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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 9:51 pm 
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Wonderful review (IMO) by Michael Martinez - cuts to heart of the matter in many cases!

http://middle-earth.xenite.org/2014/12/18/kingdoms-are-won-in-the-battle-of-the-five-armies/

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 9:58 pm 
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I read that this morning. I strongly agree with much of it, and strongly disagree with some it. As is often the case with my friend Michael!

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:59 am 
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I think this could go here. It is an article about Oscar chances, but reads partly like a review.

http://variety.com/2014/film/news/the-h ... 201367430/

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 1:43 am 
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This last Hobbit does deserve at least an Oscar. It's gonna be a shame if the Visual department of the movie doesn't get an award. Or Howard Shore, for that matter.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 3:02 am 
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I agree, but I don't expect it to happen.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 11:06 am 
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The thing is, do any of the Hobbit films give us anything in a technical sense (visuals, music, sound) that we didn't get from LotR a decade ago?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 1:27 pm 
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Lord_Morningstar wrote:
The thing is, do any of the Hobbit films give us anything in a technical sense (visuals, music, sound) that we didn't get from LotR a decade ago?

Honestly? The answer for that is NO.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 1:58 pm 
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I would very strongly disagree with that. The computer graphics in the Hobbit films make those in the LOTR films look archaic. Smaug is the best example, but Azog is not far behind. I can understand people's complaint about there being too much CGI, but what there is stunning. There are some scenes in LOTR (like the fellowship running in Moria that look so ridiculously fake that it takes me out of the story every time. The Hobbit is so far advanced from that that there is no comparison.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 2:39 pm 
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And yet the CGI digital double dwarves in Goblin Town (and the troll fight for that matter) are so obvious and take me out of the story each time as well. Some things are hard to improve, it seems

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 2:57 pm 
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not something I would recommend
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Eh. Each one has examples of stunning CG and of crappy CG. I'd say that technically and overall they're probably on par. (Artistically is a whole nother matter.) Though Smaug might be the most impressive CG in all of them.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 6:06 pm 
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Either way, it's not about whether the TH films have better CGI than LotR or not (to me, they have not besides Smaug and Gollum), but how fresh it is.
Since these new films are bound to show large battles and orcs and much of the same thing there was in LotR, they're not fresh.
Smaug was the only thing given new to us, but by ill luck Gravity also was released the same year and won (deservedly imo).

This year too, I think Interstellar gave more innovative sfx than BOFA and I think it's a lock.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 11:19 pm 
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As much as I enjoyed these films, and as much as I think PJ approached his craft with passion, I have to say that I'm very glad the era of PJ's interpretation of Tolkien is over. Feels like the sun's come out again.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 11:28 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 12:03 am 
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Yeah, well, that's just, like, my opinion man.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 12:15 am 
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Smaug's voice wrote:
Either way, it's not about whether the TH films have better CGI than LotR or not (to me, they have not besides Smaug and Gollum), but how fresh it is.
Since these new films are bound to show large battles and orcs and much of the same thing there was in LotR, they're not fresh.
Smaug was the only thing given new to us, but by ill luck Gravity also was released the same year and won (deservedly imo).

This year too, I think Interstellar gave more innovative sfx than BOFA and I think it's a lock.


Agreed. Though I think it's more than that. It's about how grounded CGI seems, not just how well-rendered individual CGI elements are.

I think the WETA team (and the technology) has improved in terms of sheer rendering. There are more little details and more etc that flesh out each bit of CGI.

However, this time around, more shots were packed with CGI, including a liberal use of CGI character doubles. And unlike in LOTR, the Hobbit boasts a number of examples of entirely CGI environments. It's that oversaturation that makes the Hobbit films, and a number of films these days, seem to have WORSE CGI than the original Jurassic Park from the early 90s!

So CGI, in a vacuum, has gotten much better. But the artistic use of CGI, especially when one is attempting to depict some level of realism, has not improved. And hence, so many people feel that CGI's getting worse.

Really, for an example of nearly perfect (and comparatively inexpensive) integration of CGI, see the Game of Thrones CGI reels. They have far less rendering capabilities than the big guns (Weta, ILM, etc) but the way they use it gives s much more seamless edge (to the point that it's often impossible to notice it).

And on that note, why the heck did the raven have to be CGI, if they weren't going to have it talk? All they had to do was hire one of the raven handlers from Game of Thrones, and they could have had the real deal. But when you can do anything with CGI, the temptation to do too much with it is difficult to resist, I suppose...


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 1:16 am 
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The ravens in Game of Thrones are also CGI-rendered, except for those in which the ravens are kept in cages.

http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Ravens

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 7:12 am 
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Smaug's voice wrote:
Either way, it's not about whether the TH films have better CGI than LotR or not (to me, they have not besides Smaug and Gollum), but how fresh it is.
Since these new films are bound to show large battles and orcs and much of the same thing there was in LotR, they're not fresh.
Smaug was the only thing given new to us, but by ill luck Gravity also was released the same year and won (deservedly imo).

This year too, I think Interstellar gave more innovative sfx than BOFA and I think it's a lock.


It also goes beyond CGI as well. The LotR films were not only groundbreaking in their use of CGI (eg. Gollum, the Massive software), but also in their use of traditional visual techniques like models and forced perspective, and how they combined the two to make for a realistic whole. Certainly there are a handful of sequences in LotR - The Gandalf/Balrog falling battle, Gollum's argument with himself in TTT, and the Nazgûl attack on Minas Tirith - which were unlike anything I had seen before. And it wasn't all CG - those scenes were also made by Andy Serkis' acting and the beautiful model of Minas Tirith. I don't recall ever getting the same feeling from the Hobbit films, but then it is much harder to impress with visuals this side of Avatar.

Something that did bother me about the Hobbit films was how cartoonish a lot of it was - for example, while Smaug was great, the ocean of gold he was kicking around in looked deliberately unreal to me. There were also cases, such as the Barrel sequence and the scene where Thranduil caught all those Orcs in the antlers of his stag, which simply could never look real no matter what. Outside of the Army of the Dead, I don't recall getting that impression from LotR. But that may be my own artistic preferences.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 8:51 pm 
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Voronwë the Faithful wrote:
The ravens in Game of Thrones are also CGI-rendered, except for those in which the ravens are kept in cages.

http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Ravens


Wow! Funnily enough, that proves my other point. That the use of CGI in the show is far more successful than in the Hobbit!

However, it seems that with the CGI wolves and ravens, they essentially use images of the real thing and animate them. They are not built from scratch. I think that's a large part of why they look so convincing.

ETA: Also, it does seem that most shots of the ravens in GOT are of real ones, as they are often shot sitting in one spot. When they are "flying around" the directors of GOT do not follow them with extraordinary camera angles, as PJ does. They are seen flying from afar, or in and out of shadows, etc, and so are either hidden by distance, darkness, mist, or what have you. Hence, they look more convincing. When the raven lands next to Thorin, and PJ gives us a shot of it from the front, it looks terribly fake. I'm not sure why for that static shot, an actual raven could not have been used.

One thing that hasn't been discussed very much are some reports (over at TORN, I believe) that Joe Letteri, the Hobbit Visual Effects Supervisor, is a huge believer in NOT hiding CGI with shadows, mist, creative lighting and adjusted camera angles. He allegedly pushed hard for the clean, crisp and out in the open CGI look of AUJ, especially Goblintown. IMO, if true, this was possibly the worst aesthetic decision made for these films. But I don't think there's solid evidence to back it up, unless someone can find it in some of the movie books/ materials.


Last edited by Passdagas the Brown on Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 8:55 pm 
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