Posts Tagged ‘Sebastian Shaw’

Acting in the Digital Age

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Bridges vs. Bridges, next on Pay Per View MMA!

I wish I was immune to the siren song that is Tron: Legacy. I wish I could say I didn’t want to see this movie and that I didn’t want to support the technology that is going to give us Jeff Bridges appearing on screen across from a digitized younger version of himself. I wish I could say that the previews didn’t make me wonder what else we could use the technology for in regards to remakes. And I wish all of this because I know film makers are looking at the new Tron movie thinking the exact same things I am.

Those of us who were around for the original Star Wars trilogy have seen the revamps, re-masterings, and the originally deleted scenes. We’ve watched as George Lucas has added in a digital Jabba the Hutt opposite Harrison Ford and we groaned when he introduced Jar-Jar Binks, a completely digitized alien creature with a speech impediment. Hell, we even saw him use digitized versions of Storm Troopers in the prequels. None of this particularly phased me but now I am dreading the possibilities of what might come.

Imagine for a moment that Lucas has already decided that the actors from the original trilogy looked too old in Empire and Return. We already know he has a love for tweaking and re-tweaking his movies. Now imagine the fact that he has the ability to go in and make the actors younger by replacing them with younger versions of themselves. He then he re-releases the whole batch because he knows we’ll freakin’ buy them!

I’m not saying the technology isn’t exciting. We’ve heard that one of the main reasons Lucas wasn’t considering a continuance of the Star Wars movies was due to the age of the actors. We’re not talking about another trilogy that would be filmed 2 years after Return was shot but rather almost 30 years out and all the grey hair and wrinkles that entails for the main characters. One piece of software can take care of those age issues and while I would love to see the results of another trilogy using the technology, I think we’re entering into some unknown and legally ambiguous waters here. What legally ambiguity am I speaking of, you ask?  Let me give you a for instance.

Let’s say that Lucas does decide to use the technology and decides to make a third trilogy in the Star Wars universe. He’s able to keep Alec Guiness in for a while longer by adding him digitally. Or perhaps Harrison Ford decides he’s not interested so instead of giving up on the project, Lucas goes in and digitizes Han Solo and hires someone else to do the voice. Before you jump up and say he can’t do that, well, he’s pretty much already done so prior to this scenario.

Remember the end of the “re-mastered” Return of the Jedi?  You know, when Lucas went and superimposed Hayden Christensen’s Anakin over the “Force ghost” originally portrayed by Sebastian Shaw?  Yeah, that happened.

You’re sitting there right now telling yourself that’s completely different, I know you are. Lucas couldn’t possibly digitize Han Solo and replace the voice, right?  Why couldn’t he?  He put the Clone Wars cartoon into syndication and aside from Anthony Daniels doing the voice of C3PO, there’s not a single person from the prequels performing any of the voices. Couldn’t Lucas argue that all he’s doing is a different form of animation and that it’s his Han Solo character he’s modifying and not the image of Harrison Ford?

I didn’t intend for this to become a Star Wars rant. The fact of the matter is, however, that it is the best example to use in this scenario. We’ve already seen that with new technologies coming to light, there was nothing to stop Lucas from making some changes, albeit small changes, but changes nonetheless.

We’ve already sat through movies where the main character spends the majority of his time on screen in a digitized form. We’re already watching characters voiced by famous actors in the form of cartoons. How much more would it take for directors and producers to decide that an actor was asking too much to reiterate his role as a particular character and that using a digital solution was the cheaper route?

I’d like to say I was going to boycott the Tron movie but who am I kidding?  I’ll be at the midnight screening if I have my way.

Gritskrieg – End of Line