Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Looking for the puppets

James Maliszewski is a good read. He has a blog called Grognardia. I'll leave folks to figure that title out on their own. It's dedicated to all things Role Playing, particularly the history of the hobby as well as various products, influences, and other subjects of interest. I have to admit that entire libraries could be filled with books containing what I don't know about the hobby of Role Playing Games. Beyond Dungeons and Dragons, I would be hard pressed to name three more of the genre. Plus, I'm neither much of a sci-fi fan, nor a fantasy fan - my fantasy interests beginning and ending at the door of Bag End.

But I stumbled across his blog a year or so ago, searching as I was for some information on J.R.R. Tolkien. Since then, I've been happy to return, and every now and then Mr. Maliszewski bats one completely out of the ball park. Today was no exception. He posts on a book recounting the production of The Empire Strikes Back. You know, that movie that President Obama keeps mentioning.

Anyway, he reflects on how the movie was made sans CGI. He goes on to lament the current obsession with, and reliance upon, CGI to solve our modern movie making dilemmas. It's a feeling with which I wholeheartedly agree. I have yet to see Avatar, and from all I've heard, it's a movie a mile wide and an inch deep that's more or less a superficial Dances With Wolves and Video Game combination. I also agree that CGI heavy scenes, even in such noteworthy films as Lord of the Rings, can't help but look dated in only a few years. If not dated, they look sallow, stale. Only those movies that used CGI sparingly to enhance and add to, rather than substitute (and cheat) - like the original Jurassic Park - maintain any sense of freshness. But again, they relied upon real places, people and things rather than a mere computer keyboard.

In his post, as he unfolds a growing frustration and general malaise regarding modern movies, Mr. Maliszewski writes this:

Human beings are rightly enamored of technology, but it should always be used as a tool with which to create, not the creation itself.
And that kiddies is why I keep going back to his blog, novice though I may be. We are enamored of technology, and if I may add an observation, often end up venerating science simply because it makes such technology possible. But technology should ever and always be a mere tool to be used, not the end all creation itself. Brilliant. Wonderful. I wish I could have insights like that. Someday I might. Right now I'll be content to advise folks to follow the link and indulge in a little nostalgia, and maybe even a few keen insights.

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