Monday, November 12, 2012

Computer Animated Fun, er, Films

I was looking over an old-ish Cracked Article, where the writer Bell celebrates some of the most surreal movie scences that weren't made by CGI (computer generated imagery). Whether it's Batman flipping over an eighteen wheeler or astronuts floating in the weighlessness of space earth the title insists that "...You Won't Believe [They] Aren't CGI."

But that brings up and interesting point, CGI has become such a stable in 21th century films, it's already assumed any movie miracle is simply the deus ex machina making it happen. Nearly fifty years after Ivan Sutherland made "Sketchpad" for his TX-2 Compter, computer graphics have exploded into mainstream use, so much so that plenty of movies only consist of CGI. Thus the realm of computer animated films was born (specifically, it was born with Toy Story, the first fully computer animated film). They not only manage do well when compared to live - action movies, but they sometimes do better: be it in fan approval (to be fair, that review taking traditionally made cartoon movies as well) or in US box office numbers.

The box office numbers aspect is interesting since it turns out computer animated movies like WALL-E and Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa cost more to make than each movie of the Star Wars trilogy. The truth is, all the work put into computer animation for a whole movie might not be worth it financial speaking. For example, Tangled might be consindered a failure if we're only taking domestic sales into account. Even though it earned over $200 million in the US box office, the price of Rapunzel and her hair-raising adventure was $260 million.

But true to the adage “not all that glitters is gold,” the money drained into and gained by computer animated films aren’t what make them worthwhile. To continue with our movie about the lengthy haired heroine, Tangled generally got  positive reviews. This film, and many other - including the following Pixar Disney Princess's film Brave, which was praised for its breathtaking computer graphics, prove that these digitally made movies have a place in the modern entertainment world.

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