Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Why Special Effects No Longer Impress

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the bored-now dept.

Graphics 532

brumgrunt writes "When an advert for toilet roll now has a CG dog in it, have we come to the point where special effects have no lasting impact whatsoever? As Den of Geek argues, 'Where we once sat through Terminator 2 and gasped when Robert Patrick turned into a slippery blob of mercury, we now watch, say, Inception and simply acknowledge that, yes, the folding city looks quite realistic.'"

cancel ×

532 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Cars? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34551540)

When was the last time you gasped at a car driving next to you? Yeah, people get used to technology.

Re:Cars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34551610)

This story is about a decade late.

Re:Cars? (1)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552052)

More than just that.

Special effects no longer impressed viewers when they became effects.

Special effects has been a misnomer since the early 90s and a COMPLETE misnomer since the mid-90s when all of this cutesy CGI garbage came into play. Interesting how CGI looked fake then and continues to look fake. You'd think that they would have had that nailed down by now!

Re:Cars? (4, Insightful)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552130)

Special effects aren't special when they're in every scene.

All the time! STOP (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34551620)

Hey, I'm from 1890, you insensitive clod! STOP

FULL STOP

Re:All the time! STOP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34552062)

Hey, I'm from 1890, you insensitive clod! STOP

Youngin' -- I remember the first time my nomadic tribe saw fire. Oooblock was so enchanted he jumped right in.

Re:Cars? (1)

mikaelwbergene (1944966) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551696)

I can't say I've experienced it personally, but I have heard friends of mine gasp at particular models of cars such as lamborghinis.

Re:Cars? (5, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551818)

I posit that special effects are like other kinds of art, now. No one is really "amazed" that you can put together some oil paints and come up with a picture. However, Starry Night is still widely recognized as some mighty fine artwork. It's what you do with it.

The folding city in Inception looked cool. No one was surprised that they could get it to look cool. For that you'll still need to look at things like Avatar et cetera. (Also very shiny, by the way. Total eye candy.)

Re: Mod parent up (2)

shidarin'ou (762483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552038)

This times 1000. We have the tools now, but very little worth putting them to use on.

I wish people would stop saying that the VFX are ruining moves. We're a tool used by the director (or, more often, by the studio) if that Director (or again, the studio) fail to utilize us within the story properly, how is it the VFX that are ruining movies?

Re:Cars? (1)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552156)

Yeah, in Inception what was more impressive was how they were able to make all these special effects believable. It wasn't a weak-sause plot that seemed to be an excuse for crazy special effects, it was just an amazing plot that wouldn't have been very manageable without them. Of course, now we can expect a bunch of weak-sause movies that will find any excuse to explore the dream world.

Re:Cars? (1)

fritish (1630461) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552280)

Nolan actually refused to use 3D in Inception because of the fact that it would potentially detract from the story. He was apparently pressured by the studio to do it in 3D, but wouldn't budge. He also argued that some of the scenes would have been too difficult to shoot on the cameras (hand-held style, for example). While I have to admit the some of those scenes would have been total eye candy goodness in 3D, I also have to admit that he was right; 3D would have been distracting.

I'm glad he understood that special effects are cool, but you have to know when and how to use them to enhance a story, not just to use them because you can.

Poor Michael Bay (4, Insightful)

dominion (3153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551546)

Does this mean that directors actually have to focus instead on character development, plot, and pacing?

Re:Poor Michael Bay (5, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551608)

No, it means directors have to focus on 3D. That's still new enough.

Re:Poor Michael Bay (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551752)

That's still new enough.

I think that will last no more than 6 months from now.

Re:Poor Michael Bay (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551976)

Yes, then they will need to switch to more advanced things, such as setting of actual explosions and gunfire in the theatre itself.

Re:Poor Michael Bay (1)

ThatMegathronDude (1189203) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552160)

Actually sounds kinda fun. I won't be there, of course; I'll enjoy other people going deaf though. That is, if you didn't already get hearing damage from the cinema...

Re:Poor Michael Bay (1)

Tr3vin (1220548) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552032)

They said that around 60 years ago.

Re:Poor Michael Bay (2)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552240)

They said that around 60 years ago.

And it falls out of favor after 6 months only to re-emerge as the new hotness after another 10 years. :-P

It's never really lived up to what people claimed it would be -- it's always been a hokey gimmick with no real staying power.

I for one will not deal with the eye-strain and headache of 3D that I've had the last two times I've tried to watch it.

Re:Poor Michael Bay (1)

Megahard (1053072) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551882)

No, blowing up shit will always work. Doesn't matter if it's real shit or CG shit or 3D shit.

Re:Poor Michael Bay (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552054)

No, blowing up shit will always work. Doesn't matter if it's real shit or CG shit or 3D shit.

For an example of such shit, see Tron Legacy.

For an example of why special effects no longer impress, see Tron Legacy.

I'm harping on that movie because from what I've seen, it bases itself on lots of blue and orange colors intermixed with blowing shit up. The story is hackneyed, the little bit of acting I've seen is flat, and any similarity to the original Tron is based solely on the fluorescent colors and that it takes place in a computer.

Good (5, Funny)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551550)

Now filmmakers will focus on compelling stories, complex characters, and complete worlds, right? Right? Please?

Re:Good (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551638)

The bulk of movies made have never done that (face it, most of what makes it on theater screens is garbage), but it does mean that maybe a certain subset of directors who could be better if they didn't use CGI in an overbearing fashion may look to more realism and less to making what amounts to cartoons. Hopefully we'll see less trash like The Last Airbender or Transformers 2.

Re:Good (0)

devbox (1919724) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551766)

What's wrong with "cartoons" like The Simpsons or Futurama?

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34552266)

What's wrong with "cartoons" like The Simpsons or Futurama?

Well, The Simpsons is what I would classify as the bottom of the barrel of good cartoons. There are many great ones, even those aimed at younger audiences. Not all can be The Boondocks, The Venture Bros., Invader Zim, Courage the Cowardly Dog, many foreign ones as well (the number per year does seem to be falling though), etc.

By all rights, Avatar as pretty as it is, is just a fancier cartoon and I believe this is what the parent was referring too. A lot of pretty stuff without a strong story (any singular story from Aesop's Fables has about the same depth). I can't think of a strong cartoon story that runs an entire season outside of foreign animations aside Reboot and some in The Venture Bros. and The Justice League (Usually just mini-arcs, Teen Titans had better writing).

Anyways, Avatar was just a trial run for developing tech for use in another movie based on Battle Angel Alita (can't say the animated versions have been great so far, but the original story is strong).

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34551640)

Now filmmakers will focus on compelling stories, complex characters, and complete worlds, right? Right? Please?

Only a temporary fix. Like special effects, compelling stories, complex characters, and complete worlds will get old eventually.

Re:Good (1)

lectos (409804) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551720)

Nope, sorry, "3D" came out.....again.

Re:Good (5, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552142)

That's the thing with 3D. It keeps popping up.

Re:Good (1)

Kevin108 (760520) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551996)

They tried that in the second and third installments of the Matrix trilogy and it put us to sleep.

Re:Good (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552136)

Please, no more character development for the sake of character development.

I don't mind it when it makes sense but when it seems like any and all characters who have speaking parts in a movie have to have some kind of character development (or be bad guys who die horribly) it gets kind of tiring. In general the problem with a lot of movies is that when one thing becomes old and tired the producers/directors just seem to exaggerate the formulaic parts even more.

Then there's the genre butchering which I suspect won't end anytime soon, while it happens to all genres it seems it's more common with niche genres like sci-fi. When was the last time you saw a big budget sci-fi movie that couldn't more accurately be described as "Epic action/adventure crossover with some romance for the stereotypical female moviegoer and some comedic relief for the kids. In space/the future/whatever!" rather than "sci-fi"?

News flash: old tricks do not impress people (1)

Senes (928228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551556)

Some people here weren't even alive when Terminator 2 came out. Those people have lived their entire lives seeing flashy special effects in movies, therefore it is nothing special to them.

If you want to impress people, then stop churning out cookie cutter sequels and start using some fresh stories that will keep people interested.

Re:News flash: old tricks do not impress people (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551794)

I'm sure the same applied to color film, to sound, and indeed, to films themselves. The technology of film advances, and each new innovation soon becomes a standard method of filmmaking. Lots of people were wowed by the "documentary" style of Hard Days Night, at the time it was a pretty new and unique kind of film, and so influential was it that now we don't really bat an eyelash, and someone watching it now would go "Meh, Christopher Guest does it better".

The problem with special effects, and this has been true for decades, is that the beancounters quickly realize that there's money to be made in movies that are little more than special effects extravaganzas. Story, plot, characterization are not needed to fill a movie theater, Transformers 2 is evidence of that. One can protest it, but the phenomena didn't begin with CGI.

The one thing I do have to say about T2 was that Cameron is a smart enough filmmaker to know not to abuse the special effects. He used it wisely, and didn't splash it across every scene like Michael Bay does.

Cool story bro.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34551564)

Now let met get back to TMZ.

Actually, I'd say it's worse than that (4, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551582)

I don't just find CGI effects unimpressive, but fundamentally boring. They're good if they actually add to the story, but who cares if Keanu Reeves is fighting a raptor on top of a truck that's racing around the deck off a cruise liner that's going to explode if it goes below the speed of sound when it's all just created inside a computer? I could be impressed with effects in the pre-CG days when someone actually had to stand on top of a moving truck fighting a guy in a rubber dinoaur suit to achieve the same thing, but now, so what?

Re:Actually, I'd say it's worse than that (5, Funny)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551898)

"but who cares if Keanu Reeves is fighting a raptor on top of a truck that's racing around the deck off a cruise liner that's going to explode if it goes below the speed of sound"

Sir, I do think I'd pay to see that.

Re:Actually, I'd say it's worse than that (1)

shidarin'ou (762483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551932)

Creating the VFX of Keanu fighting a raptor on top of a truck that's racing around the deck off a cruise liner that's going to explode if it goes below the speed of sound isn't just pressing a render button on a computer? Just because the tools of the trade have advanced to the point where we're finally creating very impressive but invisible effects, that doesn't make the job any easier.

I guess if no one is in physical danger of death (unless you count working 12-16 hour days 7 days a week for 3-6 months in a row), it just doesn't impress anymore.

Re:Actually, I'd say it's worse than that (5, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551938)

I've been modding in this thread, but forget it. I want to post on this.

This is my big problem. I recently saw Indiana Jones & The Crystal Skull. I knew it wasn't going to be very good, but I was still amazed at two parts of the movie.

The first is when he was first being lead into the warehouse where all the artifacts are being stored. They have a show showing him walking in through the big doors, and in the background is a 20-30ft piles of boxes, made in CGI. Did you not have the budget in your $100m movie to buy boxes? Wait! You did. You piles of them 5 minutes later. I get you don't want to recreate the whole warehouse, but a single pile of boxes? It was pathetic.

At the same time the 'crystal skull' in the movie not only does not look like the real crystal skull but in fact looks like someone balled up palstic wrap and then poured resin around it. You couldn't have a few pieces of high quality glass blown? You couldn't have used the CGI for the skulls?

The CGI is applied in so many of the wrong places. The final scenes are very well done, as were the ants, but why keep spending the budget on making groundhogs look at Indy or troupes of monkeys playing Tarzan in a scene that TOTALLY breaks any suspension of disbelief.

I'm used to CGI. It takes a ton to impress me. But a good motorcycle chase that isn't all CGI and blue-screen will go a lot farther because I can tell they actually did it.

Heck, I suppose I'm lucky the quicksand in KotCS wasn't pure CGI. Stupid Lucas.

Re:Actually, I'd say it's worse than that (1)

amanicdroid (1822516) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551940)

When will this arrive in theaters?

Re:Actually, I'd say it's worse than that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34552006)

I would pay triple price JUST to see that one scene.
Yes, i am serious.

But i do agree with you, older special effects with actual, physical existence, even if only mashed together with 2 separate recordings of the scene, are still many times better.

OBLIGATORY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34552162)

Whoah!!

I'm sure... (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551584)

that moving pictures in black and white with no sound were once considered impressive as well.

Technological Improvements Taken for Granted (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551586)

"Where we once sat through Terminator 2 and gasped when Robert Patrick turned into a slippery blob of mercury, we now watch, say, Inception and simply acknowledge that, yes, the folding city looks quite realistic."

Right and we also used to sit and stare in awe as a person used a phone from their car to make a phonecall. Now if a call is dropped we curse whatever carrier we have even though the sheer concept of what that signal is going through is borderline witchcraft. And so help me god if that signal drops to one bar. I act as if that communication capability is some inalienable right.

Any technology developed for one generation can now be taken for granted almost instantly instead of taking several generations for gratitude to ebb. Seriously, you could build a machine that extends life indefinitely through five minutes of use each day and people will complain that one model tingles more than another. And if it stops working, they'll flock to the internet to complain that their life was shortened. And if their internet isn't working, some company just violated the Geneva Conventions.

As computers (both general and special) become more powerful, you'll see this is in movies more and more. It's going to be like sound recording. Decent recording equipment is so cheap you can record a passable album in your basement. We expect decent CGI now that it's relatively cheap. Terminator 2 was the most expensive movie to make when it came out. Wouldn't be the same price today. I could sit here thinking of comparisons all day.

I guess I would question the author with simply: "Where did you draw the line and why?" He talks about 30 years of special effects but, yeah, 30 years in any lucrative field or market would see some drastic progressive changes like this.

Re:Technological Improvements Taken for Granted (1)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551770)

Yeah. As Louis CK said, "Everything is amazing right now, and nobody's happy".
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r1CZTLk-Gk [youtube.com]
-Taylor

Re:Technological Improvements Taken for Granted (2)

damien_kane (519267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552116)

"Everything is amazing right now, and nobody's happy"

To that, as Denis Leary said; "Happiness comes in small doses folks. It's a cigarette butt, or a chocolate chip cookie or a five second orgasm. You come, you smoke the butt you eat the cookie you go to sleep wake up and go back to fucking work the next morning, THAT'S IT! End of fucking list!".

Re:Technological Improvements Taken for Granted (4, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551802)

Right and we also used to sit and stare in awe as a person used a phone from their car to make a phonecall.

I still do! These days I expect to see drivers texting.

Re:Technological Improvements Taken for Granted (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551824)

Indeed, just think of what computers looked like 30 years ago. And what data rates you could get over your phone line.

Re:Technological Improvements Taken for Granted (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552088)

"Where cultural progress is genuinely successful and ills are cured, this progress is seldom received with enthusiasm. Instead, they are taken for granted and attention focuses on those ills that remain."
-- Odo Marquard, Philosopher

Depends on what tools you had (2)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551590)

I'm still really impressed by the special effects that filmmakers managed in the 1950s. To do the same with the tools they had available would still be very impressive today.

The word advert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34551616)

Off-topic maybe, but why do people use the word "advert"? It's like they're too lazy to type the real word, but they don't want to use too short an abbreviation, "ad", so they go with "advert". It's like saying "automo" instead of either automobile or auto.

Re:The word advert (1)

Kevin108 (760520) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552066)

Thanks, Anony Cow!

Yes they do Impress (2)

DreadPiratePizz (803402) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551626)

Who remembers the Matrix? I recall gasps in the theatre as the camera rotated around trinity in midair. That shit was tight. What about Avatar? Tons of people were impressed with the world of pandora and the 3D effects. Special effects can definitely impress, but only if you keep them moving forward!

Re:Yes they do Impress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34551694)

have you tried watching avatar in 2D?
sure, the 3D probably was amazing... but if its the only good thing about your movie...

that thing was shallow.

Re:Yes they do Impress (1)

liquiddark (719647) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551790)

Clearly those people hadn't watched Wing Commander, which did the rotating perspective thing earlier that year without getting lost up its own ass about it.

yes, we do take special effects for granted now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34551632)

Yes, we do take special effects for granted now since we see it all the time.
Wonder if we'll ever get SO used to it that when we see a man shapeshift into a strange form (in real life), we'll just be like "Oh...cool..so what do you want for lunch?"

Two words: Star Wars (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551634)

Two words: Star Wars

Seriously - Star Wars "Episode I" sucked so hard I never bothered to see the other two prequels - just looked up the story online later.

Re:Two words: Star Wars (1, Informative)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551726)

Three words: Han shot first

Re:Two words: Star Wars (0)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551904)

Four words: let it go already.

Re:Two words: Star Wars (2)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551840)

I never bothered to see the other two prequels - just looked up the story online later.

Your search - star wars prequal story line - did not match any documents.

Suggestions:

        - Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
        - Try different keywords.
        - Try more general keywords.
        - Try fewer keywords.

Re:Two words: Star Wars (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552002)

Did you mean: star wars prequel storyline

Better movies (1)

ieatcookies (1490517) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551636)

The problem for me is that I'm not impressed with movies that use special effects to try and sell a shitty movie. You take a good movie and add special effects to it and I'm impressed. Terminator 2 was a good movie and they added some cool effects to enhance that movie. The latest star wars films were mediocre and no amount special effects would wow me. Transformers surprised me with how it engaged me and I thought the special effects were pretty awesome !

There is an alternative (1)

Goffee71 (628501) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551644)

Go watch the Ong Bak trilogy where the stunts are all real. Or watch Alien where all the ships and systems looked like they could be from the future but were just parts of Vulcan bombers and other stuff lumped together. Human imagination is being made lazy by cheap fx.

Hopefully we'll see a backlash against FX and see directors building some great sets and models again.

If I recall Bill Hicks correctly, we'll soon be sending in the terminally ill as stuntmen to make death scenes more realistic. "Chuck Norris just kicked my grandma's head clean off!" - I'd pay to see that.

Biggest problem is photography and edits (4, Insightful)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551658)

My biggest problem is not the masses of CGI, it is the insistence of directors or photography directors that the camera has to fly around all over the place.

I would much rather have nice composed shots, nice panning shots. I don't want millions of different angles and machine gun edits (lots of edits per second).

So many films seem the same due to the above.

Re:Biggest problem is photography and edits (5, Insightful)

andyr86 (1942246) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552020)

The only really impressive technique in film making these days is the 'long take' where a whole scene is shot from end to end without a tone of edits. Hard Boiled has a great long take right at the end. Personally i think photography has gone down hill in the last decade, no one seems to care about colour, light and shade anymore. Why bother when you are going to screw it all up in post anyway.

I'm pretty happy about that fact... (1)

paniq (833972) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551660)

I'm pretty happy about that fact, because it means that now that we are beyond the gadgetry (still have to get used to 3D baloney, though!), we can focus on telling stories with these tools. It's not sufficient anymore to have something visually cool, it must have a reason to be exactly like it is. Which Terminator II did very well already, though.

Oh, I Don't Know... (1)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551668)

There have been plenty of movies since Jurassic Park that have used CGI in impressive ways. Sky Captain, The Matrix, Sin City, and 300 come immediately to mind. For most movies it just doesn't matter, of course, because it's not used in very imaginative ways but that's true of anything in filmmaking...or anything creative, really.

No different than anything else. (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551674)

Why would this be any different from any other aspect of modern technology, or anything else for that matter? People become accustomed to things. It's like when you had a PS car when you were younger, didn't mind it. Then, you moved up to something brand new and loved it until you became used to it. Now, if you were to go back to that same old PS car you would not believe you ever were able to tolerate that jalopy. It's human nature.

Does this guy speak for all of us? (2)

mikaelwbergene (1944966) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551680)

I saw the folding city in Inception and thought "Holy fuck, that is cool". I guess I must have been the only one then?

There will always be room for movies focused around spectacles and eye candy because of visceral thrill... Perhaps the article writer has lost his ability to suspend his disbelief, but I was loving every second of the sfx (actors floating) and vfx (folding buildings) of Inception.

Re:Does this guy speak for all of us? (2)

The Wild Norseman (1404891) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552106)

I saw the folding city in Inception and thought "Holy fuck, that is cool". I guess I must have been the only one then?

There will always be room for movies focused around spectacles and eye candy because of visceral thrill... Perhaps the article writer has lost his ability to suspend his disbelief, but I was loving every second of the sfx (actors floating) and vfx (folding buildings) of Inception.

Oh, hell no, you aren't the only one. I felt the exact same way. I felt the sfx were absolutely amazing -- hell, I mentioned this to a friend just two nights ago now; I said that the sfx in Inception were even more awesome because they weren't "flashy" and in your face. But most importantly, the story was engaging and, IMO, unique. I spent most of my time going, "wow, what a mind fuck. Which level are they on again? Oh, yeah! And how will they figure out to do the kick with no gravity?"

I clearly remember T2. Even then, I said, "oh. Special effects, they're pretty cool. But the story kinda sucked."

YMMV and all that.

I remember the first time I saw Wolfenstein 3D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34551684)

I almost crapped my pants. I wish I could feel that way about a game today.

Re:I remember the first time I saw Wolfenstein 3D (1, Offtopic)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551738)

Load up on greasy tacos about an hour before firing up WoW.

Re:I remember the first time I saw Wolfenstein 3D (1)

Kevin108 (760520) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552174)

The best part was it was a great game designed to run on baseline systems. Now all games that come out are made for the hardware that won't be affordable for another year or two. Anybody can look at the Steam hardware results and see what kind of machines the average gamer is running. Pushing the envelope is fine but by the time I can afford the Nvidia card that will finally give me 30+ fps on my 32" LCD, I've forgotten about the game I wanted to play back when I had a 6800 and a 19" CRT.

Bound to happen (1)

fructose (948996) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551706)

With the proflieration of computers into everyday life, and the never ending advancement of realism in computer animation, it was bound to happen that special effects are taken for granted. The other night, my wife had asked me if I thought the cliff they were driving next to in the last Indiana Jones movie was real or removed by computer. You almost couldn't tell. We are at the point where we expect special effects to give us the movie we want. We expect them to be so seamless that you aren't sure they are computer effects or not.

20 years ago, we clamored for the special effect that 'looked so real' in Terminator 2, but now if we saw a movie with those effects we would be unimpressed because so many people think someone with a camcorder and a computer could whip that up at home. While it may or may not be possible is another matter, but the perception is there and that drives expectations. I think the special effects in Inception were top notch exactly becasue I didn't notice any 'edge' of where the effect starts and where it stops. If I see a movie where I can spot the special effect, I refer to it as 'second rate.' But that's because I know they can do better.

That's intentional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34551710)

"Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange." — Inception

Plots thinning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34551750)

It is because the plots are as thin as the paper they are printed on.

Why every headline has to begin with "Why" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34551754)

Why?

Ubiquity (5, Insightful)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551758)

It's called ubiquity. Once something, ANYTHING, is ubiquitous, it is then assumed to be normal, common, and easy.

Re:Ubiquity (0)

Asmor (775910) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551962)

Also known as the "your mom" effect

Re:Ubiquity (2)

netsavior (627338) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552058)

Exactly,
When 14 year olds are making realistic ligthsabre fights using a 50 dollar camcorder it just isn't that impressive when George Lucas does it. Even if he did it first.

Re:Ubiquity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34552194)

> It's called ubiquity. Once something, ANYTHING, is ubiquitous, it is then assumed to be normal, common, and easy.

It has already reached the point of inflation. 3D will reach that point even faster.

What will come after the Blu-Ray disc? Something better won't make sense before we have TV's made of wallpaper and measure resolutions in pixel sizes only.

too much CGI for a movie (1)

mgabrys (14614) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551778)

I usually think "this is a great video game" when a movie can't shoot anything physical.

It Not Mercury, It Magic! (1)

jareth780 (176411) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551800)

It's not mercury that he turns into, it's a mimetic polyalloy, and I still pee myself whenever I see that. Didn't you know that's what it was??! It's liquid metal, liquid magic!

Re:It Not Mercury, It Magic! (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552140)

> Didn't you know that's what it was?

It isn't a "mimetic polyalloy". It's balonium.

Real Steel (1)

liquiddark (719647) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551810)

The trailer for Real Steel makes me think many explodey thoughts. Admittedly it's because the trailer looks seamless and intimate and doesn't at all look like it's using trickery (as opposed to, say, Transformers, which used a lot of moving bits to hide some flim flammery).

Now effective Suspension of Disbelief (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34551814)

Suspension of Disbelief is critical to enjoying a movie. Now, CG no longer stands out and I can suspend disbelief far more effectively than ever before. Sounds like a good thing to me.

They Still Impress--Enormously (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551832)

Everybody in the movie industry worships the big score. Big capital is banked on the hope of a big hit. Big expensive special effects are seen as a means to that end.

But modern effects technology also enables the production of quality-made inexpensive films. And things are only going to get cheaper . . .

I, for one, welcome the arrival of our new independent movie production overlords!

tomorrow's tech is magic, yesterday's is banal (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551842)

If Arthur C Clarke was right in saying that sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, then commonplace technology is banal and not worth mentioning. When the first films came out, directors would put in gratuitous shots of autos and trains rushing towards the audience as they knew it would get gasps and screams. These days I don't think you'd find a director hoping to have audiences faint in the aisles if they included a shot of a train rushing towards the viewer.

Hopefully as another poster has written, the focus will shift to well written scripts and plots. But there's probably another shiny thing round the corner....

Re:tomorrow's tech is magic, yesterday's is banal (1)

shidarin'ou (762483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552182)

I don't believe you're quoting him correctly- it's sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic to people back then. He meant that if you traveled to 1810 with a flying car, it'd just be magic to the natives of the time. They don't even grasp automobiles and you're showing them something so many steps removed from a horse and carriage that they can't make the jump.

It's not supposed to be applied to people of today with technology of today.

CGI getting better (1)

Rothron the Wise (171030) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551850)

But kinetics are still off when motion capture isn't being used. We need tools that limit the animator to work within the acceleration limitations of what's being animated. Too fast acceleration is usually what gives a CGI shot away. It robs objects of their weight.

Re:CGI getting better (1)

shidarin'ou (762483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552220)

Sorry, mocap is bullshit. Directors and behind the scenes DVDs and video games love to go on and on about it because it sounds great, but the actual data generated by mocap is almost never used. What happens if that mocap data is generated. The director sees it and says it looks fake, than points to the reference footage shot during mocap and says: Make it look like that!

The animators than use the 380x260 reference footage to animate the entire thing from scratch. The bad animation you are talking about is bad animation. The good animation you are attributing to mocap is just good animation.

Office Space remake (1)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551852)

I am just waiting for the Office Space CGI remake...

Because I'm getting older, that's why! (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551888)

When I was young, I liked the explosions and cool FX too. These days I'm much more impressed by a strong script, and original idea, good acting, etc. Those are MUCH more rare (and special) than CGI or cool stuntwork. Anyone can throw a bunch of money at something and make it LOOK cool. It takes a lot more to find that truly clever screenplay.

Chris Nolan impressed me about a hundred times more with "Memento" than he every will with any lame-ass Batman movie.

Comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34551900)

Movie special effects are like nasa and the moon, nobody gives a damn any more. How about a nice game with a decent compressed code that doesnt need an intel x23094 cores and 5 gigs of vram. Make a decent game for regular non space age computers and that will be as impressive as starwars in 1970s, in 3d, HD and with a naked princess Leia

point of diminishing returns (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551918)

Overexposure to anything will cause people to become less impressed. The very first cinemas didn't even try to show movies with stories, it was just everyday stuff filmed in motion. People freaked out at the sight of a locomotive coming at the camera. Who could blame them? Their whole frame of reference was still trying to come to terms with moving pictures projected against a giant screen. The illusion was entirely too convincing.

Just think back to things that impressed you as a kid. I can think of many movies I loved then that don't hold up today. Some things don't hold up as much because you had a fonder memory as a child that cannot be replicated as an adult and some things you just had to experience at the time to see them as revolutionary. I get this a lot with movies that are considered classics. Something like Easy Rider I consider to be a very dull movie, unfocused to the point of being pointless. Fans say that you have to see that movie in the context of the time to fully appreciate it, to see how it broke from what had been done before.

Good storytelling has been the only constant for quality across the years. Tell a good story with good characters and you'll keep people interested. Most SFX movies continue to bore me to tears because they suck but a character like Gollum keeps blowing me away. I've yet to see another CGI character with that kind of presence and it was truly as much of an acting job as a piece of technical artistry.

I think another part of all this is that practical effects involve a degree of effort that makes the viewer shake his head in wonder, breaking the suspension of disbelief in the story itself to consider how hard it was to pull off in real life and thus commanding even more respect. I see CGI spiderman flipping about and I say "Meh, nice render." I see Jackie Chan doing something stupid and insanely dangerous and I think "Wait a minute, he could get hurt here! This is real!" And then you watch the credits and see just how badly he got hurt. You look at the Blues Brothers movie and consider all the cop cars they wrecked, consider that they didn't just CGI in a car for the Illinois Nazi drop but actually rented a helicopter to drop a real car over the city... Some people might not think about it in those terms but that's the way it strikes me. The sheer freakin' effort is worthy of respect.

You complain when 3D is intrusive... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551934)

...so why do you want CGI to continue to be intrusive?

Computers vs actually blowing stuff up (1)

areusche (1297613) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551992)

Lets compare Independence Day to say Avatar. In Independence Day they actually blew up a small scale replica of a city with mini explosions. In Avatar you had them all behind keyed behind a stunning computer generated background.

I think the combination of high def and computer generated graphics took the luster of explosions away. Watching Independence Day, Star Wars, Terminator 1 and 2, etc are still really cool to watch simply because they couldn't over rely on computers to do the graphics. They had to physically make the explosions.

Defense Mechanism (1)

Alanbly (1433229) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552014)

What we describe as "interesting" is really our brains reacting to a discongruity in the environment just something we don't expect to be there or can't immediately categorize. The issue is that the Human brain can't take a lot of "interesting" before it breaks down. As a result our brains found the means to just "accept" most things it considers normal even if they are amazing. The interesting thing about all this is that the more detailed a given person's analysis of a particular subject, the less this will affect them. People who do computer graphics are more likely to be taken by the very small variations in two CG approaches, where a layperson just sees two examples of CGI without much discernible difference. The same is true of any subject, at first the layperson is amazed, if they dig deeper they lose the initial interest and can lock the whole subject away as a nebulous "accepted thing", but if they become an expert they start seeing the variations themselves and have to accept each bit to lose their fascination.

I was impressed by the rolling city. (1)

amanicdroid (1822516) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552034)

Perhaps it's because I only watch movies periodically and savor them. Eat steak every day and it gets boring.

Whoever started this thread is stupid (1)

Latinhypercube (935707) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552040)

Whoever started this thread is stupid. It's not the simple matter of using VISUAL (not special that is explosions) effects. It's the IDEA behind it that is important. As with all art.

A means to an end, not an end in themselves! (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552068)

Lots of films without special effects are pretty awe inspiring.

The three decent Indiana Jones movies and just abut every James Bond movie generally have a lot of exciting action scenes without heavy use of special effect - just some old school stunt work. I've not seen it on the big screen, but I hear Ben Hur's chariot race is pretty impressive too.

Special effects are a tool. Unless a film is literally a special effects showcase, movie makers should rely on traditional cinematography and simply use the special effects to get those shots that can't be done with a camera.

What? (1)

Ultra64 (318705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552170)

You mean that dog is a computer?!?

And science fiction got there first. (5, Insightful)

sehlat (180760) | more than 3 years ago | (#34552268)

Robert A. Heinlein, in his 1950 essay "Where to?" mentioned as a law of nature that a nine-day wonder is taken as a matter of course on the tenth day, and Frederic Brown, in his 1954 story "Preposterous" told of a man who lives in a future so advanced even we haven't gotten there, and that man took for granted things like the "Fourth Martian War" and the "Immortality Center" who ridiculed science fiction and at the end of the story, "he quirtled."

Consider this: I was born in 1949, the year the transistor was invented. A few years ago, I realized I had on my person 1. a cell phone. 2. A PalmPilot and 3: a 60Gigabyte iPod. I suddenly realized that all of that represented more transistors, more raw digital storage, and more raw computer processing power put together than existed on all Earth the year I was born, and probably for several years after that.

What surprised me wasn't that I took these items for granted, but that, essentially, I was wearing them as part of my clothing.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>