It’s amazing how far we’ve come in the entertainment department. The special effects of older movies don’t nearly have the “believability” factor that special effects have now. As technology has advanced, so has the quality of our movies. Such effects as improved makeup, sounds, 3-D features, and green screen technology have vastly improved our ability to make the unreal seem plausible. The movie Spider-Man 3 utilizes computer generated images such as the black slime to persuade the audience of the power of the siniste r creation.
The producers of the movie rely on the personification of the black slime to show its power. As Spider-Man pulls at his suit in the bell tower, we see the black suit transform into a blob of slime. The strands of the monstrous, black goop resist the force and reattach to Spider-Man’s body with an alien-like behavior. This demonstrates the vigor of the black monster and the energy it possesses; it’s as though this versatile form has a mind of its own. We don’t have to watch the scene long to be acutely aware of the slime’s ability to fight. Without this computer technology, the scene would consist of Spider-Man ripping apart a black suit, greatly diminishing the intensity of the scene and the credibility of the monster. Louis Giannetti in Understanding Movies remarks that acting can sometimes be cold, mechanical, and unbelievable when interacting with computer generated images (34). However, I feel that Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man) played the role perfectly. He was desperately trying to remove the sludge that was fused into him; something that is very difficult to do, yet he never divulged that in reality there was nothing fighting against him. The quality of the CGI allowed the audience to feel the malicious nature of the slime.
The savage nature of the black slime evokes our emotions of fear without seeming unreal. The sound of the bell ringing causes the sludge jumps off of Spider-Man’s body, taking the shape of an alien-like creature. This otherworldly being has a head with fangs and looks as though it is shrieking in defiance. A scene like this could never have existed without our present technology. In their book Everything’s an Argument, Andrea Lunsford and John Ruszkiewicz remark that images can be an argument to manipulate our senses and persuade us, which is exactly what the producers of this movie try to do (435). Although completely fantasy, we are pulled in and on the edge of our seats watching the ferocity of the black beast. Another example of its personification occurs after the slime leaves Spider-Man’s body. As the sludge trickles down the edge of the tower, fragments of the black goo make claw-like approaches toward Eddie as though it was about to attack causing us to feel dread and anticipation. This predator-like behavior highlights the monstrosity of the slime and its evil nature. Without the use of computer generated images like this, we could never fully comprehend and connect to the strength and ferocity of the black slime.
By the end of the scene, we have full understanding and fear of the strength of the black slime. Although it is a pure fabrication of technology, we can feel the danger it poses. We are manipulated into believing that the black slime is real and vicious. Not only is it an incredible feat to make us believe in the existence of a monstrous slime, but the CGI was so convincing that we couldn’t even tell that is was cyber-created and not actually tangible. Overall, this special effect greatly enhanced the “fantasy” aspect of the film and allowed us to connect with the movie on a more intense level.