I will sometimes gripe about manufactured culture to the point where it may seem I don’t like certain genres at all, when in fact I do (e.g. CGI animated movies and superhero comic books).
After griping about Hollywood CGI animated features in the course of raving about Sita Sings the Blues recently, I’ll point out that I really do like Computer Generated Imaging when it’s used with intelligence, wit and imagination (The Incredibles is one of my favorite movies); as opposed to being put into service for super-slick formulaic features in which name voice talent is seen as a prerequisite but actual stories are in short supply.
As a case in point, I’ll recommend a wonderful short film by Bruce Branit called World Builder, in which a man builds a holographic 3-D environment for the woman he loves. The live action part of the film was shot in a single day, the CGI post production was done over the course of two years.
The film makes good use of CGI, which, in a way, is part of the subject, and anyone who has worked in CGI applications, even consumer level “world builders” like Bryce or Vue d’Esprit, and users of Google Sketchup in particular, will find entertaining nods to the way these things work.
The real point, though, is that the film is a story, and a touching one at that; and the effects are in the end only tools to enable the telling of the story; something that Big Entertainment tends to forget in the midst of their calculations about box office receipts and visions of sugarplum merchandising returns.