Tuesday, May 07, 2013


Fuck CGI.


  1. redoubt11:25 PM

    From one of my favorites. . .


    Yeah, fuck CGI.

  2. Man, couldn't agree more. CGI has it's place, but when overdone it makes effects seem like a cutscene in an xbox game. (Hello there, Avatar!) I always use the cave troll in Lord of the rings as the example. Looks great, but lacks "weight" or "physicality" or whatever you want to call it. And these days, whenever there's an explosion on a tv-show, it's usually CGI and you can really, really tell. It's not like it ruins everything, it's just eh... I guess CGI has progressed enough that it's cheaper to do than practical effects, but not enough that it's better. But I have hope for CGI getting better. All that aside... man, Harryhasen ruled. Scratch that, RULES. No reason he can't dominate from beyond the grave.

  3. He came to speak at the Kubert School back in the day. Absolutely charming, but the thing I remember the most was how much he loved doing what he did. He loved creating beings and worlds that came out of his head. It was a nice relief to hear from a guy who wasn't another self-loathing mope creating wonderful work for an industry he hated.

  4. Master of forced perspective.

  5. Chris Anderson12:00 AM

    That scene is a childhood memory, along with others. I remember sneaking from one theater into another to watch that movie. I don't remember what I snuck out of, doesn't matter because for a boy, what could've compared on that day?

  6. AGoodQuestion12:00 AM

    Word, Roy.

    The world is such a better place for having Jason and the Argonauts in it, and for having had Harryhausen in it.

  7. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard12:10 AM

    I am ashamed to say I didn't know that he was still with us as of yesterday . I may have to turn in my nerd credentials. RIP, Ray, you were a titan.

  8. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard12:27 AM

    The thing that always struck me about his work was how lifelike his critters were. For a kid who never outgrew his dinosaur obsession, Mr Harryhausen's body of work was incredible. One of my favorite sequences was the phorusrhacid attack in Mysterious Island.

  9. smut clyde12:31 AM


  10. smut clyde12:37 AM

    I do not clash with this comment.

  11. As another dino-kid, I can only say YES. And that I suddenly miss the weird dinosaur toys I had as a kid. The plastic ones, some of which still decorate my parents' garden, but also the weird lego/electronic/battery/you-gotta-assemble-'em-ones. Man, dinosaurs... Sorry. I just went back to being 7 years old. And I liked it.

  12. Spaghetti Lee1:07 AM

    His love of dinosaurs indicated a desire to return to the past, etc.

  13. Spaghetti Lee1:09 AM

    I'll admit to being a grump, and there's probably cool toys under my radar since I'm not the target audience, but man, I see some 7 or 8 year old futzing around with an iPad or an iPhone and I'm like, kid, put that down while you still can. When you're an adult, they'll chain you to it.

  14. I get what you mean, but it really depends on WHAT they're doing with the I-whatever. For instance, my kid brother and his girlfriend have played the original Monkey Island(TM) recently on their phones. Nostalgia is good, it helps you connect to the past. It can also be bad when all you want is for the past to become present. But HOW you connect shouldn't limit you. Seriously, a lot of shit I missed from my childhood is now available online. I can now play c64 games on my pc... but I'm wandering weirdly.... because I think you mean kids should actually go play. As in physicaly and outside. And I agree. I remember awesome apple-throwing fights and cherry thefts and wild strawberry locating, like it was a computer game quest. Wow... I' ve just written an essay. But my point is, it aint the toy, it's what you do with. And you can always find ways to make your kid go on a quest outside by saying you found a link to a treasure online and handing him a scrawled map.

  15. Yeah, I knew this day had to come eventually. (*Sigh.*) He had a great run and leaves behind an extraordinary legacy. (I'll put up a post later…)

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  17. Leeds man8:17 AM

    Someone whose work I've loved since I was a kid. And yeah, fuck CGI.

  18. A love that dare not speak its name...

  19. That scene is seared in my brain from the first time I saw it and scared the bejesus out of me when it first came out (I was 13). In retrospect it was more scarier than the same scene would be done today in CGI . - he was a great artist.

  20. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard10:36 AM

    I just went back to being 7 years old. And I liked it

    Some of us have never stopped being 7 years old. I'm not knocking adulthood (as Matt Groening put it, the orgasms are terrific), but being a perpetual kid has its benefits.

    Excuse me while I stomp in some rain puddles.

  21. Tudor Jennings11:05 AM


  22. I can only restate what everyone else here is saying: Hurray for Ray and fuck CGI. I'm old enough to have seen The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms in the theater as a kid. Thrilling.

  23. Lucky you.

  24. KatWillow12:20 PM

    Thank you for that link!

  25. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard1:19 PM


  26. Wait, if he's gone, who's going to animate John McCain from now on?

  27. XeckyGilchrist4:26 PM

    RIP, Ray. You were a genius.

    ObBoomer: Moomph, moomph, kids today, analog warmth, etc.

  28. Halloween_Jack5:00 PM

    Man, think of the drumsticks.

  29. coozledad5:08 PM

    I wanted the goddamn chicken to win.

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  31. MatthewMikell6:04 PM

    McCain's a rod puppet, not stop-motion. (Sometimes you can see the stick up his butt.)

  32. MatthewMikell7:00 PM

    I love Harryhausen films still, but CGI is no different from stop-motion animation in that it's only as good as the effort, care, and skill put into it.

    Warm nostalgic fuzzies aside, stop-motion was always prohibitively time-consuming and prone to error (and every goof wound up on screen, because who was going to start over from scratch?), and VERY rarely as genuinely convincing as we tend to tell ourselves. Harryhausen alone could pull off a moment or two when even the oldest audience member might be deceived, but most of the time it's plain to see the difference between, say, an actor made-up as Calibos and Harryhausen's stop-motion figure. It looked FUN, like toys come to life--but not real.

    Other stop-motion artists were not even that successful. Can you spot the stop-motion in Robocop? Of course you can; it's awful. If you're really, really brave, suffer through 1971's mock-Harryhausen Jack the Giant Killer, or enjoy watching equipment constantly appear in frames of The Black Scorpion.

    CGI gets a bad rap because it can be (and is) easily abused for cheap. SyFy (ugh) can now shit out crappy movies like an overfed pigeon on prune juice; slap together two words ("Meteor Storm," "Sharktopus," "Goiter Catastrophe," "Booger Dog"), change a few names on one of the script templates, and start shooting--and in a matter of days you have another generic turdsquirt to toss on the mounting pile. And the CGI is rotten because someone's just putting in their 9-to-5 for some resume material.

    (This is one of my pet peeves, because the work and art has been taken out of the B-to-Z-movie. We might never see another The Little Shop of Horrors or, yes, Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, because you may never have guys with no money pouring their heart and soul into making their crummy little movie. They can just throw it onto the SyFy or TheAsylum assembly line and watch it drop into the pile.)

    CGI also gets a bad rap because even when it's flawless, fanboys love to point and squeal I CAN TELL THAT'S CGI!!1 because they think it impresses everyone to declare that the giant tsunami that isn't a painfully-obvious water-tank effect must be the only viable alternative. (Genius, I tell you!) ...Too bad these obnoxious nerds aren't as adept at spotting the other, less self-announcing uses of CGI: for example, removing or masking shot-ruining elements (formerly the job of matte paintings). Their eagle eyes somehow fail them at that point.

    Bless you if you've read this far; don't know what's into me today. No, CGI isn't perfect, but neither was stop-motion. But regardless, Harryhausen was a wonderful artist who genuinely loved his craft. I'm gonna shut up and go watch The 7th Voyage of Sinbad now. Rest in peace, Ray.

  33. TGuerrant8:00 PM

    And all those pretty men daring to be bare in butch little costumes.....

  34. Well, I'm 33, going on 17 but feeling 77. And I'll splash with you in any puddle.

  35. "I love Harryhausen films still, but CGI is no different from stop-motion animation in that it's only as good as the effort, care, and skill put into it. "
    Pretty much nailed it. And I agree.

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  37. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard10:35 PM

    SyFy (ugh) can now shit out crappy movies like an overfed pigeon on prune juice

    Say what you will, but the SyFy original Overfed Pigeon on Prune Juice was terrifying.

  38. billcinsd11:26 PM

    Goiter Catastrophe is the house band at my dad's assisted living center

  39. TomParmenter3:11 PM

    Not only does it lack "weight" and "physicality", it also lacks "surface". The reason Harryhausen's stuff looks so "real" is that it is made out of real stuff. Likewise, George Pal's puppettoons, despite being as far from real as can be, still look more real than any CGI, by virtue of actually existing.

  40. TomParmenter3:13 PM

    You're only young once but you can be immature forever.

  41. Kurzleg7:56 AM

    I've watched that twice now, and there's so much to like about it. There's the small treasures like the emblems on the shields (I love the Medusa shield), and there's the the way the skulls are made to look as if they're scowling. The emerging from the graves has similar realistic nuance. The way they force their way out of the graves with pulsing thrusts feels intuitively realistic, as does the way the earth clumps over. All of that effort is made just to set up the meat of the scene, which I have to say looked much better than I would have imagined. The way the skeleton soldier braces himself at the end of the clip is really something.

    This clip is a glowing testament to the imagination, creativity, talent and wit of Harryhausen. CGI isn't going away, so lets hope that some artist emerges who brings similar talents to the CGI tool that Harryhausen brought to stop-motion.

  42. Eric Hossner4:11 PM

    Gonna quibble a little about Robocop. The stop motion was animated by the great Phil Tippet, a worthy successor to Harryhausen. The reason even fantastic stop motion looks fake is because there is no motion blur, which you get from cinematography (and CGI). When Tippet was at ILM, he developed a technique called, you guessed it, 'Go Motion', which used robotic mechanisms to move the model while the shutter was open.

    Not complaining about your comment here, just want to sing the praises of forgotten artists.