Founded in 1975 by George Lucas, ILM quickly became the go-to special effects house for Hollywood filmmakers. The company's groundbreaking work on Star Wars (1977) redefined what was possible in movies, and ILM has been pushing the envelope ever since.
This six-part series on Disney+ is a fascinating look at the people and technology that have made ILM one of the most successful movie studios in history.
In addition, you'll see how ILM has created some of the most iconic images in movies.
HOW ‘ILM' GOT STARTED
Light & Magic was founded to solve a unique problem encountered by George Lucas during the making of Star Wars: there were simply no special effects houses in Hollywood that could create the kind of space battles and worlds he wanted to bring to life.
So, Lucas turned to a group of young talented artists, many of whom had never worked on a movie before, and tasked them with creating some of the most iconic images in cinematic history.
This ‘gang of outsiders' became the core of ILM, and their innovative spirit is still very much alive at the studio today.
The series chronicles ILM's evolution from a small special effects house to a major Hollywood studio and includes interviews with some of the biggest names in the business, including Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, and Kathleen Kennedy.
IS LIGHT & MAGIC WORTH WATCHING
Light & Magic is an essential piece of cinema history and a must-watch for any movie fan. What I liked about the series was the level of detail and insight given into filmmaking.
The documentary chronicles the major technology breakthroughs made by ILM over the years and how they've changed the movies we watch.
For example, you'll discover how ILM's work on Jurassic Park resulted in a CGI technology revolution and how other well-known studios such as Pixar were born from ILM.
Along with technical insights, you also get interviews with the biggest names in Hollywood. As you expect, George Lucas features heavily, but you also get interviews with John Dykstra, Phil Tippett, and a host of ILM talent.
It's evident that everyone in the studio loves movies, and George Lucas comes across as a genuinely nice guy, which is a refreshing change from the often-cynical world of Hollywood.
In later episodes, you get an insight into new technologies such as the incredible ‘digital green screen' and ‘virtual sets' used on shows like the Mandalorian.
Overall, I think this series is a great watch and would recommend it to anyone interested in how movies are made. Disney+ Light & Magic is an essential piece of cinema history.