Monster of the Day #1687

Again, not a great year for monster movies, which audiences by and large seem indifferent too these days Hopefully Warners/Legendary can make the Godzillaverse work for people (I rather liked Skull Island), but other than that 2017 saw failed revivals (Rings), failed kick-offs of purportedly new Universes (Dark Universe), and, we can only hope, the last chapters of franchises that you’d have thought would have long ago worn out their welcomes.

Again, I think one of the problems is that CGI allows monster designs to be too detailed and elaborate. They just don’t grab the imagination the way simpler designs do.

  • Beckoning Chasm

    The problem with these (if I’m recognizing the image) movies isn’t the so-so CGI, but the fact that they seem to want to progress forward along a narrative path, but each movie in turn says “Hey, remember what happened in the last movie? It actually didn’t! And that major guy who was killed? Whoops, he was a clone.”

  • Wade Harrell

    “Again, I think one of the problems is that CGI allows monster designs to be too detailed and elaborate. They just don’t grab the imagination the way simpler designs do.”

    I feel like these days the main thing motivating creature design is resume enhancement on the part of the designers, “look at the cool, complicated monster I made!”

    The first thing I thought of when I saw this image was that it reminded me of the “sea serpent” from the last Narnia movie, “Voyage of the Dawn Treader”. If there was ever a situation that called for a classic reptillian sea serpent it was that one, but instead we get some kind of worm with bug legs for a head. Just terrible.

  • bgbear_rnh

    I saw part of the film “The Great Wall” the other day. The CGI monsters were unconvincing.

  • Rock Baker

    CGI creatures certainly lack the intimate affection that can be generated by something physical, but I think another issue is the wild camera-work that marks so many modern movies. The camera is constantly moving, sweeping, swirling, flying around scenes in order to show off the fancy new effects possible (and, it seems, mandatory) when half your image is composed in a computer. There’s something to be said for straight-on visuals. Take the Gerry Anderson shows and examine their camera-work and how they allowed one to take in all the pretty visuals. It feels more real, I think. While we can move our eyes around, long distances still register to us as more or less stationary. There used to be complaints that close-ups were always six inches away from a character’s face. Now we seem to be buzzing around them like an insect at the same time. The result is that a lot of newer movies, particularly big studio pictures, are downright uncomfortable to watch. Our eyes work better when we have firm footing, I think, in real life and on screen.

  • bgbear_rnh

    With early CGI animation films I once said to my wife in regards to spectacular not possible in real life “camera movement,” “just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should”.

  • zombiewhacker

    Which, of course, is the dead-giveaway that these films are CGI.

    The idea, I thought, was to fool people into thinking what they’re seeing *could* be real — in short, to achieve a momentary suspension of belief. The moment the camera starts doing gymnastics all over the place you know what you’re looking at is completely fake.

    Jurassic Park looks so much better than most movies today, and not just because Spielberg threw animatronics into the mix. It’s because that film’s cinematography and editing were grounded in a Jaws-era style of filmmaking that would be considered “old school” now.

  • zombiewhacker

    EDIT: suspension of disbelief, I meant.

  • Jamie B.

    I will say the problem with CGI is that so many of the monsters don’t seem to have mass to go with their size. The ground doesn’t shake as they walk by. Their movements seem to be unrestricted by gravity.

    The less expensive the movie, the worse of course. I love the remake of the Giant Gila monster for the classic cars and the love they have for the original film, but the monster itself is one of those “riding a hoverboard” type creatures that takes you right out of the film.

  • So just like the comic books, then.

  • Wade Harrell

    I remember listening to the commentary on Finding Nemo where they said they tried to stick with realistic, traditional, non-sweeping camera angles because they thought it kept the viewer engaged in the story. This is part of the reason Pixar films are (mostly) pretty strong because of the restraint they show.

  • Wade Harrell

    Some creatures just don’t make any sense. If the creature design seems like it could be a real organism I can be more forgiving of lack of technical finesse, but if the design is ridiculous it’s a distraction even if they’re technically excellent. Like those creatures in the arena scene from “Attack of the Clones”. They just did not look like creatures that could function in an actual environment. The creature above combines arthropod exoskeleton parts on a vertebrate body which for me just screams “thoughtless design”. The only complicated CGI creature I really liked was the monster from The Host, but that one made sense in it’s own context.

  • Flangepart

    The same people who do these CGI camera tricks, are the same people who put fancy-schmancy carp I don’t need or want in my freaking phone! K.I.S.S!

  • SteveWD

    CGI effects would be so much more believable if they were concieved as if shot from a real camera… And by “real” I don’t mean shaking, lens flare, and zooms. I mean camera placement, framing, movement, etc. .. that could happen in the real world.

  • Rodford Smith

    I’m thinking now of the Id Monster, which was _suposed_ to be nonsense. :-)