Music, Film, TV & BooksStar Wars: the Last Jedi TWR

 

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 From:  william (WILLIAMA)  
 To:  ALL
42099.1 
Pretty Good. I kept wondering whether Carrie Fisher was CGI.

I cheated using CGI as a word.
never trust a man in a blue trench coat, never drive a car when you're dead
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 From:  Kalsarikänni (DSMITHHFX)  
 To:  william (WILLIAMA)     
42099.2 In reply to 42099.1 
I was wondering if she was a re-animated corpse in Rogue One.
“Professional disagreement over how photos of galaxies are interpreted escalates into bullying & harassment”
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 From:  milko  
 To:  william (WILLIAMA)     
42099.3 In reply to 42099.1 
I couldn't remember if she'd died before or after filming bits for this one either. Rogue 1 definitely was CGI, right? But that was on a shorter filming schedule. I'm pretty sure the bit where she REDACTED SPOILER is CG though, regular folk can't do that.

Anyway, that was plenty of fun. I imagine it makes some people upset if they take it too seriously.
milko
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 From:  william (WILLIAMA)  
 To:  milko     
42099.4 In reply to 42099.3 
Apparently it was all 100% genuine Carrie Fisher (in the Last Jedi).

I'd forgotten the CGI people in Rogue One until this thread. I think the Peter Cushing effort was just awful. In fact It was so bad that I find it hard to understand how they let it go. It was wrong in the way that most of the Madam Tussauds waxworks are wrong: the ones where you stand there gasping and marvelling that so much time, effort and money was put into making something so unlike the real thing.
 
never trust a man in a blue trench coat, never drive a car when you're dead
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 From:  graphitone  
 To:  william (WILLIAMA)     
42099.5 In reply to 42099.4 
I didn't find Cushing's recreation to be that bad - I was pretty impressed with the detail and animation, especially compared to 18/19 years ago and the Phantom Menace's CGI.

Your standards must be way higher than mine! The young Carrie Fisher in Rogue One looked worse than Peter Cushing, perhaps because she was in a lighter, better lit scene and the animators have less room to hide.

I wonder if the original actors in Ep. 4 who were the X-Wing pilots got recreated in CG for Rogue One, or were they taken from unused film or recreated from edits of the original?
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 From:  william (WILLIAMA)  
 To:  graphitone     
42099.6 In reply to 42099.5 
Quote: 
I didn't find Cushing's recreation to be that bad

I don't know what to say. I'm happy for you I suppose. I didn't enjoy the film that much to be honest; I felt it was a bit like a film of a video game - and Felicity Jones delivered most of her lines as though she was overdubbing Tomb Raider. 

Other reviews are available.
never trust a man in a blue trench coat, never drive a car when you're dead
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 From:  graphitone  
 To:  william (WILLIAMA)     
42099.7 In reply to 42099.6 
I did enjoy it, moreso than TFA. The big set piece scenes where the Death Star's being assembled and the star destroyers crashing into each other are instances that appeal to the child in me, thinking this is what the spaceship scenes in ESB and ROJ should have been.

I think the blind jedi-ish guy and the minigun toting sidekick were expendable, I didn't really get their significance.

What irked you about the Tarkin scenes? Is it the issue of bringing a dead guy back to 'life' or that the tech we have now isn't quite up to replacing actors, or something else? I can see the arguments, however in this instance, the performance was more motion capture with digital makeup than recreating an avatar for a great actor.
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 From:  william (WILLIAMA)  
 To:  graphitone     
42099.8 In reply to 42099.7 
Star Wars blew my socks off because it was like I was sitting watching what every sci-fi movie I'd seen since the 60s should really have been. The Empire Strikes Back meant that I simply had to see Return of the Jedi. To be honest, I never felt any of the others were in the same franchise. Yeah, they're fun and they have their good and bad bits, but really they're Return to Oz claiming to be a sequel (prequel, schmequel, whatever) to the Wizard. The Force Awakens was a move back towards some kind of form, but I didn't like the portentous scene setting that much. I did enjoy the Last Jedi - more than I thought I would - and that at least had some serious nods to the original three movies.

Rogue One was "OK", I suppose. I thought the acting and direction was below par and I genuinely believe that Felicity Jones delivers her lines like she's in an early read-through of a Tomb Raider game. I wasn't worried by the resurrection of Peter Cushing; I'm sure he'd have loved the idea. What I did object to, and where I differ with you, is that I thought it was awful. I've seen quite a few blends of CGI with live action where the aim isn't to produce demons and monsters, but to change age or portray disfigurement (or body size like Captain America) or Smeagul, and sometimes it's OK, sometimes not. They always have a tough time where the motion capture etc. is intended to produce a seamlessly normal human face. What really hit me, and I've looked at these scenes a few times now, is just how badly it's done. I think, for example, the way Tarkin's head changes shape quite wildly in some scenes to match the underlying actor is an issue. As is the fact that the look varies from Christopher Plummer to Morph depending on the angle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsuvXHGCVXE
 
never trust a man in a blue trench coat, never drive a car when you're dead
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 From:  Kalsarikänni (DSMITHHFX)  
 To:  ALL
42099.9 
I'm very sorry to have to report this, but Star Bores is pathetic bullshit compared to...

“Professional disagreement over how photos of galaxies are interpreted escalates into bullying & harassment”
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 From:  Kalsarikänni (DSMITHHFX)  
 To:  ALL
42099.10 
Lee Van Cleef? FUCK YOU!
“Professional disagreement over how photos of galaxies are interpreted escalates into bullying & harassment”
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 From:  graphitone  
 To:  william (WILLIAMA)     
42099.11 In reply to 42099.8 
You mentioned at the top of the thread that you weren't sure whether Carrie Fisher was CGI or not in The Last Jedi. Are your expectations of CGI such that you don't want to be able to tell the difference, or your belief suspended enough that the CGI fool you? I don't think that it needs to be that good - look at some of the real life models and costumes given to the alien races in the Star Wars franchise - they're pretty well done in more recent films, but looking back at the original trilogy you can literally see the stitching on that blue elephant thing playing the keyboards in Jabba's palace, but that doesn't mean my enjoyment of the film was diminished any. In fact, having some ropey effects made it more likeable, in a similar way to the first 2 series of Red Dwarf. Cardboard sets and flimsy props went a long way to adding to the charm, the point is that the effects don't need to be perfect for the film to be enjoyable.

I actively disliked all the CG scenery and models in episodes 1, 2 and 3. It was too 'shiny' and far removed from grittier environments in 4, 5 and 6. Watching some of the making of documentaries about episodes 1, 2 and 3 there are scenes where the actors are the only real things in the shot, everything else is green screen. No matter the quality of the actors, that must have an effect on the performance.

I thought the CGI faces in Rogue One were good and I appreciate the points you mention about it morphing/changing shape to fit the mo-cap actor. Though compare that to the CGI in The Scorpion King (to take possibly the worst example) and it's light years ahead. If that's as good as it can get now, then they should include it in the film and then improve as the tech improves.

Do you know of any examples (of recreating a human face) where a CGI'd actor is better than in TFA? I suspect it's used more and more nowadays, but errs on the side of subtlety rather than the total rebuild of a deceased actor as in Cushing's case.
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 From:  william (WILLIAMA)  
 To:  graphitone     
42099.12 In reply to 42099.11 
I wasn't serious about Carrie Fisher in the Last Jedi. I already knew it was filmed before she died. 

As for my expectations of CGI - well, yes, I do want to not 'tell the difference'. Isn't that the whole point? If it isn't the point then surely the actor could simply stride on in a rubber Peter Cushing mask and we'd all be charmed by it. At least the lighting would be more of a piece with the rest of the shot. Why on earth would they be bothering with expensive CGI when a £5 mask would do? At the moment they have the skill of a conjurer who is telling us 'See me defy the laws of nature' but we can see all the sleight of hand and wires and mirrors. Almost there and certainly skillful - but not there yet. 

I haven't seen a whole face done better - although I have seen better, if easier CGI face changes. For instance there are several of varying quality described here: http://www.gamesradar.com/7-movie-actors-made-impossibly-young-by-cgi/ Orlando Bloom was probably the best, but then he looks like a CGI creation anyway.

There's a definite distinction here. When Ray Harryhausen's stop frame puppets career across the screen, we can see they're puppets. Yes he aimed for realism, but it was the best he could achieve. There were lots of bold claims about what we would believe and so on, but in truth the enjoyment is in spite of them being obviously animated puppets. Our present generation of CGI animators are saying we can actually produce something that looks real - as if Peter Cushing had really been there. What I object to is that if they're going to make that claim then it simply won't do to review the footage and say 'OK, his head changes shape but that's near enough' or 'in this section the CGI bobs about like Muffin the Mule on an actor's neck but Hey, it's pretty good'.
never trust a man in a blue trench coat, never drive a car when you're dead
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 From:  william (WILLIAMA)  
 To:  Kalsarikänni (DSMITHHFX)     
42099.13 In reply to 42099.9 
Wow - is it based on a true story?
never trust a man in a blue trench coat, never drive a car when you're dead
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 From:  graphitone  
 To:  william (WILLIAMA)     
42099.14 In reply to 42099.12 
Ah - I didn't realise that the animators had claimed that - then I agree with you, if they think they can replace the actor with a CG likeness and totally fool us, then they're deluding themselves.
 
Quote: 
I do want to not 'tell the difference'. Isn't that the whole point? If it isn't the point then surely the actor could simply stride on in a rubber Peter Cushing mask and we'd all be charmed by it

I think there's a point of acceptability, depending on the format and the type of film being made. You expect mega grossing block busters to have a reasonable level of expense spent on effects and tailor your expectations accordingly, but if you watched one of the 1970s Godzilla films, your expectation level of technical wizardry would be somewhat muted. I think we had a thread on here about the concrete suit one of the monster actors had to wear.
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 From:  william (WILLIAMA)  
 To:  graphitone     
42099.15 In reply to 42099.14 
I mean, fooling us utterly and completely has been an everyday thing for ages, even in (relatively) low budget TV shows where digital technology has made green-screening a street scene far easier and cheaper than filming on location. Ugly Betty is the series that gets mentioned a lot but there are many others - 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GFPZUEuxpM - some of the examples are just stunning.
never trust a man in a blue trench coat, never drive a car when you're dead
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 From:  Kalsarikänni (DSMITHHFX)  
 To:  graphitone     
42099.16 In reply to 42099.7 
Quote: 
The big set piece scenes where the Death Star's being assembled and the star destroyers crashing into each other are instances that appeal to the child in me

Pretty sure I've posted this here once before. OTOH Star Wars is on repeat...

“Professional disagreement over how photos of galaxies are interpreted escalates into bullying & harassment”
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 From:  Kalsarikänni (DSMITHHFX)  
 To:  william (WILLIAMA)     
42099.17 In reply to 42099.13 
We just watched a great documentary "Nightmares in Red, White and Blue" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1337117/ about the history of horror films in America. I was expecting nothing more than a bunch of strung-together clips and it was certainly that, but there was a partly successful attempt to link trends in audience taste to larger socio-political phenomena (e.g., the sexual revolution, vietnam war, nixon, reagan etc), skillfully narrated by Lance Henrikson.
“Professional disagreement over how photos of galaxies are interpreted escalates into bullying & harassment”
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 From:  william (WILLIAMA)  
 To:  Kalsarikänni (DSMITHHFX)     
42099.18 In reply to 42099.17 
Looks interesting. Based on a book with the same name. I had a quick look around for links but it's been taken down most places :(
 
never trust a man in a blue trench coat, never drive a car when you're dead
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 From:  Kalsarikänni (DSMITHHFX)  
 To:  william (WILLIAMA)     
42099.19 In reply to 42099.18 
Oh, and schlockmeister Roger Corman gets special mention in the documentary.

I once worked briefly as a contract animator for someone who used to be an assistant producer to R.C. The mofo tried to stiff me, so I withheld source files until payment.
“Professional disagreement over how photos of galaxies are interpreted escalates into bullying & harassment”
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 From:  william (WILLIAMA)  
 To:  Kalsarikänni (DSMITHHFX)     
42099.20 In reply to 42099.19 
Did he try to explain the value of the publicity you'd get by working for the man, or was he just an honest thief and liar?
never trust a man in a blue trench coat, never drive a car when you're dead
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