Friday, September 5, 2014

How Much Special Effects is Too Much?

We are in an odd time for film where many films are created with the use of so much green screen and special affects that it's become frieghtning to some filmmakers. Directors like Quentin Tarantino will one day leave the industry because of the increase in special affects and the decreasing use of film in the medium. Some say it is the death of cinema and to a degree I would agree. Cinema as we knew it is dead, but it is not gone.

With superheroes soaring over the box office it's no surprise why cgi and special affects are dominant in the industry today. But the question is can there be too much of it? Well lets look at a some examples. If you compare the Star Wars prequels to the original trilogy it is easy to see that the more recent films use a ton of cgi and special affects. And because of that so many fans of the series will immediatley credit that to why the prequels are abysmal compared to the original trilogy. The way I see it is the reason those films are not as great is because of a lot of other issues that could be discussed for hours on end. But in short that is not even close to why those films are not amazing. I'm not saying that there can be bad cgi and special effects. Oh no there can be really bad special affects that can ruin a whole movie (I'm looking at you The Mummy Returns) but as time progresses the use of cgi only helps the film industry.

Stories, stories and more stories. I said it now and I will say it again, with more ways and deviations to creating a film the more different stories can be told. Look at Gravity and ask yourself if that movie could have been created ten years ago. Or Life of Pi? Both of these films used so much cgi and special effects that it becomes hard to know what's real and what isn't. Without special effects both of these films would not exist. It's all about how you go about using them really. Look at The Guardians of the Galaxy and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and their use of special effects. It may sound dumb but both of these films made me cry. And the even worse part is that it wasn't the human actors that made me cry, it was a talking tree, a talking raccoon and a talking monkey (this is just as hard for me to type as it is for you to read). The use of motion capture has advanced so far that these creations have become believable and at times really something special. So at this moment in time it's not about how much special affects you want to use but how you go about using it. Write a good story, with great characters, make a film beautiful, and then you can add as much special affects as your little heart desires.

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