I recently received a press release for the movie Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which hyped that there is a lot of science and technology involved in the movie. Having been a fan of the original Planet of the Apes series, I saw the remake in 2011, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I had been looking forward to the new movie coming out this year as well. While I won’t try to analyze the science in the movie, I will consider the technology!
It used to be that a lot of make-up and construction work was needed to make movies. Sometimes these elements worked well, and sometimes it didn’t. Just watch old sci-fi series like Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and you’ll see that the construction work and make-up was not perfect. A simpler way to see how technology has progressed in regard to movies is to watch the Star Wars movies. It is a safe bet that Episode 7 will shine in the technology area versus the original episodes 4 through 6.
In today’s movies technology is what plays a role in providing realism to things that are not real. This can be in creating a virus riddled city, a forest full of apes, or simply in creating apes that seem almost human in their mannerisms and ability to talk. It comes down to the power of computers and computer generated effects. Those effects can make things that are unnatural look very real. If you take a look at any of the big budget movies coming to market, you will likely see that all of them are now using computerized effects. This raises the question; how many developers does it take to make a movie? I’d be willing to bet that for most movies there are as many computer people on staff as there are make-up artists!
Just for fun, here is the trailer to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Feel free to try to count the number of seconds in this trailer that use computer generated features versus those that don’t.