Tuesday, May 4, 2010
KA-ZARJGH: The Michael Bay Syndrome
Near the beginning of the millennium I began to really appreciate the film industry in its beginnings to show really impressive improvements in the fields of visual effects and CGI. I clearly remember being young, seeing The Rocketeer and being damn impressed. Later on I saw TRON. Then suddenly with the explosion of high budget action films, VFX became a large role in many of the top grossing films. So much that then wholly computer animated films became the iron fisted leader of the animation world. Disney died along with it. But at least they gave us The Rocketeer.
I liked seeing the The Matrix, you know? A nice neo-Gnostic reincarnation through one of science fiction's darkest dreams of artificial intelligence. A story that made sense- for the most part, acting that was tolerable- for the most part, Keanu, and wicked CGI that was to my young eyes unprecedented. I remember seeing Dragonheart a little before that and even at that age I was saying, 'Big green screen, Dennis Quaid isn't talking to anyone and Sean Connery is no dragon.'
It was a time then that I was naive in general but I didn't think I was being naive when it came to movies. People around me started dissing the awesome effects and graphics coming out of films and saying that they didn't look real. I had no qualms about that at the time because I didn't care if it looked real enough as long as the movie was still awesome. And for a good long time it stuck like that, where most of the really big budget films with the awesome effects, CGI, puppeteers, props and sets were the best of the films that were coming out.
Now I'm drowning in overproduced CGI saturated films. Pixar started pissing me off and it took Bluray for me to find my love for most of them again because for a good while except for certain exceptions, CGI started to go downhill and I started to enjoy more films that were more down to earth or at least didn't have five lens flares seen in between a given blink.
Which brings me to the flares. Did anyone see the new Clash of the Titans? Way to throw storyline and character arcs out the door. They had the chance to be legendary. Liam Neeson was Zeus for godssakes, how could they fuck that up? I bet if we did shots to the artificial lens flares seen in this film, anyone under 7 feet tall would have alcohol poisoning. I'm not doing a review of Clash of the Titans now, I can't be bothered enough to try to remember all of it because there was so little story in between action that by the end of it, I didn't even care if Hades won or not, fuck, if Ralph Fiennes wants to rule the Heavens, I'm all for him. The whole damn film leads up to the fight between Avatar boytoy Sam Worthington and the Kraken and he manages to not even touch it to kill it in mere seconds, the whole movie crashing down with the awful bits of stony Kraken meat falling into the Greek ocean. Then came the fight between Worthington and Hades, which again, lasts thirty seconds the most. One of the most anti-climactic films I have ever seen but do you what? Wow, was that Pegasus pretty. The monsters were awful beasts that for the most part seemed real enough to be feared in a CGI sense, the polygon count would be staggering.
All I'm saying is that in a world where technology in CG and VFX has become this advanced, it is far too easy to get carried away with what looks ridiculous and mistake that for something that is synonymous with blockbuster. If I wanted to watch something that has immense graphics and zero storyline I would watch the DragonBall movie again, no more can I have directors who flaunt their CG friend's talents while paying zero attention to their script. If the budget calls for more CG than talented actors who are convincing in their roles, your movie sucks no matter what goofy bow you strap on for wrapping. Worst Christmas gift ever.
This Michael Bay-ishness must come to an end. If your movie is just KABOOM then don't try to convince me otherwise by cutting your trailer with intrigue as its motive, DO NOT GET ME INTERESTED IN SOMETHING THAT IS GARB. All I can tell by the Transformers movies is that they sure know how to market explosions.
Directors need to like church and state divide the advancements in CG from their film's message because if the two become confused for the one another or synonymous, we lose what film is really about: the development of ideas through visuals and storyline, the revealing of character and emotion, the discovery of pieces of ourselves in the heroes and villains that appear in a film.
We need to realize that an original idea transcends everything else and unless your film has that why are you wasting people's time? Why waste your time?
It took you a full year-2 years to put together that awful mosaic of explosions, lens flares, tits and epicness? Hope it was it was worth it because you got nothing to show for it.