Jump to content

Home

How to argue about Star Wars movies the right way!


Darth Groovy
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hey it has been a long time since I posted a rant. Some of you know how I like to write. I have to get this off my chest!

 

Lets face it, since the hostile take over of the internet and the social media blitz across the globe, one thing that is constant, is the arguments about how bad the Star Wars films really are.

 

Main points I hear and read all of the time are as follows:

 

Bad acting

Silly script

silly characters

bad special affects

George Lucas Constantly changing the movies

 

Let me break it down this way. Go get yourself a cup of coffee before you start reading this, because you are in for a long haul!

 

Mind you, I am trying to write this from a rational non fan boy perspective to give validity to the argument at hand. So bad acting? Yes absolutely! George is not know for being a good director. He simply tries to tell a story, and is not the slightest bit concerned about the performances. It is evident in the 4 Star Wars films he did direct. Irvin Kirsher did Empire...and that one had some decent acting and character development without sacrificing story. Save for Hayden, Hammil, and Lloyd, I think the rest of the crew did the best with what they had to work with. These are movies where the performances and dialogue are there only to move plot points...not much to work with here. However there is no excuse for Jar Jar what so ever. None of us will know what was up with that bit.

 

Silly Script? Well I have had this argument for quite some time. One fellow on facebook recently said that this is just "The Hero's Journey" all over again. This comment kind of annoys me. Lucas has been up front since day one that these films were inspired by the likes of King Arthur, and Kurosawa. Hey! Know what other movies were direct copies of Kurosawa? Westerns such as The Magnificent Seven, was The Seven Samurai, and A Fist Full of Dollars was Yujimbo, AND the gangster film "Last Man Standing" was ALSO based on Yujimbo! Also... Forbidden Planet from 1956 us based on Shakespear's "Tempest". Also arguably the 1951 film "The African Queen" is pretty similar to The Empire Strikes Back. In The African Queen, Humphrey Bogart takes a missionary up the river while being chased by the Germans during WW1 in a beat up boat. Remind you of a certain princess trying to escape the imperials in a beat up freighter? Tell me the pod race scene from The Phantom Menace is not suppose to echo a familiar chariot race from the movie "Ben-Hur". Almost as identical, and almost as long! See! This stuff has been going on for decades! And the biggest joke is that this "mulit cultural modern day myth" is picked apart so badly simply astounds me!

 

Silly Characters? Some of them...yes! Characters from The Phantom Menace such as Jar Jar, Boss Nass, and Watto really drive me nuts! They are just too silly...too stupid, and at times....kind of socially offensive in ways if you think about it. The core characters however represent heroes and villains that have shown up in stories throughout generations. Before The Phantom Menace came out...I read an article where they explained the appearance of Darth Maul. Without direct quotes....Lucas studied several cultures throughout the world. One thing that was consistent through out all cultures from generations present, and generations past, was the appearance of the color red, and horns. This is why Darth Maul looks like he does. The red face...the tattoos represent war and death in primal cultures. From the time you see him first on screen...no trouble telling he is the bad guy...he is clearly not hear to sell you magazines!

 

Bad Special affects? Really? Well this is a double edged sword. Back in 1977Lucas employed a team of geeks to produce effects that had never been seen on film...so at least he cared about that. The result was a company formed in 1975 as industrial light and magic. So folks....he basically invented the stuff you see on screen these days. The accolades are endless...look them up yourself! This is an award winning company that still exists well beyond and past Star Wars. I will argue that some of the stuff in the Special Addition looked pretty goofy, but it was a work in progress. And lets face it...movies more recent than that had worse special effects and still did ok. I don't agree with this argument. Though I do have a personal beef with that whole Han Solo shooting greedo scene. This is where I agree with the haters...seriously...wtf? However, most people loose site of the fact that at the time in 1997, Lucas was celebrating a 20 year anniversary, AND trying to get you excited about Star Wars again...and for most parts it worked. Everybody wanted to see the new scenes...at the time!

 

Now with that last argument in hand...yes...some of these changes are pretty derpy by today's standards. However....I think one thing that even Lucas lost sight of, is that what might of worked in 1997, AND the early 80's does not always translate to the new audience. Since the mid to late 90s we have been deconditioned by the over saturation of CGI, and those stories that were once golden to us...just seem silly now that we are older...right? Let's face it...we had got used to the characters that we loved...Han, Chewie, Luke..Leia...now they are all gone. Having to introduce new characters to us old timers was pointless. It was doomed to fail! Ewan McGregor is a fantastic actor...so is Liam Neeson. They did not have a chance walking in the shadows of Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford. Of course the likes of Boss Nass, Jar Jar and Watto did not help. Also Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christiansen playing different versions of Darth Vader did not help either. We got accustomed to Vader just being a horrible villain. Nobody wanted to see him as a regular kid from the projects with some talents using the force! Better yet a slave!

 

In conclusion...and not to get TOO off subject here, but JJ Abrams has been handed the helm of Star Wars now.... Arguably the most successful Star Trek films being The Wrath of Kahn, First Contact, and Into Darkness have all drawn influences from Moby Dick, as well as the pacing and action of Star Wars! See where I am going with this?

 

On film we want a fast pacing story with a lot of focus on the action, and adding traditional archetypes for the characters that populate this universe is what the public truly wants! You want deep meanings in this universe, you check out the expanded universe and read the books. I feel Abrams is doomed, but he does have his pulse on story, and action elements...we will see the results when we see them.

 

I guess my main gripe about all of this, is that you can only deconstruct Star Wars so much until it is no longer Star Wars, but some other form of science fiction. It is kind of like criticizing the color green for not being brown. Ask your rivals exactly what they would change about Star Wars, I guarantee they will make it into a form of Science fiction that does not fit into the Star Wars universe. This works ok, for the expanded universe books, but for the films...anything less than fast pacing, high action and fast storytelling is moot point!

 

May The Force Be With You Always!

~Groovy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 107
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Yes I agree, but what do you challenge them with? Do you ask them what they would personally change to make it better if they had the means to do so? AND, after said changes how many things do they change until it is no longer Star Wars but some other science fiction? That is where this begins...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When people attack the prequels, my response isn't normally to defend them. I really don't think the Prequels feel very consistent with the OT. As for your argument, I can't really follow what you're saying that well. Are you defending the entire saga, or just one of the prequels? It sort of reads less like defending Star War's, and more like excusing its faults.

 

The main issue I have with the prequel's story is the "Chosen One" plot. I feel like it just doesn't sync up with the Luke/Leia/Vader plots in the OT at all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your the first person I've ever heard mention bad special effects and Star Wars in the same sentence... Ive heard people complain of over-use, but never the quality.

 

There has been a lot of talk about the Prequels vs the OT lately since a video was released>>>

 

(This BBCode requires its accompanying plugin to work properly.)

 

<<<I'll re-post my response to above Video, which I think covers the general points in this thread and my over all view of the Saga.

 

"I agree with what the video wants, but not for the same reasons, I absolutely LOVE the prequels, they Expanded the Galaxy, characters, locations, just everything about them made Star Wars so much bigger and better... But, they have a very different style and feel to the Original Trilogy, and I want the Sequel trilogy to have a more OT feel, not because the PT sucked. but to bring the saga in to balance stylistically. The PT style has dominated for 15 years, 3 films, a TV show, games comics and Novels.

 

Love the PT, but I need a bit more OT style again :) (I obviously wouldn't boycott Ep VII if it was set on Coruscant, Naboo and Geonosis... Jus sayin)"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will say one thing that sucks badly in the prequels... the Pick up shoots for Attack of the Clones... I think they are like 2 years later than Principal photography, and I think they just asked some dude off the street to do make-up. One minute Ewan McGregor is slim, tanned and sporting his own well groomed mullet and full beard, next shot he's 40 lbs heavier, pale as a recluse, and has the worst wig and stick on teen wolf "beard" Ive ever seen, its so off putting, same with Hayden, one minute he's a skinny blonde mid-pubescent teenager with spots, then he's got light brown hair, put on a load of muscle and has a 5 o'clock shadow. I actually love the film though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i like them all. i think i enjoyed the prequels more though, probably because i got to see them in the theatre when they first came out, was always more into the games though than the movies...shadows of the empire, rogue squadron, and jedi knight specifically, and now i play the old republic and get that nostalgic "star wars" feeling when i'm playing it. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Characters from The Phantom Menace such as Jar Jar, Boss Nass, and Watto really drive me nuts! They are just too silly...too stupid, and at times....kind of socially offensive in ways if you think about it.

 

Never understood the whol "racism and stereotypes" argument and probably never will.

 

Midichlorians

 

I'm not saying it's your case, but most arguments I've heard against midi-chlorians come from people completely mishearing what is actually said in the movie. Specially when people claim that "midi-chlorians demystify the Force".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Midichlorians do demystify the Force.

 

In ESB, Yoda talks about it like it's this mysterious energy field that all life creates that's beyond even the Jedi's understanding, a force beyond mortal understanding and that only a few are able to channel the Force's power.

 

In TPM, Qui-Gonn talks about how microscopic lifeforms are inside each of us, some more than others and there's a quantified count in a Dragonball Z-like power level count way that tells us how powerful you are capable of being with the Force. It brings in a scientific explanation to something that should be beyond anyone's explanation. That's what made the Force such a powerful and fantastic element in Star Wars.

 

The reason it was created was pretty obvious though. They needed a very simple way of telling the audience why Qui-Gonn is so interested in Anakin through the use of numbers "his midichlorian levels are off the charts!" They chose this path instead of Qui-Gonn having a feeling about the boy through some mysterious unexplained feeling that something was drawing him to the boy. Technology and a scientific answer should never have been used as an explanation for anything regarding the Force.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Midichlorians do demystify the Force.

 

In ESB, Yoda talks about it like it's this mysterious energy field that all life creates that's beyond even the Jedi's understanding, a force beyond mortal understanding and that only a few are able to channel the Force's power.

 

In TPM, Qui-Gonn talks about how microscopic lifeforms are inside each of us, some more than others and there's a quantified count in a Dragonball Z-like power level count way that tells us how powerful you are capable of being with the Force. It brings in a scientific explanation to something that should be beyond anyone's explanation. That's what made the Force such a powerful and fantastic element in Star Wars.

 

That's actually not true. The Force was already explained in ANH by Kenobi and in TESB by Yoda (the latter even states how it's created) and didn't cease to be a "mysterious" energy field created by all living things just because of the existence of midi-chlorians. Midi-chlorians are merely the link between a living being and the Force (and what allows one to communicate with it), not the Force itself. The more you have, the more attuned you are (thus less training and effort is required to tap into the Force). Not only that, but it explains why Luke and Leia are Ben and Yoda's "last hope" and corroborates what's said by Luke in RotJ:

 

"The Force is strong in my family."

 

The reason it was created was pretty obvious though. They needed a very simple way of telling the audience why Qui-Gonn is so interested in Anakin through the use of numbers "his midichlorian levels are off the charts!" They chose this path instead of Qui-Gonn having a feeling about the boy through some mysterious unexplained feeling that something was drawing him to the boy. Technology and a scientific answer should never have been used as an explanation for anything regarding the Force.

 

But they did show Qui-Gon "having a feeling about the boy through some mysterious unexplained feeling". But Anakin was more than a Force-sensitive child and only later does Qui-Gon asks Obi-Wan for a midi-chlorian test. I really don't see the problem with the existence of a biological way that allows one to communicate with the Force. And as mentioned in the film itself, it requires time and training to "hear them speaking to you".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, it was talked about in ANH, but that wasn't the point I was making. I was pointing out that the OT treats the Force as a mysterious element, never going too much into it or explaining how anyone is able to use it.

 

The PT destroys that mysteriousness by quantifying it. It's that part of the whole midichlorian bull that is the most stupid part of it. We should never know how or why people have a connection to the Force, it should just be like that with no explanation, with only the feeling. If Qui-Gonn had just the feeling, that would have been enough. It SHOULD have been enough to just trust his feeling, but Lucas had to shove the explanation down everyones throats even further with the use of midichlorians.

 

I'm just glad that it was used only in TPM and then never mentioned again ever since.

 

 

 

 

In the end, midichlorians is a stupid idea and it didn't help the prequels. If these movies are meant to be targeting a wide demographic and that demographic thinks midichlorians are a silly idea and that it takes away from the mysterious of the Force, then the idea of midichlorians has failed.

 

Hell, even my own mother thinks midichlorians are stupid, I totally laughed when she said so after watching TPM and talking to me about it. If she can see how silly it is, someone who doesn't really care about Star Wars and watches it casually, you'd come to a point where the concept has failed, not just for diehard fans, but for the general movie going audience as well.

 

 

 

 

Again, I wish I could go into using DBZ as an example because it's a really good example, but I don't know who here has watched DBZ to get what I'm saying.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, it was talked about in ANH, but that wasn't the point I was making. I was pointing out that the OT treats the Force as a mysterious element, never going too much into it or explaining how anyone is able to use it.

 

But the Force is only explained (not just talked or hinted at) in the OT and the characters do explain what it is, what creates it and how to use it. In TPM, it's explained the means through which the Force communicates with people and explains how some are more sensitive and attuned to the Force (i.e: Luke, Leia) than others and how the Force is able to communicate with living beings. We still don't know how the Force works or what's its will or why some have more midi-chlorians than others.

 

The PT destroys that mysteriousness by quantifying it. It's that part of the whole midichlorian bull that is the most stupid part of it.

 

But the Force is never quantified. Midi-chlorians are not the Force. You are not more powerful for having more midi-chlorians, you are more attuned.

 

We should never know how or why people have a connection to the Force,

 

I'd argue it's not up to us to decide what should or shouldn't be known about the Force. Either way, we merely know how the connection works, but we don't know the reason for why it works.

 

it should just be like that with no explanation, with only the feeling. If Qui-Gonn had just the feeling, that would have been enough. It SHOULD have been enough to just trust his feeling, but Lucas had to shove the explanation down everyones throats even further with the use of midichlorians.

 

The feeling would just tell the audience that he was Jedi material, but it wouldn't explain why Qui-Gon believed Anakin was the one mentioned in the prophecy nor how was he created with no father nor how was his connection with the Force was "unusually strong" even among Jedi.

 

I'm just glad that it was used only in TPM and then never mentioned again ever since.

 

It was in RotS.

 

In the end, midichlorians is a stupid idea and it didn't help the prequels. If these movies are meant to be targeting a wide demographic and that demographic thinks midichlorians are a silly idea and that it takes away from the mysterious of the Force, then the idea of midichlorians has failed.

 

Ad populum shouldn't be used as an argument though, specially when it can't be measured.

 

you'd come to a point where the concept has failed, not just for diehard fans, but for the general movie going audience as well.

 

The opinion of one person doesn't represent the general movie going audience. Specially when one can easily pick people who have the opposite opinion.

 

Again, I wish I could go into using DBZ as an example because it's a really good example, but I don't know who here has watched DBZ to get what I'm saying.

 

I really don't get the whole DBZ comparison, unless one is taking into account those stupid SuperShadow charts from back in the day that (wrongly) take midi-chlorians as a measure of power.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You mean like your one opinion? I get that it's my opinion, but I'm saying that enough people say that it's stupid for it to be seen as... generally stupid.

 

But the fact that some people see it as being stupid isn't the point, the point is that it's an element of the prequels that haven't helped its popularity... or lack thereof. You can micro-debate with me all you want, but in the end, it's one of the small things that didn't help the prequels... and there are plenty of other things about the prequels that compound its lack of popularity compared to the original trilogy and why people don't want the sequel trilogy to turn out like the prequels.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We should never know how or why people have a connection to the Force, it should just be like that with no explanation, with only the feeling. If Qui-Gonn had just the feeling, that would have been enough. It SHOULD have been enough to just trust his feeling, but Lucas had to shove the explanation down everyones throats even further with the use of midichlorians.

 

But really though...you're going to tell the man who created the entire Star Wars universe how he SHOULD have done it? I mean, you can say "that takes some of the magic out of it for me," but don't be like your opinion on how Lucas should've told it is anything more than just fanfiction.

 

I love Star Wars for the way it is. It's a truly entertaining saga, and while there are obviously mistakes/mishaps, I don't think any less of any of the movies because I take them as entertainment more than anything else.

 

Just like when people bash Indy 4, I just have to wonder...have people just forgotten how to have FUN at the movies?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Then no one should ever critique anything and just enjoy everything just for what it is. No one say anything about Mass Effect 3, Metroid: Other M, nothing. No matter what anyone makes, should just buy into it no matter what because we're consumers, not critics... because critics don't exist, we all just consume and have happy smiles on our faces cause everything is perfect and great.

 

 

For the record though, when I go to the cinema to watch a movie, ANY movie, I don't go there to judge it at all. I sit there and no matter what movie it is, I'm there for the fun and enjoy the hell out of it... it's AFTER the movie where I still to think about it do I start to see the faults in the movie and critique it. And what's so wrong about that? The first time I went to see the movie, I enjoyed it, even the prequels... but you can't stop me from thinking about the movie further afterward unless you want me to just be braindead about every move I see and every video game I play.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Then no one should ever critique anything and just enjoy everything just for what it is. No one say anything about Mass Effect 3, Metroid: Other M, nothing. No matter what anyone makes, should just buy into it no matter what because we're consumers, not critics... because critics don't exist, we all just consume and have happy smiles on our faces cause everything is perfect and great.

 

 

For the record though, when I go to the cinema to watch a movie, ANY movie, I don't go there to judge it at all. I sit there and no matter what movie it is, I'm there for the fun and enjoy the hell out of it... it's AFTER the movie where I still to think about it do I start to see the faults in the movie and critique it. And what's so wrong about that? The first time I went to see the movie, I enjoyed it, even the prequels... but you can't stop me from thinking about the movie further afterward unless you want me to just be braindead about every move I see and every video game I play.

 

I get critiquing the end-result and all that. Acting, CGI, directing, etc. are all pretty normal things to critique, and I do it myself. In terms of Lucas (the creator of the lore in the first place) giving reason to the physical connection between characters and the force, I don't fully understand that. At that point, you're not criticizing a movie for what it is; rather, you're criticizing canon and part of the foundation of the story.

 

If you really don't like midichlorians, you have a problem with the Force overall - and in that sense, you most likely take issue with the entire universe of Star Wars.

 

You can't just discount the inclusion of midichlorians as just a small piece of the Phantom Menace - that is the canon from TPM and beyond.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As I said in my previous post, it's just a small part of a larger problem with the prequels.

 

I'm not talking about this in terms of canon, in fact I don't really care about that aspect of it at all. Midichlorians themselves are an example of the direction the prequels went that overall didn't reach viewers like the original trilogy was able to.

 

Many people, Star Wars fans and those who are casual viewers noticed both noticed this consciously and unconsciously. As I pointed out before, when Yoda talks about the Force in ESB (and Obi-wan in ANH), they speak of it as something that can't be explained it in any concrete terms. When they speak of it the movie going audience feels in awe of what they're talking about because it's something beyond us.

 

In TPM, they whip out a scanner and start talking about midichlorian counts. Again, and I stress since you think this is an argument about canon, the canon doesn't matter. You can write as many explanation about why midichlorians are valid in the Star Wars canon, but in terms of a movie and a messages it conveys, it's quantifying something that's meant to stay mysterious for the moviegoing audience.

 

These kinds of things set the tone for the movie and trilogy. While the OT treated it as something fantastic, the prequels pulled out a blood test.

 

And again, I'm saying this is one of many things that ends up being wrong with the prequels and I'm not saying that everything is right with the OT as well, just that there's a lot more wrong with the PT than there is with the OT and that this is generally why the wider audience seems to look more fondly on the OT than PT.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love Star Wars for the way it is. It's a truly entertaining saga, and while there are obviously mistakes/mishaps, I don't think any less of any of the movies because I take them as entertainment more than anything else.

 

Just like when people bash Indy 4, I just have to wonder...have people just forgotten how to have FUN at the movies?

 

Finally, an opinion I can agree with! I've often thought this myself.

 

When I watch a movie, or a series of movies, I see the story: The prologue, setting, character's, personalities, motivations, mental growth and change. I watch a movie because of story it tells, how a character can change and grow...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I just watch movies to complain about them :p That's why I have hundreds of blu-rays on the racks, I can't just complain about a few movies, I have to complain about them all.

 

@ urluckyday: Don't get me wrong, I love all the Star Wars movies, I watch them every so often in a big marathon watch just cause. It's Star Wars after all... but for me, the PT movies aren't as good as the OT movies... these aren't my children, I'm not going to lie and say I love them all equally to spare the feelings of the other.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I live and breath Star Wars, apart from a fondness for LOTR, it is my only fandom, but, The Phantom Menace has always been a strange one for me, it is equal parts amazing, and "What was he thinking" at the same time. I believe TPM has the best characterization, special effects, acting... It introduced a new generation of expanded universe, re-wrote the book yet gave a deep history and tradition for the Jedi Order, it was filmed in 35 mm which I think is a much better look than fully digital (AOTC looks like cgi animation almost throughout) the score, the Lightsaber battles, it was an experience to see that in theaters in 99. But also I think some of the decisions that possibly weren't challenged, definitely lower the film overall in my opinion. I know its cliche to say but I think if the Gungans were a tribe of displaced Wookiee's, swap out Jar Jar for Chewie, and Anakin was maybe 4-5 years older, TPM would be peoples favorite of the prequels.

I still love it, but I always think about these things when I watch it, even now, over 14 years later.

 

And yes, Midichlorians? TMI bro.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...