Saturday, November 12, 2011

Why Special Effects Help Bring Our Imaginations to Life

Tons of movies are released weekly.  Short films come out on an almost-daily basis from all around the world, and multiple feature films come out on a weekly basis.  Don’t forget about the straight-to-DVD and “Made for TV” movies that come out, too.  A majority of these movies are high budget and that means tons of eye candy! But are computer-generated effects the new “live-action?"

Let’s look at some of the heavy-hitters this year:
  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
  2. Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  3. Hangover Part II
  4. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
  5. Fast Five
  6. Cars 2
  7. Thor
  8. Captain America: The First Avenger
  9. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  10. Bridesmaids

Of these films, only three of them are not heavily animated / computer-generated.   These were extremely solid movies on their own.  Bridesmaids was arguably one of the funniest comedies, right under The Hangover Part II.  Fast Five did have tons of special effects, but little of it was actually made by computers.

I consider Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor to be computer-generated because they are.  I’m not holding it against them; they have to be.  You can’t really create some of these comic book worlds without the use of computers.  Batman has been known for their Visual Effects team creating “real-life” effects rather than using computers.  Christopher Nolan has even said he rathers them.  But we all know there’s just so much you can do with “real-life” visual effects.

“When you look at a film like Pirates of the Caribbean – something like that, there’s something about a very fanciful, very detailed visual effect, that I think is more powerful and less repulsive.” – Chris Nolan  in response to his use of computer effects for Harvey Dent's face

Without computerized effects, these films would not look nearly as great or be as awesome.  For example, in Harry Potter the climactic battle between Lord Voldemort and Harry would have left a lot to be desired without those effects.  In fact, the entire movie would be lacking quite a bit and would leave us with that “robot” feel to the dragons, ogres, and Dementors.

Let’s not forget Pixar here.  After all, they have proven time and time again that computer animated does not mean “for kids” or “simple.”  Their complex plots and advanced dialogue helps each one of their films cater to both adults and children.  In most ways, they have paved the way for films of tomorrow and continue to enhance their already pristine image.

Films are a visual art, after all, and computer effects make possible what we once thought would only be in our imagination.  Computers now breathe life into our crazy characters and environments.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t great films (except for you, Green Lantern,) but it does give them the extra polish to bring our imaginations to life.

Need more proof?  Just check out the special effects video from Pirates below.  Your mind will be BLOWN.

What do you think: Computer graphics or good ol' fashioned visual effects? Which movie has the best computer animated effects?  Let us know below or on Facebook!

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