So it was a Wednesday evening when some of my co-workers from my secret agent job at MI5 texted me about seeing a film and the main choices were seeing the new Ben Affleck vehicle or the new Harry Potter film. So off we went to see “Fantastic Beasts and where to find them”, which we will refer to it as “that film”, from here on in.
What occurred to me whilst watching that film is how bloody boring the action scenes were, almost always unimaginative and static relying heavily on CGI. To be honest I was heavily reminded of the Star wars prequels in this aspect. Now this may be just mine own view but an over reliance on special effects rendered on a computer by an army of animators sucks the soul out of most films. Yes I know all modern animation houses use computers to aid their work but live action is inherantly different. For me throwing a bunch of digital crap onto the screen an exiting action or special effects set piece does not make. How much more special would the scenes with magic in them be if in most of the film magic was not present at every moment?, one feels overexposed to the things that should evoke a sense of wonder and exitement in this feature making those things mundane and benign.
I find a practical film much more impressive by comparison, Mad Max Fury Road for example had breathtaking genre pushing practical stuntwork and effects and just for that it is one of the most visually impressive films of the last 10 years. The film still uses a great deal of CGI to achieve that wonderful look of dust flying everywhere and this heightens the feeling of chaos throughout the film, you can use CGI, just do not rely on it entirely, practical film making should be complimented not sidelined by effects added in post production. Everything that can be done practically, should be done practically.
The recent film “Arrival”, directed by Denis Villeneuve is an example where more restricted action can be more exiting, Villeneuve and his team are fantastic at portraying a very simple scene of someone walking and or talking when the tension is high and making it a thrilling action moment. There is a moment where the main characters are in danger from death by 5.56 mm nato where the threat passes without incident and no one is hurt and with the use of the wonderfully weird score and camera work it is fantastically exiting in a way that film never achieves with its overblown fake action.
Some of the scenes in that film are technically poor anyway, most of the creatures look like that fell out of the uncanny valley and hit some tree branches on the way down. Eddy Reddmayne is a terrible actor who really seems to struggle to interact with all the CGI things that are not there and compensates with an acting style reminiscent of Ardal O’Hanlon in “Father Ted”, where he acts as a comedy slapstick goofball with an off putting vacant expression on his face the whole time.
In fact I get the impression that the over reliance on CGI is a consequence of the brand, the potterheads who still remain after all this time will happily watch any new film related to the series as long as it has pandering fan service and so on. So the filmakers do not need to take any risks taking the world of Potter in any new exiting direction as long as they can please existing fans and can lazily rely on the army of animators to finish it by throwing together all these boring and disjointed scenes where the roof caves in and the smoke monster from “lost”, destroys Manhattan. I doubt J.K. Rowling cares enough to take any writing risks either, she still gets paid fat stacks o’cash for anything she shovels out of the sty. But by god does one have to respect that.
So yeah I was pretty underwhelmed by that film on many levels and found it a creatively tired film part of an exhausted franchise, See “Arrival”, instead.
Next time I might wright about Firefly and why I like it, or maybe something else. Ciao Carl.