New Star Wars Film to Limit use of CGI

From the Guardian:

“The next Star Wars film will eschew CGI in favour of real locations and models wherever possible, according to Kathleen Kennedy, the film executive in charge of the sci-fi adventure.

The LucasFilm boss made the comments at a Star Wars convention, where she also revealed that composer John Williams would return for the upcoming JJ Abrams-directed Episode VII.

“The conversation we’re having all the time now about Episode VII is how much CGI,” Kennedy told fans at the Star Wars Celebration Europe convention in Essen, Germany. “We’re looking at what the early Star Wars films did; they used real locations with special effects. So [for Episode VII] we’re going to find some very cool locations, [and] we’re going to end up using every single tool in the toolbox.”

Thank God. This is something that the series sorely needed, and it’s good to see that the filmmakers are learning from the mistakes of the prequel trilogy.

That being said, I don’t think the prequel movies were that bad. They weren’t great, but they don’t deserve the amount of hostility they get from the fan base.  Their main issue was that they lacked the “magic” that the original trilogy had. By “magic,” I mean the feeling that the films inspired from within the viewer. They had a certain level of depth and meaning, resulting in a genuine emotional connection with the audience that lingered even after the credits rolled.

But that’s a hard thing to do. So when they were making the prequels, the filmmakers got lazy and tried to replicate that feeling with stuff like CGI and melodrama. The problem is that these things should only be used to enhance the plot, not support it. They simply can’t save a film by themselves. But George Lucas just said “Screw it!” and the result was three fundamentally mediocre films in a franchise that deserved better.

Despite the mistakes of the past, there is reason for hope for Star Wars fans. With the twin terrors of George Lucas and CGI brought under control, maybe Abrams can reclaim the “magic” that was lost thirty years ago.

Of course, it could also go horribly wrong. So help us J.J. Abrams, you’re our only hope.

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