Home > Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Dystopia, Musings, Philosophy sans Sophistry, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism > The Main Reason Why CGI-Heavy Movies are Highly Unmemorable

The Main Reason Why CGI-Heavy Movies are Highly Unmemorable

Almost a decade ago, I had written a couple of posts about how the rapidly decreasing cost of photo-realistic CGI was changing the production of even low-budget films and TV shows. As it often turns out, I was right and the last decade has seen a huge increase in the use of various types of CGI- especially in low-budget films and TV shows. However this huge increase in use of CGI has gone hand-in-hand a highly problematic trend. The vast majority of movies and TV shows produced in past decade (actually more like 15 years) have been very unmemorable.

To some extent, this is caused by studios milking their “intellectual properties” beyond a point of return (X-Men, Star Wars, Marvel Franchise etc). However even novel “properties” such as ‘Black Panther’ or less-milked one such as ‘Aladdin’, ‘The Lion King’ etc don’t have the long legs unlike similar ones in past. Let me explain this with a couple of examples. See.. the original Star Wars or first Jurassic Park movie created a huge franchise. Moreover anybody who has seen them can easily remember and retell the overall story arc a couple of decades after having last watched it. The Same applies for first Matrix movie, Back to the Future etc. Now try doing the the same for most top 10 movies for each year in the past decade or more.

How many fondly remember the Avatar, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, 2012, Up, The Twilight Saga: New Moon or Avengers: Endgame, The Lion King, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker or Aladdin. Now compare the general apathy for financially successful films from past decade to the cultural impact of far less financially successful ones from past such as Porky’s, Revenge of Nerds, American Pie or even The Breakfast Club. How come low-budget sex comedies from 1980s and 1990s have had a far bigger cultural impact than carefully designed movies costing 200 million bucks a piece? Heck, the original Austin Powers movie has had a far bigger cultural impact than Avatar.

Well.. here is one possible explanation. Let me ask you something.. how many of you have seen a real life tights-clad “Superhero”, Godzilla, King-Kong, Dinosaur, Zombie, Goblin, Elf, Hobbit, Wizard or any of the stuff which studios spent tens of millions on when making those movies. How many of you have seen real-life examples of people doing what they do in those “Superhero” movies? Have you seen multiple buildings destroyed close up? Are you starting to see what I am getting at? Now contrast this to the fact that we all have seen and interacted with tons of people who are thin, fat, hot, ugly, nice and assholes.

All entertainment (oral stories, written literature, movies, TV shows, video games etc) require people to partially suspend their belief in reality. However, the ability of entertainment to connect with their audience requires that they are well-grounded in relatable reality at some level. The first nine seasons of ‘The Simpsons’ connected so well with their audience because the motivations and behavior of characters were grounded in relatable reality. Of course, you can go to the other extreme and have something which is almost unmoored from reality such as ‘Phineas and Ferb’, ‘Family Guy’, ‘Animaniacs’ etc. But there is a very good reason why almost all of the unrealistic stuff has historically been either cartoons, puppets or farce.

Until the early 2000s, the relatively high cost and poor realism of CGI forced movie directors, producers and editors to restrict their use and focus on story and character development. In such movies, CGI played a supporting role to the core of the story. That is why the original Jaws, Star Wars, Jurassic Park type movies feel far more real than their later sequels. They were centered around relatable human characters rather than special effects and characters without any analogue in real-life. The thing is.. over the long-term, people will only care about and remember stuff which has some connection to their reality, even if it is in the form of a parody or farce. The rest is just easily forgotten spectacle.

To make matters worse, movies and shows which are almost entirely based in visual spectacle age far more poorly than those that are not. This is why, for example, rewatching the newer batch of Star Wars films feels so bland when compared to original Star Wars trilogy. Heck.. watching them on a 4K TV is closer to watching a splashy but poorly-acted cinema-school productions than something which resembling movies which cost over 100 million, a piece, to produce. I have a feeling that this MBA and financialism-based model of making movies, TV shows and video games is not sustainable – even in the medium term. On the bright side, very few will remember this phase of the entertainment industry in future.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. Gp
    March 30, 2021 at 9:58 pm

    Hey AD write sth about huge increase in attack on asians in US. Browsing online forums I have noticed that asian men by and large don’t really care about “their” women being attacked. A large number seems to be mentally cut off from asian women.
    While racism against asian men was always there in west, this is the first time it’s broadcast all across Asia

    • P Ray
      March 31, 2021 at 7:05 am

      Asian women loudly and often proclaim “Asian men don’t own me.”

      The large number of Asian men mentally cut off from them is a result of that.

      When Asian women stop being racist against Asian men, then they will get better treatment.

      It seems to be a reality, that Asian women only look for Asian men … after spending most of their life on White/Black dick.

      That is the reason why many Asian women like to hide their relationship history behind the excuse “A nice Asian man wouldn’t ask me about my past.”

      • Gp
        March 31, 2021 at 9:40 am

        It’s very noticable in online discussions that asian men largely don’t really care about asian women getting attacked. I am not sure if asian female behavior change is gonna have a worthwile impact. The ship seems to have set sail.

      • Elagabalus
        March 31, 2021 at 10:08 pm

        No self respecting Asian male should protect or date a post-wall Yellow Cab – or any Yellow Cab for that matter.

      • P Ray
        April 2, 2021 at 9:20 am

        The other thing you will notice about Asian women is they have no guts to stand up for anything worthwhile … would definitely be interested in seeing the Asian-American female celebrity that dares to tweet #AsianLivesMatter …

        they tiptoe around it, as if they are scared and know who calls the shots in the USA …

        It was true then, and it’s true now, as Kevin Alfred Strom says:
        “To determine the true rulers of any society, all you must do is ask yourself this question: Who is it that I am not permitted to criticize?”

      • Gp
        April 2, 2021 at 9:11 pm

        Yeah, this is totally correct. Asian women are extremely cowardly . Can u elaborate on it a bit tho @Ray

  2. March 31, 2021 at 3:21 am

    I remember as a kid when Space Jam came out thinking how boring it must have been for Michael Jordan jumping around in front of a green screen for hours on end…

    CGI shit-fests are terrible – every one of them might as well be the seizure episode of Pokemon in that mid-way through the final act they lull you into such a stupor you’ve got no idea who’s doing what.

    The stupor and unrelatability extends to traditional movies as well. Case in point – Chris Nolan. The Dark Knight has aged terribly. The pacing is all over the place – just scenes thrown together without rhyme or reason. The characters all talk like retards – if you came across someone who talked like any one of them in real life you would think they’d suffered a head injury.

    The last sensible thing Tim Burton ever did was cast Michael Keaton as Batman. Only an everyman could bring a superhero to the silver screen.

  3. March 31, 2021 at 10:54 am

    What are your thoughts on the film ‘Cruel Intentions?’

    It is OK, I guess..

  4. Gp
    April 1, 2021 at 1:09 am

    Don’t u think RDJs way of talking as Tony stark is heavily copied by a lotta swpl types. Also, avenger tendecy to mix comedy in everything is also replicated a lot.
    Tarantino movies have normalized MF and N word in usual slang.
    Hair style of captain America became very popular
    Maybe there are more examples of cultural impacts which I might recount later

  5. pops3284
    April 10, 2021 at 2:19 am

    each generation and segment of folks have their own movies that touched them. i know a whole lot of girls who are in their late 20s that the twilight movies are memorable to them because that the THE movie to them in their teenage years. there are a lot of black kids who were culturally touched by the black panther movie and were heartbroken at chadwick bosemans death. there are people who watched the MCU saga withbas much fervor as star wars because it was Their coming of age. my nephew was 8 when iron man came out and 19 when avengers endgame and tony stark last stand. that story will stay with him as much as star wars stayed with the generation that came of age when that 1st hit theatres.

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