Friday, October 25, 2013

The Golden Age of Special Effects.

We live in an age of CGI. Hollywood studios have been finding that it is a lot easier to CGI a bunch of enemies or explosions or anything in action and Sci-Fi films. Unfortunately I am one of those people that have not really enjoyed these transitions. Almost all of my favorite action and fantasy films took place in the mid-2000's. Lord of the Rings, Kingdom of Heaven, Mask of Zorro, The Bourne Trilogy. These films had a sense of realism to them that a lot of the more modern action films don't.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed The Hobbit, an Unexpected Journey, the excessive use of animation really took me out of some of the scenes. There were scenes that were exclusively CGI and since I knew it was all CGI, all suspense was immediately taken out of the scene. I think the reason why I enjoyed the big budget action films of the 2000's was because special effects were not good enough at that point to completely shoot a scene, but could only be used to enhance scene. Give them that extra something if you will. For an example I have added two scenes, both from director Peter Jackson, one from the Hobbit done completely in CGI and one from The Fellowship of the Ring, decide for yourself which one has more tension.

Hopefully, you agree with my opinion that the second clip is much better. Mainly because of the lack of frame cluttering. It's almost as if Peter Jackson told the animators to put as much stuff in the frame as possible. This excessive animation really makes it difficult for me at least to get personally involved in the scene. The sad part is, is that a scene shot in a forest with a bunch of guys in costume did so much more for me than and thousands of dollars of animation could.

I am going to bring up a point here that might cause some contention. As some of my classmates have already stated, they really did not like the film Pacific Rim, and while by no means did I think it was a great film. I found it to be very enjoyable and worth the money I spent in the theater (mainly cause I didn't watch it in 3D). Now obviously this film relies on CGI like it is nobody's business, but the thing I found interesting after looking a bit further into the making of the film was that director Benicio Del Toro made a conscious effort to make the cockpits of the Jaegers a real set and the enhance it with CGI. Here is a clip about building the set.

Now I thought that was pretty amazing. Especially because of the lack of necessity. They were already making an extremely CGI heavy set, Del Toro could have just as easily had the actors put in a green screen environment and done everything in post, but he said no. I want to add a sense of realism in an otherwise unrealistic film. This went as far as to make real functioning pilot suits and helmets

Well for those of you who have stuck through this whole post and watched all the videos and listened to all my wild comments I say thank you. I always appreciate a good debate, so if someone has a conflicting idea I'd love to hear their arguments. After all, we're here to learn.

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