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Animation and acting

Technology allows for a new type of story-telling

Tom Hanks
Hanks: "Movie-making is telling a good story with the best technology at your disposal."
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Technology (general)
Tom Hanks

(CNN) -- Right now you have movies like "The Lord of the Rings," which has a huge amalgam of all types of technologies, opticals, as well as computer-generated special effects.

And you have movies like "The Incredibles," the other Pixar pieces that are completely created within the computer and utilize just recorded voices.

This sort of technology, which we used to make "The Polar Express," is going to allow a different kind of human scale to be brought to the movies. They're not going to be animated movies, and they're not going to be two-dimensional movies in an old-fashioned way.

In "The Polar Express" I play an eight-year-old boy. Right there you have something that is groundbreaking, I am not an eight-year-old boy. I could have been a black woman and still have played an eight-year-old boy with this technology.

We are also on top of a train going through a snowstorm at midnight across the Arctic Circle and yet no-one was actually there. We did not really have to go to the Arctic Circle and no-one's life was in danger when we did that.

It is a new technology that can be viewed as just as revolutionary as making King Kong climb the Empire State Building for the first time, but it is not going to supplant the true essence of what movie-making is, which is telling a good story with the best technology at your disposal.

Any time you are making any kind of movie at all, you are taking a huge risk. You are gambling that you have told the story well enough that other people are going to be mesmerized by it -- regardless of the technology.

Even if it is just about people sitting in a car talking about their kids growing up, you are hoping that you have told it in a fascinating way.

The new technology aspect of it is the thing that has everybody up in arms: 'How can you make a new movie like this? This is brand new stuff. Who do you think you people are?'

The fact is that computers and all the technology that goes into film-making are constantly being renewed, constantly being examined and constantly being utilized in brand new different ways.

It is possible to do one of two things. One is review the technology itself -- you are always going to find fault with it. I can look at the movie and find things I hate, that I think are wrong with it.

Or, you can review how the technology has told the story. But that's how it's telling the story -- not where the technology is. And that's the thing that is going to matter more than anything else, have we told the story well?

Tom Hanks was talking to CNN's Becky Anderson. His latest movie is "The Polar Express."

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