Are Comic Books Hurting Movies?
In about 355 BC, Aristotle laid down the ground rules of theater in Poetics, with the notable rule that "opsis," or spectacle, is the least important element, and should never come before plot, character or theme. Nowadays, the summer movie season is all about spectacle. The bigger the better, with Iron Man and Indiana Jones and the Kingodm of the Crystal Skull just the latest to bring excitement to the silver screen.
But not everyone’s pleased. Writing on the Huffington Post, Jack Donaldson says the rising influence of comics movies has been negative because of the explosion of computer animation in all types of films.
By their very nature these films rely on effects a lot, making them commonplace and just not that impressive. When you watch a computer generated Iron Man climb to the reaches of Outer Space, it’s not nearly as impressive as trying to figure out where Chris Cooper’s teeth went, or Gary Sinise’s legs. It’s not that I have a thing for missing limbs … I have a thing for special effects that make the real world seem a little more spectacular. What does a 100-foot wall of sand, with a face and fists, that is set on destruction in Spider Man 3, really do for anyone? It seems that more and more movies are made like last year’s Transformer’s, which showcased almost no action scenes that featured real actors, and I’m not impressed.
While I certainly understand the sentiment, I’d say it’s misplaced anger, as the use of CGI was already spread far and wide before comics movies gained traction. Really, it was the evolution of CGI that allowed for believable superhero movies.
And if you look at the best comic book movies, they excel because of quality stories (see Iron Man and the first two Spider-Man films), and the computer animation simply adds a little spectacle, just as Aristotle intended.