When George Lucas first came up with his concept for an epic fantasy story set in space, he was no doubt concerned that the technologies of the time would limit his vision. With a combination of practical effects, animatronics, and highly detailed models, however, he managed to pull it off. Strip away all the shoddy CGI effects Lucas retrospectively added to his original trilogy, and those movies stand as some of the most visually impressive of the 1970s and '80s.
With the advances in CGI, Lucas had an opportunity to really pull out the stops for his prequel trilogy during early 2000s. And although certain aspects of those movies look questionable, there are still moments that hold up. When he used CGI well, it resulted in some of the more immersive and iconic moments in cinema.
With the new era of Star Wars, CGI has never been better. It's something of a paradox, then, that now that technology can facilitate almost any scenario, the narrative storytelling is arguably at its worst (at least in terms of the films).
With that said, these CGI moments are all equally stunning, regardless of the strength of the films they appear in.
10. The Battle Over Coruscant - Revenge Of The Sith (Episode III)
The original Star Wars trilogy did wonders for the world of special effects. A combination of animatronics, and miniature scale models were used to depict the giant space battles central to the plot. Although the various depictions of the tiny Rebel fleet taking on the Empire's monolithic space stations were captivating, Lucas was nevertheless limited on what he could show.
By the time Revenge of the Sith rolled around, he finally had the means to portray a high-speed and complex space battle in a dynamic way. We'd never seen anything on this scale before.
Utilising his classic pan-from-space technique, Lucas revealed a Republic Star Cruiser, gracefully moving through space, before he locked the camera onto two swooping Jedi fighters. With dynamic dog fights happening in between huge cruisers, the scope was vast. Sometimes the camera zeroed in on tiny buzz droids, at others it panned wide to reveal giant battleships turning their broadside blasters on one another. It was one hell of a way to open up a movie.
For all the issues the prequels had, this scene was not one of them.