CGI & Star Wars: A Response

From Tumblr:
“As a fan of the original trilogy, I don’t mind organic special effects at all, i.e. props like the Death Star and Qui-Gonn’s communicator. I DO mind the excessive CGI, which might not necessarily be lazy, but God there’s so much. I don’t even think there’s a single shot in any of the prequels without CGI in it.” 

Hmmm…  you’ve touched on an interesting point.

There’s is an overwhelming amount of dislike for CGI nowadays and I quite honestly don’t get it.  I’m not saying there isn’t bad or lazy CGI out there, but it seems like it’s very existence is enough to discredit a film for many.  Which doesn’t make sense to me.  Yes, the Star Wars prequels used a lot of CGI.  But the CGI never made things confusing or hard to follow – for me at least.

Compare that to the use of CGI in a film like Transformers, where the robots are just giant masses of grey whirring parts and gizmos.  If two robots are smashing into each other – with the exception of Bumblebee and maybe Optimus – can you really point out where one begins and the the other ends?  It’s just a big messy lump of CGI bits that doesn’t seem to help the goal of showing a cool fight scene.

Star Wars has a ton of CGI. But it’s CGI used well in my opinion.  It’s used to create fantastical locales and creatures, and it never leaves you confused as to what is going on or make all the characters look bland or similar.  Except for the clones.  Cause they’re clones.

One thought on “CGI & Star Wars: A Response

  1. Aaron Jordan

    I totally agree with you here. Also ILM, the group that does the CGI for StarWars is extremely meticulous about how they do things.

    For instance, WETA, the group that did The Lord of the Rings, created this program called Massive, which allows them to simulate 10,000 orcs fighting 10,000 humans. The program basically has a bunch of generic fighting moves (lets say 40) for each side. The program then has an idea of which side will win, and by how much, and it starts throwing the battle together matching them up. The problem with Massive, is that the 40 moves don’t necessarily interact very well. You might see a human’s sword pass right through an orc. Because of this, in LotR, battles are either shown as big sweeping shots (to hide the mistakes), or close up live action, but hardly ever close up CGI.

    ILM does everything individually, which is why when the clone troopers march, they march closely in step, but not perfectly. It’s also why they can do close up CGI battles really well, like the ending of episode 2.

    In a really long winded way, I completely agree with you. There is something nostalgic about the old movies, but the CGI can really add another dimension to the story telling not possible without it.

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