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Why do some movies have horrible CGI?

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Why do some movies have horrible CGI?

Old 12-05-06, 12:26 PM
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Why do some movies have horrible CGI?

Jurassic Park and Terminator 2 had such awesome CGI, and those movies are 10+ years old. I thought technology was supposed to improve over time, not regress. So why do some newer movies like the Star Wars prequels and Van Helsing have such sucky CGI?
Old 12-05-06, 12:32 PM
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I thought the CGI in Star Wars and Van Helsing was great.
Old 12-05-06, 12:57 PM
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The CG in Terminator 2 looks terrible by today's standards.

The issue, though, is that studios want all effects to be computer generated these days. It doesn't work. CG should be used to touch up scenes, add some depth and effect to them, but should not take the place of physical beings or stand ins (like the animatronic dinosaurs in Jurassic Park).
Old 12-05-06, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by nodeerforamonth
I thought the CGI in Star Wars and Van Helsing was great.

I hope you were being sarcastic, but I didn't see a sarcasm smilie. IMO, the werewolf in American Werewolf in London looks much better and more frightening than the CGI werewolf in Van Helsing, and AMiL is 23 years older. The human to wolf transformation was also much better in AMiL.

Originally Posted by RichC2
The CG in Terminator 2 looks terrible by today's standards.
I haven't watched T2 is several years, but I was definitely impressed by the CGI special effects every time I watched it throughout the '90s. I was never impressed at all with the CGI in Star Wars or Van Helsing. The only way they could have been impressive is if they were released in the '70s-'80s.
Old 12-05-06, 01:58 PM
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The effects in T2 are still wonderful today. Same with Jurassic Park.

Worst CGI? I'd say A Sound of Thunder or Ultraviolet, but then again Ultraviolet obviously was never even completed so i'm not sure how I'm supposed to fully judge that one.
Old 12-05-06, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Seantn
Worst CGI?
Japanese movies.

Jeez Louise. I recently watched The Big Yokai War and some of those effects could barely match Mortal Kombat---Which came out 12 years ago!
Old 12-05-06, 04:07 PM
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I thought the effects in "Reign of Fire" were pretty damn good.
Old 12-05-06, 04:12 PM
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I think that part of it is the unrealistic things that Directors are doing with it. Look at King Kong. No one is questioning how well Peter Jackson's WETA can d o with single creatures like Gollum and Kong, but in my opinion, Jurassic Park's dinosaur effects were much more realistic as far as Dinos goes. That stampede was just as ridiculous watching it the last few days on Cinemax as it was in the theatre. Ebert has talked about certain movies and the lack of gravity and weight that cgi seems to add to the project. Don't get me wrong though, I'm not a cgi hater, but I just think that sometimes the Directors get a little crazy with it.
Old 12-05-06, 04:21 PM
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I haven't watched T2 is several years, but I was definitely impressed by the CGI special effects every time I watched it throughout the '90s. I was never impressed at all with the CGI in Star Wars or Van Helsing. The only way they could have been impressive is if they were released in the '70s-'80s.
I saw T2 again (for the first time in almost a decade) about 6 months ago and laughed at how bad the CG 'puddle' effects (amongst others, including the "Look what we did!" pass-thru-bars bit) were. They're just bad. But the good old fashioned, non-CG explosions are nice as ever.

The CG quality in Van Helsing is better than that of T2, but is painfully obvious and incredibly overused. Again, trying to use CG instead of models/costumes is a double edged sword. The weird thing being, doing it all in CG seems to look worse and cost more.

The worst use, though, was the Smith's fight in Matrix Reloaded. The characters morph into undetailed, skinnier versions of themselves and move with no gravity, and for what? To waste 10 minutes of screen time in a lame fight sequence.

Last edited by RichC2; 12-05-06 at 04:24 PM.
Old 12-05-06, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Ballack
I think that part of it is the unrealistic things that Directors are doing with it. Look at King Kong. No one is questioning how well Peter Jackson's WETA can d o with single creatures like Gollum and Kong, but in my opinion, Jurassic Park's dinosaur effects were much more realistic as far as Dinos goes. That stampede was just as ridiculous watching it the last few days on Cinemax as it was in the theatre. Ebert has talked about certain movies and the lack of gravity and weight that cgi seems to add to the project. Don't get me wrong though, I'm not a cgi hater, but I just think that sometimes the Directors get a little crazy with it.
Weight is something that CGI is completely capable of simulating; those variables can be coded into how an object interacts with the world around it, and, in fact, computer simulations similar to the ones used in these movies are being involved in debates between paleontologists over the biomechanics of dinosaurs.
Old 12-05-06, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by RichC2
The worst use, though, was the Smith's fight in Matrix Reloaded. The characters morph into undetailed, skinnier versions of themselves and move with no gravity, and for what? To waste 10 minutes of screen time in a lame fight sequence.
I actually thought that scene was really impressive, and the fact that the characters in "The Matrix" were able to bend the laws of physics was kind of a premise of the film.
Old 12-05-06, 05:30 PM
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I'm still impressed by Terminator 2's effects. The "pass through bars" bit never looked good, sadly - a caualty of how the more VFX a shot needed, the grainier the film would get after being printed and reprinted so many times.
Old 12-05-06, 05:47 PM
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I think the worst use of CGI is to create human or humanoid characters. Excepting things like Gollum or even Jar Jar Binks (I didn't think the CGI was bad, just the character himself)... but IMO the worst CGI offenders include Blade 2's CGI fight scene and the title character from The Mummy.

The Blade 2 scene just seemed like the worst kind of CGI overreliance, and it looked like a cartoon to boot. And there's no reason the Mummy couldn't have been traditional makeup with CGI tweaks to show the holes going through his body. It would have looked 100 times better, to boot. These scenes just have a show off, "look at our CGI!" feel that fails because the quality is so bad.
Old 12-05-06, 06:56 PM
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So why do some newer movies like the Star Wars prequels and Van Helsing have such sucky CGI?
There's absolutely nothing sucky about the CG in the prequels. Overused perhaps, but the technical and artistic quality of the CG in those film is second to none, especially considering the number of shots and the insane pressure and constraints ILM was under.
Old 12-05-06, 10:58 PM
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Van Helsing looks so bad because auteur Stephen Sommers has terrible taste and no common sense: when offered a choice between a few good-looking effects shots and a zillion bad-looking ones for the same price, Sommers will always take a zillion bad-looking ones. (See also: Mummy Returns.)

The technology involved doesn't really have anything to do with it. If CGI didn't exist I'm sure Sommers would be using papier mache and men in gorilla suits instead.
Old 12-05-06, 11:39 PM
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I do agree that CGI is overused in movies these days. However, I can't say that the quality of CGI is getting worse. I believe that fully-realized CG characters in live-action movies are improving greatly (i.e. Davy Jones, Gollum, Kong, etc.). Also, the CGI quality may depend on interpretations of the subject matter. For example, the Spider-Man movies are filled with over-the-top CGI sequences, and yet most people didn't complain too much because it was stylized and very comic-book like. The CGI in the Star Wars prequels were the last thing I would complain about (that and the sound effects).

As for worse CGI I've seen? Watch Lost In Space and take a look at that monkey, he made Matt LeBlanc look like Laurence Olivier.
Old 12-05-06, 11:47 PM
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Stephen Sommers owns the worst CGI title. Deep Rising, The Mummy, Mummy Returns, and Van Helsing are the worst offenders. Especially the Scorpion King at the end of Mummy Returns. He looked like a reject from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.
Old 12-05-06, 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Rockmjd23
Stephen Sommers owns the worst CGI title. Deep Rising, The Mummy, Mummy Returns, and Van Helsing are the worst offenders. Especially the Scorpion King at the end of Mummy Returns. He looked like a reject from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.
What I didn't get about The Scorpion King at the end of Mummy Returns, is why didn't they just cgi the real Rock's head onto the Big Scorpion instead of doing a cgi Rock?
Old 12-05-06, 11:56 PM
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I actually thought that scene was really impressive, and the fact that the characters in "The Matrix" were able to bend the laws of physics was kind of a premise of the film.
Yeah, but the laws of physics seemed off and against the rest of the movie, even for them. But to each their own
Old 12-06-06, 12:25 AM
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A more solid reason: It's because there's tons of little no-name studios out there that effects jobs are sub contracted to. All talk and no acutal skill or will to perform. They talk the effects coordinator (or whatever the job title is) into giving them a job, and then just simply don't put out the product. I can't imagine that anyone sits down and says, 'well, we're going to put out sub par product, but we will take a sub-par wage'. It's always, 'yea, yea, we can make this look great. We'll work hard and get it done'.

Sadly, it's the way that lots of movies get made, too.

T2's effects are still top notch. Why? Because CG *IS* liquid metal. It was engineered for liquid metal (along with thoese few 'morph' sequences). There is no simpler substance. They weren't trying to make monkies look real with fur and stuff. They made simple reflective goo.

That, and because they integrated the CG with physical shots, instead of trying to fully animate the effect. Physical effects and old-school 'trick photography' will always be stronger than fully animated CG effects. An easy example is the mall scene in T2. The way they used actual plastic (or whatever) bullet holes for the T1000.

I think that Cameron dazzled everyone with the water effect in They Abyss. And then they just sort of added onto that with the morphing techniques in T2.

There's too many lazy, painful CG-laden movies out there. The final fight in Blade bugs the shit out of me. The monkies in Jumanji. Ugh.

That all being said, only a handful of movies really hit me with good CG. There's Speilberg movies, Robert Zemekis movies, Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Carribean (along with Verbinski's "The Ring"), and maybe a few others. And for some reason, I've always dug the effects in The Fifth Element - even though it contradicts my reasonings of what makes effects good effects.

Last edited by Troy Stiffler; 12-06-06 at 12:34 AM.
Old 12-06-06, 12:41 AM
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My complaint with most CGI is that a lot of times nobody bothers to render it without that "plastic shine" look.

There are a ton of CGI heavy movies that just come to a halt (realism-wise) when some CGI scene/creature/ship shows up and sports that shiny look.


P.S. CGI spaceships = never ever good.
Old 12-06-06, 06:21 PM
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I hate CG characters. Not because they're bad in themselves, but because they're always super-animated. They shift their weight, waggle their eyebrows, pucker their lips, and generally look spastic. No human actor would be tolerated if he kept twitching like that.
Old 12-06-06, 07:27 PM
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I will agree that Jurassic Park and T2 do still look quite better than movies made nowadays. It's nice to find that some director have an intolerance for shitty effects. While others like Sommers don't care at all.
Old 12-06-06, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Ballack
What I didn't get about The Scorpion King at the end of Mummy Returns, is why didn't they just cgi the real Rock's head onto the Big Scorpion instead of doing a cgi Rock?
EXACTLY!

That's the most ridiculous looking thing I've EVER seen in any film ever.
Old 12-07-06, 04:41 PM
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Anyone see 'A Sound of Thunder?' The CGI in that was horrible.

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