The woke predator

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The cgi issues, I don’t really get. Are there moments where we fall into an uncanny valley? Ab-So-Lutely. So, we know the problem, what’s the solution. More money, more time?

For me, the most glaring effects were the Earth-kritters--they didn't look quite right. The solution? More shadow, rain, fog, some practical effects, etc. It's not just about money (Disney spent gobs of money to make an uncanny Leia that someone with a deepfake program immediately improved considerably--ditto for Luke's return in the Mandolorian), but who you hire to do it, how you design the shot, how much time you give them, how much you demand be done in particular way. Less is often more (e.g., the shark in JAWS) and I think that this film would have benefited from some simple techniques (e.g., don't get so darn close on the CGI muppet animals).

I get people not liking the movie. The bad dialogue. The social issues stuff, if that’s your lean. But judging the local high-school junior varsity (streaming movie) versus the expectations of a NFL team (big budget tentpole), seems to be arguing in bad faith.

I didn't hate it. It was as good or better than most the of the AVP stuff we got. But here, in these threads, this is where we pick the nits and debate the flaws of films that we love dearly. And this film, an also-ran in a pack of forgettable sequels and prequels and sidequels and reboots and reimaginings, doesn't seem to be particularly worthy of love or hate, so picking nits here is more of an extended "meh." It was OK, for what it was, but Sandman was much more fun, IMO (and Sandman also has cheesy FX and is plenty woke).







Some really good points raised in this thread.


I just finished watching it. It's alright. Definitely not woke, and she is not the perfect female lead or what the kids call 'Mary Sue'. She is weak, clumsy and makes many mistake.


I can appreciate the take of the filmmaker. But it needed better writing, and a lead with a better screen presence.


The biggest problem, however, is the tone of the ending which is terrible.



I like the idea of this but the CGI (as always) really takes me out of the movie. Kind of meh.
To me, it's not always like that. With Prey the issue is that the film itself looks good, it's largely shot on site, and the environment has such a big role in its visual style. The (poor) CGI stands out so bad from its otherwise pleasing visuals.

Then again, something like Carter (the new Korean Netflix action film) is filled with not-too-great CGI but as the whole film feels like a computer game anyway, it doesn't hurt it nearly as bad.

CGI animals are almost always terrible because we know how they look in real life. Monsters and spaceships fare better as there are no real-life expectations built in our brains (all we need is decent compliance to the physics and the illusion that the CGI object shares space with real-life objects on screen).

They should have used a real bear in the shots from distance, and some practical prop in close-ups.
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The predator handily killed an adult bear. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger at his physical peak would lose a fight to fear.



Even if they casted Ronnie Coleman in the lead role, his chances against a predator would be no better than that of a 100 lb girl.



A system of cells interlinked
This wasn't as bad as I had feared. The location-based camera work was excellent, and the predator was pretty cool. I did scratch my head as to why he didn't have a plasma blaster on his shoulder, but I guess it follows if the Predators tend to dial their weapon loadouts in to the level of whatever their Prey was. I also wonder if there was a bit of a longer cut in which we saw all the traps at the end being set up, as they were just sort of there all of a sudden. Perhaps they shot that stuff, and when they watched the sequence, it felt too much like the OG film?

Anyway, not terrible after all, but still not great. Also agree the animal CGI was bad.
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"There’s absolutely no doubt you can be slightly better tomorrow than you are today." - JBP





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I'm sorry but 100% support the 87 version even with the animated ray blasts. Carl Weathers missing arm looks better than any of the FX in the film.



Prey is good for what it is. Not every movie needs to be a perfect 10/10 arthouse classic.

Even though it relies heavily on CGI, there's no possible way to make it believable. So it's probably for the best that they went all in on the fantasy rather than toning it down.



Victim of The Night
It's weird how CGI seems to be getting worse instead of better in movies.

The last several Marvel movies, especially Shang-Chi and Eternals, had some really just appallingly bad CGI, and honestly Black Widow, Multiverse Of Madness, and Thor: Love and Thunder all had some pretty rough bits.
If Marvel can't afford decent CGI in their movies anymore, who can?



It's weird how CGI seems to be getting worse instead of better in movies.

The last several Marvel movies, especially Shang-Chi and Eternals, had some really just appallingly bad CGI, and honestly Black Widow, Multiverse Of Madness, and Thor: Love and Thunder all had some pretty rough bits.
If Marvel can't afford decent CGI in their movies anymore, who can?

But those movies do good numbers. Maybe Maevel knows something we don't.



It's possible that it was a calculated decision to use more conspicuous and cartoony CGI. Maybe film-purists see it as low-quality, but the average, less picky, viewer likes it.



I think the specific movies you mention have a common thread, or nearly so: other than Black Widow, they all depict fantastical things. Even more fantastical than normal MCU fare, I mean. If you're making a giant flying dragon it's only going to look so "real" no matter how well it's done.

That said, yeah, it's kind of like flights being cramped-but-cheap: most people want the CGI, I think, to be good enough, and don't care that much. It's about long-term aspirations, too. Spielberg wanted to make an actual classic with Jurassic Park. While I think some MCU films are genuinely very good, and many will clearly be remembered for a very long time, the more recent releases don't seem to have than ambition, and taking that same level of care with the effects work would be kinda wasted if not used in a film that was making the most of its material in all the other ways a film can.



Victim of The Night
I think the specific movies you mention have a common thread, or nearly so: other than Black Widow, they all depict fantastical things. Even more fantastical than normal MCU fare, I mean. If you're making a giant flying dragon it's only going to look so "real" no matter how well it's done.

That said, yeah, it's kind of like flights being cramped-but-cheap: most people want the CGI, I think, to be good enough, and don't care that much. It's about long-term aspirations, too. Spielberg wanted to make an actual classic with Jurassic Park. While I think some MCU films are genuinely very good, and many will clearly be remembered for a very long time, the more recent releases don't seem to have than ambition, and taking that same level of care with the effects work would be kinda wasted if not used in a film that was making the most of its material in all the other ways a film can.
Yeah, but a lot of them actually look worse than good CGI did 10 years ago. One of my closest friends is in the CGI business for movies, commercials, that sort of thing, and he agreed that the effects in the recent Marvel films looked like they'd gone back in time a decade or more.
I agree that Marvel no longer seems to have "that ambition" and that it's reflected not only in the terrible scripts they've been churning out but in the FX as well.
I have a tendency to feel that Marvel is tightening budgets a bit since they now know that every movie they put out is gonna have a huge opening and a Top-50 All Time box-office. And I just wonder if that's kinda going around. I mean, that snake looks terrible compared to CGI we saw a few years back. Is that any actual limitation of the technology or was it a business decision?



I agree that Marvel no longer seems to have "that ambition" and that it's reflected not only in the terrible scripts they've been churning out but in the FX as well.
Yeah, exactly. And I think that's bidirectional: the less effort and expectation they have for writing, the less it even makes sense to work hard on great FX, which in turn reinforces the lack of concern for the story (somewhat), and so on. It's just a bit of coasting after the first big chapter, which I'll continue to argue was and is something genuinely special. But I think the MCU has become what some of its critics thought it was all along. For now, at least.

I have a tendency to feel that Marvel is tightening budgets a bit since they now know that every movie they put out is gonna have a huge opening and a Top-50 All Time box-office.
I think maybe, but that can only last so long. Word gets around, people lose enthusiasm, and then they need to tighten up again. It's kinda like when a luxury brand (Victoria's Secret, or whatever) starts targeting cheaper price points to bring in more customers. It works well at first because suddenly this thing, associated with very high quality, is easier to acquire, but that dilutes the association with quality and eventually you have to pull out of the nosedive.



Registered User
It's weird how CGI seems to be getting worse instead of better in movies.

Probably has something to do with the sheer amount of stuff they're making. Probably has to do with us having seen thousands of hours of effects and noticing subtle differences. It's the EZ-Mac solution to any imaginative problem and I think that "creatives" have taken to just hitting the EZ button when they're stuck.



It is weird though. There are effects shots in 1993's Jurassic Park and 1997's Starship Troopers that are more credible than shots I am seeing in movies made decades later. Of course, the bad CGI of the past was much worse, right? Scorpion King?



I have heard the occasional anecdote about how there's just way more demand for CGI than there is supply, at least in terms of the good stuff. In other words, a lack of super talented CGI engineers, combined with many of the talented ones stretching themselves thin anyway. I can buy that.



Was making a delivery this morning and there's this guy of about 70 there that I talk movies to. He tells me he saw a great movie last weekend. I expected it to be a classic western or noir but he was talking about Prey. He called it a 10 out of 10. I was very surprised but it made me want to see it more.



I have heard the occasional anecdote about how there's just way more demand for CGI than there is supply, at least in terms of the good stuff. In other words, a lack of super talented CGI engineers, combined with many of the talented ones stretching themselves thin anyway. I can buy that.

It's an end all be all movies are so focused on computers they've lost the art of framing shots, setting scores, building sets and creating real live in worlds.





This was 45 years ago and it looks better than most of what you see today. Because it was made with practical effects you see the textures and dust on the objects the scene is built up so you can see what's happening.



Victim of The Night
Yeah, exactly. And I think that's bidirectional: the less effort and expectation they have for writing, the less it even makes sense to work hard on great FX, which in turn reinforces the lack of concern for the story (somewhat), and so on. It's just a bit of coasting after the first big chapter, which I'll continue to argue was and is something genuinely special. But I think the MCU has become what some of its critics thought it was all along. For now, at least.


I think maybe, but that can only last so long. Word gets around, people lose enthusiasm, and then they need to tighten up again. It's kinda like when a luxury brand (Victoria's Secret, or whatever) starts targeting cheaper price points to bring in more customers. It works well at first because suddenly this thing, associated with very high quality, is easier to acquire, but that dilutes the association with quality and eventually you have to pull out of the nosedive.
But can they?
I mean, who is the really charismatic character that's in good movies now for the MCU outside of Peter Parker?
They're trying to act like Stephen Strange is the new Tony Stark but I don't think anyone's buying it. And they obviously don't have a ton of confidence in Captain Marvel. Eternals (relatively) bombed so I doubt we'll see any of them again. Awkwafina was the actual star of Shang-Chi, not, ya know, Shang-Chi. They didn't put in the work and now they have a bunch of characters a lot of die-hard fans don't really care about and aren't necessarily inspiring enough to be the groundwork for a soft reboot of the universe.



Victim of The Night
It is weird though. There are effects shots in 1993's Jurassic Park and 1997's Starship Troopers that are more credible than shots I am seeing in movies made decades later. Of course, the bad CGI of the past was much worse, right? Scorpion King?
I agree.
I think OG Jurassic Park still looks more credible than the last half hour of Shang-Chi.



Victim of The Night
Was making a delivery this morning and there's this guy of about 70 there that I talk movies to. He tells me he saw a great movie last weekend. I expected it to be a classic western or noir but he was talking about Prey. He called it a 10 out of 10. I was very surprised but it made me want to see it more.
I'm genuinely surprised, because I thought this was a property that should have been put to sleep a long time ago, but I cannot stop running into people who really liked it.
I dunno if that's gonna be enough to make me watch it but, hey, I have the next week off, who knows?