Once Again CGI Ruins Everything: The First Five Minutes Of Spielberg's "Falling Skies"
In their previous articles about the upcoming TNT series “Falling Skies,” Pajiba writers and geek lords TK and Steven Lloyd Wilson registered their skepticism about leading man Noah Wyle. I believe the term “Librarian-shaped handicap” was bandied about. Judging by the just-released first five minutes of the show, old Doc Carter there isn’t the problem. Listen (not having scene those Librarian TV movies), I like Noah Wyle. He was great in The Myth of Fingerprints and the first eleven hundred seasons of “ER.” The problem, as far as I can see it, are the stupid CGI aliens. You let me know what you think.
Oh sure, they dodge a bit of scrutiny by scuttling around in a dust cloud, but, ultimately, I think they look like stupid spider crabs. Possibly tasty in my sushi, but not at all terror-inducing. But, then again, I will concede my bias. I hate CGI. I loathe it. I find nothing endearing, convincing or terrifying about it. Those Prawns from District 9? I thought they looked fookin’ stupid. Sharlto Copley as Wikus was incredible, but the shitty CGI prevented me from caring when I was supposed to care and trembling when I was supposed to tremble.
You know what’s scary? This will make me sound approximately 100 years old, but get off my non-CGI blades of grass, I don’t care. Puppets are f*cking scary. Remember puppets? Remember when hours and hours of meticulous craftsmanship went into scaring the bejaysus out of you? That unimpeachable source, Wikipedia, has this to say about the pants-wettingly scary Alien Queen from Aliens. “Standing at fourteen feet, it was operated using a mixture of puppeteers, control rods, hydraulics, cables, and a crane above to support it. Two puppeteers were inside the suit operating its arms, and sixteen were required to move it. All sequences involving the queen were filmed in-camera with no post-production manipulation.” Do hours and hours of meticulous work go into CGI? Of course they do. Did I find Gollum from LOTR pretty impressive? Of course I did. But I give most of that credit to Andy Serkis.
The most staggeringly gorgeous film I have seen in the last decade is Tarsem Singh’s The Fall which features jaw-droppingly beautiful locations and meticulously choreographed fight scenes and, according to the director, almost zero CGI. Watch that film on Netflix Instant and then tell me any computer generated Avatardation looked as good to you.
Whether you love or hate CGI, I heartily reccomend you check out Cracked’s fantastic article 8 Move Special Effects You Won’t Believe Aren’t CGI. Not only do those effects look better, the amount of creativity that went into them is actually inspiring.
Okay, you know what, you’re probably right, I shouldn’t be so harsh on CGI. You say it still has the power to scare? I’ll agree. The most fearsome movie image I saw this year was pure CGI, and it still haunts my nightmares.