Since the Aviator cat’s out

Since the Aviator cat’s out of the bag with last Wednesday’s rave review by Variety‘s Todd McCarthy, it’s okay to respond to his praising of the film’s CG-bolstered aerial photography sequences. They’re not “eminently satisfying,” as he described them, because over and over they reach out from the screen, grab you by both lapels and shout, “Hard drive!” McCarthy says “it’s not that you can’t tell when a flight is being digitally rendered, but it’s all done amazingly well — the degree of artifice surrounding the entire picture allows the computer work to fit in gracefully rather than to stick out.” This is emphatically not so. The aerial shots of Hughes flying those World War I biplanes, the H-1 Racer, the XF-11 and the Spruce Goose constantly demand that the viewer foresake any semblance of belief in what is supposed to be organic reality. More than once these planes fly right into the lens…nothing but flagrant CG show-off crap. The rule is the rule: CG must be invisible or it’s nothing. That shot of Lenin’s statue being helicoptered across the Berlin skies in Goodbye Lenin, for example…totally believable.