Friday, December 10, 2010

On the other hand, maybe Voyage of the Dawn Treader is all of that and a bag of chips

According to Randy Sly over at Catholic Online, whatever changes were made were small potatoes next to the finished product.  I dunno.  We'll have to see.  I was somewhat impressed by the first one, less so by the second.  He, like many, emphasizes the sweeping scenic opportunities for the CGI team.  Count me as one who is about 1/3 impressed by movies that have sweeping CGI effects.  When done will, with restraint and integrated into a real, material film, they can shine - Titanic, Jurassic Park.  But if there is just CGI after CGI, eventually it tells. 

After about a 10 year hiatus, I picked up Raiders of the Lost Ark and watched it with one of my boys a few weeks ago.  I was absolutely gobsmacked by how great it was.  At the time of its release in 1981, it was a fabulous adventure romp.  But something about watching it this time made me feel it rose head and shoulders above anything else today.  How?  That was thirty years ago, limited special effects, limits on stunts and action scenes.  How could that feel so much better than Return of the King or Spiderman 2?  Wasn't the fight between Dr. Octopus and Spiderman beyond anything Indiana Jones could do? 

Then it hit me.  Because it was real.  It was a movie, sure.  But it was real.  Those were real actors fighting, or at least pretending to.  It hit me that the movie felt so much richer and deeper because of what it compares to now.  When Indiana fights the brawny soldier among the whirling propeller blades of the flying wing, those are real guys doing the fighting.  When Spidey and Doc Oc are fighting, sometimes it's real actors in front of blue screens, and sometimes its CGI effects.  Suddenly, what was once just pretend and make believe actually became more real.  And Raiders was the better for it.

So if the biggest complement for Voyage becomes 'look at the cool CGI scenery', I'm afraid that won't move me.  After all, Avatar was, for all the hyperhype, just a giant video game with occasional human interaction.  I could get the same feeling watching my boys play a PlayStation game. We'll have to see.

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