Youthication. The word Martin Scorsese used to describe his de-aging technology in The Irishman (2019). Half of the movie is digitially reworked images of De Niro, Pacino, and Pesci across multiple decades inhabiting ages they otherwise wouldn’t be able to play. Scorsese said many times the movie couldn’t have been made without it. And owing to The Irishman’s clout and budget allocated to the effects, Youthication got a shot in the arm, a quantum leap forward, and huge exposure. Certainly de-aging existed previously. Has The Irishman entrenched the practice as a new normal or was it already there?


I think it will be utilized much more, and I am fine with that. What I am not so fine with is using CGI to resurrect the dead, like Peter Cushing. Do we really need a digitized Burt Reynolds for a Smokey and the Bandit reboot? By no means is that happening, but if Disney could get away with it, it will open the door for others.


I don’t think it’s been normalized yet because it’s still a pain in the buns to do. My prediction is that, over the next 5 years, neural networks will reduce the amount of costly labor and creative-input required for a lot of effects, at which point there will be an explosion of ill-advised age/gender/height/size swaps. A bunch of stuff will look like Cats for a while, and then everyone will get bored and it settle down into more responsible usage, like most tools.

In the dystopian version, big budget production software gets a bunch of handy sliders added that allow a director to adjust the age, eye color, or bust size of any human in the frame, on-the-fly. Studios spend a decade doing creepy stuff that they think will increase box office by 1%.


I know similar tech was used in Pee Wees Big Holiday for Netflix like 5 years back. Paul Reubens basically had a cgi face for the whole film. It’s something I’m sure we’ll see more of, but not sure if it would ever be the norm.

Now I could see actors like Bruce Campbell, Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, and etc action heros continuing their franchises and action hero ways through video game format but that’s another unlikely scenario seemingly since so far there’s only been a few games like Jet Li: Rise to Honor or the Ghost Busters game a few years back, and possibly the new Evil Dead game although I don’t have a lot of details but there’s been talk it may finish the story Ash Vs the Evil Dead was telling.

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