The Ethics of Computer Graphics For Animals In Film

The Disney corporation has developed a new film version of The Jungle Book, which premieres tomorrow (April 15) in the United States, and has already been released in some international markets.  Unlike Disney’s animated version from 1967 or its live action version from 1994, this film uses computer graphics for all of its animals (and is closer in story to the 1967 version).

It looks visually stunning, but the graphics have attracted attention for another reason that hadn’t occurred to me.  People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has recognized the film’s graphics because it made it unnecessary to use live animals.  PETA is not in favor of captive animals being used in film, and wants to encourage the use of computer graphics in future films.  PETA recognized The Jungle Book director Jon Favreau with an Innovation in Film Award.  PETA has previously recognized the directors of Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Rupert Wyatt) and Noah (Darren Aronofsky) for the use of computer graphics instead of captive animals in their films.

Try as I might, I can find no comment from PETA about the use of whatever was used in the film The Revenant for the scene involving a bear attack.  Presumably the potential for very mixed messages was a factor in the lack of comment.


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