A good movie can convince you that you're watching something that could never exist in real life, but a great film can make it seem like there was never a question that even the most fantastical premise could exist. For instance, James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 made moviegoers believe that Rocket Raccoon could take on a forest full of Ravagers with some gizmos, tactical know-how, and a Glen Campbell theme trap. Now, you can see how that fantastic scenario actually came to life, courtesy of the featurette below:
As you can see in the video above, this particular scene in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 depends on a pretty awesome blend of practical effects and modern CGI accompaniment. On the practical side of the house, the set does house a series of trees that are rigged with over 600 bullet hits that explode to simulate the gunfire from the Ravager army on the ground. A camera on a track then ran through the treeline, filming the positions where Rocket would be jumping through the trees. But, the showstopper is a little effect called the actor's imagination, as the Ravagers on set would pretend to be hit by Rocket, with nothing more than a stuffed dummy as reference.
Now would be a good time to introduce the CGI side of the house, which not only filled in the blue screen backgrounds with the lush completion of the forest where the action happens, but also dropped Rocket into the scene. With the footage of trees being shot up, and Ravagers getting tagged with electrical charges now in the system, Rocket can be melded into the scene that is considered one of the most memorable moments from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Put both of those effects halves together, as they are in the featurette released by Disney for the film's home video release, and you get the full picture of what James Gunn has achieved with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. While there's definitely a significant level of CGI required to create the world that he's envisioned for this Marvel Cinematic Universe sequel, he's a man that likes to keep a foot in the world of the practical, so as to truly sell the reality of the moment. The result is a scene that looks a little something like this:
It's easy to think that movies like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 happen merely with some keystrokes and digital artist, and if it was so desired, this film could have stuck it out with such a strategy. Instead, it's through those two halves of visual storytelling that we have the film that wowed critics and audiences alike, with surroundings and characters that are as believable as they are spectacular. It just goes to show that if you dare to go the extra mile with your visuals, the difference shows in every frame that winds up in the final cut.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is currently available on Digital HD, Blu-ray, and DVD.