While filming the ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies, as well as ‘The Hobbit’ series, director Peter Jackson wanted practical effects as much as possible – though he did lessen this approach for ‘The Hobbit’ movies. With a Middle-Earth full of hobbits, dwarves, men, elves, wizards, and giants, plenty of different actors took up the mantles of your favorite character, not just the names you’re aware of.
Sir Ian McKellen, in particular, needed a lot of help. Since his character Gandalf interacts with hobbits so much, there needed to be a way for him to tower over the other actors.
A Boy and his Tiger
'Life of Pi' is a movie based on a book of the same name. The two main characters – at least those that last any amount of time – are a young boy and a fearsome, man-eating tiger, trapped together on a small lifeboat in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
Obviously, it would be neither safe nor practical to film the scenes with a real tiger present, so the director had to use the now-standard CGI, but this was back before CGI had really exploded (despite it already being in use). The result was a completed movie, zero devoured actors, and a little more, too.
Life of Pi
This fantasy adventure movie is popular for its unique way of conveying spiritual discoveries and lessons through its shipwrecked character.
Luckily for Pi’s actors, including Suraj Sharma, they didn’t have to shoot the film in the deep dark ocean or around a real Bengal tiger that could easily slice a neck in one swipe with its sharp claws. Blue screen to the rescue!
Art of Perspective
Plenty of work went into making sure it was possible to get the right shorts, even with the grand scale of Middle Earth. Practical effects and CGI were used to bring the setting in which hobbits and Orcs collide to life.
A complete miniature scale model was built of Rivendell. This allowed filmmakers to film every nook and cranny of the castle in order to portray its full grandeur on screen.
Fawning Over the Visuals
'Pan's Labyrinth', by acclaimed director Guillermo del Toro, is full of incredible sights, a magical story that mixes wonder and darkness in equal amounts, and a few unforgettable characters – no matter how hard viewers might try.
Not only is there the faun, the satyr character that provides our main heroine with the direction she needs, but we also have the pale man, a nightmarish figure with a blank face and eyeballs set in the palms of his hands.