Say what you will about Ridley Scott's divisive "Alien" prequel "Prometheus" (and boy, is there a lot to say), but there is no denying that the blockbuster sci-fi film very, very pretty to look at. For all its faults on the story, script, and character development fronts, the film unquestionably delivers in the visuals department. It's clear that Scott put every dime of the film's massive $130 million budget on screen for audiences to see and enjoy.
Between the massive vessels hurtling through the depths of space, the sweeping alien landscapes, and the creepy crawly creatures, "Prometheus"' effects are a real treat for the eyes. Scott used mostly computer generated imagery (CGI) to build the world of the film, but it may surprise you to learn that the director also relied on a number of practical special effects to achieve some of the more important shots that involved decapitated heads. Even with huge budgets and CG effects at his disposal, Ridley Scott still does things the old fashioned way when he needs to.
SFX and animatronics wiz Gustav Hoegen recently posted a showreel of some of his impressive special effects work, including the animatronic frozen Engineer head and android David's lopped off noggin from "Prometheus."
For those unfamiliar with animatronics, they are essentially animated puppets driven by complex electronics and engineering under their skin. It's becoming a lost art in Hollywood, but before the advent of computer technology, animatronics (often combined with stop-motion animation and/or people in costumes) were really the only way that the movies could convincingly depict monsters or other fantastic creatures. Hoegen's creations for "Prometheus" and other films are some of the most advanced animatronics ever built.