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sunglassesatnite

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30-Mar-2015
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13-Jul-2017
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Post
#915347
Topic
What didn't you like about TFA? <em>SPOILERS</em>
Time

Another thing that bothers me. The whole “map to Luke” thing.

It’s amazing how certain films can “get away” with stuff if the overall experience is viewed as a positive.

Independence Day is a perfect example. You can pick at the flaws all day long, and the flaws are most certainly there—but in the end, it’s almost as if none of the flaws really matter. The set-ups, the payoffs, the editing, the action, the pacing, the rhythm of the story—these things work in spite of other things that don’t. Things that would take one out of the story if the overall experience were weaker. We all know Independence Day sucked on some level—it’s kind of like a report card with a “C-“ in spelling while all the other grades are “A’s.”

As much as I love TFA, the “map to Luke” thing drives me insane.

So there’s a missing piece to a map to Luke that the “resistance” is trying to piece together. So let’s say they get it pieced together. Great. Now they have a map that may or may not lead them to Luke, who is undoubtedly a powerful Jedi. But Luke hasn’t been seen in years, and given the circumstances of his “walking away,” his motivations, state of mind, and attitudes toward the “resistance” are far from a sure thing.

Besides that, Luke’s only human. He’s not Superman. Let’s go find Luke! And then do…what, exactly?

Let’s waste valuable resources on finding one man when we have a solar-system destroying behemoth breathing down our necks.

The “map to Luke” thing is just as stupid as anything in the prequels, but it doesn’t matter because TFA is great in spite of it.

Post
#915233
Topic
Captain
Time

Obviously this is a little off subject from Star Wars, but I’m a real life Navy vet and have witnessed ship captains in action and have known a few personally. The reality is that a ship captain gets to take the 100% of the credit for the successes of his command, but also takes 100% of the blame when something goes wrong, no matter the circumstances. It’s just the way it is, and there are few jobs in the military and hardly any in civilian life with such razor sharp lines of accountability and responsibility.

It’s a lonely life, and many ship captains experience a career ceiling at O-5 or O-6 because they simply can’t live up to the high standards. This is especially true in peacetime, where there are few opportunities for captains to distinguish themselves in important operations, but plenty of opportunities for them to run ships aground, collide with other vessels, or get themselves involved in sexual harassment or some other bullshit.

Post
#915122
Topic
What Didn't You Like About ROTS?
Time

The first half hour of ROTS is my least-favorite introduction of all of the SW films. The opening space battle scene has been praised by some due to the single-shot editing, but the camera work comes off corny and dated, and the entire scene is weighed down by bad dialogue between Obi-Wan and Anakin. Their arrival on the command ship is equally terrible, with poorly-staged action shots that strain credibility, like Obi-Wan’s “force gymnastics” ejection from the fighter and the stupid, fake-looking duel with Count Dooku. All of this is interspersed with awkward, forced attempts at humor which completely undermine the story.

Anakin’s “turn” to the dark side is probably one of the weakest payoffs to one of the greatest set-ups in motion picture history. Essentially, the question posed by the prequels is, “why did Anakin Skywalker turn to the dark side?” It’s an intriguing and worthwhile question to ask, but the prequel trilogy in general, and ROTS in particular, fails to answer this question in a satisfying way. While not explicitly stated, throughout various scenes the film offers up the suggestion that Anakin’s main weakness—and ultimate reason for his turn to the dark side—was that he simply couldn’t deal with loss, and that this weakness led him down a path of destruction.

This could have made for a very powerful and complex emotional drama, but Lucas’s writing is simply not up to the task, and what we get instead is a childish, blunt, and overly simplistic motivation for Anakin: I don’t want my wife to die. I want “special powers” so that she can live. I’ll kill anyone I have to kill to get them.

The problem I see with this, from an audience standpoint, is that it takes away any sympathy one might have had for the character of Anakin Skywalker and undermines the drama of his turn to the dark side in a major way. Loss, in and of itself, is a universal and very personal concept we can all relate to. But when Anakin goes to the over-the-top extremes he does to prevent it, it undercuts the drama by making him look less sympathetic than simply pathetic.

Post
#880096
Topic
What if TFA is awful?
Time

No, this film will not be better than any of the OOT. It is impossible for any film, let alone a Star Wars film, to be better than the OOT, or even have the same impact. The OOT’s quality is unassailable and its impact on popular culture incalculable.

Even if the newer films reach favorable critical consensus and are, objectively speaking, “good,” they can’t help but be influenced by what came before.

The OOT is perfect, never to be surpassed.

Post
#792751
Topic
What if TFA is awful?
Time

rchdggr said:

sunglassesatnite said:


This is a vague feeling and it is hard to explain, but there are micro-moments in Abrams’s various  films where I get sucked straight out of the movie, out of the fantasy--and into a realm where “this doesn’t quite make sense.” Or, “that seems odd why that character would do [or say] that.” 

There are several of these “micro-moments” from J.J.’s films that I could get into (but won’t).  There is, though, one in the latest behind-the-scenes TFA footage (presumably from San Diego, but I’m not certain about that) which, at least for me, demonstrates what I am talking about.  For a few seconds, a guy appearing  to be Oscar Isaacs is being hustled down a very Death Star-looking starship passageway by a Stormtrooper.

 I will get accused of being overly anal about this, but something  about the composition of that shot and the body language of the characters was just wrong.  It immediately made me think of similar shots in the OOT where our captive heroes are being made to walk places they don’t necessarily want to go (think of Han Solo at the Carbonite chamber, or the surrendered starship troopers at the beginning of A New Hope).  Not really a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but in the TFA footage it just looked “off.”  For one thing, in J.J.’s footage the Stormtrooper has his gun on Oscar Isaacs with one hand, while attempting to briskly shuffle him down the passageway with the other; presumably to take him to some kind of “detention block.”  The thing is, why does the Stormtrooper have his gun on Isaacs when they are presumably on the Stormtrooper’s own ship to begin with?   Why the hell is the Stormtrooper in such a hurry when, again, they are on the Stormtrooper’s own ship?  Why aren’t there two Stormtroopers handling Isaacs?  Why am I being so completely anal about two seconds of footage, the completed version of which I haven’t yet seen?

The reason is because it just looks “wrong.”  It doesn’t look like Star Wars (or at least the only Star Wars that exists to me—namely the OOT).  In the OOT, a shot like this would have had two Stormtroopers walking behind our hero, weapons at port arms, with a pace and body language that suggested power and control…thereby infusing the scene with a sense of gravity and foreboding.  This scene, by contrast, just doesn’t come off well.  It just looks like a Stormtrooper hustling some dude down a hallway, and doesn’t really communicate anything beyond that.  Worse, it kind of makes the Stormtrooper look like--in the words of late-great TV series the Wire—“a graspy little bitch” who can’t handle his business somehow. 

Am I making  my prediction of TFA’s lack of quality based on this one scene?  Hardly.  I am merely attempting to give an example of how J.J. Abrams’s style, for me, doesn’t completely work.  

 

The lone stormtrooper does look off. He seems nervous and agitated. Not typical stormtrooper behavior. He doesn't seem to be just like every other stormtrooper. It's as if he has more personality and emotion to him.. See where i'm going with this?

I do see where you're going.  I didn't think about that before, but if you're proven correct (which the more I think about it the more I think you will be), then maybe there's hope...I'm not holding my breath, though.  I've been burned too many times.   

Post
#792749
Topic
What if TFA is awful?
Time

danny_boy said:

sunglassesatnite said:

I think TFA WILL be awful.  I’m not hoping for it to be awful, but I think it will be.

Although J.J. Abrams has achieved mainstream success,  I have never truly gotten “on board” with his style of filmmaking.  And it’s not that his movies are completely “awful” any sense.  It’s just that  every time I’ve left out of the theater after seeing one of his movies I have a gnawing, hungry, not-quite-satisfied feeling—similar to the feeling one has after eating at McDonald’s.  Not terrible, but not quite satisfying.  In other words, totally un-OOT-like.

This is a vague feeling and it is hard to explain, but there are micro-moments in Abrams’s various  films where I get sucked straight out of the movie, out of the fantasy--and into a realm where “this doesn’t quite make sense.” Or, “that seems odd why that character would do [or say] that.” 

There are several of these “micro-moments” from J.J.’s films that I could get into (but won’t).  There is, though, one in the latest behind-the-scenes TFA footage (presumably from San Diego, but I’m not certain about that) which, at least for me, demonstrates what I am talking about.  For a few seconds, a guy appearing  to be Oscar Isaacs is being hustled down a very Death Star-looking starship passageway by a Stormtrooper.

 I will get accused of being overly anal about this, but something  about the composition of that shot and the body language of the characters was just wrong.  It immediately made me think of similar shots in the OOT where our captive heroes are being made to walk places they don’t necessarily want to go (think of Han Solo at the Carbonite chamber, or the surrendered starship troopers at the beginning of A New Hope).  Not really a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but in the TFA footage it just looked “off.”  For one thing, in J.J.’s footage the Stormtrooper has his gun on Oscar Isaacs with one hand, while attempting to briskly shuffle him down the passageway with the other; presumably to take him to some kind of “detention block.”  The thing is, why does the Stormtrooper have his gun on Isaacs when they are presumably on the Stormtrooper’s own ship to begin with?   Why the hell is the Stormtrooper in such a hurry when, again, they are on the Stormtrooper’s own ship?  Why aren’t there two Stormtroopers handling Isaacs?  Why am I being so completely anal about two seconds of footage, the completed version of which I haven’t yet seen?

The reason is because it just looks “wrong.”  It doesn’t look like Star Wars (or at least the only Star Wars that exists to me—namely the OOT).  In the OOT, a shot like this would have had two Stormtroopers walking behind our hero, weapons at port arms, with a pace and body language that suggested power and control…thereby infusing the scene with a sense of gravity and foreboding.  This scene, by contrast, just doesn’t come off well.  It just looks like a Stormtrooper hustling some dude down a hallway, and doesn’t really communicate anything beyond that.  Worse, it kind of makes the Stormtrooper look like--in the words of late-great TV series the Wire—“a graspy little bitch” who can’t handle his business somehow. 

Am I making  my prediction of TFA’s lack of quality based on this one scene?  Hardly.  I am merely attempting to give an example of how J.J. Abrams’s style, for me, doesn’t completely work.  

 

Great post.

The language of cinema has constantly evolved to reflect a cultural aesthetic that relates to the time that the product is made in.

So that little clip in TFA trailer where hundreds of StormTroopers are assembled together ......reeks of the thousands of  Orcs from Lord Of The Rings, the Agent Smiths in the Matrix, The Chitari and Ultrons from the 2 Avengers movies ....and yes the clones and droid armies from the prequels. 

It definitely does not resemble anything from the OT.....the technology simply did not exist to convey thousands and thousands of troopers in attendance together(apart for that brief matte painting in ROTJ on the death star when the emperor arrives).

In the OT....size(e.g army of the Empire) was implied and simply left to the imagination.....which in my opinion is a far more potent storytelling technique.

These days nothing is left to the imagination......it is shown. 

Hence the creative lull that we find ourselves in.

The existence  of the TFA is proof of that.  

  

Thanks.  You made an interesting observation about the massed troopers shot being similar to shots we see in modern films, which I totally agree with.  That got me to thinking about another aspect of this so-called "First Order:" I really hope that this film isn't going to have a bunch of political deconstruction and exposition about why the Empire is still around.  If it does, I think the film will suffer for it.  

One of the great things about the OOT is that it didn't require much in the way of explanation as to the motivations of the Rebellion.  The audience gleaned that information gradually as the story progressed.  There was some political talk ("if word gets out, it could generate sympathy for the rebellion..." etc.), but very little of it was macro-level, and tended to arise from situations where characters were immediately involved.  In other words, the audience wasn't hit over the head with it.

The thing is, I don't really care about why the Empire is still around.  Some may think that this needs to be explained, but I don't think it needs to be explained. Or at least explained very little.  Let the audience figure it out.  The Empire was a big organization, and the possibility always existed that it could come back after a devastating blow.  The politics don't matter.

Post
#792628
Topic
What if TFA is awful?
Time

I think TFA WILL be awful.  I’m not hoping for it to be awful, but I think it will be.

Although J.J. Abrams has achieved mainstream success,  I have never truly gotten “on board” with his style of filmmaking.  And it’s not that his movies are completely “awful” any sense.  It’s just that  every time I’ve left out of the theater after seeing one of his movies I have a gnawing, hungry, not-quite-satisfied feeling—similar to the feeling one has after eating at McDonald’s.  Not terrible, but not quite satisfying.  In other words, totally un-OOT-like.

This is a vague feeling and it is hard to explain, but there are micro-moments in Abrams’s various  films where I get sucked straight out of the movie, out of the fantasy--and into a realm where “this doesn’t quite make sense.” Or, “that seems odd why that character would do [or say] that.” 

There are several of these “micro-moments” from J.J.’s films that I could get into (but won’t).  There is, though, one in the latest behind-the-scenes TFA footage (presumably from San Diego, but I’m not certain about that) which, at least for me, demonstrates what I am talking about.  For a few seconds, a guy appearing  to be Oscar Isaacs is being hustled down a very Death Star-looking starship passageway by a Stormtrooper.

 I will get accused of being overly anal about this, but something  about the composition of that shot and the body language of the characters was just wrong.  It immediately made me think of similar shots in the OOT where our captive heroes are being made to walk places they don’t necessarily want to go (think of Han Solo at the Carbonite chamber, or the surrendered starship troopers at the beginning of A New Hope).  Not really a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but in the TFA footage it just looked “off.”  For one thing, in J.J.’s footage the Stormtrooper has his gun on Oscar Isaacs with one hand, while attempting to briskly shuffle him down the passageway with the other; presumably to take him to some kind of “detention block.”  The thing is, why does the Stormtrooper have his gun on Isaacs when they are presumably on the Stormtrooper’s own ship to begin with?   Why the hell is the Stormtrooper in such a hurry when, again, they are on the Stormtrooper’s own ship?  Why aren’t there two Stormtroopers handling Isaacs?  Why am I being so completely anal about two seconds of footage, the completed version of which I haven’t yet seen?

The reason is because it just looks “wrong.”  It doesn’t look like Star Wars (or at least the only Star Wars that exists to me—namely the OOT).  In the OOT, a shot like this would have had two Stormtroopers walking behind our hero, weapons at port arms, with a pace and body language that suggested power and control…thereby infusing the scene with a sense of gravity and foreboding.  This scene, by contrast, just doesn’t come off well.  It just looks like a Stormtrooper hustling some dude down a hallway, and doesn’t really communicate anything beyond that.  Worse, it kind of makes the Stormtrooper look like--in the words of late-great TV series the Wire—“a graspy little bitch” who can’t handle his business somehow. 

Am I making  my prediction of TFA’s lack of quality based on this one scene?  Hardly.  I am merely attempting to give an example of how J.J. Abrams’s style, for me, doesn’t completely work.  

Post
#784296
Topic
How you pictured Anakin pre-PT
Time

How I pictured Anakin pre-PT:

As a wise, pragmatic, passionate starfighter pilot and Jedi Knight who was seduced by the Dark Side by a force more powerful than himself

How I would not have pictured Anakin, EVER, pre PT:

As a pre-teen (or twenty-something) empty-headed idiot of low birth and low character who was "drafted" into the Jedi based on a "hunch" by a malcontent who was himself not highly regarded

Post
#784295
Topic
Why the future SW films concern me
Time

The future SW films "concern" me because no matter how good they are, no matter how talented Rian Johnson is, no matter how good TFA is, they will NEVER equal the majesty and brilliance of the original trilogy.  Even if they were better films in every way, they will never bring back the wonder and joy of the originals in the time and place they were made and released.

Post
#767209
Topic
ROTJ is the best Star Wars film... discuss!
Time

I honestly think Jedi is equal in every respect to the other two films in the trilogy.  I just think when something works, it "works," and even with its flaws it is still a classic.  Things I love about Jedi:

The green lightsaber.  A perfectly timed, visually interesting way to introduce Luke as a Jedi that means business this time. Great.   

Jabba.  Before the Special Editions, he was discussed, but never seen.  His reveal did not disappoint.  He is as every bit as important and iconic as any of the SW characters.

Luke throwing away his sword.  There aren't many "tentpole" films where the hero surrenders in the third act.  Jedi rewrote the rules on this.  A lot of people don't understand this.

Post
#760428
Topic
What we like about the Prequels
Time

This is a good topic.  Thought-provoking.

As an unabashed prequel hater, I also realize that everything exists on a continuum; nothing can be absolutely "bad" or "good."  Even though I generally think that the prequels are vastly inferior to the classic trilogy, I do like certain moments in the prequels:

1) The action set-pieces in TPM.  The pod-race and "Duel of the Fates," if not necessarily rising to the level of the classic trilogy, got the juices flowing and people talking. Which is really one of the main functions of cinema in the first place, in my opinion.

2) Liam Neeson.  He carries TPM.  No other actor carries the other two prequel films.  That's one of the many reasons why they're both such a terrible, out-of-control mess.   

3) A certain walking and talking scene in Episode III.  Obi-Wan: "Yes, but use your feelings Anakin, something is out of place;" and "The Council is asking you."  Just a good, well acted scene by Ewan all around.  If most of the prequels' scenes were this good, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Post
#760427
Topic
The Random EU Thoughts Thread
Time

I love Shadows of the Empire and Heir to the Empire.  I never really connected with any of the other stuff, even the Thrawn sequels.  It all feels very tedious.  And all of it completely misses the point of who Luke Skywalker is.  After Jedi, I see him either coming out of "retirement" very tenuously or not at all.  He's the kind of guy who would hang up the lightsaber and cloak and help war refugees after Jedi, not the guy who appears in all the post-Jedi stuff.  Pass.

Post
#760423
Topic
ESB Obi Wan scene
Time

There are two ways to approach your question:  1) To pretend the prequels don't exist; 2) to answer your question based on the events depicted in the prequels.

1) is relatively straightforward.  You can imagine a really dramatic and psychologically complex relationship in which Obi Wan failed his friend in some important way; or 

2) There is actually dialogue in the duel that addresses this issue somewhat.  When Ani and Obi are floating around on the lava-capture droids in the Ep III duel, Ani says something (I forget what) and Obi says: "I have failed you, Anakin." I interpreted this as Obi-Wan blaming himself for his failure to properly instruct, indoctrinate, and mentor Anakin.