Head back two years and The Force Awakens appeared to kickback against CGI, opting for practical solutions and real-world, tangible effects. Two years further on and The Last Jedi continues this, using practical effects in unexpected ways. Take the burning tree on Ahch-To for example. This huge tree, over 60 foot in height, was set ablaze almost 30 times in order to achieve the effect director Rian Johnson wanted.
Business Insider look at this scene, the various elements that came together to make it happen and discuss it with Special Effects Supervisor Chris Corbould.
When Skywalker tells the legendary Jedi master what he’s about to do, Yoda doesn’t talk him out of it. But when Skywalker gets to the giant tree, with flame in hand, he can’t go through with it. This leads to Yoda summoning a giant lightning bolt that strikes the tree and engulfs it in flames. He then delivers his famous giddy laugh as Skywalker looks on in complete shock.
Almost all of that scene is done with practical effects. From the puppet of Yoda, voiced by Frank Oz, that Hamill traded lines with, to the enormous tree and giant flames shooting from it.