Sunday, February 24, 2013

Visual Effects

I did not yet review several of the films nominated for Visual Effects.

I did review THE HOBBIT here.

And my choice for winner, LIFE OF PI, here.

AVENGERS is yet another stupid superhero movie that has one of the most extended actions sequences ever committed to film. It's still a stupid movie. I enjoyed the first IRON MAN film (but not the sequel, reviewed here), but both HULK movies sucked (reviewed here), and I skipped THOR and CAPTAIN AMERICA because they both looked unwatchable. Apparently you needed to see them to understand this mess of a movie because I had no idea what was going on most of the time.

In terms of effects, the film sounded great (nominated for a Golden Reel), and looked great most of the time, but there were enough goofy, unrealistic moments to make it more cartoonish than it probably meant to be.

PROMETHEUS had an awful lot of problems, a lot of them generated by director Ridley Scott's silly interaction with the media when the film was in early stages. He flirted with the fact that the end of the film may make some vague reference to being a prequel to ALIEN.

Unfortunately the film is much more than a prequel, it is a virtual remake of ALIEN, except with less logic, less interesting characters, and, for the most part, forgettable acting. There are some nice moments in the film, but none of them are resolved, it is clear he had hoped this film would set up different offshoot of sequels, but the movie tanked, so that won't happen. The film did look and sound great (nominated for the Golden Reel), though.

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN was one of the worst films of the year. The script is abysmal and lacks structure. The whole film seems like a trailer for a miniseries that I would not want to watch. And the acting is truly horrible, most especially Charlize Theron, who has given Oscar-caliber performances elsewhere, but here seems to be channeling the cartoonish performance of Cruella deVille. The visual effects ranged from stunning to laughable, so I'm not sure how it got a nomination.

Without question the Visual Effects award belongs to LIFE OF PI, which puts a live action boy on a boat with digital animals, who are completely realistic through almost all of the film. Only a handful of shots use real animals. And even fewer shots look digital. It's an absolutely stunning achievement. And it sounded great too. The film won two Golden Reel Awards, and Ang Lee was very gracious in accepting his Filmmaker Award at the Golden Reels this year. It couldn't have gone to a nicer guy for a better body of work.

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