It’s fun to bash the terrible CGI in the prequels, particularly because it’s not hard. You get mobile games with better graphics than the CGI of the CGI in Attack of the Clones, and despite the slightly improved CGI in Revenge of the Sith it includes even more truly awful and unnecessary CGI characters. As part of their quest to disassociate themselves as much as possible from the prequels (for better or worse), Disney decided to use more practical effects in their sequel trilogy, and yet even more godawful CGI characters slipped through the cracks. To clarify, this list is judging both the quality of CGI used for the character and the strength of the actual character itself, and with that, we start with:
5 – General Grievous – Revenge of the Sith
Despite being totally obsessed with Star Wars as a child and knowing oddly specific knowledge about obscure parts of the lore and wider universe, I have trouble now remembering what General Grievous was supposed to be. It must have been explained in a tie-in novel or comic or even video game, but therein lies the problem. Nobody knew who General Grievous was because the film didn’t tell us, he appeared seemingly out of nowhere as a random Separatist leader who had lightsabers. I was among the relative few who watched Star Wars: Clone Wars animated TV show as a child, but that portrayed Grievous as a cold, calculating badass rather than the choking, shuffling Transformer-esque robot we got in the movie.
4 – Watto – The Phantom Menace
The Phantom Menace ticks almost every box when it comes to criteria for terrible Star Wars movies, but a conspicuous exception is that it is not riddled with as much blatant CGI as its prequel siblings, but the CGI creatures that they do have are among the worst. Watto is not only terribly rendered but he is also terribly racist, embodying a crude Middle Eastern stereotype in his accent and character whilst also sporting a prominently large and hooked nose. But seriously, why did Watto need to be CGI? It would have saved a lot of time and effort to just put someone in an alien costume and have him stand there, even if you dub in the lines later. But no, instead we have to watch over half an hour of Liam Neeson negotiating gambling odds with the Crazy Frog. Thanks, George.
3 – Lama Su – Attack of the Clones
“Who?” I hear you ask? Exactly. This idiot, Lama Su, appears briefly in Attack of the Clones to spout a huge wad of exposition about the Clone Army to Obi-Wan, but aside from holding the dubious honour of starring in what has been scientifically proven to be the most boring scene in all of Star Wars, Lama Su also holds the responsibility of the entire plot of Attack of the Clones in his hands. He’s the man with the answers, so to speak, and so when Obi-Wan goes to visit him you expect to finally find out answers to all the questions that have been cropping up throughout the movie: ‘Who is Count Dooku?’ ‘Who is trying to kill Padme?’ ‘Who wrote this script?’ spring immediately to mind. But no, when the movie was in dire need of some explanation as to the basic backstory, what we get is more questions. Who the heck is ‘Sifo Dyas?’ is he ever even mentioned again? Is he Count Dooku? We may never know.
2 – Dexter Jettster – Attack of the Clones
Imagine it. You’re sat in the cinema, watching Star Wars: Attack of the Clones for the first time ever. You thought The Phantom Menace was pretty bad, but so far this film seems promising – there’s been a speeder chase, explosions, lightsabers, even some mention of a wider story that you may or may not have been interested in. Overall, it seems more like proper Star Wars.
And then this brown, hulking, four-armed CGI creature comes shambling over to Obi-Wan Kenobi, calling him his ‘old buddy’ before giving him a hug, pulling up his trousers and squeezing his bloated computer-generated body into a plastic booth in terrible futuristic 1950s space-diner. Who let this happen? Who created this abomination? Why does he have that creepy Mario mustache?
Like many prequel characters, ‘Dex’ only appears in one scene – a bland, one-dimensional throwaway character who is cobbled together on a computer. But think – with the Obi-Wan Kenobi standalone movie coming out, maybe there’s a chance that Disney will do Dex justice.
1 – Jar Jar Binks – Who Else?
There is very little I can say here that hasn’t already been said. Jar Jar Binks is overdesigned, overacted and overly hysterical, and he appears far too often throughout the prequels. As a one-shot Dex character, Jar Jar might just be remembered now as an embarrassing scene from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, but due to the diabolical decision to make him a main character in the first prequel movie cast a shadow across the entire trilogy, and due to his prominent role in what will soon be considered the ‘first’ Star Wars movie, his poorly-rendered shadow now looms over the entire franchise.
5 – Maz Kanata – The Force Awakens
If you thought the prequels were the only Star Wars movies with totally unnecessary CGI characters, you were wrong. Enter Maz Kanata, who singlehandedly introduced at least 3 major plot holes into not only The Force Awakens but the wider Star Wars story too. If she has been on her planet for over a thousand years, why have we never heard from her before? If she’s older than Yoda then surely she would have some interesting things to contribute to the prequel story if anyone thought to ask her – heck, Obi-Wan should have gone to her instead of Dex, She’d probably have had Palpatine’s diary lying around in her back room somewhere. Come to think of it, she never explains how she retrieved Anakin’s lightsaber from Bespin, so after being pointlessly shoehorned into The Last Jedi and possibly even the Han Solo Movie, we may be due a fourth round of Maztime in Episode IX.
4 – CGI Tarkin – Rogue One
The uncanny valley reached new depths with this creation, which in fairness is a highly accurate representation of the late Peter Cushing (who, after ANew Hope, would go on to play the Doctor in the garish and hilarious Dalek Movies), that sparked debate upon the initial release of the film as to whether or not the digital recreation of an actor who is long dead was even ethically justifiable. Regardless, old Wilhuff has appeared once before, in the prequels – except that time he was played by Wayne Pygram pretending to be a younger version of the character – but when Rogue One came around, they felt that the movie needed a totally accurate digital recreation of Tarkin, who looks like he is made of plastic compared to the real members of the cast. Admittedly, the performance of the actors imitating Cushing do a fantastic job, and overall the level of quality in the cameo is high, it just the visuals which let it down.
3 – Porgs – The Last Jedi
Of course Porgs are objectively adorable, there’s not question about that – but were they necessary? Well, the answer is certainly no, unless you factor in that Rian Johnson needed something to cover the fact that the island used to film all of Luke’s scenes plays host to a Puffin colony. From a marketing perspective, Disney certainly jumped on the idea of having a tiny puffin-shaped creature to turn into thousands of mass-produced stuffed toys, McDonalds Happy Meal prizes and lunchboxes, but their scheme did backfire somewhat when it turned out the movie was terrible, and so now everyone has a central icon to rally against in hate of this movie, and it’s the poor Porgs.
2 – Everything in Canto Bight – The Last Jedi
So whilst not everything in the Canto Bight sequence was CGI, there were a lot of critters running around – the alien mounts that rampage through the casino merely added to the cacophony of visual diarrhea in this scene, with one particularly annoying alien insisting on inserting dozens of gold coins into BB-8 – why? Surely BB-8 isn’t hollow? And why does BB-8 have a mechanism to fire them out like bullets? The thing that most annoys me about Canto Bight, however, is that it continues the sequel trilogy’s trend of introducing vast swathes of new alien races without supplementing it with aliens we already know exist in Star Wars. Sure, the Galaxy is a big place, but after seeing recurring races like Rodians and Twi’leks so often in both the prequels and the original trilogy it seems odd that suddenly everything is different.
1 – Supreme Leader Snoke – The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi
Despite the hundreds of theories stating otherwise, Snoke turned out to be totally useless in both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, simply serving as a poor-man’s Palpatine to play the role of the ambiguous evil dark lord master who is really strong with the Force. Unlike Palpatine, who is shown to be the puppeteer from the beginning, Snoke seems to have suddenly emerged from the shadows, and it is this trait that initially peaked everyone’s interest. Sadly, however, the potential for this character was extinguished in The Last Jedi, as Snoke is tossed aside as quickly and easily as Palpatine was before him, and now the hopeful theorists are left to widely speculate their way to insanity trying to uncover the hidden meaning behind this character that was ultimately as contrived and disposable as the multitude of CGI characters in the prequels. His death scene definitely had shock factor, and it did come as a surprise, but it is extremely likely that Rian Johnson wanted it that way to make the movie more memorable – at the expense of a potentially important character. And note I say potentially important – Snoke had all the makings of a good villain, but we just never found out enough about him to understand either his motives or his place in the Star Wars universe. As such, he is now cut in half and cast into the chasm of irrelevance like Darth Maul before him.
So that’s the Top 5 Terrible CGI Star Wars Prequel Characters, and the Top 5 Terrible CGI Star Wars Sequel Characters, if you enjoyed then do remember to leave a like and you can follow us either here or on Facebook. Look down below for more articles like this one.