practical effects. And certainly, I get why some movies can’t work without certain special effects which can adequately create massive setpieces at a fraction of the cost. And when you’re going bigger, special effects may be better.
But when you’re focusing on smaller effects, particularly on people, practical is always a winner in my book. Films like Hellboy, the original Nightmare on Elm Street, The Thing and Planet of the Apes are just a few examples of the work accomplished in this field. Work that was pioneered by the likes of Rick Baker. A legend in the industry, who is finally stepping down and leaving Hollywood behind.
The special effects wizard announced on radio station KPCC (via EW) that he’ll be retiring soon, citing a changing work environment as one of the main reasons for his departure:
I said the time is right, I am 64 years old, and the business is crazy right now. I like to do things right, and they wanted cheap and fast. That is not what I want to do, so I just decided it is basically time to get out.
Baker and his team won seven Oscars throughout his career, with work on projects such as Michael Jackson’s Thriller video, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and the benchmark-setting An American Werewolf in London. Men In Black 3 was the last time that Baker was really allowed to let his imagination run free, as he crafted all manner of alien oddities for that flickm back in 2012. Still, maybe with more time on his hands, Baker will at least be able to craft a few creepy creations of his own.
And at least he’s going out on a high note.
Last Updated: May 29, 2015