The original Terminator

So apparently the next Terminator movie will feature Arnold Schwarzenegger…or at least a CGI version of him, created from a full body mold taken when he made the first movie.

I’m actually pretty excited about this. I love continuity and cameos. I was only mildly interested in the movie before; now I actually feel like seeing it.

When we first started seeing CGI in movies, I was unimpressed. It looked fake and, worse, like it was drawn on top of the scene rather than existing in it. I could spot even the best-rendered model.

Around the time of the Star Wars prequels, that began to change. Watching those movies, I knew that most of what I was looking at didn’t actually exist…but it was all seamless. Nothing looked like it had been added in later. Part of that was surely due to more realistic modeling, but I believe the fact that the movies were filmed digitally also made a difference. After that, it started getting harder to tell what had existed tangibly and what had been created with a computer.

At one time, I believed CGI could never surpass stop-motion animation in terms of feeling real. Despite the sometimes jerky movements, stop-motion objects have always had a depth to them. You got a sense, looking at them, that you could touch them. But nowadays I am rarely jarred when I see a computer-animated portion of a movie, and sometimes I don’t realize it at all.

I don’t know if I’m just getting used to CGI or if it’s improved to the point that it looks real, but whatever it is, it has changed my approach to computer animation. Ten years go, upon hearing that a CGI version of Schwarzenegger was going to be in a movie, I would have thrown up my hands in annoyance and despair. But today, I think it’s going to be awesome.