5) Jar Jar Who? – Guardians Of The Galaxy Breaks New Ground For CG Characters
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace never stood a chance. The high expectations of devoted fans worldwide were impossible to reach and even before the film’s release, a negative backlash began to build, which ultimately found its poster boy in Jar Jar Binks.
As the first fully computer generated character of the franchise, Jar Jar Binks was technologically impressive and while it was certainly admirable of George Lucas to take this ambitious step, the execution was severely flawed. There’s nothing inherently wrong with creating a child-friendly character for comic relief purposes, but the clownish portrayal of Jar Jar Binks rubbed many audiences the wrong way and even offended some with racially offensive undertones.
While Lucas publicly defended Jar Jar Binks, the character’s appearances were reduced significantly following the negative response he received in the press and over time, Jar Jar Binks became the prime example of how CGI should not be used in the film industry. In the years since the Star Wars prequels were released, characters like Gollum and the Na’vi tribe from Avatar have redeemed the use of CGI, leading to the inclusion of two fully CG characters in Guardians of the Galaxy: Groot and Rocket.
For many, Jar Jar Binks represented everything that was wrong with the Star Wars prequels, yet Groot and Rocket have come to symbolize the exact opposite for Guardians of the Galaxy, becoming the movie’s breakout stars. Together, the innocent yet deadly Groot and the hilariously brash Rocket have captured the hearts and minds of audiences worldwide, due to the believable, and at times touching dynamic they both share.
The combination of realistic special effects, talented voice acting and fantastic characterization elevates the pair beyond their CG origins, transforming Groot and Rocket into rounded characters who are humorous, yet remain endearing due to moments of genuine pathos between the two.
Despite his extremely limited dialogue, Groot shows more personality in just three words than Jar Jar Binks did over an entire trilogy of films. George Lucas would sell the entire Skywalker Ranch to create CG heroes with even half of Rocket and Groot’s appeal.
Oh, and did we mention that Groot is also a pretty awesome dancer? Check out the video below and you’ll see what we mean.