Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is Nearly CGI Free
Just when I thought that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull didn't have any major buzz, not only does it make one hell of a comeback by topping the Most Anticipated Summer 2008 Movies list and debuting a new TV spot, but now another solid article that's guaranteed to generate even more buzz hits. Our friends at io9 caught up with production designer Guy Hendrix Dyas, who built all of the sets for Indy 4, and heard some very interesting things - primarily that they built almost all of the sets and there really isn't too much CGI.
Dyas is one of today's phenomenal production designers, currently with X-Men 2, Superman Returns, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and Indiana Jones 4 under his belt. You can see a gallery of some of his work over at io9. However, let's get back to the topic at hand. Dyas told io9:
"There really wasn't much CGI. We built all the sets… We built all of the [moving stone staircases, converging stone pillars and other pieces] so it was very nice."
He also goes on to say that they used little to no greenscreen. However, I wouldn't be so quick to jump on a quote like that and say there really will be no CGI in the end. I even remember hearing from Spielberg that the reason the trailer was so late was because they wanted 100% finished scenes and they weren't ready until recently. Peter from SlashFilm calms our nerves, however, saying that "Spielberg estimated during production that 30% of the visual effects would be CGI, but mostly for elements such as backdrops and rotoscope removal of the visible safety wires during stunt sequences. Apparently, the finished film will contain only 'a couple of hundred' effects shots, compared to Michael Bay's Transformers which featured almost 650 effects shots or Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3 which featured almost 1,000 effects shots."
I really don't think that having CGI, albeit minimally, in a movie like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a bad thing. I do think it's a good thing that they used the least amount they could, because I think it will stay truer to its roots, but if CGI is used in the right ways, I don't imagine it would be that detrimental. However, I do commend Spielberg for choosing to mimic as closely as possible the techniques they used to film the first three Indiana Jones movies. I hate it when sequels have a disconnected feeling because one decided to use CGI as opposed to the original methods.
Although the first few trailers haven't been overly exciting, the first intro bit in the last TV spot did make me feel a bit nostalgic. I'm very excited to see Indiana Jones return to the big screen again and I'm still holding out hoping that this will live up to the first three.
Does this change your impression of Indiana Jones 4 for the better or for the worse?