Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Things Hollywood Should Quit Computer-Animating

I get it. You get it. Everyone gets it. We are well into the digital age and computers are taking over most of our art forms (or have taken over already). Still, as creatures of the natural world we can (most of the time) identify what is real and what is computer generated. The likelihood is that we won't be able to in a few years, but right now we can. So I'd like to ask our beloved film industry to quit, until computers can truly fool us, computer-animating the following things:

1. Aircraft - I first noticed the folly of computer-animated aircraft way back in 1996 when I saw The Rock at a theater in Columbus, Georgia. The F-18 Hornets (yes, I know it's supposed to be "F/A") looked like shit flying away from their aborted sortie on Alcatraz. Granted, at the time I just chalked it up to Hollywood trying new things, but in subsequent movie after movie, I could still tell a computer-animated plane from a real one. The biggest crime came in that crap-tacular comic book film, Ghost Rider. I mean... they didn't even TRY to make those helicopters look real.

2. Breath - Is there not a single computer animator in Hollywood who has spent time in cold climates? Vapor does not jet out and dissipate like that. There's an easy fix for this, of course, but it involves shoving prima donna actors into refrigerated sets, which would involve prima donna actors experiencing a certain level of discomfort. Geez...

3. Bullets (and related effects) - zip, zip, bang, etc. Were Hollywood to be believed, nearly every bullet ever fired in history has been a tracer round. Or traveling slow enough to notice between blinks. Ugh. And, in a related note, please quit showing the beams from laser sights. Unless they're pointing right at a target's eye (or in a ridiculously dusty place), nobody's going to see anything other than the little light on the sight itself and the end of the beam.

4. Fire - Is there not a single computer animator in Hollywood who has seen a real fire? All that technology spent developing computer-controlled propane fires and Hollywood is too lazy to use it. Bleh.

5. People - typically, people are computer animated for stunt sequences or large battle scenes. I don't really mind the large battle scenes (although a few badly-animated ones have bothered me... Troy, for example), but the replacement of stuntmen and stuntwomen is not only A) insulting to the stunt trade, but B) retarded-looking. Yes, Die Another Day, I'm talking about you and your para-surfing off of a collapsing glacier.

6. Race Cars - and cars in general. The Fast and the Furious franchise (or is it Fast and Furious?) is a big culprit of this one. But, concerning NASCAR and Indy races, how fucking hard is it to, I dunno, just go film B-roll at a real race? Stallone's Driven (or is it Drivel) also comes to mind. What happened to stunt drivers? Somebody resurrect Steve McQueen!

5 comments:

  1. You are so darn funny when your worked up. -J

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  2. Whether it is ultra realistic or Grandma Moses primitive the only real experience is indulging your preferences in what you care to be fooled by.

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  3. I tend to suspend reality and get lost in the fantasy well enough that I only notice this sort of stuff when it is really bad and the story line not so good. Sorry to all you fans, but I thought Avatar was the worst I've seen in many a year in that regard. I want my movies to be about plot, not "Gee whiz, look what we can do!"

    As for stunt drivers, I was a great fan of Bill Hickman and Remy Julienne. Of course, I always thought creating those fantastic chase scenes like the ones in The French Connection and early James Bond movies were a lot easier to do when you didn't care how many cars you crashed in the process.

    Hey, I'd love to see you do a rant about movie anomalies.

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  4. It's all about $$$, man. Real fire used to be fine, except that you have to pay the techs, and pay the fire marshal to be on set (legal).

    I absolutely agree about the planes and cars. There is PLENTY of footage of real planes alone out there, thanks to Discovery and History Channel, lately both in HD, so it'll be high quality. Half the time, they CGI stuff like 747s. Come on! You can find HD footage of a jet liner ANYWHERE. Driven also has one of the worst uses of CG EVER. Stallone's character has a tradition of throwing a quarter out the window, and driving over it on the track (to show his adeptness behind the wheel or something), and they CGI'd the quarter! For God's sake, just throw a d*mned coin out of the car. It would cost .25 cents instead of $10,000!!
    You mentioned CG stuntmen: ILM did a terrible hatchet job on Christopher Lee in Revenge of the Sith. After using a reasonable CG version for the fights in Episode II, you'd think Ep III would be the same, but Lee doesn't even move like a human being in that. He moves like a cartoon, with an 80-year old's face pasted on the head. Out of all the embarrassing, painful piles of crap in that whole movie, Lee's scenes were among the worst. He should have sued.

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  5. Can I add monsters to your list. There are enough real monsters around (several of them are members of the new British Cabinet for example) they don't need to try and computer generate them.

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