Monster of the Day #238

“I’m Batman!”

  • The Rev.

    It’s amazing how Buchanan could take the same story that I enjoyed in It Conquered the World and make it seem so much more dull.

    His monster at least looks more menacing, if almost as goofy as Beulah did.

  • P Stroud

    Bad as that suit is I’ll take it over almost any CGI piece of ****.

  • Poor CGI. It can’t get no respect. I love stop-motion and rubber suits as much as the next guy but I do think that there are some things that CGI is good for. Cases in point:

    1) lots of monsters all visible at once, as in FRANKENFISH.

    2) large, fast monsters, as in DINOCROC.

    If the monster is going to interact with people, it’s always better to have a prosthetic, of course. In the film I’m involved with, THE WHISPERER IN DARKNESS, we used props, models, and CGI all three. We dropped frames out of the animation of the CGI so it would look more jerky, like stop-motion. But if not for the cheaper cost of CGI we couldn’t have done the same finale. I think Ken, Kirk, and others who saw it will support my contentino that the use of CGI in WHISPERER didn’t hurt it.

  • Well, Sandy, this is an ongoing argument between us, I know. And yes, CGI certainly has it’s strengths, and there are several shots of Sharktopus that in fact look pretty swell. As noted, it’s (mostly) in interacting with the film’s live elements that the CGI draws attention to itself in a bad way.

    I guess in the end the difference is that bad practical effects and costumes generally maintain a level of charm and lovability in their ineptitude (and more of a sense that even failed ones were built by hand, and thus are still, on some level, impressive). Whereas bad CGI effects don’t. And although they may be as much effort to create on some level, a guy manipulating data on a computer screen is never going to project the romance of a fellow crafting even really bad (for instance) stop-animated work.

  • The Rev.

    Definitely did not hurt it. Didn’t hurt Frankenfish either, which was pretty fun.

    I think the bias comes from way too many movies just using it willy-nilly, and not just using it when they have to, especially since most of them don’t have the money (or maybe talent) to make it look good.

    If the movie is only using it to show things they couldn’t possibly do in real life (Rare Exports, which only has it at the end during a sequence they never could’ve filmed safely in real life) or the movie is good, or at least fun (Spider-Man 2, Mega-Piranha), I’m perfectly willing to accept CGI.

    I will admit, however, that I do prefer physical props most of the time.

  • Especially obnoxious right now is the tendency even in studio films towards really fake looking CGI blood spray, bullet flashes and other such effects that easily could be handled (albeit more expensively) in a practical fashion. This will become less of an issue as the technology improves, but right now it just drags me out of the movie every time.

  • BeckoningChasm

    OT, but deserving of a post: Elizabeth Sladen died today.

  • BC — Check under the current Monster of the Day post.

  • P Stroud

    CGI certainly has it’s place. Just look at “District 9”, “LOTR” or “Terminator 2”. But too often it is used to just cheap out and when it’s used that way it just sucks… like the Star Wars Prequels. It works best in conjunction with practical models and effects and enhances a film.

  • BeckoningChasm

    Ken – oops. Sorry, I’ve been doing lots and lots of interstate driving the past couple of months, and my attention is suffering.

  • Rock Baker

    My biggest quibble against CGI (aside from its obvious fakeness/lack of charm/lack of real craftsmanship) is that it’s studio policy these days. Rick Baker built a reportedly impressive physical prop for the transformation scenes in the remake of The Wolf Man, allowing the entire process to be done in camera. Word has it the studio nixed it in favor of CGI because of the old arguement that the newer, more flashy technology must be better than the antiquated ways from back in the day that movies were, you know, all black and white and stuff. (The irony being that Baker’s breakthroughs in his field are at least partly responsible for the coming of reliance on CGI.) That kind of studio policy flies in the face of guys like my Pop and brother (who are following up Godzilla with a Varan suit this year), who have actual talent that’s being wasted (which I say, not because they are family, but because it is a sad truth). See my ealier comment (wherever it was) on Team America’s big scene involving a dogfight over the ocean.

    Anyway, hey, look, it’s Zontar! The Thing From Venus! When are we going to get a Larry Buchanan box set, anyway?

  • Marsden

    I think Anaconda hurt CGI because the movie (or lack thereof) was designed around it. I think CGI makes great spaceships, but animals and organic things it’s a bit more limited.

  • The biggest problem with Anaconda was that they made the monster LOOK animated, at least in terms of (lack of) mass. It flew around in an obviously weightless manner–that scene where it climbs up a waterfall is insane, and not in a good way–rather than as a multi-ton animal should have. You just can’t fool the eye that way.

  • The Rev.

    Rock: Anyone who saw that video with the Godzilla costume (IT BLINKS!!!) knows very well how talented they are. Hopefully we’ll get to see some video of Varan as well.

  • Rock Baker

    Varan blinks too!

    I just think those guys have talent going to waste because the business is geared toward cheaper-looking-but-more-expensive computer effects. It breaks my heart. (Well, they did get contacted about appearing on an episode of a show called 30 ROCK, but the taping period was problematic.)

  • The Rev.

    Wow, that’s a pretty big-name show (one of NBC’s more popular shows, if I recall correctly). Too bad about the scheduling. I’d have made sure to watch that episode.

  • Is that the episode where Tracey Jordan was going to open a Godzilla-themed restaurant or something?

  • Rock Baker

    I know it involved an eatery. I recall the idea being a conversation squence and a couple monster suits would be mildly dueling in the background. I think there was talk of giving Godzilla a chance to stand next to an actor and have a line driected at him. I was hoping things would work out, but alas, no. (Even if nobody in this family had ever seen the show, and most never heard of it, it sounded like a pretty big deal. But what are you gonna do? “Almost on 30 ROCK” isn’t really a credit you can use to score other jobs!)