Animation Domination by Armond White for Room for Debate (NYT)

By Armond White
The question of whether computer animation has killed or enhanced the “magic” of cinema demands other questions, like:
How many more times can we tolerate digitally enhanced characters leaping into the air with their spear or knife drawn to descend superhero-like on an opponent? How many zooming overhead shots of fantasy landscapes and 360-degree panoramas can we stomach before we get dizzy? How many more villainous faces and grotesque monsters can enter our psyches before they cease to hold meaning? How many innumerable digital dots now pass for casts-of-millions (possibly forever superseding the quite literal “casts-of-thousands” from the days of Ben-Hur)? in zooming overhead shots of fantasy landscapes? How many more villainous faces can morph into even uglier grotesques? How many 360-degree panoramas can we watch without getting dizzy?
We’ve reached the surfeit point of limitless digital effects with limited imagination.
It should be obvious to even the most easily impressed child that the impact of the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings franchises is all technological and has had nothing to do with art. In this post-Avatar culture, Hollywood relies on digital effects to emphasize lavish other-worldly environments to give audiences what they want: escapism. But there’s also an escape from credibility happening here. Special effects used to bring us closer to realism; now they douse us in artifice. Speed Racer anyone?

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