An Unforseen problem with modern CGI?

Apologies in advance that this post is somewhat incoherent, even I’m not sure where I’m going with it… :wink:

Anyway I watched Knowing with Nicolas Cage last night (he kept hogging the cheesy-dips, the swine) and while I found it an entertaining, if somewhat silly, film there was one scene that I found one of the most chilling things ever committed to celluoid:

The airplane crash scene

Tired of trailers and adverts spoiling movies before I’ve watched them I tend to know as little about a film as possible before I watched it so I really didn’t see that coming and it was truly shocking.

And now, to the point, have modern CGI and special-effects got to the point that they are so advanced that is causing issues in itself, the problem is that CGI which is indistinguishable from reality…is its indistinguishable from reality…

The only limit now to what people put up on screen is pretty much their imagination and funding.

I’m not a sensitive individual and yet I found the above scene genuinely disturbing in its realism.

I’m not advocating a return to lesser special effects but perhaps moviemakers need to put greater thought into what they show on screen?

As I said, incoherent, but its been something I’ve been thinking about.

Don’t worry. You’ll get used to it, and then it will lose its impact.

What makes visual effects like that more obviously an effect and in no way real is several-fold:

[li]It’s in a movie. There is always a separation factor, even if you get lost in a film, that you are sitting on a couch watching a screen.[/li][li]It’s carefully photographed so you see all the detail. Real footage of real events are piecemeal, shaky, and indistinct.[/li][li]It’s so real, it feels fake. Hard to explain that one, but I think it’s true nonetheless.[/li][/ul]

I think the real problem you have isn’t that CGI is so real, it’s that filmmakers seem determined to be as graphic as they can possibly get away with, and it’s reaching saturation point. If it hasn’t already surpassed it.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but if I remember correctly that scene is powerful because of the audio as well. Doesn’t Cage get deafened by the crash so his hearing is dulled, so as viewers we get a very heightened perspective on things? So it’s the overall mix of excellent CGI and multi channel audio.

I personally find CGI very easy to spot, there’s always a slight focus shift between reality and CGI when mixed on screen, plus the actors eyes focus differently. It’s even easier to see at home on DVD than at the cinema imho.

I totally agree. I was watching a show on the making of Jaws the other day, and they were going on and on about the well-documented problems they were having with Bruce, the fake shark. Spielberg explained that this was a big part of why you see so little of the shark in the film. And honestly, NOT seeing the shark is part of what makes this such a great movie.

If they ran into that problem today, they’d just CGI the hell out of it, and it would be a much lesser movie for it.

This isn’t too new. I watched the movie Titus and it was obvious that the play hadn’t been written with the assumption of the ability to portray violence realistically.

[spoiler]They chop someone’s hands off and poke twigs into the stumps as mock-hands after lopping out the tongue.[/spoiler]

On the big screen it was simply horrifying.

and on the other hand we’re so used to seeing realistic CGI, anything less than a tetrapixel resolution will look fake.

The other problem with CGI is that, back in the old days, when you saw a great effects scene you would be thinking “Wow, how did they do that?” Nowadays the answer is pretty much always “with a computer.”

It drives me absolutely up a wall when the new Doctor Who says to itself, “Hell, let’s show the monster! We can afford it now that we have CGI!” It’s always WAY better when they don’t, or when they use some other method than a video game monster. (Blink, anyone?)

I haven’t seen knowing, but I need to force myself to accept CG to enjoy the movie.

I don’t know about you, but to me it’s still very clear when an actor is being filmed on a blue/green screen, regardless of how detailed the CG on the green screen is.

even in Avatar? say what you like about how it looks, but it does a good job melding live action and CGI.

For the most part, I’m sure this is true. This is partially due to interior lighting trying to match outdoor sunlight.

But check this out. Some of these may surprise you.

I know, being terrified of a dimpled trashcan with a plunger that couldn’t climb stairs was always more fun.

You always know when the N64 monster is coming up, too. I dreaded it all through “The Fires of Pompeii”, and it was as bad as I thought it would be. Drove me bonkers - there was absolutely no need to show the monster at all! They could have done it all with other stuff and it would have been way scarier!

The Daleks are another problem altogether. Come on, guys, why is it always Daleks? Can’t you invent a new thing to make out of trash cans?

I just want to point out that I think Knowing was a really good movie.

Way overbashed when it came out.

And yes, the airplane crash was terrifying.

Here is the scene in full. It also helps that it has an extended one take scene. It feels real.

Actually, here is a shorter link that gets more “right to the plane crash”.

Wow. Aside from the obvious effects shots (mountains, burning ships, planets) I would never have even suspected green screen CGI was needed for those scenes. The courthouse or the girl walking into the bus stop? Amazing.

Nintendo 64? :confused:

Yeah, the Doctor Who awful CGI monsters always look straight out of the crappiest last-gen console.

I’m sorry, then you certainly meant to say PlayStation :stuck_out_tongue: