Movie that everyone seems to like, but I did not: The Avengers. I think audiences today are so bedazzled by a frenzy of visual effects that story goes by the wayside. Avengers is a prime example with what is wrong with movies today.
CGI is out of hand, especially in adventure movies. It IS the story, while the plots are usually weak. I mean, watching Avengers reminded me of when I was a kid when we played with our toy guns, "We're the good guys, you're the bad guys. OK, let's fight!" Avengers' plot was not much deeper than that.
Even the coolest thing in the film––the flying aircraft carrier––was not something I hadn't seen before... anyone remember Sky Captain? If you haven't seen it, it is a helluva better movie than Avengers, and made for a fraction of the cost. That film had depth of characters, an interesting plot, and it was extremely creative and entertaining.
The best example of a good story and a balance of CG and traditional VFX is Jurassic Park. I think it is the best example because being one of the first CG effects films, it was forced to use them sparingly, mixing them with live action animatronics. Since we as an audience were not used to seeing CG, the blend from CG to live action was undetectable, thus selling the 'living dinosaur' effects in the most successful way. JP having had that advantage, it is now something that cannot happen again because we are accustomed to the technology.
Now, it seems, that CG is so over used in a way that it screams to us in every scene. Your mind knows to suspend reality because a CG character just made an appearance. Even with their photo-realistic renderings, it is easy to spot them. They are the ones who defy the laws of physics as they move...the ones that despite their huge size have no mass...the ones that are designed ridiculously with a cartoon character shape (unless that is called for like in a Pixar film)...or the ones that try to look like something in real life, but are larger than life just enough to make them uninteresting.
Look at the Indiana Jones films. In the first one, there were tarantulas and snakes, the second film had large bugs, the third had rats. In every case, when I saw these in theaters, people screamed, gasped and squirmed. Why? Because everyone knew those critters were there on set with (and on) the actors. Enter Indy 4... large, man-eating ants... the audience was completely quiet and unphased. Why? Because everyone knew they were CG and not really there with the actors.
George Lucas in the documentary From Star Wars to Jedi said that special effects are just a tool to help tell a story, that people often confuse them for being the story. He said that special effects without a story is a boring thing. He was SO right, and yet, it seems, that even HE abandoned this very important principle in his later works.
Movies used to be about telling good stories back when VFX were limited. Now that they are limitless, they have been abused and misused by modern film makers, they have become the story, and like George once believed, movies have become a pretty boring thing.
And that's why I didn't like The Avengers.