Why does obvious CGI pull me out of a movie?

I don’t know how to explain it but it breaks immersion for me, I don’t even hate CGI per se but just how it effects my immersion in the film visually. This doesn’t happen in pure animated films mostly, in fact I’ve noticed in pure CGI animated features it almost seems like more attention is paid to reaching some semblance to reality.

I really tried to watch The Hobbit movies but nothing looks “real”, the green screen sets have no sense of reality or even a sense of physics. Bilbo running around a endless cave being chased by a dragon it just looked like a videogame.

The TV show Game Of Thrones is modern, uses CGI, and damn if it isn’t beautiful visually for the most part.

It almost seems to be a version of uncanny valley but for sets and creatures instead of human actors.

EDIT:Not really looking for a thread bashing CGI, but trying to pinpoint exactly why it doesn’t work for me, and why sometimes it does work.

I think uncanny valley has a lot to do with it. In contrast, I have no problem accepting the reality of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Because it does not look at all real, I can suspend disbelieve and accept it as real. CGI looks real enough that just the tiny bit that may be off about it really throws a wrench into the works.

And you specifically mention sets. On this point I agree and I think it may be more a green screen problem than a CGI problem- it just often seems like the actor really isn’t inhabiting the space. I think practical sets should be used whenever possible.

Maybe sometimes it’s a lighting thing? They don’t light the actor on the stage in a way that the character would naturally be lit in the environment that we’re shown? Being on a stage without a practical set has an effect on the actor’s performance as well. When shooting on location, an actor may gaze off into the distance at a mountain- and this comes through as we watch the film. On a stage in front of a green screen with a setting that will be filled in later, the actor has no mountain in the distance to gaze at. He may just be gazing at the craft services table.

I feel the same way about many movies. If you know what to look for, there are subtle clues that tell it’s CGI, like if a CGI character is jumping up and down and the person looking at him isn’t following the action.

Also, the animators don’t seem to get the motion of walking just right sometimes.

I think PJ seriously screwed the pooch by over-CGIing the Hobbit movies. Recall what Sir Ian said that time, that his acting spirit was almost broken by having to act with a tennis ball.

The story isn’t interesting enough. If the story is good, the effects don’t matter.

I find miniatures and even cheap models cute and admire their effort. Cheap cgi feels less cool.

For me, it’s the movement. Things are too smooth. Too regular. Too something or other.
I think bienville had a good comment on it - it’s so close that the little bit off grabs our attention.

99.999% of the time, CGI is used to cover up weak stories and bad writing. It’s meant to wow weak minds and keep them from realizing what crap they’re watching.

When are the movies made with simulacrums of long-dead actors coming? When a CGI-image of say, Humphrey Bogart looks real, I can see a slew of new movies coming out with totally CGI “actors”. Can these movies be advertised as "starring’ these long-dead stars?

Then they’d have to pay royalties to the dead stars’ estates, wouldn’t they? Hardly seems worth it.

Case in point: the two versions of Clash of the Titans, 1981 and 2010. I’ll take the former over the latter any day!

The camera used to give you a point of view similar to an actual observer. When it’s done by computer the point of view is often impossible. It will go through glass, solid objects, walls, floors, people, change perspective and scale and track an object like a flipped coin to make it seem like it’s the most awesome bit of cinematography ever when really it’s just a time wasting bit of glitz.

This. Done well it’s not obvious. I prefer cheap effects in movies so I don’t catch jarring transitions in the quality of the effects.

Alright, fine, I’ll get off your lawn.

What ruined CGI for me was a battle scene in one of The Lord of The Rings movies. At one point there are these massive forces crashing together, which is pretty cool–but in the foreground there’s a small group of CGI warriors who are in an obvious animation loop that is repeated three or four times. It took me out of the movie and made me feel like I was watching a video game. Ever since then it’s been hard to suspend my disbelief with CGI-heavy movies.

About eleven years ago.

Low suspension of disbelief? It takes a fair bit to take me out of a movie, whether it’s dodgy CGI or watching old movies where it seems like someone could knock the background over.

CGI is great for inorganic things, especially rigid artificial constructs like vehicles. Even super old CGI from the '90s looks pretty good for that. When you start with living things it gets messy, especially if it’s not in the dark or in the rain.

Another factor is when they go over the top with the design because they know they can do it on the computer, like crazy alien faces with a million moving parts. Your brain just knows it’s fake. A little restraint goes a long way.

It’s not just CGI. The goal of any special effects is for you to not even realize that they’re there, because whenever you notice they’re there, it reminds you that you’re just watching a movie.

As a case in point, consider Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies, where the special effects really were done very well. When people talk about “special effects in LotR”, they tend to think of things like the Balrog or the Eye of Sauron… but they completely forget about the fact that every single scene which contains a hobbit or dwarf and a human together (which is most of them) has special effects to make the sizes match up correctly. Those special effects, which you never noticed, are the reason those films won all of the awards, and they won them precisely because you didn’t notice.

Exactly. Compare this to the opening shot of Hitchcock’s Psycho with the slow camera pan over Phoenix into the hotel window. It’s not entirely smooth - you can see where the camera changes, but to me that’s charming while showing me a master’s skill.

Though I’ve never been quite convinced about the claims around Olivier and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Because hadn’t he already famously done the very similar hologram appearance in Cliff Richard’s notoriously failed musical Time. Which wasn’t CGI. And wasn’t the obvious inference that Sky Captain had just appropriated that footage (well that, and trivially stills from Olivier’s earlier career to cover his earlier life.)