Nowadays the only thing that really limits VFX is the time that can be spent on it, or in other words; the budget. If production companies are willing to pay for the time it takes to get the VFX perfect, they WILL BE PERFECT. Unfortunately, this doesn't always translate into a box office hit. Although cheap and poorly executed VFX can make a good movie bad, high-quality VFX won't make a bad movie good.
1. The Hobbit
From the offset, it was always going to be hard for "The Hobbit". The Lord of the Rings was a tough act to follow and stretching out, what was originally an average length book, into a trilogy, was always going to water things down.
What wasn't watered down was the VFX, Peter Jackson's own VFX house WETA digital took on the task, and in addition to Incredible CG environments, Digidoubles, CG water and CG fire, CG dwarfs, Orcs, and elves, WETA created the photoreal dragon Smaug. Not only did the dragon look so much like a "real" dragon, that it made us forget that real dragons don't exist, but they managed to make it talk like Benedict Cumberbatch without losing the magic.
After receiving somewhat mixed reviews but an almost general consensus that this film was too long and too complicated because instead of using fiction to explain their science, they tried to use science to explain their fiction.
What many people missed in this film were the incredible VFX that DNEG managed to produce. The jewel in their crown was Gargantua "The Black Hole". working alongside the theoretical scientist Kip Thorne, DNEG developed a new renderer called "Double Negative Gravitational Renderer" or "DNGR" which could map out how millions of light beams travel through the warped space-time surrounding a black hole. Kip Thorne and the DNEG team published a scientific study on how did this in February 2015.
3. The Lion King
Claims that "The Lion King" has "lost its soul" and "Become a National Geographic Documentary may be bad for the film but says a lot for the VFX.
MPC created 1500 shots of photorealistic animals that are so incredible that you are never quite sure which shots are real animals and which are CG, and they are all CG!
Disney's idea to remake all its animated classics using today's technology and VFX may seem like a great idea (especially to Disney's accountants and shareholders). but many feel that this is a "Money Grab" and that Disney has exchanged their childlike innocent imagination for Adult cynical realism.
4. Bladerunner 2049
Bladerunner 2049 is a sequel to the 1982 classic "Bladerunner". Making a sequel to a classic is always a daunting task, it creates so much speculation and hype that the movie is almost always going to fall short, and this would have been the case for Bladerunner 2049 had it not been for the VFX. 8 different companies worked together to created a stunning world that manages to keep you enthralled whilst the "Slow-burn" storyline unfolds before you. They are in fact so stunning that not only do you forget that you've been sat, watching for nearly 3 hours, but you realize you've had your mouth open too!
5. Avengers Infinity War
The Marvel Universe films have some insane VFX, and the majority of them have not only had good reviews but have done very well at the box office, however, for some reason, critics have been having a dig at Thanos. Digital Domain had Josh Brolin wear a mo-cap suit as well as a helmet that had 2 HD cameras running 60 frames a second to capture his facial performance. Although the most amount of work went into the eyes because the eyes are actually what convey the real emotion, a mouth may smile but if the eyes don't sparkle, there is no happiness.
6. Planet of the Apes
Rise of the Planet of the Apes was criticized for the lack of reality in the lead ape character "Caesar". However, in the latter two films of the trilogy, this was no longer the case. Weta digital proved why many consider them the "Kings of the CG Animal Kingdom", not only were the CG apes 100% photorealistic, but they expressed emotion, so much so that you don't just sympathize with them but you find yourself siding with them against the human race. In order to accomplish this WETA had to develop and perfect a number of their own tools, their fur system was completely re-written, their skin and hair shading models were advanced and their facial-performance capture technology was also perfected.
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