If a recent rumor is real, JJ Abrams is keeping true to his word that the next chapter of theStar Wars saga would go back to old school visual effects techniques. Allegedly, the director has managed to keep CGI work on Star Wars: The Force Awakens down to just 28 scenes out of 357, per Making Star Wars.
“We have an amazing team at ILM (Industrial Light & Magic), who can create fantastic effects, but if we don’t have a great story and characters, the effects mean nothing. 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.” – Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm Chairman
There’s a backlash that is currently growing against the over use of CGI, which many believe are ruining movies. But some believe bad CGI is only noticeable because it takes viewers out of the movie and is usually tied to bad story telling, while good CGI is timeless because it blends in, disappears, moves a good story forward in such a way as to be unnoticeable.
“There are obviously an enormous amount of CG effects in the film, and I can’t wait for you to see the combination. But it was very important … that the film have a tangible, sort of authentic quality that you believed that these things were actually happening in a real space with real sunlight – if it was an exterior scene – or [that] we could build a big portion of a scene and not have anything be blue screen …” – J.J. Abrams, interview with Collider
The techniques included makeup effects of alien creatures, explosive effects, large set pieces, and other more traditional filmmaking techniques that drive a science fiction story forward before the age of the computer and digital effects started dominating, and ultimately sending the industry into a crisis.
As such, Abrams has reportedly been able to streamline the amount of CGI down to less than 10% of the overall film, limiting it to scenes where the production simply couldn’t replicate the effect with any other technique. And don’t forget popular droid BB-8 is an actual robot.
In other Star Wars News, the international trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens dropped this morning, from out of South Korea. And it doesn’t really show a lot of new clips, but you do get a brief look at an assembly of Storm Troopers and Tie Fighters at the main base of The First Order. Check it out here: