Timelessness of Practical Effects

Mad Max, Fury Road has already been deemed by many as an instant classic, and also a tribute to action-packed films of the 80’s due to not only its connection to a franchise that flourished in the 80’s, but also to its choice of effects throughout the film.  Indeed, Mad Max had used computer generated imagery (CGI), but this was mostly spent on environmental visuals rather than the 3 hour long car chase that is the entirety of the movie’s journey.  Even that magical fire-breathing guitar was a reality, not a product of 3D effects.

Films today often opt the route of CGI in their films partly to break all barriers of story-telling that may have been impossible through practical effects, but mostly as a ‘cheap’ or easy way to captivate the audience.  Cheap, not in a monetary, sense, but cheap in that we hunger for visuals, and CGI, if done properly, can almost always guarantee a positive effect on the audience.  However, it seems that the library of films year-to-year are becoming over-saturated with CGI, to the point where Mad Max is warmly welcomed.   And while practical effects are limited by the governance of, well, practicality, the strongest argument for practical effects is that because they are real, they will age much better than CGI.

Think about movies that came out 10 or 15 years ago.  Movies even with extremely large budgets and exceptional CGI execution, such as Lord of the Rings, are starting to show its age.  Then think about movies with little CGI like Jurassic Park, which debuted in in 1993.  While Jurassic Park had some scenes in (quite impressive) CGI, its scenes where they use animatronics to power their prehistoric creations that still look amazing after 23 years.

Do you feel that practical effects still has its place in today’s industry and in the future? Or that CGI should be the standard?


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