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January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)" 
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Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
For those (and I'm one of them) that think the prequels are basically terrible as released, fans are actually reediting the series. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phantom_Edit
Apparently (I haven't seen it) with Jar Jar largely removed, and a lot of the utterly nonsensical political banter trimmed, The Phantom Edit is a lot better.
With the reedited Attack of Clones, 38 mins was trimmed. I'm surprised, I would have thought they could have cut significantly more :lol: .


Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:37 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Dragonbeard wrote:
I can't speak for you but no, people didn't want a good film; they wanted something that NOBODY could deliver.

People generally want a good film, so I'm not sure what you're talking about here.

Dragonbeard wrote:
Peter Jackson doing LOTR? He had less of a challenge on his hands.

Another adaptation of one of the best known works in modern literature was "less of a challenge"? There are purists who still consider Jackson to be the Devil in human form.


Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:51 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Ragnarok73 wrote:
Dragonbeard wrote:
I can't speak for you but no, people didn't want a good film; they wanted something that NOBODY could deliver.

People generally want a good film, so I'm not sure what you're talking about here.

Dragonbeard wrote:
Peter Jackson doing LOTR? He had less of a challenge on his hands.

Another adaptation of one of the best known works in modern literature was "less of a challenge"? There are purists who still consider Jackson to be the Devil in human form.


I mean they didn't just want a good film, they wanted the BEST film ever made. They actually wanted 'Gone With The Wind'.

Yes, I feel it was less of a challenge. I'm sure there are, and they can be butthurt all they want but Jackson made three stonkingly great movies (the best in fact). Lucas, who is the lesser film maker, was somehow expected to make a trilogy of movies to please fans who, to be fair, lavish almost sordid praise on a movie that wasn't THAT great to begin with.

Can you see what I mean? People knew Jackson could do well. People SHOULD have known that Lucas wouldn't do well but they expected him to do so anyway... in fact I'll just come right out and say it: The fans brought this on themselves.

And yes I agree with James in this case. I've heard some people talk about this topic with feelings that I'm sure would be better used for a more productive purpose, like loosing their virginities before they turn 30.


Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:06 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Dragonbeard wrote:
I mean they didn't just want a good film, they wanted the BEST film ever made. They actually wanted 'Gone With The Wind'.

If your argument was that many fans had expectations that were too high, then I can agree. However, those expectations didn't just come into existence from nowhere. They came from films that were and are considered great. If people had known how incompetent Lucas is at writing and directing, then I'm sure expectations would have come down to more realistic levels.

Dragonbeard wrote:
Yes, I feel it was less of a challenge. I'm sure there are, and they can be butthurt all they want but Jackson made three stonkingly great movies (the best in fact). Lucas, who is the lesser film maker, was somehow expected to make a trilogy of movies to please fans who, to be fair, lavish almost sordid praise on a movie that wasn't THAT great to begin with.

Can you see what I mean? People knew Jackson could do well. People SHOULD have known that Lucas wouldn't do well but they expected him to do so anyway... in fact I'll just come right out and say it: The fans brought this on themselves.

Hindsight is 20/20, Dragon- it's easy to look back now and say that Jackson had less of a challenge. I'd say that his challenge was at least as big as Lucas' if not bigger, because he had to adapt 3 very long novels into films. Jackson managed to do this while cutting out fairly large parts of the LoTR story (such as the Scouring of the Shire and Tom Bombadil) yet still crafted great films. The difference is that Jackson knows how to tell a story on film and how to direct. He's shown this ability in other films like Heavenly Creatures and even The Lovely Bones.

Dragonbeard wrote:
And yes I agree with James in this case. I've heard some people talk about this topic with feelings that I'm sure would be better used for a more productive purpose, like loosing their virginities before they turn 30.

This is a cheap argument, Dragon. People can get passionate about anything.


Last edited by Ragnarok73 on Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:22 pm
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Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
The expectations excuse doesn't wash for me. All hyped movie sequels come with high expectations.The new Batman movie coming out has huge expectations as will the new Avengers and Avatar sequel.You think James Cameron sits back and says no pressure let's just sleepwalk this one.When I go to the movies I just want to be entertained for two hours with my hard earned money no more or less.That's it.No fanboy OCD just want good movies.Chris Nolan has not made a bad film yet and he has made 2 interesting Batmans and the third probably will rise to that level.What I found in Lucas prequels is looking at my watch wondering how much time is left,thinking about the missing running lights in the theatre aisle or what do I need at the grocery on the way home.They were not engaging at any level unlike the first three movies that engaged the audience all the time.I can even listen to the PBS radio version of Empire Strikes Back and be entertained but not something that cost a zillion dollars on screen.Think about that.The first series has memorable characters like Vader,Yoda,Solo,Jaba,Skywalker while the second series has no new memorable characters not a single one.

When you say that Jackson had the easier task is kind of little flippant as there is a graveyard full of directors and projects that failed to get LOTR off the ground and the books were almost declared unfilmable by Hollywood.Also he filmed 3 movies back to back something Lucas has never done which is a huge creative and logistical nightmare where he could have fumbled the ball at any point in the series.To come out of all that with something at such a high level of quality is short of amazing and a Best Picture to boot..Lucas on the other hand had 22 years from the end of Return of Jedi to Revenge of Sith to do 3 movies which is 3 times longer than it took Tolstoy to write War and Peace.By the last movie I was getting frustrated that it wasn't going to turn a corner and there was no new Empire Strikes Back episode coming just 3 very forgettable movies almost on the level of Hudson Hawk and Last Action Hero.


Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:00 pm
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Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
You know what you never hear the detractors of the prequels mention?

That moment they were sitting in a darkened theatre, watching Attack of the Clones...

Did you get goose bumps? Did the hairs on your arms stand up? Did you prematurely ejaculate?

The answer is, yes, you all did. Why, you ask?

Because Yoda does fucking backflips, that's why.

Yoda. Backflips. 'Nuff said.

Anyone who claims to be a Star Wars fan whose eyes didn't light up like a Christmas tree when they saw Yoda pulling out his sabre to fight are simply not Star Wars fan.

I make the contention that Yoda engaging in actual fight scenes and hearing Ian McDiarmid talk (this guy should do fucking GPS's. He's justification to take up smoking) are enough to make the prequels at least semi-suitable pieces of entertainment.


Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:56 pm
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Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
I still often wonder at exactly WHAT point while seeing TPM for the first time that most prequel-haters realized this was not going to be the movie(/trilogy) they had in mind. :? The Force is not strong with them. :P


Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:51 pm
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Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Who's making excuses?

Ok yes I'm exaggerating my point about Jackson but I still feel that my point is being missed. Lucas had 22 years to make a decent movie but in that time, people went from loving the franchise to creating religions based on it's teachings.

And yes, people are passionate - but movies are for watching, not losing sleep over (I'm aware of my own feelings on the matter of GWTDT but I don't feel the two scenarios are comparable. Plus I don't lose sleep/think my opinion is of any consequence).

Anyway so we have one or two decent arguments against Phantom... so what about the other two?

Aaaaand... go!


Fri Jan 27, 2012 4:56 pm
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Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Quote:
The answer is, yes, you all did. Why, you ask?

Because Yoda does fucking backflips, that's why.


No here are the 7 stages of watching the prequels.

1)Shock and Denial-You can't believe how bad the story,dialogue,acting and pacing of these films.You deny the reality of it all to buffer your mind from the emotional shock and let down.

2)Pain and Guilt-when the shock wears off you suffer the incredible pain of boredom and reverse alchemy as your backside gets heavier and heavier as it turns into lead.You suffer guilt for never getting back the 6 hours of your life and admission you paid.Releasing a Vaderian-"Noooooooo"

3)Anger and Bargaining-You begin to have these feelings of unbelievable anger against the maker of these bad movies and start to irrationally bargaining with yourself that you will give Lucas one more chance as the next one will be the home run.

4)Depression and Reflection-the full magnitude of the disaster finally hits you and you know it will not get any better as it is not his fault Hayden Christensen is Hayden Christensen yet you slump in your chair wide eyed and slack jawed then you reflect back to the buzz and joy you had at New Hope and Empire Strikes Back that feels so long ago

5)Upward Turn-Your mind begins to become functional again as you walk out of the theatre and you start to feel that maybe I can survive this and go to movies again.

6)Recontruction-You start looking around you finding that there are other film makers that are actually talented and that can tell a story,write characters and dialogue and not be obsessed with the over simplistic rollercoaster theory of film making or distorting his vision for the sake of profitable merchandising.

7) Acceptance and Hope-You accept the fact that George Lucas is only human after all and his best days are way behind him and there will be new wunderkids who will spring up with great ideas to dazzle the movie world.


Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:47 am
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Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
I've seen the prequels multiple times, and while i'll admit some of the dialogue is kind of weak, they still do a pretty good job of entertaining me. The first time I saw the films, I didn't even notice the dialogue, I was too busy being blown away by the action scenes, and I actually learned to appreciate the political stuff in repeat viewings. One thing is for sure, and I most people will call blasphemy on this-i'll watch the prequels over LOTR ANY day of the week, and most of the time i'd probably watch them over the original trilogy too(though that's more because i've seen the original trilogy more times then I have the prequels)

It's also worth mentioning that several of the actors weren't particularly fond of New Hope, least of all Ford and Guiness, they both thought were working on a badly written piece of crap, and it really comes across in their acting.


Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:57 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
oakenshield32 wrote:
Quote:
The answer is, yes, you all did. Why, you ask?

Because Yoda does fucking backflips, that's why.


No here are the 7 stages of watching the prequels.

1)Shock and Denial-You can't believe how bad the story,dialogue,acting and pacing of these films.You deny the reality of it all to buffer your mind from the emotional shock and let down.

2)Pain and Guilt-when the shock wears off you suffer the incredible pain of boredom and reverse alchemy as your backside gets heavier and heavier as it turns into lead.You suffer guilt for never getting back the 6 hours of your life and admission you paid.Releasing a Vaderian-"Noooooooo"

3)Anger and Bargaining-You begin to have these feelings of unbelievable anger against the maker of these bad movies and start to irrationally bargaining with yourself that you will give Lucas one more chance as the next one will be the home run.

4)Depression and Reflection-the full magnitude of the disaster finally hits you and you know it will not get any better as it is not his fault Hayden Christensen is Hayden Christensen yet you slump in your chair wide eyed and slack jawed then you reflect back to the buzz and joy you had at New Hope and Empire Strikes Back that feels so long ago

5)Upward Turn-Your mind begins to become functional again as you walk out of the theatre and you start to feel that maybe I can survive this and go to movies again.

6)Recontruction-You start looking around you finding that there are other film makers that are actually talented and that can tell a story,write characters and dialogue and not be obsessed with the over simplistic rollercoaster theory of film making or distorting his vision for the sake of profitable merchandising.

7) Acceptance and Hope-You accept the fact that George Lucas is only human after all and his best days are way behind him and there will be new wunderkids who will spring up with great ideas to dazzle the movie world.[/quote

Tell a story, write characters and dialogue... but also utilizing decent cinematography, or at the very least requesting that a talented cinematographer develop a good creative solution.

The only time I've felt this way watching a movie was seeing 'Mama Mia' on a coach journey, where walking out/listening to music was sadly not an option. In fact when I saw Sith in the cinema, I was impressed to say the least.

Vexer wrote:
I've seen the prequels multiple times, and while i'll admit some of the dialogue is kind of weak, they still do a pretty good job of entertaining me. The first time I saw the films, I didn't even notice the dialogue, I was too busy being blown away by the action scenes, and I actually learned to appreciate the political stuff in repeat viewings. One thing is for sure, and I most people will call blasphemy on this-i'll watch the prequels over LOTR ANY day of the week, and most of the time i'd probably watch them over the original trilogy too(though that's more because i've seen the original trilogy more times then I have the prequels)

It's also worth mentioning that several of the actors weren't particularly fond of New Hope, least of all Ford and Guiness, they both thought were working on a badly written piece of crap, and it really comes across in their acting.


Your view on LOTR is entirely fair (I thought I'd add some diplomacy to this thread).

Funny you should say that, since Ford and Guinness are the two actors I particularly liked in the movie. Billy Dee Williams was also great, shame he didn't have as much screen time as the others!

A while back I mentioned my dislike about a certain point of view; when people say "I like Star Wars, but not the new ones", as if they are afraid people will think less of them otherwise. People then reacted claiming that it was entirely reasonable to talk about the two sets of movies as individual entities and not as a whole. Therefore, I must ask if it's possible to judge them as such? Would the newer movies still be bad if you pretended they weren't a product of the same mind as before?


Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:03 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Though perhaps not for those reasons, I do tend to think of them as two sets of three. That's partly the prejudice of having grown up with one set and not with the other, but also because of the differences in production styles, historical context, in-universe time frame and characters, etc.


Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:06 pm
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Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
H.I. McDonough wrote:
I still often wonder at exactly WHAT point while seeing TPM for the first time that most prequel-haters realized this was not going to be the movie(/trilogy) they had in mind. :? The Force is not strong with them. :P


In my case, IIRC it was at the point that the Jedi just shrugged off leaving Anakin's mother enslaved.

Even my then-girlfriend, who was a much bigger Star Wars fan than me, and who generally liked the prequels, at the end when Padme tells Anakin, "We owe you everything" whispered to me, "Apparantly, everything except freeing you mother from slavery".


Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:42 pm
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Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
If it is the will of the Force, she will be freed without Jedi intervention.

Hey, nobody ever said organized religion doesn't suck, not even in a galaxy far, far away.


Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:49 pm
Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Shall we discuss organised religion instead? Since the Star Wars thing is at an irritating dead end!


Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:01 pm
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Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
James, you've been my favorite movie critic for the last probably 7-8 years. I don't always agree with you, but I do trust your opinion. When I disagree with a review of yours, I can always at the very least understand and acknowledge your points. Which is why your reviews of the star wars prequels perplexes me. I just have difficulty accepting those reviews as having come from you. Hear me out.


I'm not a big star wars fan. I watched the original trilogy a few times growing up and enjoyed them, but haven't watched them in years. The last time I watched any of the 3 was watching The Empire Strikes Back my senior year of high school a decade ago (I can remember this specifically because my opinion of the movie changed significantly on that viewing . . . when I was younger, large parts of it seemed pretty boring).

I saw the first prequel when it first came out and enjoyed it moderately, but that was around the time my taste in films was undergoing a pretty big shift (I started watching a lot of movies on IFC and discovered I really liked directors like Paul Thomas Anderson and Darren Arronofsky). When I started seeing ads for Episode II, my interest had waned considerably, though it didn't help that it looked like it would be little more than a cheesey romance. I ended up renting the DVD a few years later and really disliked it. I turned it off after the scene on the conveyor belt that reminded me of Frogger, and only watched the rest when I was assured by a friend that the best part of the movie was still to come.

I watched Episode III a year or two after the DVD was released. The much more positive critical reception encouraged me, so I ended up sitting through what I consider to be my least favorite of the 6 movies. It tried so hard to be dark and serious that it became almost comical. It tied all storylines together into an impossibly neat package ready to be unpacked in Episode IV, which is something that always irritates me (whether or not the story gets continued, I tend to prefer more open-ended stories).

It's not fair for me to judge the movies against each other like this. I'd have to watch all 6 movies together to get a make a fair assessment, as my taste in movies changed greatly over the years I watched them, but I don't really have the motivation to do so. The prequels strike me as being on about the same level as Brian Herbert's Dune prequels, which i found to be lightly entertaining, but full of bad writing and razor-thin characters. I read those 3 prequels, and stopped there. Brian Herbert has since gone on to co-author further prequels and a full-blown 2-book conclusion to the original Dune series, but I will never read them. If Star Wars gets an eventual follow-up trilogy, I'll likely ignore it similarly.

(If you're wondering why someone who isn't a Star Wars fan would spend so much time writing a post like this, it's pretty simple. Those 3 reviews of yours have been so maddeningly puzzling to me over the years. As I mentioned at the top of this post, even with reviews of yours I disagree with, I can at least understand where you're coming from. With these 3 reviews, though, I can't figure it out. The only logical assumption seems to be that because you grew up as a big Star Wars fan, you were biased towards the prequels, but that seems like an unfair assessment of you.)


Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:22 am
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Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
^ I went through a similar shift in movie tastes starting around mid-2001 where I started getting more into 'movies of substance'... yet, like James, my ability to enjoy the prequels also remained unaffected by it. I'll admit I pretty much lived and breathed Star Wars for much of my youth, but nowadays I'd have no problem expressing my dislike for a movie. But as skeptical as I was about the prequels, I still liked them all. Go figure. :? It seems to me that along the way people seem to have forgotten that the SW saga (including the beloved originals) were essentially just glorified Buck Rogers movies, i.e. '30s/'40s serials, albeit with state-of-the-art SFX. Acting and dialogue pretty much always took a back seat to the main narrative... hey, kinda like in SW! :P And I still say that if today's technology had been available in the mid-'70s and Lucas had been able to make the 6 movies in chronological order, TPM would've still made the same sensation as ANH did. Obviously it wouldn't have been the same movie back then, but the basic story (i.e. the most important part of SW) would've still been the same. Or maybe now SW has just gotten old hat. As I've often said, movies don't change -- times (and people) do.


Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:17 pm
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Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
H.I. McDonough wrote:
^ I went through a similar shift in movie tastes starting around mid-2001 where I started getting more into 'movies of substance'... yet, like James, my ability to enjoy the prequels also remained unaffected by it. I'll admit I pretty much lived and breathed Star Wars for much of my youth, but nowadays I'd have no problem expressing my dislike for a movie. But as skeptical as I was about the prequels, I still liked them all. Go figure. :? It seems to me that along the way people seem to have forgotten that the SW saga (including the beloved originals) were essentially just glorified Buck Rogers movies, i.e. '30s/'40s serials, albeit with state-of-the-art SFX. Acting and dialogue pretty much always took a back seat to the main narrative... hey, kinda like in SW! :P And I still say that if today's technology had been available in the mid-'70s and Lucas had been able to make the 6 movies in chronological order, TPM would've still made the same sensation as ANH did. Obviously it wouldn't have been the same movie back then, but the basic story (i.e. the most important part of SW) would've still been the same. Or maybe now SW has just gotten old hat. As I've often said, movies don't change -- times (and people) do.

It just sounds like both you and JB have a different standard when it comes to the Star Wars films (all of them). I think most of us have those films that we like that most others do not (there is a thread in the GD forum about "guilty pleasures" that touches on this). In a case like that, we'll all just have to agree to disagree, as in the end it's all a matter of your own tastes in films.


Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:43 pm
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Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
Azilis wrote:
I ended up renting the DVD a few years later and really disliked it...
I watched Episode III a year or two after the DVD was released.


You lost me when you mentioned having watched Eps II and III on DVD. Yes, I know, that's how most future generations will watch them. But these movies shine their brightest on the big screen. They were made for theatrical viewing. There's no bigger home video advocate than me, but Lucas made these films with the "spectacle" element firmly in mind. That's not a sin; it's part and parcel of their DNA. For better or worse, STAR WARS has always been tied to special effects, all the way back to 1977.

I have seen all of the episodes multiple times in theaters and multiple times on DVD and there's really no comparison. The space battles in Eps II and III that are eye popping and awe inspiring in a gigantic auditorium are reduced to video game outtakes on TV.

So you and I are judging two completely different products. Some movies can stand the transition from theatrical to DVD and lose nothing. Special effects, big screen spectacles are not among them.


Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:55 pm
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Post Re: January 22, 2012: "By George! Defending Lucas (Part 1)"
I saw the prequels in the cinema and didn't care for them much. I don't think they're bad movies; the action scenes are fun and there are generally a lot of pretty things to look at. But they're also kind of boring at times and acting across the board was pretty bad. I think the level of hate Lucas gets is insane, but I guess that's what happens when you build up such a huge fanbase.


Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:29 am
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