King Kong Tribute Thread (THE REAL KING KONG!)

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Re: King Kong Tribute Thread (THE REAL KING KONG!)

Postby UltramanGoji » Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:58 pm

Stop motion, as a visual effect in an otherwise normal live-action film, has never once looked convincing to me. Ever.

Do I enjoy it? Absolutely. It's a fun and creative effect. But that doesn't instantly translate to me thinking it's a convincing effect.

Kong '33 is my favorite incarnation of the big ape, but as far as the most convincing Kong on screen, the 1976 version absolutely trumps it. Does that mean all suitmation effects are better than stop motion? Not necessarily, but 9 times out of 10, the suitmation does a much better job at portraying a fictional creature in the world of the film.

This:

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...does not convince me that the hydra is actually engaging with the environment around it. It's movements are way too jerky which immediately ruin any and all immersion. It's compositing is too contrasting with the live footage of the actor.

This:

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...does do a brilliant job of convincing me that Godzilla's actually interacting with his environment. Why? Because the suit's actually in the environment! And there's an actual person performing the motions (though an argument can definitely be made that stop-motion animators are themselves a kind of actor but I digress).

Is stop motion fun? Absolutely. Is it creative and a prime example of fantastic animating ability and craftsmanship? You bet. Is it a more convincing/better effect? No. And it never will be.

Unless...

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...the entire world is created through the technique. Films like those from Laika and Aardman excel at stop motion because they are not restricted by essentially being a composite effect with nothing to interact with. With the models being the "actors" and not just the "effect", it allows for the audience to be fully immersed because nothing in the film's environment is contrasting.

Does that make sense? I'll try to summarize it:

Stop motion, while a creative and commendable technique, ultimately fails at portraying a realistic creature juxtaposed with a real environment because the stop motion model is not actually interacting with anything and is often noticeably composited into the shot. Suitmation excels at portraying a realistic creature juxtaposed with a real environment because the suit actually exists in the environment and can interact with it. Stop motion excels best when it is the sole technique a film is composed of because there is no distraction from a contrasting environment.
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Re: King Kong Tribute Thread (THE REAL KING KONG!)

Postby Mr. Yellow » Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:59 pm

MaxRebo320 wrote:Its a pretty common viewpoint for old, curmudgeonly "monster kids" to have disdain for Japanese monster movies, viewing them as little more than cheap, childish crap, but view the likes of It Came from Beneath the Sea or 20 Million Miles to Earth as masterpieces. Pretty stupid.


I really don't get this, but its definitely true because there doesn't seem to be a lot of crossover. Either you're all Kaiju or all Monster Kid. I was and am both and enjoy both. Wonder why that is.
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Re: King Kong Tribute Thread (THE REAL KING KONG!)

Postby UltramanGoji » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:08 pm

Mr. Yellow wrote:
MaxRebo320 wrote:Its a pretty common viewpoint for old, curmudgeonly "monster kids" to have disdain for Japanese monster movies, viewing them as little more than cheap, childish crap, but view the likes of It Came from Beneath the Sea or 20 Million Miles to Earth as masterpieces. Pretty stupid.


I really don't get this, but its definitely true because there doesn't seem to be a lot of crossover. Either you're all Kaiju or all Monster Kid. I was and am both and enjoy both. Wonder why that is.


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Re: King Kong Tribute Thread (THE REAL KING KONG!)

Postby eabaker » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:53 pm

UltramanGoji wrote:Stop motion, as a visual effect in an otherwise normal live-action film, has never once looked convincing to me. Ever.


While overall I agree with your point (and you chose great visual examples), I would like to offer one suggested counter to this specific, broad claim:

The Empire Strikes Back

To me, the sparingly used stop motion effects in Empire (which admittedly take place in a fairly abstract setting and are heavily intercut with other techniques), while recognizable when one is looking for the signs, do not in any way stand out as separate from the rest of their environment.
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Re: King Kong Tribute Thread (THE REAL KING KONG!)

Postby UltramanGoji » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:17 pm

eabaker wrote:
UltramanGoji wrote:Stop motion, as a visual effect in an otherwise normal live-action film, has never once looked convincing to me. Ever.


While overall I agree with your point (and you chose great visual examples), I would like to offer one suggested counter to this specific, broad claim:

The Empire Strikes Back

To me, the sparingly used stop motion effects in Empire (which admittedly take place in a fairly abstract setting and are heavily intercut with other techniques), while recognizable when one is looking for the signs, do not in any way stand out as separate from the rest of their environment.


And with that example, I admit a weakness! I totally agree.

It's actually a testament to how good the effects are in the Hoth battle that it never even crossed my mind when thinking about famous stop motion sequences in films!
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Re: King Kong Tribute Thread (THE REAL KING KONG!)

Postby eabaker » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:03 pm

UltramanGoji wrote:
eabaker wrote:
UltramanGoji wrote:Stop motion, as a visual effect in an otherwise normal live-action film, has never once looked convincing to me. Ever.


While overall I agree with your point (and you chose great visual examples), I would like to offer one suggested counter to this specific, broad claim:

The Empire Strikes Back

To me, the sparingly used stop motion effects in Empire (which admittedly take place in a fairly abstract setting and are heavily intercut with other techniques), while recognizable when one is looking for the signs, do not in any way stand out as separate from the rest of their environment.


And with that example, I admit a weakness! I totally agree.

It's actually a testament to how good the effects are in the Hoth battle that it never even crossed my mind when thinking about famous stop motion sequences in films!


I think the number of caveats associated with that example goes to prove your main point, though. :)
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Re: King Kong Tribute Thread (THE REAL KING KONG!)

Postby MaxRebo320 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:05 pm

UltramanGoji wrote:
Mr. Yellow wrote:I really don't get this, but its definitely true because there doesn't seem to be a lot of crossover. Either you're all Kaiju or all Monster Kid. I was and am both and enjoy both. Wonder why that is.


"Unconscious" nationalism, mostly.

As much as I hate pulling that card in regards to stuff like this...yeah, you're probably on to something. Monsturd Kids tend to also like films like Gorgo and Them!, which don't utilize Stop Motion, and are really no better or worse than the typical, above-average Toho Kaiju film from the time. I was going to say it could in part just have to do with Japanese monster movies just simply not being apart of their childhoods (And anything they didn't see as a kid is automatically bad in their book), but considering those were just as much a staple of late night TV, drive-ins, etc. I doubt that's it.
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Re: King Kong Tribute Thread (THE REAL KING KONG!)

Postby Mr. Yellow » Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:45 am

“Childhood” is kind of relative in this instance. There’s lots of stuff I watched during my childhood that definitely wasn’t made when I was a child. As a kid, it was all different types of special effects and all amazing to me. Even the super cheesy stuff I enjoyed and still do so on a level today.
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Re: King Kong Tribute Thread (THE REAL KING KONG!)

Postby tbeasley » Sun Jun 16, 2019 4:32 pm

MaxRebo320 wrote:Its a pretty common viewpoint for old, curmudgeonly "monster kids" to have disdain for Japanese monster movies, viewing them as little more than cheap, childish crap, but view the likes of It Came from Beneath the Sea or 20 Million Miles to Earth as masterpieces. Pretty stupid.


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Re: King Kong Tribute Thread (THE REAL KING KONG!)

Postby MaxRebo320 » Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:53 pm

tbeasley wrote:
MaxRebo320 wrote:Its a pretty common viewpoint for old, curmudgeonly "monster kids" to have disdain for Japanese monster movies, viewing them as little more than cheap, childish crap, but view the likes of It Came from Beneath the Sea or 20 Million Miles to Earth as masterpieces. Pretty stupid.


I'm with you on this, even if I do like 20 Million Miles quite a bit.

So do I, as with all of the other Harryhausen movies I've seen (Which admittedly, is only around 6 - 7). But I really wouldn't rate them up their with Toho's better efforts, with the exception of 7th Voyage of Sinbad and Jason and the Argonauts (And maybe Mighty Joe Young, though I'm not sure if that's deemed more of a Harryhausen or O'Brien endeavor), which I would rate about on-par with said finer films in the Toho canon.
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Re: King Kong Tribute Thread (THE REAL KING KONG!)

Postby godzilla98rules » Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:37 pm

UltramanGoji wrote:
eabaker wrote:
UltramanGoji wrote:Stop motion, as a visual effect in an otherwise normal live-action film, has never once looked convincing to me. Ever.


While overall I agree with your point (and you chose great visual examples), I would like to offer one suggested counter to this specific, broad claim:

The Empire Strikes Back

To me, the sparingly used stop motion effects in Empire (which admittedly take place in a fairly abstract setting and are heavily intercut with other techniques), while recognizable when one is looking for the signs, do not in any way stand out as separate from the rest of their environment.


And with that example, I admit a weakness! I totally agree.

It's actually a testament to how good the effects are in the Hoth battle that it never even crossed my mind when thinking about famous stop motion sequences in films!


To me, the reason why the stop motion in Episode V still looks so good is because the AT-AT's are machines. It is way more convincing to make a machine move in stop motion than an organic object because a machine will naturally move with bulk and "clunkiness" and have an occasional jitter. It's the same reason I absolutely love the stop motion work on the T-800 in the first Terminator.

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Re: King Kong Tribute Thread (THE REAL KING KONG!)

Postby Kaiju-King42 » Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:41 am

UltramanGoji wrote:Is stop motion fun? Absolutely. Is it creative and a prime example of fantastic animating ability and craftsmanship? You bet. Is it a more convincing/better effect? No. And it never will be.




Sorry, gotta strongly disagree with you on this one.

3:40 is frighteningly realistic.
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Re: King Kong Tribute Thread (THE REAL KING KONG!)

Postby Terasawa » Sat Jun 22, 2019 7:16 am

I love the Japanese style man in suit technique but there are very few ways it’s better than top level stop motion.
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Re: King Kong Tribute Thread (THE REAL KING KONG!)

Postby UltramanGoji » Sat Jun 22, 2019 7:46 am

Kaiju-King42 wrote:
UltramanGoji wrote:Is stop motion fun? Absolutely. Is it creative and a prime example of fantastic animating ability and craftsmanship? You bet. Is it a more convincing/better effect? No. And it never will be.



Sorry, gotta strongly disagree with you on this one.

3:40 is frighteningly realistic.


Meh, not really. Still too jerky and still too composite-y.
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Re: King Kong Tribute Thread (THE REAL KING KONG!)

Postby Godzilla165 » Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:31 pm

Terasawa wrote:I love the Japanese style man in suit technique but there are very few ways it’s better than top level stop motion.

I’ll agree to a point with that sentiment. Films like Jason and the Argonauts, Mighty Joe Young, and 20,000 Fathoms have effects that honestly still stand the test of time and are an absolute joy to go back and watch even today. Top tier stop motion work, even in a live action setting, is a gorgeous sight to behold, and I honestly wish that more films would utilize this dying technique more.

However, on the flip side, when suitmation is at its absolute best, I have to put it a step above even the best of stop motion.
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Re: King Kong Tribute Thread (THE REAL KING KONG!)

Postby Pkmatrix » Wed Jun 26, 2019 7:06 am

UltramanGoji wrote:
Kaiju-King42 wrote:
UltramanGoji wrote:Is stop motion fun? Absolutely. Is it creative and a prime example of fantastic animating ability and craftsmanship? You bet. Is it a more convincing/better effect? No. And it never will be.



Sorry, gotta strongly disagree with you on this one.

3:40 is frighteningly realistic.


Meh, not really. Still too jerky and still too composite-y.


I'm not going to hold the compositing against stop motion, mainly because compositing was always difficult to pull off and also the standard for what was considered an effective composite has changed. Film screenings and video monitor resolutions used to be much blurrier not too long ago, after all, and that covered up things to an extent making 20th Century film compositing much more noticeable than what we expect in the 21st Century. Doubly so for Harryhausen-style methods of compositing scale models into live action shots.

The biggest advantage for stop motion, at least up until the '80s/'90s, was that it was generally easier to depict radically inhuman creatures with stop motion than with suitmation. Suitmation generally requires you be able to stick with either a humanoid shape, or at least a shape that one or two people could be contorted into. That changed, however, when puppetry and animatronics greatly improved in the '70s and '80s which is part of why you saw stop motion drop off so rapidly post-1980 in favor of suitmation, animatronics, and puppetry. The main reason Jurassic Park was even considering stop motion was because the studio balked at the price tag for building the full size WALKING dinosaur robots Spielberg initially wanted.

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Re: King Kong Tribute Thread (THE REAL KING KONG!)

Postby johnboy3434 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:45 pm

The character of King Kong originally appeared in his eponymous film released on 7 April 1933. In the United States, "works of corporate authorship" (which in terms of fiction means basically anything that isn't a novel, since that's pretty much the only thing you can make without anyone else's help) have copyright status for 95 years plus the remainder of the final year.

In other words, on 1 January 2029, the original Kong film will enter the public domain, making the big ape the first (culturally significant) giant monster to be open to unlimited derivative works. When that happens, do you think various studios will try to take advantage of it? Will we see a glut of Kong films in theaters and straight to DVD or television? Or will the property remain largely ignored and we'll still only get a reboot every couple decades like now?
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Re: King Kong Tribute Thread (THE REAL KING KONG!)

Postby UltramanGoji » Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:47 pm

The latter. Kong is a timeless story but it's not a hot property that companies are itching to get their hands on.
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Re: King Kong Tribute Thread (THE REAL KING KONG!)

Postby johnboy3434 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:15 pm

Never mind, apparently King Kong first appeared in the original film's novelization, published on 27 December 1932. Furthermore, the novel's copyright was not renewed after 28 years (as was required at the time), so it lapsed into the public domain on 1 January 1961. Technically, the character has been open season for 58 years and no rush to take advantage has happened. So yeah, you're right.

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Re: King Kong Tribute Thread (THE REAL KING KONG!)

Postby NSZ » Wed Jul 17, 2019 4:12 pm

johnboy3434 wrote:Never mind, apparently King Kong first appeared in the original film's novelization, published on 27 December 1932. Furthermore, the novel's copyright was not renewed after 28 years (as was required at the time), so it lapsed into the public domain on 1 January 1961. Technically, the character has been open season for 58 years and no rush to take advantage has happened. So yeah, you're right.


Even if there was, pretty bold to assume that Disney's not gonna have copyright terms extended by another 50-100 years. They've done it before, they'll do it again.
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