Who Killed the Magic of Movies?
CGI did. At fifteen I went to Universal Studios and did the “Back Lot Tour,” a behind the scenes peak at the magic of movie making… Driving past the Bates Motel and the creepy ‘House on The Hill’; navigating through the Backdraft set as the room around us literally exploded into flames; witnessing how carefully concealed wires, rigging equipment and strategic camera angles allowed Superheroes to fly through the air and smash through “sugar glass”; and of course witnessing Jaws stalk and take out the little fishing boat right before our eyes! It all had a magician like quality to it … Behold! These artist, designers and technicians will now take completely ordinary items and make them extraordinary…. Right before our eyes!
As technology evolves what can be translated from the paper to the screen has become virtually limitless …. Largely thanks to the power of computer virtualization. This evolution has without argument allowed for many films in part and in whole to change the definition of what is possible. It empowers writers and film makers to be limited only by their imaginations; however has it gone too far? Have we lost the “magic” of movies to programing code and post production editing? There are certainly examples of really crappy CGI scenes that clearly happened only because it could (uhh A-Team’s tank flying through the air shooting) . Rather than being used as a tool to enhance the visual story, CGI seems to commonly take place of objects, buildings, set interiors, landscapes, cityscapes, animals and even the actors themselves. It kind of makes the accomplishment of the scene or the film a little less amazing and in my opinion is a bit of a cop out.
Call me a sucker for the romance of actors playing in giant Lego’s on Honey I Shrunk the Kids; Spielberg shooting Schindler’s list and Saving Private Ryan on location, James Cameron rebuilding the Titanic to scale, and the brilliant puppetry of the original Yoda (later replaced by CGI ironically enough). I understand the cost savings, the ability for lower budget movies to encompass big budget elements as well as the pure ease of using CGI in these situations. But has it become too easy? I guess at the end of the day the kid in me just doesn’t want to see the magic of movies die.
We want to know your thoughts. Are you for or against CGI replacing the old-school magic of films? What’s your favourite CGI scene? Is there one that you completely hate? Leave us a comment below or join the conversation on our Facebook Page. If you’re more of a Twitter kind of person, join that thread as well. While you’re there, be sure to follow Charlyne’s Twitter as well.