The Folly of (George Lucas's) Digital Cinema

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Bravo 5, Apr 9, 2003.

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  1. Bravo 5 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 1998
    star 1
    I'm a lifelong Star Wars fan who, like I imagine many here also, can attribute the work of George Lucas among others as being the young inspiration to pursue a career in filmmaking. I've enjoyed and embraced the prequel trilogy so far, and am willing to both admit and accept its "flaws."

    That being said, I'd like to weigh in on the whole "too much CGI" issue. I, like many others, was blown away by the volume of scope of the effects in The Phantom Menace. I thought criticism of the visual artistry produced for that film was largely unfair. The same can be said about Attack of the Clones. I'm a large supporter of digital video and digital projection, and I truly do believe that within a generation or two, film as the medium of choice will be phased out as young filmmakers embrace new technology.

    The other day I was watching A New Hope, and I realized something. The problem with the prequel trilogy in regards to fitting in visually with IV-VI is not the scope or even the volume of effects in new films, but rather, the way they are used and conceived. George Lucas often receives criticism for his films "not being real," to which he responds, quite correctly, that any world presented on film isn't truly "real." Still, even the best special effect is just that -- a special effect -- and no one can say that if given a choice between SFX and a realworld object/location that the former would be chosen. Simply, what I'm getting at is that something that is real -- IE, a physical object -- looks more realistic on screen. That being said, the best way to use computer graphics and any other physical special effects in general is when they are used to supplement what is real (IE, physically there on location).

    I understand that Coruscant doesn't exist, and cannot be built in any practical way. Ditto with most of the other environments in the Star Wars films. Computer graphics are the only way these locales can be realized on screen. What I find fault with is when computer graphics are used in place of a perfectly executable physical effect. What immediately comes to mind is the clone troopers in AOTC. They look great most of the time, but certainly, not better than real actors in suits.

    It seems to me that George Lucas has a mentality that if it can be pulled off with computer graphics, then that's the way to go. I don't agree. Certainly, there are advantages to opting for CG over physical objects (including money, manpower, etc). I feel that special effects, including computer graphics, are at their best when used to supplement what is real. It's not that the CG in the prequel trilogy isn't spectacular -- it's that realworld objects and, to a degree, realworld locations would look even better.

    Besides that fact, which is debatable, I think the more important issue here is how well the visual look of the new films will fit in with the classic trilogy. I'm saying that it is not the availability and use of high technology in the new films that will cause an inconsistency, but rather, the way they are used. Every frame of both The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and likely Episode III, is filled with a huge amount of visual information. This is not so in the classic trilogy. Visually, this will separate the first three films from the second three films. Director Nicholas Meyer said that a big mistake many filmmakers make is that they underestimate the imaginations of the audience, and that often, a viewer's reality is suspended more effectively by implying that something is a certain way without actually showing it. I think this is a big reason why many say that the "magic" of the classic films is missing in the prequels. It's not the use of CGI in and of itself.

    Though this is supposition on my part, I also feel that while the special effects are used in Star Wars to serve the story, they are also affecting the way the new films are conceived. Now, some may say this is not a bad thing, which is true, but I think that in a limited way it also creates a larger rift between the old films a
  2. DINVADER_RETURNS Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 10, 2003
    star 3
    Check out all the tons of models used in AOTC, all the IMAGE ATTACK pics of the models at the starwars.com, the making of books, ets. More models were used in EP2 than any of the other films. Look at the models on the making of docs on the DVDs, the Geonosis arena was about a 12 foot tall and 20 foot wide model. The Kamino Hallways were models. I could go on and on!

    Again, Many of the cynical people seem to never see things from Lucas's
    point of view, so I compiled some of his quotes about the prequels.
    I never said Lucas is perfect & can do no wrong, but I love & highly
    enjoy the fantasy universe he's given us. I picked these quotes and
    articles that address a lot of the criticisms. These movies a made to
    be like the old (considered B-movies) Saturday matinee serials of the
    30s and 40s with much better effects & some mythical elements.
    They're not art-house films that win Oscars for acting and never were
    meant to be. Hayden Christensen has said in several interviews he
    intentially spoke in a more monotone voice to reflect the more formal
    Jedi culture. Those who have said Lucas has ran out of ideas, the
    prequels are not about all new ideas, they lay the foundation for EP
    4-6. The prequels have been written in rough form for over 25 years.

    LUCAL QUOTES
    (Story)
    "I wrote the rough backstory 30 years ago. It was designed to be a
    Saturday afternoon cliffhanger. I started [production] in the middle,
    because I don't like to start in the beginning."
    (On wooden acting criticism)
    "The acting is a throwback to the 1930s because of the digital
    process. The actor is often acting to a blue or green screen, just as
    in the 1930s actors acted in the artificial environment of stages. In
    the 1950s, realistic method acting became popular. This is a
    different form of acting, not better or worse. Americans don't know
    how to do this type of acting, but the British still do."
    (On shooting digitally)
    "Film has become too expensive. Film has to be transferred to digital
    to edit, so just eliminate the middle step. Also, digital allows you
    to do more, it gets rid of the gatekeeper inherent in the high cost
    of film. Digital opens the way for low budget filmmaking."
    (On re-using themes)
    "I purposely used a couple of shots (In AOTC) reminiscent of Ray
    Harryhausen [Clash Of The Titans and Mysterious Island], such as the
    monster attacking the Jedi with the spear. In each story, I re-visit
    the same themes. For instance, there is the loss of a parent and the
    issue of giving up."
    (On independence)
    "I am independent. I do not need to listen to the studios. I made
    this for myself, not money. I don't care about the commercial side of
    things. Therefore, Star Wars will open in less theaters than Spider-
    Man. I picked the theaters. I care about the quality of the
    projection, not just the box office return."
    (The future)
    "When I have completed all six movies as part of the Star Wars
    series. There will be no more Star Wars. Now, I am writing some new
    scripts which are experimental, non-narrative and non-linear." -
    GEORGE LUCAS to cbn.com June 2002

    (On merchandising) "A lot of people were offended by Ewoks & say the
    films are just an excuse for merchandising, they say 'Lucas just
    decided to cash in on the Teddy Bear.' Well it's not a great thing to
    cash in on because there are lots of Teddy Bears marketed, so you
    don't have anything that is unique. If I were designing something
    original as a marketable item, I could probably do a lot better. We
    market everything in the movie, that's what keeps funding the other
    things we do-the computer research and all other things. Again,
    people tend to look at merchandising as an evil thing. But
    ultimately, a lot of fun things come out of it, and at the same time,
    it pays the overhead of the company and everybody's salary".-George
    Lucas "CLOSE UP" Book

    "It's not deliberately camp. I made the film in a 1930s style. It's
    based on a Saturday matinee serial from the 1930s, so the acting
    style is very 30s, very thea
  3. Bravo 5 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 1998
    star 1
    I think you greatly misunderstand me. I wasn't bashing George Lucas in any way. And I'm fully aware of the model work done for both Attack of the Clones and The Phantom Menace. None of the quotes you cite have anything at all to do with what I was trying to say. I understand that George Lucas has a creative vision and the prerogative to do whatever he wants in whatever way he wants. But are we not here to discuss what he does and the way he does it? Is anyone who analyzes any aspect of George Lucas's films and the way they are made in a critical way all of a sudden going against fandom and the movies they love enough to study?

    Your knee-jerk reply, which has nothing to do with my original post, is indicative of the sad state of fandom. Unless one is a shameless defender of all things George Lucas, you are all of a sudden branded "anti-Star Wars?" Come now. This is ridiculous, and I'm insulted that you obviously did not take the time to read what I wrote before you replied. Let's stay on topic here.

    The point that I was trying to make was that whereas in the original trilogy, special effects were used to supplement the physical, the way computer graphics seems to be relied on heavily in the prequel films to create environments et al. is a stylistic departure from the original trilogy. Do you disagree with that point?
  4. FogeyKenobi Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 2003
    star 1
    As a lifelong film fan I can only comment on my feelings here. I too am both awed and dismayed by the prevelance of CGI in today's movies. The visual possibilities appear to be limited only by the filmmaker and digital genius' imagination. However,I don't see how CGI can ever replace actors completely.

    I remember thinking when Forest Gump came out that someday someone would create a CGI Humprey Bogart or Maryline Monroe.(remember those soda commercials?) Computer graphics and digital technology surely has its place but would never replace the physical talents of real actors in my humble opinion.
  5. Darth-Stryphe Former Mod and City Rep

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2001
    star 6
    Oh, shoot, I thought this thread would be about discussing the folly of using digital cameras to film a SW movie. Well, I still say that is the heart of the folly of GL's digital maneuvering. Digital cameras are not ready to replace 35 mm prints. The sharpness of a digital camera may be amazing, but the accuracy of film is still unbeatable. We've been cheating from having one of the movies on film (and will be cheating again with E3). I think this is the biggest tragedy of SW, not how much CGI is used.
  6. DINVADER_RETURNS Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 10, 2003
    star 3
    The thing is 95+ percent of the public doesn't notice the difference between digital and film, especially on when the DVD is released. I can't for the life of me tell the difference between the EP1 DVD & the EP2 DVD, in overall picture quality. I remember reading about the time when people complained about color movies ruining cinema.
  7. Bravo 5 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 1998
    star 1
    Darth Stryphe, what exactly do you mean by 'the accuracy of film?' Do you mean in terms of capturing colors?

    And DINVADER, there actually is a subtle difference that you can pick up on without being a videophile. I'd watched the AOTC DVD on my computer monitor about two or three times over the course of about a month. About a week later I popped in the TPM DVD, viewed under the same conditions. I was immediately struck by how soft the image was, and how much film grain and dirt I actually noticed. In fact, it was hard to ignore. Though, granted, these are still not things most audiences will pick up on.

    I think that digital cinematography is a wonderful new tool, and I'm actually glad that George Lucas and co. decided to push the envelope with shooting on digital video. I'm not one of those who thinks that the prequels should be shot with antiquated equipment, filters to soften the image, and old film stocks. That's just silly. Truth be told, no matter how much digital tinkering is done with the prints of the OT, they're still not going to match the prequel films.

    I'm talking more here about the inconsistencies in visual style insofar as special effects and how they are employed. Not as simple as CG vs. models or anything like that. I'm saying that I think the way for special effects (both CGI and physical models) to work to their fullest -- that is, creating a sense that something fantastic is real -- is when they are used to supplement rather than replace "real" elements.
  8. SomeRandomNerd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 20, 1999
    star 4
    >>>The point that I was trying to make was that whereas in the original trilogy, special effects were used to supplement the physical, the way computer graphics seems to be relied on heavily in the prequel films to create environments et al. is a stylistic departure from the original trilogy. Do you disagree with that point?

    I'm not sure what you mean by this. Is a computer generated background really any different in terms of "realism" than a matte painting, for example? Or are the CGI camel-type things in TPM less realistic than the stop-motion tauntaun?

    I guess I just don't see the reliance on computer graphics to create another universe as any different to relying on painted backgrounds, rubber masks and costumes and butchered airfix kits.
  9. Bravo 5 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 1998
    star 1
    I should have perhaps instead said "a heavier reliance on special effects (not just CGI) to create environments et al." When I spoke of the prequels reliance on computer graphics, I used the term as a proxy for SFX in general. I'm trying to say that it seems to me that the technology is such that it affects the way the films are conceived, which separates them stylistically from the original trilogy. Whereas special effects, be they matte paintings, composited models, or CGI of any kind, were used to supplement reality in the original trilogy, special effects seem to be used in place of physical set pieces/props/characters when they need not be. Again, I've found that visual effects are most effective when they are used sparingly and in chorus with things that are actually "real." Gavin Boquet said something along those lines himself in one of the Lynne's Diary segments. (A point which I find rather ironic.)

    Feel free to disagree with me, but this is the point that I'm trying to discuss here. I'm not saying that CG is inferior to modelwork or puppets or anything like that. I'm not saying that digital technology and the proliferation of computer graphics in film is a bad thing in any way. I'm suggesting that it may be more effective to use SFX more sparingly in order to increase realism.
  10. Shelley Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2001
    star 5
    Whereas special effects, be they matte paintings, composited models, or CGI of any kind, were used to supplement reality in the original trilogy,

    And so they are in the PT.

    special effects seem to be used in place of physical set pieces/props/characters when they need not be.

    What do you mean, "they need not be"? I honestly don't get this. An effect is an effect, regardless of whether it's a stop-motion tauntaun or a CGI dewback. The SW films have always been FX-heavy. Always. Besides which, you would be surprised at how many effects were done "the good old fashioned way," with sets, props, models, etc.

    These are fantasy films. They're not "real." The idea is to transport you into fantasy worlds. Lucas was severely limited in the time of the OT; he could only create planets which could be replicated by places on Earth -- i.e., a desert planet, an ice/snow planet, a forest planet.

    With CGI, he can create storm/ocean planets, planets that are one huge city, and further expand the scenery of Tatooine. Besides which, as I say above, many sets/models/miniatures were used. Some were enhanced with CGI, some weren't. I can't tell much of the time, nor do I really care. If you're looking for effects, you will find them, regardless of whether they are computer generated or not. I don't go to SW a movie to examine it under a microscope and try and find what's an effect and what's not. I go to a SW movie to be entertained, to be transported to a galaxy far, far away. I don't want it to be "realistic." I want it to be fantastic.
  11. Bravo 5 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 1998
    star 1
    By "they not need be," I mean things that can just as easily (perhaps even more so) be achieved with physical effects. What immediately comes to mind is the example of the clone troopers in AOTC. I realize an effect is an effect, and again, I'm not saying anything like "models over CG." Those that have responded here seem to think I'm trying to advocate models over computer graphics, but I'm doing nothing of the sort. I'm talking about using special effects when they're not necessary, and the impact that has on the visual style of the prequel films and how that will affect the cohesiveness of the saga as a whole. If at all. No one seems to be responding to the points I have raised.

    As a sidenote, I'm surprised with the way my comments are being met. I tried to cover myself by noting at the beginning of my first post that I'm as much a Star Wars fan and George Lucas appreciator as anyone here. Yet I find that anything that calls something George Lucas has done into question is met with knee-jerk defense and a kind of hostility. I feel like I'm being talked down to with the curt comments and short declarative statements, like I'm just someone who doesn't "get it." Added to that, most of what I have said has either been misinterpreted or outright ignored. I'm constantly having to repeat that this is not a "CG vs. models" debate. I'm constantly being told about the amount of modelwork in the new films, of which I am already aware. That's not the issue here.

    In response to Shelley's comment:

    Whereas special effects, be they matte paintings, composited models, or CGI of any kind, were used to supplement reality in the original trilogy,

    And so they are in the PT.


    I beg to differ. 100% synthetic environments and complete blue screen sets are hardly examples of supplementing reality.

    Again, I'm not saying this is necessarily a bad thing. I'm as wowed as anyone that these kinds of effects and filmmaking methods are not only possible, but work as well as they do. And I respect George Lucas for taking the risk in pioneering new technology and have the utmost respect for the artists who worked with it. I'm just trying to discuss any possible drawbacks that working in such a way in light of the original trilogy. The problem is that people here seem to deny the possibility that there are any drawbacks.

    I thought it was safe to return to fandom, but until someone actually discusses the topic instead of blindly defending all things George Lucas, I guess I'll continue to keep my thoughts to myself. Perhaps I should have known better than to have an intelligent discussion about the merits of movies that are already "perfect."
  12. JohnWilliams00 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 29, 2002
    star 4
    Bravo, Bravo 5. I'm in complete agreement with you and I admire the way you present your criticisms. (It's possible to love or like the prequels but still have criticisms)

    I've always imagined what would've happened if the prequels would've been made if many of the effects were cut back just a tad. Would it have hurt the film or improved it? I watched ANH again and there's such a crispness in the storytelling and clarity in the images. It's hard to describe, but I feel the prequels are examples of, to use the term for the hundredth time, "sensory overload". Much of the effects use (yes, even model use), is gratuitous in my eyes.

    And this isn't a simple case of criticizing effects just for the sake of criticizing, it's criticizing the effects because there's a strong feeling it is affecting (negatively) the performances of the actors, and maybe even the direction by George Lucas.

    Effects are great. It's one of the reasons I fell in love with the OT. But I think the sweeping overabundance of it in these Prequels is one of the films "Achilles' Heel."
  13. Bravo 5 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 1998
    star 1
    Thank you, that's the point that I'm trying to make. Whenever watching TPM or AOTC, there are certain shots that contain effects that don't seem to need them. (Yes, obviously George Lucas felt they were "needed." But just because it was "his vision" does not necessarily mean that something could not have been more effective another way. Then again, I am assuming the way certain elements of the films are meant to operate.) Does every shot in the desert need a CG scurrier or droid in the foreground? Some would argue that the presence of those elements (read: effects) helps to immerse you in the fantastic universe, but for me, it often takes me out of it. I'll reiterate the Nicholas Meyer philosophy from my original post: sometimes, the implication that something is there can be more effective than actually showing everything there is to see.

    And yes, I too wonder how the prequels would have turned out had they been made during the 1980s. (Similarly, if the OT was made with today's technology.) Surely, sequences like the Battle of Geonosis in AOTC would not have been possible before today. Digital technology allows shots of such epic scope, and certainly the first battle of the Clone War is deserving of such treatment. I feel that the full potential of digital technology should be reserved for sequences such as this that can be achieved no other way, in order to maximize the effectiveness of the film. Again, this is just my opinion. The film is made, it works for me, and I'm still in awe of the work generated to make it happen. I go through the documentaries on both the TPM and AOTC DVDs regularly, never tiring of hearing the tricks of the magicians. But I still have to question if less liberal use of visual effects would have not only made the new films blend better with the original trilogy, but also make them more effective experiences in their own right.

    I think the real issue here is the fact that whereas the original trilogy seemed to be made with a "how much can we show?" philosophy, the new trilogy has a "show everything" mentality behind its inception. I'm venturing to say that the limits on what could be done in the late 70s and early 80s may have benefitted the OT. That point, obviously, is a matter of opinion, but it does represent a stylistic difference between both trilogies that may work against them coming together effectively as a full 12 hour movie. I realize that the prequels were designed to have a different aesthetic quality distinct from the original trilogy, but I'm not talking design philosophies here.
  14. Darth-Stryphe Former Mod and City Rep

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2001
    star 6
    Dinvader! Long time, no see. What happened to the old user account?

    The thing is 95+ percent of the public doesn't notice the difference between digital and film, especially on when the DVD is released. I can't for the life of me tell the difference between the EP1 DVD & the EP2 DVD, in overall picture quality.

    Actually, I hate to admit it, but digital cinema looks pretty damn good on DVD. I notice a big difference between TPM and AOTC's picture quality. But on the big screen, it's entirely different story.


    Darth Stryphe, what exactly do you mean by 'the accuracy of film?' Do you mean in terms of capturing colors?

    Color and contrast -- yes. Plus, for some reason, digital cameras making sweaping motions somewhat blurry and a real pain to the eyes -- at least they were so in AOTC.

    Anyway, I guess I'm off topic. My apologizes, I'll move along.


  15. Durwood Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2002
    star 5
    "Roger Ebert, it is you! It is you!"

    Seriously, though, all this anti-CGI talk sounds suspiciously like the people in the 30's who denounced "talkies" and the cynics in the 50's who ridiculed color film.

    Every great technological advancement is quickly followed by someone pining over the loss of old technology and criticizing the new technology as inferior to the "way it's always been."

    On a related note, did you know that photography was once considered inferior to paintings? It's true. When artists first started experimenting with photographic techniques, the snobs in the popular art community would sneer at what they claimed were simply perfect reproductions of God's creation and shouldn't be considered art at all. They pushed the photographic community to try and make their photographs look as much like a painting as possible before they would consider it true art which led to the hidious practice of applying paint to a photograph, and thus many a beautiful photograph was ruined because some people were unwilling to accept a simple technological advancement.

    Ironically, those who accuse Lucas of being fixated on visual effects seem fixated on it themselves. I say this only because there are plenty of us who have no trouble seeing a wonderful story despite the alleged effects overkill.

    Interestingly enough, when my mother in law saw ATTACK OF THE CLONES, she was rather surprised that Lucas chose to use traditional stop motion puppets for the arena monsters instead of using computer generated effects. She said that it was obvious they were made of foam rubber. I didn't say a word. I just sat there and smiled.
  16. rpeugh Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2002
    star 4
    About the sweeping motions being blurry- I only noticed that on the IMAX screen. I didnt get any of that on my standard t.v. screen, just a perfect, sharp image. People will eventually embrace digital and accept it. When a baby is born, and the oxygen first gets into his lungs, it hurts like Hell. But after a while, the baby gets used to it, gets comfartable with it, and before long, it feels good to him, and he cant live without it. So will it be with digital.
  17. DeathStar1977 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 31, 2003
    star 4
    "Interestingly enough, when my mother in law saw ATTACK OF THE CLONES, she was rather surprised that Lucas chose to use traditional stop motion puppets for the arena monsters instead of using computer generated effects. She said that it was obvious they were made of foam rubber. I didn't say a word. I just sat there and smiled."

    After TPM, my father asked me who was in the Jar Jar 'suit', and that they made the 'suit' look so real. When I told him that it was entirely CG, he didn't believe me. Just like I still don't believe that all of the clonetroopers were CG.

    Effects are effects. I don't care how they do it as long as they look good. CG has allowed filmmakers to put on screen whatever they can imagine. I find that to be quite amazing.
  18. JohnWilliams00 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 29, 2002
    star 4
    Seriously, though, all this anti-CGI talk sounds suspiciously like the people in the 30's who denounced "talkies" and the cynics in the 50's who ridiculed color film.

    *anti-CGI talk*

    *eyes glazing over*

    *skimming over post*

    How many times must it be said we are not ANTI-CG.

    This sounds suspiciously like fanboys who can't take a simple critique of a movie.
  19. Durwood Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2002
    star 5
    This sounds suspiciously like fanboys who can't take a simple critique of a movie.

    Nothing like a good ad hominem attack to dismiss arguments you disagree with without actually bothering to counter them, eh? Too bad you skimmed over my post as you missed some very compelling comments. Oh well. It's your loss.
  20. SomeRandomNerd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 20, 1999
    star 4
    The thing about the clonetroopers being CG is that virtually all the scenes that they appear in, there are either lots of them (eg. on Kamino, in the battle) or they are interacting with CG characters (fighting droids, talking to each other, talking to Yoda.)

    >>>>I'm talking about using special effects when they're not necessary, and the impact that has on the visual style of the prequel films and how that will affect the cohesiveness of the saga as a whole. If at all.

    Well, that boils down to what you call a special effect, and when you think it's necessary. Can you give some more examples of unnecessary special effects so I can see where you're coming from?

    >>>>100% synthetic environments and complete blue screen sets are hardly examples of supplementing reality.

    But look at the Death Star; every inch of that set was designed and built- a 100% synthetic environment. I don't think Harrison Ford thought he was running through a giant spaceship any more than Ewan MacGregor thought he was looking at a cloning facility... Or Dagobah- organic as it looks, it was entirely done on a set. Even the snow on Hoth wasn't real snow (it was actually the same fake snow that was used for the Shining, being filmed in the same studios.[/pointless trivia]

    Do you not count these as special effects?

    >>>Does every shot in the desert need a CG scurrier or droid in the foreground? Some would argue that the presence of those elements (read: effects) helps to immerse you in the fantastic universe, but for me, it often takes me out of it.

    You say that the increased use of effects are creating a "jump" between the PT and the OT; was the OT really any different though? (Even before the Special Editions.) Was the little monster eating whatever it was eating outside Jabba's palace a necessary addition? Or the big beasties standing outside the Mos Eisley cantina? Or the R2/R5/whatever sort of droid that rolls in front of the camera when Obi Wan and Luke are talking to the stormtroopers?

    >>>I'll reiterate the Nicholas Meyer philosophy from my original post: sometimes, the implication that something is there can be more effective than actually showing everything there is to see.

    Yet in the TPM forum, TPM still gets a hell of a lot of criticism for disobeying the "show, don't tell" rule...
  21. Durwood Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2002
    star 5
    People tend to forget that in the eyes of movie audiences in 1977, A NEW HOPE was just as oversaturated with effects as people think the prequels are now. Remember all those shootouts on the Death Star? Every one of those laser bolts that we take for granted now were actually stunning, eye catching, in your face special effects. Remember Luke's speeder that seemed to magically float a few feet above the ground? Yep, that was another eye catching special effect. The lightsaber duel? Another display of special effects. The Falcon escaping from the Death Star? Yep, more eye popping effects work. The end battle sequence? It was the largest, longest, most overblown special effects sequence to date. Oh, and how could I forget the opening shot? From the very first frame, A NEW HOPE used the biggest, boldest effects anybody had ever seen.

    In a few years once this anti-CGI fervor has subsided, people will be able to reevaluate the prequels from a fresh perspective and will realize what wonderful movies they've been missing.
  22. Bravo 5 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 1998
    star 1
    First off, I think this may very well be my last post in this thread. It's clear to me that people aren't bothering to read and/or take in what I'm saying.

    But to set the record straight...

    Durwood - Seriously, though, all this anti-CGI talk sounds suspiciously like the people in the 30's who denounced "talkies" and the cynics in the 50's who ridiculed color film.

    What anti-CGI talk? For the last time -- I am a supporter of the use of CG effects in film. I'll be the first to make light of the benefits of CGI. I know I have already said this more than once.

    SomeRandomNerd - Well, that boils down to what you call a special effect, and when you think it's necessary. Can you give some more examples of unnecessary special effects so I can see where you're coming from?

    I have already, but I'll repeat: the biggest example I can think of are the clone troopers in AOTC.

    Also, a shot that always sticks out particularly in my mind is when Anakin and Padme first arrive in Mos Espa. Anakin tells their droid driver to "wait right there." There's then a shot of the droid, a CG creation, acknowledging him. Of course, this is just a matter of personal taste, but I see that as a rather unecessary shot. (Actually, one could also argue that Anakin's line to the droid is unecessary to begin with.) And had that scene been shot 20 years ago, I'd bet good money that that particular shot wouldn't be there.

    George Lucas himself said in a 1983 interview that the "trap" that most science fiction and fantasy films fall into is that they spend so much time and energy conceiving and building a world that they end up spending screentime just to show off the work that they generated. I'd call the shot I just mentioned, albeit a minor quibble, a waste of screentime.

    Now, you may say that that example is trivial. I'd agree with you for the most part. But there are some issues that this brings up for discussion: 1) Does this stylistic departure affect the way the prequel trilogy will mesh with the original trilogy? 2) Does such a stylistic difference exist to begin with? 3) What are the merits of the style of the prequel films on their own? 4) Does this matter?

    But look at the Death Star; every inch of that set was designed and built- a 100% synthetic environment. I don't think Harrison Ford thought he was running through a giant spaceship any more than Ewan MacGregor thought he was looking at a cloning facility...

    Either you misunderstood me or we're arguing semantics here. By synthetic, I mean any "special effect" added in post production. When I say real, I mean something tangible. And actually, yes, I would say that Harrison Ford believed he was running through a giant spaceship more than Ewan McGregor did a cloning facility. By your definition of special effects, a living room constructed from scratch in a studio for a television sitcom is a "special effect." I suppose, adhering to a loose definition of "special effects," you would technically be correct. But I think we would all agree that a constructed set does not constitute a special effect if we use the traditional definition.

    But that's not even the point I was trying to make. I was saying that a "real" object, at least at this point in time, will always be rendered more realistic on the screen than a special effect. Feel free to debate that if you like, but I think you'd be hard pressed. How the actors interact with a physical set versus a blue screen environment is a whole different issue that I didn't even bring up.

    Was the little monster eating whatever it was eating outside Jabba's palace a necessary addition? Or the big beasties standing outside the Mos Eisley cantina?

    I would say that they help to give a sense of the environment, so yes, they are necessary additions. But let me use this example to again illustrate the point I'm trying to get at. That little monster was a a puppet that cost money and manpower to build and shoot. From a logistical standpoint, it's simply no
  23. Bravo 5 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 1998
    star 1
    Durwood, in response to your last post: If there's any anti-CGI talk in this thread, it's not coming from me.
  24. rpeugh Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2002
    star 4
    The only part of the cgi that I thought was unnecessary in ATOC or TPM was the Clonetroopers. I dont know why GL did that. All he had to do was get one guy in a uniform, and digitally replicate him.
  25. Bravo 5 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 1998
    star 1
    Just to clarify again -- I'm not talking about unecessary CGI, but unecessary effects of any kind, period.
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