While there are a slew of SDCC posts to come, once I sort through pictures, I wanted to take a moment to explain why, regardless in what at year end is reflected in box office dollars, or how frequently nerds might rage online in December, that for all practical purposes Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens will be beloved by all who watch it.
Because Episode VII, as demonstrated at San Diego Comic-Con will be as practical as possible when it comes to effects, and that will make all the difference in the galaxy!
Now, while everyone is raving about Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford being in Hall H, and the amazing concert (yes, I went, and these are all things worth raving about), what had me, a relative newcomer to Star Wars (considering I grew up in the era of the prequels in theaters) completely geeking out was Baba Joe, the animatronic puppet brought out to the Hall H stage during the Star Wars panel.
If you think the strange character Baba Joe looks familiar, it’s because he was in this video with JJ Abrams, for an OMAZE fundraiser last year. When it hit youtube a lot of people weren’t immediately sure if he was a CGI or practical effect. Thankfully, Baba Joe is the latter. This may not seem like a huge deal, but again as someone who grew up watching only the prequels in theaters, it’s actually something magical.
For people my parents age (not my parents specifically, because they weren’t nerds) seeing Star Wars when they aired in the theater was something special. One of the big reasons it was so special was because of how real it all seemed. Compared to today’s CGI filled cinemas, I can understand why previous generations have been nostalgic for a touch of that real magic.
In fact, George Lucas “updating” his films has meant that I, as a young padawan have never seen an unaltered Star Wars film, and it’s only through youtube videos like this one, where I can relish moments like Han shooting first.
Now, the Han Shot FIRST, and the “prequels suck” thoughts aside, this post is about why it’s important that instead of what we got in the CGI saturated prequels or updated versions, the next trilogy will (for lack of a better term) be much more down to earth.
My point in all of this is simply that JJ Abrams wasn’t content to merely show some behind the scenes footage (which was amazing). By bringing Baba Joe, JJ Abrams brought a “live” piece of the set with him, to share with the audience. It’s one thing to see an effect (practical or otherwise) on a screen. It’s another to see something moving in front of you in a personal and (if not for the huge security guards) touchable way.
There may be a lot of things that nerds will nitpick once the movie hits theaters. There may still be a lot of people disappointed that the Expanded Universe is no longer cannon. There may be extreme critics who make statements like “Chewie never would have gggroooowwgled like that in Return of the Jedi”. And I may still be one of those jerks who looks at BB-8 and calls him “R2-FIFA” because he looks like a soccer ball.
However, what no one will be able to complain about is how real the movie will feel, because JJ Abrams has gone the extra parsec and used practical effects, and because of this practically everyone will love Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.