Blog Archives

CGI…What is the problem with it?

As many of you know I do frequent a few science fiction related message baords. I have learned that there are many individuals who are not fans of CGI and often complain about its usage or over usage. I am a fan of CGI so I wonder what is exactly the criticism of this tool? I beleive that CGI has come a long way in looking realistic, it still has a way to go in looking exactly realistic. I have heard this complaint with the recent Man of Steel movie and some have lodged the same complaint about not only Peter Jackson’s recent Hobbit movie but also about his Lord of the Rings Trilogy. A Facebook friend and great musician Chris Bannister said this recently about CGI…

Watching The Hobbit I realised that I’m totally bored with huge, CGI set pieces and that these kind of movies look terrible in super high def, the makeup looked rubbish and the aforementioned special effects looked laughably unrealistic.

I do admit there are times when CGI loses some warmth that other special effects can deliver.

In 1993 Jurassic Park really raised the bar for CGI when some of the depictions of the dinosaurs in that movie were done solely on computer. It is ironic then that director Steven Spielberg has claimed that an audience can always tell the  difference between CGI and real-life action. He even went on to say that had he been directing Jaws today he would have done the Shark in CGI but says that the success of that film was due to the model fo the shark looking realistic.

I am reminded of what the late great Ray Harryhausen said about his own work. He said that when doing his creatures he felt there needed to be some degree of being unrealistic to let the audience know these movies are fantasies. I don’t think anyone ever accused Ray Harryhausen’s work looking fake! There is a concpet in literature called  verisimilitude which refers to the believability of a narrative—the extent to which a narrative appears realistic, likely, or plausible (regardless of whether it is actually fictional or non-fictional). In film verisimilitude refers to the believability  realism as reflected in the over all tone of the film. So lets take Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth films (Lord of the Rings plus the Hobbit). These are fantasy films loaded with CGI. The creatures do look life-like yet the  verisimilitude of the film clearly is adapted to show that we are in a fantasy world.

Let me take another CGI laden film…Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake of King Kong. I am not going to review the film, just the use of CGI. The movie, set in 1933, has the verisimilitude of a fantasy. We are not in the real world. In that sense the CGI works to create that sense of fantasy. I also think Kong looks spectacular in this film. In the previous incarnations of Kong he has been depicted using stop-motion animation and a guy in a suit. This is the very first depiction of Kong where he truly looks and acts like a giant gorilla. Let me contrast this with the 1976 remake of King Kong. I am not going to review the film, just the special effects. The setting in this movie are real and look good for the most part. The wall on the island where Kong lives was done very well. The problem with the effects? Kong himself looks terrible! The man in a suit look just doesn’t work well for this movie. I much prefer the CGI kong.

Persoanlly I don’t have aproblem with CGI and there are times I really like the fantasy worlds they can create. Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth films and Zack Snyder’s films are good examples of fantasy worlds come to life with CGI. Next year Godzilla comes to theaters once again I am looking forawd to how Double Negative, the special effects company that will render Godzilla, in a realistic and life-like manner! I also still like more conventional special effects and they work well.  

In conclusion I really do not have a problem with CGI. I think it goes a long way in setting the tone of a film and taking the viewer to another world, place and time. While I also recognize that there is different levels of quality in CGI there is nothing wrong with using it. If people could enjoy and accept some of the cheesy special effects from science-fiction fantasy films of the 50s-60s and beyond, I really do not understand why they object to the usage of CGI today.


Random Meanderings…

Here are just some thoughts running through my brain today…Godzilla starts shooting in two days. Yesterday actor David Strathairn signed on. He will join Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Olsen in the cast. Academy Award Winning actress Julitte Binoche is rumored to have joined the cast but has not been confirmed yet. This is a movie I will really struggle to stay spoiler free. I am such a huge fan of the genre that I have a desire to know almost everything! I hope that the design of the monster gets either officially released of leaked somehow. But I am not holding my breath waiting for it. Sometimes scripts get leaked but if Godzilla’s script gets leaked I won’t read it. I don’t mind certain spoilers but I wouldn’t want the entire movie spoiled for me! I am sure at some point soon photos from the set will leak out. Those I am eager to see. I am following some of the stars and crew on Twitter and Facebook so I am sure some news will break.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson played the lead actor in Kick-Ass and its coming sequel.
Bryan Cranston was in Argo and is also in the show Breaking Bad. Elizabeth Olsen
is the younger sister of the famous Olsen twins and recieved rave reviews for
the movie Martha Marcy May Marlene. Juliette Binoche won an Academy Award
for best supporting acrtress for the 1996 movie The English Patient.

In a few day, March 19th to be exact, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray. I have heard so many mixed reviews on this film. I think I have read an equal amount from people who loved the film, hated it and were ambivalent. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy was certainly darker in theme than the Hobbit and from my readings this movie was more whimsical that the Rings Trilogy. I am alright with that I know at the heart of the story it is a children’s book, a magical adventure. The Rings trilogy is a darker story so I am not expecting the Hobbit to be dark. Darkness had not crept into Middle Earth at this time. I have faith that the time all three movies are done the Hobbit trilogy will weave nicely into the Lord of the Rings. I will give my review as soon as I see it!

The Blog/Message board and internet world is still full of rumors for the 2015 Justice League movie. Several sites have stated that Christopher Nolan will be producing all the future DC related Superhero movies for WB and that the Justice league movie is being tailored for Christian Bale’s return as Batman. You know what? I am not buying any of that. I do think the Justice League movie is struggling but I do not think these rumors about Christopher Nolan & Christian Bale are true. My understanding is that they want to move on to other projects. If the rumors turn out to be true, I will be the first to admit it!

May will be here before you know it and next month will be my one year anniversary of this Blog. So right now I am gathering up a list of the big summer movies due out this year.  So stay tuned to this channel!

Another Star Trek Into Darkness trailer is up


Although this is not the one from the IMAx theaters, this 2 minute trailer is the one being shown prior to the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. This has some new footage and it looks spectacular!! I cannot wait for this movie!! It is going to be an excellent summer viewing season!!

New Man of Steel Trailer coming soon!


 Zack Snyder confirms there will be a new trailer for the new Superman movie, Man of Steel, attached to Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey due in theaters December 2012. 

Oh, and a trailer for Star Trek Into Darkness will be coming next month along with the previously reported first 9 minutes of the film in IMAX theaters. 

Fall Movies Preview

Fall Movies

With the summer season over, now is the time for the fall movies. Generally the fall movies are a mixture of summer type movies that may not have been noteworthy enough to compete with the summer block busters and this is the time of the year when movies wanting to contend for the Academy Awards start coming out. As usual I will focus mainly on Science-Fiction and Fantasy films but there will be some exceptions made to historical and period pieces. This list is not complete they are the movies I am interested in. If I miss a movie you may like feel free to let me know in the comments section below.

The write up for each of these movies is from the Hollywood Reporter.

Dredd 3D
Release date: Sept. 21
Peter Travis directs Dredd 3D, a futuristic flick replacing Sylvester Stallone with Karl Urban as Judge Dredd, who’s fond of uttering such one-liners as “I’m the law.” In Travis’ Stallone-less version, the titular hero must vanquish the crime boss Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) who controls a destructive, time-stopping drug called Slo-Mo.

Release date: September 28
Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as a young Bruce Willis (um, just go with it) in this twisty mind-bender from writer-director Rian Johnson. In Looper, a Sony release, the two play a hitman sent back in time to be killed by his younger self. Gordon-Levitt wore heavy makeup and spent hours studying Willis to transform into a younger version of the actor.

Release Date: October 5
Finally, it’s alive. This film began as a live-action short made by Tim Burton in 1984, and now, 28 years later, it’s a full feature affair. Black and white and timed to run before Halloween, the charmingly creepy flick is about a boy named Victor Frankenstein (voiced by Charlie Tahan) who brings his dog Sparky back to life. Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Landau and Martin Short also provide voice work.

Cloud Atlas
Release date: October 26
The internet stopped dead in its tracks when Andy and Lana Wachowski, along with their co-director Tom Tykwer, personally introduced their new movie with a five-minute trailer that simultaneously confused, dazzled and delighted anyone who watched it. Based on the novel by David Mitchell, the film is a genre-busting exploration of humankind that leaps forward and backward in history with the blink of an eye. Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent and Hugo Weaving lead an international cast, each of whom takes on multiple roles.

Fun Size
Release date: October 26
The directorial debut of teen TV wunderkind Josh Schwartz (The O.C., Gossip Girl), this teen comedy stars Nickelodeon actress Victoria Justice as a hapless teen who only wants to go to a Halloween party to see her crush (Suburgatory’s Thomas McDonell), but ends up losing her little brother in the process.

Wreck-It Ralph
Release date: November 2
A 3-D computer animated feature from Disney, Wreck-It Ralph features John C. Reilly as the voice of a nine-foot-tall, 643-pound video game villain who, tired of being the bad guy for over 30 years, escapes from his game to pursue other things. Other voice talents include 30 Rock’s Jack McBrayer as Fix-It Felix Jr., the handyman hero of Ralph’s game, and Sarah Silverman as Vanellope von Schweetz, a character in Sugar Rush, a kart-racing game set in a land of candy.

Release date: November 9
Daniel Day-Lewis stars as Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s biographical film, based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Lincoln biography Team of Rivals. Lincoln, starring Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln, is a likely awards contender, hitting theaters just as awards season begins to heat up. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tommy Lee Jones also star.

Life of Pi
Release date: November 21
Ang Lee’s adaptation of Yann Martell’s novel has already wowed some with the epic, sweeping footage that’s been released. The 3D film was shot in Taiwan, using eight soundstages filled with water, to create a beautiful world that may be different than anything that’s hit the big screen so far.

Red Dawn
Release date: November 21
Tom Cruise’s son, Connor Cruise, has his first major film role in Dan Bradley’s remake of the bloody 1984 film that featured Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen taking on Soviet soldiers. The long-delayed film stars Avengers’ Chris Hemsworth and The Hunger Games’ Josh Hutcherson as friends who wake up one morning to find their Washington town — and the U.S. — under siege from foreign invaders.

Rise of the Guardians
Release date: November 21
DreamWorks Animation’s film unites the most famous fictional characters of childhood – Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy – on a wild adventure. Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman and Isla Fisher lend their voices to the three main characters, with Chris Pine voicing Jack Frost, the new guy in the group. Baldwin called them “the Justice League of childhood,” and actress Isla Fisher called them the “animated Avengers” during a presentation at Cannes.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Release date: December 14
The highly anticipated first film in the Lord of the Rings prequel series sees hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug. Peter Jackson’s Hobbit franchise was originally planned as two films, but it’s been announced that there will be a third film released.

Django Unchained
Release date: December 25
The highly anticipated spaghetti Western from Quentin Tarantino stars Jamie Foxx as a freed slave who teams up with a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) on a revenge mission that sees them colliding with a plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio). Waltz told THR that the “surprise element” is what Tarantino’s films so special. “But not just for the surprise’s sake, but because Quentin finds what makes true drama, he turns situations very often into their opposites,” he said.