Why did the Star Wars Prequels Use so Much CGI?

Although Star Wars movies are often people’s favorite films even today, they still receive a lot of criticism. The Star Wars prequels – Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Episode II – Attack of the Clones, and Episode III – Revenge of the Sith are often put on blast because of the CGI. But why did the filmmaker George Lucas decide to use so much SCI for these particular films?

Is there that much CGI?

CGI is in every sci-fi film today – they practically wouldn’t exist without it. However, Star Wars prequels made a mistake of using CGI too much. The first prequel the Phantom Menace of 1999 is the one that receives the majority of the criticism, which isn’t that surprising when you know that the only scene in the film to not feature any kind of digital tempering is the one where dioxis gas is released on Qui-Gon and Obi One Kenobi. 

The original trilogy

To understand George Lucas’s need for CGI, we have to take a look at the original Star Wars trilogy. In 1977, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope received numerous awards and praise for its practical special effects, It was a completely groundbreaking film, way ahead of its time. However, that wasn’t how George Lucas had envisioned the films. He felt limited because the practical effects could not produce the vision he had had. Therefore he decided to wait until he was satisfied with the quality of the computer-generated effects so that he would not be forced to compromise when regarding prequels. It was also for this reason that he decided to create the special edition of the original trilogy so that he could enhance some scenes and make them fit his vision a bit more. 

The prequels 

In the 90s, the technology began developing rapidly and George Lucas finally had what he needed to create the prequels. Just like A New Hope became a highly-praised movie due to its practical special effects, he wanted the Phantom Menace to be a groundbreaking and award-winning film when it comes to computer-generated effects. Moreover, at the time, CGI came with so many benefits – it was cheap, it was innovative, and it gave filmmakers a lot more freedom to create whatever they could imagine. It was precisely for these reasons that George Lucas decided to use so much CGI in the Star Wars prequels. 

Was this a complete miss?

Well, from our standpoint it does seem like this was a bad choice. However, we have to think about how much the use of CGI affected the story. If George did not have the freedom that CGI gave him, he wouldn’t be able to write such an amazing and unbelievable story that we all love today. 

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