The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Movie Rant

(like moviefone only different)

by Steve Gajadhar

And the Oscar for best visual effects goes to…

It doesn’t really matter. At least not to me. I think special effects have gone to the dogs, or more precisely, to computers and computer graphics (CG).

When we sit down in a theater – or open a book for that matter – we enter into a tacit agreement with the creators: we agree to believe everything we are told or shown, and they agree to create a believable world. Part of this believable world lies in its internal logic, and part of it, a big part in my opinion, lies in the visual effects. Take Spider-Man for example. Here we have a web and wit slinging dork capable of superhuman feats of strength and agility, all possible because he was bitten by a radioactive spider. At this point my credulity is stretching like the fabric of Spidey’s suit, yet I want to believe Spider-Man is possible. I want to see Spider-Man do whatever a spider can and spin a web of any size. Instead, I get to watch obvious CG images stitched over real backgrounds and I can’t help but feel underwhelmed and incredulous. Sure, Spider-Man was based on a comic book and the cartoony imagery contained therein, but it was also marketed and $old as a blockbuster for general consumption. If I wanted to consume animation I’d rent Ratatouille or dig out my old comics.

At some point I hope movie makers remember the power that good visual effects can have and stop using CG for everything that might be tricky to model, or hard to miniaturize. Use CG to augment, to highlight. Use CG as one brush out of many, instead of the paint roller it is becoming. CG is here to stay, and rightfully so, but I’m getting tired of the special effects being one of the first post-movie topics of discussion. Get the effects right, and that talk will shift to the story.

3 Comments:

Anonymous redpen said...

I thought Spiderman was a documentary...

Tue Mar 04, 02:06:00 PM EST  
Blogger Andrew Tibbetts said...

I hate the computerized effects. I enjoyed the look of the recent movie "The Science of Sleep" because all the effects were old-fashioned camera tricks. So I guess my criteria for disliking the computer-effects isn't that they don't look real, it's that they look so similiar to effects from every other movie.

Wed Mar 05, 02:17:00 PM EST  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

I wish I knew enough about special effects to assess them. I tend to prefer movies that are more realistic. All those Orks in Lord of the Rings drove me batty. Years ago they would have meant jobs for zilliions of extras.

Wed Mar 05, 07:00:00 PM EST  

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