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Sadako

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Join date
1-Feb-2014
Last activity
15-May-2016
Posts
103

Post History

Post
#704704
Topic
What Went Wrong/What Can Be Avoided Thread
Time

And I'd even take making the Jedi dogmatic, baby-snatching cultists if that had actually been on purpose. If they were portrayed as decadent hypocrites who had been suckling on the Senate's teat for centuries, growing fat and indolent and becoming completely impotent, while simultaneously having all of their transgressions sanctioned by the Senate because having the Jedi in their pocket was convenient, then it would have introduced some much-needed moral conflict, and might explain why the Dark Side is tempting ('We're honest about being evil, at least').

But Lucas has a very poor idea of what makes for interesting drama, so we have Jedi who are extremely morally questionable on accident, with a PT full of Broken and Lost Aesops being written by a guy who is a terrible writer.

Post
#702548
Topic
All Things Star Trek
Time

If Janeway had originally been the First Officer and chief Science Officer (and had thus worn Science Blue for the entire series), and the original captain had been killed in the series premier and then she had to be acting captain, I don't think I would mind Janeway's horrible command style as much.

If 'Janeway is a Science Officer who had the command of an imperiled vessel thrust upon her; now she must learn the ropes of being a captain while trying to get her vessel and crew home safely' had been the basis of her character arc, then her lack of tact and horrible screw-ups would be expected--she's learning. As a Science Officer, she wouldn't be expected to be a tactful diplomat with advanced training in first contact scenarios or negotiating with a hostile party.

Post
#701267
Topic
All Things Star Trek
Time

I'm a huge TNG fan (nostalgia goggles firmly in place) but the devolving episode has always been one where, once I remember that's the one I'm watching, I skip to the next episode. Same thing with the one where everyone got polywater poisoning and Wesley had to save the day somehow, and the one where they went to the Blaxploitation planet and the guy kidnapped Tasha to be his love slave.

The only thing that bothers me about TOS is the pacing. Everything else, like the 'lame' alien designs and visual effects are an artifact of the era; they were cutting edge effects in the 60's, but haven't aged well. Rather like going back and playing the PSX era Final Fantasies and remembering how my child-brain was blown by the FMV sequences in VII.

Even with inflation, the budget for each TOS episode was less than half of the budget for each TNG episode, and even in the better-funded TNG era the make-up and costume departments could only afford to make less than 10 aliens total to represent an entire species. Hence why the Enterprise so rarely encounters alien vessels as large as itself, why the same species show up so often, and why so many were rubber forehead aliens with uninteresting gray clothes. (Enterprise had an estimated budget of about $4 million per episode--my guess is it was a money laundering front.)

Post
#699717
Topic
More Miniatures and models in each Star Wars prequels than entire OT
Time

I've heard it said that this is the only shot in TPM that hasn't been digitally mucked with enhanced:

The prequels were like a fashion magazine--every single shot is Photoshopped to make it look more 'perfect', but it just ends up looking fake. And I know for a fact there are more models in a fashion magazine than in any Star Wars movie.

Post
#699374
Topic
Share your good news!
Time

Today is my first day as an adjunct professor! (And next week I'll have to e-mail the adjunct coordinator and see if she'll be renewing my class for next quarter, too, seeing as how I managed to scrape together enough students for the class to go forward in, like, two weeks.)

I'm actually due to be quite busy this week, and in my area of study no less. Thursday is the state Language Fair, and Friday has an Asian Fashion Show which I will be providing kimono (and kimono dressing) for.

Post
#699155
Topic
General Star Wars Random Thoughts Thread
Time

It's hard to not see the Jedi as godly when you spend all day writing fanfiction about them doing backflips and lightsabering dudes in half and never facing any consequences, because being a Jedi is exactly the same as being a ninja with a license to kill, right?

Seriously, though,http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/MILITARY/rg1101.pdf"> here's another reason I can't buy only 10,000 Jedi having that much influence. There are more than 10,000 officers ranked Colonel (Captain for you Navy people) and above in the US armed forces. As we know from The Clone Wars, all the Jedi were ranked at least this high (even though Padawans held a rank equivalent to Lt. Colonel, the mundane officers always always ALWAYS deferred to the orders of a Jedi, so Padawans essentially count as a higher rank than what they actually held in the Clone Army), and as we known from TVTropes, Colonels are badasses. But 10,000 colonels is enough to populate the upper command of just one army on the planet Earth--even if we rounded them all up to generals, that would maybe be enough generals for one planet, not an entire galaxy.

Part of this issue is Lucas not understanding just how freaking HUGE the Galaxy he created really is. Based on atlases of the GFFA, it's larger than the Milky Way, and has billions of inhabited worlds with trillions of sentient lifeforms living on them. But numbers that big make people stupid, because all of the zeroes start blending together, so the Galaxy becomes the size of Earth in people's minds, and 10,000 Colonel Badasses is plenty for one planet!

(Another real-world example: the German Army was strictly limited to an army of 100,000 men after the Treaty of Versailles. What the Germans did was they let go of all of their soldiers, but kept all of their commissioned officers--then, when they decided to re-arm, they already had enough experienced officers around to command a large army, so they were able to mobilize quickly. But again, that's just one country--and they had ten times the officers the Jedi had.)

Post
#699148
Topic
The New Generation of Star Wars Fans
Time

I agree, the ability to create a perfect 'take 6' digitally is really neat, and would be a great tool for films on shoestring budgets who can't afford to waste film, but I can think of at least three reasons/counterexamples to say that more traditional techniques are better.

One, Fargo was shot on a shoestring budget, and they couldn't afford second takes of anything, so the preproduction phase consisted of meticulously crafting the shooting schedule practically down to the minute, writing every 'um' and 'uh' in the script, making sure the actors had copies of the final shooting script to memorize, rehearsals, etc.--basically, it replicated the live stage experience. And it was brilliant. Pre-planning made it so.

Two, by doing repeated takes and trying to work toward the best possible take for both actors, they tend to get a better working relationship with each other (assuming one of the actors isn't one of the 'top 10 actors who are hard to work with'), they tend to get a better understanding of their characters, the viewers tend to get funny outtakes in the DVD extras, the editors get more material to work with to make a better film, etc. More takes tends to make the film richer. Multiple takes make it so.

Three, by developing that technique, Lucas said 'Hey, now I can create an entire performance in the computer! Why bother having the actors on set at all when I can just paste their heads on this CGI body?' and we got Episode 3. That was terrible.

In all seriousness, though it was an interesting technique. It's reminiscent of voice acting work--VAs aren't in the same room, delivering their character's lines to each other. They deliver them to the sound booth, and then the director tells them how wrong they did it, and makes them do it again, but this time angrier. Then the best takes are edited together, ba-da-bing. It's part of the expectation among voice actors, but not for live film actors because it's an entirely different set of skills (not unlike the difference between film and stage, or stage and opera).

Post
#699058
Topic
General Star Wars Random Thoughts Thread
Time

I think I could have bought the small number of Jedi a little easier if there were 'lay Jedi', and the 10,000 Jedi which report to the Jedi Temple were more like upper level clergy.

I can buy the idea that the Catholic church is a large and influential organization with worldwide reach and branches in almost every country even though there are only about 5,000 Catholic bishops in the world. I can buy that because 'bishop' is an administrative title--they have lots of people working under them, both clergy and parishioners. The Jedi don't really have this, so it's hard to buy the idea that they have enough manpower and reach to do their duty.

I can also buy that the Catholic church is big and influential enough to be considered a sovereign body internationally, even though there are only about 5,000 bishops. There were special considerations made which resulted in this real-life arrangement, just like there were arrangements made in-universe regarding the Jedi's relationship with the Republic. (If there were only 5,000 CATHOLICS, I can't see such an arrangement being made.)

I can't buy the idea that a group whose population is maybe 15,000 tops (I have no idea if the 10k number means just Masters/Knights, if it includes Padawans, if it includes babies, if it includes people who never got up to the next rung of the career ladder, w/e so we'll say it's plus or minus a couple thousand people) can police an entire galaxy, when the NYPD alone has 35,000 officers to patrol a city of about 9 million. The FBI has a comparable number of employees, with over 13,000 special agents--and they're understaffed for the work they're expected to do. And we're supposed to believe that a group of just 10,000 Jedi can effectively patrol a galaxy with trillions of citizens, even with the support and sanction of the government? Unless the Republic sends a large detachment of workers of various sorts to serve the needs of a given Jedi (or unless the Jedi can supply their own warm bodies to do the work necessary in any given location), it's hard to imagine Jedi being able to get anything done on a galactic scale.

As an aside, any time I see the Jedi being referred to as genetic supermen, I hear this in my head, and I can't stop laughing.

Post
#699031
Topic
The New Generation of Star Wars Fans
Time

OBI-WAN37 said:

There are more miniatures and models in each Star Wars prequels than entire OT. The whole "there's too much CGI" is not true. I've seen people comment on TFN saying they prefer the original trilogy but still know there are more models and miniatures in the PT. I love the PT. I think it's more fun and moving than the OT, and are better films. 

The number of models and/or miniatures used has no bearing on whether or not there's too much CGI in the prequels. Which there totally is. The sets that they bothered to physically construct were only built up to about head height, with everything above filled in with CGI (Liam Neeson's height alone supposedly cost an extra $150,000 in materials for Episode I). CGI ceilings are silly and unnecessary when you're building physical walls.

As the prequels went on, fewer and fewer sets were physically built, replaced with green screens. Until finally, we ended up with shots like this in Episode 3:

Nothing in this shot is real--Temuera Morrison's head was CGI'd onto that CGI armor, and Ewan McGregor was CGI'd onto the CGI Boga. I'm not talking 'He and Temuera Morrison were on a sound stage draped in green fabric and Ewan McGregor was sitting on a green-draped mechanical bull'--the two actors weren't even in the same room to deliver these lines to one another, let alone on a set which bore any resemblance to this. This entire scene was composed inside a computer. I don't care if a sculptor down at ILM had to sculpt a model of the Boga--the fact that it was then CGI'd cancels it out. We never saw that model. There was no animatronic Boga that was used in close-up shots.

Something else Lucas did in Episode 1 was composite two different takes into one shot--if one actor's best take of a shot with two actors on screen together was take 3, and another's was take 5, he would cut and paste actor 1's take 3 onto actor 2's take 5. This would save the cost of having to shoot a Take 6 and hope that both actors performed well (and is the reason films will have multiple cuts during a scene rather than filming everything in one long take). Natalie Portman remarked on how odd it was to see two completely different takes of the same shot at the same time. This experiment ultimately resulted in pasting real heads on CGI bodies and such that we saw in Episode 3--too much.

Post
#698936
Topic
All Things Star Trek
Time

The nonsense biology I can buy--it's the 24th century, and based on a remark made in TNG 02x20, it seems that someone has developed a gene splicing doohickey for interspecies couples, and it's existence is apparently well-known and often used, given the existence of B'Elanna, K'Ehleyr, Spock, and Troi--but the idea that it would result in some sort of split personality is dumb. Their personality should be informed by biology, but dominated by their cultural upbringing (like how Worf has a Klingon temper, but has a considerably more human-like personality than other Klingons and a strong understanding of human social cues.)

Post
#698737
Topic
Project Threepio (Star Wars OOT subtitles)
Time

Fun tidbit--the Japanese subs for ROTJ still have it as 'Revenge of the Jedi'. It wasn't changed to 'Return of the Jedi' until the DVDs were released, if I'm not mistaken.

Another fun tidbit--here's a comparison of the official Chinese transliteration of Anakin's name, and a version I came up with as an example for a dictionary exercise for high school students ('Choose five fictional characters from Western media and translate their names into Japanese. Explain how you arrived at the kanji you chose.'). You can see right there, 'The Peaceful is Willing to' is an accurate translation of the Chinese 'an1na4'. I prefer a slightly less nonsensical translation, lol.

Post
#698045
Topic
More Miniatures and models in each Star Wars prequels than entire OT
Time

Look at the CG effects used in Jurassic Park compared with the CG used in AotC, ten years later.

In Jurassic Park, they had to make the CG dinosaurs look indistinguishable from the full scale models and animatronics that were used in close-ups, and the effects still stand up today. In AotC, they used CG for everything--the aliens, the vehicles, the sets, everything, and the effects haven't aged particularly well (compared to films that are twice as old). If they had used animatronics or actors in make-up, it would have given the CG artists at ILM something to shoot towards in their rendering, something real to match.

This featurette is particularly illuminating, given that they're talking in the early 90's about effects technology that moviegoers take for granted now. (Also, physical models of the Falcon against bluescreens in '77.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epnEIBbF4bY