The Future of CGI/Animation Film Franchises: Part 2

13 Jun

By Open Book

We wrote about this subject some time ago and decided to follow up on this topic given the amount of CGI films still slated to come out this summer. Almost every commercial film is being offered in 3-D. Is this overkill? Did Pixar and Disney ever imagine CGI would become this popular?

This summer there will be at least 20 blockbuster films all offering 3-D as an option.  The few which have come out so far Thor, Fast Five, and Pirates of the Caribbean did well at the box office. Out of the three films mentioned Thor seemed to be the only one worth watching in 3-D.[1]  Complaints consumers have over 3-D films today is its authenticity.  Some studios are turning to quicker and cheaper methods of producing films in 3-D by using a technique that converts films to 3-D in post-production. It’s cheap and faster but the quality leaves a lot to be desired. Moviegoers who are fans of 3-D films refer to them as fake 3-D.[2]

Now the more expensive way of producing 3-D films is with Polarization IMAX digital 70mm film projectors.  IMAX 3-D films require expensive silver screens to project on as well, which require consumers to pay more for the experience. So studios have turned to Interference Filter technology or Dolby 3-D method, which don’t require the use of a silver screen. Both methods still require you to wear those lovely glasses. However, the shutter glasses for Dolby 3-D are little more durable and heavier than the lighter Polarization glasses.[3]

The future of CGI is ever growing but the question to ponder will good storytelling gets lost in CGI? What are your thoughts?

110 Responses to “The Future of CGI/Animation Film Franchises: Part 2”

  1. Littlebells at 11:38 AM #

    Thanks OB! I didn’t know how 3D works. I’m not a major fan of it myself. I appreciate it when well done and not over used. I loved watching Avatar in 3D.

    I’m pretty simple. I don’t need anything fancy schmancy to impress me in a film except great acting and story line. Of course costumes, music, cinematography, and direction are a plus. I don’t think CGI should be overused. I think it can take away from the story. I’m appreciative that at least Thor and Pirates offered two different choices and you weren’t forced to see the 3D version.

    I also don’t see why everyone has to pump out 3D films. I don’t need everything coming at me. I hate wearing glasses but have to when my eyes are tired from contacts. I also don’t like paying more than I have to at the ticket stand or concessions.

    • comic relief at 1:10 PM #


      If you sometimes dislike 3D CGI, you’ll feel overwhelmed by Green Lantern (opening this week). I may say more about his later, yet it’s one of the few films where this technology is an absolute essential necessity.

      You said that you appreciated that Pirates gave you an option? Since you have a great film memory, and think acting and a great story are the main ingredients for a good film, do you know of any other films where CGI was a real necessity?

      • Littlebells at 2:35 PM #

        HI CR!

        I’m not necessarily overwhelmed by 3D, it’s just I don’t want to see it in every film. That’s all really. I do think there are films that having it in 3D give it that extra “oomph!”

        As far as films that really needed CGI? Well shoot. Uummm…I know CGI started around the 70s and has only gotten better. I think the following films TRULY benefited from CGI in the fact that it enhanced the film:

        Jurassic Park
        Fight Club
        Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
        Lord of the Rings Trilogy (hello!!!)
        Harry Potter films
        WFE and any other movie where animals need to appeared harmed

        (Yeah, I can’t include Twilight. Ok, maybe the wolves, but everything else I was so grossly disapointed.)

        This is just a small list but I do believe CGI is a great tool! I just don’t like 3D all the time. I think it just more or less depends on my mood. 🙂

        What films do you feel CGI was a necessity?

        • comic relief at 5:43 PM #


          I knew you would have a good list.

          Jurassic Park
          Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
          Lord of the Rings Trilogy (hello!!!)
          Harry Potter films

          All of these are these are no brainers, but Fight Club? It never occured to me that Fight club used CGI.

          So I have another question? Again you said a film needed good acting and a good story. How do you feel about the use of CGI in Black Swan or Social Network. I dont think these was an examples of using 3-D CGI, (IMBD either did not say it or i did not know where to look).

          Do you think these films would have been compromised if 3-D CGI had been used?

          • comic relief at 5:44 PM #

            sorry “these were”

            • comic relief at 6:04 PM #

              When I said “no-brainer”, I meant I wish I thought of it.

              Someone just told me Social Network produced those effects with editing… so sorry.

              • Open Book at 7:02 PM #

                Yeah! That’s what I heard. I know D.Fincher is a master with CGI but I believe the Twins was all achieved through editing.

  2. Open Book at 3:22 PM #

    Hi Everyone-

    I’m going to be here for the discussion from 6p.m. to 8p.m. EST today. For all new and returning visitors. Our live discussion’s are every Tuesday and Thursday from 7 to 9p.m. EST. However, today I need to leave early but u are welcome to stay and continue the discussion or post Q or comments anytime u like someone will get back to u.

    Take Care!

  3. Open Book at 5:51 PM #

    Welcome new and returning visitors to our discussion tonight. We are starting a little early tonight. However, Before we begin.

    Here are two great interviews with James Cameron & Michael Bay please read and Watch video this will help with the discussion tonight.

  4. Open Book at 6:04 PM #

    Although I love the authenticity of seeing real animals on film. The recent complaints from PETA regarding banning all animals from being used in films and Circuses. Do u think all animals should only be CGI or a combination of both in films? What are your feelings on this issue?

    • Littlebells at 6:50 PM #

      Oh wow, I enjoy seeing live animals. Sometimes I don’t think you can truly capture an animals personality through CGI. What do I know though? Circuses, I can understand because we don’t know what crazy shizz goes on behind the scenes. But movies? I loved Tai!

      • Open Book at 6:57 PM #

        Me too I think using a combination of both CGI and live action is good. I’m sure it’s more expensive but I don’t think u could really get the warmth and tenderness between Rosie and Jacob in WFE with a CGI Elephant IMO!

        • Littlebells at 6:59 PM #

          Exactly! Besides, as nice as the wolves are in NM and Eclipse, they LOOK CGI and I don’t mean it’s because they are enormous. 😉

  5. Littlebells at 6:26 PM #

    Hi!!!! 🙂

    • Open Book at 6:32 PM #

      Hi LB!

      How are u?

      • Littlebells at 6:39 PM #

        I’m great! It’s 97 degrees out and I’m inside!!!! Just checking out awesome BTS CGI stuff. 🙂

        How are you?

        • comic relief at 6:55 PM #

          Hi LB and OB,

          …trying to catch up.

  6. Open Book at 6:32 PM #

    I’ve heard actors complain how difficult it is to act opposite a super imposed CGI character. As an audience member do u prefer seeing live action or seeing actors act opposite CGI character. Can u tell the difference? If so, in what way?

    • Littlebells at 6:34 PM #

      I’m sure it is very difficult as in it’s not normal, but I think any real talented actor can do it without it looking odd. They may not like it, but that doesn’t show in their acting ability.

      The only time it looks odd to me is when the actor isn’t looking in the right direction or the CGI doesn’t look real enough and it’s obvious it’s CGI. I have no examples. haha! 🙂

      • Open Book at 6:41 PM #

        Well I heard all actors say it helps to have something tangible. Especially, if u have to convey a tragedy or love scene. Hmm! Bad CGI films I have a list I will have to get back to u on that one.

        • Littlebells at 6:44 PM #

          Yeah, I mean Rob did have to play opposite a broom and hand in the hospital scene in Twilight and he pulled it off….*whistles*

  7. Littlebells at 6:32 PM #


    I have to be honest, I had to look up movies that used CGI because I’m not completely CGI literate. Then I just picked movies that didn’t need to have CGI, but because it was used made the film even more spectacular. Imagine in LotR if we didn’t have all those wide visuals of armies and such? It wouldn’t have had the same impact. Now as far as Fight Club, this is just one of the websites I found:

    I liked some of the comments:
    @Empty Drum said: It’s not the special effects that are ruining Hollywood, it’s the lack of storytelling talent. Yeah, but when you think of the key moments, what comes to mind? Almost all of the most striking imagery in the film is CGI — the opening sequence, the plane crash, the ikea catalog walkthrough, the apartment explosion, the penguin, the “subliminal” overlays scattered about, the Big Secret Plot Twist, the ending sequence…..I would argue that CGI is essential to the movie — if all of the ideas in the story had been expressed verbally instead, the film would have had a lot less impact.

    I tend to agree with what he/she said.

    • comic relief at 6:55 PM #


      Thanks for the article on Fight club.

      I forgot David Fincher did “Fight Club” so I guess Social Network would not have been any challenge. Maybe I should see that again. Great site find.

      I agree also.

  8. Littlebells at 6:38 PM #

    CR said:How do you feel about the use of CGI in Black Swan or Social Network. I dont think these was an examples of using 3-D CGI, (IMBD either did not say it or i did not know where to look).

    Do you think these films would have been compromised if 3-D CGI had been used?

    Great questions!!! Well I haven’t seen Social Network yet. (I know, I know!!), but I absolutely loved Black Swan. CHECK THIS OUT!!!! (please watch video)

    I honestly don’t think it would have been nearly as impressive and hypnotic if it had not used CGI

    • Littlebells at 6:44 PM #

      Ok, just watching that clip makes me want to buy that movie to keep forever and ever and ever!!!!

      • Open Book at 6:50 PM #

        Great video LB! Excellent find.

        ITA it’s nice when CGI is incorporated in a realistic situation.

        • Littlebells at 6:53 PM #

          I liked that the CGI was so subtle and not in your face. Her transformations were pretty gross but absolutely fascinating. It was like a train wreck for me! haha!

          OB, what films have you enjoyed that used CGI but didn’t abuse it?

          • Open Book at 7:00 PM #

            Good Q: Well recently I would say WFE was great.

            Let me think and get back to u on that one.

          • comic relief at 7:00 PM #


            Speaking of realism….

            I noticed in the Michael Bay/James Cameron article a lot of the value placed on 3-D seemed to be concerned with realism; or more specifically using technology to rewrite events from real world history. This seems to be a big trend in sci-fi right now.

            I remember having this discussion (I think) last week with Paris, when we discussed how X-men: First class was retelling the story of the Cuban missile crisis. She suggested that she disliked this trend; but I’m not sure she was specific.

            • comic relief at 7:03 PM #

              I think now I can be a lot clearer on how I feel. I hate the idea of trivializing real world events purely to add drama to some fantasy tale. If this will ultimately be what people think is 3-D CGI’s greatest asset than I’m not thrilled.

              On the other hand if you’re going to “Transformers” to learn of the first lunar landing or X-men; First Class to learn of the Cuban Missile crisis maybe you are not very bright.

              • Open Book at 7:09 PM #

                I could not agree with u more CR! This anoyed me so much regarding X-Men it made the story so shallow. Thank goodness for McAvoy and Fassbender’s performances or else the entire film would have tanked. I hear they were both terrified on how this film was going to turn out.

                • comic relief at 7:13 PM #

                  Could not agree more. Without them, (McAvoy and Fassbender) the whole thing is unwatchable.

                • Littlebells at 7:13 PM #

                  Oh that’s not good. I hope they weren’t disappointed. I still haven’t seen it. I don’t know. I’m not feeling it.

              • Littlebells at 7:12 PM #

                hahahah! You know there are going to be those that truly believe those events in history happened the way they were shown in the movies, and that my friend, is S.A.D.

  9. Open Book at 6:52 PM #

    Hi CR!

    Thanks for joining us.

    • comic relief at 7:02 PM #

      Thanks for the great topic.

  10. Littlebells at 6:54 PM #

    What do you think the future is with CGI and authentic sets, props, and costumes?

    • Open Book at 7:05 PM #

      Well I think the big technological challenge is perfecting 3-D technology IMO! They have come a long way but audiences are still slow to adapt to it.

      Did u see the interview with James Cameron & Michael Bay?

      • Littlebells at 7:09 PM #

        Yes, I just finished watching it. Thank you so much! That was so interesting. I really think it takes great editors and directors to use CGI and 3D in a form that pulls you even further into the story and can allow you feel a part of the action. These two definitely have that skill! I am really looking forward to Transformers!

  11. Francesa at 7:07 PM #


    Was trying to get caught up on comments.

    • Littlebells at 7:08 PM #


      • comic relief at 7:10 PM #


        I believe this is the first time we’ve met. Nice to meet you.

    • Open Book at 7:12 PM #

      Hi Francesa,

      I’m sorry I had to start early tonight because I have to leave early tonight. But take your time and don’t feel rushed. I will come back tomorrow and respond to Q as well.

  12. comic relief at 7:09 PM #

    Speaking of sets, props, and costumes OB wrote this article about Green Lantern a while ago.
    We had this conversation before, though I don’t believe I was there.

    Movies like Alice and Wonderland, Lord of the rings, or Green Lantern (opening tomorrow) might not have been produced if not for CGI. In these cases I absolutely appreciate 3-D CGI

    • Littlebells at 7:11 PM #

      I agree! Those were great films! Do you ever wonder if the role of a live actor will ever become obsolete? I doubt it, but one never knows.

      I think that’s why I still love live theater.

      • comic relief at 7:19 PM #

        I agree LB.

        Others have speculated that it is only a matter of time before real actors are replaced but I doubt anyone will ever want that happen. Sometimes editing is used to make actors appear to be in the environment and even that is sometimes very fake.

    • Open Book at 7:15 PM #

      I’m sorry CR I did not like Alice and Wonderland. I thought the CGI overwhelmed the story and acting. To me there needs to be a balance. How do u think filmmakers can achieve that with CGI?

      • comic relief at 7:22 PM #

        I didn’t like that movie either; I’m not sure I finished watching it. Though the young actress was fantastic in Jane Eyre. This is another Kudo for Fassbender who was also in the cast.

  13. Francesa at 7:12 PM #

    I really don’t like the CGI movies. I don’t like things jumping out at me. I recently took my nephews to see the new Pirates movie and they wanted to see the movie in these vibrating chairs?? They had no desire to see the 3-D version. So that’s what we did and the ticket price was the same as a normal ticket

    • Littlebells at 7:14 PM #

      I’ve tried those chairs before for about a minute. They were in my theater lobby. What was it like watching an entire film in one of them? I remember telling my husband I felt like I was on “Star Tours”. 🙂

      • Littlebells at 7:16 PM #

        Oh, I also meant to add, a lot of films do you CGI, but it’s so subtle you don’t even know it’s there. I appreciate those films. The rest with the “POW!’ and “ZOW!” depend on my mood at the time.

    • Open Book at 7:20 PM #

      I find those vibrating chairs annoying. LOL!! But kids really enjoy them.

  14. Francesa at 7:17 PM #

    I didn’t sit in one, they did and loved it. They are big gamers and have chairs similar to them at home. I am with you to bumpy.

  15. Open Book at 7:17 PM #

    It took a long time for people to adapt to talkies and Technicolor. I mean it was first developed in 1922 and was perfected by 1928 but majority of films were in Black & White up until the sixties. Do u think 3-D will become the norm for all films in the future?

    • Open Book at 7:18 PM #

      I meant to say Technicolor was first developed in 1922.

    • Littlebells at 7:27 PM #

      Ooooooh, I don’t know. I’d like to say no, but if so give me the option to watch it in 2D please. I think it may take time, because I don’t know how much of the older generations (and I’m including myself. I’m 34) really like it. I’m wondering if we will sort of die out before it’s completely 3D. Again, I know nothing.

      We are used to actors working in authentic environments, for the most part. The younger generations aren’t and they will be the one that will be catered to. It’s already happening. Black and white movies are fantastic! I love the old musicals, but if I asked any teenager I know to sit down and watch one all the way through, they would rather gauge their eyes out with sporks!!!

  16. Francesa at 7:19 PM #

    But what about just going to the movie for pure entertainment purposes only? Why do I need to be pulled in by action? Going to the theaters is relaxing for me. Just sit back with my popcorn and enjoy my quiet time.

    • Littlebells at 7:24 PM #

      Here, here!

    • Open Book at 7:26 PM #

      Well I’m not a big fan of 3-D technology because of the glasses. LOL!!

      Re: Story ITA it’s nice to just allow the story be the main event instead of going on some trip or being pulled in. But I guess the reason I like for some films because it reminds me of the ride Captain Eo. Have any of u ever been on this ride at Disney? The seat move and tilt it’s fun but the music video was very campy. LOL!

      • Littlebells at 7:29 PM #

        OB, I love you!!!! Captain EO was the bomb!!!! It played forever at Disneyland. 🙂

        • Littlebells at 7:32 PM #

          P.s. I hate the glasses too. Sometimes I have forgotten and worn my “seeing” glasses and then realize I have to wear another pair. Argh!!!”
          I wonder how those that HAVE to wear glasses feel about it? Hmmm…I wonder if they are just as annoyed having to wear two sets……

          • comic relief at 7:42 PM #

            The glasses, I took them off for long stretches in Thor. I could not concentrate on the film with them on. And this was on my second time.

        • comic relief at 7:32 PM #

          Sadly, Francesca I agree with you. Just because I paid to see the LOTR does mean I want to be attacked by one of the ORCS (or whatever they are called). I’m comfortable to have the action on screen and me in my seat; four rows back.

          And Captain EO you keep your distance too.

          • Littlebells at 7:33 PM #

            HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! 🙂

          • Open Book at 7:36 PM #

            LOL!! See this is what I mean 3-D belongs in amusement parks not in movie theaters IMO!!

        • Parisienne at 8:57 PM #

          I saw it when I was in Fl and relived my childhood.

  17. Francesa at 7:24 PM #

    I hope that 3-D doesn’t take over That is what I loved about WFE. It was like a big old time movie. I felt like I did when i watch the movie Giant. I know that they use the CGI for lower production costs and the 3-D to charge more for tickets. The movie theaters and studios are struggling. Any way to keep costs down and charge more.

    • Littlebells at 7:30 PM #

      That’s what most of us here loved about WFE. It felt like an old Hollywood Grand movie. It had the class and style.

    • Open Book at 7:33 PM #

      ITA Fran that’s what I loved the most about WFE it reminded me of the Golden Age of HW. Also, “The Aviator” was great example of CGI not overtaking a film as well.

      Have u ever seen “The Last Tycoon?” or REDS by Warren Beatty?

      • comic relief at 7:39 PM #

        The Last Tycoon was excellent. I don’t know why i can only remember parts of REDS. I should rent that again.

        • comic relief at 7:53 PM #

          WFE was cool too, I wonder as contemporary audiences, whether we will ever see any more of that kind of movie making. I was hoping the movie would set off a trend.

          Maybe the Great Gatsby will surprise us.

  18. Francesa at 7:27 PM #

    I just read an article about how there is a big tug of war with studios and theater owners in regards to movie time in theaters and release of dvd. The studios want to shorten the time in between the 2 because they make so much cash from the dvd sales, especially on the big blockbusters like Harry Potter, Pirates of the Carribbean. The theater owners are pushing back. Who knows. I just hope I can still go to the cinema when I want to.

    • comic relief at 7:35 PM #

      I agree again Francesca, I imagine, theaters assume as the middle man they will eventually be cut out of the equation.

    • Open Book at 7:41 PM #

      See I think consumers still like the experience of getting out and seeing a film in theaters. Sure studios want to shorten the time it’s good for them but sucks for the Theater owners and I’m glad they are pushing back. I mean I love to see films with great cinematography in theaters. The color is more vibrant etc…

  19. Littlebells at 7:32 PM #

    Ok, WORST use of CGI? go!!!!!

    • comic relief at 7:37 PM #

      All or any of those stupid Air Buddy or talking dog movies.

      • Littlebells at 7:41 PM #

        I can’t even get through a trailer on TV for those. The channel magically gets changed.

        • comic relief at 7:45 PM #

          LOL, I’m only talking about the trailers. Will you allow your child to ever see those movies?

          • Littlebells at 7:46 PM #

            Oh Heavens no!!!!!! When they turn 18 they can rent all the Air Bud movies they want! haha!

        • Open Book at 7:46 PM #

          Worst CGI films?


          Plus this one. LOL!

          • Littlebells at 7:48 PM #

            Oh yeah!!! Forgot about that one. This is one of the films where I would sit and think, “Really. Really??? REALLY!!!!…..seriously.”

          • comic relief at 7:49 PM #


            What is that?!??

            • Open Book at 7:51 PM #


              LOL! It’s one of my finds I came upon recently.

            • Littlebells at 7:53 PM #

              hahaha!! If I had been drinking, my monitor would be soaking!

          • Littlebells at 7:50 PM #

            First off, they are holding the guns wrong. -10 points
            Second, the acting is atrocious. -15 points
            Third, the fact that I sat and actually watched it in entirety? -50 pts.

            Just ate 5 Red Vines. + 40 pts!!!!

            • Open Book at 7:52 PM #

              LOL! This is HILARIOUS!

    • Littlebells at 7:40 PM #

      Dwayne Johnson as The Scorpion King In Mummy Returns

      Te Langoliers

  20. Francesa at 7:43 PM #

    I agree with you CR. Not a fan of the talking animal movies. Sorry Eddie Murphy

    When spiderman learns he has powers and jumps building to building, just looked so fake. Also some of the james bond movies.

    • comic relief at 7:47 PM #

      I’d agree with your take on Spiderman, not all of the effects were believeable.

    • Open Book at 7:49 PM #


      James Bond is an excellent example. Is there one in particular that stands out as the worst to u? I have a few LOL!

      • Littlebells at 7:51 PM #

        They used CGI? Yeah, I guess they did. I thought the last one was a bomb.

    • comic relief at 7:58 PM #

      Sorry to inform you but Zookeeper with Kevin James has lots of taking animals. it will be released soon.

  21. Francesa at 7:51 PM #

    how about when Samuel Jackson gets eaten my the shark?? in Deep Blue Sea. Bad Bad.

    I don’t have kids, but one would think that an ipod and a cocktail would make some of those movies more bearable.

    • Littlebells at 7:52 PM #

      haha! I think most movies with some man eating psycho shark or amphibean is bound to be pretty cocktail worthy. 🙂

    • Open Book at 7:54 PM #

      How about a alcohol drip hooked up to your seat for the Samuel Jackson film? That’s the only way to make that tolerable. LOL!

      • Littlebells at 7:57 PM #

        I did love him in “The Other Guys”. LOL! Maybe a dose of valium too. Then you be as relaxed as Kristen Wiig!

  22. Francesa at 7:54 PM #

    in die another day when he falls off the ice cliff. I think that has been on some lists that i have seen. So i must not be the only one that thought that

    • Open Book at 8:03 PM #

      Oh! Yes! I remember that scene. LOL!

  23. Francesa at 7:57 PM #

    Yeah the iv drip would have been great when i was subjected to snakes on a plane. What a cinematic masterpiece that was.

    • Littlebells at 7:57 PM #

      You actually saw it!?!? I thought it was just mythical folklore that people went and paid money to see it. Gold Star for you!

      • comic relief at 8:02 PM #

        some actors can do no wrong, or maybe expectation are just really low…

    • Open Book at 8:02 PM #

      Yes! Who’s the genius who pitched that to a studio and got it green-lit? They must have also sold them some snake oil as a combo deal. LOL!

  24. Open Book at 7:57 PM #


    I have five more minutes but please stay if u like and continue the discussion. This was really fun!

    Francesa-it was really nice having u join us tonight. I hope u can be here on Thursday.

    If u have any Q I will answer tomorrow.

    • Littlebells at 8:01 PM #

      Thank you so much OB for a great topic and discussion! I haven’t laughed quite like this in a few days, so it was worth it! I’m still trying to find ways to bump my pts back up. haha!

      Again, CR, always a pleasure.

      Francesca, it was wonderful having you here. 🙂

      See you soon!

      • Open Book at 8:05 PM #

        Goodnight Everyone! Thanks for coming tonight CR, LB and Francesa and all our Lurkers out there.

        Take Care!

      • comic relief at 8:08 PM #

        I think this was really fine as well.

        Thanks OB.

        LB really great posts.

        Francesca hope to see you again.

        The next time can’t come soon enough.

  25. Francesa at 8:03 PM #

    Thanks for letting me be part of your discussion. Well back to work.

  26. Littlebells at 8:13 PM #

    OB, I’m off to see Super 8 again tomorrow evening. I will post my review in the Chat thread. 🙂

  27. Parisienne at 8:54 PM #

    Hi Everyone!

  28. Open Book at 4:33 PM #

    Hi Paris-

    Sorry we missed u last night! Hope all is well. TC!

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