Why digital visual effects simply DON’T wow audiences anymore…

NOTE – Watch the clip above FULL SCREEN

I remember very clearly watching Terminator 2 and Jurassic Park and thinking, ‘blimey… did I just see what I think I just saw?’ Can that be true? When the T-Rex first attacked I was gobsmacked. It was amazing! But the honeymoon was short lived. Only a short time later, I recall sitting in ‘Lost In Space’ and thinking, crikey, I have got bored with this toy very quickly.  The Brosnan Bond movies followed and it really was all down hill from there.

For me, good old stunts and special effects are part of the magic of cinema.

Zero-Gravity-Rumble--Inception When you KNOW someone is in real jeopardy, such as a stuntman, you can feel something… honest. Something is different. While ‘Inception’ is drenched in visual effects, its stand out action sequence for me was the ‘van tumbling as Arthur fights in a spinning corridor (aka zero gravity corridor fight)’. It worked so well because it was all real. Genuine physics. Human beings being thrown around. And it shows (good behind the scenes of the setup here on Youtube).

That’s why this clip above has something that so many action movies do not have. It’s real. It’s exhilarating. It’s terrifying. I watched it the first time, mesmerised and asked, ‘how on earth can they do that not get killed?’

Then I watched it again.

And again. Really exhilarating and mesmerising.

Go on watch it again. How on earth did they not get killed?

Onwards and upwards!

Chris Jones, Film Maker and Author


5 Responses to Why digital visual effects simply DON’T wow audiences anymore…

  1. Lucy V January 27, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    Always prefer the “real” over CGI, always have. There’s something so much more “organic” of the Queen in ALIENS over the T Rex in Jurassic Park, for example.

    But as for Nolan… he will *always* be the king of refrigerator logic to me ; )

  2. Stephen Gallagher January 27, 2011 at 10:54 am #

    It’s not just stunts – a couple of weeks back I was watching THE MISSION on TV and was struck by the difference between its real, photographed landscapes and AVATAR’s digitally manufactured ones.

  3. Neil Oseman January 27, 2011 at 9:59 pm #

    Couldn’t agree more. Even though I know just as much hard work has gone into a CGI shot as it would have done into an equivalent miniature or other traditional shot, I still feel like I’m being cheated when I watch CGI because it’s not real.
    Don’t forget that Jurassic Park also had some really awesome, ground-breaking animatronics by the late, great Stan Winston; it’s a crime that they are so frequently overlooked.
    I’m currently developing a fantasy feature with all traditional FX – see http://www.darksideoftheearth.com

  4. DarenDino August 24, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

    Bit like Jackie Chan doing his own stunts, you know it is him and you know he is hurt for real, makes you appreciate the artist.

    • Chris August 24, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

      Exactly, there is no spectacle or wonder when you know its just manipulating digital data. I remember a whole generation wanting to see a crappy Burt Reynolds film about a stuntman just because it had this amazing car stunt at the end.

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