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J.J. Abrams on the importance of practical effects in The Force Awakens

12.08.2015
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We're another day closer to the release of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS and many fans are hoping that this will mean the return of the franchise they've loved for so many years. The prequel trilogy has its fans, but one of the (many) criticisms thrown its way had to do with its reliance on digital effects, especially in situations where practical effects would have been completely feasible. Thankfully, STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS will mark a return to the days of the original trilogy and feature practical effects whenever possible. Sure the film will have its share of digital effects, but knowing that we'll be seeing real sets, real locations, real explosions, and real characters is hugely exciting to me.

J.J. Abrams spoke with Screenrant recently and explained why he feels that practical effects are so important.

This was really important, that the movie, in a way, go backwards to go forwards. This was very much about new characters and a new story, and like Star Wars has always been at its best, a generational tale of understanding young people and understanding their place in the world. So these are brand new characters that we’re meeting, but I wanted it to look and feel the way the original trilogy did – which is to say, when I saw those two droids in the desert of Tatooine, that was real. Like, I knew it. I didn’t know necessarily that they were shooting in Tunisia, I didn’t know how they did what they did, I just knew as a kid, as we all did, that’s real.

There was something about seeing that that inspired us to shoot in Abu Dhabi and shoot in Ireland and Wales, and build elaborate sets at Pinewood, exterior and interior. So it was very much a conscientious thing to have BB-8, the new droid, be a performed character and not a CG thing we add later. It helped in countless ways, mostly for the actors, to be able to be on sets and interacting with creatures and ‘droids and things that were physically, tangibly there and use CG, in many cases, to remove things –remove the puppeteer, remove the legs sticking out of the bottom of the creature, that kind of thing.

I'm aware that keeping things practical whenever possible is in no way a guarantee that STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS will rise above the prequels (although I certainly hope that it will), but feeling the worlds of Star Wars, knowing that something was there, be it snow crushing beneath a Stormtroopers boot or mud flicking across a Rebel's face on Endor, these are things that I really missed in George Lucas' prequels and that I can't wait to experience once again in THE FORCE AWAKENS.

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS opens on December 18, 2015, but you can pass the time by checking out BB-8's brand-new character poster!

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

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Source: Screenrant

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5:38PM on 12/09/2015

This coming from "The King of the Unnecessary Lens Flare"

I like what he says here but I am still apprehensive that this will be a CGI lovefest in a distracting way. I hope I am wrong.
I like what he says here but I am still apprehensive that this will be a CGI lovefest in a distracting way. I hope I am wrong.
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3:03AM on 12/09/2015
This time next week I'll have seen it and will be posting my thoughts on the movie here.
This time next week I'll have seen it and will be posting my thoughts on the movie here.
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10:14AM on 12/09/2015
Ok
Ok
11:50PM on 12/08/2015
I'm glad that they're using practical effects and locations, but this was never a big issue for me with the prequels. The prequels did use some real locations for Tatooine and Naboo. But planets like Coruscant, Kamino, and Mustafar aren't really something you can do "on location". And it was exciting as a kid to see these on screen, even if the was CGI. Don't get me wrong, I'm super pumped for The Force Awakens, but nothing about the locations/planets shown so far gives me that same sense of
I'm glad that they're using practical effects and locations, but this was never a big issue for me with the prequels. The prequels did use some real locations for Tatooine and Naboo. But planets like Coruscant, Kamino, and Mustafar aren't really something you can do "on location". And it was exciting as a kid to see these on screen, even if the was CGI. Don't get me wrong, I'm super pumped for The Force Awakens, but nothing about the locations/planets shown so far gives me that same sense of wonder & excitement. Maybe it's because I'm older, or that we just haven't been shown a lot yet. But so far I felt the prequels were trying to expand the Star Wars universe, whereas this new film is trying to pay homage to the original trilogy. Not that I think it's a bad thing, but there's just a different feeling for me.
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7:37AM on 12/09/2015
Sure, the scenes outside needed cgi, but what ab all those scenes in doors usually with Portman? Can't make a set?
Sure, the scenes outside needed cgi, but what ab all those scenes in doors usually with Portman? Can't make a set?
10:12AM on 12/09/2015
I agree with you. I enjoyed the prequels because they were different and the third one transitioned perfectly with A NEW HOPE. I love JJ so I hope THE FORCE AWAKENS isn't an entire homage to the Original Trilogy. I hope it becomes it's own thing.
I agree with you. I enjoyed the prequels because they were different and the third one transitioned perfectly with A NEW HOPE. I love JJ so I hope THE FORCE AWAKENS isn't an entire homage to the Original Trilogy. I hope it becomes it's own thing.
9:47PM on 12/08/2015
BB-8 alone is better than the prequel trilogy.
BB-8 alone is better than the prequel trilogy.
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