I know the fact that Episode VII is going to be shot in film has been in the news and on the forums for quite sometime now and that much of what needs to be said about it already has been said, but I'd just like to add one die-hard Star Wars fan's opinion on the matter. For a long time, I, like the vast majority of true Star Wars fans, thought I was not a fan of the CGI in the Star Wars prequels. However as I looked back at the catastrophe that was Episode I, the proverbial "Meh" that was Episode II and the vastly improved, yet still lacking in its acting Episode III, I began to realize something. I think that the vast majority of the hatred for the CGI and the prequels in general can be traced back to one bumbling frog creature and the performances of many of his cohorts. Yes, we all know who I'm talking about, Star Wars's own "He Who Shall Not Be Named," Jar Jar Binks and his blank faced, pod racing, jedi buddy, some kid no one remembers and, later on, Hayden Christensen.
Because of these characters we all remember the prequels and their CGI as being a total abomination and that is why we all rejoiced when we heard SW7 was being shot on film like the original series. But, in fact, I think the non-frog creature oriented CGI was pretty spot on. Looking back, I found the space battles in Episodes II and III to be quite riveting, CGI Yoda was one of the few exemplary digital characters and, while the final battle between Ewan McGregor (who I actually enjoyed as young Obi Wan quite a bit) and the yawning Christensen may not have been the most iconic of light saber fights due to a lack of memorable dialogue (compared to "No, Luke, I am your father," etc.) it was, in my opinion, bar none, the most epic light saber fight in all of the films, because of the CGI. This got me thinking, if these were the special effects in 2005, and even the Darth Maul fight in 1999 was pretty cool even if the rest of the movie was an absolute catastrophe, and they were this cool back then, the CGI would be amazing now.
Some would disagree with me, saying that returning Star Wars to film would be a return to the Golden Age of film making and originally I would have agreed with them. But then I got to thinking of just why it was called the "Golden Age" of film and the answer is simply this, THE ACTING. If it weren't for the acting, the "Golden Age" of film would have been more like the dark ages as, compared to today's standards, the special effects were horrible and acting was the only way that a film could have been carried back then, that isn't to say CGI should replace acting in the slightest but it sure helps a movie achieve epic new heights along side great acting. So, I started to look objectively at recent films and I thought to myself, "CGI is not the enemy, CGI can actually boost the hell out of the power of a film both visually and emotionally." So, I started thinking that this decision to revert to film was not a well thought out decision at all, it was just a petty apology for the horrible use of a fantastic film making tool (Jar Jar Binks).
I looked at Pacific Rim and thought, if this was made on film, this would have probably been one of the cheesiest movies of all time, but because of the CGI it was one of the most spectacularly bad*ss films I've ever seen. Then I looked at a more recent dramatic film, Gravity, and I thought, if this was just Sandra Bullock and George Clooney floating over a prop globe this would not engross me in the slightest or have anywhere near the Oscar-worthy emotional effect on me. This isn't to say that I don't think practical effects are a viable resource and, in fact, I think that a combination of practical and CGI effects add a tremendous amount of extra realism to a film, The Hobbit 1 could have used some and when they used them in Desolation along side the stunning CGI it was incredible, Azog the Defiler looked like he could just jump out of the screen and strangle you in real life and he was solely CGI, but in these modern times with a sci-fi action film in particular it is an absolute necessity to have CGI effects in your films or it will not sell anywhere near as well, for good reason, or be anywhere near as good, otherwise.
Don't get me wrong, I love J.J. Abrams' direction, he did a great thing with Star Trek, which I wasn't even that big of a fan of until his reboots, because I was more of a Star Wars guy, as J.J. has admitted to being, but I just think that there are many much better ways to apologize for Jar Jar Binks (a live action version of the picture above, for instance?). I think it would have been much better if he had just announced some A-list, Oscar winning, or worthy actors, or released some of the plot details to show that it would not contain any dim witted, cartoony characters, but this just seems like a quick way to appeal to fans in theory, but I just don't think it can work out favorably in practice. I mean, maybe he'll surprise me and work some of that Abrams film making magic but, until then, I'm remaining very skeptical on the matter.
But that's just my opinion, I'd love to hear yours, so leave your comments below and tell me your thoughts on the matter, guys! We're all Star Wars fans here so just keep a level head and put some of that nerd knowledge and wisdom to good use!