The past seven days

Friday, May 29, 2015

Rick Baker's retirement is actually a big deal

Hollywood make-up legend Rick Baker has retired from the industry. This is not only sad on numerous levels, but it should serve as a wake-up call for Hollywood.

Baker has had some pretty notorious clients and done a lot of groundbreaking projects in the world of practical effects and make-up. He frequently worked with pop legend Michael Jackson as he created the zombies in Michael Jackson's iconic video for "Thriller," created numerous ghosts and monsters for the "Ghosts" short film, and created the extraterrestrial characters in Captain EO. He was also instrumental in the groundbreaking werewolf transformation in An American Werewolf in London, created alien transformations in the Men in Black movies, brought Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes to life, and he turned Eddie Murphy into the morbidly obese Klump family in The Nutty Professor.

Despite his body of work, he cites the quick hurry of Hollywood and the ease of turning to digital effects. You could look at this as Rick Baker being ready to retire or you could see it as him feeling forced to retire because he can't work anymore. His newer projects, such as Maleficent and Men in Black 3, were heavily tainted with CGI and the quick production forced a lack of time spent on practical effects.
Other legendary practical make-up artists, like Greg Nicotero, have seemed to find a way to balance the digital world and practical world but I find that a hard compromise to have to make. I'm all for the return of practical effects because, in my mind, they look better than half the digital stuff out there.

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