The new movie uses AI to de-age Tom Hanks and Robin Wright to what they looked like in the 90s.

oh boy

Back to the future

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Beloved Hollywood filmmaker Robert Zemeckis wants us to remember the good old days, when his films weren't critical flops and commanded hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office. And so, in his new, era-spanning film “Here,” the director reunites his “Forrest Gump” co-stars Tom Hanks and Robin Wright as if it were still the '90s, both actors already Looks much smaller.

Or, well, sort of. This good-looking film, as it turns out, is a controversial quirk: to make his stars look younger again, Zemeckis took advantage of AI-assisted de-aging technology — and the results, if we're being generous Working, mixed. At a time when the use of AI in entertainment is a hot button issue.

You can see it in action for yourself in this recently released trailer. At times, AI deaging looks pretty convincing. In others, though, it can be as unusual as what audiences have come to expect from the technology — like someone put Hanks and Wright through a Facebook setting and left it at that.

Through the ages

“Here” marks a major swing from Zemeckis (he's had a lot of them this century, and most of them, we're sorry to say he's missing). ) based on the graphic novel of the same name, the entire film takes place in it. The exact same location – with the exact same scene – begins at least as dinosaurs and progresses to the couple's living room, played by Hanks and Wright. Tweet's answer, perhaps, to Terrence Malick's “Tree of Life.”

“A perspective never changes, but everything around it does,” Zemeckis said. Vanity Fair In a recent interview. “It's never really been done before.”

Hanks and Wright's characters first come into the picture as a young couple. The production used a generative AI-powered tool called Metaphysics Live, which, in the company's own description, essentially performs “real-time, hyperreal face swaps” to age actors up or down. Wright's age was reduced, for example, with footage from when she was 19. Indie Wire.

Questionable experience

Zemeckis has always toyed with the limits of technology in the medium. His '80s classic “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” which combined hand-drawn cartoons with live-action noir caricature, is a testament to that. At the turn of the century, he continued to use CGI, but to dubious effect, which many saw as a downward turn for the director. So when “Here” and its use of de-aging AI were announced in early 2023, few were surprised.

Those CGI duds, like “Beowulf” and “Pinnochio” were more laborious and less cute — possibly featuring Zemeckis in AI with “Here.” De-aging, AI-powered or not, has always been divisive, scrutinized in blockbusters from the recent “Indiana Jones” to serious pictures like “The Irishman.”

It's not just that it looks bad. Many creators oppose AI on principle, particularly in the film industry, where Hollywood screenwriters have fought tooth and nail for historical reservations against the technology. So however good or bad Zemeckis' latest picture turns out, it will undoubtedly remain controversial.

More on AI: John Scalzi discovered that one of his book covers was created using AI.

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