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Why real stunts are better than CG! Vic Armstrong tells Quint about his approach to The Amazing Spider-Man!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a bit of a preview of a much longer interview coming up later this week (hopefully) with stuntman extraordinaire Vic Armstrong.

Armstrong was Harrison Ford’s double on the first three Indiana Jones movies, was Christopher Reeves’ double on the first two Superman movies and has become a stunt coordinator and second unit director on the biggest films around over the last two decades.

In the full interview I talked at length with him about his career, from You Only Live Twice to Legend and more, but we have a nice little chat about his most current job: stunt coordinator and second unit director on The Amazing Spider-Man. He talks a lot about how different the action is going to be in the reboot, how there was a big push from Marc Webb and Armstrong from the get-go that they were going to rely as much on real webswinging as they can.

Now, I know in the Sam Raimi movies they had some amazing stunt guys doing real in-air swinging, but for whatever reason they used more and more digital stunt guys throughout the series. So, who knows what we’ll actually see on the screen, but I love that the mindset is that the more practical they approach this, the more real it’s going to feel.

So, here’s a little snippet of the interview, focusing on The Amazing Spider-Man. Consider it a tease for the full interview to come that will shed some light on the approach to the new Spidey flick.



Quint: Do you think with the recent massive success of Fast Five, a film whose whole marketing campaign revolved around big, real stunts, that studios might turn away from their more CG-intensive stuntwork?

Vic Armstrong: I think that started already. The last few films I’ve been involved with, Green Hornet, Thor and now Spider-Man, the first thing said when we go into meetings is “We want make this as real as possible. We don’t want it to look like a CG fest,” etc, etc.

We spent weeks and weeks on Spider-Man getting Andrew Garfield and the stunt doubles to fly for real rather than just having cartoon characters whizzing around the screen. There’s some great stuff on YouTube of Spider-Man flying down 12th Ave. underneath this big, gothic archway, viaduct.



There’s a whole resurgence in doing things for real, which is how we like to do it. I’m not kidding people… we don’t cheat, but we don’t do things for real in the movie business. You don’t jump off a hundred foot building, land and walk away from it, but we can make it appear that you can. We’ve always used different tricks in the past, whether it be a stuntman landing on boxes and, with clever editing, you cut and see him land on the road. Things like that. To me, that’s no different to using CG in a movie to take out a pipe-ramp or to take out an airbag that you’re falling towards.

Quint: With the advent of DVD and the easy access to behind the scenes material on TV, DVD, books, etc, I think the average movie-goer is more aware of what’s going on behind the curtain than they used to. Using a combination of CG and real effects or stunt work makes it harder for the audience to spot the gag.

Vic Armstrong: Absolutely. When we did the last big of flying down in New York… We had fifty cars as he’d be flying above, swinging through as they’re driving up and down the road. Even the people in the cars who have seen it two or three times, you could see them looking out the windshields going “Whoooaaaa!”

Avi Arad, the producer of Spider-Man and he did all the other three Spider-Man (movies), he said “Oh my God, Vic. This is exactly what you said you guys were going to do!” My guys being myself and my brother Andy, who is the stunt coordinator with me. He said, “This is exactly what you said! It looks so different!”

When Spider-Man swings from one direction, then turns to swing another direction he’s pulling at 2 to 2 ½ Gs. That’s a lot of pressure on his body, but you see that on the body. You see the arms straightening out, you see the legs straightening out and then he pulls them back up as he then goes back up into his flying position.

You sense, subconsciously, the realism. You know. The eye and the brain is a funny thing. You only need something slightly off kilter for you to say, “Oh! Alarm-alarm-alarm! Something’s not right!” If somebody has one eye a quarter-inch higher, it’s not a lot, but straightaway the whole thing is out of balance and you see that in CG. When you see somebody swinging for real, then you look at the CG version your computer brain instantly tells you which is which.

Quint: Are you wrapped on The Amazing Spider-Man?

Vic Armstrong: I wrapped on Friday, yes. I’m going home to do a little publicity for the book, play a little golf and then I’ll be back!

Quint: How was that experience overall? Did you find it rewarding? From the man-on-the-street pictures and videos that have been coming out it looks really sharp from my perspective.

Vic Armstrong: I’m very, very happy with it. We did everything we set out to do and that’s all you can ever hope for. I’m very, very pleased with what we attempted and what we achieved. I really think it’s going to be a good movie.

It is a reboot. They don’t like to call it that, but it is a reboot. We went in at ground level and just changed everything; changed the actor, changed his approach to it and got some great, realistic modern parkour, skateboarding, flying… everything in it.



Armstrong’s a fascinating guy and a straight shooter. His book is fantastic. I love that he’s bringing his full talent and energy to films like Spider-Man, keeping the stuntman tradition alive and well.

Stay tuned for the full interview! We talk Robert Shaw, Tim Curry, Oliver Reed, Harrison Ford, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom, Gilliam’s Brazil, the evolution of Bond from the Connery days to modern day and much more!

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  • May 10, 2011, 4:50 p.m. CST

    I will DEFINITELY seek out this book. I had no idea...

    by WriteForTheEdit

  • May 10, 2011, 4:54 p.m. CST

    I'm glad they're doing some real web-swinging

    by rev_skarekroe

    Too bad about the weird looking costume.

  • May 10, 2011, 4:55 p.m. CST

    sounds great...

    by Detached

    ...very much looking forward to the rest of the interview... i'll bet he has great stories to tell...

  • May 10, 2011, 5:01 p.m. CST

    I'm always happy to see practicality used before CGI

    by Kammich

    But this(Spider-man) is really one instance where I was fine with heavy CGI assistance. Sure, the jump-off and landing can be handled by real-life stuntmen and it would look nice. But when Spidey is full-on swinging several hundred feet above the air, its different. I actually thought the Raimi series nailed the webswinging more than anything. My impression, when reading the comics, was that Spidey was supposed to look a little unnatural when in full-gate of his swinging. Look a little bit... arachnid. The CGI actually helps to pull that off and give it the stylistic 'oomph' that it requires. But, yeah, I support stuntmen and practical effects/stunt work whenever possible, so I'm still alright with it.

  • May 10, 2011, 5:03 p.m. CST

    okay, but

    by GWB.AT.T

    spider-man should move differently than a normal person, shouldn't he?? hope it actually looks like a man with super agility rather than a regular man just swinging on wires. the cgi was the very least of what was wrong with rami's approach.

  • May 10, 2011, 5:11 p.m. CST

    Great interview. Great guy. Still not seeing it.

    by bat725

    I'm fully confident they can pull it off. I have a lot of admiration for Andrew Garfield. But, I feel like I did when the owners of the Chicago Bulls decided they didn't want to win anymore championships, and they disbanded the champs. The fans were just left crushed wondering why. Not a single person in the world thought Spider-Man 3 was going to be the last one. What a sad way to end a trilogy and what a diss to the fans, not to mention Toby McGuire. Why couldn't they get a new director, like they did with Pirates or Potter, and just make Spidey 4? Ahh, this is getting old, already. The only thing positive coming out of this, is that hopefully, I won't have to wait that long for a Transformers reboot.

  • May 10, 2011, 5:13 p.m. CST

    Ok let me explain something to all you people

    by joevfx

    First off, I have a best friend in post production and That has worked on a bunch of big budget films and I just wanted to displel the whole "practical before CG" stuff, at least from what he tells me. First off, He always says he is all about getting great practically shot special effects plates to work from as a base and add vfx to it to enhance it. But, the fact of the matter is 9 times out of 10 the practiclly shot stuff never really works and actually sometimes causes more work for him then if he had to create it all from scratch. Especially flying wire work. You can always tell they are swinging from a wire no matter how much work the post production guys do. Hence why they go for a full CG character. So just because the practical stuff looks good when shot by a by stander with a cell phone doesn't mean it works in the actual edit. So stop crapping on the post production guys, cause I bet most of the stuff that you think is practical, is actually CG.

  • May 10, 2011, 5:15 p.m. CST

    Holy shit, Vic wrote a book?!

    by Lao_Che_Air_Freight

    Clicking over to Amazon to pick this up right after this post...thanks for the heads up! That's what I get for not checking my Indy forums lately! Though I'm an unabashed Crystal Skull defender, it's a crying shame that he ended up working on the 3rd Mummy film instead of getting the full KOTCS gig, and I feel it suffered for it. Here's hoping they managed to get him back for the fifth one if they do it.

  • May 10, 2011, 5:27 p.m. CST

    Can't they just shoot the wirework from Turn off the Night?

    by Domi'sInnerChild

    Yeah, I don't know. This really seems like one of those cases where CG works better than practical. Feels like somebody drew a line in the sand (Practical Thing from Fantastic Four anyone?). Seems like it would come off more like Indy swinging on a whip than Spidey.

  • May 10, 2011, 5:40 p.m. CST

    What percentage of Temple of Doom is Vic?

    by Nem_Wan

    Harrison Ford had surgery and was out for weeks and they filmed Vic Armstrong then added closeups of Harrison. They had an amazing resemblance back in the 80s. Vic Armstrong could be a photo double for Harrison as well as a stunt double. Not so much now, though. They aged very differently.

  • May 10, 2011, 5:40 p.m. CST

    Spider-man shouldn't websling like a normal guy

    by TheNothing

    Super-fast, super-agile, super-strong, and 2.5 G's are supposed to visibly affect how he swings? Not buying that.There's a balance between practical and CG, and over-reliance on either one can cripple you. Personally, I felt like the previous three didn't always make him acrobatic ENOUGH. Some of the scenes were awesome, but others felt like what they're describing here - a normal-looking dude holding onto a rope. The perfect reference IMO is the aerial fights in the game Web of Shadows. Those felt truly acrobatic, lightning fast, and larger than life. The aerial scenes should be exciting and breathtaking, not average-joe.

  • May 10, 2011, 5:47 p.m. CST

    met Vic a month ago

    by DinoBass

    Played golf with him and his son-in-law. During the course of the round asked them both what they did and was blown away to find out Vic's story. Really friendly, low-key guy, and he promised to autograph his book when I hit him up for another round of golf!

  • May 10, 2011, 5:52 p.m. CST

    cgi people look like shit and probably always will...

    by alienindisguise

    because cg "artists" don't understand the nuances of real humans. They're content to just make everything look like a shitty video game which is what 99.9% of it does.

  • May 10, 2011, 5:56 p.m. CST

    Nem_wan - Vic in ToD

    by Lao_Che_Air_Freight

    The conveyor belt fight is probably the biggest showcase of Vic doubling for Harrison, it's ALL him I'm, except for the close ups, due to Ford's injury as you said. And of course the hat grab from the spike room..

  • May 10, 2011, 5:57 p.m. CST

    Money trumps art

    by joevfx

    CG artists are more then capable of making photo real CG humans. Studios do not want to pay for the time it takes to do so and are happy with something that's close cause they know u lemmings will go see the movie anyway. So blame yourselves for supporting this studio behavior.

  • May 10, 2011, 6:05 p.m. CST


    by pat p.

    totally agree with what you're saying. he's spiderman. at the very least, he can lift 5 tons. in the first film he held a roosevelt island tram full of people in one hand. 2 g's should be nothing to him. when an actual spider spins a web and flies across distances it catches the wind and rides it for as long as it can. spidey should be the same way. that's not to say that he isn't prone to falling, but rather when he swings from his web it should look effortless and weightless, if you will.

  • May 10, 2011, 6:09 p.m. CST

    Spider-Man better be doing crazy acrobatics

    by mr teaspoon

    As has been said, god knows practical effects have their place. But Spider-Man had better be the agile acrobatic freak he is. One of my favorite moments in all of the previous trilogy is when Spidey zips through that tiny space in the 18-wheeler. That's the kind of shit we need more of.

  • May 10, 2011, 6:13 p.m. CST


    by Hipshot

    Dead right. Spiderman is as strong as ten stuntmen, and pulling 3 g's simply won't tax him. No stuntman can do that wire work without it looking like a normal human being swinging on a wire, as opposed to someone who is more agile, stronger, and faster than anything human has the right to be. It's not Bond. It's a comic book character, and frankly, I loved the CGI stuff.

  • May 10, 2011, 6:16 p.m. CST

    And that's another thing

    by joevfx

    He is freaking super human. The definition of super human is basically better then a human. So why would practical effects look anything like something a human can never do.

  • May 10, 2011, 6:19 p.m. CST

    What a life this guy has had ....


    Seriously ... The tales he could tell over a beer. Awesome.

  • May 10, 2011, 6:20 p.m. CST

    It will be all CGI in the final cut

    by rahtard

    The reason why Raimi went CGI was because the screen tests didn't look right with real stunts. This is Spider-man, not Batman, this is supposed to have a sense of super human to it. Remember, this is a movie about a kid getting bit by a spider and fighting a man lizard. Not a dude with bat ears and a bunch of money taking down clowns. It appears that Marvel will be successful with their aim for this movie: undoing what Raimi created. Fine. Just don't forget that the first two Raimi films were beyond well-received, and all three made a shit load of money. It will make money because its Spider-man, but I sense there will be major retoolings with the second film.

  • May 10, 2011, 6:27 p.m. CST

    I feel very mixed about this reboot...

    by Rebel Scumb

    It seems overall like they're taking a good approach, and their hearts are in the right place But I also really liked the Raimi movies, even number 3. Sure 3 could of been a lot better with about 5 simple changes, but its far from being as awful as most people make it out to be. And I was really looking forward to finally paying off all the set up they did for Dr. Connors/Lizard, plus those great rumours about all of Bruce Campbells cameos turning out to be Mysterio. I guess we'll get Lizard in this film regardless, but still... I wish they had done one more in the raimi series to wrap it up properly.

  • May 10, 2011, 6:32 p.m. CST

    Sure, impressive stuff the guy does in that youtube clip...

    by IKilledSuperman

    ...for a normal guy. For Spidey looks like shit. Sorry, but Spiderman HAS to be a 3d animation. No way around it.

  • His reaction time is so fast and his poses are so twisted at times that it does come off as an uncanny valley thing at times, and other characters in the books have even pointed it out before.

  • May 10, 2011, 6:44 p.m. CST

    Good, really good to hear

    by alexander

    In something like Green Lantern it seems much more practical-sensible to use CGI of course, but as a rule of thumb I guess I'd always much rather see practical stunts, modelwork and animatronics etc. Its part of the reason that in LOTR nothing was really more thrilling and drew you into the reality more so well for me than the Orc assault at the end of Fellowship

  • May 10, 2011, 6:52 p.m. CST

    Can they then use the CGI budget to fix the costume?

    by california_mtz

    Cuz the 'redesign' that they used for this movie was both unnecessary and poorly done.

  • May 10, 2011, 7:03 p.m. CST

    Practical effects ftw

    by elsewhere

    CGI should only be used to enhance a practical effect. Like it's been stated, the eye CAN tell. My biggest gripe about Raimis Spider-Man movies besides them being too fucking corny, was Spider-Man had no weight. The CGI they used was on par (and in some cases no even on par) with video games. What wire work Raimi did use was atrocious. Even after editing, you could still tell the stuntman was on a rig. I've been following this reboot closely and pretty much everything I've seen is what I've always wanted in a Spider-Man movie. I have full faith in Webb.

  • May 10, 2011, 7:07 p.m. CST

    Now if only Neckbeard Lucas

    by elsewhere

    would adopt this same mentality, maybe we could get some of that Star Wars magic back.

  • May 10, 2011, 7:08 p.m. CST

    Digital doubles look like Gumby

    by Georgepeppard

  • May 10, 2011, 7:10 p.m. CST


    by elsewhere

    I don't completely hate the costume, but you what, if they can make the practical effects in this movie believable and exciting, I'll totally forgive the questionable decisions on the costume.

  • May 10, 2011, 7:29 p.m. CST

    It will be a combination of CG and stuntmen

    by Chuck_Chuckwalla

    I'm pretty sure they're not going to show one long scene of Spidey swinging down the street like in that YouTube clip. It will be edited with CG enhancements throughout. I applaud their efforts to make it as real as possible. Having a stuntman do the swinging provides animators, texture and lighting artists with a lot of great reference material.

  • May 10, 2011, 7:33 p.m. CST

    Thank you, joevfx

    by MoffatBabies

    Someone with his head not up his ass for once.

  • May 10, 2011, 7:36 p.m. CST

    I like how they're approaching everything differently.

    by Huey_Freemans_afro

    There is and always has been some wiggle room with one's interpretation of Spider-man. So, cool, go for the stunt man route instead of CG.

  • May 10, 2011, 7:42 p.m. CST

    The reason I'm okay with this reboot.

    by Huey_Freemans_afro

    Spider-man has always had a bit of wiggle room for interpretation. I (mostly) enjoyed Raimi's movies, but I'm glad they're done. His version of Spider-man shouldn't forever dominate the franchise. So, sure: I can deal with the flashy, Spider-girl (or Spiderclone) -like costume. Andrew Garfield is a bit old, but I'll give him a chance. Thank You: for giving Peter Parker a bit more of a contemporary style. I know he's a bit of a geek, but I was so tired of McGuire's perpetual virgin. And Thank You for giving us some real fucking webshooters!

  • May 10, 2011, 7:42 p.m. CST

    Just Parker be a smart-ass this time.

    by Huey_Freemans_afro

    That's what we've been sorely missing from the character.

  • I understand if they want to use CG for the high altitude, skyscraper stuff. But for 20 feet or so off the ground, I think this works. I think I can connect to this a little more and visualize myself in the action. If you're a Spidey fan, you've at least contemplated what it would be like.

  • May 10, 2011, 7:57 p.m. CST

    Interesting piece and guy, but I'm iffy on this reboot too.

    by Orbots Commander

    That said, I'm sure I'll end up seeing it at some point, if not in theaters, then on Netflix or via Redbox.

  • May 10, 2011, 8:34 p.m. CST


    by 2soon2eat

    "My biggest gripe about Raimis Spider-Man movies besides them being too fucking corny, was Spider-Man had no weight." x eleventymillion!!! CGI has trouble giving things the right weight and momentum, mass and force. It's getting better all the time though. I just saw the scene in Iron man 2 where iron man is dragged off the car in Monica and falls to the ground. My brain was screaming *WRONG*. It just takes one milisecond to break the illusion.

  • It's true.

  • May 10, 2011, 8:38 p.m. CST

    Let's put it this way: CGI is way OVERUSED.

    by IronEagle74

    CGI is a necessary component of movie making today, but far too often it's so overused that it ends up being a detriment. It's hard to lose yourself in the movie and suspend disbelief when you keep thinking "gee, this looks fake." A better balance needs to be found between real and CGI.

  • Enough of this boring uninspiring CG crapfest!

  • May 10, 2011, 9:24 p.m. CST

    all one has to do is look at E.T., the special edition versus the original

    by Billy_D_Williams

    claiming to want to enhance E.T.'s face, they turned it into a fucking cartoon, so much to the point where the CGI face shots stick out like a sore thumb and take you out of the movie... as opposed to the original which depended on lighting, editing and certain camera movement to SELL the realism of E.T. and his face, and it worked like a fucking charm...sure there were shots where you could tell is was puppet if you looked hard, but the nature of the well told story and the clever camera/editing/lighting sold the fuck out of that "puppet" and made it, filmmakers dont take advantage of the subtle symphony of elements at their disposal, and just CGI everything to death. there's an art to selling realism, and its not about trying to force the CGI creation to look real, but rather use the visual trickery of motion pictures to fool the brain into believing something is real, like they did in the old days. it's like Cameron said, "the eye needs very few 'pixels' of information to register an object as real"...the problem with CGI today is they dont take into account the sophistication of the human eye/brain, and OVERDO everything, making everything visible and it just looks like a fucking anime come to life, which is not good. as much as Jurassic Park rocked, it really ruined hollywood movies after that, because it was like "hey we can use the computer to make everything exactly the way we want now"

  • May 10, 2011, 9:27 p.m. CST

    Not all CGI looks fake. There is some mindblowing stuff out there.

    by Novaman5000

    But I have found that there is a portion of the filmgoing population that simply refuse to accept CGI over practical effects. No matter how jerky and awful the puppet might be, they'll still say it looks better than the CGI. Call it stubbornness, refusal to let go of tradition, intentions of being a purist, whatever. The fact remains: as much as some people would like to deny it, when used properly, CGI can be a better and more convincing effect than any animatronic or practical effect ever could be. Note that I'm saying when it's used properly. There are plenty of hack CGI artists out there, I'm not talking about them. Nor am I advocating complete CGI. I think it's best when it's used to complement the filmed material / practical effects. Also, if we're talking about how difficult CGI humans can be, lets not forget that artists were making NEARLY photorealistic people in CGI years ago. The capability is there... Look at Avatar. I was kind of meh on that movie as a whole but there's no denying the Na'vi are pretty much photoreal for the entire film. You forget they're an effect, which is exactly the way good effects work should be. Imagine now, if they had been people in masks? Facial Prosthetics have a hard time replicating the minute muscles present in the face of a true living being. Subtlety is lost, expressions have to be exaggerated. In my opinion, CGI allows for fluidity and realism that you can't really get otherwise.

  • May 10, 2011, 9:32 p.m. CST

    I can't believe u idiots prefer a CGI spiderman

    by cgih8r

    You kids make me sick. You have no taste for authenticity. Viewers should be in awe when they watch Spiderman maneuvering around the city and fighting. Just like any good action flick people need to be able to say "wow somebody actually fucking did that!" What's cool about watching a CGI creation in a LIVE action movie? How can you root for something that is not actually there on film interacting with a real environment? You must have loved Yoda in those last two movies, I can't remember their names because just like everyone else I forgot about those un-memorable CGI laden shit storms.The CGI Spiderman in Raimi's whole trilogy made me puke blood. The bottom line is that there are many excellent stunt gymnasts and performers who can make Spiderman look Amazing on screen. You can use CGI to make Spiderman do amazing things on screen but it isn't actually amazing to watch unless it's real stunt work. If you can't do it real it isn't worth it, no substitutes. Less is more and quality lasts forever. Peace.

  • May 10, 2011, 9:32 p.m. CST

    How much location work did Army of Darkness have?

    by alexander

    more than episode 1, if you don't count the number of different places but the actual amount of location work...

  • May 10, 2011, 9:34 p.m. CST

    digital doubles do look like gumby, lmfao

    by Billy_D_Williams

  • May 10, 2011, 9:35 p.m. CST

    Billy, I think ET is an example of how NOT to use it.

    by Novaman5000

    It's hard adding pristine CG to a film that's 25 years old, too. I'm not sure what they were thinking. Jurassic Park is one of my favorite movies of all time, just for the sheer experience of it. I saw that thing in the theaters like 8 times when I was a kid, and the effects were and still are fantastic. I would argue, however, that the best effects in the film are CG. When the shots change from CG raptor to Puppet raptor, the puppet can't hold up, IMO. It's a good puppet, but there's something about the jerkiness of the movements, and the eyes that don't work as well. I think the biggest mistake animators make these days is in the eyes. If you look at all of Zemeckis' motion capture films over the last 10 years, the thing that really hurts the realism of the characters is the dead eyes. A living creature's eyes are constantly shifting and moving, taking in the world around them. Most filmmakers forget that. Meanwhile, look at Pixar... They can make a fucking car look like it has a soul.

  • May 10, 2011, 9:38 p.m. CST


    by Billy_D_Williams

    "But I have found that there is a portion of the filmgoing population that simply refuse to accept CGI over practical effects. No matter how jerky and awful the puppet might be, they'll still say it looks better than the CGI. ---- theres a very simple reason for this. its because a puppet is shot "live"...its something that is shot in camera, so no matter how fake it looks, the human brain will always prefer it because CGI is something that is added later. the brain instinctively knows it is looking at something that is physically real, and it prefers that, as opposed to CGI, which the brain instinctively knows doesn't exist, so it rejects it, no matter how good it will always just be "impressive looking CGI".

  • May 10, 2011, 9:40 p.m. CST

    "If you can't do it real it isn't worth it, no substitutes."

    by Novaman5000

    Yeah, ok. Even the original trilogy had CG in it.

  • May 10, 2011, 9:41 p.m. CST

    I get it Billy. My point is:

    by Novaman5000

    Even if the shot is of a puppet that was really there, if the puppet doesn't look alive, then it still ruins the illusion for me. In the same way bad CGI would. It looks like they filmed a piece of rubber on a stick instead of a real creature, which can be just as bad as it looking like they pasted a creature over an empty scene, IMO.

  • May 10, 2011, 9:42 p.m. CST

    Spiderman 2 could not get its CGI down...

    by Novaman5000

    In some shots spiderman looked great... In some he might as well have been hand drawn.

  • The new Muppet move better not fucking have cgi or else.

  • May 10, 2011, 10:02 p.m. CST

    Agreed novaman

    by BlackBauer0320

    My problem with Raimi's series is that there was just no consistency. How was it that some shots could look so awful while others were quite believable? This was most true for SM2. I honestly thought SM3 had the most, and worst looking CGI. I don't presume to know anything about the actual process but it seems obvious that it's never going to be "strictly practical effects" or "strictly CGI" throughout the entire movie. It'll be about how well they can combine the both of them. And there's no doubt in my mind that the increased amount of captured footage of practical effects can only serve to help. Yes, he needs to be shown doing things that "only a spider can," but not at the cost of it looking phony and taking the viewer our of the moment. I think the practical effects can be especially useful during the scenes that he's first learning to websling, as it does not simply come easily for him.

  • May 10, 2011, 10:22 p.m. CST

    CG, no matter how good it is, has its limits and its place

    by kevred

    It's not the ooh and ahh things you can do with CG that are meaningful to people - and by meaningful, I mean first-shot-of-Star-Wars meaningful - it's the sensation of reality that CG simply can't provide. Even if you can't consciously tell what part of a given shot is practical and CG, your instincts know when you're not seeing something real, when the film is wrapped in that unreal gauze of CG. There's a big difference between being impressed with a visual image from a technical standpoint and having a real emotional reaction and response to it. I'd rate CG behind both practical effects and less-realistic hand-drawn animation in that regard. This will mean nothing to people who think that the latest Halo is an advancement in human civilization. But others will know what I mean. All of this is not to deny the value of CG. I've seen some amazing CG that does things practical effects cannot do. But it's not a replacement for practical effects, and it's not even an advancement from practical. It's a complement to it. And probably best used, as hinted at in this article, to enhance the reality of what is primarily a real, physical thing.

  • May 10, 2011, 10:27 p.m. CST

    Yeah Bad feelings

    by Phategod100

    The Web slinging in Spiderman 1-3 was great, and honestly I think it can only be done with CGI. You use practical effects, and it may look like something from the 70's

  • May 10, 2011, 10:37 p.m. CST

    The webslinging looks great. Okay. Who cares?

    by mrgray

    The. Script. Is. Shit. It's High School Musical melodrama with some Teen Wolf thrown in. Yes, there are 1000% more smart-ass remarks, but only .001% of them are funny. Unless they brought in a gag writer for the shooting drafts, this new "quippy" Spider-Man is really not something to look forward to.

  • May 10, 2011, 11:12 p.m. CST


    by BlackBauer0320

    Interesting info. And you were able to read the script....?

  • May 11, 2011, 12:09 a.m. CST

    Err, did he say "Skateboarding"?

    by BenBraddock

    Oh no...

  • May 11, 2011, 12:11 a.m. CST

    it is just non-essential

    by Knuckleface

    It may very well be a good movie, even great, but it's non-essential. Origin stories are too limitting and Spidey's story is too familiar. It doesn't help that Marvel is making too many comic films. Franchise fatigue is setting in.

  • but when it becomes the creative focal point of every single thing up on screen, i.e. the Star Wars prequels, it loses sight of its purpose. My favorite type of CGI work are the enhancements and little touches that help a practical effect go over flawlessly. look at something like Cuaron's "Children of Men." that film is lauded for its single-shot action sequences, and those scenes ARE extremely impressive. but the truth is they were aided by over 160 digital effects, seamlessly integrated beyond the recognition of the naked eye. to me, that is CGI at its most brilliant. but a "Spider-man" film is different. you have a human being bestowed with unnatural, inhuman abilities, gliding over NYC's skyline and battling a human/lizard hybrid. it simply is not tangible to "enhance" a film like that with CGI. it has to be CGI-based. the argument over whether or not the "human eye can TELL" is irrelevant; any logical human can fucking tell that a man shouldn't be shooting webs and careening over NYC and that a scientist shouldn't turn into a 6-foot-tall man-lizard. so all that I can hope for is that the CGI is done WELL, and its used to compliment a well-written script.

  • May 11, 2011, 12:27 a.m. CST

    CG grounded in realism works

    by Knuckleface

    Jurassic Park still has some of the best CG I have seen. To me, CG works best when it doesn't draw attention to itself. If you create a CG monster, film it from human perspectives (i.e. Close ups, MS, WS). Just because you computer camera can fly around your monster in 360 degree arches doesn't mean,you should do so.

  • May 11, 2011, 12:55 a.m. CST

    Armstrong Rocks, Spidey - Not So Much

    by THX1968

    I am all for a resurgence of practical work (stunts, etc.) in film, as well as television. CGI is fine when it is warranted. However, the main reason for going with practical web-slinging in the Spidey reboot is all about budget. Going strictly from what I've seen and heard thus far, it ain't looking good people. We all know it. I am totally going to see "Amazing Spider-Man". I'm not happy about the way this film is being approached, or how it came about in the first place, but I will see it before I level a final judgement upon it. The TV series had practical work in it (and it wasn't all that bad, especially some of the wall crawling stuff), but this is a monster franchise that has been severely scaled back in terms of budget. Comparisons to the TV show are hilarious and cogent. Watching that You Tube footage just makes me think of Nicholas Hammond, and I just can't get past that terrible costume! The tide has already turned on reboots (and 3D too). Hollywood is again playing catch up to the audience. What worked for Batman and Bond has already come to pass successfully. Yet the reboot trend has indeed passed. "Amazing Spider-Man" is going to be a cinematic casualty, I believe. Maybe Marvel will rehire Raimi for a proper Spidey 4 and set it up at Paramount. That could totally happen, folks.

  • May 11, 2011, 1:04 a.m. CST


    by uberman

    It just looked like a computer game character swinging over a background film of NY. If X-Games athletes can pull of the incredible gravity defying stuff they do, then todays stunt man needs to take the mantle back from CG. CG is an enhancement at best and the brain always knows when it sees the fake stuff as opposed to the real.

  • May 11, 2011, 1:11 a.m. CST

    Thor was a CGI-crapfest

    by chien_sale

  • May 11, 2011, 1:21 a.m. CST

    ^It sure was

    by MajorFrontbum

  • May 11, 2011, 1:38 a.m. CST

    It's spiderman.. not meant to be realistic

    by Charlie

  • May 11, 2011, 3:48 a.m. CST


    by Shubniggorath

    That last 30 seconds put my ass in the seat. I was going to see it anyway (I have Spidey tattooed on my chest), but my expectations just went up a little, from "please don't suck," to "might not suck."

  • May 11, 2011, 3:54 a.m. CST

    Double wow

    by Shubniggorath

    AICN TBers are defending Episode I/using it as an example of what to do???? Dogs and cats, living together, MASS HYSTERIA

  • May 11, 2011, 7:23 a.m. CST

    Where is the leg swinging?

    by asojax

    The real Problem i see based on that video is the guy doesn't look like he is swinging at all, No matter how much work goes into this he's pretty much straight as a board when he swings, there is no legs being kicked out to make it look like he is swinging. No matter how much post production work goes into this, if spider-man never swings his legs it's just going to look like he's on a wire being pushed from one place to the next, they should have had the stunt man sit on a swing set and learn how to swing himself first by kicking his legs, any kid could do that part right.

  • May 11, 2011, 7:43 a.m. CST

    Have to agree with the sentiment...

    by lead_sharp

    real stunts work great in a 'real' world context. Watching Batman jump off a roof is great because that was all he was doing. Spider-Man as has been said is a nimble mother fucker able to do far more than a 'real' person so a CGI (which HAS achieved a level of realism especially for fast cuts suitable for this) actor is far more suitable. So the "realistic modern parkour, skateboarding, flying" idea can honestly go and fuck itself.

  • May 11, 2011, 7:49 a.m. CST

    @ cgih8r

    by lead_sharp

    Shut up, please. I'm old enough to remember Harrison Fords stunt double in Temple of Doom so don't think it's only 'kids' that like CG. If I want a realistic depiction of a superhero (staying genre specific here) I'll watch Batman, Punisher, Kick Ass and so on if I want to watch a superhero flick with super powered stuff in it I do not want to watch a bunch of stuntmen trying to do whatever a spider does because frankly that would look like shitty cosplay. Spider-Man doesn't use parkour for fucks sake.

  • May 11, 2011, 8:25 a.m. CST

    CGI done right...

    by Super Moo

    "Blarp" from the Lost In Space movie! ok maybe not...

  • May 11, 2011, 8:36 a.m. CST


    by BSB

    If there was any CGI in that movie I surely didn't catch it. Pure old school action. Just what the doctor ordered.

  • May 11, 2011, 8:43 a.m. CST

    Dumb dumb dumb

    by DannyOcean01

    As has already been highlighted, Spiderman isn't a real guy, he doesn't move like a real guy. He exceeds the fucking physical limits of a human being. How much work can they do from the the practical effect, when the guy looks like he's shitting his pants through every swing? If I wanted to see a guy in pyjamas trying to be a daredevil, I'd go bribe a wino. I don't even remember the CGI effects being an issue in the films. In fact I was impressed at how close they came to the suggested kinetics of the comic books.

  • May 11, 2011, 8:51 a.m. CST


    by elsewhere

    "Episode 1 has some of the most extensive model work for any film, period. And not just for a Star Wars film." Well that may be the case, but I'd be hard pressed to find out where exactly the models were used and that's not a complement to CG either. I can however very easily point out some terrible examples of CG used in the film. I'll admit the CG did get progressively better throughout the trilogy and it also got abused to the point of over-saturation. I didn't know what the fuck was going on in the battle at the beginning of Episode 3 nor did I care. Compare that with the Battle of Endor and yeah BIG difference. I do think we're approaching an exciting time where CG is finding it's footing and place and practical effects like model work, puppetry and animatronics are making a resurgence. Hopefully the both can learn to co-exist.

  • May 11, 2011, 9:01 a.m. CST


    by elsewhere

    Well it's a reboot. Like someone else stated, I believe there is some wiggle room in terms of Spider-Man's super powers. We know he has mechanical web-shooters and looking at those silver slippers he's wearing, I'm starting to wonder if those help him climb walls. Perhaps the only thing Parker gets from the spider bite is strength and sense. It's something new and I'm fine with that. We shall see.

  • May 11, 2011, 9:14 a.m. CST

    CGI is boring

    by john

    I didn't have a problem with CGI Spider-Man but I thought it were something only little kids got excited about, not a grown ass man who knows better

  • He don't hold a candle to Jackie Chan. Not by a long shot.

  • May 11, 2011, 9:40 a.m. CST

    For some reason the skateboarding just clicked for me.

    by spacehog

    When he mentioned it in the article. I winced a little when those photos of Garfield with a skateboard came out recently, but it does make sense: post-bite Parker would be pretty bitchin' on a board. I hope to god they don't do some big CODE RED EXTREME SKATEBOARD TRICKZ sequence, but Parker has superhuman agility and balance, and he can make his feet stick and unstick to the board at will. Again, I pray they don't make a huge deal out of it. But it fits.

  • May 11, 2011, 9:42 a.m. CST

    CGI that draws attention to itself, aka PANIC ROOM syndrome

    by Spandau Belly

    CGI is fine, it's just a lot of directors seem to use it all wrong. They do all these things that rub your face it by having the camera get absurdly close to the subject matter and fit in all sorts of tiny areas and woosh around like a hornet. If they flmed the scenes the same way they would with practical effects it would look a lot better.

  • May 11, 2011, 9:56 a.m. CST

    hey look at my awesome long username

    by elsewhere

    I'm so witty and cool.

  • People say CGI draws attention to itself, but I think it would be far more distracting if it was obviously a real guy swinging around. In the Raimi films when he swings by it's like a beautiful air ballet, just like Spidey is supposed to be. In this one I fear it will be like "Holy shit that stunt guy is a crazy mother fucker!" I predict right now that somebody on Youtube will take clips of the guy swinging and overdub screaming...and it will be fucking hilarious.

  • May 11, 2011, 10:25 a.m. CST

    It's all about framing

    by elsewhere

    Done right, the stuntwork could potentially look better than any CGI. I'm not sure I agree that Spider-Man needs to do air ballet to be cool.

  • May 11, 2011, 11:32 a.m. CST


    by MoneyGrabSequel

    You had me at "crazy mother fucker" had me at "crazy mother fucker"...

  • May 11, 2011, 12:14 p.m. CST


    by jamestewart007

    I get that Spidey is super strong, and that 2-3 Gs of force wouldn't really effect him that much. But what you have to keep in mind is that Peter Parker is also a super brainy kid that knows how physics works. So even if he can handle the 3Gs, he is still going to let his body stretch out the way Vic is describing because it will allow him to get the biggest potential out of his next swing. Vic also says that the stuntman raises his legs as he goes into the next swing. Sounds like spidey to me. Seeing a person's body react this way should give the CG guys a really good starting point for touch up work. Someone mentioned that Spidey doesn't do parkour? He climbs buildings, does retard flips off of them, and basically uses the city as his play ground. Sounds like parkour to me... As for the video that is embedded above, it really looks like a learning to fly video. I've never seen Spidey kick his legs like that when he was slinging around.

  • May 11, 2011, 2:44 p.m. CST

    oh md...

    by alexander

    "All the Evil Dead shit is poor. Shit poor. Yeah they had no budget but it's still shit poor. But I can forgive that shit and I did. I used to kind of even like the Evil Dead trilogy. (In retrospect however they are all pretty bad and I was probably only guilty of being with people who were far more enthusiastic than myself when viewing.)" Who the hell are you man? Those effects were great for what The Evil Dead was, as were the movies themselves. Do you point and click together Ridley Scott and Alien with Raimi and Evil Dead!? Fucks sake...

  • *ducks for cover*

  • Just go for a walk down Greenwich Village, you'll see plenty of that for free. If the motivation for these film makers is to 'make it as real as possible' then we should demand that 'Spiderman' shoots his web, out of his ass and traps & eats insects.

  • May 11, 2011, 7:10 p.m. CST

    The issue with a huge majority of wire-work is...

    by Novaman5000

    That it looks like the dude is on a wire. There's no sense of momentum or gravity. When they land, there's no sense of weight... The same with when they jump. Even the Matrix, which was lauded for its wire-work, has moments where people are just floating and it doesn't even look like they touched the wall they supposedly just launched off of. The best wire work looks like the person is pulling the wire, not the other way around.

  • May 11, 2011, 7:11 p.m. CST

    You absolutely can tell models when you see them.

    by Novaman5000

    And being able to tell it's a 12 inch high replica of a city vs a real city is JUST AS BAD as being able to tell a shot is CG, don't kid yourself.

  • May 11, 2011, 7:13 p.m. CST

    If you think CGI is lazy

    by Novaman5000

    then you think hand drawn animation is lazy too. That's bullshit. Animation of any type in an art form that takes an insane amount of expertise to master. It's hugely time-consuming and, to do it correctly, takes a very very deft touch. In many cases, harder to create 10 frames of animated imagery vs 10 minutes of filmed footage. You think you could do a realistic CGI model so easily? Would love to see what you come up with.

  • May 11, 2011, 7:15 p.m. CST

    There better not be any singing in this movie!!!

    by MrMysteryGuest

  • May 11, 2011, 7:17 p.m. CST

    Insert requisite Sam Jackson "Nick Fury" cameo here!

    by MrMysteryGuest

  • May 11, 2011, 7:58 p.m. CST


    by alexander

    but its also a question of artistic creativity with the medium, and the field of effects work according to the films specific sub genre and tone , and you have to understand its not kids playing with effects, at best a lot of the time it's slapstick tenancies and sensibilities - a notable difference. Keaton and Chaplin might have done their own stunts and 'effects', but when you mesh that with monsters and gore and the like you have to understand the engagement with reality required is different. So ill give you for example mo its not like Braindead (masterpiece of effects-technique, there's just no argument there as far as im concerned), but what is presented even with stop motion is still literally physically in the frame, and expertly crafted to a degree of seriousness and 'subtlety' that it is intended to. To say its kid like and shit for that is just ignorant i think, and maybe just a bit obnoxious to boot. But i also kind of agree when it comes too spidey: nothing has really matched up to the use of PURELY cgi effects better for example, than the long shot of Green Goblin that appears to be paying homage to the witch from Oz taking off on her broomstick from the castle, to the point i think Spidey 3 was better visually-narratively and with its subtext as purely Raimi in its own right for just dropping the pretense of cgi being photo realistically convincing, and subsequently apparently dropping the pretense of being in the true spirit of the comics material rather, than its own Raimi beast. But Spidey 1, if you can't appreciate a lot of his choices - on top of the cinematography, which wasn't blindly busy fluffing bill pope like its sequel -in the way he worked literal physical people/objects/'practical' effects in with the use of cgi secondary and can only call that kid like and shit according to its artistic sensibility as with evil dead movies... then to me you just have no soul or have become thoroughly irrationally jaded (aware of the irony there) with the full range of cinema and its different choices or approaches to special effects integrated into narrative and what is, and is needed to be, considered 'realistic' in many different respects. And you Sir, were the guy who hit me on the head and reminded me that art appeals to the heart first, not the rational logical mind (hence the simple irony), which while an obvious simplified analogy, did a big favour for me at that time. Phooey.

  • May 11, 2011, 8:54 p.m. CST

    I just can't get over how absolutely stupid those jelly slippers look.

    by Dr_PepperSpray

    Whether you're for or against CG, CG could be instrumental in digitally removing those hideously stupid things from off of his feet. <P> God what a bad design.

  • May 11, 2011, 10:01 p.m. CST

    The biggest mistake of Spiderman 3...

    by Samuel

    ...was craming the whole venom story arc in there. They should have just introduced him, then finish up the sandman story. Then we'd have a whole fourth movie of venom's reign that he lets the lizard take the heat for. That way the lizard is more of a flawed victim rather than a straight up villian. Would have made part three better and part four awesome. Just my oppinion. As for the reboot? Well, even with all new actors they shouldn't reboot. Peter Parker's story is iconic enough to be played by multiple actors. They should just continue where they left off.

  • May 11, 2011, 10:16 p.m. CST

    I was very happy with CGI Spidey.

    by catlettuce4

    It looked exactly like comic panels come to "life"... This movie scares me a little. It looks so lame thus far, I'm worried. The suit alone looks awful. The rest does not sound promising either. After seeing how good Thor was it just makes me wish all the more that Marvel get it's properties all back under their own control.

  • May 11, 2011, 11:25 p.m. CST


    by Kammich

    I agree, and thats one instance where you can blame Avi Arad and the suits--NOT Raimi--for messing up the 3rd film. Raimi had a script written and storyboarded that was very vintage Ditko and featured Sandman and Vulture. On the commentary track for "Spider-man 3" Raimi goes so far as to say that Ben Kingsley was cast and being prepped for costume tests as the Vulture when Arad pulled the plug and demanded Venom be included. however, there are plenty of other areas where Raimi DOES deserve the blame for SM3... the jazz club dance scene(hilarious but grossly out of place), the ham-handed inclusion of the 2nd Goblin and of Gwen Stacy, the mis-handling of MJ and Peter's relationship, the 'retcon' of having Sandman kill Uncle Ben, etc etc etc at the end of the day, I still support the Raimi trilogy. if it wasn't for Singer's "X-Men" and Raimi's first "Spider-man," we wouldn't have 98% of the comic book films we have now. Raimi's first Spidey is an excellent, faithful, pulpy origin tale. the 2nd film nailed the heart of the character more than, perhaps, any comic book film before or since. and the 3rd film is a hodgepodge clusterfuck but its at least entertaining to watch.

  • May 11, 2011, 11:27 p.m. CST

    Braindrain Swings from Dicks. He's so gay!


  • May 12, 2011, 12:35 a.m. CST

    Blackbauer: no thanks, I like my job

    by mrgray

    I'd love to tell you where I read it, but I enjoy employment.

  • May 12, 2011, 4:21 a.m. CST

    ughhhhh... drunk off my ass last night

    by alexander

    that should have been 'Alex Ross' not 'Bill Pope'

  • May 12, 2011, 4:26 a.m. CST


    by alexander

  • May 12, 2011, 4:27 a.m. CST

    "Spider Man Swings from Clouds. He's so cool! "

    by alexander

    That's the videogame brain

  • May 12, 2011, 8:26 a.m. CST

    I will judge this movie by "mask on" to "mask off" ratio

    by Behemoth

    Seriously, Raimi and McGuire, you SLIMY PIECES OF WORMRIDDEN FILTH ... how many times did you have to have Spiderman fighting without his mask? Did Toby the Turd have that written into his contract? Every freakin' fight, EVERY ONE, there was a point where the mask either came off or was half ripped off. Yeah, I know this happened in the comic once in a GREAT while, but not in every fight. It got absolutely pathetic in Spiderman 3. We maybe saw that fat douche in the full suit for 10 minutes total. KEEP THE MASK ON, you bastard! Keep it on, or suck taint in hell. Raimi, I know you're reading this, and I HATE your Spiderman movies almost as much as I hate your foul-smelling bile breath. Go drop a deuce in the mouth of Dom Deloise's reanimated zombie corpse, you spineless shell of a lifeform. Dunst ... McGuire ... Franco ... worst casting in movie history.

  • May 12, 2011, 11:59 a.m. CST

    pretending to like Cgi

    by john

    I remember when Spawn came out I was going crazy over the CGI in it but now whenever there's CGI I just look away and wait for it to be over. CGI is for teenagers and adults who want to pretend that they actually buy this shit

  • May 12, 2011, 12:42 p.m. CST

    wow... behemoth is a very angry/passionate man/woman

    by alexander

  • although, i get v3ds point... someone was killed 'recently' performing on TDK set weren't they?

  • May 12, 2011, 2:51 p.m. CST

    ask choppah

    by alexander

  • May 12, 2011, 3:59 p.m. CST

    How did BrainDrain get his name anyway?



  • May 12, 2011, 4:30 p.m. CST

    Oh Ryan, your 400 posts a day are SO NOT FUNNY!


  • May 12, 2011, 4:39 p.m. CST

    Oh Ryan, I love how you "follow" Justin Bieber


    Get out of your mom's house.

  • fock?

  • May 12, 2011, 4:46 p.m. CST

    Lol, Ryan. Have fun on your mom's dime.


  • May 12, 2011, 4:50 p.m. CST

    Lol, Ryan, You're so retarded.


    Same old tired cock gobbler.

  • May 12, 2011, 4:54 p.m. CST

    BRAIN POOPOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • May 12, 2011, 6:26 p.m. CST

    This interview killed my anticipation for the film.

    by W3bzpinn3r

    My biggest problem with the first 3 movies is how slow and boring Spider-Man was. Thanks to his heightened abilities and metabolism, Spider-Man can move at speeds and motions impossible for a normal human. His bones and joints have a slight elasticity to them allowing him to withstand the whiplash a normal human would feel if they tried to websling thru NYC or try any of the aerial battles Spidey is famous for. The fighting by Spider-Man in the first 3 films was horrible. Too often he tried to wrestle or duke it out. In the comics, Spidey is popping off of walls, flipping around, hitting from multiple directions and yammering constantly, to annoy his enemies. Live effects kills the film. If I wanted realistic, would I be paying $12 to watch a movie about a kid with arachnid abilities fighting a sentient lizardman? God, I soooo hope this fails, and Marvel regains the rights and makes their own movie. Thor, Ironman, Incredible Hulk were all AWESOME.

  • or do you think its possible to do it right like what you describe live action at the moment?

  • May 13, 2011, 1:25 p.m. CST

    CGI is lazy for the director & the studios

    by cgih8r

    Of course it's not lazy for the actual artists themselves because they have their work cut out for them. When it comes to spidey's movements even if they can't nail the movement you think he's doing in the comic books and you think only CGI can create the proper effect, they have made 3 movies that way to compare from. They should give real photography a try at least once and see how it goes. Fair enough? It's worth a shot. And maybe even have a plot that doesn't end with Mary Jane getting kidnapped? Change is good.