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The Other side of the 30th Anniversary — Page 2

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3D is not a ground-breaking cinema experiance that will radically change how the public views their movies. It is a gimmick. Nothing more.

And I WOULD got see Star Wars, but I don't know if I can stomach those altered scenes. I just can't. Maybe I'll be able to sit though Empire. That had the least amount of changes. But 3D? Come on. This is Disnyland experiance fodder.
"I am altering the movies. Pray I don't alter them any further." -Darth Lucas
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I'm personally looking forward to Basic Instinct in 3D.
I am fluent in over six million forms of procrastination.
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The way the storytelling craft is plummeting, they're going to need more and more tricks to get people in the theaters. Louder, bigger, brighter, in 3D... this is the kind of stuff you have to keep raising the bar on when nobody gives a crap about the story you're telling. This is why little independent movies on shoestring budgets come along and blow big studio films out of the water - they don't have the money for shiny objects; they have to survive on their storytelling. And when they do, they pwn. You can't get around having a story people are drawn into and characters they connect with. But that is a billion times harder to do than turning the volume up, putting everybody in cardboard dork glasses and saying, "How about THAT!" with a big, "repurposed" shit-eating grin on your face.

And Peter Jackson can go pound sand as far as I'm concerned. King Kong was 3 seconds of kick-ass monkey eyes and 1,900 "so-so to piss-poor" CG shots. Ditto all those freakin' LotR movies that might as well be surgical anesthetic. I am still stunned that people have had their expectations lowered so much that they actually enjoy watching a digital crowd simulation run for 6 minutes. What's even more sad is that movies are such an important part of our entertainment that people will increasingly watch with their expectations and nostalgia, forgive this stuff or refuse to see it because their eyes and ears and hearts couldn't possibly justify the $10.

_Mike

View the Restoration and join the discussion at StarWarsLegacy.com!

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Just like in the making of AOTC itself... the audience is getting bored and disillusioned with the story, so let's throw in some random action and eye candy to solve the problems of storytelling.

I may not go see it, or I'll probably be brainwashed and NEVER be able to see them the same way again. And I certainly don't want that.

I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently.

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Originally posted by: mverta
And Peter Jackson can go pound sand as far as I'm concerned. King Kong was 3 seconds of kick-ass monkey eyes and 1,900 "so-so to piss-poor" CG shots. Ditto all those freakin' LotR movies that might as well be surgical anesthetic. I am still stunned that people have had their expectations lowered so much that they actually enjoy watching a digital crowd simulation run for 6 minutes. What's even more sad is that movies are such an important part of our entertainment that people will increasingly watch with their expectations and nostalgia, forgive this stuff or refuse to see it because their eyes and ears and hearts couldn't possibly justify the $10.


Now, I'm not going to defend Peter Jackson as a storyteller. He's rather pathetic when it comes to such things. The Lord of the Rings movies were a travesty against the books in my opinion, being reduced to mindless action left and right with meaningless plot points by comparison. Also, while I agree that his version of King Kong lacked in drama and storytelling, it was still one incredibly fun film in its ridiculousness; I enjoyed watching his take on the original.

Where I disagree with you is the attacking of the special effects in those movies. The Lord of the Rings and King Kong were spectacular visual achievements from both a technical standopoint and a purely artistic one. I doubt you're a very visual person if you're attacking them at that point. Even as Jackson tortured the original brilliance of Tolkien, I was still enjoying the artistic talent and emotion that was put into animating the world of middle earth. From the breathtaking locations to the creatures on the battlefield and special foes, the films were very moving. Makes the cgi work done for the Star Wars PT look like the shitty crap it is. The same thing goes for King Kong which was very stunning and well crafted from a visual standpoint.

You talk about watching "digital crowd simulation run for 6 minutes," but how was watching plastic models with little lights popping out of them any less pathetic? The point is the believability and the emotion being conveyed. If combined with the good storytelling you desire, then you are looking at truly great films, but even without that aspect, I can enjoy any well-made, purely-visual art I stumble upon.

"Now all Lucas has to do is make a cgi version of himself.  It will be better than the original and fit his original vision." - skyjedi2005

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I just got done watching a segment on CNN Headline News where they were talking to some guy from Popular Mechanics about the whole 3D thing.

James Cameron said that he is only filming in 3D now because he loves it so much. Personally, I went and saw his "Aliens of the Deep" IMAX film and it was okay, but god damn, I get such a headache when watching 3D. I mean, real bad. I don't want to be in pain for 2 hours because everyone is having orgasims to the idea of 3D.

I understand that movie makers are trying to get people back into the theater, but you know what? They've had to deal with that since the advent of VHS. Hey, here's an idea to get people back in the theater: MAKE BETTER MOVIES!! How about a movie with a plot for once? Or even better, likable characters!!

Superman will have 20 minutes of 3D in the IMAX showing. Whoop-dee shit.

I understand that they are trying to move away from "OMG! That bat totally came out at the audiance when he hit the ball!11!!" to a more 3-dimentional depth of the film; to make it seem as if you are really there. I personally like that idea. It's one step closer to the Holodeck of Star Trek. I want to feel as if I am there, not spooked when a shards of glass flys my way.

Problem is, is that we have about 200 degrees of viewing and our periphrial vision is going to noticed that the sides of our 3D glasses are open. Plus you really have to focus using those damn glasses, polarized or not, and after 30 minutes of wearing those damn things my head feels like it was fucked by a jackhammer. That is more incentive to keep me AWAY from theaters.
"I am altering the movies. Pray I don't alter them any further." -Darth Lucas
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Originally posted by: Darth_Evil
3-D might be a fun little gimmick. The lightsaber could swing out at the audience.
Reminds me of that Pepsi commercial that was released when the SE versions came out, where Darth Vader swings his lightsaber out over the crowd's head and fights the theater usher. Sounds like they could pull off that stunt for real this time.

I get the impression this is a totally new kind of 3-D, like nothing we've seen before. (Hopefully that means no more 3-D headaches as well!) Lucas was very quickly impressed. I don't think he would have been so impressed so quickly if it looked anything like the old 3-D we're used to.

Of course, Uncle George seems to have lost a lot of credibility around here in recent times...

--SKot

Projects:
Return Of The Ewok and Other Short Films (with OCPmovie) [COMPLETED]
Preserving the…cringe…Star Wars Holiday Special [COMPLETED]
The Star Wars TV Commercials Project [DORMANT]
Felix the Cat 1919-1930 early film shorts preservation [ONGOING]
Lights Out! (lost TV anthology shows) [ONGOING]
Iznogoud (1995 animated series) English audio preservation [ONGOING]

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If anyone wants to sample the new 3d conversion technique, the new Superman employs it.

[sarcasm]Silly people, 2007 is not the 30th anniversary of Star Wars, it's the 10th anniversary or the SE's[/sarcasm]

Originally posted by: 20th Century Mark
anyone remember Friday the 13th Part 3D ?

I actually bought the field sequential 3D version yesterday.
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I actually bought the field sequential 3D version yesterday.


No way! Where did you find it? And how does it look?
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Originally posted by: Tiptup I doubt you're a very visual person if you're attacking them at that point.


I've been a visual effects supervisor in LA for the last 12 years; most recently commissioned to do work for the upcoming Star Wars Complete Visual Dictionary. These credentials don't mean much, except in that I am intimately familiar with exactly how and what went into the shots for those films, and have plenty of friends who worked on them. They are not masterpieces, they are the result of grossly overworked and overloaded crews producing the best work they can under insane circumstances. As a result, you get extremely spotty work. Some of it is brilliant, lots of it is average, and some of it atrocious. The problem is not CG or practical effects, per se. The problem is when you supplant storytelling for gimmicks, which only gets worse when your gimmicks aren't even consistent. Rather than have 2000 visual effects shots, which will NEVER be of equal quality, films will be best served by returning to 200 - 300 shot count limits, where they can control the quality better. The quality fluctuations take the viewer out of the experience. It ruins the suspension of disbelief. Younger filmgoers actually say things like, "it had good effects". When I started in this business, that would've been considered an insult of the highest order. We don't want you looking at the effects - you're not supposed to see them. You're supposed to be drawn into the story. A couple of decades ago, with less sophisticated audiences, you could get away with a lot more practical effects and models. Now, more than any time in history, effects have the chance to be as "invisible" as one can imagine, when we can literally fool 99% of the people... when we're doing our best work. But the problem is that with the bar set that high, the substandard effects reek like a fart in an elevator and destroy the flow. So the solution is to reduce the shot count. And that is totally possible, because the other thing that has come with all the advantages in technique is a love-affair with over-using them. The fact that some filmgoers are so accustomed to spotty work that they are willing to forgive it is generous, but totally unnecessary.

And if you don't think that letting boring-ass crowd simulations run is part of the reason the LotR stuff is so painful, I've got news for you. WAY too many shots in those films where the filmmakers are admiring what they can do, instead of what's necessary. The Star Wars prequels are a billion times more guilty of this. Do you have any idea how many utterly unnecessary ship flybys are in the prequels? Tons. Each one a pace-robber, and a defocusing agent for the drama. Again, the problem isn't the tool, the problem is the way it is overused, at the expense of that which is of primary importance. Especially when its overuse compromises the very quality it offers in the first place.

_Mike

View the Restoration and join the discussion at StarWarsLegacy.com!

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I love the idea of a "200 shot" cap on cgi shots in movies.
Is anybody else checking Digital Bits and Home Theater Forum like, every day just in the vain hope that some good news about these dvds might suddenly appear? I am and it can't be healthy. Also, it was reported in 97 that Lucas has in his collection a rare Technicolor print of Star Wars. Does anyone know if that could have been used as a source for a new dvd? And if so, what the fudge is the point of having something like that if it will never be seen by anyone? It's just gonna sit there, like The Ark of the Covenant?
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Originally posted by: Guy CaballeroIt's just gonna sit there, like The Ark of the Covenant?


Yes. Yes, it is.
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Originally posted by: Invader Jenny
I understand that movie makers are trying to get people back into the theater, but you know what? They've had to deal with that since the advent of VHS. Hey, here's an idea to get people back in the theater: MAKE BETTER MOVIES!! How about a movie with a plot for once? Or even better, likable characters!!


Rubbish! Making better movies will not bring people back to the theatre; an exclusive experience will. The reasons the theatre's are all dying are two-fold, I'll tackle one reason first; huge DVD sales.

These days anyone interested in movies, the same people who in the past when to the cinema a lot, now have their own home theatres. It is much more pleasant to sit at home on your nice soft couch, without crowds of people, while eating leftover lasagne. No annoying people whispering behind you, no parking frenzy, just an easy experience. You don't get the big screen, but all I'm hearing in this forum is size and presentation doesn't matter, only story. If that is so, better movies won't bring anyone out of their homes, it will just make their current experience better. The huge sales of DVDs showed that, while we all want better movies, the film industry isn't hurting due to poor output. It only shows that people think the hassles of theatre-going outweigh the exclusive benefits. So what do the theatres need to do to combat this perception? One thing is add more exclusive benefits!

This isn't the first time the theatres have had a problem like this, it also happened many years ago when a small box started appearing in lounge rooms. With this gadget people could now see movies in their homes, no need to drive all the way to the neighbouring suburb to watch them anymore, too much hassle. What did the theatre industry do to bring back some of their disappearing audiences? They started using a gimmick, something these people couldn't get at home. They introduced something they called 'Widescreen'.

A 'gimmick' called widescreen. Is there anyone here that now thinks widescreen is a gimmick? Anyone who thinks widescreen doesn't add to the movie experience? This didn't help movie makers produce better stories, but it did help audiences lose themselves in good movies, the landscape view was more natural, filled the eyes better as that is the way we view the world. I've heard that some of us here even view the world in three dimensions! Woah!

Shame on movie makers trying to create a more real experience for us! A good story presented with a near real experience is no better than a good story presented with handheld GI Joes! We can feel as great an attachment to the latter as the first! These are the shouts I'm hearing from this forum, it must be true!

Is story greater than presentation? Of course! It is way more important! I'm sure there will be many here now thinking about how all the time spent on this new technology could be spent writing better stories. But it isn't screenwriter Alan Smithee that is working on this technology, nor is engineer Craig Darrow writing the epic sagas.

In twenty years when everyone has 3D goggles at home will anyone think it is a gimmick? Widescreen now isn't. Colour now isn't. Sound now isn't. Am I going too extreme? Remember what Harry M. Warner said in 1927, the year before the first of the talkies; 'Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?!'.

3D was a gimmick. The old read and blue glasses didn't help create a more real experience as it created a distraction. The current movies out now no longer have that problem, but still has a big distraction, eye strain. This new method 'supposedly' eliminates that distraction due to the 3D levels being balanced by computers. Should we now be like the wise Harry Warner and scream 'gimmick'?

I said the reasons for theatre's current situation were two-fold. The second reason is entirely their fault; the cost of tickets and food and the loss of ushers to keep order. Neither of which have anything to do with the quality of movies.

Don't know why I bothered posting all that here, where in the same breath people can get out 'Story and characters are the ONLY thing that matt...WHAT?! No anamorphic and crystal clear picture?! How am I supposed to enjoy this film?!'.

http://www.kineticpast.com/starwars/thecheatlaserdisc.gif
Ooh, a laserdisc. The Cheat's playin' something on a laserdisc.
Everything is better on a laserdisc. Whatever happened to the laserdisc? Laserdisc!

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[quote]
In twenty years when everyone has 3D goggles at home will anyone think it is a gimmick? Widescreen now isn't. Colour now isn't. Sound now isn't. Am I going too extreme? Remember what Harry M. Warner said in 1927, the year before the first of the talkies; 'Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?!'.
[/quote]

At the time, nobody. The actors weren't known for their mellifluous voices; they were known for their abilities to look pretty and emote with great elan. When talkies started, there was a transitional period ... it took time to find the right way to distribute soundtracks, and to create good soundtracks in the first place. Clara Bow, due to her voice, was no longer the It Girl. But Hollywood quickly learned to do it right, and sound is now considered something of a standard for most movies.

Three-D has been in an extended form of this transformational stage. With luck, we've finally ironed out the technical problems and we can get a standardized process set up. (And theaters be darned, I want to see this on 1080p discs.) I'm not sure if we'll still run into any "artistic" problems with the process, but anything is possible. This is the industry that managed to screw up two different Star Wars DVD releases, after all. (And I expect the mistimed film that ILM sent to Lowry will be used for the threedeification.)
"It's the stoned movie you don't have to be stoned for." -- Tom Shales on Star Wars
Scruffy's gonna die the way he lived.
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Originally posted by: mverta
I've been a visual effects supervisor in LA for the last 12 years; most recently commissioned to do work for the upcoming Star Wars Complete Visual Dictionary. These credentials don't mean much, except in that I am intimately familiar with exactly how and what went into the shots for those films, and have plenty of friends who worked on them. They are not masterpieces, they are the result of grossly overworked and overloaded crews producing the best work they can under insane circumstances. As a result, you get extremely spotty work. Some of it is brilliant, lots of it is average, and some of it atrocious.

Uhh, so, are you talking about Star Wars or LotR?

If you're talking about Peter Jackson's work, I have nothing to disagree with in your above statement. Not all of the cgi work or special effects sequences in his latest films are great. A lot of it is boring and useless. What I am defending are the sequences which actually have artistic value in a visual sense. Taken on there own, disregarding the movie as a cohesive object, they can be appreciated in many ways, and I don't believe you are denying that (and thus my "visual person" comment doesn't apply to you after all).

I suppose my point is that both crowd simulations and plastic models are merely a physical form like paint that can be used well or used poorly by a given artist. Your outright dismissal of one such tool over another seems arbitrary to me. I could claim that actual film is itself a cheap tool that leaves supposed artists focusing on "what they can do" (cheaply capturing images) as apposed to "what's necessary" (truly giving a concrete form to their concepts and emotions).


Originally posted by: mverta
The problem is not CG or practical effects, per se. The problem is when you supplant storytelling for gimmicks, which only gets worse when your gimmicks aren't even consistent. Rather than have 2000 visual effects shots, which will NEVER be of equal quality, films will be best served by returning to 200 - 300 shot count limits, where they can control the quality better. The quality fluctuations take the viewer out of the experience. It ruins the suspension of disbelief. Younger filmgoers actually say things like, "it had good effects". When I started in this business, that would've been considered an insult of the highest order. We don't want you looking at the effects - you're not supposed to see them. You're supposed to be drawn into the story. A couple of decades ago, with less sophisticated audiences, you could get away with a lot more practical effects and models. Now, more than any time in history, effects have the chance to be as "invisible" as one can imagine, when we can literally fool 99% of the people... when we're doing our best work. But the problem is that with the bar set that high, the substandard effects reek like a fart in an elevator and destroy the flow. So the solution is to reduce the shot count. And that is totally possible, because the other thing that has come with all the advantages in technique is a love-affair with over-using them. The fact that some filmgoers are so accustomed to spotty work that they are willing to forgive it is generous, but totally unnecessary.


I'm sensing another artificial distinction on your part. You take the word "effects" and seem to give it a simplistic meaning. People do not always mean a "special effect" as something which "stands out" in an absurd, surreal, or flawed sense. Sometimes people will say the special effects were good simply because they saw some amazingly impossible things on the screen that looked flawless to them and they assumed that they had just seen a good special effect.

If we took your idea of limiting special effects to its extreme, we would have to conclude that filmakers should never use them at all, which is ridiculous. To some degree, a special effect in a visual sequence is actually meant to be experienced by the viewer is it not? So, to that degree, should not the true focus of a special effect be to perfectly balance that experience with regard to the artistic purpose on a case by case basis? To invent clumsy and arbitrary rules in response to obvious excess is going too far in my mind.

To address your last point though: certainly, special effects are supposed to serve the artistic focus and not the other way around. If pulling people into the story is the goal of a project, then one should not place random special effect shots that detract from that goal. I completely understand what you are saying about ship flybys as well. By far, the worst Special Edition addition to the original trilogy was at the end of The Empire Strikes Back. The emotional intensity and pacing for the hyperspace sequence was always so powerful. Yet what did George Lucas do? He destroyed that whole scene by showing Darth Vader landing on his damn star destroyer for absolutely no good reason. It's awful now. Forget Greedo Shooting first! We have the climax of one of the best films of all time ruined!


Originally posted by: Gillean
I said the reasons for theatre's current situation were two-fold. The second reason is entirely their fault; the cost of tickets and food and the loss of ushers to keep order. Neither of which have anything to do with the quality of movies.


I've heard that movie studios bargain with Theaters in a way that prevents theaters from making virtually any money on the actual tickets. That is why they charge so much for food and drink.

"Now all Lucas has to do is make a cgi version of himself.  It will be better than the original and fit his original vision." - skyjedi2005

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I have no idea what you're talking about. I never suggested "dismissing" either approach. Nor did I say that effects have no merit or value. And you say that taking my idea of limiting effects shots to the extreme would mean no effects at all, which is silly. Yes, you're right, which is why I said limit, and not remove. What's the point of taking a reasoned argument to the extreme? I don't support such an extreme. My philosophy doesn't suggest that if limiting is good, removing is better. That's idiotic. I'm not sure what the point is of arguing with points I deliberately didn't make.

In any case, to clarify: story first, then effects as needed. The effects must not detract, merely enhance the story. It has been proven conclusively that the upper limit for any production seems to be around 300 for CG effects shots to remain absolutely top-grade. Beyond that, the quality slips and they effects become less convincing, and detract from the story.

Whether you like Spielberg or not, he is a great storyteller. He also sets himself VERY rigid shot counts on his films - surprisingly low shot counts, actually - and the work in his film is always absolutely consistent. It also helps that he won't final a shot until it's right.

_Mike

View the Restoration and join the discussion at StarWarsLegacy.com!

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Originally posted by: mverta
I have no idea what you're talking about. I never suggested "dismissing" either approach. Nor did I say that effects have no merit or value. And you say that taking my idea of limiting effects shots to the extreme would mean no effects at all, which is silly. Yes, you're right, which is why I said limit, and not remove. What's the point of taking a reasoned argument to the extreme? I don't support such an extreme. My philosophy doesn't suggest that if limiting is good, removing is better. That's idiotic. I'm not sure what the point is of arguing with points I deliberately didn't make.

My point was that some movies need no "special effects" at all. One could then irrationally argue that all good movies have no special effects. In other words, one could place your artificial limit at zero (zero can be a limit too and I never said to "remove" anything). Just because certain movies of a certain genre that you are personally familiar with would work best with 300 or 200 special effects shots (or whatever number you want to throw out) does not then mean you can translate that number to every possible movie in existence. A movie can be about anything its creator wants it to be. That was my argument if you had stopped to consider my point of view for a moment instead of being defensive and thinking I was attacking you. Art is not so rigid and movies do not always have to be about about the "story."


Originally posted by: mverta
In any case, to clarify: story first, then effects as needed. The effects must not detract, merely enhance the story. It has been proven conclusively that the upper limit for any production seems to be around 300 for CG effects shots to remain absolutely top-grade. Beyond that, the quality slips and they effects become less convincing, and detract from the story.


Still, that "upper limit" sounds like nonsense to me. "Proven conclusively" how?

It seems perfectly logical to me that you could potentially have a movie be one endless parade of special effects from start to finish and yet still have that work well (thought hey wouldn't really be "special" anymore). You would need to ensure that those effects were used properly of course, and that they were of high quality, but you could still have storytelling, for instance, be the focus of film. To put it another way, you want the artistic focus to be experienced more because of the effecfts and not in spite of them and that is the only rule that needs to be remembered if you ask me.

"Now all Lucas has to do is make a cgi version of himself.  It will be better than the original and fit his original vision." - skyjedi2005

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from what i've heard they are doing all six in 3-D releases and yes they will be the special editions with the 2004 updates. they are supposed to come out one a year with phantom menace slated for release in 2007 with the new cgi yoda.

“Always loved Vader’s wordless self sacrifice. Another shitty, clueless, revision like Greedo and young Anakin’s ghost. What a fucking shame.” -Simon Pegg.

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It'll be as if the crappiness is COMMIN' AT CHA!

Lucas won't fork over the cash to get the originals cleaned up for us, but he is willing to spend the time, money and effort to make his shittty films pop out at the audiance? Fuck that arrogent basterd.
"I am altering the movies. Pray I don't alter them any further." -Darth Lucas
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Originally posted by: Invader Jenny
It'll be as if the crappiness is COMMIN' AT CHA!

Lucas won't fork over the cash to get the originals cleaned up for us, but he is willing to spend the time, money and effort to make his shittty films pop out at the audiance? Fuck that arrogent basterd.


i have a new name for the Ranch; Arkham Asylum! the guy is totally insane! he's like the batman villains, everytime he gets out of his little dictatorial state, it's to destroy and bring chaos...he can afford the money to make a "probably" crappy TV show, a 3D rererelease of the SW movies but can't put some cash for minimum cleaning and mastering...STUPID!
with him the worse is always coming! i'm starting to think that the year 2007 will be full of bad news! (i hope i'm wrong)

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I agree 100% with Tiptup. When watching the new "Kingdom of Heaven" DVD (which is excellent) Ridley Scott, to this day, believes that if there is anyway possible to create a scene NOT using CGI, then it should be done that way. Yet good old George feels the need to CGI a floor. A fucking floor for crying out loud.
40,000 million notches away
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Originally posted by: Windexed
I agree 100% with Tiptup. When watching the new "Kingdom of Heaven" DVD (which is excellent) Ridley Scott, to this day, believes that if there is anyway possible to create a scene NOT using CGI, then it should be done that way. Yet good old George feels the need to CGI a floor. A fucking floor for crying out loud.


Well, mverta was arguing for the limiting of cgi more than I was, but I did agree wholeheartedly with him and you that unless cgi is needed, it shouldn't be used. Same goes for effect shots in general. Too many movies use them to death lately. My point was that I attribute that tendency more to crappy directors over any inherent element preventing special effects from being seen as a unique artform on their own.

"Now all Lucas has to do is make a cgi version of himself.  It will be better than the original and fit his original vision." - skyjedi2005

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Originally posted by: 20th Century Mark
I actually bought the field sequential 3D version yesterday.


No way! Where did you find it? And how does it look?


Got it off ebay. Hasn't come in yet.

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I'm a little late in saying this, but seeing Star Wars in theaters would be AWESOME.

I wasn't around to see them in theaters the first time so this might be a good way to redeem myself.
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