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Freeze Frame (18 Mar 2005)
What went wrong? My guess is that moviegoers, perhaps misled by the filmís prerelease hype or jaded by the breathtakingly lifelike Gollum in the Lord of the Rings movies, were expecting the movieís human characters to look as real as film actors. But thatís not yet possible. In any case, that kind of verisimilitude would have marred the film. To tell an emotionally engaging story, Zemeckis needed characters just realistic enough to provoke empathy but not so realistic that the audience would lose the sense of being immersed in another world.

Given the resources now at animatorsí disposal, it would be a shame if the mixed success of The Polar Express led Hollywood to blacklist computer-generated humans. How else would we ever get to see waiters dispensing hot chocolate as they dance on the ceiling of a dining car, or Tom Hanks standing atop a derailed train thatís raising a giant rooster tail of ice crystals as it careens across a starlit, frozen lake?
Article URL: http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/04/issue/review_freeze.asp

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