China Mieville is down on CGI's impact on sci-fi filmmaking. Avatar is his exhibit A.
Even those of us exhausted by yet another overlong mawkish gush — let alone one which reiterates the old cliche of Going Native and Leading Them to Freedom by Becoming the Most Awesome (White) Mohican™ — can admit that the special effects are impressive. But that’s a very long way from liking them, or thinking they’re a good thing. That computer-generated imagery (CGI) is rotting science fiction from the inside.
In the relentless search to produce the most ostentatiously spectacular scenes possible, CGI, which once had the potential to be a useful aesthetic tool, has become a mannerist absurdity. It is straightforwardly untrue that CGI “looks real.