Michelle Rodriguez Explains Why Avatar's CG World Is Better Than "Phantom Menace"

Illustration for article titled Michelle Rodriguez Explains Why Avatar's CG World Is Better Than "Phantom Menace"

Avatar's Michelle Rodriguez says watching Star Wars: The Phantom Menace made her wish she'd rented the video game instead, so she could have controlled the fake-looking CG action. But Avatar won't give you that feeling, because the props are real.


Rodriguez tells the L.A. Times:

You know, there's not one detail that [Cameron] misses. If I am looking at a green screen on a scene, he's gonna show me — on a screen — exactly what I should be seeing, which is amazing. Usually when you work with green screen you act and then somebody tells you, "Yeah, we're gonna put this in post and such and such," but he got that out of the way. Whenever I'm looking at something or have a question about something, he shows it to me. As far as the foliage goes and the protrusions from the planet itself, I got to see a lot of that live cause they actually created it for the set. Most of the stuff that I was working with were mechanical creatures that are actual props...

To me, it was like working on "Star Wars" — the first one. You know how now you watch "Star Wars" ["Episode I" in 1999] and you're like "I could've rented or bought the video game then I'd be in control of what's happening' — because everything's so digital and it doesn't feel real. But you watch the first one ["Episode IV" in 1977] and I don't know how you feel, but I wonder, 'Why does this feel so much greater than the digitized world he [George Lucas] created now?' And I realize it's because of the props. And that's the kind of live-action world that Jim created.

[Hero Complex]



Yes. The stuff from 1977 felt more "real" because they were actual objects. Props, sets, costumes, alien masks, miniature space ships made from model kits, elephants covered in fur.. sure now they look dated. But there has to be a way to marry real objects and CG... I guess the budgets are just not high enough to build stuff anymore.

CG is great. But there is something lacking... and I hate to break it to Michelle Rodriguez, but in 10 years we'll look at Avatar and think "man, that's what, 2007? 2008? You can totally see the (xyz)... that's obviously fake. Now District 14's effects look better because...."

I think the prequels suffered from the mixture of traditional alien masks and full on CG creatures in the same scene. That sense of "realism" is important, and the prequels would have fit into the OT much better had there been less CG and more... um.. story. Some of the most memorable and iconic scenes from the OT are character based and are largely centered on the dialogue or metaphor.. Luke looking at the twin suns, finding out Vader was his dad, the interplay of Han and Leia, all that stuff was about story.

GL kind of bragged that there were never any actual costumes created for the Clone Troopers, that they were all CG. While it's cool you can actually do that, the thing that made the original Stormtroopers so cool was that the costumes were REAL. Not to mention that they served a story. These days, the story serves the FX.

Anway, back to Avatar... I don't care how good CG gets. People know the difference between a real object and a CG object that looks 95% real.