Diary Of The Dead

Discussion in 'General' started by Wez4555, Nov 3, 2006.

  1. Workshed

    Workshed a.k.a. Villyan Shit

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    Thought that this could really have been a successful film, but with the awful CGI it ended up only slightly better than than Land of the Dead. What is George Romero doing with all this CGI? It's so obvious and distracting, and it takes me out of his films. I am not afraid or squeamish when I know that the gore is happening on a computer. It's lame.

    Yet, I liked the multiple messages in this, and I really felt urgency when watching the handheld POVs. I thought the characters were believable, and all the scenarios felt authentic. Loved the warehouse section, especially when the boys were lost and there was a zombie strolling around...somewhere with them.

    The cheesy montages with voiceover were bad, yes, but I could have stomached them if there hadn't been the terrible CGI. It's not scary when the blood isn't there with the actors. It just isn't.
     
  2. ReelFear

    ReelFear New Member

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    To me this is the "Cloverfield" of zombie movies. The writing was good, but there's almost no sign of Romero's style to be found. Really, Matt Reeves could have easily directed this and you wouldn't know the difference. Oh Well. Not a complete failure, but this "Dead" film will always be the red-headed stepchild of the series.
     
  3. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

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    For the hand held one point perspective like DIARY uses, CGI absolutely had to be used. Traditional SFX like Savini or Bottin rely on cutaway shots to maintain their illusion. I agree that the old effects are better, but the truth of the matter is that a film like this simply couldn't have been possible 20 years ago without substantially limiting the gore. Think the CGI is bad? Latex effects would have been even less believable.
     
  4. Wez4555

    Wez4555 Happy Trees Motherfucker!

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    fucking amazing!
     
  5. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    I don't know, Cannbal Holocaust found a way of incorporating handheld segments and decent gore. If the way it was made limited what they could do, then I'd say the issue was the way it was written. And who did that?

    CGI was used here, I'm guessing, because it was cheaper, not because of anything else.
     
  6. Mortis

    Mortis GARBAGE DAY!

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    Land's budget was 16 million and Diary's was around 2. I'm hoping for a Diary 2 (or whatever other zombie flick(s) he has up his sleeve).
     
  7. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

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    Untrue for the most part. It has little to nothing to do with how it is written. It all really depends upon what you want to accomplish. It's easy to pull intestines out from underneath t-shirts, but it is quite another matter to have a zombie's head slowly dissolve from acid while it's still walking around, or jab a scythe through a man's head on camera without cutting away. These type of set pieces couldn't be accomplished without CGI to any real degree of success.
     
  8. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    Oh of course, whatever you say, that's what it is. :D I forgot.

    No, it has everything to do with how it's written. If it's written one way, it does one thing, if it's written another, it does another. You can, I'd argue, accomplish the same thing with "real" FX (though in this case we'll never know for sure) - which is suggested by the example given. No-one, as far as I've read, has suggested there should be no CGI at all - just that the way it was handled was poor - which I happen to agree with. Are you saying that you couldn't write a reason for there being a cutaway, for example? Or digitally cut and alter the film so it hid transitions? Or have you been fooled into thinking these are all one takes? These films might appear to be the product of being handheld, but in fact their choreographied (I'm pretty sure you know this :D). So yeah, you can do whatever you want, and whatever it takes.

    It seems obvious to me that Romero was hampered by budget restrictions - and that drove these decisions. He wrote it that way, and executed it that way, because of that. Whatever his "intention", he had to work with what he had. Which apparently wasn't much.

    Or maybe he knew the budget, knew what he could do, and just did the best he could - writing and executing as best he could.
     
  9. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

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    Not if my entire purpose is to not have cutaways, no.

    The point is not that these sequences couldn't be handled differently without using CGI, but simply put, you still can't do these kind of effects old school without cutting away. You want it in one take, you have to use CGI otherwise it will be painfully obvious that you're using animatronics and latex. One can also argue that neither does CGI. Neither choice is optimal in my opinion. The only real question of the matter is which technique looks the least fake on film.
     
  10. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    Well, have you seen Cloverfield? That seemed to manage cutaways in the same handheld sphere (this time to hide the monster rather than expose it). But it was written and made to accommodate it. Regardless, I think with digital editing it could be managed quite seemlessly today. I was just reading Don Mays' comments about how he was able to digitally add a guys fingers back after a negative tear. A small scale example, but indicative that the skies the limit. And how about that ludicrous elevator thing that was on here recently? Wasn't that simple digital editing to accommodate real people mixed in odd ways?

    Basically I don't even see why these have to be done in one-take.... do multiple takes and edit them together, digitally mixing the frames. This happens all the time with CGI when they putting in buildings etc.
     
  11. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

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    I haven't seen Cloverfield, but I don't think it's quite fair to compare Diary to a movie that had more than 12 times the budget to work with. What you're talking about isn't CGI, just old school editing techniques that have been around for decades but done in a digital medium. I'd have to go back and rewatch Diary a third time, but I'm fairly certain examples of those are on display as well.
     
  12. Workshed

    Workshed a.k.a. Villyan Shit

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    I hear what maybrick is saying, but my response is basically: well, the experience was lost, then. If it truly had to be CGI for the bulk of the time, then "it" didn't work. I would have much preferred sacrificing some of the illusion of the first-person POV and gaining the illusion of believable splatter.

    Yep, certain scenes required CGI--the scythe scene, for example (which honestly didn't look that bad, I'll admit, and did take me by surprise), and the aforementioned zombie dissolve, which did not work, but was a cool idea for a kill--but the opening attack? Did that really require CGI blood? How about when the newswoman's face, which is out of the frame, begins to bleed, we get CGI blood coming into the shot from out of the frame.

    From the opinion of someone who liked the film, I think it was severely limited and ultimately hampered in its experience by its reliance on CGI.
     
  13. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

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    No doubt. I totally agree. I'm just sayin'. Devil's advocate? ;)
     
  14. Workshed

    Workshed a.k.a. Villyan Shit

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    OK, OK, OK. :cool:

    I also liked the idea of zombies trapped in a pool.
     
  15. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that had potential. You want to know what really irked me the most about the movie? It wasn't the effects or the acting, it was that Romero plagiarized himself when he had the skinny emo kid say almost word-for-word the exact same "Is he dead?" speech that Patricia Tallman gave in the Night of the Living Dead remake. Much as I try to defend Romero I can't excuse or forgive that bit of scriptwriting laziness in the slightest.
     
  16. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    Yeah, that was a great moment. Equal to the zombies swinging in trees in earlier films, imo. I didn't laugh at the Amish guy though - and people had built him up.
     
  17. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

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    The problem is though, now that I think about it a little bit, is that although dead bodies sink to the bottom at first, don't they (for whatever reason) eventually float? That's quite a lack of foresight on the kid's part for throwing them all into the pool.
     
  18. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    Well, they don't run either. So says George. Sometimes they defy zombiedom.
     
  19. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

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    Have to admit I laugh at his logic. Ankles will snap if they try to run, but their jaws won't when they try to bite your arm off? :lol:
     
  20. Workshed

    Workshed a.k.a. Villyan Shit

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    I liked the idea of this man-out-of-time saving a bunch of techno-reliant brats, but not enough was made of that scenario. His chalkboard was pretty funny.
     

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