The BFG - No, Not the Doom Gun

The BFG - No, Not the Doom Gun

Steven Spielberg adapting a Roald Dahl book should be a home run. The BFG isn't even a bunt single.

Read Full Article

Feh, thats a shame, I was expecting alot more from a Steven Spielberg movie...Oh well, another skip I guess

The reason BFG didn't stand up for himself was because he was the smallest of the Giants (as you yourself point out) - if he tried, he'd be beaten badly. Not sure why you tried to take a jab at that aspect of the story.

Spielberg's worst movie? Even worse than Hook?! That's an achievement.

I was turned off by this film as soon as I saw their interpretation of the bad giants ... In the animated film the giants are genuinely quite frightening, especially for a child audience, which is as it should; the new giants on the other hand, just large people ...

The Fleshlumpeater from the 1989 film, by comparison:

image

Nooooooo! I really wanted this to be good. I loved the book. ;__;

lacktheknack:
Nooooooo! I really wanted this to be good. I loved the book. ;__;

I loved the animated movie, but this seems to be a disappointment judging by critics. I might still see it, I'll just keep my expectations at the 'Ghostbuster Reboot' level. Right next to the trash.

Eh more Anti CGI Snobbery :P

I know its CG, because Giants don't exist. And the fairy tale world they showcase does not exist.

The mere showcase that I see something that does not exist means by its very nature is fake. Whether they used CGI or a Robot.

But what makes CGI the better alternative is better animated creatures and they can keep up with the actors better than any robot could.

I mean people loves to point the Dinosaur robot in Jurassic Park but they were just standing there, just standing. And after watching the behind the scenes and the fact that they are robots now that magic is gone :P

Did anyone read the book, because not a lot happened in that either

Samtemdo8:
But what makes CGI the better alternative is better animated creatures and they can keep up with the actors better than any robot could.

True, but what makes practical effects the better alternative is that the animated creatures actually look like they're there in the same scene as the actors, because they are.

CGI and practical effects both have advantages. Jurassic Park used both, and did so really really well which is why it totally holds up better than a whole lot of modern, crappy, floaty CGI work which looks like it's just been transplanted from a video game.

Additionally, the modern film industry often seems to still work on the assumption that if you just stick lots of impressive rendering on screen people are going to be blown away, when actually modern audiences are incredibly desensitized to CGI. We don't find it amazing or wonderful just because it exists any more, in fact we are extremely finely tuned to noticing when something about it is off.

Actually, a lot of the best CGI work produced in the past few years are things people assumed were practical or often never even registered at all. The problem is not that CGI is bad, it's that CGI only becomes worth mentioning when it's bad. When it's good, it just becomes part of the illusion of the film.

Well, that is a shame to hear. It's really depressing to watch one of the best directors in the world piss away his talent like this.

Samtemdo8:

I know its CG, because Giants don't exist. And the fairy tale world they showcase does not exist.

Live actors in impressive make-up using camera tricks would work just as well as CGI for the giants. And well designed sets can create the world. It's not like anything that doesn't exist in the real world has to be done through CG. The most impressive visual effects in movie history have always been practical effects, occasionally with CGI touch-ups.

evilthecat:

Samtemdo8:
But what makes CGI the better alternative is better animated creatures and they can keep up with the actors better than any robot could.

True, but what makes practical effects the better alternative is that the animated creatures actually look like they're there in the same scene as the actors, because they are.

CGI and practical effects both have advantages. Jurassic Park used both, and did so really really well which is why it totally holds up better than a whole lot of modern, crappy, floaty CGI work which looks like it's just been transplanted from a video game.

Additionally, the modern film industry often seems to still work on the assumption that if you just stick lots of impressive rendering on screen people are going to be blown away, when actually modern audiences are incredibly desensitized to CGI. We don't find it amazing or wonderful just because it exists any more, in fact we are extremely finely tuned to noticing when something about it is off.

Actually, a lot of the best CGI work produced in the past few years are things people assumed were practical or often never even registered at all. The problem is not that CGI is bad, it's that CGI only becomes worth mentioning when it's bad. When it's good, it just becomes part of the illusion of the film.

I MY case I really don't care if its "There" or not. And full CGI movies like King Kong and Pirates 2 and 3 convinced me that we don't need Robots and Make Up anymore.

I mean scenes like this blew me away:

And you something is wrong when Godzilla 2014 does not even have epic Monster Fight scenes as badass as King Kong 2006.

And that was half way through the movie, this is what Godizlla gave us:

RJ Dalton:

Samtemdo8:

I know its CG, because Giants don't exist. And the fairy tale world they showcase does not exist.

Live actors in impressive make-up using camera tricks would work just as well as CGI for the giants. And well designed sets can create the world. It's not like anything that doesn't exist in the real world has to be done through CG. The most impressive visual effects in movie history have always been practical effects, occasionally with CGI touch-ups.

Mabye its a generational thing because I did not grew up watching movies like Alien and Robocop and Temple of Doom and The Thing and others in the theaters I mean I grew up in the era of early CG movies like Godzilla 1998 and Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter (They used many CG effects) and I did not mind their CGI effects (I liked the Troll scene in Harry Potter one)

And as a gamer I have been exposed to things like this:

So really I am not bothered by CGI and heck even see its superior qualities at times (because now the directors are unrestricted in how they portray something) and its the reason why I call out criticism of it as plain old snobbery.

MasterOfHisOwnDomain:
I was turned off by this film as soon as I saw their interpretation of the bad giants ... In the animated film the giants are genuinely quite frightening, especially for a child audience, which is as it should; the new giants on the other hand, just large people ...

The Fleshlumpeater from the 1989 film, by comparison:

image

Ditto.

I was looking forward to this movie until I saw that the bad giants were just big, hairy oafs.

Not that the '89 animated movie was terrific, but it had a good eerie atmosphere, and knew how to make the evil giants genuinely terrifying. It also featured the scene where the BFG and Sophie give a boy a pleasant dream, only to helplessly look on as Fleshlumpeater devours him minutes later. Which I presume the Disney movie will opt out of showing. The fact that is was Disney should've probably already set off a warning signal.

Samtemdo8:
Eh more Anti CGI Snobbery :P

I know its CG, because Giants don't exist. And the fairy tale world they showcase does not exist.

The mere showcase that I see something that does not exist means by its very nature is fake. Whether they used CGI or a Robot.

But what makes CGI the better alternative is better animated creatures and they can keep up with the actors better than any robot could.

I mean people loves to point the Dinosaur robot in Jurassic Park but they were just standing there, just standing. And after watching the behind the scenes and the fact that they are robots now that magic is gone :P

Yes, except CGI has a double layer of fakeness, since not only is it displaying something that doesn't exist, it isn't even physically in the scene. This is why having a mixture of special effects is generally the right way to go, so that your eye doesn't get too use to just one kind of illusion.

Current CGI especially has this fuzzy, gooeyness to it, that when you comprise 90% of your movie of it it looks incredibly digital and fake.

Samtemdo8:
Maybe its a generational thing because I did not grew up watching movies like Alien and Robocop and Temple of Doom and The Thing and others in the theaters I mean I grew up in the era of early CG movies like Godzilla 1998 and Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter (They used many CG effects) and I did not mind their CGI effects (I liked the Troll scene in Harry Potter one)

Go back and watch Lord of the Rings again. You'll actually notice something interesting: most of the shots are practical effects. And the ones that are all CGI are usually the least convincing effects. And none of the shots that made the hobbits and dwarves look shorter than other people are CGI. They're all done with camera tricks and doubles shot. Size is the easiest thing to fake as a practical effect.

In games, it's a different thing altogether, because the entire thing is CGI. In a live-action film, the CGI clashes with the real stuff and looks odd. The human brain is really good at picking up inconsistencies, such as the lighting being off, textures being wrong, subtle effects of distance (blurring and scale) because being able to recognize these things is a survival trait. That makes it really hard to integrate CGI effects into live action convincingly. Your brain can usually recognize it's not actually there, so it doesn't sit well with you, even if you don't consciously realize what's wrong about it. That's why practical effects work so much better. Sure, you usually know it's not real - especially if the practical effect is like a puppet - but because something is actually there, it doesn't trigger that part of your brain that's looking for something wrong.

Films like Cameron's Titanic, for example. Almost all of that film's effects are practical. Miniatures mostly, occasional camera tricks. The only CGI in the film is used to enhance a few of the shots using miniatures. The original Jurassic Park has a grand total of 25 seconds of CGI in it and all the rest of it is practical effects. Both of those films still look really good today, but most of the films made with CGI today will look bad in a few years, because CGI effects age poorly and they age quickly.

RJ Dalton:

Samtemdo8:
Maybe its a generational thing because I did not grew up watching movies like Alien and Robocop and Temple of Doom and The Thing and others in the theaters I mean I grew up in the era of early CG movies like Godzilla 1998 and Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter (They used many CG effects) and I did not mind their CGI effects (I liked the Troll scene in Harry Potter one)

Go back and watch Lord of the Rings again. You'll actually notice something interesting: most of the shots are practical effects. And the ones that are all CGI are usually the least convincing effects. And none of the shots that made the hobbits and dwarves look shorter than other people are CGI. They're all done with camera tricks and doubles shot. Size is the easiest thing to fake as a practical effect.

In games, it's a different thing altogether, because the entire thing is CGI. In a live-action film, the CGI clashes with the real stuff and looks odd. The human brain is really good at picking up inconsistencies, such as the lighting being off, textures being wrong, subtle effects of distance (blurring and scale) because being able to recognize these things is a survival trait. That makes it really hard to integrate CGI effects into live action convincingly. Your brain can usually recognize it's not actually there, so it doesn't sit well with you, even if you don't consciously realize what's wrong about it. That's why practical effects work so much better. Sure, you usually know it's not real - especially if the practical effect is like a puppet - but because something is actually there, it doesn't trigger that part of your brain that's looking for something wrong.

Films like Cameron's Titanic, for example. Almost all of that film's effects are practical. Miniatures mostly, occasional camera tricks. The only CGI in the film is used to enhance a few of the shots using miniatures. The original Jurassic Park has a grand total of 25 seconds of CGI in it and all the rest of it is practical effects. Both of those films still look really good today, but most of the films made with CGI today will look bad in a few years, because CGI effects age poorly and they age quickly.

King Kong 2006 still looks good to me.

Pirates trilogy still looks good to me.

Hobbit still looks good to me.

Alot of movies with good CGI still looks decent to me.

And Practical effects has its flaws to because of how STATIC they look.

I mean use Ninja Turtles 1990s for example and they look awful today.

Goro in the mortal kombat movie looks so robotic and the fight with him was mostly lame because it was not choreographed as the fight with the Ninjas.

Besides the best live action movies are movies with no BIG Special Effects at all. CG or Pratcial, where the movie is all pure acting like say movies of the Crime Genre.

Samtemdo8:
King Kong 2006 still looks good to me.

Pirates trilogy still looks good to me.

Hobbit still looks good to me.

Alot of movies with good CGI still looks decent to me.

2001: A space odyssey still looks good to me.

The Thing still looks good to me.

Heck, King Kong 1933 still looks good to me.

A lot of movies which predate CGI, or even which predate computers, hold up today. True, they hold up for a totally different reason that a lot of photorealistic modern CGI effects, but what audiences relate to in both cases is the same. It's the artistry behind the effect.

If anything sounds like snobbery to me, it's your claim that the "best" movies don't have special effects at all. It implies that the only talent or artistry which goes into a movie is acting, like somehow we shouldn't care about the quality of anything else. True, watching a great actor giving a great performance is always a pleasure, but many people's energy and artistry goes into creating what you ultimately see on the screen. A great set designer, a great composer, everyone even down to lighting and rigging technicians, all can help to create the positive experience you feel when you watch a film, and visual effects artists (CG and practical) are both part of that. To excuse effects which didn't work or which proved negative or distracting on the grounds that special effects aren't important is, I feel, missing the point of cinema as a whole.

The reason people hate on CGI is not because CG is bad, but because CG is routinely badly used in a way practical effects no longer are. People aren't hating on Gravity or even the Avengers, they're hating on movies which use CG badly or in distracting ways. The flipside of appreciating good art is being critical of bad, lazy or annoying art, and CG currently just happens to be the bad artists' tool of choice.

This book scared the shit out of me as a child.

Anyway, I have a feeling this is going to be a divisive one. Another review I read (watched, actually) said the exact opposite.

But does the farting get its own song?

I don't know I think CGI used right can lead to some amazing world building. It was definitely the best part of Avatar for me when it came out. However one of the problems with CGI is due to the fact that the method for it is always improving over time old CGI tends to look really terrible. I recently watched the first Xmen again and while I still really liked the movie I couldn't help noticing how dated the CGI is now.

Samtemdo8:
Eh more Anti CGI Snobbery :P

I know its CG, because Giants don't exist. And the fairy tale world they showcase does not exist.

The mere showcase that I see something that does not exist means by its very nature is fake. Whether they used CGI or a Robot.

But what makes CGI the better alternative is better animated creatures and they can keep up with the actors better than any robot could.

I mean people loves to point the Dinosaur robot in Jurassic Park but they were just standing there, just standing. And after watching the behind the scenes and the fact that they are robots now that magic is gone :P

I think you might be missing the point of the criticism. It wasn't that the movie had CGI, thus they thought it was bad. The issue was they thought the CGI (and CGI + real people techniques) were bad, thus the film was because they couldn't get into the character.

The point isn't that CGI can't engross you, but that when it's done poorly it's distracting to the point where you can't get invested into the movie.

For a similar issue, say you have a glitch in a video game that happens in the middle of a cutscene. Yeah, you know the game isn't "real", but you can't tell me you're still paying attention to the game where something like this happens.
http://images.itechpost.com/data/images/full/8747/assassins-creed-unity-screenshot.jpg?w=600

A bit of an extreme example, but even subtle issues like this can break immersion. Similar issue with CGI. If it looks "off" (uncanny valley effects) then you pay attention to that instead of the film and don't enjoy it as much (unless you're watching for said effects, but that's a different issue).

Imp Emissary:

Samtemdo8:
Eh more Anti CGI Snobbery :P

I know its CG, because Giants don't exist. And the fairy tale world they showcase does not exist.

The mere showcase that I see something that does not exist means by its very nature is fake. Whether they used CGI or a Robot.

But what makes CGI the better alternative is better animated creatures and they can keep up with the actors better than any robot could.

I mean people loves to point the Dinosaur robot in Jurassic Park but they were just standing there, just standing. And after watching the behind the scenes and the fact that they are robots now that magic is gone :P

I think you might be missing the point of the criticism. It wasn't that the movie had CGI, thus they thought it was bad. The issue was they thought the CGI (and CGI + real people techniques) were bad, thus the film was because they couldn't get into the character.

The point isn't that CGI can't engross you, but that when it's done poorly it's distracting to the point where you can't get invested into the movie.

For a similar issue, say you have a glitch in a video game that happens in the middle of a cutscene. Yeah, you know the game isn't "real", but you can't tell me you're still paying attention to the game where something like this happens.
http://images.itechpost.com/data/images/full/8747/assassins-creed-unity-screenshot.jpg?w=600

A bit of an extreme example, but even subtle issues like this can break immersion. Similar issue with CGI. If it looks "off" (uncanny valley effects) then you pay attention to that instead of the film and don't enjoy it as much (unless you're watching for said effects, but that's a different issue).

Well this is my personal honest opinion in that they should do away with having the little girl being live action and just CGI her aswell. Because I rather have no live action actors but I want the whole movie to retain the "realitstic" CGI style.

I mean like movies like Beowulf 2007 and A Christmas Carol 2009 because of it (and they were good movies in their own right imo):

And I also like the "realistic cgi" of certain video game cinematics like Blizzard trailers and Final Fantasy Cinematics:

Samtemdo8:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/jump/6.940011.23708507

Yeah, I think keeping CGI next to real people really does make it harder to keep it looking good. It can be done, but a lot of the time it misses the mark. Plus, as the tech gets better older films start to look less convincing.
Same with games that go for realistic graphics. Personally, I like it when they make the CGI or graphics a bit more stylized. Helps it to age well, and look more unique. Not that I can't enjoy both though.

As for why they keep making CGI and real people movies, I think it's partly because they want to achieve the goal of making it seem "real", and also party due to budget concerns.

trunkage:
Did anyone read the book, because not a lot happened in that either

What's a book?

RaikuFA:

trunkage:
Did anyone read the book, because not a lot happened in that either

What's a book?

Sorry, I meant Kindle. Did anyone read the Kindle?

*walks away realising how old he is

Igor-Rowan:
Spielberg's worst movie? Even worse than Hook?! That's an achievement.

I liked Hook. It wasn't super great, but it was memorable and holds up better than movie snobs at the time (and now) like to give it credit for. Most people understandably had trouble with the idea of Peter Pan as a grown man and the non-canonical weirdness but in some ways that's what made it memorable, the fact that it WASN'T just a beat-for-beat reiteration of a story that's already been done a million times in many different ways. Plus, Hoffman's Captain Hook is pretty much the best I've ever seen in any format.

I haven't seen the BFG, but judging purely by reviews it just looks like a bland retelling of one of Dahl's less-loved books, which is why it doesn't stick as well.

I thought it was ok. Weak Spielberg but not as bad as Matthew makes it to be.

hentropy:

I haven't seen the BFG, but judging purely by reviews it just looks like a bland retelling of one of Dahl's less-loved books, which is why it doesn't stick as well.

I don't understand why this keeps cropping up. The BFG is one of Roald Dahl's bestselling books. It's in virtually every top 10 list I can find (with a quick google search) and frequently breaks into the top 3. I've never heard of it being considered one of his less successful books before today.

evilthecat:

Additionally, the modern film industry often seems to still work on the assumption that if you just stick lots of impressive rendering on screen people are going to be blown away, when actually modern audiences are incredibly desensitized to CGI. We don't find it amazing or wonderful just because it exists any more, in fact we are extremely finely tuned to noticing when something about it is off.

Actually, a lot of the best CGI work produced in the past few years are things people assumed were practical or often never even registered at all. The problem is not that CGI is bad, it's that CGI only becomes worth mentioning when it's bad. When it's good, it just becomes part of the illusion of the film.

Too true. I'm a comp artist, and most of the shots I've worked on, and taken pride in, are the scenes that no one knows have been altered. Not because they feature the fantastical, but because they were mundane. The reasons I had to alter the shots have varied, mind you.

Samtemdo8:

RJ Dalton:

Samtemdo8:

I know its CG, because Giants don't exist. And the fairy tale world they showcase does not exist.

Live actors in impressive make-up using camera tricks would work just as well as CGI for the giants. And well designed sets can create the world. It's not like anything that doesn't exist in the real world has to be done through CG. The most impressive visual effects in movie history have always been practical effects, occasionally with CGI touch-ups.

Mabye its a generational thing because I did not grew up watching movies like Alien and Robocop and Temple of Doom and The Thing and others in the theaters I mean I grew up in the era of early CG movies like Godzilla 1998 and Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter (They used many CG effects) and I did not mind their CGI effects (I liked the Troll scene in Harry Potter one)

So really I am not bothered by CGI and heck even see its superior qualities at times (because now the directors are unrestricted in how they portray something) and its the reason why I call out criticism of it as plain old snobbery.

I don't think its generational...but snobbery, definitely. The first heavy FX movie I saw as a kid was Star Wars in 1977, so I am part of the gen X crowd that grew up with conventional FX and have seen CGI become a "thing." Today's era of CGI is absolutely AMAZING to me as it's allowing us to see films I could only imagine back then. Meanwhile my hipster millennial buddy at work spends all his time decrying CGI in films and espousing the virtues of artsy films. Hmmm....so if it is generational, I think it's less so on us gen Xers disliking CGI and maybe more the other way around?

So, is this a discussion about the movie or CGI? Because I finally got round to seeing it (not showing much nowadays), and...yeah.

The movie isn't good, and I think a lot of it has to do with the source material. Thing is, the book, while I love it, is very much akin to a fable. It's a series of events that follow on from beginning to end, and since the book is written in-universe, we can pin the BFG as an unreliable narrator. The film is similar in that regard - a series of events rather than a traditional act structure - but I feel it doesn't work as well here. Come the end, I don't feel any of the characters have really changed by the end of it. Which might be fine, except there's certain plot points that are brought up, some not from the book at all, but fall flat. Such as:

-The film establishes that the giants were friendly once, but something changed. Why they changed is never explained.

-Fleshlumpeater is the only giant that's unaffected by the bad dream. This amounts to nothing, as the outcome at the end remains the same.

-Where the BFG briefly leaves Sophie behind at the orphenage due to guilt is a plot point that lasts about five minutes, and the plot point with the first boy feels redundant, and at worst, paints the BFG in an unflattering light. He knows what could happen to Sophie, yet takes her anyway, despite having witnessed the consequences of it firsthand.

-It's mentioned repeatedly that he never sees the golden-coloured dream much anymore. Why this is the case is never explained.

-Giants dislike water because...reasons.

-The BFG chases them out of his home with a brand. This character arc is never really resolved. It's part of one, but the giants are captured because of the military. True, he helps, but there's no sense of culmination for his actions.

-The giving the queen a nightmare sequence still feels redundant. There's a giant in your garden. That's proof enough. Though I will say that the palace scenes are easily the best in the movie.

-The style of dialogue really veers towards children sometimes. Not as bad as some other kid's movies, but it does feel very twee.

It could be that this is me watching the film as an adult, whereas I read the book as a child, but this feels..well, disposable. Not a bad film, but easily one of Spielberg's weakest films. I will say though that it looks excellent visually, in regards to the giants themselves, how giant country is realized, and the dreams themselves, along with their tree. I didn't get any uncanny valley moments at all. But, yeah. Not a bad film, but I could see this in my bottom 10 for this year, even tough 1-6 are already taken on that list.

Hawki:

-The film establishes that the giants were friendly once, but something changed. Why they changed is never explained.

Didn't Fleshlumpeader say something to BFG along the lines "you don't want us to be hunted to extinction, do you?". Considering how they looked and dressed, I thought that the giants were based on the giants of Scandinavian myth and they may have turned hostile due to an armed conflict that happened centuries ago.

Wasn't the main driving motivation for BFG to kidnaping the girl the fact that he was afraid of being captured?

Level 7 Dragon:

Hawki:

-The film establishes that the giants were friendly once, but something changed. Why they changed is never explained.

Didn't Fleshlumpeader say something to BFG along the lines "you don't want us to be hunted to extinction, do you?". Considering how they looked and dressed, I thought that the giants were based on the giants of Scandinavian myth and they may have turned hostile due to an armed conflict that happened centuries ago.

Wasn't the main driving motivation for BFG to kidnaping the girl the fact that he was afraid of being captured?

Fleshlumpeater does say something along those lines, and that was indeed the BFG's motivation for kidnapping Sophie. However, I didn't link it to a specific incident though. Being hunted would be a genuine threat by the time of the film, but I didn't see it as a hint towards something that happened in the past. Likewise, the BFG's fears are never framed in the context of any precedent, just that a girl has seen him, and that he doesn't want her telling people.

Scandanavian myth could play a role though, as Dahl had Norweigan parents, and he spent his early years in the country, so that could factor in. Though given how tall the giants are, not sure how anyone could hunt them.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here