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Star Wars: Episode VII. (Not speculation. And not kidding.) 
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Post Re: Star Wars: Episode VII. (Not speculation. And not kidding.)
H.I. McDonough wrote:
peng wrote:
Also, the prequels get way, way too much hate. (Then again I'm so removed from the OT's time, culture, and place that nostalgia doesn't factor in)

Consider yourself lucky to not have all that baggage. :|


Yep, same here. I probably wouldn't hate the prequels (with a passion) if I wasn't from the time of the originals. I was age 16 when the first part came out. I found it a little overcrowded with characters and words like "rebels", "empire" and others reminded me of boring history lessons in high school. The final battle was way cool though. Loved Empire to death. Superior on every level. I went to see it again just a couple of days later. Apart from the usual issues (too cute in places) I also liked RotJ a lot. Star Wars without heavy breathing Darth Vader? Just ain't the same. I start to envy younger generations who have a fresh start. Then again: why do I love so many movies from before my time? Probably I appreciate the ones I like on another level and from another angle.

The time slot where movies (and music for that matter) appeared which have true nostalgic value attached is rougly age 14 through age 21 in my case. I can recall that stuff from the mid 80s on already "just wasn't the same anymore" - just talking about the gut feeling - with very few exceptions. Perhaps most people are simply hardwired like that...


Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:14 am
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Post Re: Star Wars: Episode VII. (Not speculation. And not kidding.)
Ken wrote:
I was reading a thingy by Matt Zoller Seitz recently that perfectly elucidated where his talents lie, at least circa 1999-2005. He thinks magnificently on both the global scale (i.e. big conceptual ideas, structural stuff, etc.) and the really fine-tuned scale (i.e. visual details and assorted other filigree), but it's the middle-ground stuff--the practical matter of staging scenes, directing actors, etc.--that he either doesn't know much or doesn't care much about.

It is incorrect to say that he has no creative talent, but he does have a weird imbalance: an abundance of imagination that sets him apart from everybody else, combined with deficiencies in skills that most directors have polished up once they've reached journeyman status.


That's his main thing. From a technical standpoint, he's pretty much unmatched (not even by Spielberg or Cameron). But the in-between skills are lacking.

Part of the primary reason for why he never developed those skills might be because of the manager in whichhe took off. While Spielberg and many of his contemporaries steadily built (first working for Roger Corman, then making their own small movies and building their way up) Lucas pretty much had one failure then exploded with American Graffiti. Like I've stated previously: If Thx had been more successful, his career probably would have followed a different path. Not necessarily into art-movies like his mentor Coppola. But possibly in a direction similar to the one Spielberg took.

Threeperf35 wrote:
The time slot where movies (and music for that matter) appeared which have true nostalgic value attached is rougly age 14 through age 21 in my case. I can recall that stuff from the mid 80s on already "just wasn't the same anymore" - just talking about the gut feeling - with very few exceptions. Perhaps most people are simply hardwired like that...


Same here. A lot of my all-time favorites are ones that were released in the same era and earlier. Looking at a list I compiled recently of all-time favorites, most fo them came from the 70s and 90s. There were a few from the 80s, 60s, 50s and 40s. Maybe about three from the 2000s.

David Fincher's favorites list is another example.:

http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/david_finchers_favorite_films

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Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:11 am
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Post Re: Star Wars: Episode VII. (Not speculation. And not kidding.)
Jeff Wilder wrote:
That's his main thing. From a technical standpoint, he's pretty much unmatched (not even by Spielberg or Cameron). But the in-between skills are lacking.

But those in-between bits are technical skills--fundamental ones, in fact.

And I think they're skills he had at one point, at least to an acceptable degree*, but they deteriorated. It's like lifting weights. You can't go to the gym every day for 10 years, then quit for 15 years, then go back and expect to be able to lift at your old max.

(*Spielberg has them to an exceptional, stunning degree, and always has. But he never stopped making movies.)

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Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:06 pm
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Post Re: Star Wars: Episode VII. (Not speculation. And not kidding.)
Ken wrote:
Jeff Wilder wrote:
That's his main thing. From a technical standpoint, he's pretty much unmatched (not even by Spielberg or Cameron). But the in-between skills are lacking.

But those in-between bits are technical skills--fundamental ones, in fact.

And I think they're skills he had at one point, at least to an acceptable degree*, but they deteriorated. It's like lifting weights. You can't go to the gym every day for 10 years, then quit for 15 years, then go back and expect to be able to lift at your old max.

(*Spielberg has them to an exceptional, stunning degree, and always has. But he never stopped making movies.)


You guys are of course aware that you are simplifying things to be able to break it down and analyze it. All skills within an art form (or craft for that matter) are connected with each other. Sometimes a movie starts with a simple idea and then it is placed within a larger context (The Deer Hunter started with a short story about people playing russian roulette - placing it into the VietNam war and using it as a metaphor for senseless random killing came later). I agree though: Lucas seems to have the ability to think big and the tools and skills to fine tune all the details. The problem is: if you don't have the contents, there is no huge context to place it in and no details to tweak. Someone can think about a grand opera and how the costumes and characters should look like and what materials they are made of and how to do the lighting and what exact instruments the orchestra will be consisting of. But if you don't have a story to tell and no great music, all this imagination is literally hollow. Thinks should always start "in the middle" and then spread out. Meaning: one should always work from the inside out, not from the outside in. IMHO that is.


Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:53 pm
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Post Re: Star Wars: Episode VII. (Not speculation. And not kidding.)
Maybe it would help if I explained a little about what I mean by the middle-ground technical skills.

Pop in The Phantom Menace. (Ragnarok is already groaning.) Watch maybe the first 10 minutes. In that 10 minutes, you will see characters enter and exit the scene awkwardly, deliver lines that are unintelligible due to loud action and/or other conflicting sounds, shots wherein the camera placement evinces very little sense of purpose, editing that either does not show the complete wind-up, execution, and follow-through of each action or shows it in a choppy rhythm, and so on. In themselves, each of these instances are not a big deal, but they add up to an overall experience that feels sloppy. This has nothing to do with how cool the story is, how interesting the characters are, or anything like that, and everything to do with basic craftsmanship.

If Lucas were a modern day Paul Greengrass whiplash action director, this wouldn't be a big deal. Those movies deliberately look and sound as shitty as possible so that all those basic foundational deficiencies never become apparent to the viewer. But Lucas came from the same generation as Coppola, Scorsese, and Spielberg. The tradition he comes from is the tradition of showing things and not covering up sloppy mistakes... so when he makes sloppy mistakes, they count. They're not necessarily things you notice right away, but you feel them. It's like listening to a musical instrument where every string is just a few cents out of tune.

This is not an argument that regularly gets put forward, but I think that if those simple issues were tightened up--if the actors were given more direction, if the staging were more professional, if the shooting and editing were more meticulous, and so on--it would improve the prequel trilogy, and especially the first, by a tremendous amount. It would bring out the positive Star Wars qualities that lurk beneath the surface.

There are the big, conceptual ideas--the sweeping story arc of the fall and redemption of a great warrior, the cross-cutting between the death of Anakin and the birth of his children, a whole damn universe full of smugglers, warlords, beleaguered princesses, and kids stuck on out-of-the-way farm worlds who crave adventures in the stars. That stuff is brilliant. And there are fine-grained details, like the junkiness of the ships, the twin suns of Tatooine, the way that even the tossaway background characters are so colorful that entire backstories can be extrapolated from just a walk-on appearance. That stuff is brilliant too.

The former category is the architectural plan for the house and the latter is the furnishing of the house. But the builder went too long without building things. His practical hands-on skills deteriorated and his tools rusted out.

Sorry about all the metaphors. I feel like I've been leaning on them extra hard lately. And I know that we're (or I'm) delineating categories that don't necessarily come together so neatly in practice, but that's kind of necessary for purposes of discussion.

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Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:34 pm
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Post Re: Star Wars: Episode VII. (Not speculation. And not kidding.)
Ken wrote:
There are the big, conceptual ideas--the sweeping story arc of the fall and redemption of a great warrior, the cross-cutting between the death of Anakin and the birth of his children, a whole damn universe full of smugglers, warlords, beleaguered princesses, and kids stuck on out-of-the-way farm worlds who crave adventures in the stars. That stuff is brilliant. And there are fine-grained details, like the junkiness of the ships, the twin suns of Tatooine, the way that even the tossaway background characters are so colorful that entire backstories can be extrapolated from just a walk-on appearance. That stuff is brilliant too.

The former category is the architectural plan for the house and the latter is the furnishing of the house. But the builder went too long without building things. His practical hands-on skills deteriorated and his tools rusted out.

Lucas had issues with both categories and not just the details. His decision-making when it comes to ideas is at best questionable as well. Let's look at the PT films: the big conceptual idea wasn't hard to come up with because it's a *PREQUEL*, meaning that the story arc is already there thanks to the films that the prequels are supposedly setting up. Then let's look at the smaller ideas that would flesh out the overall arc: one good example of poor decision-making was the idea of making Anakin a young child at the start followed by a teenager in the 2nd film. The whole point of making the fall of a great figure *tragic* is that the audience gets to LIKE that character before it happens, to relate to that character before it happens. There is no way anyone past their teen years (and at least some people in those years) was going to like Anakin in the first 2 films because he's a young clueless child in the first and a whiny teenage brat in the second. Who gives a fuck what happens to him? I would bet that many people were CHEERING when he got his limbs chopped off followed up by being burned because they hated his character so much by that point. And that's just ONE example of Lucas' lack of creativity.

I would argue that Lucas should have stuck to visual effects details and left production, directing, and writing entirely to other people. In other words, Lucas should have *collaborated* with others as he did when making the OT films instead of surrounding himself with yes-men and sycophants afraid to challenge his stupid ideas. Gary Kurtz was dead on the mark when he mentioned how unwilling Lucas had become to listen to the input of others in later years since Episode IV.

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Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:08 pm
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Post Re: Star Wars: Episode VII. (Not speculation. And not kidding.)
Ragnarok73 wrote:
Ken wrote:
There are the big, conceptual ideas--the sweeping story arc of the fall and redemption of a great warrior, the cross-cutting between the death of Anakin and the birth of his children, a whole damn universe full of smugglers, warlords, beleaguered princesses, and kids stuck on out-of-the-way farm worlds who crave adventures in the stars. That stuff is brilliant. And there are fine-grained details, like the junkiness of the ships, the twin suns of Tatooine, the way that even the tossaway background characters are so colorful that entire backstories can be extrapolated from just a walk-on appearance. That stuff is brilliant too.

The former category is the architectural plan for the house and the latter is the furnishing of the house. But the builder went too long without building things. His practical hands-on skills deteriorated and his tools rusted out.

Lucas had issues with both categories and not just the details. His decision-making when it comes to ideas is at best questionable as well. Let's look at the PT films: the big conceptual idea wasn't hard to come up with because it's a *PREQUEL*, meaning that the story arc is already there thanks to the films that the prequels are supposedly setting up. Then let's look at the smaller ideas that would flesh out the overall arc: one good example of poor decision-making was the idea of making Anakin a young child at the start followed by a teenager in the 2nd film. The whole point of making the fall of a great figure *tragic* is that the audience gets to LIKE that character before it happens, to relate to that character before it happens. There is no way anyone past their teen years (and at least some people in those years) was going to like Anakin in the first 2 films because he's a young clueless child in the first and a whiny teenage brat in the second. Who gives a fuck what happens to him? I would bet that many people were CHEERING when he got his limbs chopped off followed up by being burned because they hated his character so much by that point. And that's just ONE example of Lucas' lack of creativity.

I would argue that Lucas should have stuck to visual effects details and left production, directing, and writing entirely to other people. In other words, Lucas should have *collaborated* with others as he did when making the OT films instead of surrounding himself with yes-men and sycophants afraid to challenge his stupid ideas. Gary Kurtz was dead on the mark when he mentioned how unwilling Lucas had become to listen to the input of others in later years since Episode IV.

Well I found Anakin likeable enough, and I don't know anyone who hated him to the point of cheering at his death, though I will concede that jumping from him being a child to a teenager was a bit much, Jar Jar Binks was the only idea from the PT that I would consider "bad".


Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:28 pm
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Post Re: Star Wars: Episode VII. (Not speculation. And not kidding.)
Vexer wrote:
Well I found Anakin likeable enough, and I don't know anyone who hated him to the point of cheering at his death, though I will concede that jumping from him being a child to a teenager was a bit much, Jar Jar Binks was the only idea from the PT that I would consider "bad".


Well Anakin as a teenager/young man, was played by oak-wooden Hayden Christensen - a total non-actor. Natalie Portman can act, but somehow she was unable to show her full potential. The "star crossed lovers" theme/sequences from episodes II and III look like a Hugo Boss ad, not like something we can relate to or identify with. John William's "Across the Stars" (of which I am lucky enough to own a signature edition full orchestra score) is the only thing I can relate to. It is way too good for the movies it is written for.

Check for yourself:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFcuT4Nbcb8


Pretty people? O.K. but please with talent and well directed. Thank you.

Jar Jar Binks is basically Disney's Goofy (but without his vivid imagination) and a very bad idea of "comic relief". Still doubts that the prequel trilogy sucks big time?


Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:16 pm
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Post Re: Star Wars: Episode VII. (Not speculation. And not kidding.)
Threeperf35 wrote:
Vexer wrote:
Well I found Anakin likeable enough, and I don't know anyone who hated him to the point of cheering at his death, though I will concede that jumping from him being a child to a teenager was a bit much, Jar Jar Binks was the only idea from the PT that I would consider "bad".


Well Anakin as a teenager/young man, was played by oak-wooden Hayden Christensen - a total non-actor. Natalie Portman can act, but somehow she was unable to show her full potential. The "star crossed lovers" theme/sequences from episodes II and III look like a Hugo Boss ad, not like something we can relate to or identify with. John William's "Across the Stars" (of which I am lucky enough to own a signature edition full orchestra score) is the only thing I can relate to. It is way too good for the movies it is written for.

Check for yourself:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFcuT4Nbcb8


Pretty people? O.K. but please with talent and well directed. Thank you.

Jar Jar Binks is basically Disney's Goofy (but without his vivid imagination) and a very bad idea of "comic relief". Still doubts that the prequel trilogy sucks big time?
I didn't see hayden as "wooden" at all, so sorry, but you're never going to sway me to change my mind about the prequels.


Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:43 pm
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Post Re: Star Wars: Episode VII. (Not speculation. And not kidding.)
Nobody is trying to sway you; they're just stating their own feelings on the prequels.

And man, as someone who doesn't have anywhere near the level of vitriol some people have for the prequels, the romance scenes between Anakin and Padme are so bad. I mean, I’m curious; do you think the relationship over the last two prequel movies felt natural? Because it felt really robotic to me.


Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:00 am
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Post Re: Star Wars: Episode VII. (Not speculation. And not kidding.)
AJR wrote:
Nobody is trying to sway you; they're just stating their own feelings on the prequels.

And man, as someone who doesn't have anywhere near the level of vitriol some people have for the prequels, the romance scenes between Anakin and Padme are so bad. I mean, I’m curious; do you think the relationship over the last two prequel movies felt natural? Because it felt really robotic to me.

I'll admit some of the dialogue between them is corny, but the OT trilogy had it's share of ridiculous dialogue as well(as Harrison Ford said, "you can type this shit George, but you sure as hell can't say it") and they're relationship was believable enough for me(at least moreso then say Jack and Rose in Titanic) that I was able to overlook it.


Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:05 am
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Post Re: Star Wars: Episode VII. (Not speculation. And not kidding.)
AJR wrote:
And man, as someone who doesn't have anywhere near the level of vitriol some people have for the prequels, the romance scenes between Anakin and Padme are so bad. I mean, I’m curious; do you think the relationship over the last two prequel movies felt natural? Because it felt really robotic to me.

I've always had a different slant on the Anakin/Padme romance: they're that couple you once knew who were convinced they were so in madly love that they got married right after high school (or early on in college)... but when you run into them 5-10 years later they're divorced (though they DID have at least one kid). They just didn't realize how naive they were back then (except they never reach that point in the PT -- though the first crack does appear after Anakin has gotten drunk on his newly discovered Sith powers). :| And, if you ask me, there are also some definite Oedipal overtones to their relationship. For Anakin, Padme is a replacement for his mother whom he left back on Tatooine all those years ago... and for Padme, Anakin is that little slave boy all grown up who just needs some of the same motherly love she got to make everything in his life all better again. That's the subtext I've always gotten, anyway. :P


Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:59 am
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Post Re: Star Wars: Episode VII. (Not speculation. And not kidding.)
Even with that interpretation, I think my problems with that relationship would still stand.


Fri Nov 02, 2012 1:54 am
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Post Re: Star Wars: Episode VII. (Not speculation. And not kidding.)
A better understanding of the style of acting generally employed in the SW movies - one that's really not regularly used that much anymore - among the younger actors might've also helped alleviate some problems. Someone like Spielberg would've no doubt given them all kinds of '40s serials and sci-fi B movies to watch to get a feel for how they needed to play this material well before they began shooting.


Fri Nov 02, 2012 4:35 am
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Post Re: Star Wars: Episode VII. (Not speculation. And not kidding.)
Threeperf35 wrote:
Well Anakin as a teenager/young man, was played by oak-wooden Hayden Christensen - a total non-actor. Natalie Portman can act, but somehow she was unable to show her full potential.
Both need direction. It was given to neither of them. I wouldn't necessarily place the full blame on them for the deficiencies in their performances.

Even Liam Neeson was pretty wooden in TPM... and you know he can act.

MacGregor was fine, but he probably has an easier time when left to his own devices. And Sir Alec Guinness set a strong precedent as to how the role should be played.

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Fri Nov 02, 2012 5:49 am
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Post Re: Star Wars: Episode VII. (Not speculation. And not kidding.)
Well I know I am beating a dead horse here. My problem with the prequel trilogy is "what could have been", but that, as I mentioned earlier, has a lot to do with the fact that I grew up with the original trilogy.

I imagine how it might be the other way around: I would probably laugh at Yoda being a "muppet" in part V
and the slow light saber fights, the emptiness and B-movie feel of part IV, being used to operatic, crowded, busy, cluttered and at times ultra-fast CGI-fests. And the adjectives I used in the last sentence are again coming from someone who lived through times where they couldn't even make a mechanical shark work.


Fri Nov 02, 2012 7:13 am
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Post Re: Star Wars: Episode VII. (Not speculation. And not kidding.)
George Lucas Will Use Disney $4 Billion To Fund Education

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Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:06 am
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Post Re: Star Wars: Episode VII. (Not speculation. And not kidding.)
Threeperf35 wrote:
Vexer wrote:
Well I found Anakin likeable enough, and I don't know anyone who hated him to the point of cheering at his death, though I will concede that jumping from him being a child to a teenager was a bit much, Jar Jar Binks was the only idea from the PT that I would consider "bad".


Well Anakin as a teenager/young man, was played by oak-wooden Hayden Christensen - a total non-actor.


Not being a massive Stars Wars fan I wasn't too invested either way, but even I was shocked at how badly this f*cker was at the art we call "acting".

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Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:11 am
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Post Re: Star Wars: Episode VII. (Not speculation. And not kidding.)
NotHughGrant wrote:
Not being a massive Stars Wars fan I wasn't too invested either way, but even I was shocked at how badly this f*cker was at the art we call "acting".


Well I only saw Hayden Christensen in "Jumper" other than in Star Wars II and III. He was just as wooden in this flick and out non-acts even the likes of Orlando Bloom and Keanu Reeves. I am convinced that, apart from the poor direction of the Star Wars prequels, this bloke really is a non actor to the point that he is beyond parody. Stand up comedians probably will weep in dispair trying to impersonate him.

Well at least he is out so we won't see him again in the future sequels. Well I hope...


Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:07 am
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Post Re: Star Wars: Episode VII. (Not speculation. And not kidding.)
I watched him in a film with Jessica Alba called Awake...I think.

Oak from the knees up!

But anyway, good ole Vex defending the undefendable Star Wars Prequels. This place would certainly be less interesting without you*.


*This is not a cloaked death threat by the way

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Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:26 am
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