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Phantom Menace Discussion: Is the Duel of the fates a classic match?

grainger said:

Puggo - Jar Jar's Yoda said:

grainger said:

Qui-Gon seems to be pretty popular, even among people who don't like TPM. I always wondered what they are seeing in him.

He is supposed to be wise.  But his most frequent line seems to be "I don't know".

A quote I really like from Data in ST:TNG, is that "I don't know" is the "beginning of wisdom". People are often afraid to admit when they don't know, so I'm with Qui Gon (and Data) on this one.

But the wise man is not the everyman character we identify with. He's wise for a reason.

You yourself and your buddy next to you might be wise to say "I don't know" but do you really want the guy with his finger on the nuclear control launch button not knowing what he's doing?

Did any of you walk out of the theatre for any of the Star Wars prequels?

moviefreakedmind said:

I also saw Revenge of the Sith in a packed theatre, which I generally can't stand, but surprisingly the audience was well behaved. If anything, what made me want to walk out was sitting in the very front row and having to look straight up at the screen

Revenge of the Sith was the only time I ever sat in the front row for a film. I figured it was going to be horrible, and I was only seeing it to finish the nightmare, so I figured I might as well experience a front row viewing for the first time.

Did any of you walk out of the theatre for any of the Star Wars prequels?

DuracellEnergizer said:

Why would you choose to watch TDKR if you haven't seen the first two?

My little brother (14 at the time) was visiting the week it came out and wanted to see it, so I took him. Lots of people say The Dark Knight is a great film, but I'm not keen on ever seeing it, considering those same people rave about one of the worst things I've ever seen on screen.

moviefreakedmind said:

I thought it was great.

Have you walked out on any of the Star Wars prequels though?

Nope. But that was because of my built up love for Star Wars. Even though I thought The Phantom Menace sucked the first time I saw it, there was a lot of rationalizing, followed by multiple viewings in the hopes that it would get better. Attack of the Clones left me traumatized and despondent. Revenge of the Sith I saw just to see it through. Only saw each of those travesties once.

My biggest memory of Revenge of the Sith was the credits at the end of the movie, oddly enough. I've always told people Star Wars films aren't over until the credits end, you have to sit and watch and listen to the end of the soundtrack. But for Revenge of the Sith, which I went to see alone ... I sat in the front row and was the first person out of my seat and the first person out the rear doors of a mostly full theater. I couldn't leave fast enough.

Star Wars Ring Theory

Going to steal this from McKee. An IMAGE SYSTEM in film is:

a strategy of motifs, a category of imagery embedded in the film that repeats in sight and sound from beginning to end with persistence and great variation, but with equally great subtlety, as a subliminal communication to increase the depth and complexity of aesthetic emotion

In other words, a director can create a series of visuals and/or sound effects that subliminally communicate the film's conflict towards the audience. He cites some examples, such as the water imagery in Les Diabolique and the prison imagery in Casablanca.


Les Diabolique: A boarding school master's wife and mistress conspire to kill him because he turns into a sadistic SOB. They get him drunk one night and together they drown him in the bathtub. They then dump his body in the school's outdoor swimming pool, which has been covered with algae all winter. They expect the body will float back to the surface the next day and be discovered, but a few days go by and nothing happens. One of the women drops her keys into the pool on purpose so they can order the pool to be drained, and the camera fixes on the water level as it goes down and down all the way ... to the drain. Nothing. Soon it's a mystery what on earth happened to the man.

The entire film it's drizzly and foggy. The camera occasionally focuses in on raindrops pattering windows, or condensation forming. When dinner is served, they eat fish. When the students and teachers talk about summer vacation, they talk about "taking to the waters". The title card is painted in abstract grays and a truck tire splashing a puddle is the next shot. Why is water so ubiquitous in this film? Just for the hell of it? So the director can say how artistic he is? Hell no.

In the climax, the wife fears her husband is a ghost and haunting her. She wakes up from a nightmare in the dead of night, unable to sleep, and suddenly she hears noises coming from the bathroom. Drip. Drip. Drip. It's water. She goes into the bathroom and the bathtub is overflowing with water. Something is in it. And then the frightening end to the movie.

Water was used as an image system of fear in Les Diabolique.


Casablanca: An image system of imprisonment is created to add to the sense that the protagonists are trapped in the city. The beacon on the airport tower revolves around the city like the search light of a prison yard. Blinds, room dividers, stair railings, even the leaves of potted palms are filmed in a way to create shadows that mimic prison bars. The characters constantly use the word "escape".

Of course the main plot in Casablanca is that everyone is trying to get letters of transit so they can leave the city and reach freedom in the west. The image system subliminally stresses the point of feeling trapped and trying to get out.


When it's a failure:

When a hack fills their film with image systems that have nothing to do with the plot. As RLM pointed out, there is a scene in The Empire Strikes Back when Leia shoots at Slave I from a landing platform on Bespin. She's trying to save Han, but is too late, and it's probably the last time she will ever see the man she loves.

Flash back to Attack of the Clones. Padme rushes onto a landing platform and fires her blaster at another ship that is taking off. It's Count Dooku trying to escape. There's no emotional connection there, it's just a good person firing a weapon at a bad person who gets away. Big f***ing deal.

In Return of the Jedi, Luke kicks Vader into a backflip during their emotional father/son duel.

In Revenge of the Sith, Anakin kicks Dooku, just some standard bad guy, into a backflip during their fight.

These "rhymes" don't serve any purpose to building the depth and complexity of aesthetic emotion. They are not an example of a strategic image system, they are an example of someone who ran out of creative ideas, and decided to just lift entire scenes from his previous films. In fact, if you actually watched the films in order 1-6 and managed to make the connection between those scenes, the effect would be to actually lessen the emotion you feel while watching. Imagine Luke kicks Vader down the stairs, and instead of focusing on their emotional conflict, you suddenly remember "oh, that was just like the time Anakin was fighting Dooku. Or imagine you see Leia heartbroken on the landing platform, and instead of connecting with her emotions, you are left thinking, "hey that's just like the time Padme was shooting at Dooku."

That's why the "it's like poetry, it rhymes" line invites so much derision.

Is the Hobbit prequel trilogy suffering the same problems as the Star Wars prequel Trilogy?

generalfrevious said:

Then why is Star Trek Into Darkness considered the worst Star Trek movie ever? Is anyone worried that Star Trek has become the Fast and Furious in space? How would you feel if something like Plato's republic or James Joyce's Ulysses was turned into a dumb action movie for teenage boys?

SW already got ruined by the prequels. You can't trash the franchise any more than that. Rejoice in the fact that they will be lost films in 100 years, as will whatever new ones get made. The originals will live on.

"Die dunkle Bedrohung" better than "The Phantom Menace"?

danny_boy said:

So the trick is to take a some-one (young or old) who does not have a clue about anything star wars and expose them in episode chronology- just to see how shocking(or not) this conversion from good to bad is.

I don't think it takes a new viewer to see the flaws in the films. Lucas seems to have lost himself in the EU, falling back on telling his audience a few superficial facts about a thousand different creations, rather than showing archetypal stories of a few individuals via dramatic conflict.

In Anakin's case, no dramatic transformation takes place on screen. In TPM, he's a sweet innocent boy. By the next film, he's a spoiled brat, a completely different character, without explanation. Scenes that demonstrate transition like that are what make movies good. But they are completely lacking in the prequels. Since Anakin already starts out as a bad apple, him "turning" to the dark side is not a meaningful story. One is left to wonder what's the big deal?

The obvious solution would have been to make Anakin a strong and noble character who experienced a series of carefully constructed events that caused him to fall from grace. Apparently that kind of extremely difficult writing is far beyond Lucas's abilities and he did not want to delegate the script to a more capable scribe.