Star Wars fans vs. CGI

I’ve seen a lot of reviews for Rogue One, many of the say it was great, several say ‘not so much.’

Personally, I can understand both sides. This is not a typical Star Wars movie. When we tune in to see Star Wars, we’re usually going in to see a space opera dealing with Jedi, the force, and really character-driven plots. Rogue One was none of those things. It was actually a war movie. Yes, Rogue One was essentially an action-driven Flags of our Fathers, Saving Private Ryan, or Band of Brothers with spaceships, blasters, and significantly less gore.

Personally, I’m on the ‘pro’ side. I loved the movie. It showed the nit and grit of the war that we never really see in the original trilogy. The only times we see the major fighting between the Empire and the Alliance is during the Battles of Hoth and Endor. Yes, I felt that even the Battle of Yavin was a fairly watered-down representation.

I can certainly understand why people may not have liked it as this was way outside what we normally see in Star Wars… however I’d argue a certain level of hypocrisy from this crowd as if you take a look at a lot of the critical blog posts and check their histories, these are the same people that railed against The Force Awakens for being too much like the original trilogy, which is another point that I can argue against, but that’s a post for another day.

I’d actually like to touch on one recurrent theme I see in a lot of the criticisms that surround one aspect of Rogue One… the CGI used to recreate a younger Carrie Fisher, and ‘resurrect’ Peter Cushing. Some have called it ‘plastic-looking,’ fake, and outright unnecessary.

Well… let’s take a look. Here’s the best I could find of the CGI Tarkin. I placed it next to an HD version Peter Cushing himself.

Tarkin1.png

Regrettably, there aren’t many decent images out there and I will admit the one above is really poor quality. Somehow, Disney has so far kept a pretty tight lid on many of these images from coming out. I wasn’t able to find a decent one of Princess Leia as the only one out there is extremely low quality and makes the image they made of her look like the Twilight Baby… although it could also be that somehow if you do a Google image search for CGI Princess Leia, you get way too many images of the Leia slave outfit overwhelming the results page…

Tarkin1.png(seriously guys, what is it with that fetish!?).

ANYWAY!!!

Honestly, I don’t see an issue with it. I’ve watched Rogue One and I loved it. I thought that the CGI was very well done and will hold up a lot better in the future than the a fore mentioned Twilight Baby or the Episode 2 Yoda.

So why do you think there’s so much hate for it then?

I honestly think that Star Wars fans have a personal bias against CGI and it’s not earned nor unjustified. Cost-effective CGI has replaced much of the practical effects such as the model ships, and Jim Henson puppeteering (something I view as slowly becoming a lost art), and the special effects have suffered as such. Where the original trilogy has held up remarkably well and will continue to do so, the prequels are already starting to age, causing Lucasfilms to re-evaluate them and attempt to update them again.

This problem hasn’t been restricted to prequels though and probably caused even more outrage when they were added into the original trilogy, essentially coating what many view as the ‘Holy Grail’ with fool’s gold. I have to admit that when I first saw the updates, I didn’t mind them much. It had been a while since I watched the Original Trilogy, and seeing it on the big screen really made me appreciate the movies even more. However, having received the 2006 Limited Editions on DVD, I have to say that I better understand the outrage now.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those people who get all upset about the whole ‘Han/Greedo shot first’ crowd.

HOWEVER… the updated editions have severely damaged Return of the Jedi. Of the three movies, I feel like ROTJ took the worst hit. Two of its very iconic songs were replaced, the first of which is now breaking the 4th wall and the second, more well-known one, Yub Nub… well… okay that was composed by John Williams and I’m not going to argue against seeing all of those worlds rising up against the Empire, that was actually kind of cool.

However…

tarkin1

This was one of my favorite things about ROTJ. This was a very bittersweet scene where a fatherly Anakin Skywalker finally got to see both of his kids, together. A close look at his face (BOTTOM IMAGE) shows a man that’s simultaneously overjoyed at seeing them, but that joy is overshadowed by the fact that he never got to watch them grow up and will never get to spend time with them. That is a very powerful scene that is very well done… too bad someone at LucasFilms thought that Sebastian Shaw’s performance wasn’t up to par and replaced it with Hayden Christiansen’s blandness.

Jim, y0u’ve gone off topic!

Right, sorry. So in essence, this is part of the reason why Star Wars fans have a personal bias against CGI to the point where it’s rejected even when it’s good. Their hesitance to accept CGI is perfectly understandable, but in cases like this, is unfounded… at least in my opinion.

But Jim, what about the ethical issues of using the likeliness of someone who has passed on?

Yes, moviepilot published an article recently about the ethical question surrounding ‘resurrecting’ Peter Cushing, and I have to admit to a certain personal bias when discussing this, being someone who uses historical people as characters in my own stories.

“…they brought Peter Cushing back from the dead, and the results are unnatural, unethical, and borderline unholy.” -David Ehrlich

Okay, here we go… Let’s take a look at two key paragraphs from this article…

The propriety of recreating deceased actors for films is something that definitely needs to be discussed. If you’ve ever looked through family photos or videos, you’ll know that it can be a strange experience to view or watch someone you once knew move and speak, even though you can’t touch them. It must be even stranger, then, to see a loved one do and say things that they never actually did whilst they were alive.

You may argue that this is nitpicking, but let’s consider the issue of consent. Michael Douglas has his youthful avatar in Ant-Man because they had his approval. Cushing’s estate apparently received a credit from the Rogue One team, but we can only speculate whether Cushing himself would have liked being resurrected in such a way onscreen.”

Here’s the thing… they got approval from his estate. How is that any different from me using Mary Jane Kelly in my novels? I don’t know what she was like, I have no idea who she was, I can only guess based on the information I have. Heck, we don’t even have a definitive description of her so mine may we way off!

Or what about Pearl Harbor’s laughable putty-faced Franklin Roosevelt:

Is it because the likeness is too similar in the case of Peter Cushing? Or because Roosevelt was a public official, held to different standards? What is the argument here that one is okay while the other two are not? Is there one?

I’m curious, did anyone contact the Roosevelt estate for this absurdity?

But Jim, don’t you get what this means? As the technology progresses, suddenly we could see John Wayne starring in new movies even though he’s been dead for so long!

Okay *chuckles* look… first of all, that’s already happening:

I don’t think it actually was ever banned as I saw it on TV for quite a while. We also saw it in Forrest Gump:

 

Where was all this outrage then? All right, on point, even if it does happen, so what? If you have a character that was originally portrayed by one actor, is known by that actor, and you can’t find someone else to replace him or you don’t feel like the audience would accept said person if you did… why wouldn’t you do something like this?

I’m sorry, I don’t see why Peter Cushing’s likeness has come under such fire when we’ve seen so many other public icons be re-enacted using CGI, face putty, makeup, or just lazily found someone who looks somewhat like that person. I don’t see this as a bad thing and I really don’t get the argument that’s propping up about it.

I’m going to end here because I’ve really run aground with this. I can’t make a really cohesive argument against it because I view it as such a non-issue, so please let’s continue this conversation. Leave a comment below and tell me what you think. If I’m way off and this is a serious issue, please tell me why so that I can address said concerns!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
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Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

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3 thoughts on “Star Wars fans vs. CGI

  1. raistlin0903 says:

    Wow…what a great and interesting post this was. I agree with you with almost every point. I enjoyed the movie for what it was, and already did not expect to see another Episode 7. It was a great movie, but I did get more enjoyment out the Force Awakens. That said, for a first stand alone film it was was much better than I had expected it to be. As for Tarkin…it was really, really well done. My mum who watched the movie with me, actually asked me…but that actor is dead isn’t he? Is this old footage. ( I personally would not want to go that far, it was well done, but ofcourse there were definite signs of it being CGI). Did I have a problem with that? Not one problem whatsoever. Lei on the other hand was done not so well, but as it was only a small scene, it did not bother me much either.
    I’m not even going to go into the Return of the Jedi issue, because the things you point out are so true (and I get mad just by thinking about it lol 😂)
    Anyways: keep up the great work!

    Like

  2. allylmare says:

    I must say your points are agreeable. Personally for me Rogue One is good even though I found it a bit slower in term of the story flow. I watched it through the end and I had my tears falling!

    As for the CGI aspect, as long as they have consent from their family or closest relative, I don’t think it is a bad thing either. It feels more original to have the same actors/actress in the movie rather than replacing them. Is it unethical? Well, a bit but as long as its permitted and given consent. No problem.

    Like

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