It’s a week late, but better late than.. ah whatever. I have a life, and I’m busy. So here’s the second part of the rant.
3. Computer Generated Special Effects: Like any technology computer generate effects or computer generated imagery (CGI) can be used with sublty and skill OR they can be abused with a heavy hand. Also with any effect there are wide variations in quality. I’m not saying I hate all CGI in films. Golem in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings was a great execution of a computer generated character. The Golem character was well integrated into the film, interaction with him and the actors came off well. It wasn’t perfect but it worked, Peter Jackson didn’t take me out of the film or distract me with this choice.
But for every success with CGI there seems to be about ten failures. CGI makes it too easy to get an effect on the screen comparatively to previous methods, and some directors show very little restraint. Some go so far to the extreme that the effects dominate the movie or at least scenes of the film at the sacrifice of story and character building. The current Marvel superhero movies are guilty of this. As much as I enjoyed the last Hulk movie and the first Iron Man. The end fighting sequences bored me to tears, because I was essentially watching a computer animated feature within the film of hero and villain slugging it out. I just get this detachment when there aren’t any actor involved and an extended scene has all the involvement of a video game non-playable demo. And there so many moments in films that I’ve watched where the intro of CGI has bothered me. Star Wars is a good example for so many reasons. In the episodes 1 – 3 CGI technology invaded so many aspects of the film that it cause certain things to be disjointed for me when viewing the original three along with them. For instance, lightsaber battles apparently in the art of this duel was an acrobatic, effortless, fast moving, (computer aided) affair, only later on in time (in the movie timeline) to become traditional fencing duel done at normal human pace with minimal acrobatics where the combatant sweated and had some shortness of breath from the effort. There are some many instances of CGI being used poorly or heavy handily I could make the whole article about that alone. But this is a list and the list must go on. Use the comment area to give your opinions or things that bother you.
Okay.. Spider-Man swinging looked fake often times in the Spiderman movies. CGI Jabba and Yoda in the prequels were inferior to the puppet originals, and I think the Transformers in those Michael Bay disasters look terrible. A jumbled mismash of robotics and car parts that are barely able to convey any emotion.
4. Celebrity Voice Actors: Was Angelina Jolie’s voice acting ability one of the reasons you went out to see Kung Fu Panda 2? I didn’t think so. Honestly I know quite a few fans of Angelina and her voice is not the asset mentioned when talking about her, EVER. Beyond occasionally the title character I just can’t understand using A-List screen actors. I’m sure that Angelina did a fine job since she is a capable actress, but really she couldn’t have the most economical or enteraining choice. Character actors used to be the best source of cartoon voices from the big screen, Arnold Stang or Bea Benaderet two examples that come to mind.
Television is guilty of doing this as well, maybe not to same extent. However on the small screen I still think true voice talent over star power should be the way to go. Did Pierce Brosnan need to narrate Blue Planet? He did an alright job, but he didn’t bring anything to the party that couldn’t have been done better by a professional voice over talent. The theory that stars sell only goes so far. The narrator had absolutely nothing to do with my flipping Blue Planet on one evening.
Dreamworks Animation is probably the most guilty of basically wasting money on star power over voice talent. Take the film Flushed Away as an example. Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet as the voices for two rats. While I find both to be charming and great on screen. Neither had anything to bring to these part as voice actors. Kung Fu Panda is from Dreamworks I used that as example earlier for Angelina Jolie involvment in that film. Over the Hedge, with Bruce Willis as the voice of RJ the Raccoon. I don’t understand these choices. Pixar does use known talent occasionally in their films Tom Hanks and Tim Allen were known commodities with the first Toy Story. However both of these guys are comedians, they had a good sense of timing and were able to really be these characters. Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy in Shrek, similar deal.
At the end of the day I just see this preference for star power over real voice talent as a slight against the those in the voice talent field.