Can CGI make or break a movie? - AVF Movies Podcast discussion thread

The first time I was blown away by CGI in a film was:


  • Total voters
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richp007

Distinguished Member
Gollum hasn't aged massively well imo, although it was a good achievement for the time. They really improved it though for the Hobbit films though- stunning.

Yes it was the Hobbit films I was more thinking of when I said that. Although I don't think the LOTR version has aged too badly.

What about
Luke
in The Mandalorian? After we'd picked our jaws up off the floor were we having it?
 

Tom Davies

Editorial Contributor
Puny Captain America is another one. So well done.
I had totally forgotten this, but you're right. I love that effect.

in The Mandalorian? After we'd picked our jaws up off the floor were we having it?
I have never been more jerked out of a moment in a movie or TV show then when I saw that effect. It was truly hideous.

Gollum hasn't aged massively well imo,
I'm with you. Though (I could be imagining this) he looked less noticeably dated in the 4k release than on the Blu-ray.
Could this be coming back to the point about filmmakers going back to touch up their old movies before release?
 

richp007

Distinguished Member
I had totally forgotten this, but you're right. I love that effect.


I have never been more jerked out of a moment in a movie or TV show then when I saw that effect. It was truly hideous.


I'm with you. Though (I could be imagining this) he looked less noticeably dated in the 4k release than on the Blu-ray.
Could this be coming back to the point about filmmakers going back to touch up their old movies before release?

It was hideous, but here's another discussion point for the podcast. Can we forgive what we love? For as hideous as it was in The Mandalorian, it was so beautiful as well.

As for Gollum, maybe he was touched up and it's the 4K I'm thinking of. But I still think we're being a little harsh even then on original Gollum. Or am I just forgiving what I love....
 

Tom Davies

Editorial Contributor
What I find odd is that so many of these DeepFake vids that pop up on YouTube appear to do a better job than the actual VFX in these mega-blockbusters. The Mandalorian comparison of the real CG and the DeepFake version - this shows that the DeepFake version did a much better job than the official one for me. So why? Is that down to time/money? Some other reason? No idea. Maybe again, its because these DeepFake vids are on YouTube, on a small screen and only for a handful of seconds so we're sufficiently fooled.......no idea.
Super interesting point.

I've seen those comparisons - The Irishman and the like - and my cynical gut reaction is that I bet it's easy to select the scenes where a deepfake works better than the de-aging to show up its shortcomings. However, you get the lighting less than perfect, or an angle the AI doesn't cope with quite as well maybe and I bet you'd get scenes where it looked straight up wrong.

When I've seen deepfake work, I've thought it looked seamless, but when it goes wrong, it can look a hundred times worse than a CG aided de-aging. Be interesting to see which technique wins the final battle for denying our actors a graceful exit from acting...
 

lucasisking

Distinguished Member
I'd like to know more about the deep fake process, but I think (not sure) its different to the ILM digital face replacement technique. With deep fake, aren't they using pre-existing footage, transposing it to another performance, and then blending the two? DFR (again, not sure) means creating a face and mo-capping it to a different actor.

What about
Luke
in The Mandalorian? After we'd picked our jaws up off the floor were we having it?

As with Tarkin before it, I thought the effect was 'good enough', and the thrill of seeing those characters was enough to create an imaginative bridge across that uncanny valley.

I just don't think the technology is quite there yet (deep fake notwithstanding).

People often say 'what about the de-aged Michael Douglas etc from the MCU', but that is different again, since its the same actor underneath the digital make-up, so the effect is more convincing.
 

MrNismo

Active Member
I remember seeing Total Recall back in the 80s.
When you rewatch it now the effects look very fake, but maybe I rewatch it with rose tinted glasses coz I still love it.
As a bunch of18 year olds, the whole film blew us away.
So many memorable moments

The mutant with a bug claw
Arnie walking through the x-ray security.
Arnie taking off the fake head.
Seeing 2 Arnies with his hologram watch.
Even the woman with 3 boobies :lol:

Totally blew us away
 

lucasisking

Distinguished Member
I remember seeing Total Recall back in the 80s.
When you rewatch it now the effects look very fake, but maybe I rewatch it with rose tinted glasses coz I still love it.
As a bunch of18 year olds, the whole film blew us away.
So many memorable moments

The mutant with a bug claw
Arnie walking through the x-ray security.
Arnie taking off the fake head.
Seeing 2 Arnies with his hologram watch.
Even the woman with 3 boobies :lol:

Totally blew us away

Nearly all of those were traditional optical or practical effects; especially Rob (The Thing) Bottin's elaborate gore & creature effects. I don't think CGI was used for any of it.

EDIT: I was wrong, CGI was indeed used for that cool X-ray scene, but only that. The rest was all miniatures and puppets.
 
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Tom Davies

Editorial Contributor
I'd like to know more about the deep fake process, but I think (not sure) its different to the ILM digital face replacement technique. With deep fake, aren't they using pre-existing footage, transposing it to another performance, and then blending the two? DFR (again, not sure) means creating a face and mo-capping it to a different actor.



As with Tarkin before it, I thought the effect was 'good enough', and the thrill of seeing those characters was enough to create an imaginative bridge across that uncanny valley.

I just don't think the technology is quite there yet (deep fake notwithstanding).

People often say 'what about the de-aged Michael Douglas etc from the MCU', but that is different again, since its the same actor underneath the digital make-up, so the effect is more convincing.
I seem to remember there's a level of facial prosthetics involved in ILM's technique too when it comes to mapping the faces of others onto new actors which sounds like it should enhance the effect...but I'm not sure how far it succeeds.

My main issue with Tarkin was that he looked too waxy and his expressions seemed exaggerated. At the time I think I admired how close it was but really recognised that it wasn't close enough. Likewise with the Leia shot.
 

Sloppy Bob

Distinguished Member
When you look at Tarkin and Leia in Rogue One and then Sarah and John Connor in Terminator Dark Fate it shows either how far things have come in a few years or how some VFX companies are inherently better than others when it comes to specific types of work.
 

GrazzaB

Well-known Member
Some great answers on this thread, very interesting! So many films with great CGI but on the other end of the spectrum, for me the CGI creatures absolutely ruined a couple of sci-fi films: I Am Legend and the prequel to The Thing. I Am Legend featured a particularly fine performance from Will Smith and had a great build up and atmosphere which for me was ruined by terrible CG creature work, and The Thing prequel, while by no means remotely perfect, also had some good atmosphere until it turned into a display of continually poor CG. There is a CG effect in the spaceship towards the end of the film that is probably one of the worst shots I’ve ever seen, as a human character’s face is shown on a creature’s head as it approaches from the shadows, and it’s gobsmacking how unconvincing it is. You’re going some if you manage to make your special effects less convincing than your predecessor from 25 years earlier! Also both films have well documented practical effects efforts eventually replaced by CGI so it’s even more frustrating to have had glimpses of what might have been.

Oh yes and The Scorpion King of course in The Mummy Returns!
 
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Tom Davies

Editorial Contributor
Don't forget to join the movies team tonight, live at 8:00pm on the AVF YouTube channel when we'll talk about some of the examples you've mentioned as well as a discussion about the nutcase extravaganza that is Godzilla vs. Kong.
 

pRot3us

Distinguished Member
I'd like to know more about the deep fake process, but I think (not sure) its different to the ILM digital face replacement technique. With deep fake, aren't they using pre-existing footage, transposing it to another performance, and then blending the two? DFR (again, not sure) means creating a face and mo-capping it to a different actor.
Deepfake has to be fed as much footage of the person A as possible, the more it's fed the better the results. I understand it uses this to create a 3D facial map from analysing/averaging all this footage which can then be mapped onto the face of person B in some other footage. The end result is you get the original likeness of person A and the voice/physical performance of person B.

There are plenty of examples online that can give you an idea of how it works, for example Angelina Jolie or Ana de Armas enthusiastically eating a banana (or something like that).
 

Rawschach

Distinguished Member
Alien Resurrection has some dodgy CGI - again a much older film did it much better with practical effects. Well 2 of them did.

The puppet effects in Alien 3 are poor as well. Not CGI but they might as well have been.
 

bruce-leroy

Distinguished Member
There are plenty of examples online that can give you an idea of how it works, for example Angelina Jolie or Ana de Armas enthusiastically eating a banana (or something like that).

I don’t remember any movie s with Angie or Ana doing that?.........OH!!!! :blush:
 

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