Manchester by the Sea VFX

Manchester by the Sea was nominated for six Oscars and took home two on Sunday night: Best Original Screenplay for Kenneth Lonergan and Best Actor for Casey Affleck. But there’s one category in which it was completely overlooked, perhaps because it was too good. A behind-the-scenes reel highlights the film’s unbelievable visual effects — and by unbelievable, I mean literally unbelievable. Because this isn’t an actual Manchester by the Sea VFX reel, but a Funny or Die video. Watch it below. 

It’s a spot-on parody of the VFX reels we see for effects-heavy works like Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and actual Visual Effects Oscar winner The Jungle Book. And it’s not Funny or Die’s first time making this joke — they previously shared the “mind-blowing special effects used on Carol.”

But the Manchester by the Sea VFX reel also plays like a winking acknowledgment of the fact that sci-fi and fantasy films aren’t the only ones that rely on computer-generated wizardry to make their worlds come to life. No, Manchester by the Sea didn’t really shoot the boat scene on a gimbal (that’s a behind-the-scenes photo from Life of Pi), and they definitely didn’t use Vin Diesel’s Fast and Furious movies to sub in for Casey Affleck’s driving. But you might be surprised to learn how much of what you saw in Zodiac or The Wolf of Wall Street were actually CG. Even films that shoot on location, like American Hustle, will depend on VFX wizardry to make sure the details are just right.

On the flip side, there are also plenty of awe-inspiring visuals that look like they could’ve only been done with CG, but are actually practical. It’s a testament to both approaches that it’s becoming harder and harder to distinguish between the two. A mostly CG Manchester by the Sea-like movie may seem like a silly joke right now, but if Rogue One proved anything it’s that The Congress might be closer than you think.

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