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About The Ship

While Dream Quest's artists and animators were bringing the horrific creature to life, its model shop spent three months constructing two large­scale miniatures of the doomed luxury ocean liner. An intricately detailed 38­ft. model of the Argonautica, with miniature lifeboats mounted on the decks and rust stains on the anchor housing, was wired with over 1,000 tiny lights. Photographic environments were placed behind each porthole to further the illusion of reality. This model was used for shots of the ship on the ocean; and in most cases, was composited over digitally created water.

The 110-ft. model of the ship was built to be destroyed. To achieve the effect of the ship exploding at sea, the model was constructed with a steel sub­frame that allowed the ship to be articulated into a sinking position and required 2,500 pounds of steel, 10,000 board feet of lumber, and hundreds of sheets of plywood and Plexiglas.

The ship was rigged by pyrotechnics expert John Gray and detonated at an unused airstrip near Dream Quest Images. Months and months of painstaking construction gone in a second!

"I think it's important to understand that this film is very diverse in terms of effects," says Shea. "We had large­scale miniatures that we exploded, a lot of motion­control miniatures that were smaller scale, and, of course, we had the creatures. Probably the most challenging assignment-from a computer­generated effects point of view-was creating believable monsters that had to continually ravage the ship for over 90 minutes. They are constantly evolving throughout the picture, and because the audience sees them several times, we had to keep them interesting all the way along. To make sure they were always scary."

One of the biggest pyrotechnic effects projects facing Dream Quest early on in production was having the scale model of the Argonautica explode at sea. To achieve this effect, under the supervision of Rob Bottin and Darrell Pritchett, the ship was constructed at Dream Quest in Simi Valley (just outside of Los Angeles) and then transported-in pieces- out to one of the runways at Oxnard Airport. The construction took three months to complete and, once assembled, had to survive three explosions before assuming its final position as a sinking vessel.

Adding even more authenticity to the unimaginable terror aboard the cruise ship were the stunt coordinating efforts of Gary Combs who staged a 100foot jetski jump out of a cargo door with world champion jetskier Larry Rippenkroeger and who supervised 342 stunt people toppling over a balcony inside the ship's atrium when the Argonautica is first attacked. Overseeing the entire look of the film was production designer Holger Gross, known for his outstanding work on such films as "Broken Arrow" and "Stargate."

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