With all the advanced technology available to Hollywood today, it's easy to assume that they have a shortcut for everything. Today's lazy filmmakers can sit down at a MacBook and achieve the same kinds of effects that used to cost a million dollars and a couple of exploded BMWs. But it turns out that Hollywood magic isn't dead, and many of the scenes that had you screaming "Fake!" at the screen took way, way more effort than you realized ...
6 Pacific Rim Built Fully Functioning Giant Robot Heads
Pacific Rim was director Guillermo del Toro's love song to Japanese monster movies, and if you're making a movie about giant robots punching monsters, you pretty much expect to be doing it all in front of a green screen. That's what the actors thought, anyway, until they turned up at the studio and saw this:
"Wait, is this whole kaiju invasion real? I need to call my family ..."
That's the "Conn-pod" rig. And yes, it's a four-story re-creation of a giant robot head that has been mechanically designed to mimic the effects of being inside said robot as it wrestles with huge monsters. Kind of like the anti-George Lucas, del Toro wanted his big, goofy robot extravaganza to rely as little upon digital effects as possible.
So rather than simulate actors getting thrown around like rag dolls, he actually had them whip around a big metallic body sling while hosing them down with gallons of water, which was more than a little risky, considering that they were surrounded with real electrical devices.
"Oh, you'll drown before electrocution sets it."
If that seems unnerving, it gets worse -- along with being on some kind of waterboarding fun house ride, the actors had to be built into the rig and physically controlled by puppeteers. That meant they not only could feel the terrifying sensation of metal rods turning them into a living Pinocchio, but knew that something as simple as taking a leak required an hour of laborious disconnections.
They were using yellow screen by the end of production.