Brutal Strudel wrote:
Reading Warped 9's description of the mishapen Enterprise primary hull, I'm reminded that, back then, even the most fx-laden visual masterpieces had at least one bad effect in it--Star Wars in 77, Superman in 78; even 2001 in 68 had the marginally convincing ape men. Visual effects are more consistently convincing these days thanks to cgi.
I've never seen the 2001 apemen called marginal before that I can recall.
I'd say background 'invisible' fx work is more consistent in the current era, but most pictures this century still have plenty of 'epic fail' shots all through them.
I think the highest consistent level of quality vfx was probably the late 90s, when CG was only being used selectively, to augment miniatures and traditional effects. Once the full changeover happened the work started going downhill, with relatively few exceptions (I'd say up till the last 5min GRAVITY is about 98% perfect, but running that against other extravaganzas from this century will just point up how a lot of CG doesn't measure up.)
Seeing TMP opening day, after waiting nearly 5 hours in line for the first showing at Century 22 in San Jose, was for me a very early climax ... namely, when the lights went out and the pic started. Seeing the dock sequence brought it up again to exciting levels, but then I felt the need to go to the backroom and had to suffer through the next 90-100 minutes ... apart from Goldsmith and the exterior space shots, I really hated that movie, from the split diopter madness to the horrid looking lighting on the actors aboardship. I even avoided the TV cameras outside because I didn't want to say something that would hurt general business. For many years I characterized TMP as the biggest disappointment I had ever seen in a movie theater (yes, even over ONE FROM THE HEART, Coppola's followup to APOCALYPSE NOW.)
And the thing was, I had read the novelization already, so I should have been prepared for things. But there were aspects in that which did not come through in the movie at all (like the real Ilia being imprisoned inside the probe), and despite the horrid prose, the novelization somehow kept me interested, while the movie did not (hard on the eyes with respect to costuming, lighting, etc.)
A few weeks later I caught a rerun of LIGHTS OF ZETAR and wrote in my journal, 'maybe TMP isn't all THAT bad after all.' That was after I'd seen it 4 times (had pre-bought the tickets and couldn't unload them), and I saw it a fifth time at a 2nd run theater, the Plaza in Campbell, where the print was amazingly brighter (for years I wondered if this was a print that didn't get printed down in accordance with Wise's instructions ... I still do, actually.)