Not to necro this thread, but honestly if a new Wing Commander was to use FMV, I'd much rather have the Henson Company take a serious stab at making Kilrathi full-suit puppets than a CGI rendition. There's only so much CGI can do to replace a real object/actor. And if the Henson Company could produce suits that showed the range of emotion and dexterity that they did in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movies, then I would suspect today's incarnations would do the Kilrathi look a lot of justice.
Unlike CG though puppets really haven't come very far since 1999... and basically the movie kilrathi were animatronics/puppets with people underneath.
I still reckon fur is the main obstacle on that one for CGI. I expect it's still really time consuming and expensive to get right.
The men-in-suits option would probably work okay again if they concentrated enough on the faces. Sticking them in all-over body armour kinda gets around a lot of the toughest issues. In a lot of ways, given that they took that direction in the movie, it is surprising how badly they came off. The concept they used was actually pretty darned good.
The biggest issue in the film isn't the design, it's that they were so bulky that they just didn't move right. Even with an actor in the suit, it was pretty cumbersome to move fluidly. Plus the facial animatronics were clunky.
That is the big problem you face when doing such things in-house. While the movie Kilrathi design itself wasn't totally horrible, the implementation and execution of their role in the movie left a lot to be desired. The shot setups and editing didn't do the movie Kilrathi any favors either. You could have replaced the scenes with the Kilrathi in it with cardboard cutouts and I don't think there would have been a different.
That's not a knock on the creature design, that's a knock on story boarding and actual scene shooting. They fell over soda cans, walked like rubber-suited ST:TOS aliens, and were always lit dismally for any cut that allow time to scrutinize. They had no glory shot in the movie to redeem themselves. The Kilrathi were ultimately given a second rate "WW2 Axis Power Badguy" role that gave them total superiority for the first quarter of the movie and then replaced them with inept "Hogan's Heroes" prison guard ability. You could have replaced the Kilrathi with Indiana Jones Nazi charactacures and gotten the same effect.
I can't attribute the failure of the Kilrathi's role in the movie to simply their design as puppets and full-suits. It was a compound failure on multiple levels to include Chris Roberts' direction of the scenes.
Also Mace, the point I was trying to get at was non-CGI special effects stand up better to scrutiny than CGI ones if the intent is to create actors in a real-world environment, as opposed to simply creating something fantasicial for the spectacle.
I can relent. The Kilrathi issues aside, I honestly do like the movie. I'm just sometimes a nagging prick when it comes to details like that.
I'd rather not have Del Toro's visionary directing applied to the Kilrathi. It's a bit too... I can't find the right word... odd. The Kilrathi aren't meant to bee too physically complex. But I prefer the Wing Commander 1 and 2 versions of large anthropomorphic felines. I'm not sure why it ever changed from that.