I am a huge fan of practical effects… Ok I’m obsessed with them. Especially those done right. Even older, out-dated effects, there is just something that CGI just can’t capture. With Rick Baker retiring recently and Ron Perlman’s personal campaign to get the Hellboy trilogy finished (A set of movies the relied heavily on practical effects) it’s had me waxing nostalgic on “The good ‘ole days” when this crap didn’t exist.
For example check out the amazing practical effects of Spectral Motion (Hellboy, Lady in the Water, Fantastic Four)
Bless del Toro for his adamant use of practical effects! I know this debate will rage on forever or at least until CGI kills practical effects (for all intents and purposes). Even so, I honestly don’t feel that they are at odds naturally. Ideally, I feel practical effects should be used when possible. It’s better for the actors and it’s better the audience. Sure they are more expensive but they are actually there. They exist. They actually have shadows, weight, and obey physics. But as amazing as practical effects can be there are limitations. THAT is where CGI should come in. To be the icing on the cake. Not the icing on more icing.
My concern is practical effects, as an art form, will continue to diminish to the point where it is no longer advancing as more and more director’s opt for the cheaper easier road. The winning wolf is the one you feed the most.
Speaking of wolves, Let me leave you with the still impressive ‘American Werewolf in London’ transformation scene (SFX by Rick Baker)