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The first space station scene in '2001: A Space Odyssey'

Editor's note: Every week we ask people around the office questions about pop culture to see what makes them tick. This week, we wanted to know what special and visual effects scene from a movie is their favorite.

One of the best visual effects sequences for me is the first space station scene in Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer). The entire 1968 film is a masterclass of blending visual effects and story, but this sequence uses a combination of models, and rear projections overseen by Cinematographer Douglas Trumbull. Not only is the sequence incredibly believable, but the interior shots had their own share of special effects like a pen floating in the aisle of the Pan Am Space Shuttle (done with "glue" and a piece of glass). Watch it!

Another favorite sequence from the film would be when Dave jogs around the circular shaped interior of his spaceship

  • Patrick Holland, associate editor
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When we first see dinosaurs in 'Jurassic Park'

For me it's when we first see dinosaurs in the original "Jurassic Park" (Universal Pictures). When Dr. Grant rips off his hat and aviators with his mouth gaping to see some Brachiosaurus casually walk by, that remains the coolest visual sequence I've ever seen. As a kid, and even now as an adult, it was absolutely mind-blowing how realistic the dinosaurs looked and how fluid their movements were. As a viewer, you forgot that these guys roamed the Earth millions of years ago and weren't hired merely for a guest appearance. Watch it!

  • Danielle Ramirez, senior production manager
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The opening scene from 'Star Wars: A New Hope'

Everybody knows that iconic moment in opening scene of "Star Wars: A New Hope" (20th Century Fox) when the vast grey slab of an Imperial Star Destroyer filled the screen, dropping jaws to the floor and ushering in a new era in movie magic. Yes, it's a watershed moment in motion control filming, in modelmaking, in green-screen compositing. But the crucial element in making this shot so timeless isn't VFX trickery: it's the fact that there are two ships. If there'd been one ship you'd still be impressed by the never-before-seen visual spectacle. But when you have two ships you have a chase -- you have a story. That shot sums up the whole of Star Wars: a plucky underdog pursued by a vast and overbearing enemy. It's a classic example of an effects shot being both technically impressive and telling a story. Watch it!

  • Richard Trenholm, senior editor
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The werewolf transformation in 'An American Werewolf in London'

"An American Werewolf in London" (Universal Pictures) has it all. Wit, intelligence, no role that is a throw-away, an expert blend of horror and comedy and an undertone that speaks clearly to the fear, resentment, superstition and misunderstandings that make up the human condition. A great ride from the director of "Animal House" and "The Blues Brothers" who pays homage to the classic Universal films and Gothic tragedy but is never mired in it. 

The standout sequence is of course the near-flawless werewolf transformation (one of two) by master makeup artist Rick Baker, who won his first of many Academy Awards for his efforts and rightfully so. Shot, not in the dark as might have been the obvious choice back in the day, but in a brightly lit "apartment."  The transformation deftly balances revulsion, pain, loss of self and anguish with voyeurism, compassion, tragedy and wonderment all played out over Sam Cooke's haunting cover of Blue Moon. Watch it!

  • Jon Chaikin, senior manager, direct marketing & merchandising
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The graduation battle in 'Ender's Game'

My favorite scene from the movie "Ender's Game" (Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate Films) is also my favorite scene from the novel. The end graduation battle is amazing. I don't know if I've ever seen a space battle done at this scale with such specific tactical purpose. It's amazing to watch not only for the spectacle, but also because it leads to one of the best narrative twists I've experienced in any medium. Watch it! 

  • Eric Franklin, managing editor
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The flying car scene in 'Blade Runner'

One of the greatest visual effects scenes for me is the flying car scene as Deckard flies through the city in the opening of "Blade Runner" (Warner Bros.). Seeing the futuristic version of Los Angeles with giant television screens and smokestacks billowing fire while Harrison Ford's Deckard rides in the back of the flying police car made my jaw drop as a kid. It's important to note that this was made in 1982 and the effects still hold up today. Simply breathtaking. Watch it!

  • Jason Parker, senior editor
Published:Caption:Photo:Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET
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