Hardy Science Fiction

For the last decade or so I have seen a change how some consumers view science fiction and fundamentally misunderstanding it. The core argument is that something isn’t science fiction after all, despite being labelled so for numerous years, if not decades prior, because it’s not realistic, or the science that it supposes simply couldn’t happen. Sidelining Clarke’s law about Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, for now, this is a patently false view on science fiction. It does, however, fit hard science fiction, a sub-genre of science fiction that is all about diamond-hard fiction without breaking the current understanding of science. By their very nature, their view on science will be obsoleted in a few years as science advances, they’ll turn what some people call soft science fiction.

Haldeman’s Forever War is a personal choice of work if I need to recommend a book with power armours and time dilation

The audience knows that the science presented in a science fiction work is largely fictitious. It’s part of the silent agreement with the author, where the viewer has been presented more or less a world where some elements are more believable than others regarding science. Some stories, like The Andromeda strain, stick extremely close to the guns and doesn’t veer away from possible reality. The suspension of disbelief happens with the whole point about a virus coming from outer space and being able to evolve like it does in the book, the rest what science fiction is at its core; it asks the question What if… SF handles concepts more than straight fantasy does, though SF in itself is a branching genre from fantasy. While fantasy is about grand themes and builds upon those themes, SF explores concepts. For example, in Asimov’s short story Jokester a question was passed to Multivac, a Superintelligent computer, where do jokes come from as they seem to be something that everyone tells, but nobody truly invents. To spoil over this sixty-year-old short story, the end result Multivac ends up coming with is that all jokes humanity tells are by some other extraterrestrial power that is implementing jokes into humanity as a control device. It also came to the conclusion that when the first human figures this out, jokes and humour would cease to be implemented as the testing has now been sullied and a new factor would replace it. Multivac in itself isn’t the science fiction element in this short story, nor are the god-like extraterrestrials, but the concept of humanity being used as lab rats. Asimov took a look at the concept and wrote a small story around it with a humorous, even if dark, angle. Similarly, Haldeman’s sequel novel Forever Free to his masterpiece Forever War was ultimately about the same concept with completely different kind of approach and realisation.

Asimov’s Foundation follows this the same kind of path. To describe the works shortly, it is about how to shorten the Galactic Dark Age that follows after mankind’s Galactic Empire falls. How the Galactic Empire, or how it has formed, how people interact across the planets and so isn’t the science fiction part, neither is the fall itself. The fall, in actuality, is merely background material and is based on the fall of the Roman Empire. That parts historic, not SF. The part that makes the Foundation series pinnacle of science fiction literature, something that makes it practically unadaptable, is psychohistory; a fictional field of science that combines statistics and psychology. Through psychohistory, one can make accurate predictions on how large groups of people will act based on those people and surrounding events, as long as they remain unaware of the analysation. The modern field of Big Data largely follows the same ideas, but in practice, the two are very different entities. Psychohistory is the fictional science element that in itself is a concept worth exploring. It opened more doors for Asimov to explore from how one group of people could control others through representing technology as a kind of religion to how it all can be taken down by one element that isn’t in the calculations. Asimov is famous for setting rules and regulations to his works with Laws of Robotics being his most famous. What most people don’t realise is that Asimov extensively explores these concepts and their failings to the point that his works alone are the best arguments why the Laws of Robotics are flawed. Similarly in the Foundation series, he explored how one inhuman element, a mutant, can throw a monkey wrench to otherwise perfectly working system. He then proceeded to explore how such things could be prevented or perhaps even corrected. Space travel and all that is merely flavour and the background to which the main dish is served.

While many news has stated teleportation to be science fact, its practical uses are still extremely limited, if not completely impractical

Similarly, Star Trek is often seen as a science fiction show because there are people in space going swish in a space ship. A hard science fiction writer wouldn’t be placing any space vessels outside our own solar system, as the science we have now doesn’t give any realistic methods to achieve even proper portions of the speed of light. We’d run out of time if we’d begin to travel interstellar space, the distances are just too large to get across. Star Trek could be said to be the archetypical positive work of science fiction, asking what if humanity had socially evolved to be a benevolent entity. Much like Asimov, many episodes question the Federation of Planets’ standards and ways of living to creator Roddenberry’s chagrin. Star Trek as the wagon show set in space itself could be regarded as science fiction, though much like with other popular SF works of the time, it gathers science facts of the time and makes assumptions in order to build that veneer again. The science in itself may be spotty, yet the function of science was aimed to be valid. The writing team employed some NASA members to ask what was possible and what wasn’t, but as with anything, the story comes first. Captain Kirk fighting a giant green lizard may seem hacky and laughable, yet at the core, the episode is about two completely alien cultures being forced to face each other to the end. The episode takes the initial What if… about humanity being able to become a force of good and reach the stars, challenging it in face of death and destruction, then given the possibility to destroy this malevolent force. Little things in Star Trek have become reality in a way or another, like the whole thing about portable phones and communicators. In the same manner, Orwell’s 1984 is effectively the opposite of Star Trek‘s positive view and explores the possibility of the world becoming a totalitarian hellhole akin to the Soviet Union. The telescreen technology is a possibility, but that is simply a tool to be able to tell the story through, much like how thought policing is.

While Mobile Suits may be unrealistic, FLAG’s HAVWCs are probably the mos realistic depiction mechas to date with their own specific applications on the field

Mecha, giant robots, is often taken as a method to tell an SF story. However, just like Star Trek, mecha is the framing device for the main dish. It’s the flavour something is painted in. One of the best examples can be found in Mobile Suit Gundam, in which most people would coin mechas and space set to be the whole SF thing. However, the main SF element in Gundam is exploring the next step in human evolution; the Newtypes, humans with an extra sense of space and time that they are able to share among each other. The space setting is necessary, as the show asks What if humanity would need to evolve in space, and how it would proceed. Then it explores what political and social implications it would yield to mankind in the guise of a war story. You could change the mechas Gundam to something else, powered armour or space tanks, and it’d work just as well. However, remove Newtypes and the core structure that holds both the setting and show’s concept together falls apart wholesale. Much like how Asimov explored the faults of his concepts, Gundam has seen numerous entries questioning the validity of humanity being able to share their thoughts across space and time. Yes, everybody knows mechas like Mobile Suits are impossible, impractical at best. That doesn’t take away the fun and interest in building on the idea and enjoying the flavour, basking in the intricate designs and history built on the already set up fiction.

As mentioned earlier, science fiction will always grow old. If SF work emphasize is mainly in the science or how it works based on then-current understanding, it’ll always be out of date. Giving a fictitious explanation based on the scientific method will always age better. Simply leaving something important unanswered often leads to weak world-building. Jurassic Park is an example of a work with extremely detailed and well-maintained world-building and explanations for its science. It is also an example of a work that, despite being heavily rooted in science that was possible, it is now an example of a work where we know about dinosaurs and cloning so much that the book is out of date. Nevertheless, this doesn’t take anything away from the story itself, or from the question What if humans were able to bring dinosaurs back. It brings more than just that on the table and explores more than one concept, like certain applications of the Chaos Theory. SF Debris did an excellent series on Jurassic Park this summer, which I wholeheartedly recommend watching.

The Lens itself could be considered a true and tested SF trope in itself, it being a sort of shared supercomputer

Even older works of science fiction seem rather weird to our modern eyes. For example, the classic Lensman series of books by Doc Smith has no computers in them despite an extremely advanced form of space travel that can cross galaxies and even dimensions. Everything is done by a slide rule, which is an analogue calculator. Or if you want to use the term used for people who used to compute numbers, an analogue computer. Some of Asimov’s earlier works lack computers as we understand them as well. Some of Asimov’s works began to include the aforementioned Multivac supercomputer but described some of them taking the size of whole planets. This was as according to science as understood at a specific time when it was assumed that only a few computers would be built due to their sheer size. Nowadays we have computers in our pockets every day that would have been considered impossible half a century ago. If science doesn’t have answers at the time to a problem a writer has, fiction has to take its place. The writer has to come up with a fictional explanation to the issue that hasn’t been solved or doesn’t have an answer. We can imagine many things based on popular culture and relevant science, but if neither presents any relevant information, we can’t imagine such things existing. There are things we can’t imagine existing because they haven’t been invented yet, nor has the science they’re based on. To use Lensman as an example again, it plays with the concept of negative matter. Not anti-matter, but negative matter, which would react the opposite it as it was interacted with. For example, if you pushed it, it would move back towards you. Anti-matter would be detected only later and its properties were found to be wildly different, but Doc Smith had some foresight into a concept of opposing matter. Lack of any kind of knowledge on the papers, however, forced him to use his artistic license. Even things like warp drive have been suggested to be a possibility, namely with the Alcubierre drive, but even in this, some elements are missing. The drive would necessitate negative energy and anti-gravity, neither of which Einstein’s theory of relativity considers impossible. In practice, it may be, but there hasn’t been any conclusive evidence to either direction.

Science fiction expects the science found in the work to be fictitious. Unless it is hard science fiction, the science itself does not have to be real, merely consistent with itself and the established scientific method. However, it is always taking back seat the moment the story needs it to. Star Trek, despite its science mostly bullshit, is largely consistent with itself. Nevertheless, what the scientific concept ultimately truly is often isn’t all that clear. Spaceships, lasers and all that we consider as old tropes in the genre used to be new and cutting-edge ideas. A raygun was a valid concept in the form fiction often describes it, before further exploration in the technology ultimately deemed it more or less impossible due to materials and physics involved. Material science, science overall, evolves at its own pace, always improved by necessity in burst-like motions. Many times we don’t even consider small things in our lives to be the end result of massive leaps and bounds in technology and science. The fact that we have a small diode, smaller than the size of your fingernail, now being able to be brighter than the sun and lit up a whole room. I’m looking at an old lightbulb on my desk I found today in my mother’s storage and wondering how this more than twenty-year-old bulb can last less time than my LED bulb, how it eats more energy and yet gives less light. The concept of itty bitty lights in a torch from fifty years ago is now a reality. The way science fiction, in general, represents its impossible science doesn’t matter, but what it does with its concepts and how it tells its stories, is.

The continuing fall of Jurassic Park’s world

Might as well go full movie themed this week and discuss Jurassic Park. It’s a franchise that, much like so many other movie series out there, should have ended with the first movie. The follow-ups have not added much worth to the setting and story, as the first movie pretty much put everything into one nice package.

The demand for more is not exactly the problem here, but how the movies themselves are ultimately formed up. The lack of scientific accuracy is a non-issue with these particular dinosaurs, as they’re cloned hybrid monsters to begin with, modeled after how the perception of the dinosaurs were. For some, it still gets weird to think that dinosaurs had feathers. What is the problem with these movies is that they’re not terribly interesting or well written. Lost World is the most interesting one of the four sequels, despite putting a new island in. The setting makes it interesting if for nothing else, a good juxtaposition to mirror against the first movie.

However, there’s an element in Jurassic Park that has loomed behind its story for years now, and with the World that’s being realised; genetics. One of the first Jurassic Park III script suggestions were about some kind of SWAT team using modified Velociraptors that would behave like dogs and had been trained for operations. This didn’t come to pass with with the third movie, which honestly was for the better. As much hate as JPIII gets, it’s more or less a side-story as Trespasser was. Which in itself is pretty telling, concerning both JPIII and Trespasser had similar story premise. You can’t tell the story of people being stranded on a dinosaur island too many times over.

Then again, Lost World told the same story as some of the comics and sequel games were going for, where dinosaurs were being lifted off the island and being taken elsewhere. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom uses this same premise, and is as much a remake of Lost World as World was of Park. It’s like they aren’t really keen on trying think of new ways of utilising the islands themselves properly, but concentrate on the same themes and topics that most Jurassic Park has already explored. Even the hybrids dinosaurs from the World movies was already an old concept, as the Jurassic Park: Chaos Effect toyline had nothing but hybrid dinosaurs. It’s rather clear that someone at Universal loves the idea of spreading the dinosaurs across the world and using in warfware in a time where a drone strike is one of single most effective method currently used next to information warfare.

As discussed with previous entry about Star Wars, there is no room for phenomena movies any more. Jurassic Park was most definitely one of them, with TV specials, hardcover making-of books, comics, toys, candies, games on multiple systems and God only knows what else. All of this was possible only because it’s a great movie and everybody wanted to cash on in its wake. Special effects are by the numbers with nothing special to tell about, and when special effects have become not only mundane, but expected, the story and actors need to be exceptional. Something neither World movies, and arguably none of the sequels overall, have managed to do.

The reasons why Jurassic Park as a franchise has been in constant decline are many, mostly the same ones as with Star Wars. Maybe Jurassic Park doesn’t lend itself to wider variety of stories to be told, and despite the original was partially a monster movie, that was its least of roles. However, we’ve seen people being dumb and chased by dinosaurs multiple times over now, do we really need another movies of people yelling and screaming as a Raptor runs and claws them? Well, clearly the movie directors of the past two movies wanted to throw in lots and lots of visual references to the past movies to the point of Fallen Kingdom replicating scenes one-to-one for the sake of nostalgia. Having a dinosaur winking at the crowd that it was faking its tranqed state was pathetic at best. We can always go for nostalgia when trying to have a consistent new brand, right?

There are stories that you can find within Jurassic Park, but these stories would be less about the monster horror these movies tend to go now. Jurassic World should have been a movie about building the new park, how the idea came together, how exactly Masrani came into buying Hammon’s legacy and InGen, how the dinosaurs were re-captured and penned up, what were the setbacks, how were they able to build it and so on. Have the movie end with Jurassic World a park opening up, with promises of greater futures. You can have those chases and moments of terror just as fine without taking anything from it all the while having something new. Then again, re-opening the park on the original island was explored in the Topps Comics, so maybe just remaking everything from scratch or making a new park somewhere else in the world would have been the better option.

Unlike with Star Wars, the only real reason why new Jurassic Park entries are made is because its still reasonably lucrative. At least Star Wars had a whole galaxy to explore and stories to set in there that would allow a worldy series be set in. Jurassic Park has become a fascimile of itself in franchising. Ian Malcom’s speech about stamping and selling things for profit without first considering what people have in their hands resonates throughout the every merch based on these movies, even the first one. This isn’t to say that merchandising is bad in itself, just that are these movies anything else at this point but cash cows for extended materials to be sold?

I can’t but to live in hope that the next movie in the franchise will aim to have a script that’s not stupid and about dinosaur horror. Long shot hopes, I know, but the franchise has run its course. If we’re going to have dinosaurs roaming the Earth and used as bioweapons, we’re finally in Saturday morning cartoon area and there’s no return from that. I always wanted a Jurassic Park cartoon, so maybe there’s something in there. Have Owen lead a group of Dinosaur Savers to oppose the evil terrorists who use dinosaurs for evil. Go balls deep into it all and disregard everything else. Cut the last thin line the series has been teetering on.

The academic good

In school we’re taught how to write proper prose. The structure of the story, how the story should be told and so on. We’re taught by our peers and information sources what it means to have a good story, what it means to be well written and what interesting characters’ properties. Academically speaking, when you’ve got a product that ticks all the boxes correctly, it should be considered a perfect product. Things like three-act structure is an example of how to tell a story properly, but you’ve got all these things that break the act structure, sometimes completely ignoring the notion of having structured acts, only to be considered well done or even great.

We’re taught what it means to make a good product. We’re taught to criticise products based on similar notions of what is, academically speaking, good. You could have a list of matters that a story needs to tick off to be good. It’s sort of standardised version what is considered the ideal form.

This doesn’t really work in real life.

If products would always follow the same guidelines, we’d have no advancement in anything. Breaking the mould and finding the best ways to hit on with the customers seem have always given new and modified rules to the pre-existing academic sets.

Movies have academically set rules of tick boxes that a lot of reviewers tick in order to rate a movie. It’s a very clean and sterile way to see things, and often if something is not personally preferred is called as a inferior product because it does not fill the academic demands. The same can also be said of the crowd who argue for the break downs of the academics, and ultimately the decision is made by the consumer by their wallet voting.

Does that mean that the consumers have an awful taste, or that the academics do not apply or are wrong?

In design schools it’s often taught that finding a want and need of the customers is important, the academically correct thing to do, as the customer will always seek to fulfil their wants and fix their needs. I am an advocate of this to a very large extent. If we take the notion that the academics do not apply here, what does that mean for design?

What does design become when you break down the academics? Perhaps we need to turn the matter other way around and there would be a need to manufacture the demand and want. This is done in marketing based on existing customer needs, but at the same time it’s a very gray zone, and while taught to some extent, can be regarded as academically incorrect.

Yet, you have Apple manufacturing a product that we can argue customers do not have a need for or even want. Yet the notion of making something that customer would want by hitting the rights buttons create a need. Apple watch is an essentially a stripped down version of iPhones and iPads. How many of us have a need for a watch with computing capabilities? Vast majority of us have a some sort of smartphone in our pockets with all the things the Apple watch could do, and even more. Then you have the pads, which have become another common thing to carry around everywhere. There is no need for such a device that is, in all seriousness, inferior to the existing products. And yet, Apple has managed to manufacture a need for its loyal customers, and those who follow their example.

Apple watch has to have the worst battery life and the screen needs to be relatively large to include all the stuff they’re shoving into it.

In the same breath, is there a need for a new iPhone? Some would say yes, and some would say no. The iPhone line has been very much the same. The only thing that makes the previous version obsolete is that Apple will drop the support on relatively soon to move their efforts on supporting the shiny new one, which you should buy in order to keep yourself on the trend boat and get the best support out there.

But right here I am using the academics to criticize Apple’s products and how they are pushing them out, much like a person would voice their distaste on anything else.

A question if academics are absolute is moot. Of course they aren’t, but they are often regarded as such because they are very much rooted to our current society. They’ve been there in many forms for ages. The academic good is a way to standardise what is well made or what should be considered good and a way to make a successful product. Yet the notion is thrown right out of the window when you have a game breaking product that changes how things are made, writing a new text book example of good. Citizen Kane is an example alongside King Kong, where certain academics are simply shattered because they have not only become popular, but made money and made a cultural landmark.

In the two aforementioned case, does that mean that the customer has an awful taste? Does that mean that the academics need to be thrown out because they do not stand against the products that go against them due to their popularity? It’s not binary, no matter how you want to see it.

In linguistics, when a word has gained a new meaning among the population while having a different meaning the dictionary, it is the dictionary that needs to be changed as the meaning of the word has changed. Whilst computer’s first meaning was a person who computes, now the word is mainly, and often solely, used to describe the machine that accepts data and does computing and shows it.

Linguistics is academics, and we can all see that academics change with time as well. It is extremely easy to base our distaste on any product based on the academics, because often we don’t distinguish the two. We saw ourselves as being the ones correct over the other because we have the academics speaking behind us. Gene Siskel used academics to pan Friday the 13th and rightfully so, but was completely wrong as the movie became a massive success and didn’t fit into his view what a good movie is.

As said before, real life doesn’t really work like that.

We have the model what is perfect, and academically speaking, we should be able to make perfect things. Science is about perfection, the ability to replicate same results every time. Reality does not play all the same rules because humans are creatures of preference and disorder. We enjoy the things we do because there’s something we personally care for. We constantly elevate things over our heads despite them being academically bad and trample on things that should be considered good. Of course, it goes the other way around as well, but it’s never universal. There will always be people who dislike Plan 9 From Outer Space for its awful writing, acting and sets, and there will always be people who genuinely love the movie perhaps even for the very same reasons. We can only argue about that subjectively and academics are there to support the side that values it.

However, can we trust the academics when a product that goes against them becomes practically universally regarded as the best mode? Before the smartphone boom happened, they were not considered as the best form of mobile phone; they went against the academic model what a mobile phone should be. Then, somebody rebranded this into smartphone and created the demand. The academics changed and the phones that you can only call and text are considered as inferior products.

It smells like opinions, always. There are some things we can’t argue about, like that 2+2=4. We can argue whether or not Anna Karenina is deathly boring book with pages after pages of useless detail that should have been edited out. Tolstoy was one of the writers who are often used as an example of writing good prose. During Anna Karenina’s serialization in 1877, most reviewers praised the episodes, but there were few who criticised it being sour and smelling like narrow-mindness of the nobility with Slavophilism. I have to agree with the latter to some extent, but I would most likely prefer the book more if I had read it in a serial form like it was originally published as rather than a span of one week.

We end up with a core thing again; we can only argue about opinions. We can argue that being popular does not mean that it’s good, and to some extent that is true. The opposite is true as well. However, we always need to remember that nobody is willing to put large amounts of money into stuff they don’t consider to be good in their personal opinion. When majority regard the same thing as good, you usually get a whiplash from the minority.

VHS was a shit format compared to BetaMAX and Laserdisc, and yet it won because it was considered the better option over the two competitors.

The notion that popular does not equal good is a childish one. It implies two extremes which don’t exist. Is Justing Bieber a good singer? I don’t know, I have never heard any of his songs fully, but I recognize his success. Clearly he is doing a lot of things right in order to garner such a fame among people alongside his infamy. Is Patlabor the Movie good because it’s seen as one by the fans? Perhaps, but it’s a very niche movie with rather small userbase, and the movie can be damn boring, much like other Oshii’s movies. Giant Robot Police movies are such a niche genre, that only fans an occasional stranders will make a review mark of it on Rotten Tomatoes. On IMDB the Patlabor movie has votes from 2 860 users, whereas something like Jurassic Park has reviews from 409 551 users. The 1997 Titanic, the movie I personally don’t care for, has reviews from 601 309 users. We would need to do some serious work in order to properly compare the reviews between the three movies based on IMDB ratings. Is Patlabor a better movie than the Titanic because less people have given it a better rating? Is The Shawshank Redemption superior movie to all aforementioned because of its higher rating with 1 227 123 users backing it, or is it worse because it’s more popular?

Academically speaking all the aforementioned movies hit all the right points and should be considered as good movies. Because we’re largely dangling dolls, played by our preferences, we can voice that, for example, Jurassic Park is the best movie from the bunch because of reason X. Or that is has the most interesting writing that challenges the watchers’ notions of cloning, the nature of the relationship with man and nature as well as the God complex humanity has.

On one hand, we can say that academic good is a standard we can measure everything up and deduce whether or not things are good or not. We just need to remember to throw them to the curb when the numbers start making them irrelevant, despite how much we would dislike badly written movie making millions. Perhaps truly objectively good product is something that fills both academic good and the preferences of the market, but also paradoxically breaks the rules of academics.

Academics, especially when it comes to products like books or games or whatever, can be used to dismiss or support. It is an objective system in its core, created by that era’s ideals. Essentially, we have an ever changing objective system that is highly abusable with bias to support wide range of arguments, and it’s almost encouraged to do so.

Seems like I’ve managed to mangle myself with this subject. It warrants a return at a later date. Meanwhile, have an extra piece of music.

Is this a good music video? Is this a good song? Is that answer you ahve there based on your opinion, or on the notion what a good music video should be? What a good music should be?

Making of unreality

Jurassic Park has handicraft. It has been crafted around making the dinosaurs look as real as possible with both CGI, conventional effects and robotics. They had an aim for realism.  Jurassic Park looks real. We won’t get another Jurassic Park, or any other film of this calibre is simply because film makers refuse to use proper effects. Computer graphics will never look as good as something that exists before the camera.

Creativity needs to be cut

During the last decade the way we watch television and films has been changed. We went from VHS tapes to DVDs, and we’re gradually changing to Blu-Ray (BD) until the next format war comes. I can’t but admit that BD format does allow better image quality and better sound, the only things that matter when talking AV quality.

Above: You can barely make it out in the DVD version, but there’s a tomahawk and a baseball bat on Gunbuster’s shoulder. The image is from, unsurprisingly, from Gunbuster the Movie BD release. Remember to click the image for larger scale

BD goes hand in hand with HD display sets. They’re sharper, more vibrant and all that. They still can’t beat nature’s wonders thou. On top of that we’ve been almost literally forced to see more 3D films than ever before. Outside those three people in Iowa and Zimbabwe, normal films experience is almost always preferred over 3D. The only film I’d like to see in proper 3D would be Avatar, but then again that film is dull as a butter knife and that money can be saved for better films, like Redline.

While the way we watch films and play games have been getting better in quality the content has not. As mentioned the Avatar film is dull. It’s nothing more than few hours of beautiful scenery with stupid plot. Games have become more “streamlined” and are about making the player a computer. Computing the gameplay should be the developers job, not the players. Modern games and modern films have one thing in common that prevents them being anything more than shade of the past; creativity. As the displays have grown the demand of use of those displays have grown within the industry. Games have more refined graphics and effects than the gameplay, and films have more and more advanced CGI and special effects than ever before. Only few people in film industry actually notice how people are laughing their assess out when coming out of movie theatres after seeing a bad CGI wolf. Even the most successful blockbusters have the same problem. Pretty much nothing looks real or assuring.
Let’s take an example of that wolf. In American Werewolf in London the whole transformation scene us made with practical effects. It nearly lasts three minutes and looks real enough to convince the audience that it’s painful and real. On the other side of the coin the transformation scene in Twilight: New Moon, which is made completely with CGI. It looks fake, as does the wolf that comes afterwards. It doesn’t even warrant laughs. The change is almost offscreen in one scene and basically happens in a puff of smoke. It’s like Magica De Spell had thrown one of those puff grenades at Scroode. Even the original The Wolfman transformation from 1941 looks superior to this in every aspect. I recommend watching this film anyway, so go watch it after you’ve read this. While the new Wolfman looks pretty nifty, it still looks fake because of CGI used.

Star Wars is perhaps the best example of all. I’m not going to go how he changed the original trilogy because we’d be sitting here for the next few days as I scream my lungs out.

What I’m going to into is the 3D. Lucas has similar fatal 3D fever as Nintendo. The prequel trilogy suffers because Lucas went all creative with it. Most of the scenes look empty, lifeless and fake. Ships are far too shiny and designs look more evolved than what came afterwards. They tried to explain this my that the ships were crafted by hands before the war but we all know that just a load of bantha shit. The spirit isn’t in there any more. The creativity of George Lucas wrecked the series. When he was in a tight schedule, had very little money and under surveillance he could do a masterpiece.
The same happened with Nintendo and Shigeru Miyamoto. When Shigsy was under pressure to make a good game, little resources and only six people with him he made the Legend of Zelda. Now, with 3D, pretty much all of Nintendo’s games have a become something completely different. Sadly, this time the change wasn’t for the good. I dare anyone of you to say to me that Mario Galaxy is still the same game as Super Mario Bros., or that the Skyward Sword (or any other 3D Zelda) is the same as original gold cart Zelda.

But Aalto, the Starfox 64 3DS is still the same game! tells a squinty reader. They just added 3D effect and better graphics! And that’s what’s wrong with both film and game industry; the 3D.
Just like Lucas, Nintendo feels that they have to keep adding stupid stuff that nobody cares about. At least Lucas hasn’t remade the original Star Wars with new actors and plot, unlike what Nintendo did with Lylat Wars. Why won’t Nintendo admit that the original Star Fox exists? At least Lucas admits that original Star Wars exists, but like Nintendo he refuses to release it.
I find it laughable that either bunch of people never realized that the older products have always sold better. The rather limited run of Star Wars DVDs with LaserDisc edition of the original trilogy sold out pretty much everywhere and are sought after. Super Mario Collection on the Wii outsold itself twice.

People who put creativity over their job need somebody to bring them back to ground level. Sadly, very few companies are going to have proper censors and editors telling them what works and doesn’t. Artists, directors, designers and all who need to use imagination and creativity in their job are like rough diamonds; they need somebody to cut them, grind them and polish them. Ideas need to picked up and selected, just like stories and ideas. Without somebody doing this the results become something that the audience might reject completely. Examples of rejection would be the re-edited Star Wars trilogy and the 3DS.

In June 2008 the Universal Studios had a fire which burned down their King Kong ride that had basically inspired Jurassic Park. The new ride uses Peter Jackson’s version of King Kong in 3D with some practical effects.
What I’ve read the new ride is thrilling for a second, until the the realize that it’s just a screen. After that it becomes a novelty that can be seen at home in Jackson’s own film. You could never see and feel the “real” Kong outside the original ride.
People who preferred the new Kong were people who never had experienced the older ride. A friend of mine told that it had become a shadow of what it used to be.

What 3D effects in films should be used it just that; as an effect, not as the main dish. Star Wars shone when practical effects were at large, and then it suffered suffocation when CGI was introduced. Super Mario Bros. shone when it was 2D platformer, and when it was turned into Super Mario 64 it became completely different game.

What games do not have to do is to convince the player that something they see is real. Games do not aim for realism, or at least they shouldn’t. Films on the other hand need to look real in order not to break the illusion. Unlike films, games are born from imagined things, stuff that are beyond anything physical. Films on the other hand are there, everything that exist on the screen has to make the viewer believe that it could exist in real life.
I’m saddened to see that there hasn’t been a film that has done that any better than Jurassic Park.

I’m going to do a post filled with screenshots from Jurassic Park’s dinosaurs. Not from the film, but from the Making of.