clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Why you think CG in films is terrible (When it's not)

The argument that practical effects are always better and CG effects are ruining modern films has been around for a while, but there is a large hole in that argument that the above video makes very apparent: You only complain about computer generated effects when they're bad.

It seems so counter-intuitive, but the only time we know the effects are made by computers is when you spot the virtual seams. So many of the movies and TV shows we watch are filled with CG effects that allow the content to give you a convincing version of another reality, and it's usually invisible to the viewer.

My favorite example of a director who knows how to use CG is David Fincher. The director is known for fussing over every shot until it's exactly the way he'd like it, and his films have a sense of relentless precision to them. He doesn't just put his thumb on every shot, he demands that his boot is put on reality itself until it looks the way he'd like.

If you had to list films that extensively used computer-generated effects, how long would it to take for you to add Zodiac to the list? That was a huge effects film, although it was often impossible for the viewer to tell.

The computer is a tool, and some folks know how to use it well while others don't. It doesn't make the tool bad when it's used gracelessly, and we have to improve the conversation about how special effects are used in modern media ... especially when we don't even know they're there.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Patch Notes

A weekly roundup of the best things from Polygon