Postcard from - Star Wars Rogue One

We missed this one at the cinema. Well, to tell the truth, we made no real effort to go and watch it. It was always going to be one of those movies that you watch at home having bought the blu-ray.

I'm glad we did it this way, but perhaps not for the obvious reason. The movie itself is good. Well written, well done, good acting by unknowns - to me at least. It's dificult to write and then produce a movie where what happens was defined decades ago. Mind you, episode 3 had the same problem and it overcame it pretty well.

It was particularly interesting to watch two aspects of the CGI, General Tarkin and Princess Leia. This is where the effects disk came in handy, and the real reason why we were so pleased watching it at home. It explains and illustrates eactly what happened and how.

Both Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher are now dead, and Fisher in particular looked nothing like her earlier self when shooting started (how could she?). So, two other actors played their roles, both wearing a framework round their head holding lights and 2 cameras. A regularly spaced series of coloured dots was painted on their skin. The effects team replaced the faces of the current actors with images of Cushing and Fisher using the dots as register marks.

For Peter Cushing, it worked wonderfully well, you could really believe he was there. For Fisher, not nearly as successful. Later I thought that Cushing worked because he had a very craggy face, lots of texture which allowed errors in the CGI to be hidden. Fisher on the other hand had smooth skin, and the CGI renderedd this as porcelaine, robbing it of any sense of realism.

It's unkind to be over critical though. Until recently, the technique wouldn't have been possible, and in a couple of years it's going to be indistinguishable from the real actor.

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