Movie-goers have a complicated relationship with CGI. One time heralded as the key to bringing fantastic worlds to life on screen, many fans have since started to call for a return to the physical sets and props of years long past.
One film that is guaranteed to be filled with CGI is director Duncan Jones' upcoming Warcraft film, based on the fantasy video game franchise from Blizzard Entertainment.
Perhaps then it is no surprise that Jones doesn't believe CGI to be ruining modern filmmaking. The director took to Twitter to express his thoughts on CGI use in film.
I hear this "CGI in film sucks," mantra again & again. It doesnt. Its a tool like any other. It can be done well & it can be done shit.
— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) February 19, 2015
The best CGI has you forgetting its CGI, and accepting the visual as whatever it is supposed to be. — Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) February 19, 2015
Jones definitely has a point. It is all in how the director uses CGI. In the case of George Lucas and his Star Wars prequel trilogy, most will agree CGI served little purpose, making the world feel fake and distracting the viewers eyes with pointless scenery. It's for that reason so many Star Wars fans are excited about J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Abrams has in many ways returned the franchise to its practical effect roots, with real droids, starships and sets creating a sense of realism that CGI sometimes lack. The film is sure to have plenty of CGI as well, of course, but Abrams is acutely aware of what fans want.
By necessity, Jones' Warcraft film will be CGI-heavy. The stylized world of Azeroth is as high-fantasy as they come, featuring floating cities, magic spells and demon armies. Many of the film's main characters (like the orc Ogrim Doomhammer above) will be CGI as well, brought to life by actors with motion-capture technology. If not for the use of CGI, Warcraft wouldn't be possible.
The quality of the final product will all rely on how Jones uses CGI to bring the world of Warcraft to life. If nothing else, he is at least acutely aware of CGI's pitfalls, and in the imortal words of G.I. Joe, knowing is half the battle.
Warcraft is scheduled to land in theaters March 11, 2016.