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Do You Think CGI In Movies Sucks?  
User currently offlinePs76 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (2 years 5 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 5806 times:

Hi!

I was watching a few movies (old and new) over the past few days and came to the conclusion that CGI sucks. One of the films I saw was 2010 a space movie from the 1980. When you watch it you really feel like you're in space, it just looks really real. Then I saw a later film Mission to Mars which has some terrible CGI. Instead of believing it's real you just look at it a say "that's someone drawing on their computer". And even in the more recent 2012 they did some incredible things but for the most part they looked really really fake.

There are a few movies I've seen where things were lees obviously "CGI" like the King Kong remake and Avatar and Tintin but these are generally exceptions. I mean in the early days the use of models and things in Hollywood looked terrible but things improved until they generally looked really real. Now we have to look at this cartoon reality whenever there's a big action sequence and pretend to ourselves that it wasn't drawn on a computer.

Anyone agree/disagree. Any thoughts welcome.

Many thanks.

Pierre

75 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinezckls04 From United States of America, joined Dec 2011, 1501 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (2 years 5 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 5779 times:

CGI is awful. Model shots are awesome. There's no argument to be had here.


If you're not sure whether to use a piece of punctuation, it's best not to.
User currently offline2707200X From United States of America, joined Mar 2009, 8797 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (2 years 5 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 5770 times:

Movies like "Cars", "Up", and "Shrek" look great in CGI but for standard children's cartoons CGI looks cheep and a prime example of why todays cartoons do not add up to the cartoons of the '80s, '90s and earlier.


"And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by." John Masefield Sea-Fever
User currently offlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10335 posts, RR: 26
Reply 3, posted (2 years 5 months 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 5750 times:

Quoting zckls04 (Reply 1):
CGI is awful. Model shots are awesome. There's no argument to be had here.

See Star Wars Episodes IV, V, VI versus Episodes I, II, III for a perfect illustration of that.

With that said, CGI does work well in some things, usually when the movie is completely CGI, like Toy Story.



How can I be an admiral without my cap??!
User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 40066 posts, RR: 74
Reply 4, posted (2 years 5 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 5731 times:

Quoting Ps76 (Thread starter):

I agree. The effects in older movies such as The Towering Inferno, Airport 1975, Airport 1977 are far more impressive than the CGI effects today. The models made in older movies and real explosions were far more impressive than the stuff made on computers today. Modern sci-fi movies today do nothing for me.



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlinekiwiandrew From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 8625 posts, RR: 13
Reply 5, posted (2 years 5 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 5725 times:
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Cheap CGI is really irritating... but nowhere near as bad as 3D.

Although to be fair, Avatar would still have been a crap film even without the CGI and 3D.



Moderation in all things ... including moderation ;-)
User currently onlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21521 posts, RR: 53
Reply 6, posted (2 years 5 months 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 5694 times:

Quoting kiwiandrew (Reply 5):
Although to be fair, Avatar would still have been a crap film even without the CGI and 3D.

The CGI was pretty good in that. It was the story which was too simplistic for its own good.

In general, "CGI sucks" exactly when it sucks.

Well done CGI doesn't suck – and is often not even noticed as such, which is the whole point.

As to old-time special effects: Even back in the days (1970s and 80s) I always cringed when it was clearly visible that scale models or other tricks were being used, as in practically every scene with fire or water. Stop motion was a particularly horrible example as well.

On the other hand, movies like 2001 were very close to perfect even back in the 1960s, but that is the very rare exception rather than the norm.

Even with much larger numbers of special effects movies nowadays (because CGI now makes them feasible without having to compromise the story too severely), the quality level has gone way up across the board. Most of the special effects movies of previous eras are practically unwatchable today and simply aren't shown any more (with rare exceptions).

The primary remaining CGI problem today is motion, particularly with animals or even humans. That is why at this time motion capture is still a necessary crutch, but with that it works quite well (effects-wise Avatar is a good example for that).


User currently offlinemoo From Falkland Islands, joined May 2007, 4089 posts, RR: 4
Reply 7, posted (2 years 5 months 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 5684 times:

Quoting Klaus (Reply 6):
Well done CGI doesn't suck – and is often not even noticed as such, which is the whole point.

I scrolled down to add just that point, so I totally agree - i'm willing to bet that you've watched entire modern films before and thought there wasn't any CGI in them... Thats when CGI is good.

Great quote from failbook which goes with this thread:

Quote:

I can almost always tell if a movie doesn't use real dinosaurs...


User currently offlineflyingturtle From Switzerland, joined Oct 2011, 2545 posts, RR: 14
Reply 8, posted (2 years 5 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 5667 times:

Examples of very bad CGI:

- Poseidon (2006). The capsizing scenes are great, but the CGI flames inside of the burning ship... yuck.
- Die Another Day (2002). Compare the hovercraft race stunts with the cheesy CGI of the melting airborne An-124.

It's quite a feat to create convincing CGI. Movies with "intentionally" bad CGI ("The Core" for example) can be funny, though...



Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
User currently onlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21521 posts, RR: 53
Reply 9, posted (2 years 5 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 5662 times:

Quoting moo (Reply 7):
I can almost always tell if a movie doesn't use real dinosaurs...

  


User currently offlineSmittyOne From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (2 years 5 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 5658 times:

2010 was AMAZING for its time, that is for sure.

On the other hand I recently watched the original Superman from 1978, and then Ironman.

The effects in Superman were completely laughable (and the acting/storyline much worse than I remembered LOL), while Ironman's effects were very convincing. The CGI in Red Tails was pretty awesome too.

I think it's more about the studio these days than whether it is CGI or not.

[Edited 2012-07-17 04:25:46]

User currently offlinemoo From Falkland Islands, joined May 2007, 4089 posts, RR: 4
Reply 11, posted (2 years 5 months 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 5639 times:

Quoting SmittyOne (Reply 10):
The effects in Superman were completely laughable (and the acting/storyline much worse than I remembered LOL), while Ironman's effects were very convincing. The CGI in Red Tails was pretty awesome too.

Oh god, I watched (suffered?) a film called "Fortress" the other day, about a WW2 USAAF B-17 crew stationed in North Africa - Ive seen better CGI on Air Crash Investigation or Dogfights! Truly truly terrible.


User currently onlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21521 posts, RR: 53
Reply 12, posted (2 years 5 months 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 5630 times:

Quoting SmittyOne (Reply 10):
2010 was AMAZING for its time, that is for sure.

You mean 2001, I presume?

2010 was just so-so for its time...


User currently offlineflyingturtle From Switzerland, joined Oct 2011, 2545 posts, RR: 14
Reply 13, posted (2 years 5 months 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 5623 times:

I remember a catastrophic catastrophe film about the world all icing over. There's a scientist involved that lives in frozen Berlin, and rescuers have to look for him. They do so with tracked arctic vehicles, and all the CGI remembered me of pre-"Goldeneye" video games...


Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 40066 posts, RR: 74
Reply 14, posted (2 years 5 months 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 5617 times:

Quoting moo (Reply 7):
Quote:

I can almost always tell if a movie doesn't use real dinosaurs...

LOL!   

Quoting Klaus (Reply 6):
As to old-time special effects: Even back in the days (1970s and 80s) I always cringed when it was clearly visible that scale models or other tricks were being used, as in practically every scene with fire or water. Stop motion was a particularly horrible example as well.

What do you think of this crash scene?
starts at about 3:57
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QviITuOUiY



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineflyingturtle From Switzerland, joined Oct 2011, 2545 posts, RR: 14
Reply 15, posted (2 years 5 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 5607 times:

Quoting Superfly (Reply 14):

Oh my... god... 

Remembered me of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHLpBNQ9a3g (crash begins at 1:00).



Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
User currently offlineBraybuddy From Ireland, joined Aug 2004, 5810 posts, RR: 31
Reply 16, posted (2 years 5 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 5601 times:

Quoting Klaus (Reply 6):
On the other hand, movies like 2001 were very close to perfect even back in the 1960s, but that is the very rare exception rather than the norm.

I don't believe I've ever seen another film that captures the vast expanse and loneliness of deep space as good -- and realistically -- as 2001 does. It's out there on its own.

I usually only catch the trailers of most blockbusters and they don't do anything for me. There's usually too much thrown at you too quickly to make them convincing.


User currently onlinepetertenthije From Netherlands, joined Jul 2001, 3391 posts, RR: 12
Reply 17, posted (2 years 5 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 5599 times:

The most important thing to remember with CGI is that a good story can cover for poor CGI, but good CGI can't cover for a poor story. If the story is good, it will pull you in and cheap CGI does not matter much. For instance District 9 or Moon.

If the story is poor no amount of CGI will help: for instance the "let's save on sets and only use blue screen" Star Wars movies or "we are desperate to revive board games" Battle Ship.

And then you've got the rare movies where both the story and the CGI are great. For instance Jurassic Park, Lord of the Rings or the Avengers.



Attamottamotta!
User currently offlinePs76 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (2 years 5 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 5596 times:

Hi!

Quoting Klaus (Reply 12):
You mean 2001, I presume?

2010 was just so-so for its time...

I know I'll be very unpopular but I actually much prefer 2010 the movie. It has a fuller storyline to me and moves at a much faster pace which I prefer.

I agree though 2001 probably looks better with effects but even that I'm not sure. The interiors of the spacecraft in 2001 (besides Discovery) all look very 60's/70s wheras watching 2010 not much has dated except for the computers. Whoever came up with the design of the Discovery spacecraft in 2001 (both inside and out) deserves an award. 2010 doesn't try and do anything fancy with special effects so nothing looks dated but that whole psychadelic flying into the Monolith thing in 2001 looks kinda old now.

Only my opinion though! Maybe I just need to watch 2001 again.

Many thanks.

Pierre


User currently offlinemoo From Falkland Islands, joined May 2007, 4089 posts, RR: 4
Reply 19, posted (2 years 5 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 5593 times:

One of the things about 2001 and 2010 that got me was the magical anti-gravity tech that no one talks about - in both films, Discovery seems to have anti-gravity, in that it doesnt rotate or anything (apart from one scene, which doesnt explain anything - it just creates more questions), and yet the later Soviet craft does not...

Strange.


User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 40066 posts, RR: 74
Reply 20, posted (2 years 5 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 5579 times:

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 15):
Oh my... god... 

Remembered me of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHLpBNQ9a3g (crash begins at 1:00).

Holy crap! I'll be damned!  Wow!  Wow!  Wow!
I remember seeing this scene on TV late at night decades ago when I was a little kid!
Never knew the name of the movie until now! Thanks for the link!   
That was an awesome crash scene!
The music and end credits sound great as well.
I need to get that movie now.   
I have a feeling that if that movie were made today, that scene would have looked worse and the women in leading roles would have way more attitude and the male roles would be emasculated wimps.
The Cassandra Crossing looks like a great movie and is at the top of my 'must buy' list along with the movies; 'Demon Seed' and 'Dolemite'.
BTW, there was another 1970s disaster movie about a massive freeway crash pileup. Does anyone know the name of that movie?



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 32
Reply 21, posted (2 years 5 months 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5571 times:

I don't think the issue is really GCI

Cheaply done movies look bad - no matter what the source for special effects - GCI, models, etc. Remember lizards with glued upon dinosaur fins, spikes?

Well done movies which are VERY, VERY EXPENSIVE - look better and can look amazing - Transformers, Avatar

Advances in CGI have made it possible to do very bad movies very quickly with low cost.


User currently onlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21521 posts, RR: 53
Reply 22, posted (2 years 5 months 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5571 times:

Quoting Superfly (Reply 20):
BTW, there was another 1970s disaster movie about a massive freeway crash pileup. Does anyone know the name of that movie?

Can any other car pileups really compete with Blues Brothers…?  
 

Quoting Ps76 (Reply 18):
I know I'll be very unpopular but I actually much prefer 2010 the movie. It has a fuller storyline to me and moves at a much faster pace which I prefer.

Your preference is as valid as anyone else's.

That said, I prefer 2001 by a wide margin for several reasons, its more philosophical story and much more immersive world-building among them. 2010 was a pretty pedestrian experience to me by comparison – okay, but not great in any way.

Quoting Ps76 (Reply 18):
Whoever came up with the design of the Discovery spacecraft in 2001 (both inside and out) deserves an award.

They got quite a few.

Quoting Ps76 (Reply 18):
but that whole psychadelic flying into the Monolith thing in 2001 looks kinda old now.

Not for me. One can debate their choices, but the execution was top notch (I don't care for the soundrack of that section, though).

Quoting moo (Reply 19):
One of the things about 2001 and 2010 that got me was the magical anti-gravity tech that no one talks about - in both films, Discovery seems to have anti-gravity, in that it doesnt rotate or anything (apart from one scene, which doesnt explain anything - it just creates more questions), and yet the later Soviet craft does not...

No anti-gravity anywhere. Discovery has a rotating barrel within its hull in the round "head" section which simulates gravity via centrifugal force (as on the space station earlier in the movie). It is shown quite explicitly and at considerable length.

Everywhere else is zero gravity.

[Edited 2012-07-17 06:54:19]

User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 40066 posts, RR: 74
Reply 23, posted (2 years 5 months 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5557 times:

Quoting Klaus (Reply 22):
Can any other car pileups really compete with Blues Brothers…?  

Absolutely.
The Blues Brothers is a great movie and all but not the best car pileup.
Plus I rather see car pileups in more serious disaster, suspense movies. Not a comedy.



Bring back the Concorde
User currently onlinepetertenthije From Netherlands, joined Jul 2001, 3391 posts, RR: 12
Reply 24, posted (2 years 5 months 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5557 times:

Quoting Superfly (Reply 20):
BTW, there was another 1970s disaster movie about a massive freeway crash pileup. Does anyone know the name of that movie?

Might have been Smash-up on interstate 5.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkL_uWakXpM
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075236/



Attamottamotta!
25 Post contains links and images flyingturtle : Very much appreciated! Many railroad scenes were filmed in my region. I recognized many locations, like the one here. The white hut in the top right
26 Post contains images Klaus : I generally don't like disaster movies very much. Too many real disasters in the world for me to enjoy that kind of thing on screen. With nobody gett
27 Post contains images moo : The problem with that explanation is that the command deck is shown above the pod bay at the front of the "head" section (theres the main window). It
28 Post contains images Klaus : Their best choice was to have it happen in low light at night. It would have been unwatchably bad in a daylight setting. Even so, the total shots wer
29 moo : Just gone through the requisite scenes - there are several in the command deck and in the pod bay which show gravity. There are a lot of impressive s
30 Flighty : Blade Runner was done using models. (fly-through cityscapes). Even today, CGI probably can't match it. CGI is often built using wrong assumptions. Toy
31 SmittyOne : Haha, sorry - yes 2001. Basically anything after 1999 and I'm all confused.
32 Post contains images Klaus : By people actually walking around or objects falling? I don't have a copy at hand right now. A Youtube link would of course be optimal.
33 Post contains images Klaus : Come on – 12 years were not long enough to get acclimated yet?
34 Post contains images NorthStarDC4M : You can't really compare 2001 and 2010 from a movie stand point. You are talking about one of my favorite Sci-Fi series here folks... Just remember th
35 Post contains links and images Superfly : That just may be it! Looks like a great movie but it is painful to watch because I like every car in that video, even the imports and I hate to see t
36 Asturias : Agreed, though the mixture of the two (and matte paintings even!) can be amazing, I was most impressed with the mixture of miniature models and CGI i
37 Post contains links and images Klaus : The mall chase was hilarious too, but I was thinking more of this one! From a historical point of view? Yes. But as a viewer the obvious limitations
38 Post contains links and images Superfly : Ah yes, I forgot about that one. I used to work in the real life building at 555 California street when I lived in San Francisco. The real building i
39 geezer : Lol ! Just before I read this reply by Klaus, I noticed someone making a reference to car pile-ups in movies.............I immediately thought about
40 Post contains images Klaus : Well, it's pretty much the quintessential movie that has elevated car pileups to a form of art! That is kind of hard to beat.
41 vikkyvik : The thing that really struck me, and contributed greatly to the experience, is that when they're doing EVAs, there is no soundtrack. All you hear is
42 ltbewr : While CGI has improved by huge margins with the exponential growth in power of computers, you still need a story, a plot, a reason to have a film. Whi
43 Braybuddy : You know I'd forgotten all about that, and you've hit the nail on the head! I doubt if the director of a blockbuster would do such a sequence today.
44 Superfly : Did the movie Titanic use CGI? It was made in 1997. The sinking ship, the images of the ocean waves all looked very realistic. I have that movie on L
45 vikkyvik : Man Card. Hand it over.
46 Post contains images Superfly : Damn, you got me on that one. I must now go bury my head in the sand.
47 Post contains links flyingturtle : My opinion too. CGI on the cheap is an excuse for weak plots - hey, we can tell EXTRAORDINARY stories given these CGI backgrounds and action sequence
48 Klaus : Yes. The departure, most of the total shots, the collision and the actual sinking were all CGI, plus various inserts and all deep-diving shots where
49 Post contains links and images Superfly : Hence why the love story was attached. Film makers involved in this movie knew that millions of women worldwide would drag their husbands, boyfriends
50 Ps76 : Hi! As Klaus stated it uses a lot of CGI but mostly incorporates real people footage and models and replicas and stuff as the building blocks so looks
51 Post contains images Klaus : The love story was always intended to be the emotional connection point for the audience, and they've done a pretty good job of it. Can't please ever
52 rfields5421 : Chicks dig guys for a lot of reasons - and most of us never understand why they choose some guys other than us. 'Cold' to me is more a reflection of
53 northstardc4m : Whoops, wrong moon, my bad... I'm going to re-read 2001 i guess. I recall TMA-2 being the same dimensions as the other 2, but maybe it was just the s
54 aerorobnz : it is overused, and it switches my brain off from being absorbed completely by the movie if there is too much in the way of CGI.
55 MD-90 : While the plot was horrible the CGI model of the Enterprise-E in Star Trek: Nemesis (the previous ST:TNG movies used at least some actual models) was
56 Post contains images Superfly : Hence why I went out and bought the LaserDisc and lost my man-card in the process. Whoa wait a second. It's just a casual observation and opinion on
57 Post contains images Klaus : Real men just laugh about the claim that they actually needed one! I just watched and thought the characters were plausbile enought for the purposes o
58 Post contains images Superfly : vikkyvik made the call, not me. Hardly. Just appears that you took this as an opportunity be arrogant, snippy and judgmental of someone's else's obse
59 Klaus : There was no malicious intent and no judgment whatsoever in any of my posts, and I expected the added smileys would further eliminate any residual do
60 Post contains images Superfly : Relax. I got the humor. It's just that time of the month for me. That's all.
61 Post contains images Klaus : Accepted. Flushing caches... Resetting... Ready >_
62 ghifty : Thanks for referencing that film! IIRC, it's one of the last, if not THE last, sci-fi film(s) without any CGI and it's truly a cinematic treat. The a
63 Klaus : I would dispute that. In 1982 CGI was in its very early infancy – TRON was a showcase of that around that time, and even that one had huge amounts
64 rfields5421 : Agree. It was just a Cowboys and Indians movie done to 21st century political correctness. John Wayne had better scripts.
65 Post contains images ghifty : Can't believe I forgot about Jurassic Park. Lost World was visually good as well. JP III was lackluster, certainly. Indeed, but that's fundamentally
66 Post contains images Klaus : Yep. At least some of the time.
67 Post contains images Flighty : The Special Edition of Blade Runner has a great feature on its amazing optical special effects. They really did everything using costumes, mirrors, m
68 Post contains links Superfly : Does this look real? Here are some highlights from the movie - The Swarm http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWnxqUfRJTA
69 Post contains images Klaus : Well, as remarked above, that might have to do with all the obviously nonexistent dinosaurs in it! But actually the biggest problems in Jurassic Park
70 Post contains links and images moo : You can do much more with CGI over models - to get the level of detail you need for cinematic shots, you need *huge* physical models if you are going
71 Post contains links Superfly : That was when Irwin Allen started to lose it. He used to be an amazing film director and nicknamed the 'Master Of Disaster'. The Swarm is amusing but
72 Post contains images Klaus : Well, there have been horribly bad movies in every era – the question is always whether they have at least some redeeming qualities to make them so
73 Post contains links Superfly : Well here is a fantastic movie from Germany. Are you familiar with the movie Karate, Küsse, blonde Katzen? I must find this movie. http://www.youtub
74 Post contains images Klaus : "Familiar" would be a stretch (ahem). But I knew of it. Might be fun if it's up your alley. I would agree, however, that CGI could probably not enhan
75 MD-90 : The physical model used in First Contact was 10 feet long so I think that estimate's a bit high. That gorgeous model was sold in 2006 at the big Para
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