Open Forum Friday: Are Practical Effects Always Better Than CG?


Earlier this summer, Mad Max: Fury Road took audiences on an intense thrill ride that few other action movies have provided in recent memory. Critics and moviegoers pointed to the practical effects and stunts as one of the things that made it feel so visceral, separating it from many other recent blockbusters. Meanwhile, J.J. Abrams is taking every opportunity he can to remind fans that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is using physical sets and props wherever possible to get back to the feel of the original trilogy. There definitely seems to be reaction against green screen sets and elaborate CG VFX sequences happening right now. But are we all unfairly throwing CG under the bus?

A recent video essay from RocketJump Film School illustrates how the subtle use of CG can greatly enhance a movie. Some people seem to forget that when utilized properly, CG effects are invisible and completely seamless. Also, there are plenty of things that would not even be possible without computer-generated imagery. However, there is still a tendency for some directors to overindulge or use it as a crutch. What do you think? Is CGI ruining modern blockbusters or are we jumping to conclusions based on a few poorly executed movies? Would you like to see more movies return to practical effects? Is one form of special effect definitively better than the other? Give us your thoughts here on Open Forum Friday.

  • Dstrbpx

    Jay gets fucking hard for CGI.

    In fact, Mr.Cheel´s noisy CGI-apologist-campaigns can be found on countless episodes and continue to puzzle anyone with functioning eyesight.

  • I agree with the video. Practically every scene in any movie has been altered in some way digitally, the problem is just when it is too noticeable.

  • Matt the Kiwi

    It’s not CGI that’s the problem – it’s the excessive use of it. Often it’s there as an excuse for lack of creativity. Golden rule should be, if you can’t make it look real…film it another way.

  • Wintle


  • ECONOMYpolitica


  • LordAwesome

    Fincher’s excessive digital wankery should not be praised.

  • LittleStalin

    For gods sake ive wanted message boards for this site forever – and when you chat im too late. F–dammit.

  • Sean

    You can always check out our subreddit:

  • Kenneth Serenyi

    The original Star Wars trilogy really benefited from enhanced CG effects – especially the Death Star and Hoth battles. Only when new scenes were added or when some scenes became too cluttered did the CG become obnoxious.

  • Tim

    CANT WAIT for Jay to delusionally ejac all over the most atrocius CGI during the next episode´s news segment!!

    He will face-rape his agenda down our throats.

  • Jameson

    Practical effects feel more impressive, whereas CGI at its best is unnoticeable but at its worst takes you out of the movie. I still enjoy the stop motion animation in films like King Kong (1933).