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Tom Cruise has been making headlines for going back to basics and doing a spectacular stunt hanging off the side of an Airbus A400 without the aid of CGI. Paramount have pushed this fact and editors and columnists around the world have run with it.
It’s all been great publicity for Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation and so it’s paid off. Yes, it’s a great stunt and it’s great to see one done in the flesh so to speak but CGI itself is now part of the industry and like it or not it’s here to stay.
Many of us have been brought up in the age of CGI. For the last 10 years or more cinema goers have had their senses blasted with such heavyweight computer generated imagery that it’s no surprise that there seems to be a bit of a backlash going on this year. Yes, when animators use the technology in a clumsy way we all groan and mutter but this is usually the fault of lazy directors who pile on the effects to cover weakness in their plot structures.
The thing is that when CGI is used brilliantly we just accept it as a part of the film. Many recent box office smashes could not have been done without a talented army of innovative animators and technicians with ever more powerful computers working their magic. Guardians of the Galaxy for instance would have been impossible without heavy use of CGI but do you hear of anyone complaining? Critics and film fans alike were blown away with the visual display because it added and didn’t detract from the film experience.
Audiences now demand more from films. They don’t just want to be blown away by multi-million dollar computer generated effects. They want strong plotlines, dialogue and character development all enhanced by CGI to give maximum entertainment. The best directors will rise to this challenge and the lazy ones will hopefully fade way as their films are panned by critics and ignored by film fans. Mad Max: Fury Road used some real life stunts to dramatic effect but the film was still enhanced by CGI.
The next big test for computer animators is Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This mighty release is said to use some real life actors carrying out some death defying stunts which is great to hear. But CGI will be there – the landscape and space ships will be created by some of the world best computer animators to create a world George Lucas could only have dreamt of back in the day. This is the year when CGI comes of age, enhances the cinema experience and becomes part of the magic of film.