At the end of the day, a film is supposed to entertain its audience. But the more we can immerse ourselves into a fictional story, the more we can enjoy it. This can be difficult with science-fiction since it deals with more fantastical concepts like prehistoric creatures, psychics, or extra-terrestrials.
That's where special effects come into play. Animatronics, puppets, and robotics have been used since the dawn of cinema to bring sci-fi to life. Now that computer-generated imagery has a foothold on Hollywood, practical effects seems to be a dying art form. Despite the fact prosthetics and animatronics were crafted for I Am Legend and the 2011 version of The Thing, they were swapped out at the last minute for unconvincing CGI.
Many people would argue in favour of computer effects, believing there are some visuals you can't achieve with practical effects alone. It's a fair point. No one will contest how impressive the CGI is in Terminator 2 or The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
But that doesn't mean practical effects should be discounted. No matter how convincing computer-generated imagery is, you can't just beat the real thing.
James Egan has written 80 books including
1000 Facts about Superheroes Vol. 1-3
1000 Facts about Supervillains Vol. 1-3
1000 Facts about The Greatest Films Ever Made Vol. 1-3
1000 Facts about Video Games Vol. 1-3
1000 Facts about TV Shows Vol. 1-3
Twitter - @jameswzegan85