Once a mark of shame, computer generated scenes “may be the coming aesthetic.”

May 4, 2015


The Age of Real-ish…

San Francisco Chronicle movie critic, Mick LaSalle condemns the new Avenger’s movie, Age of Ultron for bunches of reasons: It’s loud, chaotic and interminable. Read the review yourself. I haven’t seen the film so I have nothing to say.

However, something in LaSalle’s review does beg my attention. He writes:

“The action scenes look fake, yet make you wonder if fake is the new real. It was once a mark of shame to make scenes that reminded audiences of computer screens, but that may be the coming aesthetic.”

Hold that thought.

Last week, at work, a group of us were discussing the use of CGI to create human beings for an advertisement, thereby saving us the trouble of casting as well as our client the costs associated with hiring real actors. Not long ago this conversation would have been a non-starter. Replicating ordinary people for ordinary commercials was just not done. Yet here we were seriously considering it. Sure, most of us were ambivalent about using CGI created people instead of actors, because –duh- they would look “fake.” But that’s when I wondered aloud the very same thing LaSalle wrote in his review. That looking not quite real, or computer generated, “may be the coming aesthetic.” In other words, people would not take note of the difference nor mind it.

Think about that. Popular culture is becoming inundated with CGI people, places and things. From big budget movie franchises like The Avengers (Marvel) and Toy Story (Pixar) to special effects laden TV spectacles “Where are my CGI dragons!” and especially the rise of gaming culture, artificial reality has become the new normal.


“Don’t be calling me a cartoon.”

When was the last time you heard the phrase “virtual reality” let alone used it? It’s just reality now. The more we live in our screens the more comfortable we are with projections. Content is content. We don’t care anymore. Realish. It’s the visual corollary to truthiness.


One Response to “Once a mark of shame, computer generated scenes “may be the coming aesthetic.””

  1. Interesting. The handheld digital video look went from needing it’s use to be a feature of the plot to being an aesthetic and cinematic in it’s own right, even as far as the mass market standard camera – Inland Empire. Just need to be told with authority that it looks good apparently!

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