Star Wars: “Real Sets, Practical Effects”

There’s something really interesting about the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens footage that was released at ComicCon a couple of days ago… it’s three and a half minutes pointing out how they’ve made it the hard way, not the easy way.

The sets are real sets, built and finished by hand. The ships have been built at scale, for actors to be in front of. The alien lifeforms (well, they’re ALL alien lifeforms, even the human looking ones, but you get my point) have been built in real life, animatronics controlling their features.

They’re making this the hard way, and they want you to know it.

Sure, there’s particular form to consider; part of the major failing of the three Star Wars ‘prequels’ is considered to be that they relied too much on CGI sets and green screen acting.

But I wonder if there’s something bigger for the film industry in this approach, a consideration of how to make people believe it’s going to be a better film.

Sure, you can do anything on a computer nowadays (hello, Michael Bay’s Transformers). But the application of proper craft, of putting effort in above and beyond what you could do, and then using it as part of the story of your product… well, we’ll just have to wait and see how it turns out, but the run-up so far is pretty promising.


2 responses to “Star Wars: “Real Sets, Practical Effects””

  1. God, it looks bloody ace! There’s the technical thing about the constraint of having to do stuff ‘for real’ which I’m sure just forces an extra level of creativity out of everyone. But there’s also something about how it seems to give the cast and crew somewhere to put their ‘discretionary effort’: you can lavish care and attention and love on real stuff in a way you just can’t really with a computer rendering. (or at least, the digital guys can, but not everyone else.)