The student-generated news site of Mount Saint Joseph Academy

The Campanile

The student-generated news site of Mount Saint Joseph Academy

The Campanile

The student-generated news site of Mount Saint Joseph Academy

The Campanile

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CGI is Destroying Hollywood

CGI is meant to aid a story, not completely substitute it.
Image by serhii_bobyk on Freepik

It is no secret that computer generated images have been a hot topic of conversation this past year. The digital world was aflame with the writer’s strike, social media scandals, and English papers written by robots. It is safe to say that artificial intelligence has caused a multitude of problems this past year for dozens of companies. But there is one art form that has been nearly taken over by CGI: the film industry.

Special effects and CGI have been used in film for years now, but the purpose of computer generated effects has drastically shifted. Now when you go to the movies, it feels as though almost everything on the screen has been generated by a computer, from sets to wardrobe to even actual actors. The Star Wars franchise has even gone so far as to use artificial intelligence to generate Carrie Fisher’s face in Rogue One, even though the actress has passed.

Photo by Agnieszka Stankiewicz on Unsplash

And Star Wars is not the only major franchise to generate actors’ faces. Maura Fecak ‘24 shared how CGI impacted the Fast and the Furious franchise. Lead actor Paul Walker died halfway through filming Fast and the Furious 7, resulting in his face being generated by artificial intelligence in a few scenes. However, audiences could tell something was off. “When I was looking at it was uncanny and weird because it was like a real person, but not,” said Maura Fecak ‘24.

We are seeing major studios like Marvel and Disney taking a huge hit at the box office due to this very reason.

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Disney and Marvel have made the mistake of heavily relying on CGI. CGI is meant to aid a story, not completely substitute it. We are beginning to feel disconnected from the stories we are seeing on film. Filmmakers cut corners in their scripts and are overdoing the superhero formula of Marvel and DC, and people are getting tired of it. Marvel Studios was made popular by a love of the comics, which had an epic story and creative characters. This was a major factor of why the MCU skyrocketed back in 2012 with the release of Avengers. The movies embodied the comics and used CGI to aid the story.

Longtime Marvel fan Kelly McDonald ‘26 reminisced on why she became a fan of the franchise.

“The whole reason I started watching Marvel Movies as a kid was because I was very into the storytelling elements. I feel like to truly tell a story you don’t need as many graphics as you need emotional impact. I connected to Iron Man the man, not Iron Man the suit.” Kelly Mc Donald ’26 said.

Marvel has turned to filling their movies with CGI and subpar scripts at best, filling their films with characters that audiences cannot grow to love. This is a major reason why movie performances are drastically falling at the box office. We love Marvel movies for the stories, not the special effects, and filmmakers have lost sight of that.

Disney is another prime example of a company overusing CGI. Most of their remakes of their classic animated films have flopped at theaters. And while there were many plot driven problems with the new films, one of the major problems was the fact that the adaptations relied so heavily on CGI. Disney used to make beautiful films filled with hand drawn animations and a magical story, bringing something new to filmmaking with every release. But now their films are all computer generated, and a part of you can tell, disconnecting you from the story.

Photo by Brian McGowan on Unsplash

As far as CGI has come, so realistic sometimes that it is scary, it still disconnects you from the film. Part of you can still tell that a computer generated those. And while there are some amazing artists who are working on these images, at the end of the day it is still digital and disconnecting.

Audiences are truly beginning to feel the effects of this, and miss when powerful stories flashed across our screens.

“I feel as if many stories in Hollywood films today have little to no plot backing them up. I honestly can’t remember the last time I watched a film and loved it for the story, and not the visuals,” Olivia Roman ‘26 said.

Some movies that have been successes were Barbie and Oppenheimer, and those movies did something that is very rare in Hollywood. They barely used CGI. Barbie was famous for having hand painted sets, even causing a shortage of pink paint globally. And that came across in the film, because the world felt more real and allowed for viewers to connect to the characters. And because the film did not rely on CGI, they had to rely on a good script and acting, which the movie did beautifully.

Oppenheimer also rarely used CGI, despite being a movie set in WWII. Director Christoper Nolan is famous for trying to limit his use of CGI, instead going to real locations and filming on site to get the most real experience for the audience.

Photo by Tara Winstead:

There are so many examples of how CGI has completely distracted an audience from the story. One example is the creepy baby that appeared in the Twilight Saga, appearing terrifying more like an alien rather than a human baby. Or Flounder of Disney’s Little Mermaid remake. Gone was the lovable blue and yellow fish filled with magic, leaving us with a bland, CGI fish that invokes nothing.

Hollywood is putting their faith in CGI rather than genuine sets, character designs, and the artists and writers at their disposal. People are getting tired of the quick buck and overdone movie formulas. You can no longer just throw cool special effects at audiences and expect satisfaction. We are craving something new, something that won’t leave us living theaters feeling bland. Hollywood better start relying on creatives rather than computers.

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About the Contributor
Violet Binczewski
Violet Binczewski, Junior Features Editor

Violet Binczewski is a sophomore at the Mount and is so excited to be a part of the Campanile for a second year. She is a published author, with her book “The Ocean and her Shadows” published by Pegasus Publishers. She is a co-founder of the Mount Poet Society, and is also on the staff of The Muse, Mount’s literary magazine. 

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    MauraMay 9, 2024 at 8:49 am

    Such a good article Violet!! Completely agree about the weird twilight baby