Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Cinemaniacal: Special FX- What Is It Good For?

I'd like you take a few minutes to look at this little video that shows the before and after shots for the special effects for the HBO series A Game Of Thrones.

Now compare it to the trailer for the $200+ million Green Lantern movie.

Now is it just me, or do the special effects in Game of Thrones look much better than the special effects in the exponentially more expensive per-minute Green Lantern?

I'll bet dollars to dingleberries that you agree with me. The special effects in Game of Thrones all seem more organic, more natural, more real than Green Lantern's effects.

So why do I believe this? Is it because I'm always right? That's probably got something to do with it, but I think the reason can be summed up into a simple maxim worthy of Confucius.

In Game of Thrones the special effects serve the story, in Green Lantern, the story serves the special effects.

With the TV series they use special effects because they need it to create the world in which the story is set. With the big budget movie they composed a story to basically serve as a vehicle for lots of special effects. Why just have a room where the Oans meet when you can create a massively impractical structure of 100 ft tall high-chairs just because CGI makes it easy. Why did they slap two major Green Lantern villains, Hector Hammond/Parallax into the movie?

Did it serve some greater narrative purpose?

Not according to the people who saw the movie, so it must be because it gave them lots of excuses for piling on the special effects in the hope that it can still wow audiences they way it once did.

Since the story was put in second place the film suffered, both creatively and financially, meanwhile Game of Thrones became a big success for HBO.

Now if Hollywood would start to put story back in front where it belongs, then maybe they won't get stuck with money losing mega boondoggles.

That's how I feel, though I am right, as I am with everything else.


  1. Another problem with the GL effects - for some reason, in the movie, 'Green Lantern's Light' doesn't actually ACT AS A LIGHT SOURCE. So, there are all this big, glowing effects going off in really dark scenes, making them look unnatural as all hell. You would think this is a basic freaking special effects consideration, but nobody on the project gave it a moment's thought.

  2. It's just too bad the VFX in GoT don't serve a good story.