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'Allied' Clip: How Robert Zemeckis Recreated the Sahara Desert

Robert Zemeckis is a master craftsman. For decades he’s been pushing boundaries and innovating along the way. But unless they’re animation heavy, like Who Framed Roger Rabbit? or Beowulf, Zemeckis doesn’t always make the visual effects such a big selling point for his movies.

They’re often invisible and used to enhance the world around their actors. Sometimes it’s small things, like blending actors with historical figures as in Forrest Gump and Contact. Sometimes it’s big things, like recreating the Twin Towers in The Walk. Either way, you can always count on Zemeckis going the extra mile when it comes to visual effects.

A great example of that is this behind-the-scenes clip from Allied, which is out now on DigitalHD. It spotlights a moment in the movie when Brad Pitt’s character parachutes into the desert. In a lesser director’s hands, this would be a pretty standard effect. Throw Pitt in front of a green screen and then create a random desert behind him later. Easy, right?

But this is Zemeckis we’re talking about. Some randomly created digital sand dunes aren’t going to cut it. So instead Zemeckis’ VFX team went to the actual Sahara and digitally mapped a huge swath of it to insert into the movie. It’s the type of attention to detail that 99.99% of people will never, ever notice, but they did it anyway. Check it out.

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Allied is out now on FandangoNOW.

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