I really debated about posting this, at fear of shattering what little credibility I might have around here. But it's 3 in the morning and I just got home from an awesome night of improv and movie making and I'm in a good mood, so fuck it.
(This opinion and defense of, is pretty much limited to the big tent-poley blockbustery movies, keep that in mind)
I don't care about Visual Effects. I just don't. Anyone who walks up to me and tells me I NEED to see this movie because the visual effects are AMAZING is more likely to send me into a fit of annoyance than actually drive me to see the movie. Huge visual effects have become a known quantity, there is nothing spectacular or amazing about having a really cool looking (Insert name of ANYTHING you can think of here). Literally, NOTHING. It has become a matter of money, if you have the money, they will make a model, texture, animate and comp it, and it will look fucking awesome.
Filmmakers are gifted with an endless landscape, they can create anything, do anything, make anything they want, with absolutely zero restrictions. Photoreal army of blue 14ft tall aliens in a completely CG jungle planet? Done. New York destroyed by 150 ft tall robots fighting 200ft tall monsters? Done. A fully expressive and entirely empathetic shriveled human creature? Done. (And those are SINGLE SCENES in whole movies of THOSE scenes) There is nothing they could draw, design, or write that could not be done.
So why the fuck should I care anymore? Why on earth would I get excited to see another photoreal thing slamming into another photoreal thing while flying through a really cool environment that explodes around them? There's 10 of those movies coming out this weekend, and the visual effects will ALL be AMAZING.
"But wait a minute BDA, aren't you that asshole that defends Avatar because it's so cool?"
Yes rhetorical question voice, I am. But not because of the VFX. The world of Pandora is absolutely fascinating, it's intricate, detailed and entirely fantastical. It shows me things I've never seen before, it takes me somewhere I will never get to go, somewhere that doesn't exist, but with every fiber of my being I wish did. The world of Avatar is AMAZING, it's beautiful. And yes, it's because of the Visual Effects that I get to go to Pandora, but Cameron has the exact same resources as EVERY OTHER filmmaker out there (Remember my coda at the start: who are making these sorts of movies), and he made THIS with it, something majestic and unique (Stop your sniggering, I'm talking about the world of Avatar), while, what is everyone else making? More skyscrapers being destroyed, more giant robots, more superheroes throwing cars at peoples heads, more...moreness. The same thing over and over again with a new label. And you expect me to get excited because they look good??
If you haven't guessed this whole line of thought was brought on by the buzz of Gravity going on right now. I'm not gonna talk about Gravity itself as I've yet to see it and my early inability to give a shit about it has been swayed a bit by the overwhelmingly positive reaction to it, so I am going to hold any thoughts til I see it. But what does relate to this is how the movie keeps being sold to me by friends and acquaintances and just generally being talked about. I've seen a million comments about how spectacular the visual effects are, how astounding the technical achievements of this movie are, as if that's the end all and be all of a movies worth. Granted, I have heard people tell me how beautiful it is, or how breathtaking the experience of being in the situation is, which is more than I can say for most movies I'm talking about with this opinion.
But here's the thing, Visual Effects has reached a point where anything can exist, any fever dream creature of the maddest man can be made reality, a slightly new technique or a refinement of something previous might have to be invented but at the end of the day it's far from impossible.
"But BDA, Gravity took like 5 years to make and they had to invent a bunch of new stuff to make it."
Yep. And it's there, looking amazing isn't it? It didn't fall on it's face or wind up looking like Toddlers First 3D Package, they made it. (Again, not a great example for my general argument because what Gravity is showing us is actually pretty awesome and unique and a solid win in my books for use of vfx (Even if from what I hear it has less live action plates than Wall-E...sorry, right, haven't seen it, not judging, back to point); but Gravity is what started all this, so here we are)
So when you tell me I NEED to see this movie because the vfx are AMAZING, and you point me at Transformers 16, or Star Trek 5: The Ghost of Not Khan, I don't care, I can't care, when someone gets handed a blank cheque and is told to "Go have fun" and they go buy themselves their usual at the greasy spoon diner around the corner with it, I find it really hard to give a damn.
PPS: On reading this through I realize I sound kinda anti-"the filmmakers making the splosion movies", which I'm not really. I get why these movies keep getting made, powers way over their heads and such, all those things we've spent 4 years talking about. This is more of a general rant against the idea of visual effects in and off themselves as the end all selling point of a movie, and why I will hold movies like Avatar over other so-called orgies of visual spectacular.
PPS: There's also possibly a point to be made that movies like Avatar and Gravity push the envelope of what is generally considered the box VFX sits in, so when they push out and make it work they are lauded as these incredible feats of visual effects prowess, despite using primarily the same techniques as every other VFX film out there just with a bigger idea behind it. I don't know, I'm still thinking a lot about this, and I'm sure my opinion will roll around a bit as I try to figure out where to land on all this. But for the moment, here it is.
PPPS: I have no idea if this qualifies under "Controversial Film Opinion" as Teague intended, but it's something I've been thinking about a lot, and am pretty sure isn't exactly a popular idea, if the internet and my friends are anything to go by, so I wanted to get it out there.
Last edited by BigDamnArtist (2013-10-13 10:37:53)
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