CGI has really ruined the franchise. Both ALIEN and ALIENS benefited from the fact that the directors were limited in how much and the way they could show the xeno. Scott and Cameron were FLAWLESS in dealing with those limitations thru extreme close-ups, shadowed lighting and restricted views. The palpable feel of fear that came from the actors being in the same space as the aliens worked brilliantly in the first two films, and I would argue that the most interesting parts of every ALIEN film after the first two feature the character(s) in scenes with an alien created via practical effects (ALIEN 3: Ripley face-to-face shot in med bay, ALIEN RES: Aliens in the cage / interacting with Gediman).
Alien: Covenant missed SO MANY opportunities for unique terror (I don't think Ridley knows how to director horror anymore) because the focus was on showing the alien's full body in full light.
Practical effects are less expensive than CGI, correct? If another sequel is greenlit, going all practical effects could be the budget reduction/artistic kick in the ass that this series needs.
Let's go back to basics. Men in suits, creative lighting, B-movie tactics.
I think the CGI could've been better in A:C. I'm not against CGI, but it does need to be done correctly. I do like real costumes too. A balance of the two is probably the best route to go in present times. I think the CGI in Alien: Resurrection is just great! It's been awhile since I've watched the whole thing, but from my memory, it's awesome. I love the part where the Xeno's are swimming at the people. That part really scared me. I remember that part as being some really great CGI. The Alien franchise has had some great CGI, or maybe they were costumes or props, but I do think that A:C needed some help on the CGI parts. There were maybe around a handful of those parts needing help in A:C.
I love the original chestburster scene in Alien. Sometimes I get on the internet and just watch that clip. The best part is that the room is dead quite and then... the creature screeches and rushes across the table!!!! Fabulous!!!
"Even A L I E N would be cool...I'd redo Ash's head scene and Kane's undershirt where you can clearly see the mechanical contraption he is wearing...clean up that and some other bits."
I agree on that.
"First when they land on the planet, Aliens are jumping around like some crazy monkeys."
They even sound like monkeys too. Honestly, I loved the fact that those neomorphs acted so primitive and even sounded like monkeys. At first viewing, I didn't like it right away, but when I allow it to really soak in and try and think what these neomorphs are thinking, I think the solution we saw in A:C is a good one. It could've been different, but I think it wouldn't have been better or at least not by much. Now, when I watch the movie at that, I just soak it up and love it all. The reel of film from when Ledward is being carried by Karine until the survivors arrive to Davids "sanctuary" is just amazing. Of course after that, the fear changes and becomes more sneaky-like instead of just all in your face.
@I Moon Girl, yeah I love the scene too. But the practical effect is just so poor when the chestburster is whisked across the table, I can hardly bring myself to watch that part of it. Where are its legs, for gawds sake.
Maybe the Engineers version of the impregnated xeno doesn't have legs or maybe David removes the legs in the early stages of the Xeno's growth.
I always figured the Xeno slithered across the table like a snake. Or maybe it moves like a slug, but just 100000x faster? The Xeno does drool a lot, so maybe those drool glands start on its lower belly when it first bursts from the chest to allow it to move very easily across a surface, like a slug! Then, those glands go away. I'm sure we could figure out some realistic scientific answer to how the baby Xeno moves. At least I hope so!
I thought the CGI was terrible in Alien covenant.
The scene where the Neo is attacking the lady in the med bay was just awful.
The neomorphs in the field scene I thought was great, though
It was all happening really fast and I Really enjoyed that scene.
AdamPD said "I thought the CGI was terrible in Alien covenant."
I agree that there were a good handful of scenes that needed better CGI quality too. Still, some people on this forum don't think so. I don't understand it either.
I like both practical and CGI as long as they are executed properly and look decent. Covenant mostly used practical when dealing with the actors but was replaced/enhanced with CGI after post-production and I thought it looked really good (examples being the back burster, the chest burster, and the Xenomorph on the lander) but the only scene that bothers me is when he's going down the ladder. I know it doesn't look 100% real but neither did the original movies, no offense (examples being the chest burster, the Xeno itself, Ash when decapitated, and any time they used a vehicle in Aliens). I still enjoy it though either way but there's always room for improvement. :-) I also had no problem seeing the Xeno in broad daylight cuz it's a beautiful creature and scary no matter what lol Damn thing will rip your head off!
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."
A lot of the CGI shots were just gorgeous, my favourite being the shot of the storm on the planet, with the covenant overhead.
I loved the scene where Tennessee is talking to Mother and you can see the planet below, with the storm raging on.
Loved the shot of the city below the juggernaut right before it's bombed, it looked so real.
The only CGI issues I thought were poor, as I said, were the med bay scene.
You could see fake/cgi blood flying everywhere, yet you could still see her face in between shots and it was untouched, so where the heck was the blood coming from?
And while not CGI related, why the heck was she waving the knife around at arms length when it's right in front of her face? It just seemed to be really rushed.
AdamPD why the heck was she waving the knife around at arms length when it's right in front of her face?
Good point. You would think she would try to gaurd her face. Maybe she just acted the part and they didn't match the CGI creature with her actions?
Even though I prefer practical effects there are maybe times when CGI helps (if there is no other way to do it). Keep it to a minimum (at least as far as the Alien franchise is concerned) because then it makes it easier for a viewer to feel that they are a part of the thing because it feels less artificial.
One example where they used too much is the Star Wars prequels. Compare it to the original movies. The originals still feel more real because they have at least less CGI that practical things it seems to me.
Don’t use it unless it is really needed.
Before I saw the movie in theaters, the backburster scene was somehow online and after watching it, I became worried the movie was going to be full of POS CGI. The manner in which the guy's body flaccidly backwards on the the table... Sheesh, Xbox games make that stuff look more realistic. I watched the remake of "It" this weekend and the CGI the clown parts for me. When the villain is a cartoon, it's simply not scary.... (BTW, that was a good movie though not a scary one...)
If you've ever seen someone who's been shot in the head, you will see that they drop like a stone, no mucking about. If an alien bursts through your spinal column you will drop flaccidly like a stone because your nerve impulses will be broken immediately. You will also be dead in short shrift due to a massive drop in blood pressure.
I almost entirely agree, cJam.
When it comes to the creatures, so much noise was made about the use of suits and practical, in-camera effects, and I was highly disappointed when I saw the finished movie. On two cinema viewings, it seemed to me that most of the creature shots were heavily overlaid with CGI, and however sophisticated it becomes, it never has the weight or visceral impact of real-world stuff. And being just pixels, it doesn't scare or convince anyone.
But the ships and environments I don't mind being CGI. The work has been so good on Prometheus & A:C that there's no way practical sets/models could have matched it, and perhaps because it's scale is different, and it's not about contact between bodies and creatures, that it works better.
I think Ridley should certainly up his game in terms of editing for suspense and horror. I am a fan of A:C, but a true return to real-world effects is just what the franchise needs....
thoughts of murnau
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