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Star Wars Prequels Media Movies

Episode II and Computer Animated Actors 131

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the not-as-hot-as-jennifer-aniston dept.
Mr. Fusion writes "I'm sure this might affect the actor's union one day, but News.com is reporting that Lucas is going to have an animated lead CGI character in the next Star Wars movie. As long as they leave out Jar-Jar, I'll enjoy the ride." This is a fluff interview, but its interesting for me (I'm an animation junkie of course). Talks about the work he's doing on clothing, hair, and skin texturing. All interesting. I'd love pictures tho.
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Episode II and Computer Animated Actors

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  • See the fight between Dooku and Yoda? They couldn't figure out how to do it realistically with muppets, so Yoda is CG in Episode II.
  • too easy, troll.
  • I'm not trolling. I just don't get why everyone online comes down on the phantom menace like it was just regurgitation. Everyone I know of liked it. I've loved Star Wars for years. I could understand people attacking the movie if there was something major wrong with it. I get the feeling that most of these people hate it because it doesn't have the same cheesy effects as the other three.

  • "I personally liked Jar-Jar binks far more than Anakin" true. but i hated them both. oh, the little wunderkind, how "special" he is... how sweet is he? watch as wacky hijinks ensue! /me goes back to shuddering in the corner from the horror of that movie. "I still thought that it was a prime example of Lucas 'doing it his way'" i still think he has too many yes-men, and not enough people keeping him in check. if i wanted to see a children's flick, jesus... even the ewok tv-movies were decent.
  • Digital characters are too "perfect".

    Not to my way of thinking. The digital characters looked too "cartoony" to me. They stretched and moved non-realistically at times. Jar-Jar was the most glaring example. Of course, there were some really good ones. Watto comes to mind, but his facial expressions certainly did have a "Looney Toons" feel to them. The Destroyers were very good. The battle droids were a disappointment, they seemed to be moon-walking at times.

    In the end, Yoda looked the best. Why? He was really there, on the set and given life by Frank Oz.

    --
  • Ok, so the title of the article [cnet.com] goes:
    Upcoming "Star Wars" explores new territory
    What territory? Because the lead character is not a human actor?
    Who framed Roger Rabbit [filmsite.org] (1988) anyone?

    Oh, because it's CG?
    Toys Story [go.com] (1995) anyone?

    Ok, so at best, they are improving their CG techniques. But calling that "exploring new territory" just looks like marketing BS to me...

    My 2 cents...

    PS: George, if you ever read this, please forget about the CG frills and concentrate on giving us a great movie as you used to!

  • "I get the feeling that most of these people hate it because it doesn't have the same cheesy effects as the other three." exactly. they had heart, rather than relying on polish. of course, ymmv. that's just how i see it.
  • Not to mention Casper [imdb.com] in 1995 and Stuart Little [imdb.com] in 1999, two more movies with computer animated lead characters. George really has been out of touch, locked up in his ranch if he thinks he's the first person to do this.

    On the other hand, that statement you quoted from the article is very carefully worded with qualifiers, such as "major" release, "lead" character, and the emphasis on live-action (neatly sidestepping Toy Story 1 & 2, Antz, and A Bug's Life). He seems to know he's not the first, and is just trying to make it sound like he is. He probably considers all other movies to not be "major" releases, thus ensuring that he is the FIRST! (in a "major" release).

    Kinda reminds me of those car commercials where they say "IT"S GOT THE MOST HORSEPOWER (in its class)".

  • I think there is some justice in Leonardo Di Caprio eventually ending up as the ugly, evil and pitiable figure of Darth Vader at the end of Return of the Jedi. At least that's what I'm going to have to tell myself once the reviewers start swooning over him (yet again) as Anakin.
  • by gavinhall (33)
    Posted by Bel Iblis:

    Amen to that JFTaylor..Amen to that.
  • It's ironic that you point this out, since this movie will apparently be the beginning of the clone wars.

    Clone Wars in the world of the Jedi

    Clone Wars in the world of Hollywood

    Something else for Hollywood to worry about. Once the CGI editors become common place, then any kid with a good workstation can put out a high grade story, depending on skill. Complete with fancy actors.

    Of course, most of it will be porn staring the cgi versions of the pop and movie stars of the day.

    But there will have to be a new version of the copyright law, because otherwise the MPAA will have a nightmare beyond imagining. For one thing, a sufficiently advanced form of a CGI animation would actually act like midi, notating movement and elements of the scene, not encoding the actors directly.

    imagine pirated modules of copyrighted stars, fully editable by the user.

  • No, this is just a myth. Bob Hoskins is, in fact, CGI. I invite you to go watch Super Mario Bros the Movie. No human would have the self-decency to have appeared in that thing (except Mojo Nixon!)
  • I'm still waiting for "History of the World: Part II", with 'Hitler on Ice'...

    --
  • He won't be the first to do this. The final fantasy movie is coming out July 13th, and will be COMPLETELY computer animated.

    -- Dr. Eldarion --
  • Those folks are the ones who are the furthest from being replaced.

    The best targets for replacement are crowd scenes (where a small group can be replicated) and the over-priced stars.
  • I hope that no actor's group so much as peeps about this. Excuse me, but how is this different from animated characters? Like cartoons? I don't see how this is any different, except the artists now use a mouse instead of a brush. Have Disney's animated classics driven actors out of business? I think not. They even use established actors for the voices and it gives the movie more viewership.

    Anyone who is afraid of the effects of the new digital characters is only afraid of change, and i'll tell you they have another thing coming.

    (Insert 3-d, animated, gigantic tux terrorizing Hollywood. Oh yeah.)
  • ...forgive me for repeating things....but... He didn't "kill" Star Wars. You act as though Lucas "owes" you the same feeling you got when you were 10 watching the Star Destroyer chase the blockade runner. (Well, perhaps you were younger.) I mean, think about the times. 1977...nothing remotely cool like ANH was out. It was a fun ride...not artsy-fartsy, no "deep psychological" critiques (Go watch "Dinner with Andre" for that) just a fun movie, like movies are supposed to be. Like Flash Gordon and the like was for our parents/grandparents. I was 6 when I saw ANH (at a drive-in with my mom and dad) and I LOVED it. I was 29 when I saw TPM, and I loved it too. It was still full of "gee whiz" gadgetry and amazing sequences (Pod race or duel anyone?) But more importantly, it was also pulling back the veil over the history of a universe growing up we've all wished we were living in at one time or another. Whether or not George decides to use a main computer-generated (and human-voiced, lest we forget) character is not the issue. The issue, that has been stated before (a million times) is the level of "sophistication" we all thought Ep 4-6 had. We were, for the most part, kids. Experience makes us all more likely to say "seen it before" or "that was a horrible cliche" when we go see movies. Star Wars is no exception. I saw Episode 1 as a good all-around movie that foreshadowed some of the things we've been speculating our whole lives about. (How did Darth get that armor, etc?) It's not like we're going to peek behind a green curtain and find a fat, little man running controls. (Wait, there IS a fat man running the controls. George, lay off the donuts!) We're not going to be let down. It's Star Wars. If you expect new, innovative, never been done before experiences, look elsewhere. ANH opened the door for that already. This is Star Wars. It's more fun than you can shake a gundark at!
  • TPM sucked so hard, that any parody of it would be a riot.
  • by fleener (140714) on Sunday March 18, 2001 @10:20AM (#355712)
    Prediction: George will continue his loopy devotion to lame "computer graphics as movies" dream through Episode 3. Then, five years later, he'll have an epiphany and realize that he lost sight of what Star Wars was about. He'll vow to do episodes 7-9 after all, using only real actors.

    (Much like Spielberg realizing how badly Temple of Doom sucked, and apologizing to his fans via The Last Crusade.)

  • Still, the play time Jar-Jar got in Episode I will dwarf the play time Yoda gets in Episode II. For that reason I hardly consider Yoda of Ep II a "main character" if they don't consider Jar-Jar of Ep I a "main character".

    I guess they must be calling Yoda a main character because of what he becomes.
  • WOOHOOO! I actually liked Jar Jar. He gave the movie some comic relief. People need to lighten up and laugh now and then. Life's too short to get worked up over everything.

  • > > Just because it's possible doesn't mean you have to do it.

    > Please just give me a kickass Star Wars movie that doesn't suck ...

    Just because it's possible doesn't mean he has to do it.

    --
  • Actually, Anakin becomes enraged and attempts to kill Obi-Won, only fails and falls into an acid pit (thus the breathing suit).

    At least that's what the books say...
  • I agree with kreyg. I believe quite often people (at least in our North American society) get far too attached to things that if you were to step out of yourself and observe the situation objectively (in true slashdot fashion) would seem ridiculous. I mean...this is a movie. It's a wildly successful one and George Lucas chooses to do it mosty the way he'd like it...that's that. If you happen to enjoy it and he makes money off of it then great for both, otherwise just get off your butt and go figure out something else..

    I suggest to anyone reading slashdot to take their wonderful objective minds and go listen to a song called Dogma by KMFDM. I don't wholeheartedly agree with it, but it gives you a lot to think about it and reconsider one's priorities and values.
  • "I'm sure this might affect the actor's union one day"

    actually, it doesn't really affect SAG (that's Screen Actor's Guild for those of you still thinking it's the "actor's union") because it IS just like a cartoon. Do people really think that this is going to overtake all lead roles?
    Seriously, while it may not be the norm of this particular community, i think most people still like being able to see LIVE human characters.
    I'm not a guy, but i'm guessing that the Tomb Raider chick isn't quite the same as an hour worth of...i dunno, who do guys like? jennifer aniston?..something like that. And from a girl's point of view, romance movies are a big box office draw every year- and you just don't replace Robert Redford or Freddie Prinz Jr. with a drawing, i don't care how good of a drawing it is.

    But that's just my two cents worth...
  • This may not be a troll per se but it certainly seems to me that you're trying to start a debate between those who hated TPM and the few who loved it. :)
  • Just because it's possible doesn't mean you have to do it.

    Please just give me a kickass Star Wars movie that doesn't suck ...
  • In those films *everything* was CGI. Toy Story didn't have a human actor appearing in it. Neither did Who Framed Roger Rabbit, or Ants or whatnot. I think thats the difference between this film and the others.
  • I really don't think I am willing to support George Lucas anymore by watching his films. I give him credit for making some serious breakthroughs with the original Star Wars movies, but even so, the movies themselves weren't really that spectacular. Not to mention that he seems bent on squeezing every drop of money out of Star Wars fans that he can possibly get. No, thanks.
  • You mean the Star Wars sheets, the Kenner toys, the R2-D2 socks, the Chewbacca cake pans and the C3P0's cereal didn't tip you off years ago?

    George makes a mighty fine space opera, but don't try to pretend it was anything more than that. Anything else is simple delusion.

    The saga had it's fair share of cheese and crash merchandising from day one.
  • Who are you trying to fool :)

    ~
    ~
  • by carlivar (119811) on Sunday March 18, 2001 @09:41AM (#355725)
    My friend and I were just talking about this. In our opinion, the reliance on digital editing techniques has made directors lazy and has lessened the "soul" of movies. I am disappointed to hear that Lucas is going to use his CGI gimmick again. The old-style rubber costumes look much better! Digital characters are too "perfect". If it ain't broke, don't fix it - is there a real need for a CGI character? I don't think so. It is purely a gimmick.

    Funny that the Star Wars characters 20 years ago are going to look better than these current digital characters.

    Carl

  • Actually, what I think is going to be a test of whether the movie does great is pitting Mace against Jango, and seeing if they can actually make it seem like a decent fight.

    Jango is going to have nothing but ranged weapons (Maybe a line like Boba used to tie up Luke in "Return of the Jedi") and possibly a few melee. With that in mind, I can't imagine Jango being any real test of skill to a Jedi.

    If the battle can be made realisitic and believably fair, the I'll look forward to seeing Episode III when it comes out. If it, as well as the Yoda/Dooku "fight" really disappoint me, I'll wait till the video or rip it off someone in IRC.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This industry will really take off, once you can skin and theme the actors.
  • ...stop calling it CGI!!! CGI means "Common Gateway Interface", not "Computer-Generated Imagery".
  • I thought it was terrible. Maybe terrible is too over-stated. When I walked out of the theater I felt violated and robbed. But, after watching it on video a few times with my nephew, it grew on me. Maybe I'm naive or just really wanting for this film to be good (probably both) but, I think I started to take it for what it was.

    If one were to think of it as the first in a series of films, difficult to do when you have the middle part of the story firmly ingrained in you head, they would notice introduction to characters as well as character development, plot setting, as opposed to plot handling and a nice unfulfilling ending that leaves you yearning for more (although that did happen, I don't quite think it happened for the reasons intended).

    Maybe in time, after the three prequels are finished, when we can look back, be dorks, watch the epic in its entirety and maybe, just maybe, see Episode I for what it weas inteded to be.

    Or, maybe I'm still being naive.

  • he said the same thing after 6 and here we are

    ~
    ~
  • Sorry, but I think you're pretty much missing the Big Picture here. What proponents of this technology are arguing is that in a few years it could become so advanced that CGI characters would be indistinguishable from real actors.

    Moore's Law and the current rate of software improvement, as well as increased uses of technology such as clustering/parallel processing and increased CGI skill amoung modern animators support this theory.

    As for the "voice" argument, it's true that voice synthesis won't be mainstream anytime soon, due to the increased complexity of the the task - but voice actors are hardly in the same league as all-round actors money-wise. Let's face it, there are a lot of people with good voices that could do that kind of work - every third person you meet will at least have some aptitude for it.

    Whether it's right or wrong to replace "real live actors" with CGI is a philosophical point, but your statement is rendered obsolete if in fact the technology does get to the point where CGI characters are indistiguishable from real actors - and that point in technology is not far off.

    Now, perhaps for people who read gossip columns, or idolize actors/actresses, this will seem like a big deal, as you say:

    jennifer aniston?..something like that. And from a girl's point of view, romance movies are a big box office draw every year- and you just don't replace Robert Redford or Freddie Prinz Jr. with a drawing, i don't care how good of a drawing it is.

    Ok, granted that these are all "pretty people" (well, the females at least), but really, I have never been an MTV-like person who idolizes entertainers the way some people do - to me, a movie is good, it's good. I freely admit that I don't spend time memorizing names, roles, etc of famous actors and actresses, and I don't really care about who they are or what other movies they've been in - as long as the movie's good, it's good. CGI characters are getting very good, and if they did end up replacing these actors and actresses, I really wouldn't care - as long as the movie itself was still good. I don't even know who Robert Redford and Freddie Printz are, to be perfectly honest with you, and if that seems "sad", it seems equally sad to me that people would spend time memorizing and idolizing people that really don't give a damn about them in return.

    I for one would like to see live actors replaced by CGI ... Mainly for the sheer hacker potential of such an occurance. I mean, a technical feat such as that would truely be a thing to behold... It probably won't happen within the next 2 years, but the next 3 or 4, who knows? I guess people who worship entertainment figures might protest and boycott these movies, but to be perfectly honest with you, I think there are more people who wouldn't really care that current actors/actresses were replaced, and would realize that in reality, they were watching a 2 hour movie to be entertained - nothing more, and when the movie was finished, they would go back to doing something constructive (hopefully).

  • Well, at least somebody got my point, thanks. My point being, of course, that it IS just a movie, the venom is uncalled for (or, more likely, a sign of deep psychological problems), and that George is not necessarily the Epitome Of All That Is Evil. Control freak, quite likely. EOATIE, I don't think so.

  • Excuse me, but I think that dream is dreamt by everyone all over the world, NOT just people living in the USA!!!

    Jak Din
  • I mean, check this link [timepasstown.com] - this page tells you the actor unions views about losing their jobs....
  • I know a lot of people will be naysaying, but I say let's give a big hand to our new
    Star Wars character, Darth Shiny!!!
  • $TAR WAR$ I$ DEAD and George Lucas killed it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Oh yeah, this next episode is gonna have the **lamest** acting, the sappiest lines, the most predictable plot and of course the most obnoxious CGI characters that will make Jar Jar Binks look like it was a swell idea.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    From the article:
    "convinced Lucas that a computer-generated (CG) character should do what no CG has yet done: appear as a lead character in a major live-action motion picture release. "

    Hello?!Didn't anyone at ILM see Stuart Little?The cast consisted of humans, trained cats, and the titular computer generated mouse.Admittedly, there were a couple other CG mice (minor characters), and the cats all had digitally-enhanced speaking roles, but it was still a 'live action' film.

    Here's the link, for those who don't know what I'm on about: Stuart Little details at IMDB [imdb.com]

    This just further proves my theory that George Lucas has his head up his arse.

  • That page sucks. Blue on black so you can hardly read it, lousy javascript so you can't use your back button.

    There was nothing about actors on it either.

  • In the words of Chris Rock;

    "You can drive a car with yo' feet, but doesn't mean its to be done."

    I watched S.W. EP1 in horror that night, at midnight, and realized Lucas and Nintendo are marketing whores. They both market to the kiddies. Lucas is already rich, but no, he has to pull the "infinity + 1," he is infinitly rich but he has to make more money by marketing to the minds of 8 year olds rather than creating another epic. (S.W. EP 4 & 5 are good movies.)
  • Actually, ILM isn't too far away from that [slashdot.org].
    (Sorry to step on the joke)

    (end comment) */ }

  • OK, one specific about how Phantom Menace sucks in comparison with A New Hope. I saw the latter aged 8 in 1977. One of the cool things about it was that it was genuinely frightening. Luke on Tatooine is in a genuinely harsh and dangerous environment - between the Sand People and stormtroopers. People and characters are getting killed left right and centre. Hell there are a dozen rebel troops shot dead in the first five minutes, followed by Darth Vader breaking someone's neck!

    Compare with the Phantom Menace where (as far as I can remember) only one person actually gets killed, and that's Darth Maul. All the rest are cutesy / stupid robots who aren't remotely frightening. After all the Jedi only have to wave a hand and they go flying.

    Just one of many reasons why TPM sucks ass.
    --
    If the good lord had meant me to live in Los Angeles

  • It seems Lucas has been sniffing the CGI fumes too much, he's addicted to it like some crack fiend. Let's just hope he doesn't come up with the idea of a CGI Indy (what with Ford being all old and that). I can see it now:

    Spielberg: It doesn't mater Harrison is so old...
    Lucas: You will use a CGI Indy
    Spielberg: We will use a CGI Indy
    Lucas: You can begin filming now
    Spielberg: I'll begin filming now
  • lifting the head slightly when speaking,

    eyes open up at strange times,

    swaying from side to side


    Is it just me?


    I guess Bezier curves do not a gesture make...
  • When the Nubian ship supposedly carrying Padme lands..

    Just one question: what's a Nubian? [imdb.com]

  • Gollum will by CGI. The Balog, perhaps some of
    the others too.

  • ...the reliance on digital editing techniques has made directors lazy and has lessened the "soul" of movies.

    You might say that the rising popularity of anime is in response to this type of thing.

  • After seeing about a billion commercials, drinking a hundred pepsis with jar jar on the cup, billboards, news reports, walls of unsold toys at every retailer - I couldn't bring myself to go see it. To this day, I haven't seen it. Perhaps I'll watch on FOX on April 29th.
  • Done by ILM, of course. Casper and Dragonheart both had CG title characters, arguably the most important characters of those films.

    With good direction and animation, there's no reason that CG characters can't be every bit as compelling as real-time humans; Jar-Jar notwithstanding. He would have been just as annoying as a guy in a rubber suit with the same lines.

    Give Lucas and his animators a chance before you slag them. They've got a lot of work ahead of them; and I'm sure that most of that work will end up on the screen. It all comes down to story, as it always does.

    thad

  • Mesa think yousa joake naut foonie.
  • First of all computers are cool and so animation is cool.

    But secondly and most importantly at least we know Leonardo di Caprio isn't going to play the lead character.

  • Who would own the copyright if you could mix and match mannerisms, such as if you had a CGI Frank Sinatra and gave him the mannerisms of of John Wayne?

    At the end of movies, a disclaimer which goes something like "any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental". I assume they run this because a resemblance which is not coincidental can get them in legal trouble. If they decided to make a CGI character which resembled Frank Sinatra and John Wayne, that wouldn't be a coincidental resemblance.
  • by Lotek (29809) <Vitriolic@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Sunday March 18, 2001 @10:59AM (#355752)
    It's ironic that you point this out, since this movie will apparently be the beginning of the clone wars.

    I would bet that you are going to see hordes of clone warriors, all CGI rendered.

  • The SAG (as well as AFTRA, WGA, AEA, etc) are not just about "multi-millionaires." There are lots and lots of actors who are living project to project, paycheck to paycheck, barely able to squeak by month to month, and having the unions assures them the ability to make a decent living.

    If it weren't for the unions, there'd be plenty more artists who wouldn't even be able to afford a decent apartment, much less have the ability to afford a house, buy their groceries, send their kids to college and actually make a fair living. Have a little more respect please!

    --


  • I'm sure this might affect the actor's union one day, but News.com is reporting that Lucas is going to have an animated lead CGI character in the next Star Wars movie. As long as they leave out Jar-Jar, I'll enjoy the ride."
    Personally I don't think it'd affect any actors union for one of a few reasons.

    1: 3d characters take an extreme amount of time to generate and get right, I used to be in the graphic design field and tinked with some pretty neat programs years back like Strata Pro Studio, Form-Z, etc., and I can remember the little things like hair, motion and overall movements were difficult, and judging byt he strides in today's movies (seeing Final Fantasy commercials too), it'd be hard for a company to get it right and costly.

    2: Even with the 3d generated characters, its likely bluescreens and other high tech stuff will be used to assess moves, etc., and someone will have to pose for this, which means someone is getting paid on so the 3d char isn't really free in respects to pay.

    3: 3d movies, cartoons, commercials, etc., are extremely costly and time consuming, they'd end up paying more for animation artisits, modelers, renderers, hardware, software, than they'd pay an up and coming actor.


    Judging by the success and overall nature of Lucas Films I think he's doing the movie solely to please himself, then the fans.

    vroom vroom [speedygrl.com]
  • OK, so we are to the point of having lead CGI characters. But their voices are still real people. In order to make a 100% computer generated character, we need the computer to do the talking. Why is this lagging so far behind the imagery? Is it because the industry and the Computer Science field has been preoccupied with the visual side of things, or are there still serious technical problems here? Can anyone in the know comment?
  • OK, so I was 7 when Star Wars came out- and God! I loved it. I also loved Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

    Now I am older, and I have to say "I loved Phantom Menace!"

    There was a sort of initial disappointment, but that was because it had a hell of a lot to live up to. When I'd watched it a few more times I was convinced- it was at least as good as, if not better than the other 3.

    Just listen to the new main theme- "Duel of the Fates" (or whatever it's called)- it rocks as much as the Imperial Theme from the earlier films, IMNSHO.

    And the lightsabre fights? They are without a doubt a whole level above Obi-Wan's pathetic attempts in Star Wars, and even above Luke and Vader in Empire and ROTJ.

    OK, so there isn't a really big space battle in the film and it doesn't have Darth Vader in it- but appart from that- what else could you want?

    Yeah, some of the dialogue and acting sucks, but it did in the first three- in fact some of the lines from the first 3 films are classics with me because of the lame way they are delivered! "Shuttle Tiderian, please trnasmit the codes for shield deactivation" and the bit about finding a rebel base on Dantooine "but they estimate that it has been abandoned for some time". OK so we are talking very minor character's lines in the first three that sucked as opposed to main characters- but I think that George Lucas was just very lucky in the "unknowns" he picked for Star Wars.

    It has been said before- but it bears repeating- People who saw the first 3 films as kids, then saw Phantom Menace, somehow think that the film should have "grown up" with them, but it hasn't- it's still at the same level as the other 3, which you can say is "for kids" or alternatively, "for all ages".

    I think you get much better criticisms from people when they compare the first 3- i.e. some poeple say that Empire is the best because it's darker, (or because it had different writers) etc.- other people, more concerned with epic action prefer Return of the Jedi, and didn't like Empire because of the "Luke training" bits. Etc. Etc.

    As for Jar-Jar Binks, I thought he was hilarious, and I think a lot of other people thought so too. I mean, I can see how people disliked the Ewoks, but Jar-Jar. What? He talks funny? Slashdotters love this as a rule- AYBABTU anyone?

    In fact I think that the spread of "Jar Jar Sucks" posts are probably related to the AYBABTU phenomenon- i.e. stick with what the mob likes, and diss the things the mob hates, and you'll be alright. I mean- we are slashdotters- we're supposed to be more mature than this. Also we're supposed to like computer stuff, i.e. CGI.

    Now, it's obvious that Lucas would be a big fan of CGI, and that his 3 prequals would use lots of it. You have to remember that the other 3 films used a lot of technologically-advanced stuff for their day, so George Lucas hasn't changed in his attitude.

    And people slagging off George Lucas for wanting to make money? What a surprise- Slashdotters slag off anyone who wants to make money. It almost seems like they want to me able to make money themselves without allowing anyone else to do so. (Or are we all really eco-warriors typing this from our psychedelically-painted trailers?)

    You see, slashdotters typically slag off commercial Operating Systems and software and praise the free ones, but with films they're fucked- because you couldn't really make a decent film on an extremely low budget. (OK, so there was Blair Witch, which was shit overall, but at least had a "Why didn't I think of that?" idea).

    Basically, I am criticising the majority of slashdotters for being shallow and hypocritical. (Whoooooh! Like, THAT'S novel....)

    Graspee

    Arseholes like opinions. Everyone is one.

  • Hey, Lucas is an "early adopter" as marketroids say. People like him are essential so that the technology can percolate down to, as Apple would say, "the rest of us." This is /.; we all remember Moore's Law, right? Five or six years ago, people would be saying the same thing about Poser: it'll never be feasible--too expensive, too slow.

    Computer generated actors won't age, won't be constrained by the laws of physics or biology except where we want them to be, and won't demand bathtubs full of green M&Ms--and kids dreaming of making movies will eventually be able to use them while sitting up late clicking away at their mice some summer night in the future to let the rest of us see their visions and perhaps start a career.

  • Episode II
    VEIL OF THE SITH

    There is unrest in the Galactic Senate. Several hundred solar systems, under the leadership of the Rebel Leader, Count Dooku, have declared their intentions to secede from the Republic.

    This separatist movement has made it difficult for the limited number of Jedi Knights to maintain peace and order in the galaxy.

    Senator Amidala, the former Queen of Naboo, is returning to Coruscant to vote on the critical issue of creating an army to assist the overwhelmed Jedi...
    ---

  • A double reference, nicely played :)
    --
  • My understanding is that it's Obi-Wan who fights Jango, in a rain scene. The fight that I haven't heard anything about is the Mace Windu one.......curious that.

    The Force Online [theforce.net]
  • According to the Article:...convinced Lucas that a computer-generated (CG) character should do what no CG has yet done: appear as a lead character in a major live-action motion picture release.

    Anybody besides me see the 1996 movie Dragonheart, which included Drago, a CGI generated dragon voiced by Shawn Connery?

    Funny, but Draco seemed like a lead character in that story...

  • "and if they did end up replacing these actors and actresses, I really wouldn't care"

    -that's your opinion, and while it may be a valid one, that's not the additude that keeps the bulk of the film industry running.

    ...ever notice how some people can write a whole lot, and yet, really not say anything....?
  • I think the whining about the marketing is that our parents bought us the toys back then. Now we have to buy them for ourselves or not have them. Either way you think the toys are too expensive because it isn't a 2.99 GI Joe or you just think toys toys and that kind of marketing are a waste of time.

  • Possibly, but I was thinking FF because it actually looks like it stars real actors. Toy Story was a big milestone in computer animated movies, but it didn't have that element to it...

    -- Dr. Eldarion --
  • Mace ends up decapitating Jango in the arena scene.
  • They better hope Episode II beats the new live action Scooby Doo movie out. Scooby will be CGI, and the lead character.

  • CGI has stood for both as far back as I can remember, and as far back as I can remember is about the beginning of the WWW (not the Internet, of course, the WWW)... I just happened to be into both the Internet and computer graphics at the time, and I saw both terms thrown around, so I suspect that if anything, "Computer-Generated Imagery" may predate "Common Gateway Interface".

    Can anyone correct me on this? Was "Common Gateway Interface" in use before the WWW?
  • How little you know.
  • Really, Lucas is missing the opportunity of a lifetime here. How exactly is he planning to show Anakin irrevocably turn to the dark side? A lover's quarrel with Amidala? A brainwashing session with Palpatine? What gimmick could possibly be used to turn a cutsy kid into the embodiment of Star Wars Evil, and still remain believable?

    Simple. The way to turn Anakin to the dark side is to make him finally get fed up with Jar Jar, and kill him. Maybe the murder would be premeditated, maybe it would seem accidental, but it would alienate all Anakin's goody-goody friends and force Anakin out into the bosom of evil while still leaving him a sympathetic character to the audience. "How could something so morally ambiguous be the crucial step on the road to the dark side?" we will wonder. "Why are the other Jedi all being so hard on Anakin, when we've been imagining gutting Jar-Jar like a trout since Episode I?" Mark my words, this is the only way that Lucas can turn Vader into an evil character that the audience will still identify with, and if he uses it he'll be retroactively vindicating the most annoying parts of Episode I as well. Everyone, keep your fingers crossed.
  • Prediction: There will be no Episodes 7-9. George has said repeatedly that after 3, he won't touch Star Wars again.

    At least until he needs some cash.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    They should make a gtk theme like that, push buttons could be breast, scroll bars could be penises, radio buttons could be vaginas (insert/remove dildos)...
  • This brings up an interesting point. There are actresses and actors who could do nude scenes for basically indefinitely! Imagine if they themselves mature and learn the acting trade better, but are still as "easy on the eyes" as they were/are in their 20s?

    We'd be seeing Sean Connery James Bond's 'til the cows come home! They could remake the original Star Wars. (Should we call it SW:NH or OG SW?) Imagine if Harrison Ford re-did Han Solo, only knowing what he knows now instead of what he knew back then? We could get Joker Skywalker, too! Schweet.

  • by kreyg (103130) <kreyg&shaw,ca> on Sunday March 18, 2001 @12:55PM (#355773) Homepage

    Everbody's always whining about George's use of digital everything. I find the whole uproar rather confusing (but then, I liked Episode 1, and thought Jar-Jar was kind of amusing, so please feel free to flame away).

    I find the whole thing rather confusing because George is just a HACKER, albeit using film and with a great deal more money than any of us, but a hacker none the less. He's exploring what is possible, pushing boundaries, and he's doing it because he wants to. Damn it, he's having fun. He's a geek and you're trying to bullying him, which is pretty sad when you think about it.

    Some people seem to think he has a "responsibility" to Star Wars fans. I always thought that attitude was a little odd. Don't tell me that he owes us because he's rich from our money. We each paid for what we got, expecting nothing more - a movie pass, an action figure or a t-shirt. Although some of us (including myself) have something of an "attachment" to Star Wars, and in making it a part of ourselves believe we have some sort of ownership over it, that's not really true (at least under current copyright law).

    That's really the whole music sharing argument though - the RIAA is successful because their product became part of our culture (or they bought pieces of our culture, either way...) If something is that deeply ingrained into who we are, why should we have no control over it whatsoever?

    Which leads me to the conclusion that popular media is so ingrained into our definitions of ourselves that we can't even separate the two, we have a couple of options. First, anything which becomes wildly popular should become public domain. Second, we could just get un-brainwashed and stop buying this crap. Those two options are complete opposites, but maybe try to do one or the other instead of just whining about it.
  • While the Screen Actors' Guild has had great success, in the past, in getting multi-millionaires to strike for more money

    Let's not forget the other 95% of the SAG that is far from wealthy. The guy who plays "Bank Teller #2" and has maybe three lines is a member also, and there's a whole lot of those folks.

  • Even with the 3d generated characters, its likely bluescreens

    Not if they're using Linux or some other *nix on the render farm ;-)

    they'd end up paying more for animation artisits, modelers, renderers, hardware, software, than they'd pay an up and coming actor.

    Unless they want a character that doesn't look like Homo sapiens. (For instance, I stopped watching Trek because all the aliens looked like humans with makeup and suits on.) Or perhaps they want to do something else that cannot be achieved with living human actors.

    "So use puppets for those." No. Lucas commented that Yoda the muppet was the only "fake" looking character in Episode 5.


    All your hallucinogen [pineight.com] are belong to us.
  • when i first read this, i was thinking "what the hell does george lucas have to do with CGI scripts"

    --

  • by volsung (378)
    Okay, everyone! It time to rehash (for the 20th time) just how bad you thought Phantom Menance was and how much you think the new movie will suck. Don't forget to insult Lucas while you're at it.
  • Why not mod_perl or mod_python characters? We all know CGI is outdated....

    Oh. Computer Graphics characters.
    ------------
  • by donglekey (124433) on Sunday March 18, 2001 @09:48AM (#355779) Homepage
    George Lucas seems so obssesed with being "the first" to do everything. Maybe he shoudl concentrate on tryng to make a good movie instead of thinking up more usless but "groundbreaking" applications of CGI while trying to make as much money as possible. I am not looking forward to all the marketing slop being thrown around again.
  • Directing an animator to move a character would be exactly the same as directing an actor to move a character. The process is creating visuals and atmosphere. When an actor can't accomplish something that the director wants, a good director would find another actor. The less competent director would say, "I guess that will work."

    Whining that someone has a lot of money to invest in a film is no excuse to bash them. Lucas could make just as much money, based only on the Star Wars name, if he said "Screw everyone. I'm going with a single Hi-8 camera and using my nephew in the backyard using a broom handle as a lightsaber." Instead, he invests a ton of money in a film to make what he thinks is better.

    I thought Jar Jar was irritating. I thought the announcer for the pod race was lame. I won't, however, insult Lucas for doing what he thought the audience would want to see and creating the movie that he envisioned. If you don't like how he's making his films then don't watch them. If you think you can do better, make your own and impress us.
  • by Sheepdot (211478) on Sunday March 18, 2001 @09:49AM (#355781) Journal
    (There is no main CG character in Episode II. Possibly in Ep III, but definately *not* in II.)

    *This is stolen from Aldera.net*

    After the opening crawl, Senator Padme's starship and it's convoy are approaching Coruscant. When the Nubian ship supposedly carrying Padme lands, disguised handmaiden Cordé (played by Veronica Segura) walks down the ramp with her entourage and suddenly there's a huge explosion near the ramp. Padme, who was riding in one of the Nubian's escort fighters, runs to her and they exchange a few quick words before Corde dies. Padme has a quick discussion with Captain Typho (played by Jay Laga'aia) about what to do and then goes to her quarters.

    When she arrives safely in her apartment on Coruscant, she calls longtime friend Jar Jar Binks, who's official title is now Representative Jar Jar Binks of the Gungans. In the Senate, Jar Jar stands with Senator Padme on the Naboo platform.

    After the Nubian ship was destroyed, Uv Gizen - Supreme Chancellor Palpatine's personal aide - tells Palpatine that Senator Padme is dead. The Senate later convenes on the matter at hand; voting on whether or not to create a clone army for the Republic. Palpatine starts to speak, "My esteemed colleagues, I have received some tragic and disturbing news." He is about to announce Padme's death, but to his surprise, Padme shows up and says that she's ok. She voices her opinions about the lack of safety in the galaxy and the Senate spends the rest of this meeting dwelling on this topic.

    Palpatine resolves the issue of Padme's safety by assigning two Jedi Knights to protect her. He asks Mace Windu to specifically assign Obi-Wan and Anakin to this task.

    Shortly after comes a meeting in a small room on Coruscant. In the room are Senator Toonbuck Toora, Senator Darsana, Senator Askaak, Bail Organa (played by Jimmy Smits), Jar Jar Binks, and S.C Palpatine. They are discussing the idea of cloning an army for the Republic. Most everyone in the room is for the clone army except Bail Organa and Jar Jar Binks. Bail is undecided, but Jar Jar is definitely against it. In this scene, Palpatine says something like "Sometimes we have to break the law in order to act in its best interest." (Not a direct quote) Clearly he is saying that they must create the Republic clone army whether or not the Senate favors the decision.

    Then comes the second meeting in the Senate, in which they discuss purely the idea of creating a clone army for the Republic. Palpatine urges everyone to vote for it. He is backed up by Senator Toonbuck Toora of the Commerce Guild, Senator Orn Free Taa, and the Intergalactic Bank Clan who offer to put up the cash. Bail Organa has a role in this scene as well. Senator Padme also speaks and (I think) she votes for the army.

    Later that evening, there is another assassination attempt on Padme in her apartment on Coruscant. Obi-Wan and Anakin are standing guard at the door, and they suddenly both sense something weird. The line "I have a bad feeling about this" is spoken and the two Jedi burst into her quarters.

    There is a large droid hovering in Padme's room that has released tons of small insect-like assassination robots called kouhuns. Anakin runs to Padme and clears all the kouhuns off her, meanwhile Obi-Wan jumps out the window and onto the large droid.

    When Zam Wesell, the bounty hunter who's controlling the assassination droid via remote control, brings the droid back to her, she see's Obi-Wan dangling from the flying droid. She whips out her gun and starts opening fire on Obi-Wan and the droid. Obi-Wan takes out his lightsaber and starts deflecting her bolts. Zam continues to fire - Obi continues to deflect. Zam realizes she'd better take off, so she gets on her speeder and flies away. Anakin then picks up Obi in a yellow hot rod speeder and they take off after Zam, leading to the chase scene.
  • but it kicked ass.

    I don't think that movie was written around a toy marketing campaign, either. Maybe that's why it rocks so much.

    Imagine what a Mulan-style trash-talking miniature dragon would have done to the picture. On second thought, I'd rather not.

    Oh, I forgot. You can't compare the two films because SWPM was a kids' movie.

    jarjarroastingonaspit.com [ridiculopathy.com]

  • No kidding. Jabba in "Jedi" looked much cooler, much more initimidating than Jabba in EP1, Jabba at the race was just some sort of lame joke.
  • Unfortunately Jar Jar is in, it's already been confirmed by Lucas a dozen and a half times.

    --
  • Apparently you misunderstood the above comment. LDC is not playing Anakin. THat honour has been bestowed upon a Canadian actor by the name of Hayden Christiansen. He's a relatively new actor and has only made one feature if I recall correctly.

  • by screwballicus (313964) on Sunday March 18, 2001 @09:53AM (#355787)
    If the actors guild gets pissed off at the use of CGI characters...we'll replace them with CGI characters.

    While the Screen Actors' Guild has had great success, in the past, in getting multi-millionaires to strike for more money, I think that, perhaps, CGI characters might be harder to woo to their unionist side. I'm not suggesting that Jar-Jar would never fight for what he sees as right, but I think getting him out on the picket line could be a little harder:

    "Meesa Jar-Jar. Meesa wanna equitable workplace conditions"

  • This type of thing makes it harder to have a convincing plot and convincing acting - especially when the actors aren't too great at acting.

    So what do they do as opposed to having a real actor standing there while filming? they either A) don't have anytone at all, or B) have a stand in. This is an unneeded barrier for the other actors, one that hinders their acting ability.

    I don't think we'll be able to say anything about Episode II even as flattering as we said of Episode I.

    -------
    CAIMLAS

  • Heh.

    So, question: why do you care?

    And one man is not "forcing" the marketing crap on the rest of the world. Companies are begging to pay millions (billions?) to get the rights to sell it. If people were banging down my door to give me money, I'd take it too.

    No need to attack me personally BTW, just trying to generate discussion.
  • by Alien54 (180860) on Sunday March 18, 2001 @10:08AM (#355803) Journal
    There is a certain irony here.

    With CGI, you will be able to "clone" actors in CGI. Who owns that copyright? Who would own the copyright if you could mix and match mannerisms, such as if you had a CGI Frank Sinatra and gave him the mannerisms of of John Wayne? Or if you could blend from a menu of other characteristics ("click on the drop down menus to select various voice types)

    Some day, someone is going to have such a product, something like Photoshop or Gimp for 3D-CGI characters. If the MPAA doesn't own it, they will be terrified of it.

  • by ASCIIMan (47627) on Sunday March 18, 2001 @10:10AM (#355804)
    It's Yoda. He's The Master(tm).

    They're doing CG Yoda so Yoda can show why he's the master... in battle... with duel lightsabers (not those wimpy double ones the Sith use either - two separate lightsabers, at once, with all of his skills in the Force, too)

    The only Jedi that is supposed to come close to Yoda in his fighting skills is Mace Windu, and he's pretty badass... as you'll see in Episode II.

    BTW, the other reason is that Lucas thought Yoda looked weird in Episode I as the only muppet... Just watch him talk and compare it to any of the other characters. It becomes *really* obvious he's a muppet, and looks fake.

  • He's always like,"Actors can never do what I want them to do... I much rather use CGI." Which is tauntamount to saying,"Man I suck at directing. I can't ever get people to do what I want them to do. Good thing I have alot of money behind me."
  • by fleener (140714) on Sunday March 18, 2001 @10:14AM (#355822)
    Many of the action scenes in Episode 1 were lame because of the reliance on computer animation. (For example, the massive battlefield scene was a big disappointment. It would have been epic if populated with real people.)

    George Lucas seems to think the criticism he gets is because of his annoying Jar Jar character. Nope. The real issue is that if you're going to use artificial reality, the audience does not want to be able to tell it's artificial. All throughout Episode 1 we're hit over the head with the fact that much of what we're seeing is fake.

    George is quickly becoming the poster child for bad use of computer animation.

  • I dunno, there's still something to be said for real people. This isnt about movie purism or star wars fundamentalism either. I guess I thought that the story and the places it could go would be captivating enough to not have to lean on cg as it will. as far as the strike goes, i'd be willing to wait for the real people to come back... then again maybe i shouldn't post while i have and 102 fever.
    "Me Ted"

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