S Michael
With Hollywood, its this.... Who gets the money for the pixel images? Can't pay a dead person. Or maybe that is what Hollywood wants. Cheaper to make them a digital character than and expensive human.
I know this article isn't about compensation, but it seems to me that if Holleywood digitally creates a once-living actor, someone related to said actor should receive adequate compensation for their time on film. But on the flip side, digitally creating someone can be a very expensive process, so perhaps a lower rate of compensation to make up for the cost of creation is acceptable. Tricky stuff.
Regardless of the ethics, this was the overriding flaw in Rogue One. I enjoyed the movie immensely, but CGI Cushing was uncomfortable. Not because he's dead, simply because it wasn't realistic enough. The one redeeming aspect was to illuminate just how incredibly sensitive the human mind is for nuances we are not even aware of. While robot Tarkin was necessary to some degree, Leia turning round to face the 'camera' was not.
Saw Rogue one, CGI Characters were very good. I was waiting poised for the moment(s), and they got it right! Did cross my mind as well...who gets paid...Give it to charity or there next of kin!
I thought the shot of Leia was terrible. Tarkin wasn't that bad but still awkward enough. Making a statement we have crossed the uncanny valley is pushing a bit too far.
Tarkin was very well done, but still a distraction. The entire time he was on screen I had a hard time listening to the dialogue because I was studying him. Were the entire movie done with CGI characters it would have been exceptional, but he stood out too much. Leia looked horrible honestly, they should have stuck to a back shot with her, we didn't need to see her face to make the connection. And I wish they hadn't done a CGI Vader, it wasn't bad, just unnecessary. Overall it was a good movie, and it was neat to see how the rebels acquired that critical intel.
The real test would be to see the audience's reaction to a character they have never seen before and do not know is digital. This would remove the built in bias of the article's subject.
Although I understand that one’s knowledge of a actor’s actual age/life can be a distraction, I think the uncanny factor is more a function of what has historically been a detectable “lifelessness” of a digital human that is being presented as live. The lack of facial nuance, especially in the eyes is what is creepy to me. I will cut the movie makers some slack when the entire production is obviously CGI, (or when the other SFX are not that great), but generally, ”pretty good” is not good enough when CGI actors are combined with real, live-action actors. As @Username suggested, in order to get a better take on where we are on that curve toward “fully human,” present an audience without prior knowledge of whether the actor is real or CGI, then see what kind of reaction you get. I haven’t seen Rogue One yet, but I will be keeping an open mind. Yet, as with all movie-going experiences, we always need to maintain a certain amount of “willing suspension of disbelief.”
Perhaps what made Tarkin acceptable for me is that the character, and Cushing's portrayal, is quite cold and unfeeling; that's the whole point of Tarkin. So after the initial introduction, I just focused on the scene, not the digital portrayal, so maybe I missed some little glitches. Leia, on the other hand, did look fake; seemed to be a colour / lighting thing for me.
The Tarkin image was not photo realistic, detail like pours in his skin were over emphasized. But that wasn't the worst part, the stiff unnatural movement is what destroyed the CGI for me. However I was thrilled to see him so prominent as he should be in the story and it did not take away from what is a very enjoyable movie.