Fun Friday: Volume 2, Issue 5

What he has to say:


Toy Story (review here) was the first full-length movie made using computer generated imagery (CGI). It changed the way animated movies are made. It took a while to catch on, but virtually every animated movie made in the U.S. (Japan is still really into hand-drawn stuff) now is CGI, motion capture, or some combination of the two. Now personally I think that is a mistake, but that is a discussion for another time.

My point is that if movie studios are going to push this style out to audiences, take full advantage of its capabilities. Playing a video game has turned into a full-blown cinematic experience nowadays. The gameplay is vastly better than it was in my youth, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about these awesome scenes that are shown throughout the game. Not only do they look better than the gameplay, but they are also considerably more crisp, colorful, and eye-catching that movies that are released in theaters (or on TV). Just take a look at some of the samples below.

I’ve never played a single second of The Old Republic (I do own the first two for the Xbox though). I don’t even own a computer powerful enough to play it and I’m not into those mass online games anyway. But I am totally head-over-heels for these trailers. They are better than the entire prequel trilogy (reviews here)


How freaking cool are they?! Compare that to the animation used on The Clone Wars (below) animated movie made a few years ago. Did anyone actually see that by the way? There is no comparison as far as I am concerned. They aren’t even in the same league. Hell, the trailers from the video game are better than some CGI in the Star Wars prequels and many other movies.

While I am on a Star Wars theme, check out this trailer – with a little gameplay thrown in between – for an upcoming game called Star Wars 1313.

Pretty kick-ass right? Now compare that to Megamind (review here) or How to Train Your Dragon (review here);both of which I like very much.

These are great movies and the animation isn’t bad, but why do so many of today’s animated movies insist on these characters with disproportionate looks? Why do they have to look so exaggerated, unrealistic, and overly cartoony when the technology exists to make a vastly supeior looking product? If you look at some of the scenery in the very same movies, even that looks noticeably better than the characters  Is it really too much to ask to have characters that look as crisp, clean, and smooth as the environments they are in? Animated movies have evolved to the point where they aren’t just for kids anymore. There are little jokes or storylines that keep adults interested. So why not apply the same type of creativity to the animation?

Below are two more of my favorites. The first one is from an upcoming video game called Beyond: Two Souls. The main character is both voiced and played (using motion capture technology) by Ellen Page. Yes, even actors are getting a piece of the popularity that is the video game industryThe other is the introduction to a video game called DC Online Universe. Just like with the Star Wars game above, I a totally geek out over with that clip.

Why aren’t people making animated movies that look this good? The video game industry makes an insane amount of money. Comic books and cartoons aren’t just for kids anymore either. DC comics has releases direct-to-video animated movies all the time. Obviously people are buying them if they keep doing it. Imagine if they looked as good as some of the clips I showed here today.

This article was written for your reading pleasure on August 24, 2012.

This issue of Fun Friday was written for your reading pleasure on August 24, 2012.