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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