Monday, February 5, 2007

Jar Jar Strikes Back?

Ahmed Best, who was the voice actor and on-set stand-in for Star Wars character Jar Jar Binks in the prequel films was recently quoted in Empire magazine defending the CGI character that many fans and casual filmgoers revile to this day. In the article, Best says, "I have nothing but love for Jar-Jar. He was film history. He helped pave the way for Gollum and King Kong. I think in time Jar-Jar will be seen as a film pioneer."

Well, he's half right. Jar Jar was a technical achievement for his time, but to call him a "film pioneer?" Please. The reason why people appreciated Gollum and King Kong so much is that they were the exact opposite approach to Lucas' cartoon come-to-sickening-life. Gollum in particular felt like an organic part of the movie and helped usher in what many refer to as "digital acting." That is, it was CGI meant to mimic a real actor, not to distract the audience from the piss-poor dialogue. I'm a Star Wars fan but come on. Lucas has a tin ear for the English language, which is bound to happen when the only word he's heard for the last few years is "yes."

As for Ahmed, I kind of feel bad for the guy. If someone were to tell me that I was going to be the Chewbacca for a new trilogy of Star Wars films, I would be ecstatic. And he seems genuine enough in the documentary footage from the Episode 1 DVD. Then came the backlash, then the scaling back of the character to the point where he only appeared for a combined 4 seconds at most in the final film. The guy probably gets mountains of hate mail, all for doing exactly what he was told to do. It may have helped ruin the saga, but still.

You can read more on this story here.