6/25/2014

Men in Black (1997) - Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) and Mikey
The movie Men in Black has some very impressive visuals in no small part due to legendary creature artist Rick Baker. He helped design all the Men in Black aliens and an old behind-the-scenes video shows the incredible machines he created to bring the aliens to life. For those who don't know, the 1997 movie, directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, stars Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith as two agents for a clandestine organization tasked with hiding the existence of aliens.

Baker is a makeup artist and S/FX designer who's done films like Ed Wood (1994), The Nutty Professor (1996) and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000). He actually won an Oscar for working on MIB. At one point his advanced animatronic effects were supposed to be in the whole film, but some were replaced by CGI because they were too slow. In the end, the film features almost 250 visual effects from Industrial Light & Magic. One good example of his creature designs was "Mikey" from the beginning of the film. Baker's FX crew spent 10 months on a huge eight foot tall alien but the requirement to make Mikey run through the desert meant they had to use CGI for parts of it. Watch this behind-the-scenes clip to see what it took to make the alien come to life.



As a bonus, watch how they made the "little dude in the big dude's head."



What do you think of the videos? Which is your favorite alien from the Men In Black films
?

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12 comments:

MarkM said...

Things seem a lot easier, these days, with computer graphics and all. Either way, though, Rick Baker will go down as a legend in the fx field.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Makes sense they'd use two Chucky figures. Baker is just amazing. It doesn't look as good now, but I still remember watching the transformation in American Werewolf in London at the theater in awe.

MPax said...

Very cool stuff. It's so amazing what they can do these days.

jeremy [retro] said...

i really prefer the old school creatures to the digital, digital has come along way... but we won't need actors anymore. just their likeness.

Tony Laplume said...

The next bit of malarkey you're going to try and sell me is that Michael Jackson wasn't an alien. The truth is out there, Twins.

Maurice Mitchell said...

He really is. When it switches from practical to CGI there’s a noticeable shift. It’s not as fluid, but much more realistic.

Maurice Mitchell said...

That’s still the benchmark for all werewolf transformations Alex. It’s dated, but still really effective and ground-breaking for the time.

Maurice Mitchell said...

I prefer them too Jeremy. Although Andy Serkis (King Kong, Gollum) always gives a strong performance.

Maurice Mitchell said...

His stuff is still cutting edge MPax! Mind-blowing.

Maurice Mitchell said...

I can’t think of anyone better Mark!

Maurice Mitchell said...

Curse you Tony! How did you know!? ;)

Nisse Söderström said...

I have always liked it better when they actually made robots and puppets instead of blatantly using cgi. cool to see how the combined the two :)

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