There’s an argument for special effects against conventional practical effects. Practical effects are undeniably the best looking because they’re real. You can’t fake reality. The quality of special effects is all determined by the amount of money a show or film has to use. They’re expensive and they’re not always worth the money spent.
Is that the case for Picard? No, the effects are spectacular. There’s also a whole use of practical effects, and you may not even realize that. With things like set pieces, sets, buildings, sunsets, etc, there’s so much there that can be and have been CGI’ed to death. Think about the Star Wars prequels, there were hardly ever any sets built for the films. Everything is shot on a green screen with very few exceptions. Why? Well, some believe that special effects are “cool and hip” and it’s better to use them, even if they look worse than actual sets.
It’s the notion that new is always better, and it’s not. Sometimes a grandly built set piece makes the scene so much better. It’s not always feasible, obviously but when it is it should be utilized. That’s what Picard has been doing, utilizing real sets at times as opposed to just green-screening every scene.
The fight scenes look fantastic and the phaser fire has never looked better. The makeup for the Romulans has been beautifully implemented though it is a stark difference from the original four shows design of them. So that comes down to more of one’s personal opinion on it.
Special Effects: 5/5