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Photo: ‘Jurassic Punk’
Steven Spielberg’s ‘Jurassic Park’ has been a recognizable film that has been successful in the year of 1993, along with his Oscar-winning movie ‘Schindler’s List.’ ‘Jurassic Park’ influenced other blockbuster films to experiment with special effects and computer animation to exceed audiences’ expectations and also remind them that it is always exciting to watch a movie with great visuals. The film even gave Spielberg the opportunity to direct ‘The Lost World: Jurassic Park,’ which had more dinosaurs and computer animation. The critically-acclaimed director may not have been behind the camera for ‘Jurassic Park III,’ but Joe Johnson was. Around the late 2010s to early 2020s, three more sequels were made: ‘Jurassic World’ (2015), ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ (2018), and ‘Jurassic World Dominion (2022).’
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Not a lot of individuals know that the animation for the digital dinosaurs for ‘Jurassic Park’ was done by a pioneer named Steve “Spaz” Williams. A huge reason why he was almost unheard of is because of his reckless behavior and disregard for authorities which caused him not to earn the recognition that he deserved. The director Scott Leberecht has decided to let his story be heard 19 years later. It was time for the world to know the unsung hero of special effects history. This documentary is also a reminder that history will always have an updated sense of perspective on individuals that have certainly made their mark in the entertainment industry.
Steve “Spaz” Williams was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1963. Williams was a hardworking individual that was self-taught in cel animation. He studied computer graphics at Sheridan College. After that, he got his big break by working on his first blockbuster movie, which was James Cameron’s ‘The Abyss’ in 1988. He contributed to the special effects of the alien-like entity which looks like a blob of water that slithers through corridors and imitates human facial expressions. The film was not a financial success at the box office, but it did earn the Academy Award nomination for the visual effects. In addition, it was well-received by critics. The underwater sci-fi thriller will always be considered one of Cameron’s best underrated films.
After the work and the small successes with ‘The Abyss,’ this resulted in “Spaz” collaborating with James Cameron once again and gave him the job of supervising the transformation scenes of the villainous T-1000 Terminator (played by Robert Patrick) in “Terminator 2: Judgement Day’ (1991). Both of James Cameron’s works have been nominated and won for their innovative take on special effects. This gave “Spaz” the opportunity to work on Steven Spielberg’s ‘Jurassic Park,’ and to help with the computer-animated sequences where the dinosaurs were seen in the full frame while special effect maestros such as Stan Winston had a hand in the animatronics of the dinosaurs in their medium and close-up shots.
‘Jurassic Punk’ – His Shortcomings as a Colleague
“Spaz” might have been a hardworking individual. However, he had trouble getting along with others as well as having some problems with substance abuse. He was an alcoholic who would shoot his mouth off to colleagues and would say horrendous things to them. Whenever he was at a party, he would let himself get carried away. Steve has been known for showboating due to his innovative work, which brought success to auteur filmmakers. At one point, he had to go to rehab three times during filming. Even though he did the majority of the computer animation in the blockbuster films, other colleagues took credit which rightfully was his because of his complex behavior. The viewers will definitely hear “Spaz”’s side of the story in the conflicts which caused him to lose his credit and other opportunities. The film also reveals how he has two exes and a daughter who had to endure his antics. It wasn’t easy for them to tolerate his alcoholism and his reckless behavior. His attitude was often described as childlike which made it difficult for him to be respected or earn huge credit for his contributions. The movie will make audiences ponder what would happen if “Spaz” didn’t misbehave. He would have been seen in the behind-the-scenes footage in the DVD or even Bluray extras which have been seen by eager film buffs.
The film does a good job of giving all the interviewers their sides of the story about Steve “Spaz” Williams’ life. What the audience will know is how he has always been a hardworking individual that would always get praise for doing some groundbreaking work as a computer animator for sci-fi and action movies or any films that require special effects. The film gives the opportunity to witness how a gifted individual can also struggle with internal demons which had often made him the unsung hero for other works.
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If an individual looks him up on IMDB.COM, he has been nominated for his special effects work for ‘The Mask.’ His last known work for a film was the 1997 comic book-based film ‘Spawn.’ Now he has an updated credit for his work in the TV show ‘Spitting Image.’ After this documentary, film buffs and other filmmakers will keep an eye on his work and will value his importance as a pioneer of groundbreaking hit films of the past. His interviewing scenes will depict him as an older and wiser individual who takes the initiative to tell us about his past as well as taking accountability and going into detail about his shortcomings.
The documentary will also make viewers interested in other documentaries that deal with talented individuals that have troubled pasts or antics and somehow made their mark in the film industry. The benefits of watching documentaries are learning important updated historical facts that deserve to be catered to the masses.
Directed by Scott Leberecht
Starring Steve “Spaz” Williams, Phil Tippett, and Robert Patrick.
By Marco Castaneda
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