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View Full Version : Past and present movie differences with cgi


the clever guy
06-10-2008, 12:47 AM
ok, i'm sure most everyone will agree with me and has either noticed or will notice after this thread. does anyone notice how much more realistic (albeit sometimes far-fetched) movie stunts and scenes looked in movies back in the day as opposed to the cgi heavy days we live in now? example a:

indiana jones. i know. numerous other threads could this example go into, but bear with me. lets break down what was "real" and what probably wouldn't be so "real" a la cgi nowadays.

raiders: the rolling ball (probably woulda cgi'ed it), the fist fight around a big ass plane with actual propellers (almost a no-brainer), the scene where indiana falls directly in front of a snake (seeing as how the new jones flick couldnt even use a real fucking gopher....oh, and this reminds me of that awesome cgi rat at the end of the departed), in face probably the whole pit of snakes would more than likely be cgi nowadays. theres probably some more with this one

temple: for some reason, i have a feeling that the long fall out of club obi-wan at the beginning would be cgi'ed, the entire raft out of the plane down a mountain scene would surely be different (even though dummies and a green screen were sometimes used), i dont think i need to bother commenting on the whole bridge scene.

crusade: the rats (again, using the departed as an example here), the boat chase (at certain scenes), the tank chase, the holy grail walk...

skull: what hasn't been said already about how overly fake this movie looks? hell, even the lighting at the fucking beginning looked fake let alone that phony ass "sunset."



this extends to other movies too. look at alien and aliens....now look at alien vs. predator. terminator 2 as opposed to terminator 3 (t2 seemed much more real and less cartoony than t3). how do you think some classics, like the birds, look if they were done today (god forbid that happens)? look at how much more realistic the original star wars trilogy looked as opposed to these abortions that are known as the new trilogy. i'm surprised it wasn't filmed like how sin city and 300 were....completely cgi around them. anyone else notice this?

Powerslave
06-10-2008, 12:50 AM
The greatness of all the movies Ray Harryhausen ever worked on would be entirely diminished.

And for that matter, all the great work that used to be done with miniatures in movies like Star Wars, 2001, Close Encounters, Blade Runner, and so on would be far less notable if they redid it in CGI.

FLAME_ON
06-10-2008, 01:37 AM
The thing that bugs me is that CGI isn't fucking real. At least with miniatures, puppets, and real animals: I know they're real and physical and it doesn't matter how fake it looks, my brains doesn't dismiss as easily (or at all) as something that's been computer generated.
My logic and problem with CG is that I feel like if they're going to use CG it better be because it would look better/more realistic than real, physical special effects.
I don't get impressed with shit like Gollum from LotR... You mean to tell me Mr. Jackson that you couldn't find some piece of shit looking person and put some makeup on them? Or have Andy Serkis lose some weight, make him look like a piece of shit, and then put make up on him??
Additionally... with real, physical effects, I know that there was a real hands-on effort; not someone telling a computer what it needs to looks like, And yeah, yeah...I understand many tedious, strenuous hours go into CGI, but why spend more time on something that looks even more fake?!
Ugh... Just do it for real!

deftdelivery
06-10-2008, 03:20 AM
The thing that bugs me is that CGI isn't fucking real. At least with miniatures, puppets, and real animals: I know they're real and physical and it doesn't matter how fake it looks, my brains doesn't dismiss as easily (or at all) as something that's been computer generated.
My logic and problem with CG is that I feel like if they're going to use CG it better be because it would look better/more realistic than real, physical special effects.
I don't get impressed with shit like Gollum from LotR... You mean to tell me Mr. Jackson that you couldn't find some piece of shit looking person and put some makeup on them? Or have Andy Serkis lose some weight, make him look like a piece of shit, and then put make up on him??
Additionally... with real, physical effects, I know that there was a real hands-on effort; not someone telling a computer what it needs to looks like, And yeah, yeah...I understand many tedious, strenuous hours go into CGI, but why spend more time on something that looks even more fake?!
Ugh... Just do it for real!

Totally agree. I couldn't really connect with Gollum's character AT ALL...and it really bothered me for a while. And then it hit me when I watched the film a few days ago...he's just one gigantic computer image. Shit like that really fucks with your head because the rest of the characters are real...a certain disconnect happens I guess. I just viewed him as more of a special effect than a character, even though he had a tremendous backstory.

Spidey
06-10-2008, 03:33 AM
I watching the great movie 'Dancing with wolves' the other day and there's this terrific scene where Kevin Costner tries to connect with the wolf. The reason why this is such a great scene is because the wolf is REAL !! If they would make a movie like this today they would probably use a CGI wolf and then it would lose all the emotional impact.
CGI has become a lazy way out.

the clever guy
06-10-2008, 11:44 AM
I watching the great movie 'Dancing with wolves' the other day and there's this terrific scene where Kevin Costner tries to connect with the wolf. The reason why this is such a great scene is because the wolf is REAL !! If they would make a movie like this today they would probably use a CGI wolf and then it would lose all the emotional impact.
CGI has become a lazy way out.

exactly. one example of realism in movies lately that really just kinda blew me away was casino royale. the stunts were real, the action was real, and the movie felt real. i cant think of any cgi in that movie. i know there wasn't a whole lot of cgi that could be used in that movie, but still...the sense of sheer realism was there.

DarthWade
06-10-2008, 11:59 AM
I'm the kind of guy who gets off on visual effects so for me I love CGI most of the time. What they can do now compared to what they could in the past makes me happy.

However, that being said, I do think there is a huge over-reliance on it today. Today they'll CGI almost anything it seems. I don't mind it in sci-fi and fantasy films, or horror films, etc....but when it gets to the point where they have to use it in a scene with two people simply talking it gets to be a bit ridiculous.

Can you imagine Mad Max being made today? The CGI would ruin it.

LordSimen
06-10-2008, 12:07 PM
I'm a huge fan of CGI. Work like the work done on Gollum was amazing, for example. I definitely feel that it's a tool that should be used sparingly and in addition to other affects to in order to enhance and gain the utmost quality available of effects.


And honestly, all those other effects people mention to replace CGI can look just as fake as the CGI itself if done wrong. I'll never understand how something that looks obviously like a puppet is more realistic than something that at least was designed to move like something real.

the clever guy
06-10-2008, 07:17 PM
And honestly, all those other effects people mention to replace CGI can look just as fake as the CGI itself if done wrong. I'll never understand how something that looks obviously like a puppet is more realistic than something that at least was designed to move like something real.

it's the sheer principle of it. a puppet is something tangible, cgi is not. which did you like better: old-school, looks pretty good and realistic puppet yoda from empire and jedi? or cgi, shitty attempt at realism yoda?

i'm saying that cgi is overly used and for stupid ass reasons. did the sunset at the beginning of krystal skull really need to be cgi? sure, some things really do need cgi (for instance, gollum) and certain "actionable scenes" could use cgi (a la superman returns) as long as IT LOOKS GOOD. i'm just tired of hollywood using cgi for EVERYTHING. did the deer in i am legend need to be cgi? no, use a real fucking deer. how about the rat scene in the bone collector? honestly, when i see it all of the time i begin to wonder if hollywood thinks these animals really fucking exist.

LordSimen
06-10-2008, 07:21 PM
it's the sheer principle of it. a puppet is something tangible, cgi is not. which did you like better: old-school, looks pretty good and realistic puppet yoda from empire and jedi? or cgi, shitty attempt at realism yoda?

CGI Yoda > Puppet Yoda. All Puppet Yoda could do was stand there and move very unrealistically. CGI Yoda could jump around and have epic battle, and actually FEEL real. Sorry, that 'Shitty attempt" at realism looked ten times more realistic than the puppet ever did.

However, I do agree there are times when CGI is used pointlessly.
The creatures in I Am Legend and the Deer, for example, shouldn't have been CGI. There's no reason they could have had people in make up and real deer running around. You also posted other excellent examples. The Star Wars prequels also present another example, such as when the stormtroopers body was CGI but the head was not. Why not just put a damn suit on a man? No point in CGIing the whole suit.

the clever guy
06-10-2008, 07:38 PM
you know, i was wondering the same thing about those goddamn suits. they looked too fake. and you're right, put someone in a suit!

i just feel that old school yoda seemed more real. they could have used cgi yoda at that point and only at that point when he need to flip around and such. but when he's just walking? really? there been plenty of advances in technology where they could make a pupper yoda look as if he walking.

LordSimen
06-10-2008, 07:41 PM
i just feel that old school yoda seemed more real. they could have used cgi yoda at that point and only at that point when he need to flip around and such. but when he's just walking? really? there been plenty of advances in technology where they could make a pupper yoda look as if he walking.

And he'd still look like a puppet. A stiff, robotic looking puppet. With CGI you can make the movements smoother and less robotic.

adamjohnson
06-10-2008, 07:49 PM
And he'd still look like a puppet. A stiff, robotic looking puppet. With CGI you can make the movements smoother and less robotic.

...and still look like shitty CGI.

Pupper technology has advanced quite a bit as well. They could have made an incredibly realistic puppet that could do everything CGI yoda could have (save for the flipping around). It just would have taken longer .

CGI is an excuse for laziness in most cases. Plain and simple.

LordSimen
06-10-2008, 07:52 PM
...and still look like shitty CGI.

Pupper technology has advanced quite a bit as well. They could have made an incredibly realistic puppet that could do everything CGI yoda could have (save for the flipping around). It just would have taken longer .

CGI is an excuse for laziness in most cases. Plain and simple.

And it'd still look like a puppet and you'd still know in the back of your mind that the puppet is being controlled by a man and not by itself.

How is that ANY different form seeing a CGI creature? The CGI for YODA was quite top notch. He looked wonderful, there was nothing "shitty" about it.

CGI in SOME cases is an excuse for laziness, however I'd be hard pressed to call any CGI artist working their ass off 24/7 lazy. That's just ignorant.

ScaryFreak1827
06-10-2008, 08:10 PM
CGI can sometimes make or break a film if it relies too heavily on it; what WETA digital did with King Kong and Gollum is nothing short of remarkable and it's ironic that a movie like Jurassic Park has some of the best-looking CG effects when it was one of the earliest movies to use it (though they blended it with animatronics.)

I agree that, for instance, the robotic shark used in Jaws (dear ole Bruce) is far more frightening than the CG sharks used in Deep Blue Sea or the puppet Jabba has more of a presence than the CG Jabba... but I guess it depends on how the effects are used (LOTR used CG to its advantage by blending it pratically seamlessly with the scenes and miniatures.) I have yet to see the new Indiana Jones but I can tell from the trailers that I prefer the old style of stunts/sets (less green-screen) than CG-laden sequences. I guess I'm saying that if CGI is used sparingly and is blended with real-life puppets/sets/animatronis it will look better (not always but most of the time.)

Jon Lyrik
06-10-2008, 08:24 PM
Yes, Yoda as a puppet looked better. Even if it was much stiffer, the movements were far more believable (including small ones like facial twitches) than they were in CGI, where his movements were rubbery and clearly not bound by the physics of the other characters or puppet Yoda. CGI simply cannot replicate eyes or movement yet. It'll get there, though.

The thing that bugs me is that CGI isn't fucking real. At least with miniatures, puppets, and real animals: I know they're real and physical and it doesn't matter how fake it looks, my brains doesn't dismiss as easily (or at all) as something that's been computer generated.
My logic and problem with CG is that I feel like if they're going to use CG it better be because it would look better/more realistic than real, physical special effects.
I don't get impressed with shit like Gollum from LotR... You mean to tell me Mr. Jackson that you couldn't find some piece of shit looking person and put some makeup on them? Or have Andy Serkis lose some weight, make him look like a piece of shit, and then put make up on him??
Additionally... with real, physical effects, I know that there was a real hands-on effort; not someone telling a computer what it needs to looks like, And yeah, yeah...I understand many tedious, strenuous hours go into CGI, but why spend more time on something that looks even more fake?!
Ugh... Just do it for real!

Uh, they already did make-up tests for Gollum. It didn't work. At all.

I don't understand criticisms of the CGI use in the LOTR films. There's nothing in them that comes close to Lucas-levels, and there's a shitload of great practical effects work (miniatures, forced perspective, opticals). You want 150,000 actually on a battlefield? The Soviet Union doesn't exist anymore, it's not like they could just round up unpaid extras in those numbers and try to coordinate a battle a la the 1968 War & Peace without ramming costs over $500 million.

the clever guy
06-10-2008, 08:27 PM
CGI can sometimes make or break a film if it relies too heavily on it; what WETA digital did with King Kong and Gollum is nothing short of remarkable and it's ironic that a movie like Jurassic Park has some of the best-looking CG effects when it was one of the earliest movies to use it (though they blended it with animatronics.)



wow, totally forgot about jurassic park and king kong. king kong looked fucking fantastic, and when done right, can look incredible. jurassic park is a prime example of how animatronics can really make a movie seem real. sure, certain scenes require a cgi touch to them, but there really wasn't anything over the top or unecessary for it (no deer or rats, lol). the example of jaws is another perfect example. while the fucker crapped out numerous times, it still looked real and had such a sheer sense of realism as opposed to someone acting like a shark "is there," it literally instilled fear into people that they wouldn't go into the water. could a cgi shark do that? probably not. then again, that was the 70's.

the clever guy
06-10-2008, 08:32 PM
I don't understand criticisms of the CGI use in the LOTR films. There's nothing in them that comes close to Lucas-levels, and there's a shitload of great practical effects work (miniatures, forced perspective, opticals). You want 150,000 actually on a battlefield? The Soviet Union doesn't exist anymore, it's not like they could just round up unpaid extras in those numbers and try to coordinate a battle a la the 1968 War & Peace without ramming costs over $500 million.

movies of that scope, i guess i can cut a break for. it's a fantasy realm, and shit like big-ass spiders, etheral horses, and crack addicted hairless dwarves/midgets don't exist here in this world. and yes, given how everyone wants a piece of the hollywood pie these days, amassing 150,000+ extras to work in heavy clothes, in the summer, for free would not only be risky (think of the theft of props and such), but costly (all of those costumes), and a pain in the royal fucking ass.