Oliver Stone‘s JFK is a movie as admirable in its technique as it is troubling in its agenda. Much like Birth of a Nation sought to rewrite the early history of the original Ku Klux Klan, JFK represents a concerted effort on Stone’s part to insert certifiable falsehoods into the historical record of the Kennedy assassination. He gets two basic facts correct. John F. Kennedy was indeed assassinated on November 22, 1963 and New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison did actually prosecute businessman Clay Shaw for his role in an alleged conspiracy. After that, the facts and Mr. Stone have a strained relationship at best. I sincerely hope that this movie will be as routinely dismissed by future generations as Birth of a Nation is today.
With computer generated special effects in movies about as common as dirt these days, it’s hard to imagine that it’s only been a little over a decade since CGI was the latest novelty. After early pioneering work in James Cameron‘s The Abyss and Terminator 2, CGI was ready for the big time. Jurassic Park was the first film to use computers as a major component of its special effects and to realistically simulate living creatures.
What’s sad to report is that after more than a decade, even with the massive improvements in computer power since 1993, there have been only a handful of movies to use CGI as effectively as Jurassic Park did. Almost anyone with a modicum of talent, a computer and a few thousand dollars in software to produce film quality CGI effects. However, the ability to create life-like critters like Jurassic Park‘s dinosaurs requires an eye for movement, form and mass that takes more than the latest software to develop. I think because the effects technicians behind Jurassic Park knew they were breaking new ground in technology, they were rigorously careful that their creations did not look fake.