I love Star Wars. And, like most people who love Star Wars, I find the prequel movies to be a matter of significant disappointment. But what bugged me more than anything about the prequels was the apparent over-reliance on CGI. For me, Yoda seems to act as a prime example for this.

Watching the original trilogy again, even 30 years after Yoda’s first appearance he actually looks like he’s supposed to be there. He looks like a puppet, sure, but a puppet who is actually there, doing stuff and interacting with the characters and the environment.

Seeing CG Yoda in the prequels today, only 5 years after the most recent one was released… well, it already looks so substandard. I’m not saying they didn’t do a good job with the modeling or the animating or anything; just that, considering how fast such technology progresses, it seems somewhat counterproductive if you want to make your movie timeless.

Even during the fairly-badass, hopping-all-over-the-place lightsaber duel between him and Count Dooku in Attack of the Clones, Yoda’s CG visage is the only thing reflecting the light from the lightsabers’ glows, which just seems to completely undermine any effort that went into blending the character into the scene.
Obviously it wasn’t something that could have been done with a puppet (at least not without hilarious results!) but my beef is with the way it appears they were too concerned with showing off what they could do with the technology rather than creating a believable scene. Or movie.

Or prequel trilogy.