OP-ED: Is the Reliance on CGI Hurting Cinema?
By Nika Spenser
Computer-generated imagery (CGI) has become common in film. CGI entails using images which are formed by a computer instead of more traditional cinematic techniques such as compositing in which several filmed layers are combined into the final picture. Movies like the Wizard of Oz used compositing techniques to great and convincing effect effect but the practice remained in effect through 20th century filmmaking.
The inclusion of CGI in film has enabled directors to achieve great action sequences or created visuals that may otherwise be impossible or cost-prohibitive to achieve practically. But there are disadvantages to this magical form of movie making and it could be ruining cinema for the future.
Ways CGI Hurts Cinema
Marvel is famously known for using CGI. Excess CGI usage is among the powerful components for Marvel but there are moments when it offers terrible CGI.
In the Black Panther fighting scene, for instance, there were amazing CGIs and special effects. However, the production had failed to achieve the viewers’ projections several times. While T’Challa and Killmonger fought during the end of this movie, the viewers noticed that the CGI wasn’t good. This was because a train passed while the 2 brothers were fighting and it seemed artificial. Anyone could tell that the train was simply added to that fighting scene.
For Infinity War, the scene of Peter Dinklage has been damaged. The scenes with Thor, Groot, Eitri, and Rocket were recorded individually and then put together using special effects.
Doctor Strange was also ruined by CGI. All other things in the film were okay but Dormammu appeared like a disco ball.
For Iron Man 3, the Villain was Aldrich Killian that headed AIM and was additionally authorized by the Extremis Virus. However, the way in which the film displayed the powers was wicked. Besides that, there is another scene in which Aldrich used the Extremis virus to spew fire like a dragon.
Movies such as The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi are better sequels than their original movies. However, there is a great difference between Empire and 2015’s The Force Awakens. That sequel is another Star Wars flick which was largely over-hyped and largely relied on CGI.
The Force of Awakens was not a bad film. It was fun to watch the initial characters. The only negative thing about it is that it was not memorable. The movie did not introduce viewers to a unique plot or a captivating villain the same way 1977’s A New Hope did so indelibly. The heroes in the 2015 sequel were not as interesting as those in the initial trilogy and most of its story elements looked as if they were recycled from the initial movie.
When you compare Empire with Awakens, you will notice that the former featured special effects galore. Empire also contained a story with a few gripping subplots, for instance, Leia and Han’s romance. Characters such as Vader and Luke were developed properly and new characters like Yoda were included to further the movie’s story. Generally, Empire’s flow is unswerving and consistent and its outcome is among the most incredible stories in the history of cinema.
Relying Too Much on CGI
The Jungle Book of 2016 is the best example of how much CGI has achieved and how much storytelling has gone down. For example, there are several moments when the creatures and animals seemed real. Their movement, speaking and other activities made one feel like he had entered a zoo and the movie was fun to watch always. But at the same time, so many things were missing and the motivation of Shere Khan was the main one.
People are left wondering if the movie producers were obsessed with getting the animal’s mouth correctly that they forgot to add it. At times a person may have a lot of things to do that he/she forgets the one thing that is very important, however that seems like a true no-brainer. Besides that, there are other movie elements which people have serious issues with. The boa constrictor with Scarlett Johansson’s voice, for instance, does not come across entirely threatening.
CGI is to blame for lack of good quality movies. Before, it used be a special effect and was used to improve a story. Currently, it seems like the story is the one used to improve the special effects.
Author’s Bio: Nika Spenser is a freelance writer and young mom. She loves films with CGI and dreams that one day she will take part in the creation of such a film as a screenwriter.