So yeah. Besides Star Wars, another childhood classic of mine is getting a sequel.
For now, let’s sweep Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull under the rug. Pretend it didn’t happen. And while we’re at it, let’s ignore any help Mr. Spielberg has given George Lucas and Michael Bay in the past.
The first Jurassic Park movie was kind of like the original King Kong. The story wasn’t all that new or groundbreaking, but the effects sure as heck were at the time. But unlike the original King Kong, they still look good. A bit passé by today’s standards, yes, but the dinosaurs still look more “really there” to me than half the CG dump that was Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. And practically any movie that has come out since then.
CG, when you get right down to it, is an additive, like the sugar in your coffee. For some people, that enhances films and shows, and for others, it is not their taste or just straight up off-putting. And by itself, no one would buy it.
But there is much to be said for effects. After all, film is about escapism; building and maintaining an illusion.
Sequels and remakes are two different beasts altogether. Remakes should give new people a reason to check out the source material, fix something that was broken or bad about said sm, and/or give old fans something they didn’t see in said said sm. Remaking King Kong was stupid because it failed on the last two items, particularly the third. It wasn’t new, just more, and as silly as its predecessor looks, that one will always be the classic. It’s truly rare when the new work surpasses the old.
This new film isn’t a remake, but I’ll be interested to see if the effects have advanced all that much. As you can probably guess, I’m bored with people almost exclusively using CGI. While it can “look” good, it’s harder to convince myself that it’s really there at all; when I know it’s just a thing on a computer, and there is nothing solid (puppet, animatronics, etc) to mold it to the “reality.”
New Yoda looks more impressive, as you can see, but I get the mental image of a bunch of human-ish Jedi standing around in a room, talking to and looking at empty air and chairs until the effects crew “magics” the character in to the footage later. My eye isn’t all that trained, either.
Actors, even good ones, need two things: good direction, and something to bounce their acting off of, and it’s clear when nothing is really there.
Look now at another classic movie character:
Obvious CG? Yes, and you can especially notice it in day shots.
But Golem looks more real beside human-ish characters, and you know why?
CG flourishes and captures so much of human imagination, especially with a real, human “touch.”
But let’s hop off that tangent and get back to the meat of the issue.
All Jurassic World is promising otherwise is a few new monster designs. So, I’ll be hesitant, but hopeful that Spielberg’s predecessor has learned a few things and will improve on his future work. That life will, indeed, “uh, find a way.”
Just two things I would ask him to keep in mind: more doesn’t always = better, and the biggest challenge with any monster movie is getting us to care about the running, screaming buffets when we want to see the big bads hunt, feast, and fight each other.
Go forth, and I wish you all the best.
*All pictures, video clips, and other media belong to their respective owners. None of the images or sounds belong to me.