Hindenburg? HindenARSEburger, more like

Inappropriate use of CG on TV #3214657852624521.

Did anyone catch Hindenburg on Channel 4 Monday night? Well, it was rubbish. I’m sick to several deaths of documentaries and this annoying presumption that the plebs need sub-standard ‘drama’ reconstructions to get historical points across rather than very clever men with beards just telling us things in an interesting way. Did I need most of the show’s narration to come from an in-character voice over bollocking on about how he should’ve taken the helium option when he had the chance? NO, because it was distracting and CHEAP. Anyway, that’s besides the point.

Those of you who attended Dimension Jump last year may remember that Mike Tucker and the fellas at The Model Unit were pitching for the job of recreating the flight and destruction of the airship for the show. Well, it seems this didn’t transpire, and instead CG house Red Vision were brought in for the visual effects, according to the credits.

And, surprise surprise CG turned out be COMPLETELY the wrong direction to go in. The visual effects basically consisted of a few fly-bys of the ship and, finally, footage of the thing bursting into flames. Now, call me a bluff old traditionalist, but I always thought the best way of representing flames ripping through fabric on screen would be to… set fire to some actual fabric. But, no, apparently not. CG flames are far better, obviously, despite the fact they look nothing like flames. Gah.

Ironically, this constant desire for TV to mimic cinema with the use of copious amounts of CG (Doctor Who‘s only physical effects are prosthetics at the moment, with everything else being done by The Mill and no Model Unit work) is starting to look pathetically outdated, as Hollywood increasingly seems to be moving in the sensible direction of using the tool that’s best for the job. Just look at Batman Begins and Casino Royalé – both films with extensive physical effects and only minimal CG and they both look and feel utterly wonderful.

Still, with Ealing Studios making a very welcome comeback with The Model Unit gathering a good body of work from that revival, things seem to be going quite well for the ex-Dwarf boys. Let’s hope things thrive for them in the future, because model making is an art that just can’t be lost, despite the fact that TV people seem to be completely ignoring at the moment. The trendy bunch of twats.

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9 Responses to Hindenburg? HindenARSEburger, more like

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  1. The CG was piss poor, looked like a student project, only worse.

  2. > Doctor Who?s only physical effects are prosthetics at the moment, with everything else being done by The Mill and no Model Unit work

    Series 1 definitely benefitted from the model work, although of course there was still copious dodgy CG. But now they think they can hinge everything on CG shots, like in ‘The Lazarus Experiment’ and ’42’. It’s like ‘right, we GET IT, you can give us mediocre CGI, now how about giving us a FUCKING WELL FUCKING WRITTEN AND FUCKING ACTED EPISODE THAT ACTUALLY FUCKING MEANS FUCKING SOMETHING FUCKING’

    > Just look at Batman Begins and Casino Royal? – both films with extensive physical effects and only minimal CG and they both look and feel utterly wonderful.

    Yes yes yes! Although there is actually quite a bit of CG in Batman Begins it’s used in exactly the way it should be, subtley (well, maybe not in the rooftop Batmobile chase!). Casino Royale, of course, almost did away with CG completely, and what a breath of fresh air that was. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (I always want to follow that title with a dramatic ‘mwuhahahaha’) is also going down that route, which makes perfect sense. Copious CG would make it stand out from the original trilogy like a gangrenous forearm. I want to see classic stunts that make you feel genuinely excited. CG takes the danger away. There’s nothing better than seeing proper stuntwork in a movie.

  3. G&T Admin

    Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? That’s an… interesting title.

  4. G&T Admin

    Kingdom of the Crystal Skull sounds clunky to me – not the choice of the words themselves, which are great, but just the rhythm of it.

    Raiders of the Lost Ark – six syllables
    Temple of Doom – four syllables
    Last Crusade – three syllables
    Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – seven syllables

    Is it that extra syllable over Lost Ark?

  5. I thought the Batmobile chase was done on their “Gotham” warehouse set?

  6. >Is it that extra syllable over Lost Ark?

    Nah…it’s just a matter of gracelessness on the tongue.

    Say “Raiders of the Lost Ark” very slowly and check out the way your mouth moves. Aside from the D in “Raiders” you’ve got an extremely fluid movement…and even that is only comparably sharp. It ends perfectly on the break of the K in “Ark,” which feels good because it’s like the physical manifestation of the period at the end of a sentence.

    Now say “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” very slowly and follow the movement of your mouth and tongue. You’re slapping and popping and hissing all the way through it. K followed by GD followed by a hard C followed by a T followed by an SK and then a really flat double LL that ends the phrase sloppily like a wet firecracker. Too much pop all the way through, topped off with a flat, unsatisfying final thud.

    I’m not saying that an ungraceful name is necessarily a bad thing…the title “The Big Lebowski” contains some varied tongueworks but it flows in a great way that each separate clunky sound grows naturally out of the previous one.

    But “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” just sounds like something people aren’t going to say just because it’s not a satisfying phrase to speak. It’ll be “Indy Four” instead.

  7. > Raiders of the Lost Ark – six syllables
    > Temple of Doom – four syllables
    > Last Crusade – three syllables
    > Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – seven syllables

    Ah, but in the original title ‘Raiders of the’ is the equivalent of ‘Indiana Jones and the’, so it really only has two syllables. :-)

    Or, okay, you can use the ret-con title ‘Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark’ as you have – but at that point I do think it kinda meshes with the new title. Though I don’t deny it’s a bit clunky and, as Phil says, packed with heavy consonants.

    Still, I’m more bothered about it being made at all. Crusade was already starting to show signs of wear – an ancient Indy, post-prequels Lucas and post-‘I won’t mock Nazis any more’ Spielberg could make for a shaky movie…or something very original indeed.

  8. I wish they had gone for one of the other titles that Lucasfilm registered like ‘and the Destroyer of Worlds’ or ‘and the City of Gods’. I think ‘City of Gods’ has been it’s working title all through it’s development and everyone thought it was gonna stay. Lucas must have really wanted ‘Crystal Skull’ in the title. The thing is, ‘Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull’ sounds lame, so you need ‘Kingdom’ there (there’s also the chance that the ‘Kingdom’ is Atlantis. After all, at least one of the real life Crystal Skulls is supposed to come from there (although in REAL reality they’re obviously all faked))

  9. Indiana Jones and the Goblet of Fire

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