With the animal abuse allegations that came out against Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit earlier this week, there is a renewed conversation in the movie industry about how to ensure the safety of animals on a movie set. Regardless of how accurate the story is, the negative press that it has generated is not good for business. Earlier this year, HBO also decided to completely pull the plug on their horse-racing drama Luck after three horses died on set. At this point, the potential pitfalls of working with real animals in movies are starting to seriously outweigh the benefits. Is it still worth the hassle?
It’s an interesting coincidence that this story has surfaced in the same week that Ang Lee’s Life of Pi hits theatres, a movie that contains the most convincing CG animal to date. Steven Spielberg also used a lot of CG and animatronics for War Horse in order to minimize the use of real horses. It certainly seems like there could come a day where CG completely replaces live action, but at the moment, one of the hardest things to recreate digitally is people riding on horseback. What do you think? Is it wrong to use live animals for movies and TV? Is computer technology now convincing enough to replace the real thing? Would you support a future where all animals in movies are digital creations? Give us your thoughts here on Open Forum Friday.