Then director Sam Raimi distilled the sequence, which was originally composed of 22 quick cuts, into a single, haunting two-minute shot, an effects tour de force in which sand swirls, lunges, collapses and rises again as it desperately tries to recover its human form. "That was a long, slow shot, with nothing but computer-generated imagery to tell the story," Stokdyk says. "We couldn't fall back on actors in the scene or other crutches; it was all out there, which was a little scary. We weren't just trying to recreate natural phenomenon. We were creating an emotional, character-driven piece that had to be grounded in reality and natural movement."
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