less charming and more strange than your average blog

June 25, 2004


From Roger Ebert's review of White Chicks:

Because they look so odd in makeup, the effect is quease-inducing. They fall victims, indeed, to the Uncanny Valley Effect. This phenomenon, named in 1978 by the Japanese robot expert Masahiro Mori, refers to the ways in which humans relate emotionally with robots. Up to a certain point, he found, our feelings grow more positive the more the robots resemble humans. But beyond a certain stage of reality, it works the other way: The closer they get to humans, the more we notice the differences and are repelled by them. In the same way, the not-quite convincing faces of the two white chicks provide a distraction every moment they're on the screen. We're staring at them, not liking them, and paying no attention to the plot. Not that attention would help.

Ebert also used the Uncanny Valley Effect to explain why the Final Fantasy movie bombed, which I find incredibly interesting and accurate. I mean, there are human characters in other CG movies, like Shrek 2, but they don't produce the same discomfort in me because they're not trying to renounce their animated heritage.

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