Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The New Animagic

          You’ve seen the flashy-slick trailer for the new Harry Potter flick due to pack theaters this weekend.  You may even be one of those who helped break Fandago’s advance sales record.  Pumped right?

          Now imagine that movie without computer-generated special effects.

          Not cool.


          From the first time you were enchanted by Disney watching Cinderella, The Great Mouse Detective, or Beauty and the Beast while eating your Cheerios©; to the claymation stop-motion of Chicken Run; the CGI Yoda in Star Wars, Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, the whole new world in Cameron’s Avatar; up to the fully animated CGI features (Shrek, Toy Story, and Antz) – you’ve been struck by animagic!

          With the technical advancements that brought us from cheap robots in The Terminator to fully acted and animated features like The Polar Express, the cost of animated films has raised more than a few executives’ eyebrows considerably.  However, with an average of $100 million and considerable time invested in CGI animated films, producers are making sure scripts are perfect and stories are golden (“Plot being the most important element of fiction.” –Aristotle).

          The results are win-win: everybody loves the films and the movies make five times their cost.

          It’s no Hollywood secret that kids’ films makes the most money, especially those that also appeal to adult audiences (Shrek, Up, Toy Story), cause the whole family goes, twice even.  Every teenager knows you can’t even (are not supposed to) get in to an “R” rated film without an adult guardian, though it is usually a film of this age-level that gets the Oscar.

          Not all CGI is magic.  Already, the market is widening to include flat note flops like Madagascar and A Shark’s Tale (story sucked), and Final Fantasy which brought in less money than it cost (characteristic of computer game based movies to totally suck).

          There is hope.  Anyone who saw Up!, Toy Story 3, Despicable Me, or Avatar know that we are entering a beautiful brave new world where directors can catch any angle of any actor in any indefinite possible universe.

          Though someday, “Humphrey Bogart” will star (CGI) in a new classic, and nothing will replace original real cam Casablanca’s and Saving Private Ryan’s, CGI is here to stay.  And I think it is the start of a beautiful friendship.



  1. Yes, I love what CGI has brought to the cinema, and the best of it just keeps getting better (although the worst keeps getting worse too, since - as you point out - it's getting more affordable to play with CGI).
    I'm really looking forward to the new TRON movie. The original was groundbreaking in its use of CGI; let's hope that "TRON: Legacy" lives up to the real legacy of it's predecessor, at least in the visual arena. And let's hope it's a lot better in the realm of acting and script...

  2. Yes on all counts. I hear there's a lot of $ in the new one and Jeff Bridges who is awesome n got the oscar last year. Looking forward to pretty much anything Pixar. Loved Despicable Me, Up!, & TS3.