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The visual effects revolution from “Star Wars” to “Jurassic Park” is traced in the book “Light & Magic.”

Of course, “Light & Magic” is a walk down memory lane about beloved films and the magic that went into making them, starting with “Star Wars.” However, this six-part documentary from franchise veteran Lawrence Kasdan also includes a wider examination of how technology may radically transform a market in a way that could force even inventive buggy-whip manufacturers out of business.

The first two complete episodes of the Disney+ production are devoted to how “Star Wars” was made and how director George Lucas had to essentially build the machinery from scratch to achieve those ambitious special effects. As director James Cameron remarks, it comes to an end with the revolutionary use of computer-generated visual effects, where “the only limitations are money and imagination.”

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Between those two points, Kasdan offers a considerate, frequently humorous, and painstakingly detailed look at the art of special effects, the small group of wizards that Lucas enlisted — and the influences, from “King Kong” to “The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad,” that inspired them to start tinkering with home movies at a young age — as well as the evolution of filmmaking as effects came of age and a blockbuster mentality took over.

The visual effects revolution from "Star Wars" to "Jurassic Park" is traced in the book "Light & Magic."

With the benefit of hindsight, it can be said that Lucas’ choice to formally put the team he had assembled by founding Industrial Light and Magic, the organization that would become a pioneer in the innovations that would follow, and the go-to source for visual effects for a large portion of the film industry. Director J.J. Abrams refers to the ILM method as “that rare magic trick when the technology is as good as the illusion.”

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From “Raiders of the Lost Ark” to the “Star Wars” prequels, “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” and “Jurassic Park,” Kasdan uses iconic movies to advance the plot. He also spends time highlighting the colorful characters who have come to represent special effects.

The discussions range from the wonky and technical, like John Dykstra talking about the motion-control system created to capture the dogfight sequences in “Star Wars,” to the humorous, like putting potatoes in the asteroid field from “The Empire Strikes Back” or remembering how to melt a human head after watching “Raiders.”

The visual effects revolution from "Star Wars" to "Jurassic Park" is traced in the book "Light & Magic."
The famous directors who were questioned also shared their experiences of amazement as moviegoers, both back then and now. For example, Ron Howard recalled watching “Star Wars” for the first time, leaving the theatre, and then immediately lining up to watch it again.

“Light & Magic” has similarities to the 2015 documentary “Raiders, Raptors, and Rebels: Behind the Magic of ILM,” but it takes a deeper look at the subject and celebrates special effects advancements while also reflecting on their significance, their limitations, and the cost of moving from physical crafts to digital representations.

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Steven Spielberg, a friend of George Lucas, offers a word of caution: “When the effects overtake the story, we’ve lost our way.” Lucas claims that visual effects “create the magic that makes people want to attend to the movies.”

The final hours, when ILM’s model-shop personnel were coming to terms with the digital wave that washed over them, also have a touching component. Phil Tippett, the architect behind stop-motion and creature effects for “Jurassic Park,” rightly told Steven Spielberg, “I feel extinct,” after seeing the computer dinosaurs for the first time.

The visual effects revolution from "Star Wars" to "Jurassic Park" is traced in the book "Light & Magic."
“Light & Magic” feels like a more ambitious and at times almost profound history of not just how these advancements came about, but the way such technology impacted the lives of those who created it. Disney+ has been extremely shrewd about turning what are essentially DVD extras into content for the streaming service (the making of “The Mandalorian,” etc.).

Dennis Muren, a master of visual effects, claims that when he first read the “Star Wars” script, he simply thought, “This is impossible.”
These magnificent images are now taken for granted. “Light & Magic” explains how the impossibly possible became possible, but to Kasdan’s credit, it goes further in trying to explain magic.