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January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)" 
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Gaffer

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Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Since when do we ask 10 year old kids to review movies?

Like it or not, no movie exists in a vacuum. The interesting thing about the prequel trilogy is that they're both very good and quite bad at the same time. That's an accomplishment in its own right.


Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:28 am
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Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
I never understood the hate for Christensen and Portman in the prequels, it wasn't the greatest acting but it was far from the worst i've seen, I would personally blame the dialogue moreso then the actors. Some of the lines in those films, I couldn't imagine being said convincingly by any thespian.


Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:43 am
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Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Here's soemthing I've been thinking about since I read this about a day ago: Perhaps the reason for the fanboys dismissal of the Prequel trilogy may be on account of backfire factor.

As Ken pointed out, to the fanboys, these movies aren't just movies. They're a religion. And to them, anything against their religion can be construed as blasphemy.

When Lucas released the special editions in 1997, I remember Peter Travers pointing out about the backfire factor of adding new parts to the films and re-releasing them. Backfire factor as in magnifying the movies flaws (wooden acting, cornball dialogue).

It's possible that to the fanboys, the prequels may have enraged them because they proved that Lucas was only human after all. In a sense, the prequels highlighted the aforementioned flaws of the original series and those fanboys did not like having those flaws accenuated. I didn't have that same problem with the prequels much as some of the crap Paul McCartney has released in his solo career has not negated my view of the Beatles music.

Many of the fanboys I think had come to see Lucas as a god of sorts and the original Star Wars films as the bible. To them, the prequels were what The Last Temptation of Christ was to fundamentalists (although as far as I know Lucas hasn't suffered from death threats the way Scorsese did).

I also don't quite hold the Star Wars movies in the same high esteem they do. I like them. But I can think of 20 movies I'd choose over them and that's without doing any research. Personally I'd trade 10 Star Wars/Empire Strikes Back for one Alien/Aliens.

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Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:58 am
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Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Whyyyyyyyyy can nobody just give a clear, REAL answer to why the prequels are apparently so bad? Also consider that the SAME horse-shit that most people come out with (bad acting? etc?) can be said about the originals. Guinness and Cushing sleep-walked through their parts, and Fisher and Hamill were both talking eye candy (less so towards the end of the trilogy). Ford and the troupe who brought Vadar to life were responsible for carrying the series on their shoulders.

Really, other than the discrepancies in both effects and canon technology (of which I'm not sure an 'official' explination' exists), the movies could have been written and made in one go.

So I ask again... make a decent point, or eat a pickle and dill with it 8-)


Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:09 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Dragonbeard wrote:
Whyyyyyyyyy can nobody just give a clear, REAL answer to why the prequels are apparently so bad? Also consider that the SAME horse-shit that most people come out with (bad acting? etc?) can be said about the originals. Guinness and Cushing sleep-walked through their parts, and Fisher and Hamill were both talking eye candy (less so towards the end of the trilogy). Ford and the troupe who brought Vadar to life were responsible for carrying the series on their shoulders.

Really, other than the discrepancies in both effects and canon technology (of which I'm not sure an 'official' explination' exists), the movies could have been written and made in one go.

So I ask again... make a decent point, or eat a pickle and dill with it 8-)


Completely agree with this. It seems most people can't admit the fact that most of the "bad things" they find in the prequels can also be found in the original trilogy =/ (perhaps with the exception of Empire Strikes Back). for me, the whole saga is equally awesome, very noticeable defects and all.


Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:46 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Dragonbeard wrote:
Whyyyyyyyyy can nobody just give a clear, REAL answer to why the prequels are apparently so bad? Also consider that the SAME horse-shit that most people come out with (bad acting? etc?) can be said about the originals. Guinness and Cushing sleep-walked through their parts, and Fisher and Hamill were both talking eye candy (less so towards the end of the trilogy). Ford and the troupe who brought Vadar to life were responsible for carrying the series on their shoulders.

Really, other than the discrepancies in both effects and canon technology (of which I'm not sure an 'official' explination' exists), the movies could have been written and made in one go.

So I ask again... make a decent point, or eat a pickle and dill with it 8-)

There have been plenty of clear answers as to why the prequel films are considered to be of poor quality. You just haven't been looking hard enough to find them. I will list some of the most-cited ones:

- Poor dialogue: this is one of the most cited criticisms of the PT films, particularly the lines uttered by Christensen and Portman in the romantic scenes in those films. "I wish I could just wish my feelings away...."- I think even the Twilight films had better dialogue than this.

- Lack of character development: This is another criticism, particularly with the villains. Count Dooku, General Grievous, and Darth Maul have all be argued to be nothing more than excuses to make toys for more money, because they show up in the films, have little dialogue, then get killed off fast. Palpatine's own motives aren't really explained that well outside of the obvious desire for power. For that matter, we never really get to learn much about the heroes either, particularly the "great friendship" that Obi-Wan told Luke about that he shared with Anakin.

- Story with a lot of holes in it: The biggest sign of this comes from the number of times fanboys who defend these films tell us to go to the Expanded Universe material to get questions answered, like: Who is Sifo-Dyas and why would he order a clone army? How did Grievous wind up with the Separatist Army? Why would the Trade Federation risk so much to work with some shadowy Sith that they don't know all that much about? Lucas by his own admission isn't much of a storyteller, so one has to wonder why he would put himself through the stress of doing just about everything with the PT films rather than just coming up with ideas and letting others flesh them out.

When people say that the OT films had the same deficiencies, I see that as a strawman argument. This is because those people only seem to think that any criticism of the PT films is by comparison to the originals. Believe it or not, some people look at these films in terms of their qualities as *films, period*.


Mon Jan 23, 2012 2:16 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
James Berardinelli wrote:

Out of curiosity, JB: did you ever watch the RedLetterMedia reviews of the PT films? If so, what were your thoughts on the points brought up by the reviewer?


Mon Jan 23, 2012 2:18 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Ken wrote:
I've decided that the difference between fans and fanboys is that fans can separate their feelings about the work from their feelings about the people behind it. Fanboys can't, or at least won't.

I haven't heard much about Red Tails, but every time I've heard it mentioned, the name "George Lucas" hasn't been far behind. I would bet that a significant percentage of potential viewers are aware of his involvement.

Since enjoyment of films is an almost purely subjective matter, I don't see what your problem here is. People will of course form an opinion about a film based at least partly on who the filmmaker is. For example, if you ask the average person whether they'd be more likely to see a film by George Lucas or one made by Quentin Tarantino, what do you think their answer would be?

Another point brought up in JB's article was in how the younger generation was more likely to enjoy the PT films. I don't see how shocking this is either, since when we're younger, most of us don't go into a film looking for great characters, sophisticated plots, and profound themes. For the average preteen boy, I'd imagine based on my own experience that fancy visuals and stereo explosions would be the big appeal. Which demographic, for example, do you think would enjoy the Transformers films the most?

As for box office earnings: you know damn well that quality of film doesn't automatically translate to big numbers and vice versa. Look to the Transformers films again for a great example of this, as all 3 were among the top earners in their respective years.


Mon Jan 23, 2012 2:24 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
James,

I have two questions for you:

1. Have you seen the "The People vs. George Lucas" documentary? If so, what do you think of it?

2. What do you think of Steven Spielberg recently indicating his regret over making changes to "E.T." back in 2002?

I'm asking this because it relates to the topic of Lucas and his changes to his films. Spielberg's reason for regret is he felt he was robbing people of their experience of seeing "E.T" by making changes to it. Spielberg has said when "E.T." comes to blu-ray it will at least have the theatrical version attached to it. When he first made his changes he at least made the compromise of having the 1982 version on DVD along with the 2002 version.


Mon Jan 23, 2012 2:54 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
One reason I feel the prequels didn't work was becasue Lucas had too much control in comparsion to when he made the original films. Lucas was always under pressure from the studio when making the original films and this made him be more creative with his directing, storytelling, etc. But the prequels had Lucas be more complacent and relaxed which didn't make for as inspired of filmmaking as in the past.

I do feel the merchandising success of "Star Wars" had also affected the prequels. I think one reason the original trilogy worked becasue it appealed to people of all ages. But some elements of the prequels feel like Lucas is just pandering to children. I will also argue that the advances of special effects have made the prequels be more style than substance in comparison to the orignal films.

Some things that upset me about the changes to the orignal films are:

1. Desperately trying to tie them in with the prequels - i.e. Hayden at the end of "Jedi", Sebulba at Jabba's palace, "Weesa Free" at the end of "Jedi", etc. It kind of feels like Lucas is trying to force us to like and accept them when he knows a lot of people don't.

2. Pandering to Boba Fett fans by adding unnecessary shots of Boba walking arounda and fliritng with ladies at Jabba's palace. Let's not forget about Boba Fett being added to the new Jabba scene in "A New Hope" and having him look at the camera.

3. Some of the CGI-added stuff feels like it's masturbation on Lucas's part. For example, the "Jedi Rocks" stuff could and should have been more discreet with the special effects. I don't need to see some CGI character shamelessly mugging at the camera.

4. Changes like "Greedo shooting first" and the "Noooooo!" feel like they undermine important character and story points. Sometimes less really is more.


Last edited by ck100 on Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:27 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Ragnarok73 wrote:
Dragonbeard wrote:
Whyyyyyyyyy can nobody just give a clear, REAL answer to why the prequels are apparently so bad? Also consider that the SAME horse-shit that most people come out with (bad acting? etc?) can be said about the originals. Guinness and Cushing sleep-walked through their parts, and Fisher and Hamill were both talking eye candy (less so towards the end of the trilogy). Ford and the troupe who brought Vadar to life were responsible for carrying the series on their shoulders.

Really, other than the discrepancies in both effects and canon technology (of which I'm not sure an 'official' explination' exists), the movies could have been written and made in one go.

So I ask again... make a decent point, or eat a pickle and dill with it 8-)

There have been plenty of clear answers as to why the prequel films are considered to be of poor quality. You just haven't been looking hard enough to find them. I will list some of the most-cited ones:

- Poor dialogue: this is one of the most cited criticisms of the PT films, particularly the lines uttered by Christensen and Portman in the romantic scenes in those films. "I wish I could just wish my feelings away...."- I think even the Twilight films had better dialogue than this.

- Lack of character development: This is another criticism, particularly with the villains. Count Dooku, General Grievous, and Darth Maul have all be argued to be nothing more than excuses to make toys for more money, because they show up in the films, have little dialogue, then get killed off fast. Palpatine's own motives aren't really explained that well outside of the obvious desire for power. For that matter, we never really get to learn much about the heroes either, particularly the "great friendship" that Obi-Wan told Luke about that he shared with Anakin.

- Story with a lot of holes in it: The biggest sign of this comes from the number of times fanboys who defend these films tell us to go to the Expanded Universe material to get questions answered, like: Who is Sifo-Dyas and why would he order a clone army? How did Grievous wind up with the Separatist Army? Why would the Trade Federation risk so much to work with some shadowy Sith that they don't know all that much about? Lucas by his own admission isn't much of a storyteller, so one has to wonder why he would put himself through the stress of doing just about everything with the PT films rather than just coming up with ideas and letting others flesh them out.

When people say that the OT films had the same deficiencies, I see that as a strawman argument. This is because those people only seem to think that any criticism of the PT films is by comparison to the originals. Believe it or not, some people look at these films in terms of their qualities as *films, period*.


Which movies are you talking about again? Cant quite figure it out, since the critiscsms are the same ;)

Ragnarok73 wrote:
Ken wrote:
I've decided that the difference between fans and fanboys is that fans can separate their feelings about the work from their feelings about the people behind it. Fanboys can't, or at least won't.

I haven't heard much about Red Tails, but every time I've heard it mentioned, the name "George Lucas" hasn't been far behind. I would bet that a significant percentage of potential viewers are aware of his involvement.

Since enjoyment of films is an almost purely subjective matter, I don't see what your problem here is. People will of course form an opinion about a film based at least partly on who the filmmaker is. For example, if you ask the average person whether they'd be more likely to see a film by George Lucas or one made by Quentin Tarantino, what do you think their answer would be?

Another point brought up in JB's article was in how the younger generation was more likely to enjoy the PT films. I don't see how shocking this is either, since when we're younger, most of us don't go into a film looking for great characters, sophisticated plots, and profound themes. For the average preteen boy, I'd imagine based on my own experience that fancy visuals and stereo explosions would be the big appeal. Which demographic, for example, do you think would enjoy the Transformers films the most?

As for box office earnings: you know damn well that quality of film doesn't automatically translate to big numbers and vice versa. Look to the Transformers films again for a great example of this, as all 3 were among the top earners in their respective years.


Sure, how dare CINEMA have fancy visuals :P I mean if people really just want characters and plot, people still put on plays.


Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:41 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
I've seen the first 5 movies (in order of appearance). I enjoyed the first two, thought the third was too cheesy. I was much older when I saw the fourth and fifth. I liked the technical details of the fourth movie, but by the time of the fifth it had lost its attraction. The fourth and fifth don't have the "vision" which the first two did. Whether this is due to the films or to my age at the time I don't know. I never saw the sixth. (I also never saw RETURN OF THE KING. I saw the first two movies, but haven't read anything by Tolkein. Well made, but just not my cup of tea. I enjoy science fiction (I once met Isaac Asimov personally), I am interested in the (real) medieval world (mainly the positive things: clothes, music and architecture) but could never get interested in the strange bastard which is fantasy. (I remember once when a boy of about 12, who was quite precocious and an avid reader but who had read more fiction than fact told me with a straight face that the medieval period is what happens after a big war wipes out civilization---obviously from some book he read where it was a plot device to have a pseudo-medieval background.))

If I were a Star Wars fan, what would bother me the most is, after having bought a set of DVDs, having to shell out for another set which on the one hand have just minor changes but on the other hand are supposed to be definitive. This is the equivalent of the "best of" album with one previously unreleased track (which is sort of a contradiction).

Do the enhanced Star Wars movies get rid of the bloopers (like Luke's head being visible when he bounced back up from a trampoline)?

What do people think about the enhanced Star Trek original series? (I've seen all the original series episodes many times but just a few episodes of the later series, and all on television, not on DVD.)


Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:46 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Dragonbeard wrote:
Which movies are you talking about again? Cant quite figure it out, since the critiscsms are the same ;)

This is coming from a guy who likes the Twilight films. We already know you can't.

Dragonbeard wrote:
Sure, how dare CINEMA have fancy visuals :P I mean if people really just want characters and plot, people still put on plays.

"Great visuals make a film automatically great." -signed: Michael Bay, Roland Emmerich, Uwe Boll, whoever it was that directed the Twilight films, and George Lucas

:roll:


Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:58 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Ragnarok73 wrote:
This is coming from a guy who likes the Twilight films. We already know you can't.


Who does? Me? :P and what gave you that impression exactly?

Ragnarok73 wrote:
"Great visuals make a film automatically great." -signed: Michael Bay, Roland Emmerich, Uwe Boll, whoever it was that directed the Twilight films, and George Lucas

:roll:


Nobody actually said that so well reasoned :)


Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:19 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Dragonbeard wrote:
Whyyyyyyyyy can nobody just give a clear, REAL answer to why the prequels are apparently so bad? Also consider that the SAME horse-shit that most people come out with (bad acting? etc?) can be said about the originals. Guinness and Cushing sleep-walked through their parts, and Fisher and Hamill were both talking eye candy (less so towards the end of the trilogy). Ford and the troupe who brought Vadar to life were responsible for carrying the series on their shoulders.

Really, other than the discrepancies in both effects and canon technology (of which I'm not sure an 'official' explination' exists), the movies could have been written and made in one go.

So I ask again... make a decent point, or eat a pickle and dill with it 8-)

I don’t hate George Lucas or the prequels, I just don’t like them very much, but it is nonsense to say that there are no plausible reasons for liking the originals and disliking the sequels.

Problems with episodes I – III (aka The Prequels):

They are the backstory to episodes IV – VI (the original trilogy) and constantly remind you of it by referencing the latter. For instance, there is absolutely no reason for R2D2 and C3PO to make an appearance in the prequels, either logically or narratively. They are the equivalent of George Lucas waving his hands in front of our eyes and telling us: “Yes, these are exactly the droids you have been looking for.” These references (and there are numerous ones) only serve to remind you that you are watching something derivative. In contrast, the original trilogy had a background (the prequel storyline), which made the world of Star Wars seem more real and detailed than it really is.

This observation ties into another criticism: By explaining too much about the inner workings of the world of Star Wars, the prequels take away some of the movie magic of the original trilogy. My favourite example is the nature of the force. I am willing to accept that it is basically magic, as it is presented in the originals. Magic is an acceptable concept in Fantasy films – and I regard Star Wars as such. A biochemical explanation for magic (mini-chlorians) however, isn’t. It’s laughable.

The use of special effects in the prequel trilogy is much worse than in the original trilogy. I concede that the CGI in the prequels is technically excellent and may look more realistic (or more precisely naturalistic or convincing) than the old school models and camera tricks used in the originals. (Personally, I don’t like the look of CGI very much but that’s just me.) The problem is that Lucas has chosen to give us sensational sights and that he has overdone it to the point that the creatures etc. depicted on screen are no longer plausible (to the extent that they need to be). For example: In Episode II (I think), young Darth Vader and his princess wife frolick on some mountain meadows, while elephantine creatures graze nearby. These creatures have a huge hunchback of sorts on their arse, and are clearly meant to weigh a lot because of the stomping sound effects they make. If they would really weigh a lot, though, they would constantly topple over, because of their imbalanced shape. Old school special effects would have been more limiting and not allowed such a creature to be depicted.

This point is related to what is referred to the mise en scène or frame composition, which also suffers in the prequel trilogies because the frame is overstuffed with special effects. Look at the space battle at the beginning of Episode III and you’ll know what I mean: The flickering on flashing of lights in each corner of the frame is overwhelming and distracting from the central happening on screen.


Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:25 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
"This observation ties into another criticism: By explaining too much about the inner workings of the world of Star Wars, the prequels take away some of the movie magic of the original trilogy. My favourite example is the nature of the force. I am willing to accept that it is basically magic, as it is presented in the originals. Magic is an acceptable concept in Fantasy films – and I regard Star Wars as such. A biochemical explanation for magic (mini-chlorians) however, isn’t. It’s laughable."

Yeah, I prefer the Force being something you can believe in if you want instead of being something genetic. I also thought the whole Jango Fett storyline kind of ruined some of the mystique of Boba Fett.


Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:31 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Unke wrote:
They are the backstory to episodes IV – VI (the original trilogy) and constantly remind you of it by referencing the latter. For instance, there is absolutely no reason for R2D2 and C3PO to make an appearance in the prequels, either logically or narratively. They are the equivalent of George Lucas waving his hands in front of our eyes and telling us: “Yes, these are exactly the droids you have been looking for.” These references (and there are numerous ones) only serve to remind you that you are watching something derivative. In contrast, the original trilogy had a background (the prequel storyline), which made the world of Star Wars seem more real and detailed than it really is.

This observation ties into another criticism: By explaining too much about the inner workings of the world of Star Wars, the prequels take away some of the movie magic of the original trilogy. My favourite example is the nature of the force. I am willing to accept that it is basically magic, as it is presented in the originals. Magic is an acceptable concept in Fantasy films – and I regard Star Wars as such. A biochemical explanation for magic (mini-chlorians) however, isn’t. It’s laughable.


Yes :D that's exactly what I'm getting at! Very true about the droids (and good use of a quote) however I think I was too pleased to see a familiar face to really think badly of it (I was 15 - pickle&dill).
As for Midichlorians(?) this was a 'refrigerator moment' for me; I didn't notice the smell until a few hours later =/ what horse shit.


Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:33 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Dragonbeard wrote:
Ragnarok73 wrote:
This is coming from a guy who likes the Twilight films. We already know you can't.


Who does? Me? :P and what gave you that impression exactly?

The time you've spent in the Twilight film review threads defending them would give me that impression.

Dragonbeard wrote:
Ragnarok73 wrote:
"Great visuals make a film automatically great." -signed: Michael Bay, Roland Emmerich, Uwe Boll, whoever it was that directed the Twilight films, and George Lucas

:roll:


Nobody actually said that so well reasoned :)

So you didn't, but the point stands. Nothing's wrong with good visual effects, as long as they are not the entire point of the film.


Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:54 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
ck100 wrote:
Yeah, I prefer the Force being something you can believe in if you want instead of being something genetic. I also thought the whole Jango Fett storyline kind of ruined some of the mystique of Boba Fett.

Boba Fett was a non-character until people decided he was so cool that he deserved a bajillion Expanded Universe stories about how cool he was.

Ragnarok73 wrote:
Ken wrote:
I've decided that the difference between fans and fanboys is that fans can separate their feelings about the work from their feelings about the people behind it. Fanboys can't, or at least won't.

Since enjoyment of films is an almost purely subjective matter, I don't see what your problem here is.

http://superfunadventuretime.com/2009/0 ... s-avenged/


Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:26 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Red Letter Media sums up why the prequels are vastly more terrible than the originals. If you haven't seen these reviews, get yourself some popcorn and watch The Phantom Menace review at least.

(I think I've seen it four times.)

http://redlettermedia.com/plinkett/star ... om-menace/


Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:43 pm
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