MediasharX reports that two movies have been eliminated from the list of seven that can compete for a best SFX Oscar. The two movies are “Matrix: Reloaded” and “Matrix: Revolutions!”
That is baffling. The only saving grace of these two misbegotten Matrix films was that they continued the technical brilliance of the first movie, with a great many special effect sequences that were top-notch.
I will admit that there is some great competition this year, with “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl.” But leaving “Terminator 3” on in place of one of the Matrix films is baffling. Terminator 3 didn’t strike me as being innovative in the SFX department.
And, I’m sorry, the CGI characters in “The Hulk” looked FAKE. I mean fake in the same way that the CGI in the Mummy looks fake. You know some programmers somewhere poured all their time and abilities into the characters, and it’s quite an achievement…but, despite all that, you don’t believe for a second that the person is actually there. It’s fakey. Meanwhile, the Jurassic Park guys have been making dinosaurs that blend so well you really are afraid that the person across from the dino is going to get eaten. It’s every-bit-as-CGI as the Mummy, but it doesn’t appear fake.
CGI should be a tool used to achieve an effect, rather than the central focus for the audience to gawp. The best use of SFX are the kind where the director’s commentary tells you that the 50-foot dam behind the guy isn’t even there, and you’d never have known if you weren’t told. Lt. Dan’s legs are clearly gone, and they’re not folded under Gary Sinise, either…but it’s all to serve the drama of Forrest Gump’s friend losing his legs, not to make you shout out in the theater, “I do believe his legs are really gone!”
The CGI and other effects in the Matrix films were often seamless, where you could easily forget that you’re looking at a special effect. I think that should at least make one of the films a contender…moreso than Hulk or T3.
I notice the not-yet-released “Peter Pan” is also on the list. Interesting. The remaining films are “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” and “X-Men 2: X-Men United.”