“In the visual-effects community, ILM’s Hulk was seen as a major achievement: the life in the creature’s eyes, the way light played naturally off its skin, its synthesis into its surroundings, all were deemed first-rate. Film critics, however, panned not only the movie but ILM’s work. The monster didn’t look real. Case closed.” Devin Gordon —The Problem with FX (M$NBC)
Hollywood’s waste of technology is following the same path worn by the computer gaming industry. Great FX excites geeks, but can’t substitute for a good story.
In The Langauge of New Media, Lev Manovitch notes that computer-generated objects can be too real. I’m always impressed by the very few occasions when I see special effects purposely degraded by shaky cameras (emulating a the POV of a hand-held camcorder), or when a futuristic spaceport shows swirls of heat on the tarmac (like you see on a real airport). Realism isn’t the only artistic style, after all.