Star Wars Episode II - A New Thread

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Postby C.T.1290 » Sat Dec 19, 2020 9:43 pm

View Original PostEl Squibbonator wrote:Are we all just going to ignore that
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Baby Yoda is now called Grogu?

Eh, I’m kind of used to that now.
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Postby UrsusArctos » Mon Dec 21, 2020 2:47 am

I'm fine calling Grogu by his proper name. And of course...
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...his new teacher is Jedi Master Luke Skywalker himself!
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Re: Star Wars Episode II - A New Thread

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Postby C.T.1290 » Mon Jan 11, 2021 5:55 pm

View Original PostUrsusArctos wrote:I'm fine calling Grogu by his proper name. And of course...
SPOILER: Show
...his new teacher is Jedi Master Luke Skywalker himself!

This is a rather pleasant surprise.

SPOILER: Show
But that departure between Din and Grogu, that was a real tearjerker there. I got emotional at that part.

And it’s also awesome that Boba Fett is getting his own series. At the end, he’s like, “That’s right, I’m running this show now.” in such a badass way.
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Postby baldur » Sat Mar 20, 2021 12:05 pm

I just watched the entire Star Wars saga recently with my little brother. I had previously seen the Original Trilogy, TFA and TLJ, as well as bits and pieces of the prequel trilogy. We watched it in order of release. My brother's eight years old, so it was his first experience with the films. He hadn't been spoiled on most of it either, so it was really cool seeing his reaction to stuff like the Darth Vader reveal. I never got to have that experience myself.

The Original Trilogy was more... eh than I remember. Empire still rules, but I was less impressed with the other ones. I've seen the original Star Wars many times by now and I just don't think there's a lot of substance there in comparison with the rest of the series. It's an interesting film, obviously super important, but I'm not that fond of it. I think that Return of the Jedi is pretty sloppy and is really only saved by the Luke/Vader/Emperor stuff.

The Prequel Trilogy was the opposite for me, a lot better than I thought. I thought the CGI was going to bring the experience down a lot, but no, it's actually used rather well, I think. The trilogy is honestly closer to animated than live action and I'm not opposed to that by any means, especially since Lucas has such a mind for visuals. The dialogue in the films is corny, but I think it sort of works most of the time. The dialogue in the originals was nothing to write home about either, and I don't mind corniness when the whole thing is so operatic and epic in scale. The Phantom Menace was an interesting watch. Not perfect by any means, no, but I actually slightly prefer it to the original Star Wars. It's rougher around the edges but so, so, so much more thematically interesting. That can be said of the entire trilogy, actually. I don't think Darth Maul was a wasted villain, as many seem to do. There's not too much to his character, but he's super intimidating and almost all of it is conveyed through visuals instead of exposition. Attack of the Clones is probably my least favorite; it's just too long and meanders around too much, it's got great moments and I can definitely appreciate what Lucas was going for but it just didn't quite work for me. Revenge of the Sith, however? That is a great film, easily one of the best, if not the best in the entire saga. It's so gothic, borderline nightmarish. It really delivers on the whole purpose of the prequel trilogy, showing this transition from republic to empire, liberalism to fascism, Jedi to Sith, light to dark. I'm honestly quite impressed with the nuance Lucas shows in his depiction of tyranny being bred from a supposedly democratic system. My brother also didn't catch on that Anakin was Vader or that Palpatine was the Emperor (I was translating and explaining the films as we watched and once I realized this I tried to avoid giving it away).

The Sequel Trilogy was... well. There's not much to say about The Force Awakens, is there? I saw the film in theaters when it came out, and I actually think it was the first Star Wars film I properly watched from start to finish. I liked it at the time, but revisiting it now having seen the rest of the series, it's just a retread of the original Star Wars, which as I've mentioned is a film that I'm not even particularly fond of. There's some okay concepts buried in there, but mostly I think it's an uninspired and creatively bankrupt film. Thankfully, though, a competent director was hired for the next film, and it pays off. I love The Last Jedi. The first time I saw it was some months after it came out and I remember actually being pleasantly surprised by it. I've only grown to like it more since - I think it continues a lot of the most interesting themes of the prequels and grapples with a lot of powerful concepts like nostalgia, mistakes, guilt, myths and legends. It's a perfect rumination on Star Wars as a series. It actually reminds me quite a bit of Q. I still haven't seen The Rise of Skywalker yet, mostly because it sounds like an absolutely terrible time.

I'm not sure how I feel about Star Wars all in all. When I like it, I really like it, but there are more films in the saga that I don't care for than there are ones I love. I really gravitate towards the darker films in the series. Funnily enough, my (eight-year-old) brother and I have very similar favorites and least favorites, though he's a lot more positive on the least favorites than I am. Watching these films was worth it for the experience of bonding with him alone. Speaking of which, I'm going to have to turn him on to Evangelion eventually. I think 14 or 15 would probably be a good age...

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Postby Gendo'sPapa » Sun Mar 21, 2021 1:36 am

I rewatched the entire saga last year right before the pandemic and I'm kinda similar with you, baldur.

The Prequel Trilogy tells the most interesting story in the Star Wars Saga. It's not done in a perfect way and has too many odd digressions and George Lucas is a terrible at directing actors - the Prequels would have been drastically improved had Lucas stepped aside and let others direct - but it's the most exciting part of the whole franchise. How does a world turn to fascism. Watching it in 2020 was eerily relevant.

The Original Trilogy is good but I think it's true power was in how it influenced an entire generation of artists. The films themselves I find to be fun but no more so than a lot of movies put out in the 70s and 80s. Certainly less than what Spielberg was making at that time which had more panache in filmmaking and character. But they're good.

The Sequel Trilogy is just an odd beast. The Force Awakens is pure fan service. Nothing in it really works but it gets by on the perfect cast JJ Abrams put together - Abrams is an overrated storyteller but when it comes to casting actors he's a master filmmaker, so many of his films shouldn't work but are simply carried by his understanding of good actors and how their personalities bounce off one another in a scene - and is an inoffensive watch. The Last Jedi is a flawed but legitimately exciting work rarely seen in the Hollywood film industry where a film in a mega-franchise questions the set rules of the never-ending moneymaker. Then The Rise of Skywalker is just shit.

I'm of the mind the only good thing about Star Wars is how much it has inspired other artists. But, since Star Wars is never going away I'll have to settle on occasionally engaging with it.

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Postby TastyCap » Sun Mar 21, 2021 5:31 am

As a longtime fan of the franchise, it's always interesting to hear the opinions of people who didn't watch the films as a child. Star Wars is one of those things I feel like you have to see as a kid to properly enjoy, because a lot of its effectiveness hinges on the emotional connections that children watching the films for the first time are likely to foster.

Personally, I've always enjoyed the Original Trilogy more than anything else in the series. They're wonderfully simple, do an excellent job of blending sci-fi and fantasy, and are packed with detail. The world presented in that trilogy is captivating because it juxtaposes a dirty, worn-down, mechanical aesthetic with mysticism. There's inventive alien species, pockets of culture scattered throughout the galaxy, and a real sense of place in those films that few others can compete with. It's no surprise people get to attached to the films, because they reveal just enough to make the galaxy feel like a living, breathing place and practically have you salivating for more. As a kid, that's very enticing. When you're watching them for narrative complexity, in-depth characters, or anything other than a masterfully simple space opera, it's easy to see how you can come away slightly disappointed, even from the so-called "best" section of the saga.

I still enjoy the Original Trilogy, and I think they're essential viewing for any kid for how they can inspire the imagination. I was always captivated by the background aliens and character design, both of which Lucas has an eye for, but it seems like everyone who enjoys the series takes something different and personal away from it. The Prequel Trilogy, which is nowhere near as bad as some would have you believe, is a beautiful set of films with an ambitious narrative that draw from a wealth of sources for inspiration. They're very much Lucas passion projects, made solely for himself. Unfortunately, a lot of his intentions are circumvented by poor direction, strange dialogue, and unlikable characters. There's a reason why the Clone Wars animated series has gained so much traction over the past few years. It adds some much needed depth and transparency to the Prequel protagonists. Anakin goes from a cautious misfit in the Jedi Order to someone who finds in himself the capabilities to be a leader and a hero in ways only a tumultuous environment like the Clone War could bring about. It's a development that's necessary to showing a likable side to the character.

I won't touch on the Sequel Trilogy, because they're relatively uninspiring and bland in comparison to the Lucas-driven material, but my advice to anyone looking to get 'into' Star Wars as an adult is to watch the Original Trilogy out of obligation and dive straight into any supplementary content that looks interesting. It's a very light franchise overall, and a lot of the best, most enjoyable material comes from the comics, novels, video games, and such. Pick up something that appeals to you and try it on without worrying about how it fits into the larger picture. I'd recommend Timothy Zahn's Thrawn novels, which are fun, intelligent thrillers set in the universe that can be enjoyed in a vacuum separate from the films. A lot of the anticipated Star Wars material that's coming out over the next few years is in the form of TV shows, not films. The Mandalorian, for myself and it seems like a lot of others, perfectly captured the Star Wars "feel" that was lacking from the Sequel films, for whatever reason that may be.

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Postby Mr. Tines » Sun Mar 21, 2021 11:41 am

View Original PostTastyCap wrote:As a longtime fan of the franchise, it's always interesting to hear the opinions of people who didn't watch the films as a child. Star Wars is one of those things I feel like you have to see as a kid to properly enjoy, because a lot of its effectiveness hinges on the emotional connections that children watching the films for the first time are likely to foster.
The original came out locally in the run-up to my university finals (those were the days when international releases could be a year or more after the States), and it was a breath of fresh air after the drab and dreary fare, like Silent Running, that the 1970s had brought up to that point; and it remains the movie I have seen the most times to this day.
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Postby Sachi » Sun Mar 21, 2021 6:14 pm

I excitedly keep up with just about everything Star Wars, at least when it comes to the films, canon animated series and games, and even for all the novels and comics I don't get around to I'll still usually brush up on the basic summary of events. I enjoyed The Force Awakens for what it was, and forgave it for feeling the need to bank on nostalgia. I instantly loved the Last Jedi despite it having a few awkward moments, and was excited to see how it be taken further. However, after the death of Carrie Fisher and JJ Abrams being announced as the directer of Episode IX, I slowly prepared myself for a mediocre, safe finale. In the end what we got was a hot mess.

But I enjoy hot messes, so allow me to play apologetics for The Rise of Skywalker. There are aspects of this film that work very well. On a technical level, it's a gorgeously shot film, with some really neat editing tricks and excellent sound design. I didn't really like the breakneck speed of the cuts in the first several minutes; especially when it came to Kylo Ren's stampede on Mustafar I would have preferred some more lingering shots, but what can be seen is pure eye candy and it's a shame how much got left on the cutting room floor. I personally really enjoyed Palpatine's return, or at least the idea of it; any excuse to bring Ian McDiarmid to ham it up on screen is welcome, but his insertion into the narrative was.. rather abrupt (somehow.. palpatine's returned lol). When he was on screen though, it was everything I wished for, and I felt that his callback line to Ep III ("the dark side of the force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be.. unnatural") was the perfect way to justify his return and does neatly tie a bow that extends over the whole saga. There were a few things that were payoffs to things that were heavily suggested in the prequels, including Palpatine cheating death, but also Ben Solo fulfilling what Anakin couldn't do by using the force to prevent those he cared about from dying, and by doing so demonstrates one of the core values the morals of Star Wars have always been about: the difference between selflessness and selfishness, the light and dark side of the force. Anakin failed to save Padme because of his selfish nature, and is only redeemed in Ep VI when he selflessly saves his son from Palpatine dying the process; Ben Solo cranks this to 11 by doing a 1:1 trade with Rey, his life for hers. I don't think this and everything with Palpatine invalidates what Anakin did at all, and arguably his example carved the way for others to follow in his path and continue it (hopefully Palpatine is dead dead this time). I won't lie that the Rey Palpatine reveal really did irk me when I was in theaters, because I was really advocating her being a nobody, but in retrospect I'm not that mad because something something she represents the legacy of evil and the ability to choose one's own path; Palpatine is the path of evil, Skywalker is the path of good, so she goes with her adopted family name instead. I can live with that.

Despite all that said, The Rise of Skywalker is still a terrible film. Rogue One has been my favorite of the Disney era films, and the Mandalorian is top tier. Just because a few of the films don't land with me doesn't mean Star Wars can't continue to produce quality content in the future. I'm really looking forward to seeing Ewan McGregor in the upcoming Kenobi series; as one of the few actors in the prequels that brought a lot of his own charm to the series, I'm excited to see he can do when directed by Deborah Chow, someone who is notably not George Lucas, but also an excellent director herself who did some of the best episodes from Mando season 1.
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Postby silvermoonlight » Sun Mar 21, 2021 7:09 pm

View Original PostMr. Tines wrote:it was a breath of fresh air after the drab and dreary fare, like Silent Running


I've always felt the silent running had a very good point which it was trying to make, but its timing was just really bad like had it come out in the 80's/90's and with better effects it might have been better received and its message about humanity destroying the forests and life might have hit home harder. I mean I only saw it in 80's reruns on TV but by then it was already being forgotten the thing that made it stick in my mind for years was the little robots Dewey and Huey which were played by disabled people which made them amazingly realistic.

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Postby TastyCap » Mon Mar 22, 2021 7:25 am

View Original PostMr. Tines wrote:The original came out locally in the run-up to my university finals (those were the days when international releases could be a year or more after the States), and it was a breath of fresh air after the drab and dreary fare, like Silent Running, that the 1970s had brought up to that point; and it remains the movie I have seen the most times to this day.

Interesting. I've noticed that those who saw the Original Trilogy during its initial release, regardless of their age, had the films stick with them in a significant way. I've never really considered how the idealistic and simple undertones of the Trilogy that contrasted with the American public's zeitgeist and its Hollywood contemporaries could have influenced peoples opinions, but after reading this thread, it makes a lot of sense.

View Original PostSachi wrote: ...Ben Solo fulfilling what Anakin couldn't do by using the force to prevent those he cared about from dying, and by doing so demonstrates one of the core values the morals of Star Wars have always been about: the difference between selflessness and selfishness, the light and dark side of the force. Anakin failed to save Padme because of his selfish nature, and is only redeemed in Ep VI when he selflessly saves his son from Palpatine dying the process; Ben Solo cranks this to 11 by doing a 1:1 trade with Rey, his life for hers.

Beautifully put. By itself, Ben Solo's sacrifice is a great moment that's thematically resonant with what the Saga is about. It's unfortunately negated by the noise of the rest of the film, and the very idea of Kylo's redemption in the first place. It's a nice place for the character to end up, but his arc never seems to be pointing in the direction of redemption until the last moment, when he suddenly teams up with Rey. The same can be said for Vader in the Original Trilogy, but I'm willing to forgive those films more because I'm admittedly softer on them. As intriguing as the Rey/Ben dynamic sounds on paper, I could never bring myself to care for either character. Ironically, the only time I came somewhat close to doing so was during their respective segment of The Last Jedi. With even the slightest bit of planning, tighter writing, and a razor-sharp narrative focus on the two characters, their relationship easily could have been a defining storyline of the Sequel Trilogy.

I'm definitely in agreement with you, though. I also keep up with the Canon material where I can, and I've found it to be immensely rewarding in its own right. I'm also excited to see Ewan McGregor return to the character in the Obi-Wan series. Chow's episodes of The Mandalorian have been nothing short of amazing, and it'll be interesting to see what she can do in a (presumably) more character-driven space.

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Postby baldur » Tue Mar 23, 2021 8:11 pm

Gendo'sPapa wrote:I'm of the mind the only good thing about Star Wars is how much it has inspired other artists. But, since Star Wars is never going away I'll have to settle on occasionally engaging with it.

This is where I'm at too. I'm not terribly interested in Star Wars, but engaging with it in some way is sort of unavoidable, so you might as well, right? Helps that some of the films are actually good.

TastyCap wrote:As a longtime fan of the franchise, it's always interesting to hear the opinions of people who didn't watch the films as a child. Star Wars is one of those things I feel like you have to see as a kid to properly enjoy, because a lot of its effectiveness hinges on the emotional connections that children watching the films for the first time are likely to foster.

Star Wars had an inescapable presence during my childhood (I imagine the same applies to pretty much anyone born in the West post-1977). Mostly the Prequel trilogy, because those were coming out around the time I was born. Maybe that vague presence has embedded some hint of nostalgia that influences my tastes when it comes to SW to some degree, but I doubt it plays a large part; I never watched the films, after all (though I do remember watching some animated Clone Wars stuff).

Personally, I'm pretty content with not having nostalgia for Star Wars. It feels like I have a "clearer" perspective on the series, if anything. Since Star Wars kind of has to work to impress me, those occasions where I do really connect with what I'm watching feel nice and earned.

That being said, by watching the series with him at such a young age, I've sent my little bro down the path of inevitable Star Wars nostalgia. I don't know if that's a good thing or not...

Sachi wrote:I enjoy hot messes, so allow me to play apologetics for The Rise of Skywalker.

I do enjoy your take on TROS, Sachi. A break from the echo chamber is always nice. Haven't seen the film myself but I've seen plenty of scenes and know the plot summary. For me, it just sounds like it'd be a miserable watch for someone who really liked TLJ. If I ever do see it, it's gonna be because my brother asked me to watch it with him.

Sachi wrote:I won't lie that the Rey Palpatine reveal really did irk me when I was in theaters, because I was really advocating her being a nobody, but in retrospect I'm not that mad because something something she represents the legacy of evil and the ability to choose one's own path; Palpatine is the path of evil, Skywalker is the path of good, so she goes with her adopted family name instead. I can live with that.

My problem with this, as with almost everything else in JJ's SW films, is that it's a retread of a concept that was already executed better in the OT.

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Postby Zusuchan » Wed Mar 24, 2021 9:21 am

Baldur wrote:
For me, it just sounds like it'd be a miserable watch for someone who really liked TLJ.

As someone who considers TLJ the best thing to have happened to the SW franchise since Empire, I can attest that TROS is bad, but not so much because it goes against some of the narrative events and points of TLJ (let's be honest, in a huge Disney-owned franchise like this, TLJ was always going to remain an anomaly), but because it tried to please everyone from OT fans to TLJ fans and as a result, ends up as a mismatch of various ideas that is entertaining and visually well done, but has little of actual value besides from that.

On the topic of SW as a whole, I watched both the OT and the PT at 8 years old, became a fan as a result and spent some time checking out second-rate Dark Horse comics for a while and watching the entire first three seasons of the Clone Wars and that animated film which preceded the TV series, before getting tired and stopping that. I still remained enough of a fan to excitedly watch and love TFA and RO and TLJ when they all came out, but after that I quickly lost my interest in SW as a result of serious depression and when I got better, I saw it as something nice for entertainment, but not consistently good and interesting enough to merit spending more time on it seriously (as my tastes and what I'd look for in an artwork had changed seriously within that timespan). TROS I only watched in order to get some nice escapism and see the "end of an era", as it were. Late last year, I also checked out The Mandalorian out of boredom, but while its different aesthetics were promising, it quickly became apparent that for me it was still uninteresting and glided through entirely on its new aesthetics without little else of substance, so I stopped watching that too. Now, I think I'll probably only watch more new SW when either bored or at least somewhat interested in the premise.

This is my story with Star Wars.

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Sat Apr 10, 2021 10:57 pm

OT Star Wars does work best when you're a kid. Empire is still the best one of that trilogy. But SW isn't a series I return to as an indy filmmaker/videographer anymore. Like, it's good, and I'll enjoy it from time to time, but the filmmaking doesn't really inspire me that much. I've gone on record saying that I'm more a fan of George Lucas than I am of his Star Wars films. It's really neat to see him and James Cameron push movie technology further and further into the future, plus Lucas has just plain wild and weird ideas as a creator. I have some friends that are SW fans, and they really don't realize just how much one of their favorite franchises depends on the wackiness of Lucas' creativity. They'll complain that Howard the Duck is a weird movie but won't criticize the weirdness of SW, and I kinda find that to be somewhat disingenuous.

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Postby YTPrenewed » Tue May 04, 2021 10:43 pm

Checking in on this site to see if anyone was making Star Wars/Evangelion comparisons this May the 4th... I assume the parallels are obvious? Science fiction/fantasy genre-blurring series with initially-reluctant protagonist eventually joining the battle. Enraged to the point of jeapordizing missions at the thought of harm coming to his friends, often partly due to the actions of his own father. Leia/Misato being a combat commander in denial about her attraction to the morally-shady Kaji/Han.
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(And the incestuous implications of one of the protagonist's love interests not being revealed to him until later in the series.)
Or in the prequels, protagonist starts out as a meek and mild people-pleaser but eventually this tendency gives way to rage issues eventually culminating in
SPOILER: Show
choking a girl he used to like, or at least be somewhat attracted to.
I do think the Eva series did it better on the whole, if only for the stronger shifts in tone, but obviously they have to hold back on how far they go when they go "dark" when the show's considered a kids' show.


View Original PostFreakyFilmFan4ever wrote:OT Star Wars does work best when you're a kid. Empire is still the best one of that trilogy.

Agreed on both counts. I grew up with the OT and Phantom Menace alike and liked both as a kid, and as an adult I see the flaws of the latter more clearly and the many ways the former has been surpassed since. I think as a kid I didn't care as much if my entertainment didn't make sense, as I was following it even less closely. Not that "making sense" always reflects how true it is to the real world anyway. If I had my time back I'd have watched more edutainment and less escapist fantasy. Adults have more context for the real-world topics for which fantasy serves as a metaphor.

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Postby Natalie the Cat » Sun May 23, 2021 9:36 am

I find the contrast between the prequel and sequel trilogies fascinating. They represent polar extremes, and it results in heavily unbalanced films.

On the one hand, Lucas produced a competent but fairly tepid and... oddly excessive first entry in the prequel trilogy, was met with backlash, and went "Fuck it- I'm going to make the movies I always wanted to make. My whole creative life, I've been tied to a flawed, commercialized expression of my personal vision. If I'm going to be inexorably tied to Star Wars I'm going to do these movies the way I want to," and he went so far as to put in whatever he wanted, and, I firmly believe, use a straight up first draft or very lightly edited first script, and he used workmanlike shot/reverse shot setups on the stuff he found least interesting and focused hard on beautiful visuals and pushing the limits of special effects.

He created a peculiar vision that is uniquely Lucas. How successful they are as films is up to the audience.

On the other hand, the prequel trilogy started off with pure pandering, essentially making a soft remake of Star Wars (1977) beat by beat, with some nostalgia baiting (here's Anakin's original lightsaber... somehow, here's Not Yoda, here's Not the Death Star), and fans complained. The second movie was made by a director with a vision that didn't fit a Star Wars movie at all with a script that tried to do too many things at the same time, written by someone so enamored of the slow speed chase part that they couldn't balance it with the other story elements. Fan reaction to that was so bad that the third film became an incomprehensible mess of retcons, reversals, fanservice, and just throwing logic out the window to try to replace substance with style, as opposed to the Lucas entries where the substance was the style.

The OT is pure balance. The filmmakers were willing to make changes when needed (no matter what Lucas says, Darth Vader was not originally intended to be Luke Skywalker's father; he was mean to be a character not unlike Rochefort from The Three Musketters, a colorful villain without much depth, really just a foil to Obi-Wan) and the films are unpretentious and uncomplicated, artful in a comfy way. That's why they were such a massive hit. At the time, cinema had stagnated- artists were liberated from content codes and could make all the grim, self important movies with violence and misogny that they wanted. Star Wars caught on so strongly because it was a **bold** contrast with the current trend in artistic filmmaking at the time, which was, in essence, "Life sucks, the universe is heartless and cruel, and you will live a pointless life and die a pointless death. Also Manhattan is the sixth circle of hell."

I don't think we can underestimate how important that last factor was. The zeitgeist was ready for the original trilogy. Cinema wasn't really in a place where it needed either one of these trilogies. They were just... out there.

I think the problem is moviegoers, tbh. Sci fi fans want everything to be serious, and mature, and complicated, and allegorize serious issues while also being rip roaring adventures that deliver lots of explosions, pew pew, lasers, and cleavage windows. Cinephiles will either find a proper Star Wars movie childish and easily dismissed or pretentious and overwrought, especially critics who only acknowledge any merit in a movie like Star Wars after it becomes a cultural phenomenon.

Not every movie has to be The Godfather. Not every book has to be The Grapes of Wrath. The mistake Disney made with the sequels was not adopting a successful model. The Marvel movies are centrally planned using extant source material as adaptational sources and the directors bring their flourish to a house style. The scripts tend to be tight and heavily worked over. Yes, they're formulaic. Yes, they repeat the same beats a lot. Yet they are entertaining, a good way to spend a few hours relaxing, and films like Winter Soldier and Iron Man 3 pack in much more depth than found in the ponderous second installment of the ST and its hamfisted "the real Jedi are inside us, also let's put a message about 21st century late stage capitalism into a story about laser wizards by ripping off Casino Royale" presentation.

Movies can just be movies. They can just be... okay. The problem with Star Wars is the earnest desperation to recapture the magic of the OT when there will never be a first Star Wars movie ever again. It will never again be new, even for people who've never seen it.

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Re: Star Wars Episode II - A New Thread

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Postby Zusuchan » Sun May 23, 2021 2:10 pm

Natalie the Cat wrote:On the other hand, the prequel trilogy started off with pure pandering,


I think you meant the sequel trilogy.

I must say I don't really see the idea of TLJ as a film that's just " the real Jedi are inside us, also let's put a message about 21st century late stage capitalism into a story about laser wizards by ripping off Casino Royale"-I feel there's lots of interesting stuff in the film about the necessity of evolution and how it's at its best a mixture of accepting the past and looking forward to the future, while showing the danger of focusing too much on either side of the equation (shown in the Luke-Kylo relationship and their separately obsessive reactions to Luke's fatal mistake), which is in a way also related to TLJ sort of understanding its existence as part of a larger cultural/mythological equation. As a matter of fact, the whole capitalist critique is a relatively small part of a film that's more interested in analyzing the cornerstones of SW as a franchise and its values, which I feel is a pretty interesting thing to do as well as something that any large franchise that could reasonably be called a mythology of the present should probably grapple with at some point. (It's been a lot since I've seen it, so this may be more of a feeling I had when watching it than something the film itself actually has.)

That's not to say TLJ doesn't have its flaws-it certainly has quite a bit!

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Re: Star Wars Episode II - A New Thread

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Postby Natalie the Cat » Sun May 23, 2021 3:05 pm

A movie like Rogue One is a better place to do that, or even Solo if it had been a little meatier (and I liked Solo), in my opinion. It just doesn't work in a big tentpole trilogy entry. That leads into another problem: The ST didn't really have anything to say, because almost everything had been said. The only good part imo was the chemistry between Kylo Ren and Rey (which, to me, goes more to the actors playing well off each other than the effectiveness of the script) and the (I guess I'll spoiler this)

I can't even remember what year this movie came out  SPOILER: Show
death of Luke Skywalker. Everything around it may not be very good, but the core execution, that Luke Skywalker defeats his enemy without fighting and becomes one with the Force, is perfect.


I liked what they did with Luke to a degree. I've never been overly fond or Luke Skywalker training people for combat or running an organized school, or whatever, after he'd defeated the Emperor by casting aside his weapon and refusing to fight in The Return of the Jedi. I really wish they'd leaned into the idea of the Jedi as peaceful warriors and really worked with the psuedo-eastern philosophy that was hinted at in the OT but alas, jedi being murder machines sells more toys. I digress.

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Re: Star Wars Episode II - A New Thread

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Postby Zusuchan » Mon May 24, 2021 8:11 am

I agree TLJ was really not the best place for any franchise introspection and that should either have been made a larger part of the sequel trilogy as a whole or left to some spin-off work. To be fair, the ST's lack of inner cohesion both inside itself and with the previous two trilogies is a significant problem. But I think that Rian Johnson really did the best with what he could-to this day, I think his biggest mistake was actually agreeing to make TLJ in the first place. And whatever else, TLJ at least tries to be something more than just your average Disney blockbuster. Even though SW was always a commercial blockbuster meant to be a commercial blockbuster above all else, it had a sort of a special, slightly auteur-ish tinge to it and I think TLJ is the first post-Lucas work to actually retain that. (Even though I do like RO, I don't think it's that sort of specific special.)

Re: The ST not having anything to say, I think either an extension of the Jedi philosophies, a meta examination of the franchise or both were really the only places the ST could go. But of course we only had a part of the second with TLJ. (Perversely, the ST is a good showcase of SW's legacy, but certainly not in a meta or actually good way.)

jedi being murder machines sells more toys

I'm not sure how exactly Luke is a murder machine. His fatal mistake was presented more as a stupid, impulsive act than "yeah, I'mma kill someone".

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Re: Star Wars Episode II - A New Thread

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Postby Natalie the Cat » Mon May 24, 2021 7:40 pm

I meant the murder machine thing more as an overall direction for the franchise. In ANH (I hate calling it that but I don't feel like typing out "Star Wars (1977)" every time... wait... shit...) the Jedi are really ambiguous, the Force is some mental tricks and "feelings", and they come off as lone rogues and gunslinger types. In the sequel, we get more superpowers but it's mostly just light telekinesis and at the same time we meet Yoda. To me, the power of the Jedi in the OT was more about spiritual purity and mental focus than epic feats. I think in part this was a limitation of the special effects and the cast- the elaborate fights were not possible with the budget of the first movie, nor with the special effects, nor with an aged actor fighting a retired bodybuilder in a bulky suit.

I think about this from time to time. I really feel like the limitations of filmmaking are a source of a lot of the art. The medium isn't all editing and framing, the physical limitations of shooting a movie are important, too, just as the choice between watercolors, oils, or digital art produce different results... but I digress.

The PT just suffers badly from a lack of planning, which is kind of to be expected when it's helmed by Abrams. I don't know what makes the studios trust people who are pure visual stylists with storytelling decisions. Abrams and Snyder both have the issue, where they make everything look and feel like an Abrams or Snyder film first and whatever it is second. A director can do that if they're a Kubrick level talent but those guys, well, aren't. (Even Kubrick's adaptation of the Shining is way closer to the book than people give it credit for. I think King got a little pissed that Kubrick put subtext into the movie that King didn't realize his own book, but now I managed to wander off and start talking about the Shining...)

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Re: Star Wars Episode II - A New Thread

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Postby Zusuchan » Tue May 25, 2021 8:54 am

I agree re: the spirituality stuff-that's really something I think it would have done good to focus more on. I can't disagree in regards to the rest, though I'm not sure that limitations necessarily actively help to create good art. While they have made things more interesting, especially on the filmmaking scale, I don't see them as necessary components of good work, unless you were to argue that each medium has its own specific limitations, which I'd agree with, but would also state that these 'limitations' are hard to stumble upon that much, because the possibilities of each medium far outweigh them, IMO.


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