The big films of 2019 that don’t feel like they have any VFX in them (but do)

In terms of VFX and animation-driven films, 2019 (like years gone by) is a huge year. The top 5 films so far at the box office – Avengers: Endgame, The Lion King, Toy Story 4, Captain Marvel and Spider-Man: Far From Home – are of course massive VFX releases. Indeed, most of the top 20 films all are.

That probably surprises nobody, although what’s interesting to look at is the selection of films in the current top 20 – of which this weekend’s Joker is very soon likely to be part of – that might be considered non-VFX films.

The ones I’m highlighting, in addition to Joker, are Glass, Us, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and The Upside. Of course, these films absolutely utilize visual effects (pretty much all films do in some way), but in these movies, in particular, the VFX is mostly subtle.

Us, for example, is full of ‘twinning’ work and several other invisible effects. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has models and miniatures and a fair share of era-based shots. Glass uses VFX to create a number of ‘monster-ish’ action scenes and scares. I’m not sure exactly what effects work is in The Upside, but the credits certainly reveal that there is.

Then there’s Joker, which is set in 1981, and that means several scenes in Gotham required specific era-related VFX work. There’s also a couple of gory scenes and likely several other invisible effects sequences (that I hope we somehow find out about down the track).

One other film in the top 20 from this year (again, so far) that many might not have originally thought relied on VFX in a big way is John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, but there’s actually a large number of elaborate (and often invisible) visual effects work in the pic.

So, are there any more blockbuster invisible effects films coming in 2019? Possibles: Ford v Ferrari, Doctor Sleep. What are some others, do you think?

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