The CG animated Yoda that George Lucas opted to go with in the Star Wars prequel trilogy was the least of the film’s problems. I actually never really had a problem with the CG version of Yoda, but when those movies came out there was a lot of discouragement among the fans due to George Lucas ditching the practical effects for lots and lots of green screen and CGI work.
During an interview with ScreeRant, Frank Oz, the voice and puppeteer of Yoda, was asked what he thought about Lucas giving the iconic character a CG makeover for the prequel films. He actually came to Lucas’ defense saying:
“As a filmmaker, George needed to tell a particular story. And this story that he needed to tell was a big fight with Yoda. And he could not do that with a puppet. It was impossible. To he had the choice to either dump the story or stay with the story–which he felt strongly about–or change Yoda. So he did what any storyteller would do.”
He makes a good point here, and I’ve gotta say, I really enjoyed watching Yoda fight! When I first saw the character in The Empire Strikes Back, I always wondered what it would have been like to see him in his heyday fighting the evil Empire, and the prequel films gave me that.
I should also remind you that Lucas originally used a Yoda puppet in The Phantom Menace and it was so awful looking that he replaced it with a CG version of the character. The CG character was definitely easier on the eyes. You can see a side-by-side comparison below: