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Is CGI going to kill American Cinema


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#1 of 144 OFFLINE   Greg Br

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Posted March 27 2002 - 08:38 AM

I do not post much on this part of HTF but I thought that this was the place for a rant like this. I just saw the preview of Spiderman and it looks pretty cool. The problem I have is that more and more the majority of the movie is computer graphics. The Star Wars trailor looked like a high res cartoon. I guess we can kiss Cinematography good bye, its not needed. Could you imagine Apocalypse Now when the sun is rising and the choppers are coming in, in 2002 this would all be done by computer. I understand the need for CGI but enough is enough, do they really think that this stuff looks real, casue it sure does not to me. I guess thats the jist of this rant but I am sure I could write pages on this subject.

#2 of 144 OFFLINE   Jim J

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Posted March 27 2002 - 08:46 AM

I just saw the new spidey trailer and I have to admit that I noticed some glaring CGI. camera angles/movements, character moves etc. I don't want to notice it.

I disagree that it will kill american cinema. CGI can be liberating, if used properly. Look at the Toy Story movies. There is some simply terrific cinematography in those.

I believe movies will eventually get better, once the film makers can get a handle on what is possible, and they begin to use the technologies for the betterment of the picture, instead of the gee-whiz factor.

btw, love you tag quote!

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#3 of 144 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted March 27 2002 - 08:47 AM

The Star Wars movies really shouldn't be taken that seriously.

If you've seen any of the classic serials like Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers, you'll realize that George Lucas was looking more for a fantasy look than reality.

If CGI is used for fantasy, that's great. CGI in a serious film that depends on realism should be focused just on invisible effects and compositing.

#4 of 144 OFFLINE   Greg Br

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Posted March 27 2002 - 08:49 AM

Toy Story is a completly CGI, you know that going in. Say this happens, you are watching a romance scene in Paris with two people kissing under the eifle tower, but the tower itself is CGI, and it rather obvious. I would think that would seriously detract from the scene, may save some money but....

#5 of 144 OFFLINE   Paul_D

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Posted March 27 2002 - 08:50 AM

I think CGI has already murdered summer event movies. I wouldn't think it could touch America's indepenedent output. Or the studio's more thoughtful, acting based movies (not a particularly large category Posted Image).
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#6 of 144 OFFLINE   Jim J

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Posted March 27 2002 - 08:59 AM

yes, TS is completely CGI. but I think it demonstrates that the computers can be a great tool, to tell a story or /help/ make a movie.

I doubt there is a movie today that doesn't use computers to create some of the images.

No matter what, filmmakers will need a way to create something that doesn't exist. We all have seen many older movies, where there are scenes that make us say: "WOW, that looks so fake." With today's technology, those scenes would not look fake at all.
example? I dunno, James Bond in View to a Kill vs Walken in the helicopter at the end. looks like crap.

I have more to say, but, I think this thread will go a while.

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#7 of 144 OFFLINE   Terrell

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Posted March 27 2002 - 09:02 AM

If anyone can show me a cartoon or videogame that's one fifth as good as the CGI in AOTC, let me know. I'd like to see it, because I've never seen it. For one thing, most of the things in Star Wars are not real. So how can you reference whether they look real or not? If someone can show me what a real Star Destroyer or Genosian is supposed to look like, I'd be highly interested in seeing it. Looks real to me. The Star Wars universe requires a lot of CGI. Spiderman, that's a bit different. It doesn't require a lot of CGI. Because the universe and characters are real, except for many of Spiderman's actual moves through the city. And the characters are human. AOTC is completely different.

I don't get the outrage over CGI. Yes, in some films it can be too much. But without CGI, there would be a lot of films today that wouldn't be possible. A lot of films would also be boring as hell. Star Wars in today's Hollywood, with Lucas' vision wouldn't be possible. So would a lot of other films. Neither would FOTR. Are you suggesting Lucas and Jackson create Topica City, an arena battle, the mines of Moria, and their world with models? Can't be done. And their visions shouldn't be limited because someone doesn't want CGI in a film, or doesn't want a lot of CGI in the film. But that's just me.

#8 of 144 OFFLINE   Greg Br

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Posted March 27 2002 - 09:04 AM

I agree, in moderation it looks good. In Spiderman there are several shots on the top of skyscrappers in New York, they did not look like they were to complicated, and the backgrounds were there as just fillers, it seems to me that could have been just shot at the top of a few buildings with some real footage. This is just the beggining, soon the only thing real will be the actors.

#9 of 144 OFFLINE   Greg Br

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Posted March 27 2002 - 09:07 AM

OK maybe star wars is not the absolute best example but when I saw R2-D2 strolling through the desert landscape it sure seemed real to me. That would all be a glorified cartoon in todays movie. The aliens in Alians sure looked real to me, etc. I just would like to see some better judgement in these big blockbusters.

#10 of 144 OFFLINE   Terrell

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Posted March 27 2002 - 09:08 AM

Quote:
This is just the beggining, soon the only thing real will be the actors.


I seriously doubt that. You'd be very surprised at how many models, live sets, real landscapes, and hundres of extras in makeup playing characters there are in AOTC You saw a 2 minute trailer, that was a hype trailer meant to sell the film. Most trailers, show all the glitzy CGI. Things moviegoers have never seen, to get them in theaters. That doesn't mean the entire movie is like that.

Cgi is simpler and cheaper than building some things. So it's not going anywhere. But I think you're overestimating. If it bothers you that much, see other less-CGI films. There are plenty of films that don't have CGI or much CGI in them. You just have to look. Three of this year's best picture nominees had very little to know CGI. There are plenty of films like this. It's just that the big event films get noticed more. But you can find films with less CGI if you look. Panic Room is a film with not much CGI.

As to answer your question Greg, no. If anything, CGI has gotten more people into theaters. You notice that every year seems to be bigger than the last in terms of blockbuster films and number of tickets sold.

#11 of 144 OFFLINE   Ricardo C

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Posted March 27 2002 - 09:13 AM

CGI won't kill American cinema, or cinema, period. Filmmakers/studios who insist on using CGI even when the budget doesn't allow to hire skilled artists/potent enough equipment, might Posted Image
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#12 of 144 OFFLINE   Chuck Mayer

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Posted March 27 2002 - 09:15 AM

Terrell's last point is salient. I think that CGI is a new valuable toy available to directors. Like all new toys, they are playing with it overmuch. But it does allow some absolutely stunning imagery, and even more important, camera shots that could not be conventionally captured. The AOTC trailer, while full of CGI (mostly great) is designed for the quick hype sell. It is not indicative of the movie as a whole.

CGI is a tool, like quick cut editing. When improperly used, it sucks. But the tool is not the problem. Reliance on it is. Most people hate quick cut editing, but when done well, by someone like Dave Fincher, it's incredible to behold.

I am glad we have CGI. Hopefully, more and more directors will better learn to apply it in new and creative ways (The Matrix was good at that). As for AOTC, while I would prefer less CGI, I understand the need for it to save George real money. At least it's good.

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#13 of 144 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted March 27 2002 - 09:18 AM

Problem is, CGI are being used more as crutches at the expense of storytelling and believability. CGI are being used often for the sake of using them. Though improving from a technical and technological standpoint, they are undercutting whatever depth some of these films might otherwise have had.

Result? Films that are little more than sensation sessions--roller coaster rides without a plot or believable characters.

Do we really need CGI to produce, say, space-based science-fiction or fantasy movies? Really? They wouldn't be possible without CGI, you say?

Funny, then, that the most realistic-looking space-based film is still one that was made long before the era of CGI.

If a technology comes at the expense of the art, I say rework the technology. I wouldn't go to a commercial cinema just to sit in front of an eighty-foot-wide video-game screen.

#14 of 144 OFFLINE   Bill J

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Posted March 27 2002 - 09:20 AM

I am not really a fan of CGI, but I don't think that it will kill American cinema. I think it IS overused though. I believe that even Black Hawk Down and We Were Soldiers had some CGI in them.

I cringe to think about what Apocalypse Now would have been like if they used CGI.

#15 of 144 OFFLINE   Chuck Mayer

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Posted March 27 2002 - 09:27 AM

Quote:
Funny, then, that the most realistic-looking space-based film is still one that was made long before the era of CGI.
Actually, Jack, there WAS some CGI in Lost In Space.






















Or did you mean Battle Beyond The Stars?












Posted Image

Take care,
Chuck

It's currently vogue. It won't last forever. Soon, studios will have to move back to storytelling (or another gimmick) as people tire on CGI fests that suck (see The Time Machine).
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#16 of 144 OFFLINE   Terrell

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Posted March 27 2002 - 09:28 AM

Yes, BHD had some in it. Don't know about We Were Soldiers, because I haven't seen it yet. But I'm sure it had at least a little.

Can you tell me how to create a living, breathing, believable Genosian without CGI? Can you tell me how to create a water planet like Kamino and a city built on stilts in thos ocean planet? How about a spcae battle without any limitation on camera movement and shots? Just see what CGI did for the final battle in ANH. It's far better, and more dynamic, without the extremely restricted shooting a limited camera movement. That's one area where the originals were made better. How about an arena battle with thousands of clonetroopers, and thousands more Genosians and battle droids? How about Yoda fighting. I can go on and on. As for space based science fiction, Star Wars isn't sci-fi, it's sci-fantasy. There is no world like these prequels. If you can tell me how to do AOTC without a lot of CGI, for a reasonable amount of money, on such a huge an epic scale, and make it believable Jack, I'd be willing to listen.

I understand your point Jack, but don't even tell me Lucas could make this film believable and on the scale he wants it, without a lot of CGI. And his vision should not be limited. One thing CGI has done is allow directors to think big, and to let their imagination run wild. In many cases, that's a good thing.

#17 of 144 OFFLINE   Edwin-S

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Posted March 27 2002 - 09:29 AM

I don't think the vistas that Lucas is imagining in these Star Wars prequels could be even remotely portrayed without massive use of CGI. I don't think it will kill cinema, more likely the use of CGI will continue to increase because of the massive amounts of money it takes to make one of these films. When you are paying your star leads 25,000,000 a crack and have a budget of 100,000,000, how much on location shooting are you going to be able to afford to do?
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#18 of 144 OFFLINE   Scott Calvert

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Posted March 27 2002 - 09:33 AM

For me, yes, CGI is killing the movies. Not just CGI, but computers in general. Everything in movies today is fed through NASA-like computer laboratories. Computer-generated effects, non-linear editing, digital color correction, etc etc etc. The practical aspects involved in putting together a film have ceased to be an art. It's more scientific, than anything else.

Sure CGI effects require the talent and artistic capabilities of the people creating them, but it's a cold, impersonal art.

#19 of 144 OFFLINE   Terrell

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Posted March 27 2002 - 09:33 AM

Quote:
Actually, Jack, there WAS some CGI in Lost In Space.


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#20 of 144 OFFLINE   RobertR

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Posted March 27 2002 - 09:35 AM

I think the key words are discretion and restraint. If it's used to enhance FX in a way that CANNOT be acheived with other methods, then it's fine (Jurassic Park, for example). Overuse tends to result in a slipshod, cartoonish look. I'm suspicious of the "saving money" reason. The motive sometimes seems more like "easy, quick, and dirty".




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