Mickey Ruins the Real World Again

The unusual occurrence of a night off meant one thing: burgers and a movie. Date night.

And now, after two hours of Star Wars, both my husband and I are wondering when we got so old and when they started making cinema seats so uncomfortable. Ow, my aching back. Ow, my legs have gone to sleep. Ow, did I just lose a kneecap? Ow, that cartoon version of Tarkin was soooo unnecessary.

I won’t go into any more spoilers for those who haven’t seen the movie yet, but it was good. Nice story arc. Some complexity of motives. Not a groundbreaking masterpiece, but better than any part of 1-3. Except for the CGI Tarkin, who was so distractingly rubbery that it pissed me off… Almost as much as Old Leia’s new tendency to talk through a clenched jaw. Seriously, just open your mouth more. I think the botox has taken away your ability to enunciate, deary.

You really do have to wonder why they thought resurrecting Peter Cushing was required. 95% of Star Wars fans already knew he was dead. If you think that those lines absolutely have to be delivered by Tarkin, then just put another actor in that role. It’s not unforgivable and nowhere near as cringe-inducing as painting Hayden Christensen into Return of the Jedi. Either that, or make those lines belong to some hitherto unknown Empire official who just happens to die near the end. Yes, the story would still work even though Tarkin pops up as a semi-important figure in Episode 4. There are ways to navigate around these things that don’t involve putting a cartoon of a dead actor in your movie.

I really think that filmmakers with big budgets often get carried away with the “because we can” element. Why have a CGI Tarkin? Because we can. Because we think that the graphics are good enough that most people won’t notice that it’s fake – and it’s pretty cool that we get to show off our abilities and our expensive animation… Except that it still does look really fake, and there’s actually no logical reason for it other than inflating the ego of the animators. They may as well just paint in the character as Goofy and be done with it. I really hope that Peter Cushing’s family got a big, fat check and then wiped their asses with it.

Why? Because, in what I assume is the majority opinion, I am not in favor of reanimating the dead. And while Tarkin is a character that continues to exist in an artistic medium, Peter Cushing was an actual human being who made a living from his ability to say words and create facial expressions in front of other human beings. Using his face to create expressions and deliver words long after his death is really just replacing his labor with a computer. This has already happened to lots of people’s jobs – and will continue to happen to lots of people’s jobs – but I still prefer my art to come from a person and not a machine, and there are plenty of real living humans who are still around and who would be more than capable of giving that character pathos. While I’ve definitely had emotional reactions to cartoons in the past, in this case I’m expecting to see a person and not Baloo the Bear.

And that’s the end of my rant. Sorry. My back is just sore.

 

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