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Visual Effects

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jeannie



Joined: 14 Apr 2004
Posts: 71
Location: Vancouver
Visual Effects  Reply with quote  

Chris,
I just read your comments on Van Helsing and other movies that over use VFX just because they can. i couldn't reply to that post, probably because you don't want anyone to, but here is my two cents anyway. I work in VFX and i agree. Sure, it is fun to see some unbelievable moves and images, but if they are mostly unmotivated and there is no story, who cares. The effects get tired after five or ten minutes. I can hardly wait to see a film that incorporates an amazing story, great characters and technology. The best VFX are the ones you don't notice because you are so involved with the storytelling. I think I'm in for a long wait.

jeannie

Post Wed Jun 02, 2004 10:45 am   View user's profile Send private message
Hillary



Joined: 13 Apr 2004
Posts: 1767
To a point, I agree . . .  Reply with quote  

But Crouching Tiger, even with the crazy flight stuff, was great to me. I loved watching it. I don't know if it's because I attributed the characters with this Zen master kung fu coolness or what, but I thought those FX were great.

I think Chris also mentioned the Matrix. Considering that the story of the Matrix explained WHY it was possible to pull such feats, I was also okay with it there. I mean, the first movie spent a bajillion hours explaining to Neo that he could do anything - jump off buildings - he just needed to be able to beat the Matrix at its own game. Same thing with any of the superhero movies. Comic books ask you to suspend belief right off the bat . . . why is it such a leap to suspend belief for the ensuing action?

I agree that saturating the movie market with the impossible (in situations that are unnecessary - like Van Helsing) is lame, but I'm also a firm believer in 'consider the source'. I won't fault Hellboy for its over the top-ness, considering that the very basis of the movie is that a demon comes from hell to save mankind. If I'm willing to believe THAT, I should be willing to believe that he can punch cars and make them flip over. I think I'd be sort of a wanker otherwise.

That's just my opinion. I, too, love the cerebral movies - the movies that are based around stories, not explosions - but then again, I love all movies. I'm kind of open like that. I pick and choose my spots. If I want some high action, suspend disbelief fairytale, I'll watch Spiderman. If I want a telling story, a real earth shaker, American Beauty it is.

S'all good to me. Smile

(OH OH OH . . .

Quote:
I can hardly wait to see a film that incorporates an amazing story, great characters and technology.


Lord of the Rings? Just a thought.)

Post Wed Jun 02, 2004 11:21 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
chris
Site Admin


Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 3833
Location: People Republic of Northern California
 Reply with quote  

Yeah, ken has it set up so you have to reply here.

Believe me, I love VFX. Love them! I just don't want people to compromise story and character for FX. I mean, I don't want to watch hat movies, I don't like hat movies. (I believe that the cineplex in hell plays nothiing but Merchant/Ivory films.) And I loved the first Matrix , the second Terminator, the Abyss, Alien Resurrection, but they didn't seem to push the physics quite the way this current generation of FX pics have done-- it's the over-doness of the FX, and, again, the gravity thing.

Post Wed Jun 02, 2004 1:03 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Hillary



Joined: 13 Apr 2004
Posts: 1767
 Reply with quote  

I'll concede that. There does seem to be a bit of a 'prick waving contest' going on in regards to FX.

"OOOOH. Look what I can do" is immediately followed by, "Yeah, but I improved it, and then added a flock of flamingos!"

Hopefully the novelty will wear off.

Post Wed Jun 02, 2004 1:33 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Guest





 Reply with quote  

Hi,

I'll concede, there are some great movies that do make good use of VFX. i too loved the first Matrix. But look what happened to the last two. I'm just tired of the empty blockbuster hyped films that have nothing but effects, and many of the effects look terrible. They cost a lot, and many artists spend months and months working on forgettable pixels.

When The Matrix first came out, there was a cool story and cool effects. After that, many films including commercials, used those effects over and over and over again just because they could, not because it helped the story.Even if the movie is suppose to be mindless fun, a pile of crappy effects isn't enough. I'd prefer fewer effects done better.

Jeannie

Post Wed Jun 02, 2004 2:22 pm   
Robb



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 557
Location: The world at random...
 Reply with quote  

I'm with you guys on effects, I think that after a while they start loking like Roadrunner cartoons. Which is cool because I love cartoons but at one point or another you do need to tone it down if you are trying not to be goofy. My biggest complaints are with fight scenes. There is too much wire work these days and the fights are never realistic. I've been practiceing the martial arts for over 20 years and it's funny but I've never seen or done a jump spinning back kick in a real fight. The few movies I've seen actual fighting techniques I'd respect are usually panned as too violent or they never get seen. Even still they are drawn out too long. Good example, The Hunted, excellent fighting methods represented. Way too drawn out. A knife fight like the ones represented take much less time. But if they weren't they would probably have a much less interesting movie. Another good one was a comic movie. The Punisher had very good fighting in it and the fight scenes were very short and to the point. I think that's why people didn't seem to like it as much. It was too real in the action. Yes there were some over the top things in it but no protracted Matrix gunfights or magically flying men fighting it out. Tom Jane, the guy who played the Punisher, did some really impressive study to make his character fairly realistic. I think it might have been too real to make it interesting to the effects driven audience though. So where do you draw the CGI line? Too much or too little? I think LOTR was probably one of the best uses of effects to tell a story in years. I dunno maybe the Matrix ruined fight scenes for us or maybe the screen writers need to take it up a notch and start telling good stories to go with their effects wizards.
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Post Wed Jun 02, 2004 3:04 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Lauren



Joined: 07 Mar 2004
Posts: 1582
Location: Massachusetts
Punisher  Reply with quote  

Quote:
Yes there were some over the top things


I haven't seen it yet, but Garth Ennis wrote the script. With the story arc he and Steve Dillon did for the comic, over the top is par for the course. (/comic geek)

Special effects for me depend on the movie - if it's comic book action and the hero has super powers or a really useful outfit, sure, go nuts. But someone like Punisher, well, he's human and just uses his brains and his weapons. The special effects should be sparse.

I enjoyed Van Helsing, although I agree with Chris that some of it, even in a movie where you're dealing with vampires and the like, was hard to believe (If you get smacked into a tree, you BRUISE). The characters are supposed to be humans fighting the supernatural (well, I have my own theory that Van Helsing ain't human, but that's another thread) - they should be more vulnerable. I'd rather they do something clever to defeat the monsters than swing on ropes and make lucky catches.

Something like Crouching Tiger, that has that fantasy feel, though, I can go with that. It all depends on the movie's setting and what they're going for. However, in the new Jet Li movie, The Hero, they go way too far. Good movie, too much wire stuff.
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Post Wed Jun 02, 2004 4:29 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address ICQ Number
Robb



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 557
Location: The world at random...
 Reply with quote  

I don't know whether Garth wrote it or not but it was based off of "welcome back Frank." The biggest complaint I had about it was the fact that it wasn't over the top enough for me. I mean really, no polar bear! And The Russian never said a word! C'mon! He was a serious chatty Cathy in the book. Yes I am a proud comic geek. I'm still waiting for them to come out with a Preacher movie.
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Post Wed Jun 02, 2004 8:42 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
John



Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 521
Location: Massachusetts
 Reply with quote  

Quote:
From Robb:
My biggest complaints are with fight scenes. There is too much wire work these days and the fights are never realistic. I've been practiceing the martial arts for over 20 years and it's funny but I've never seen or done a jump spinning back kick in a real fight.


I agree with you Robb, I have been training in martial arts for about 15 years now and 98% of fight stuff in the movies is either impossible to do or just so over the top that it would never work in a real fight. There are of course a few exceptions; one would be some of the stuff in early Steven Seagal movies like "Above The Law". There is one scene where he drops this one big guy when he buries a punch into his solar plexus. Also, there was lots of realism in "Saving Private Ryan" i.e. the knife fight scene with Private Mellish (also very violent).

I read somewhere that the problem with making the fights realistic is that it doesn't always translate well onto the big screen, i.e. When you take someone down with a wrist lock or an arm bar the motions are usually too fast for someone watching them on a screen to see what actually happened. So, usually the director has to either slow the action down or substitute bigger, flashier moves for the camera, i.e. instead of a quick side kick to the knee that takes 1/4 of a second they throw in the jumping spinning back kick that takes 3 seconds. So you get longer flashier fights, but they aren't very realistic.

Having said that, I am very forgiving to visual effects in general. I love them, the more the merrier. As for them being over used, I try to prepare myself for that. When I saw Van Helsing I could tell going in that there was going to be an over use of effects so I lowered my standards accoringly before I went in and enjoyed it for what it was, a campy, over the top action flick.
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Post Thu Jun 03, 2004 1:19 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address
Alan



Joined: 29 Mar 2004
Posts: 254
Location: Odenton, MD
Re: Punisher  Reply with quote  

Lauren wrote:
[.

IThe characters are supposed to be humans fighting the supernatural (well, I have my own theory that Van Helsing ain't human, but that's another thread) -.


I also have a theory about Van Helsing not being human. Does yours have anything to do with his first name?

I really didn't like the movie. The vampires were cheesy, Dracula was terrible. The only well done monster in the movie was Frankenstein.

Post Thu Jun 03, 2004 1:46 pm   View user's profile Send private message
Lauren



Joined: 07 Mar 2004
Posts: 1582
Location: Massachusetts
 Reply with quote  

Quote:
From Alan: Does yours have anything to do with his first name?


Yessir. I was waiting for him to sprout some CG wings. But that's what sequels are for, I guess. Smile
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Post Thu Jun 03, 2004 1:57 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address ICQ Number
ken
Site Admin


Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 1324
Location: Boulder, CO
If you liked Clouching Tigah Hidden Dlagon...  Reply with quote  

Check out the movie Hero. It won about every movie award in China, and makes CTHD look like kid stuff on the special effects... truly one of the most amazing examples of cinematography ever. To say nothing of some pretty great Kung Fu.

It's been out on Chinese US-Format DVD for about two years, and is finally getting released on big screens in this country. (I've had a copy since my birthday last year, thanks to my kid the Kung-Fu nut.)

Check out the trailer at the link above, if you haven't seen it already.

Post Thu Jun 03, 2004 9:16 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website ICQ Number
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