The marriage between the old technology and the new could create a sort of balance that is visually, aesthetically pleasing. One film that delivers this immaculately is Blade Runner 2049, where real models are used for exterior shots, as well as actual holograms in other scenes (Liszewski, 2017), while CGI is employed in some action sequences. An overreliance on either the new or the old could limit any film, in terms of craftsmanship and artistic integrity, which seems to be the case for most blockbuster films. During an interview, Star Wars creator George Lucas says, “One of the fatal mistakes that almost every (science-fiction) film makes is that they spend so much time on the settings…creating the environment” (Lucas, 1983). He goes on to say that these sorts of films and their filmmakers show off the amount of work they created. He continues, “Special effects are just tools, means of telling a story.”
Unless the favorability for the old and new are utilized well and does not overstep itself, or unless the limits themselves play into either the world of the story or the overall theme, sometimes the overreliance could be justified. The world of the Steven Spielberg film Ready Player One is CGI-heavy, but it makes sense for that film because it mostly takes place in a video-game realm, where loads of computer-generated characters perform astonishing action-packed feats. Meanwhile, there are other filmmakers that tie old-fashioned techniques into their stories’ themes. One example of that is the 2015 action-comedy Kung Fury. During production of this film, video-game studio Old Skull Games helped director David Sandberg animate an entire sequence in the style of Saturday morning cartoons in the 1980s (Laser Unicorns, 2015), like G.I. Joe and Voltron, since Kung Fury is an homage to action movies in that era (Kristobak, 2013).
If I ever get the chance of making a highly budgeted feature-length film entirely in my vision, I would follow Blade Runner 2049’s case and employ both old-fashioned techniques and the new wherever necessary. This is not only to make my film’s world more immersive, but to tie into the its themes. If this hypothetical film was of the science-fiction fantasy genre, I would use film stock and digital as they intone different feelings to separate the film’s real world and a character’s dream sequences. I would also use model buildings for establishing shots and CGI is fix certain patches here and there that are difficult to fix practically, which is a process made by plenty of films, most notably Titanic (Ebert, 1997) and Jurassic Park (Business Insider, 2014).
(Giles Lorax). (2012, January 2). Young George Lucas’s ideas on special effects “Star Wars to Jedi: The Making of a Saga” 1983. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykmZp5cgbkU
(LaserUnicorn). (2015, September 23). Animating Kung Fury by Old Skull Games. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etvUf9IYDcI
Acuna, K. (2014, July 11). How 4 Minutes Of CGI Dinosaurs In ‘Jurassic Park’ Took A Year To Make. Retrieved April 20, 2018, from http://www.businessinsider.com/how-cgi-works-in-jurassic-park-2014-7
Ebert, R. (1997, December 7). Special effects live up to hype in ‘Titanic’. Retrieved April 20, 2018, from https://www.rogerebert.com/rogers-journal/special-effects-live-up-to-hype-in-titanic
Kristobak, R. (2014, January 25). ‘Kung Fury’ Trailer Pits Dinosaurs And Thor Against Nazi Germany. Retrieved April 20, 2018, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/29/kung-fury-trailer_n_4516119.html
Liszewski, A. (2017, November 13). Blade Runner 2049 Used Amazingly Detailed Miniature Sets to Bring Its Cities to Life. Retrieved April 20, 2018, from https://io9.gizmodo.com/blade-runner-2049-used-amazingly-detailed-miniature-set-1820401271