Blink And You Won't Miss It Dept.

On the devaluation of monsters... and movies - scanners

Just because it can be shown, doesn't mean it should be. A movie with all "money shots" has no climaxes. It just neutralizes itself. The rules of storytelling apply to CGI: if anything can happen, then what's the significance? Today's CGI, when noticeable as a "special effect," plummets fatally into the uncanny valley. It's so pristinely close to photo-"real" it looks utterly fake.

I think I said some of that word-for-word back when I was talking about Shinobi. Effects technologies are only useful when they're realizing a vision that is worth seeing in the first place. If the concept's dumb to begin with, the execution's going to be even dumber.

My friends and I have back-and-forth discussions about "Ugly CGI" vs "Crappy Models". The former is something we should all know by now — the horribly unconvincing airplane bellyflop at the end of Air Force One, for instance, or the wretched-looking graphics used to simulate car crashes in a couple of movies (one of which was so beautifully parodied by a friend when he declared "MY AUTO ACCIDENT IZ PASTEDE ON YAY*"). The latter can be seen in everything from low-rent rubber-monster "epics" to the crummier episodes of Dr. Who. The models have the saving grace of at least looking like something physical, even if it's egg cartons and Styrofoam. Ugly CGI isn't grounded in anything physical at all and looks even worse for that reason.

Purchase on AmazonThe other evening I pulled out The Dark Knight and ran through some of the bonus material about the FX sequences. The thing that impressed me most about them was that I never said "Wow, what an effect!" Everything that happened, from the garbage truck being shoved into the roof of the tunnel to the 'copter crash to the semi flipping over to the you-name-it — all of it looked at least partway credible, all of it behaved as bound by the laws of physics as we have come to not know it lately in the movies. The fact that all of it was happening to people we cared a whole hell of a lot about didn't hurt either.

Tags: CGI FX links movies

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This page contains a single entry by Serdar Yegulalp in the category Uncategorized / General, published on 2009/08/04 15:46.

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