Why do people hate CGI? – Movie Mania!

It’s simple, when slightly off it looks very fake. Welcome t o Movie Mania, a blog series where I talk about things to do with movies. This week, I thought I would take a look at CGI, or Computer Generated Imagery, and why so many people hate it. I will be analyzing movies such as Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and Mad Max: Fury Road. Lets begin, shall we?

So what is CGI?

So much action. So much CGI.

So much action. So much CGI.

I thought I would just explain to those not in the know what CGI is. Have you ever watched a movie, and seen a giant space ship, I don’t know, crash into a planet? There is a huge chance that the whole thing was CGI. That just means that the scene was not created in real life, and was digitally created on a computer. Lets take a recent film, Avengers: Age of Ultron. Most of the Hulkbuster and end sequences were done with CGI, and it is very obvious when viewing the film. Often things with CGI can seem alien as they are rubbery, or don’t have and texture or weight.

Whats the problem with CGI?

Now this is Podracing! Wait a minute...

Now this is Podracing! Wait a minute…

The main criticism with CGI is that it looks fake and is over used. People consider it to look fake for the reasons I stated above: The rubbery feel and lack of texture and weight. The look of CGI has improved, but it is still very noticeable against actors and real sets. I would say it is over used due to many reasons. Firstly, I think it doesn’t need to be used for every little detail. In lots of films these days filmmakers have a very “We’ll fix it in Post” attitude. (Post as in Post-Production, which takes place after filming. ) They think that every little detail should and can be fixed with CGI. I feel like this takes away from the movie going experience. Secondly, I feel like CGI is used when a practical effect could be used. For example in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones not a single piece of Clone Trooper armor was made for the film. One of the benefits of having practical effects or props is the actors have something to react to. The Star Wars Prequels are just a bunch of actors talking to a green room. Finally, CGI is being used to make entire movies now! Avatar and Gravity come to mind. Little to none of the things seen in these two films is practical, and the thing about CGI is that it ages poorly. I would never go back and watch these because I know they won’t look good to today’s standards. I do know that I could go back and watch, say, Indiana Jones and it would still hold up.

What is the solution?

Well, I think Mad Max: Fury Road has done it perfectly. It blended CGI and Practical effects in a way that really enhanced the experience of the movie. I found it hard to tell what was CGI. The film did a great thing. It only used CGI when absolutely necessary. This is something I feel all films shoudl follow. The action films of today lack the charm and realism of the older ones, and the superhero films are just CGI crashing with CGI. I feel that these films could learn a lot from Mad Max and Star Wars: The force awakens, as both of these films boast a mix of practical and digital effects.

And that’ll do it for this weeks Movie Mania! What are your thoughts on the matter? Tweet me @MixUpPixels or leave a comment below! All of our other contact details can be found here.

Thanks for listening and Catch-ya next time!


Hi! I'm Alex MJ, and I'm a kiwi living in Singapore. I enjoy talking and writing about nerd culture, with my favorite thing to talk about being Star Wars! I love it when people talk to me, so feel free to do so in the comments or by email: alex@geek-podcast.com . Thanks for stopping by!

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