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CGI & other advances: GOOD/BAD?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by DirthNader, Sep 9, 2002.

  1. DirthNader

    DirthNader New Member

    Hi, all. I have a question. How many of you out there feel that CGI (Computer generated immagery) is a great invention?

    Here's my opinion, in case anyone wants to know. I grew up in the '80's, a time when movies were just beginning to see the fruits of computer influences. A good example is a scene in Steven Speilberg's (hope I spelled his last name right) movie, Young Sherlock Holmes, in which a Parish priest is hit with a blow dart with some pretty heavy halucinagenics on the tip. The poor old man begins to imagine that the stained glass portrait is alive and out to kill him. The figure from the window pops out and chases the maddened priest out into the street, where he is trampled to death by a carriage *ick :( *.

    The Stained glass figure was completely CGI and looked great! In fact, it was way ahead of it's time. Overall, I enjoyed that movie and would recomend it to anyone (giving a disclaimer that the story-line is completely wrong, but then SB gives that same message at the beginning of the movie), however I feel that the use of CGI has been taken to an extreme.

    I see the need for it in such films as Jurasic Park, the new Star Wars prequals, and television series like Farscape. But come on! Who wasn't dissapointed at the first rendition of a computer animated Yoda? He looked a little choppy and Gearge Lucas made a mistake in going back and forth between the puppet and the animated character (I'm reffering to Episode I, in this case). It wasn't seemless, and it took something away from the experience because, after all, when something is computer generated, it's pretty obvious (i.e. Some of the full shot scenes in Titanic.... *shivers with disgust*)

    I dunno. I guess I personally prefer the days when actors actually interacted with characters that were physically tangable. Time Bandits, another great movie that I highly recomend, had Ogers, a really gigantic giant, and "the most fabulous object in the wooorld", all without the need or use of CGI. The Adventures of Baron Munchhousen (I know I butchered that one up) is another example of what was done and, in my humble opinion, should still be done when it comes to movies with imagery that is more fantastic than reality. People of skill took their time and created some of the most memorable creatures and places that film has ever shown.

    I'm rambling. Just let me know what'cha think.

    Thanks
  2. CraigD

    CraigD New Member

    Hi Dirth,

    CGI is a great tool for filmmakers, but it definately has its downsides.

    Many directors will use CGI as it's far less time consuming than other forms of visual effects. They leave the work with the tech heads, check out the progress and when they're happy with the final result - it's in the film.

    Where as puppetry and other effects slow down filming and can often be frustrating when things don't work out.

    However, I do find that many directors today get carried away with the technology, and it comes down to laziness. And as much as I love the Star Wars prequels, I do believe that Lucas has often taken the easy way out. Don't get me wrong, I thought Yoda was extremely well done, and quite necessarily computer generated for Attack of the Clones. But the performances suffer due to the extensive blue/green screen work.

    And of course, CGI isn't perfected as of yet. Ever seen Jan de Bont's remake of The Haunting? God awful film. CGI is not scary. I think in the horror/monster movie type of genre, puppetry and make up effects are far more effective.

    So yeah, I think CG is great but overused at the moment, but as it becomes even more seamless, director's will use it more, and audiences will probably mind less.


    Craig
  3. DirthNader

    DirthNader New Member

    Thank you. I agree with you 110%. I guess that was the point I was trying to make, too.

    I think you are also right in regards to it becomming more used as it gets more seamless. The audiences won't mind so much, naturally, because they will have grown up with it and anything less (i.e. make up and puppetry) will seem archaic and terribly out dated.

    Thanks for your input. That's the stuff I'm looking for.
  4. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    my two cents....

    I think, Movies aside, CGI is just a tool, like most animations. If you make an all CGI cartoon series, it will not be cool just becasue of the CGI. Case in point, Jimmy Neutron, Max Steel, and Cubix. GOD AWFUL!!!!

    As far as movies, I think CGI is used where it doesn't need to be, and isn't used where it should be. Look at Inspector Gadget the movie...the biggest mistake (casting, wrong city name, and plot aside) Madcat and Brain should have been CGI's (like Scooby Doo or Bullwinkle) and not real animals. Brain was just a dog in that movie when everyone knows that he was one of those anthromophic (sp) type cartoon dogs that walk on two legs! YUICK!!!

    As far as Yoda goes, he should have been CGI in (and only in) the fighting scenes. Though he tried to make the CGI look and move like the puppet, the puppets limitations make him appear old.
  5. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    When I first saw T2 and Jurassic Park, both insanely great films IMHO...I was truly blown away by the then state of the art cgi. Since then virtually every film cept Ya Ya Sisterhood uses it to some extent...so it has become a bit ho hum. Even in Episode Two, weve become so accustomed to it, that we arent as blown away as we should be.

    Speaking of Star Wars, Lucas used an oppurtunity to to do what I would consider butchering...the special editions of the trilogy...oh man...look what he did to the masterpeice Jedi!

    So there are examples of cgi being used to 'history revision'.
    (as was the case of a lot of NYC setting late 2002 films)

    However, pure cgi films continue to dazzle me. Final Fantasy and Monsters Inc were on my top ten list of last year for a good reason(then again I disliked the pastel look of Shrek)

    But some directors and studios are really tweaking out cgi effects over real footage. Look at Minoirty Report, those spider robots were convincing because it was a small effect and had a very organic rustic look. For visual effects and cgi, I say just wait for the two Matrix sequels next year...from what Ive read these films are spose to be th emost astonishing visual effects pieces ever.
  6. DirthNader

    DirthNader New Member

    I agree, and don't get me wrong. I feel that cgi does have it's place, but it does seem to be overused. I've just always had a hard time with that kinda art replacing traditional effects.

    Just think of where special effects would be if it hadn't been for pioneers like George Lucas. Many things were litterally invented during the filming of the first three films. Advances were made in sound and visual effects. Even with the untouched versions, I still get that thrill of being there.

    I think he (Mr. Lucas) should take some pointers from his friend (Mr. Speilberg). The new E.T. DVD will have the added option of watching the original, completely free of the added effects. That's twice the fun at half the cost, or somethin'. In any event, it shows that even a directopr as revered as he is, still thinks of his audience and realizes that there are truly "die hard" fans out there who appreciate what they remember with an original piece.

    I do look forward to seeing the two new Matrix's.
  7. gymkatarules

    gymkatarules New Member

    If it does look bad already, CGI will look sillier and sillier as these films get older. Filmmakers have gotten way out of line with using these effects too heavily, while films using opitcal effects more often than not still look great (2001, anyone?). Boo on CGI. Boo.

    -Chris
  8. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    However, I feel if you use CGI on a bad movie, you'll still have a bad movie!

    Case in point: Dinosaur. It had potential, but it just got so conviluted and long. Ugh. At the last minute, they decided to get voice overs, and not keep it a picture without speaches. They had all these no names and B list celebrities like Della Reese. ANd the film was so long and so boring. So many treks though the desert. I almost thought the film had bits of Lawrence of Arabia spliced in! The visuals were astounding, but the thing was like watching paint dry.

    Compaire it with Pixar movies (Monsters Inc, Toy Story, Bugs Life). All were memorable dispite CGI animation. Dinosaur was a brash, wreckless move! Eisner (or someone) said Heck with Pixar, we can make CGI movies without them.....


    No! They can't!
  9. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    >>>Compaire it with Pixar movies (Monsters Inc, Toy Story, Bugs Life). All were memorable dispite CGI animation. Dinosaur was a brash, wreckless move! Eisner (or someone) said Heck with Pixar, we can make CGI movies without them<<<

    Hehe, look slike I missed out on all the boring fun of Dinoasaur;) Seriously, I hope Disney learned their lesson of trying to go at it alone as far as pure cgi films. Pixar and Square Studios(Final Fantasy) set the new standard for all cgi films, so those studios are hard to top. On a side note I was quite displeased Shrek got the academy award, when Monsters Inc and Final Fantasy IMHO had that beat hands down. Heck even Waking Life to me was more entertaining animated film wise.

    But as far as cgi applies to creature shop...its funny, on Aint It Cool whenever something JHC or Creature Shop comes up, you'll get all these idiots dissing puppetry and animatronics in favor of cgi. Im sorry, but 80's fantasy(Never Ending, Willow, Legend, Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, etc) to me was way more exciting than modern stuff like Potter or LOTR.
  10. CraigD

    CraigD New Member

    Hey Cory,

    I agree with you that Monsters Inc. was a much more enjoyable film than Shrek (and I also really dug Waking Life), but Final Fantasy was awful, a real headache inducing film. For the academy to nominate that film in the animation category over Waking Life was an embarrassment.

    As for your view on 80's fantasy, sure, films like The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth and Willow were great, but Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings have really ignited the studios interests in fantasy again. And although Harry Potter may be slightly flawed (but still very enjoyable), nothing can top LOTR. I don't care what you say. Look at Willow, and it's just a clone of Tolkien's story anyway. Lord of the Rings is the greatest fantasy film ever made, and it did not get carried away with CG in the slightest. It used it when necessary (the Cave Troll for example), but the reason the film worked so well is that Peter Jackson completely respected the story and he was the perfect person to bring the books to life.


    Craig
  11. bluedreamer

    bluedreamer New Member

    <<I don't care what you say. Look at Willow, and it's just a clone of Tolkien's story anyway. Lord of the Rings is the greatest fantasy film ever made, and it did not get carried away with CG in the slightest. It used it when necessary (the Cave Troll for example), but the reason the film worked so well is that Peter Jackson completely respected the story and he was the perfect person to bring the books to life.>>

    I completely agree with you there! Although I am a big fan of Harry Potter too and loved every minute of it. I swear I want a Firebolt of my own and watching that movie made it seem so effortless and real....

    Anyhow, may I say that despite CGI's faults and flaws I love it, without it, most "scenes of the imagination" would not be possible. I loved Shrek and I looooved Final Fantasy especially the way they made her hair move in the wind, the reflections in the water, the dream like effect to me feels like an out of body experience... but that's my opinion. I'm not particularly picky about how well it's done as opposed to how well it could have been done. I'm one of those people that are soo glad that we are actually getting these type of movies at all!!! I still think this world lacks a lot of imagination and some still fear it, but it's good to see it making a break through. There was a time when only "nerds" enjoyed these things.... but now it's spread amongst the "common folk"! And it wasn't that long ago either...

    But on the other hand, movies like the Princess Bride, would I have it any other way? No sirreeeeee.

    On the subject of Peter Jackson ..... I wonder in what light muppet fans view his previous works?? Or is that something we shouldn't mention here?
  12. grail

    grail New Member

    what? you mean "Meet the Feebles"? i don't think most people realize that was the same guy. i for one think the movie is hilarious, and plan to buy the DVD as soon as i can track it down again! (i saw it ONCE, and didn't have the extra $10 on me...yes, it was only $10...man i shoulda bought it then...) ever since i saw it that first time, i've thought of the Feebles as that weird relative that the Muppets just don't talk about...and considering the "weird level" of the Muppets, that's saying something.
  13. bluedreamer

    bluedreamer New Member

    Yep, I'm talking about "Meet the Feebles". I saw it on video ummmm must have been 6 years ago and I haven't seen it anywhere since. It would be intersting to see if you can get it over the net. At first I was digusted and insulted by it but a side of me found it funny too, you can see where he got the ideas from.

    Yeah maybe you're right and they don't realise that it's the same guy!

    $10! Bargain, you should have grabbed it! What were you thinking?? okies even if its U.S. dollaroooos .....
    :)
  14. grail

    grail New Member

    it was the same week that Lord of the Rings and Wrath of Kahn (Special Edition) came out on DVD...i had to choose. i'll find it someday, this i vow!
  15. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    CG, animatronics, traditional puppetry and old-fashioned special FX all have their place. The problem, as I see it right now, is that CG FX are being used as a fad rather than a necessary tool. I think there will be a resurgence of more traditional FX and solid filmmaking (not revolving around audacious shots) when the audience finally gets bored with the medium.

    Computer FX are here to stay, but I feel a balance will come in time and it will be used as merely a tool to be used because the should, not just because they can.

    Just how this frogboy sees it. ;)
  16. DirthNader

    DirthNader New Member

    Youknow, I've heard of Meet the Feebles, but have yet to see it or even find it for that matter. I didn't know Jackson was behind that one. I have to agree about LOTR, though. It was fantastic. I had trouble with the scene at the ford. It could have been left alone, but I think it was changed to appeal to a female audience as well.

    As far as CGI is concerned in that film, however, it was masterfully done, and cgi does have the benefit of being more fluid in motion; case in point: the cave troll.

    Gosh, I started this thread in the hopes that I would hold firm on my stance of CGI being a threat to the intergrity of films. Looks like I have a few things to think about, but then that's why we're here, to get the oppinions of others and to discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly about the whole thing :o

    I do think, and to this I will hold firm, that makeup and special visual effects are changing...being sort of pushed forward and it worries me that the talent of skilled artisans will be replaced by quicker and less costly computers.
  17. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Wasn't that an episode of Pinky and the Brain?

    Reguardless, I thought Shrek and Monsters Inc were both deserving of that award. I'm so glad they shut out Jimmy Neutron. It's just cheasy Saturday morning type CGI (technically correct, since it was in actuality a preview for a cartoon series). And at least Monsters Inc won for best song. Randy Newman's first award.

    But it seemed that the award was a CGI baised! This year, the only CGI film (so far) was Ice Age (I liked it), so I don't think the award will be given this year.

    But I'm always up for new techniques in animation, computer or otherwise. WHat's really cool, is this new cartoon show made for TV made entirely in flash! It's called Mucha Lucha! It's kinda like Doug, and shows like that, only the entire cast is composed of Masked Wrestlers.
  18. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    >>>Lord of the Rings is the greatest fantasy film ever made, and it did not get carried away with CG in the slightest. It used it when necessary<<<

    The problem I have with LOTR(besides being one of only a few films I have ever seen where the film ends so abruptly, youd think the projectionist fell asleep or something) is that *OF COURSE* people are gonna say its the best film of the year or of all time. The three films are 300 million collectively, so I mean when a studio pumps that much money into a film they'll make sure with the right PR and hype that no one will be able to say otherwise. I mean it was a very visual, visceral, and violent film...but it didnt even make my top ten list of last year. I will say there was just enough interest to get me to see it in theatres...cant say the same for Potter.

    >>>On the subject of Peter Jackson ..... I wonder in what light muppet fans view his previous works?? Or is that something we shouldn't mention here?<<<

    Im pretty sure we can mention Peter Jackson's micro budget 1989 cult hit Meet the Feebles. It's funny, he went from making films on a $10,000 budget to a decade later making films on a $100 million dollar budget. There doesnt need to be a decorem or anything on MC that says you need to wince or balk at 'upsetting' or controversial satires of the Muppets be it a cartoon in bad taste(eek, another Peter Jackson reference)
    or a show or film. Yes, I hated Meet the Feebles and Greg The Bunny...but more so because of the sheer cheesiness of it than anything I found offensive.

    >>>CG, animatronics, traditional puppetry and old-fashioned special FX all have their place. <<<

    Indeed, most industry movie people will tell ya the same. Cgi just happens to outshadow them all. But man puppetry and animatronics look sweet if intergrated right.

    As for Final Fantasy...like my other top picks that get slammed(Toys, Matrix, Jedi, MTM, etc) it is another rare gem example of pure imagination. One thing people will notice from my film picks is a theme of visually astonishing, creative, and imagination filled.
    While these are the more innocent themed films(In Matrix, Toys, Muppet films etc its about the protagonist believe in himself and achieving against odds to realize dreams)
    I also have a deep admiration for other visually astonishing films like Belly, The Insider, Heat, Se7en, Fight Club, One Hour Photo and The Cell. Im a sucker for MTV cutting edge visuals, heh
  19. bluedreamer

    bluedreamer New Member

    <<but it didnt even make my top ten list of last year. I will say there was just enough interest to get me to see it in theatres...cant say the same for Potter. >>>

    Oh man, you shatter me, you shatter me.... I guess you just gotta be a fan (I confess I saw LOTR 6 times at the movies and Potter 3 times).

    <<Yes, I hated Meet the Feebles and Greg The Bunny...but more so because of the sheer cheesiness of it than anything I found offensive. >>

    Interesting, I would have thought it the other way around? But it's good to hear Muppet fans opinions...I always wondered.

    <<As for Final Fantasy...like my other top picks that get slammed(Toys, Matrix, Jedi, MTM, etc) it is another rare gem example of pure imagination. >>

    OK all's well now. ;)

    Isn't it wierd how protective you get when you hear other people's opinions? Or is it just me??? mmmmm maybe just me....

    <<Wasn't that an episode of Pinky and the Brain?>>

    Was it? I don't know! But what Beaker said pretty much summarises what it is. It's literally (what I can remember) puppets made in similar likeness to certain muppets, and yes it's satirical, a bit gross (but funny if you have a twisted mind like mine). Grail is just going to have to find it and buy it and give us a proper run down again!

    Let it be your mission young Grail!
  20. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Paraphrasing bluedreamer's question, Was Meet the Feebles and Episode of Pinky and the Brain?

    It was, actually entitled All you need is Narf. It takes place in the 60's and Pinky becomes Maharishi (sp) so brain can steal some sort of plant from India in a plan to take over.. well, you know.... The Feebles are a parody of the Beatles (of course), and Pinky loves their music, and Brain messes this one up by introducing the John Lennon character (Jim Lemmon, I think) to Yoyo Nono (Yoko Ono! get it?) Can't remember much, but at the end Pinky yells (ala Rinog Starr) "I have Blisters on me fingers, bwah ha ha.. NARF!!!


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