Yesterday I watched part of the bonus disc packaged with the Man of Steel * Blu-ray issued in America. Its a huge three-hour presentation of the movie with added interviews, behind the scenes shots, production art, etc displayed alongside or in place of the actual movie as it runs (its actually half-hour longer than the movie). Its mightily impressive, I just wish it accompanied a better movie… but anyway, I digress. So I was watching, oh, the first twenty minutes, and yes, its lots and lots of green screen. Early on there’s the scene where General Zod and his dastardly cohorts blast their way into the Krypton Council Chamber (or whatever it is), and the actor who plays Zod, Michael Shannon pops up in a sub-window and talks a little about playing Zod, while another pop-up window alongside shows the scene playing in-movie being shot. And he’s being filmed wearing a motion-capture suit. Shannon admits he found it odd playing this big mean villain whilst wearing something that looks like PJs crossed with a leotard. But I’m just watching this all gob-smacked. That big armoured suit he wears pretty much throughout the movie was cg?
A few things immediately sprung to mind. Firstly, wow, that’s mighty impressive from a technological standpoint. I’d watched the film at the cinema and would have never guessed that the suit wasn’t real, aint those fx boys clever? Second, that’s a hell of a way of blowing/wasting a big budget. I mean, wouldn’t a real-life (albeit maybe toned-down) costume have sufficed? I dare say all those fx shots for that suit of armour alone would have funded any number of Dredd sequels, for a start.
The thought struck me that these ‘blockbusters’ are getting so huge and bloated with unnecessary waste. Its not as if spending a fortune on cg armour/costumes made the film any better, is it? Little wonder so much of the latter portions of the film struck me as looking like a cg cartoon, there’s more cg there than I thought. Sure, its impressive, I suppose, but good grief, these films need some restraint, not an excuse to blow more money on needless fx shots. Doesn’t anybody say, hey guys, I know we can do that, but do we NEED to do that?
I haven’t seen anymore of that bonus disc yet. I’m almost afraid to. These days I can’t watch BBC News 24 without venting my ire at the screen for Auntie Beeb wasting tax-payers money sending journos to every slightest ‘event’ (hey, a member of the Royal Family has stubbed his/her toe, rush a filmcrew to the Palace and camp it there for live updates every fifteen minutes for 24 hours), without me now losing it watching movies. At least the Blu-ray of Star Trek Into Darkness didn’t add insult to injury by having a similar ‘How We Blew Millions’ feature (although I think its available as a download on iTunes).
*And before you mention it, yes, I need my head examining buying this movie. But I was keen on seeing the making-of/Maximum Stupid Movie Mode thing and its only on the US copy. And besides, it simply has to be better than the monstrously stupid-sounding Batman vs Superman thing that’s going to follow this. Hollywood seems hellbent on making its films look good by making something even crappier straight after.
(oh, and I’ve decided I’m going to use this accompanying picture of Ben watching the telly with the ‘Zod… ‘ caption every time I watch a really stupid movie. )