CG and Movies: are extravaganzas still the future, or is it subtlety?

I just watched two movies back-to-back (not at the same theater).

The first was Green Lantern. I wanted to be mindlessly entertained by yet another CG-heavy super-hero flick, and I got my (matinee price) six bucks’ worth. It was hokey as heck, just as I expected, but a good excuse to be (necking…) in an air-conditioned theater on a day when it was just too hot to be outside.

Then I went to see a completely different (and very thought-provoking) movie, The Tree of Life, which, although it stars both Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, isn’t anything remotely like what you might be expecting. It is rather like a visual haiku, and the digital visual effects, while undoubtedly present if you notice them, do not beg to be noticed.

Maybe I am the exception, but if I never see another “Kung Fu Panda,” nor any other sort of “BETCFCM = Bug-Eyed Too-Cute Fuzzy-Creature Movie” whatsoever, this old phart will officially be a Very Happy Boy. It’s obvious that studios like Dreamworks have been recycling their visual models for quite some time now, and they obviously fired their screenwriters a long time ago. “Digital animation for the sake of digital animation, and nothing more,” has long ago become pastiche to me, and it has wildly overstayed its welcome. I see subtlety and restraint in some movies these days, wherein the list of special-effects workers is quite long and yet, it comes as rather a surprise. The magic was there, right before your eyes, but you didn’t notice.

While it wasn’t poetry in motion I just saw Unstoppable (the train movie) from last year, and was amazed at how seemless the effects were. I think that good effects are always good, bad story is always bad. And Bad Story is always popular, sadly. And I did have to sit through KFP2 with my kids, aaaarrrrgggh, more money bleeding sequelery but the art and execution were impressive. I think therefore that bad story/writing/directing, can draw attention to the effects thereby ruining their desperate attempt to remain unobserved. Strange then that many tent pole movies (big budget effects extravaganzas) throw so much money at the effects when a years worth of writing and development would probably help soooooo much more.

Sorry I didn’t respond to the question…

…yes. That is money wins, end of story (sadly).

You’ll see popularity switch sides every once and again. What is popular today won’t be popular tomorrow, but next week, it will be back in fashion. So, both are correct: extravaganzas are the future, and subtlety is also. I predict the blockbusters will turn back to being more story driven (subtle) starting around 2015 or 2016.

I saw A-Team the movie. Never one to watch the series as we didn’t have TV when I was young 'un. Then I after I saw A-Team, I liked it and check wikipedia about the series. Lucky I didn’t watch the series.

I guess I just really want to see a complete moratorium on “cute bug-eyed fuzzy creature movies.”

Unfortunately, they obviously make a lot of money. :spin:

vote with feet

I think that is the trouble. Extravaganzas need to be crowd pleasers, so the crowd will hand over their cash, but if every feature was a beautiful slow burn art movie, there would be less investment money to make them with. While they are the antidote to the blockbuster disease, I think cinema goers would get bored with ‘yet another slow burn art movie’.

I don’t think cgi alone is really the issue though, I think whatever supports the story is important. If it is necessary for the plot it is welcome in my world. Though I don’t want to be beaten over the head with it.