The official trailer for ITV’s The Thunderbirds Are Go! has dropped, and I like the way that they tried to integrate practical sets with CGI people and vehicles. (I also liked what appears to be a shoutout to Gerry Anderson’s Space: 1999, shown below).
Unfortunately, despite efforts to make the CGI characters look like puppets they still look like computer graphics, which has never been that great in portraying people (unless dead eyes and oddly spastic movements are your thing).
If the above trailer doesn’t prove my point, then take a look at 2010’s–was it really that long ago!?–Tron: Legacy. The CGI representation of Flynn (Jeff Bridges) attracted a huge amount of attention, but despite being state of the art at the time, it wasn’t actually that good a representation because–as far as humans go–our faces are composed of all sorts of muscles that interact with each other.
Let’s say you smile, your cheekbones move, which in turn shifts the position of your eyes, which slightly changes your forehead, perhaps wrinkling it.
Generally speaking, when humans, as well as animals, though it may not be quite as evident because their bodies may be covered with fur–move one aspect of our bodies, be it our faces or whatever–there’s an entire cascade of smaller movements that accompany it. Which was why the computer animated Flynn was so odd looking: his mouth would move, then literally nothing else on his face would, which looks like he’s received a botox injection in his forehead and cheeks.
So I guess what I am saying that I would have preferred it if they went with puppets, with CGI used when characters have to run or walk (because puppets have never done those two tasks particularly realistically) as well as spaceships and things like that.