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Jack the Giant Killer--has the public had enough of CGI?

Discussion in 'Film & Television' started by Konrad, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. Konrad

    Konrad Scribe

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    I personally was a bit disappointed that The Hobbit relied so much on CGI compared to LOTR (which was CGI heavy in a good way--or a better way, IMO).

    I wonder if we are seeing filmgoers send a message? Dismal showing, and the reviews are not really that bad.

    Haven't seen it. It looked okay during previews... but I guess this isn't so much about the film as about computer effects in general.

    K
     
  2. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    It might be too much right now, following after the Hobbit and Hansel and Gretel (I think?) and a few others. But "too much?" N'eh. Special Effects are a part of film making, and while this-or-that style may come in and out as fads, "Special Effects" in general will stick with it. And CGI is the latest evolution of special effects, so it's here to stay for the foreseeable future.

    I wasn't crazy about what the Hobbit did with a few things, but I don't think "too much CGI" is to blame. It's all in the details.

    To be frank, Jack the Giant Killer just isn't a compelling title. Even with good previews, it sounds like a kid's show pretending to be Lord of the Rings, which appeals neither to little kids nor to LOTR Young Adults. Again, I think the problem is branding and that CGI has nothing to do with it.
     
  3. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Just as a point of interest, CGI are visual effects. It looks to me like special effects are being used less and less in favor of these. I don't mind a movie having as many visual effects as they want, but too often they sacrifice story in favor of trying to get by with stunning visuals. That doesn't impress me. I'd rather watch a film with a great story and no CGI than one with tons of CGI and a weak story. A lot of these movies seem to do find on DVD, even if the box office isn't so great.
     
  4. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I thought "special effects" was more of a catch-all phrase? Oh well I guess.
     
  5. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Nope. I figured it was an interesting distinction so I thought I'd mention it. "Special effects" are captured on camera as they take place on the set - things like choreographed explosions that are actually set off and filmed. Visual effects come in post-processing. CGI animations (or any animations, really), things added to the film after it is shot. So if you look at a lot of movies you'll see different credits to people for special effects, and other credits to people for visual effects.
     
    Devor likes this.
  6. PlotHolio

    PlotHolio Sage

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    Steerpike, are you sure you aren't confusing visual effects with special effects? I always thought they were the reverse.
     
  7. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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  8. Metacritic pegs Jack at 50%. There's no built-in audience attractor; the most famous person in the movie is Ewan MacGregor, who (even though he was Obi-wan) is not exactly a marquee name. Nothing about it screams "must-see," and so people were waiting on the reviews. Then the reviews said, bleh, it's a bunch of uncompelling CGI nonsense. So most people said, meh, we'll wait for Oz the Great and Powerful.

    I don't think it has anything to do with the visual effects (except that maybe they were generic, which contributed to the negative reviews). It's just not a very good movie.
     
  9. Lucas

    Lucas Troubadour

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    Hollywood has a habit of milking all it can from a genre until it leaves it dry and dead in the gutter. I don't think that people are tired of CGI, but I think that films have to be built on interesting and engaging characters instead of CGI. Who today can remember the film versions of Eragon, Narnia, Whistlewick (or what the *beep* it was called) and that Nibelungen film with that Norwegian Terminator girl as Brunhilde?
     
  10. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Are you thinking of Spiderwick, perhaps?
     
  11. Sheriff Woody

    Sheriff Woody Troubadour

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    Truth.

    If the public is tired of anything, it's movies that clearly don't try.

    Even movies that attempt to do something different and fail on a fundamental storytelling level are frequently lauded as great films. The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Inception, Skyfall, etc. Any one of us can type up a laundry list of everything those films did wrong, because there's enough in each film to fill at least 20 laundry lists...but the movies tried to do something that was different from the standard formula, and that's all most people need. They don't care if the stories work. Why would they? They are entertained on the mere notion of not knowing what is going to happen next. How preposterous the logic may be means nothing to most people. Literally nothing.

    Looking at a movie like this, it's as plain as the day is long that it's not taking any risks or trying anything new. It's going to give you what you see in the trailer and nothing else. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's not what entertains most people these days.
     
  12. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Not knowing what happens next? Three words:

    Avengers. Avatar. Titanic.
     
  13. Sheriff Woody

    Sheriff Woody Troubadour

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    Avengers is based on highly popular superheroes who all had at least one of their own films. A sure thing to make money and be well-loved, even though it is cartoonishly simplistic in its execution. All most people needed was the novelty of seeing a bunch of superheroes fighting together in the same movie, and that's what it delivered. People loved it in spite of its overly simplistic story.

    Avatar set new boundaries. Jack the Giant Murderer (or whatever title they're using these days) does no such thing. It's so far removed from the technological achievements of Avatar that it is literally not even in the running. Avatar provided breathtaking spectacle and a visually stunning world to explore. People loved it in spite of its overly familiar story (but honestly, most people do not like Avatar, and it's written extremely well).

    Titanic succeeded on pairing a strong romance of epic scope with huge technical achievements and bar-raising visuals. Most people loved it in spite of knowing exactly how it would end, and in spite of its rather ordinary story, and in spite of its 2nd-grader dialogue ("This is where we first met!").

    Jack does none of those things. It's just a movie. No superhero super teams, no high-water-mark visuals, no emotional hook, nothing. It's just a movie.

    Point is...a movie needs to do something most other movies don't. Simply telling a good logical and well thought-out story is just not enough for most people. They don't care. People pay for the spectacle, not the story. This is, of course, a gross generalization that does not apply to everyone, but it is also true.

    How do I know this? Because I've spent quite a bit of time explaining storytelling shortcomings and utter failures of the films I mentioned in my first reply to many different people, and the answer I almost always get is: "I don't care. I still enjoyed the movie."
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2013
  14. Lucas

    Lucas Troubadour

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    That's the one!
     
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