If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Rick Baker is a name revered by many a film fan, and for good reason. He is one of the most accomplished makeup artists in the industry. He has won a record seven Oscars for his makeup effects and eleven nominations total, and was just awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This is the guy that did the makeup in Michael Jackson's "Thriller" music video and created the transformation scene in 'An American Werewolf in London.' Need we say more? Because we easily could. Among his many other impressive career benchmarks, one of his first gigs was creating some of the aliens in that infamous Mos Eisley Cantina in 'Star Wars.' During his Walk of Fame ceremony, he expressed excitement that Disney and Lucasfilm are doing new 'Star Wars' movies, because he has often fantasized about returning to that universe. He also had some criticisms of where the newer movies ended up, technologically speaking...
"I think the problem that people have with the digital stuff is the problem I have: Just because you can do anything doesn’t mean that you should. Instead of having a spaceship battle with three space ships they have 3000 space ships. Everything is so big and there’s so much going on, you lose reality. It takes you out of it."
I could not agree more, Mr. Baker. That sentiment of "just because you can, doesn't mean you should" is at the core of what made the prequels, and unfortunately many later George Lucas films, so frustratingly bad. My excitement level for the new 'Star Wars' films would increase ten fold if Baker came back. I know this is far from a confirmation that he'll be returning, but Disney would be bugnuts to not hire him. His fingerprints on the first film, the one that started it all, make this a fitting and welcome reunion, but I'm also simply enamored of his craft. And the thing about Baker is that he's not calling for an abandonment of digital effects. He's worked on films that have used plenty of CG ('Men in Black' for example), but he is one of the old guard that advocates digital as an augmentation of, instead of a replacement for, practical. I wholeheartedly agree with that approach. The mind boggles trying to conceive of the diverse and marvelous creatures Baker could create and make part of the 'Star Wars' canon for future generations.
What do you guys think? Is Baker's possible return to 'Star Wars' a good thing? Could the new films benefit from more practical effects?