The best thing that Jeremy Dick of MovieWeb could say about the idea of CGI celebrities bringing back deceased Hollywood royalty is that it is indeed quite weird, and in a way it seems highly disrespectful since honestly they had their time, they gave us the great movies that we so enjoy at this point, and the idea of life is to move on while remembering those that came before. But that’s obviously not quite good enough for some people that want to see their favorite screen icons return in roles that will be showcasing them in new and upcoming movies that will be defying the will of nature and time all at once. It does sound a bit melodramatic to say such things but it also sounds as though quite a few people are still thinking that this is bound to be a slippery slope towards something that we can’t help but think is going to be catastrophic at this point.
Of course the conspiracy theories and implications that might go far and wide with ideas of how the CGI idea could be misused and somehow blown out of proportion are bound to come eventually if they’re not already here, but the idea of using celebrities that have no say in the matter, even if it is just their likeness, seems wrong somehow. The matter of a studio being able to use CGI and avoid paying enormous salaries to these actors is one thought, but another problem arises from the lack of consent that’s able to be gained by said actor since a good example is the upcoming movie starring James Dean, Finding Jack, which is a war drama that many believe the actor would have never starred in while he was alive. It’s hard to say really since Dean passed in 1955 and the passage of time might have done many things to change his antiwar stance. But being as this is the stance that he held when he was still alive it’s fair to say that honoring his wishes to not appear in a war movie would have been the best idea instead of deciding to charge ahead and, with the family’s permission, create something that Dean might have been instantly opposed to. When you figure that he would have been in his late 80s now if not for the accident, it’s hard to say whether or not he would have changed in his way of thinking.
One very big argument is that leaving the legends as they are is a good way to remember them since using them as CGI pawns, let’s face it that’s what they’re becoming, is bound to tarnish and possibly ruin the reputation that a lot of them had already built. Think about it, we enjoyed the greats such as Marilyn Monroe, Andre the Giant, Burt Reynolds (who hasn’t been gone that long), Alec Guinness, and many, many others because they were great for their time and were brilliant in their style of acting. It doesn’t matter how far CGI has come or the fact that someone will be used for their voices and the template, it’s still not them. If anything this is a chance to create caricatures of people, no matter how good the effects might get. In a big way Hollywood is becoming a giant spoof of itself, an animated version of the glory days that once dominated the big screen and wowed the audience with the genuine acts that were in fact quite impressive.
While there are still movies in which the actors wow the audience with their stunts, acting ability, and genuine story-telling, that could be in the past eventually if this trend begins to take off. Plus, think of it this way, if they continue to bring back deceased celebrities how long is it going to be until the whole continuity of Hollywood (yes there is such a thing) is ruined and movies that have actually referenced these deceased celebrities are no longer valid? It’s bound to be a giant, confusing mess that people will no doubt argue makes sense if you look at it from their point of view. All in all there is no real point of view that can make sense of it since once again hubris is raising its ugly head to claim that those in charge know best. Eric Weiss of Polygon has something to say about this matter as well.
Let’s hope it stops at CGI at least, since anything further than that seems to be heading into the kind of territory that is bound to be dangerous as well as unethical, but one has to think that this rarely stops those that are hell bent on getting what they want. The CGI revolution is in full swing it would seem, but with the morality dial being set so low it makes a person wonder just how far down this path that Hollywood is willing to go.