The story of how Industrial Light & Magic was created is worth its own miniseries. In this case, a true in-house job made by people who sing the company’s praises… but it’s hard to resist as we journey back to its roots in the mid-70s when George Lucas realized that he’d have to start a new outfit to create the effects he needed for Star Wars. ILM began as a band of brothers (and sisters) who loved to party and worked around the clock. What came out of their passion developed into a Hollywood powerhouse that created the dreams and nightmares of the 1980s. A well-crafted, loving portrait of the people who became masters at their game, capturing the camaraderie and hard work, as well as the groundbreaking shift to digital technology. A nerdy treat, with fascinating archive footage.
2022-U.S. 361 min. Color-B/W. Directed by Lawrence Kasdan. Music: James Newton Howard.
Trivia: Originally shown in six episodes. Co-executive produced by Kasdan and Ron Howard; the latter is among the interviewed, and so are Lucas, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, J.J. Abrams, Robert Zemeckis, Joe Johnston, Jon Favreau and Barry Jenkins.
Last word: “I got interested in documentaries. I made one with my wife, and I liked it. And I thought, ‘Well, what else could I do?’ I started meeting people, and I met the people at [Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s production company] Imagine, and they said, ‘Well, what are you interested in?’ And I said, ‘Well, I’m interested in the history of visual effects,’ even though it is not the technical side. I wanted to see who created this stuff. And they said, ‘Well, would you consider ILM?’ And I said, ‘That’s where I went to high school.’ I said, ‘I would love to go back to ILM.’ (Kasdan, Slash Film)