The recent boom of visual special effects, or VFX, in movies, particularly those of the “super-hero” theme, creates some unpleasant feelings amongst many actors. This includes the main character of the new Marvel show, She-Hulk, played by Tatiana Maslany.
In a recent interview, she said that her perception during the filming of the new series was of “burnout” amongst those responsible for adding effects to her body and skin as she turns “green” in this new production, thanks to the VFX.
Some might say it’s “part of the job,” but the need for studios to reduce their “expenditure” and create more profitable products is truly showing its toll on some of the workers. But particularly for those in charge of adding effects to the actresses and actors since their work is in the “front row” and will be the target of criticism if it isn’t perfect.
Is She-Hulk Facing Criticism?
Yes, unfortunately for many of these overworked visual effects artists, one of the main criticisms of Marvel’s new show, other than the quite poor writing, is the quality of VFX.
In fact, lately, most of the new productions’ problems are mainly poor writing and using cheap, poorly produced VFX. They are also the kinds of problems that might cause a big production to face a great deal of criticism, inevitably leading to lower viewing numbers and, in many cases, discontinuing a series that promised to be great.
A leading example in that regard is the latest Resident Evil movie, bombarded primarily by its awful writing (they forced a “diverse” character into Wesker, and most of the fans just didn’t let them get away with it), and second for having some of the worst VFX seen in a recent movie so far.
But Why Is VFX So Important?
Movies lately are relying heavily on the use of such technologies to create worlds that otherwise would be impossible to show in a film. Whereas in many cases, the use of CGI or Computer Generated Imagery is good enough to persuade the majority of the audience, in other movies or series, the use of “old school” some of the audience highly regard visual effects as the overuse of CGI is causing a lot of backfires.
It’s impossible to create something completely “believable” using only computer graphics. This is true even when, in some cases, they are really advanced and can deliver great products. But in fact, there’s something they can still get quite right, and that is the natural expressions some actors can deliver. This is where VFX gets a great point in their favor since the artists work over the faces of real actors, adding a little in some cases and others, directly creating a new face after capturing the movements with motion capture.
There’s a lot of old school in the art that the VFX artists create. In fact, they used to be called “practical effects,” as they used different techniques to add stuff to the actors’ faces or maybe create space battles using big-sized models and special paint to give the sensation of huge empty space. The old Star Wars trilogy is one of the best examples in this regard, using as many techniques as possible, ranging from the use of makeup to perspective to improve the feeling of motion and vertigo in space fighting.
The Overworking Problem
The statements of She-Hulk actress Tatiana Maslany are not isolated, as she said she felt “incredibly deferential to how talented these artists are and how quickly they have to work, obviously, much quicker than probably should be given to them, in terms of like churning these things out.”
This immediately sparked a great deal of backlash, as some fans also noticed some changes being implemented in the way the She-Hulk movement and VFX feel, another clear statement of how overworked and short-term those artists are. Also, the writer of some of the Disney+ series, Jessica Gao, said that she “stands in solidarity with workers,” adding that it’s “terrible” that “a lot of artists feel rushed” and “the workload is too intensive.”
Actually, according to some VFX artists, the heavy use of CGI and the overpressure of the artists in the MCU universe can be clearly seen in the She-Hulk series, with an enormous level of bad details, making it one of the worst examples in this universe of superheroes.
For some fans, it’s been some sort of “slap” in the face as they trusted that a series coming from such a company as Marvel would stand up to the standards this studio is used to delivering.
Some critics said that they showed a much-improved version in the trailers, just to downgrade it in the original release, showing clearly that it might have been something they wanted to do but eventually couldn’t keep up to the demanding pace this super-production actually required.
The overworking of VFX and, ultimately, CGI artists led to such poor performance. Many of the producers are now in a spot since they could have hired bigger VFX teams in these mega productions to distribute the workload instead of rushing the overworked team. Like Maslany, we, too, stand with the workers. Find out more on Path of EX