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Watch How ‘The Avengers’ Built a Digital New York City

Avengers Visual Effects
Marvel

The Avengers‘ may have come out last summer, but it’s still, somehow, the coolest movie of the year. With Joss Whedon‘s superhero epic the frontrunner for Oscar gold this Sunday in the Best Visual Effects category, ILM has released a timely featurette showcasing how the legendary effects company built a digital replica of New York for the film’s incredible alien invasion climax. Watch it below!

If anything, the video does an excellent job of reminding you just how insanely difficult a big budget, CGI-heavy blockbuster is to make. Since the crew had very little time to actually film in New York, the vast majority of the of 45-minute climactic action scene was shot on soundstages with limited sets and a lot of green screen. The fact that the city seen in the finished film looks perfectly realistic feels like a miracle, but hey, this is Industrial Light and Magic: their job is to make miracles. The ingenuity seen in the featurette is frequently astonishing and it’s a reminder that these guys are accountable for¬†everything¬†on screen, from the superheroes to the to the every piece of rubble on the ground.

If ILM takes home the Oscar in a few days, many people will cite their work with the Hulk, who may be the best completely CG character since Gollum. However, their work can be seen in every frame of the film. If you ask us, the best special effect in ‘The Avengers’ is not the Hulk or the alien army — it’s the thousands of effects shots you don’t even notice or give a second thought.

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