reaping the cost of solitude

Friday, February 16, 2018

Black Panther: Despite Strong Performances it Suffers from Horrible CGI

I just got back from seeing Black Panther, feeling underwhelmed and a bit disappointed. It's a good movie with great characters, but suffered from poor visual effects, poor lighting, and an over-abundance of scenes using green screen.

My biggest problem with the movie is why Marvel didn't just shell out enough cash to film it on location in Africa. I found myself being pulled out of suspended disbelief numerous times when the clearly fake landscape of Wakanda is shown on screen. It was blatantly obvious this was filmed in a studio adorned with blue and green screens and I found myself glancing at other people in the theater wondering if anyone bought it. Wakanda itself is a confusing mess and not fully realized. My wife pointed out how it's shown as a metropolis at the start, but when battle breaks out, there's suddenly a vast expanse of desert with no skyscrapers to be found.

Anyway, the movie starts out really safe and felt generic at times but picks up once Killmonger sets foot in Wakanda and challenges T'Challa for the throne. What follows is the best scene in the movie. For the first time, there was real risk and the stakes were high. The one-on-one battle to the death between T-Challa and Killmonger was reminiscent of Achilles and Hector's fight in the movie "Troy".

The female supporting cast was great as well, especially Danai Gurira who played the ever-loyal-to-the-throne general. But this movie would not have been anywhere near as good if not for Michael B. Jordan- who played Killmonger with feverish intensity and charisma, even eclipsing Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa. 

While this movie had fake visuals, the performances clearly saved it from mediocrity. But even the otherwise good performances suffered from the poor lighting and CG graphics. There were scenes where actors seemed plastered on a static blurred-out background. For anyone to really enjoy this, you'd have to be okay with the abundance of fake vistas and backdrops.

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