July 19, 2004

Jul 19 2004

Lileks agrees with me about Spider-Man 2‘s music:

Oh, and for those who insist that Elfman’s score is still something special: hum the theme. Go ahead. Just try.

James Lileks, July 19, 2004

Otherspace Productions is going well. I had three folks over at my apartment on Saturday: an in-betweener (who was actually redrawing one sequence to fix some errors in the key cels), a CGI artist, and a background artist (who was also the CGI artist’s boyfriend and is helping her significantly with the CGI).

I’ve discovered that CGI is quite expensive, partly because of audience expectations. CGI is supposed to be intricately detailed and relentlessly realistic. We’re used to excellent CGI, really.

The other problem with CGI, though, is its elasticity. It’s so easy to change things that I can always find something to tweak, something to improve. I could spend the next six months adding detail and otherwise changing this one shot. Meanwhile, it’s costing me hundreds of dollars.

But we’re making solid progress; the shot is beginning to progress from good to jaw-dropping beauty.

[Spider-Man]

After the animators left, I went out to see Spider-Man 2. I liked it, though it didn’t live up to my friends’ reviews, most of which claimed it was better than the original. I still like the original a bit more, mainly because this film seemed more muddy. The plot is straightforward, and a lot of scenes drag on for quite awhile with no real change coming about as a result of them. The film was never boring, but it was often ponderous and sluggish. I’m reminded of a quote, “Any work that aspires to greatness should carry its justification with every line.” Spider-Man 2 was a very good film, but it didn’t reinforce its justification often enough.

I’m also disappointed with the music, though this also applies to the first film. When I listen to a piece of music from Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, I can often identify the exact scene it accompanies. I can recognize individual characters’ themes. I can’t do that with Spider-Man music. Spider-Man‘s music is a series of horn trills, of music that accompanies the film but does not flesh it out or make it any more alive. It’s like playing Rhapsody in Blue on a kazoo; yes, the melody is still there, but it doesn’t have the full force it deserves.

I was not disappointed, as some of my friends were, with the obviously CGI nature of the later action sequences. I was thrilled with them, actually, because they were actually able to portray a big comic book fight. Comic book characters don’t look real when they fight. The fights are supposed to look larger-than-life and impossible.

I also simply must point out my favorite shot in the film. When Doctor Octopus is going nuts in the operating room, one of his victims dives for a chain saw. It’s a shot that would be right at home in Evil Dead 2 (from what little I’ve seen of it) or Army of Darkness, which is by the same director. Hilarious.

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