The opening credits sequence of this groundbreaking film was one of the first shots planned and is key to director David Fincher's view of the film.
The sequence begins inside the fear receptor of the lead character's brain and follows nerve endings and blood vessels through the body, before bursting beyond the skin as a bead of sweat onto the barrel of the gun that triggered the fear in the first place.
A neuroscientist planned the route based in part on her experience of brain surgery. Then graphics specialist Kevin Mack, a "fruitcake among brain science" according to the film's visual effects supervisor Kevin Haug, created the computer representation.
For authenticity, computer run time was used to 'grow' brain surfaces using mathematical models of biological cell branching rather than just drawing them in. Using this organic approach paid dividends as those who've seen the shot will appreciate.
The crew briefly considered doing the shot with physical models but quickly gave up on the idea. "You can have so much control with the computer graphics," said Mack.
"The continuous nature of the shot, and the fact it goes through all of these distant places, made it much easier to deal with in a computer realm."
The sequence was so vital that it had its own separate budget, although if studio bosses hadn't enjoyed what they saw in the rushes it might never have been shot at all.
The money men had threatened to save their dollars and leave us stuck with monochrome titles. Thank goodness Hollywierd appreciated it.
Imagine a mixture of Fantastic Voyage updated for the new millennium and the kind of nature photography David Attenborough would give his eye teeth for. All to a pumping Dust Brothers soundtrack that rounds it off beautifully.
While some may question why Intel, AMD et al continue to produce faster processors, this is the answer. If not for sheer processing power this cinematic moment would have been locked forever in the director's imagination.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Fight Club.
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Check back tomorrow to read Gareth Morgan's tribute to Toy Story, the second of our nominations.
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