Peter Hartlaub has a piece on special effects in the San Francisco Chronicle. Hartlaub feels that too many special effects-laden movies are the cinematic equivalent of watching a friend play a video game for two hours. He is right, but he derides films like The Matrix Revolutions while praising films like Spider-Man 2 as if one use of CGI was better than the other. The truth is, CGI looks just as fake today as stop-motion did back in the day. In fact, special effects have always looked fake, or at least "unreal," but that's not why people enjoy them. I doubt anyone seeing Jason and the Argonauts for the first time thought, 'sweet lord, real skeletons!' Rather they were thinking, 'those skeletons LOOK real!' He makes a valid point about the saturation of CGI in all visual media, including television and commercials and how filmmakers are now essentially trying to "out-effects" one another. They just need to remember what a younger, smarter George Lucas once said: "A special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing."

categories Movies, Cinematical