Monday, April 12, 2010

"don't you mean extinct?"

17 years ago, CGI dinosaurs in "Jurassic Park" essentially put hundreds (if not thousands) of Practical FX technicians out of work - or at least got the ball rolling.

Apparently, Warner Bros. "Green Lantern" movie is looking to do the same thing to the costume design business. So says Slashfilm:

Short version: Ryan Reynolds is doing the part wearing a motion-capture suit over most of his body, and they'll be rendering a CGI Green Lantern costume over him in post-production. Which, of course, makes perfect sense because there's simply no way that GL's ridiculously complicated uniform of a black-and-green body-stocking could possibly be accomplished with fabric. Clearly, this was a job for a few million in rendering tech. Left unsaid is whether or not Reynolds "actual" head and face will be visible, or if they're going to roll the dice and see if human fleshtones can look as "acceptable" as Na'Vi ones.


Something like this has been coming for awhile. Warners has been making chirps about doing the next Superman with a "real" Clark but a "CGI Supes," and this certainly sounds like what they might've been talking about. Done right, this could theoretically end the problem of actors having the personality but not being in the right "shape" for roles like this... though I'm already filled with nightmare visions of the disembodied heads of gangly character actors and/or over the hill "stars" pasted on top of brawny comic-appropriate CG bodies.

It could go VERY wrong - it reminds me of the Holophoner Opera in "Futurama" which, for some reason, required live actors "wearing" hologram costumes - but I could easily see something like this become a cost-saving standard and a way to "broaden the field" of available actors. Reynolds, for example, has generally been in great shape since Blade 3; but concievably an actor with just an average (or "too old") build could play Superman, Flash, whatever this way. It might also solve the problem of actors not being able to MOVE inside Batman's cumbersome, impractical costume.

Or it could look incredibly silly.


LK said...

Well, that's basically what Zemeckis has been playing with, using the motion capture performances with Beowulf and such. Ray Winstone is paunchy and 50-ish and that wasn't Angelina's body. Her face, yes, but not her body.
Of course, it's understandable with the Iron Man costume, and making certain kinds of movies like this could solve the problems of the either/or question that has traditionally plagued movies of this sort: either you find a terrific actor who doesn't really have the physicality or you find a beefy no-neck without the chops. The problem is, it's hard to do and takes a genuinely good movie-maker to pull it off, so if one does it successfully, expect to see every hack (Micheal Bay) with a decent budget, try to do the same trick.

Dave from canada said...

Bob, you are missing out on the true brilliance of this. The Gl costume ISN'T cloth. And since the costume is little more than a multicoloured unitard, making one out of cloth would look stupid. Unless thye go for that ungodly mesh stuff they made the spiderman suit out of.

The GL uniform is a hardlight construct generated by the ring. it makes perfect sense that it would be CGI because the uniform itself is cgi.

I'm also on board with the idea of using cg to enhance actors to get them to fit roles they normally couldn't quite pull off. No man can play superman. he's essentially god. Only a god that answers prayers and doesn't play favourites. He has to be unreal, somehow beyond the world as we know it. No man can play that. But you get can that otherworldy quality with cgi tweaking. Its not for every movie, I am still a big believer in conventional effects, but sometimes the new stuff is just the right stuff.

Smashmatt202 said...

It already has gotten incredibly silly. Using computers to solve all your problems? This is exactly what certain movie-goers (like James Rolfe and, well, me) have been fearing for some time now! CG suits and actors? Bull-carp! Especially when said actors are supposed to be human, or human-looking, characters!

Chris M H said...

Dave makes a good point, in the comics, GL's costume is generated by his ring. I assume they will be using CGI for GL's powers so this might keep it from looking out of place. It might look pretty strange for GL to generate his costume and then it magically turn into real cloth, especially since "realistic replication" isn't how it's been established that Hal Jordan uses his ring.

Unknown said...

Reading this post reminded me of the GC Arnold in Terminator 4 (also known as Terminator Salvation). The fully-fleshed terminator just didn't look right when it shared the screen with a real person.

On another note- holy crap, Jurassic Park is 17 years old!? Still one of my favorite movies. And the dinosaurs have aged well- they still look pretty good.

Dave said...

I disagree with your "body stocking" comment. They COULD use rubberized fabrics and just pump up the detailing to make the GL suits actually look a bit more like the uniforms they are SUPPOSED to be, a la that one costume Kyle Rayner had, without going overboard.

I think this whole movie was ruined from the word go. I'd love to see a GL movie, but from casting to premise to design ideology/creative direction, I think they really screwed up. I'm not expecting this to be anything than a big budget light show with a D-grade script and boring characters.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see a GL film, but they really botched this one up. I'll reserve final judgment when I actually see the film, but I feel like it's going to make [some of] the same mistakes as Superman Returns.

Anonymous said...

There going to cgi Ryan Reynolds face and replace it with Deadpool. Yes, the Marvel/DC crossover you've been waiting for will soon be here: Deadpool of the Green Lantern Corp!

Xander said...

I'd love it if this tech had been around in the 80's and Peter Weller had been willing to do more Robocop movies without having to be trapped in the suit...

In fact I think it is just another tool that will take 20 years to be perfected...with some horrible miss-uses to come till then...

LK said...

Oh, I just thought of Bill Nighy as Davey Jones: instead of going CGI-enhanced appliances, they went full CGI, based on his set performance (in a white gimp suit).
Regardless, I'll just have to see it, to say how bad or how good it is. It sounds like a risky prospect, but then, so was Star Wars.
I'd rather see them take chances at something and fail, then play it safe (and fail).