6 Dumb Things Movies Do to Make Their Special Effects Less Effective

Most of the movies us nerds are looking forward to in 2012 have something in common — lots and lots of special effects. So, let’s talk special effects for a bit.

The things that can be done with special effects today are amazing, and yet despite all the advances in technique and technology, a lot of special effects still aren’t particularly convincing. More often than not the fault doesn’t lie with the effects technology itself, but in how the effects are presented.

Basically a lot of movies do dumb things that rob their amazing effects of all their impact. Stuff like…

Using CG Effects When They Don’t Have To

This is one of my biggest pet peeves — when movies break out the CG effects for minor stuff that doesn’t require them. A spider has to crawl on some lady’s arm? You could just get a tarantula from a pet store and plunk it on her arm, but nah — better computer generate that s–t!

While I generally enjoyed the movie, Chronicle was particularly bad for this. The movie’s about three teenage guys gaining telekinetic powers, and for the first half of the flick all they use them for is small stuff like making cameras float, or pushing cars around a parking lot. It’s all stuff that could have been done with simple practical effects, and yet they pull out the CG for all of it.

That said, the scene where they make Pringles fly into their mouths will blow your mind.

When movies resort to CGI for such minor things, it almost always looks bad because, really, it’s just a spider on a lady’s arm or a floating camera. It’s not a big showpiece shot, so the effects artists aren’t going to put that much effort into them, but here’s the thing — these “unimportant” shots looking like crap will make viewers less likely to accept the big stuff later on.