When the last Star Wars Movie “Rogue One” came out, a lot of people criticised it for its use of Computer Generated Imagery to recreate dead and aging actors.
The movie’s story was set just before the events of the original Star Wars movie from 1977, and featured cameos from the characters Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia.
But the actor who portrayed Tarkin, Peter Cushing, was now dead. And the actor portraying Leia, Carrie Fisher, had obviously aged over that time.
So they tried to recreate their original look with CGI. While the attempt is impressive, something is off about the way they look.
The CGI looks almost like a real person but not quite, resulting in a hideous aberration.
This effect is called The Uncanny Valley.
Here is a video from Extra Credits explaining the concept further.
But I would like to contest that the face-CGI in this movie is not as bad as we think. I say “we” because I also think those faces look really bad.
But I think that may be down to the fact that I already knew they were fake. I knew to look for weirdness, as I knew those actors were dead and aged before I even entered the theatre.
But you see, one person I watched the movie with did not know that Grand Moff Tarkin was dead. Or even that he was in the first movie.
I was watching the movie with my girlfriend, and one of her friends.
This friend is not as big of a nerd as me or my girlfriend, so I decided to use her as a testing ground for this theory.
She knew who Leia was, so she had noticed something off about her. But when I asked her if anyone else stood out to her, she said no.
I think it is quite possible that the face-CGI in Rouge One is much better than any of us fans has even the ability to experience.
We know too much to get the full enjoyment…
Star Wars is a great series, but maybe you want to see some more Christmassy movies this time of year? I have a few suggestions here.