Star Wars the phantom menace. I don't mind it. - Page 3 - AVS Forum
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post #61 of 69 Old 07-25-2014, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by RobertR View Post
Not nearly as juvenile as the poop and fart jokes in TPM.
Two brief scenes, that amount to what? Ten to fifteen seconds of screen time in a 136 minute movie? And this, in contrast to the ultra sophisticated use of burps and regurgitation in the other examples I cited? None of those examples are necessarily indicative of the movies as a whole, there're just humorous incidents meant to flavor the experience and add some comic relief.

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And a more juvenile fool than in the other films.
He definitely introduced a new archetypical character to the Star Wars universe. No argument there.

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Its absence of from such lists makes it worse than quite a few other films, in the considered opinion of many.
And it's absence from the worst list makes it much better than some other films, in the considered opinion of many. How does that tie into the theme of this thread?

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Objectively, that means a very considerable drop in the estimation of George Lucas’ directing abilities compared to his earlier efforts, giving rise to doubts about just how good those abilities were in the first place.
Irrelevant to this thread, and debatable. There are few directors that have made films that are all consistently listed in the "top-of" lists. And such exclusions don't necessarily diminish the talents of earlier works. Welles comes to mind. As do Carpenter, De Palma, Allen, and many others.

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That criticism didn’t spring up out of “nothing”. It was caused by the film’s (and Lucas’) failure to be better.
There was definitely a disconnect between Lucas and some very vocal fans. Of course, there's no good way of telling how wide that disconnect is. Most people don't post their feelings on movies on forums such as this. It's debatable how accurate of a barometer it is of the cultural zeitgeist.

Lucas made his career by tapping into pop culture, and the boxoffice success of The Phantom Menace shows that he still was able connect with the public. Perhaps that's a more accurate measure of his success.

Scott

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post #62 of 69 Old 07-25-2014, 04:07 PM
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I know it was just faster to type than "the article you linked in your previous post"

From that article, the prime target audience, to me, seems to be teenage boys. And we all know that's because George Lucas himself wanted to recreate the old swashbuckling experience of the adventure movies he saw as a teenage boy. Which is very different than "kids". The Phantom Menace is aimed at a much younger audience imo. Which would have been fine if the movie were actually decent... After all, The Lion King is aimed at kids too. But the target audience of Star Wars, in 1977, was 12+ y.o boys. It was a jaw-dropping experience for everyone back then because of the revolutionary visual effects, the creativity. In 1999, "kids" and teenagers had already seen all this, and we had already seen Star Wars, the film needed to be much more than it was. The trailer was promising.
Whether it's kids or teenage kids is kind of a matter of semantics. I don't think we're really that far off. His quote says 12 years old, putting it in the preteen group. On one hand, we probably all agree they aren't meant for three to six year olds, on the other hand, they're not really meant for 17-19 year olds either. I do think that you're right in that today's kids and teenagers were seeing the film from a different perspective than those of us who saw the movie in 1977. Their starting point was the old Star Wars movies, and everything else that came after that up to the 1999 release. Ours was the Flash Gordon serials, Star Trek TV shows, and sci-fi movies from the 50's and 60's.

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In a way, I am too, but I can never remove the fact that the movie is simply not good. Why did they have to use all these green screens? I can't believe they didn't have the budget to shoot on location! Even the sand in ep.2 is, and looks, fake. In the original trilogy there were real set pieces at least. And yes I know they did shoot on location more than we think for TPM, but the whole film looks like a succession of fake (CGI) models... There are also the small details that sometimes can make a difference: how come all their clothes are continuously and perfectly clean? How come they never sweat on these planets? Did George Lucas also have control upon the production designer?
The green screen work never bothered me. For me, the different look of the prequels fit the theme, where we get a glimpse of the Old Republic before the dark times of the Empire. Stuff was shinier, colors brighter, everything was much cleaner. At least on the outside.

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She enjoyed the original trilogy, but they're "too dated" which makes it hard to relate to the characters and care for them. That appreciation will come later I guess, for now she preferes movies with "modern" actors and preferably not too old. And that's something she does like about the prequels, as they feel like "modern movies" to her, but she finds them boring, not really funny (she can't stand that Jar Jar abomination yet she's still "a kid"), she finds the original trilogy more interesting regarding the story. In LOTR, she absolutely loves Aragorn/Arwen, the hobbits, Middle-Earth, Gollum, everything. LOTR is a story we usually read as kids, and yet the movies were made for everyone, every age. She's into horror movies too, and Star Wars is not her cup fo tea. LOTR feels like real characters involved in a real story. TPM and the prequels feel superficial, without life.
Good insight and honest observations. One of the things that we've seen is that there is so much more diversity in movie entertainment now. There wasn't anything like LOTR on screen for us growing up, now there's a lot of fantasy work to choose from - Harry Potter, the Narnia movies, among many others. Perhaps some of the kids that loved Star Wars would have had the same reaction as your daughter, had those choices been available. Kids these days have it so great!

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Back to that article, here's one of the most revealing quotes from George Lucas:
"I found the experience excruciatingly painful, and I've discovered what I knew all along: I am not a film director. I'm a film maker. A film director is somebody who directs people - large operations. I like to sit down behind a camera and shoot pretty pictures and then cut them together and watch the magic come as I combine image and tell stories".

And yet, he went on to "direct" the entire prequel trilogy
After 20 years he had a change of heart. He's always been pretty open about the chore of directing. After that much time, he probably felt that the best way to get his vision on film was to helm the director's chair again.

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...I'll also say that I'm glad I have the Blu-ray set of the 6 films, I still love the OT even if I don't watch it that often these days, and, yes, I do like some of the things in the prequels. Mostly the action sequences, the visuals (most of them but not all of them), Natalie Portman's outfits , and the fact that it's still "Star Wars" for better or worse. But at the same time I feel so frustrated because I wanted these films to be better, much better. I know he wasn't in TPM but Hayden Christensen as Anakin/Vader is so wooden it's pathetic. As they all are. He might not be the geatest actor but I've seen him deliver decent performances so it all comes down to the director who was obviously satisfied, and who gave them his directives. And the lines, oh dear the lines... ...but well it's 2014 now and I have hope for episode VII... "help us J.J, you're our only hope!"
Good, and honest comments. I'm also looking forward to Episode VII, but not without some reservations. I hope it's great, and I'll be there the day it opens.

Scott

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post #63 of 69 Old 07-25-2014, 05:13 PM
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the results mean a very considerable drop in the estimation of George Lucas’ directing abilities compared to his earlier efforts, giving rise to doubts about just how good those abilities were in the first place.
I've been saying that on here for years, and I'm always met with cries of American Graffiti and Star Wars. One, I never watch and certainly didn't leave an impression on me when I did, but everyone tells me it's great.

The other, I watched many times. And I always refer to it as an "accidental hit", because didn't GL himself expect it to fail? And was shocked when it worked? Meaning he essentially did what he thought was bad, but everyone else thought was good. Which lends credit to the argument that he has no clue what he's doing with regard to film making. I truly believe GL is seen as a cinematic god by the masses for no legitimate reason.

Shamalamadingdong gave us The Sixth Sense, and you see how he still gets movie deals after his other movies. Guess it just takes one hit.

Stephen.

Chances are very good that I was drinking when I posted the above.

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post #64 of 69 Old 07-25-2014, 06:47 PM
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Two brief scenes, that amount to what? Ten to fifteen seconds of screen time in a 136 minute movie? And this, in contrast to the ultra sophisticated use of burps and regurgitation in the other examples I cited?
The tone of those scenes was much more juvenile than that in the other films.
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And it's absence from the worst list makes it much better than some other films, in the considered opinion of many. How does that tie into the theme of this thread?
It’s called damning with not even faint praise: “Hey, at least it’s better than Plan 9!”. Yeah, Lucas had a bigger budget.

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There was definitely a disconnect between Lucas and some very vocal fans. Of course, there's no good way of telling how wide that disconnect is. Most people don't post their feelings on movies on forums such as this. It's debatable how accurate of a barometer it is of the cultural zeitgeist.
When a film becomes the butt of jokes in a sitcom, I’d say that’s another good indicator: “I prefer to be disappointed by Lucas in chronological order”.

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the boxoffice success of The Phantom Menace shows that he still was able connect with the public. Perhaps that's a more accurate measure of his success.
Not really. One cannot assume that paying to see a movie means that all who did so thought it was good. Me and several others on AVS are prime examples.
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post #65 of 69 Old 07-25-2014, 07:00 PM
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I've been saying that on here for years, and I'm always met with cries of American Graffiti and Star Wars. One, I never watch and certainly didn't leave an impression on me when I did, but everyone tells me it's great.

The other, I watched many times. And I always refer to it as an "accidental hit", because didn't GL himself expect it to fail? And was shocked when it worked? Meaning he essentially did what he thought was bad, but everyone else thought was good. Which lends credit to the argument that he has no clue what he's doing with regard to film making. I truly believe GL is seen as a cinematic god by the masses for no legitimate reason.

Shamalamadingdong gave us The Sixth Sense, and you see how he still gets movie deals after his other movies. Guess it just takes one hit.
I still like AG, but I think, like Star Wars, it was made before Lucas became a corporate suit, ie a director instead of a "filmmaker" (his description). I do tend to agree striking a chord with people was quite by accident. I also think it's been proven conclusively that he can't direct people or write dialogue to save his life.
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post #66 of 69 Old 07-25-2014, 07:21 PM
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As a fan and a former film school geek, it just wasn't a good movie … though I agree it had some amazing scenes. The pod race and the final light saber battle (that may be it). I've re-watched the first movie at least 5 times primarily for those two scenes.

To me the root problem is the same one that affects many creative people who's early success involved collaboration and compromise who become powerful enough to abandon collaboration and lack of discipline or self-awareness to do it anyway. Lucas was practically living in a writers commune when he wrote the first story and had tons of input from people who would all go on to do other significant work. If you've ever read some of the early drafts of the story, it suffered from all the same issues of over-complicity in the narrative that the prequels ended up having. A lot of that was simplified out in subsequent drafts to get to a much more simple but relatable story. EVen then, some of the unnecessary junk made it far enough to be filmed but thankfully Lucas' team, budget constraints and studio pressure on length (which was a big deal in those days), forced it out. If you've ever scene the cut scene in the original movie where Luke visits his friend in the bar before everything starts to happen, you'll see all the overly complex blah-blah-blah narrative dialogue and space politics discussed. The film was much better without it in the end. But in the prequels Lucas had no one he listened to giving him advice and no economic imperative to drive creative decisions about keeping the story tight. And by the time he was doing EMpire and Return, he even hired other writers and directors to do it, which of course led to substantial collaboration.

Same thing is true of the performances. If you listen to Lucas interviews from the time he was doing the prequels he actually said he wished he could work entirely with digitally created actors and take real actors out of the equation. That reflects his mindset. The prequels clearly suffer from over-directing of the actors. With the exceptions of Ewan McGregor who channeled Sir Alex's interpretation well, pretty much all the performances are overly stiff and much worse than what those actors have done elsewhere. They clearly were not being given the freedom to find their characters and if they did try their own takes they didn't make the cut. But when you see the behind-the-scenes footage of the original movies, and read the interviews -- not to mention seeing the results -- it's clear the actors had much more freedom to help shape their character interpretations in the first movie, when Lucas was still being collaborative. More than anything -- the bad writing, the forced plot points, etc. -- it is the acting that really brings the prequels down, and not just Lloyd.

My other problem with the first prequel specifically is that Lucas completely abandons everything he previously understood about story structure and his use of classical myth structure. Future-Darth's key moment, alluded to all the way back to the original film, was his participation in the space battle at the end. They have setup that his natural "force" talents make him an amazing pilot. And it is fate that he should use that skill to turn the battle, which he does, … but completely accidentally. Instead of the amazing "Luke use the force" climax of A New Hope, we have Lucas ripping off Independence Day (which came out three years sooner) with little Darth accidentally crashing into the mothership and accidentally setting off the chain reaction that takes it out, with just enough time for him to escape first. The completely comical tone and accidental nature of that pivotal moment killed the film for me...

The classic retort is that the films were made for kids and I just outgrew the core audience between the originals and the prequels but that's such a B.S. answer. The originals were most popular with kids too, but they still benefitted from creative collaboration, classic story structure and necessity (i.e. budget and practical effects limitations) in ways the prequels just didn't, and even as a kid I could appreciate the result even if I couldn't have dissected it at the time.

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post #67 of 69 Old 07-25-2014, 08:35 PM
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One interesting aspect is that it was filmed before the sale to Disney, so it almost calls for a follow-up after the next trilogy is released.
Maybe we can expect "The People vs. Disney."

Here's a good article that came out recently on Sound on Sight as to whether Star Wars will ever be remastered and restored to the original film(s):

With the purchase of Lucasfilm by The Walt Disney Company in March 2013 and the subsequent announcement of new sequel films, the fate of the original trilogy may not yet be a foregone conclusion. As the 2015 release of Episode VII has drawn closer, mainstream interest in the original films has continued to grow, which has led to assumptions that Disney may capitalize on this renewed attention by remastering and re-releasing the original trilogy. But such an idea at this point is mere speculation. And the notion that the preservation (and dissemination) of an original work of art is now in the hands of a corporation that values “brand deposits” as a creative marketing strategy presents its own set of troubling problems.

The central point remains: the serious implications of Lucas’ handling of the theatrical cuts of the Star Wars original trilogy are exactly what he warned about in 1988—the rewriting of cultural history. Government-mandated agencies such as the National Film Registry are unable to preserve (or even possess) working copies of the films on their list without the consent of the author and/or copyright holder. George Lucas’ actions have set a dangerous precedent for film preservation—potentially, authors are able to manipulate their work, and present the altered copy as the “new” original—an effacement of history that Lucas once called the actions of a “barbaric society.”


http://www.soundonsight.org/a-new-ne...q_v=0bcce9fd1b
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post #68 of 69 Old 07-26-2014, 05:24 AM
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The central point remains: the serious implications of Lucas’ handling of the theatrical cuts of the Star Wars original trilogy are exactly what he warned about in 1988—the rewriting of cultural history. Government-mandated agencies such as the National Film Registry are unable to preserve (or even possess) working copies of the films on their list without the consent of the author and/or copyright holder. George Lucas’ actions have set a dangerous precedent for film preservation—potentially, authors are able to manipulate their work, and present the altered copy as the “new” original—an effacement of history that Lucas once called the actions of a “barbaric society.”
This is why in my annual email to LOC dealing with Film Registry add ons I had recommended that they consider taking SW and Empire OUT of the registry until a working copy of the ORIGINALS are made available.
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post #69 of 69 Old 07-26-2014, 08:52 AM
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Quotes from George Lucas:
Quote:
American works of art belong to the American public; they are part of our cultural history.
Unless, it seems, the “works of art” belong to George Lucas.

Quote:
People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians
Unless, it seems, the one doing the altering and profiting is George Lucas.

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These current defacements are just the beginning. Today, engineers with their computers can add color to black-and-white movies, change the soundtrack, speed up the pace, and add or subtract material to the philosophical tastes of the copyright holder. Tomorrow, more advanced technology will be able to replace actors with "fresher faces," or alter dialogue
Oh, like replacing Sebastien Shaw with Hayden Christensen, or changing "Bring my shuttle," to "Alert my Star Destroyer to prepare for my arrival"?

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The public's interest is ultimately dominant over all other interests.
Unless, it seems, the interests are of George Lucas.
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Last edited by RobertR; 07-26-2014 at 09:36 AM.
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