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View Full Version : Are the prequels real films or just journals?



Rogal Dorn
19 May 2003, 01:36 AM
Sometimes i wonder if episodes 1 and 2 are just there to chronicle the history of star wars, the originals were all excellent stand-alone films, however the plot lines for 1 and 2 are so flimsy its like theyve been patched together just for the sake of it. Maybe lucas should of incorporated what the fans wanted into the films, cos thats all they really are films to satisfy the fans star wars appetites. I know its his vision n' all, its just the guyz who work for him shudda got more say in what was going on and maybe we woulda got what we wanted. Hey bring back Han Solo, now he was cool, thats what ep3 needs, a cool anti hero like Vin Diesel or someone to spice things up, Sam Jacksons OK but he aint no HeMan like Vin. Problem is he'd probably steal the show from that pathetic pinup Anakin. Just like Han Solo did with Luke.
Thoughts....?

Codym
19 May 2003, 02:56 AM
Episode I and II work perfectly fine as real films, well plotted with some good characters and some great special effects. The problem with them is they are standing next to classics, and cannot help but seem lesser by that standard. I think once the anti-SW backlash has calmed down and the hype is gone, Phantom Menace and, to lesser extent, Attack of the Clones will be rediscovered and seen for the films they are, much like Blade Runner eventually was.

The problem with giving into fans is many fans have no idea what they're talking about, and don't seem to have the patience to allow the story to be told. They want the instant gratification of an empty, souless Hollywood blockbuster, not something that is part of a greater, grander whole. Prequels are notoriously hard to make, and it is sometimes a wonder those two are as good as they are. Star Wars does not need big named actors (as cool as Diesel is, I don't think he'd fit well in the SW universe) or the latested bullet-time slowmo and leather coats that have been stolen from the comercial world. Star Wars only needs to be Star Wars, and that is what the prequels are.

Faraer
19 May 2003, 10:10 AM
If you want to say plots are flimsy you have to say why, and how they're different from the plots of Episodes IV-VI. Movies that pander to perceived audience wants (especially people who wouldn't know mythopoeia if it bit them) aren't art, they're disposable product. I'm fairly sure there are no antiheroes in Star Wars, Vin Diesel is not 'cool' except in the most ersatz way, and Star Wars doesn't have cool, it has neat. There you go.

Corwin
19 May 2003, 01:53 PM
I was with you right up until around the thing about Vin Diesel :raised:

Ardent
19 May 2003, 02:16 PM
Before I watch TPM or AotC, I try to put everything I know about the original trilogy in a box in the corner of my mind and leave it alone for the duration of the movies. I watch them and they're fantastic. But when I try to watch them with the whole original trilogy trivia in mind, they pale terribly compared to the originals, simply because the originals were so ground-breaking and absolutely out of left field...

Reverend Strone
19 May 2003, 05:26 PM
Moving this one to the Rants and Raves forum...

cheshire
20 May 2003, 09:48 AM
I think that I have to agree that the prequil trillogy is turning out to be more about chronicalling the Clone Wars and the rise of the Empire more than it does contribute to the modern myth that was created in the original trilogy. Trust me, I know mythology. I actually contributed a great deal of time in my masters study to philosophy of religion and myth. I'm actually going through Hero With a Thousand Faces right now, and I have to tell you, I think that George has lost his focus on the mythos of Star Wars.

The Hero With a Thousand Faces was actually one of George's inspirations for doing ANH, and thus you have a lot of the mythological elements present there and in the following two films. However, the only thing that I can see that is truly substantial in this film is the representation of evil in TPM. That being you have two types of substantial evil, one which is the ever present, ever threatening Maul, who is as subtle as the bludgeoning tool after which he is named; and you have Sidious a silent evil which manipulates behind the scenes. The up-front more brutal evil is the one most easily identified and most easily confronted (and thereby destroyed), where that quiet one is the even more threatening.

Now, though that was excellently portrayed, that's about where the depth stops. How do we say that the story line is weaker? For starters, it lacks the mythological elements that make a great story great. The iconic wise mentor does not exist in a singular character, the hero does not pass through any of the initiation, quest, loss, transformation and return that is classic to such stories. We have a substitution for "neato lightsaber scenes" for the dramatic dialogue that we had in the first three films. Seriously. Turn the sound on and the picture off for the lightsaber scenes and listen to all five. ep IV-VI, the story is actually moving. ep I and II, you just hear the humms and whirrs of a blade. And that's just a start.

That's why they're not as substantial films as the original three. And that's only a start as to why they are only chronicals for the original, rather than a continuing representation of what the original was.

Rogal Dorn
21 May 2003, 12:24 AM
Gotta agree with you there. I suppose the prequels lack the themes and symbolism of the originals. I think there was such a demand for the prequels that Lucas thought any junk he spurted forth would be adequate to satisfy.

When you were a kid you didnt realise what profound effect Star Wars had on you, it was like a modern day biblical story, and the cool toys were just supplemental to the dream you were surrounded in. It was like you were understanding philosophy and ethics/morals at a very young age because Star Wars disguised all these things and made them cool. That is why the originals are Genius.

George had a chance to revisit this stuff with the prequels, gotta give him credit where credit is due but I think the Originals tooks so much out of him he just wanted to make some simple adventure films to keep everyone happy and hey thats ok. The guy is getting old and tired, and these films are so massive they gotta wear you out.

Any more thoughts.

Faraer
21 May 2003, 05:06 AM
Rogal Dorn, all one has to do to see how absurd and insulting 'there was such a demand for the prequels that Lucas thought any junk he spurted forth would be adequate to satisfy' is is ask why he didn't start on Episode I ten years earlier. You put your finger on your own varying interpretation of the films -- 'when you were a kid'.

Cheshire -- Episodes I-III don't reiterate the straightforward mythic structure of IV-VI because they're about how the hero's journey can go wrong and be perverted into evil. We have this Jedi Order which is an intitution of heroes, and each of them is a hero and a mentor in turn and sometimes at once. In Episode II, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan's and Anakin's quests are in parallel, with some misdirection as to which the crucial one is. In Episodes II and III we see how Anakin's training goes wrong as hinted in Episode IV: Qui-Gon's premature death at the hands of the unnatural Sith interrupts the Jedi cycle and Obi-Wan is not quite able to act as a fully able mentor for Anakin who therefore seeks other fathers and mothers and doesn't have the guidance he needs to interpret his descent into hell. It's all quite coherent.

Sasche
21 May 2003, 06:06 AM
I see a major difference in the original trilogy and the prequels in how Humor is brought into the story.
The original trilogy had some witty dialogue, and some legitimately funny lines.
The prequels are depending on ridiculous slapstick and unbelievable luck. (Jar Jar doing his best "Gomer Pyle" imitation --- C3PO switching heads with battle droids)
These scenes would never have seen the light of day in the original trilogy. But somewhere Lucas decided that he needed to "reach a broader audience", hence he added these horrible moments.

I have to ask, How broad of an audience did Lucas want? Wasn't Star Wars going to sell to a huge number of people without resorting to "Three Stooges"-like slapstick?

cheshire
21 May 2003, 06:47 AM
I thank you for your post Faraer, it was well thought out. You also have a fair point. However, I think that this puts the hero's journey in a very akward position. You have Anakin in a very akward position in that he is not a true hero and he is not a true anti-hero, IMHO. Usually we see the downfall of the antihero either through hubris or through the and sacrificial act of redemption. Granted, we do see this in Episode VI. The reason why I think that this gives us backstory and not a complete continuity is for two reasons. First, the idea of the cycle being broken had already been represented in e.VI when Obi-Wan was talking to Luke about his father's fall from grace. Second I see a break in continuity becuase e.I-III is Anakin's story, but e.IV-VI is (ostensibly) Luke's story. In IV-VI, Darth Vader is not an antihero or hero, but the villian. He is a symbol of the perversion of what Luke is destined to be, and he is also a possible future for Luke should he accept that perversion.

Lucas Carr
21 May 2003, 10:45 AM
As far as we have seen now, I-II is not a hero's journey, while IV-VI is a hero's journey for Luke Skywalker.

Ep I, is the beginning of a hero's journey for Anakin, but it is not continued in II. But seeing all six movies, it can be argued that I-VI is a variant hero's journey for Anakin Skywalker.

Sasche
21 May 2003, 10:53 AM
I can't be sure, but I think in one of the Lucas interviews on the "Special Edition" VHS tapes, he described the prequel stories as focusing on Anakin Skywalker. He said that when all six movies are taken together, it will be realized that the focal character in the entire story is about the rise and fall (and final redemption) of Anakin Skywalker, and not Luke, as the original trilogy seemed to indicate.

Admiral_Atredies
21 May 2003, 01:32 PM
I think a lot of fans nowadays have so little faith in George Lucas, and I'm pretty indefferent on the subject. Are the prequels inferior to the original? Of course. But, focus on the positive here people, IT'S FUN! Tell me, in what other movie can you see a telekinetic, super-human, two-foot tall lizard flying circles around some old guy with shiny lazer swords. Answer: there is none. Star Wars is good in it's own right, and while I can' say I love Jara Jar Binks or the romantic cliches in AOTC, the movies are still entertaining. And, of course, we fans can go the step further and become emersed in the novels, comics, and other stuff. My second point in the argument is that without GL, we wouldn't be having this discussion, so I think we owe it to him to indulge his senile director's ways. :)

cheshire
21 May 2003, 03:45 PM
I think in one of the Lucas interviews on the "Special Edition" VHS tapes, he described the prequel stories as focusing on Anakin Skywalker. He said that when all six movies are taken together, it will be realized that the focal character in the entire story is about the rise and fall (and final redemption) of Anakin

I know what George has said about the Saga really being about Anakin... which is exactly why I think he's loosing his focus. As I had said before, that blurrs the lines between antihero, hero, and villian... something completely outside of the idea of a hero's journey as far as I'm aware. However, that has only been a very limiated part of my study.


IT'S FUN! Tell me, in what other movie can you see a telekinetic, super-human, two-foot tall lizard flying circles around some old guy with shiny lazer swords.

Just becuase it's a novel idea doesn't mean that it's quality material that can stand the test of time. Look at the movie Krull. Wow. Lots of new ideas. But outside of a small group... no one has heard of it. Saying "Wow... no one else is doing this." Doesn't mean that it has any true substance. Granted, this first trilogy was highly substantial. I don't feel that the prequil trilogy is nearly so.


And, of course, we fans can go the step further and become emersed in the novels, comics, and other stuff.

Marketability does not mean it's high quality. Look at how many Yugos were sold. I actually think that the expanded universe does more to tarnish the legacy that the original trilogy started rather than continues it. Granted, some of it is entertaining and well written (such as some of Zahn's work), but the vast majority of it is not.

Admiral_Atredies
21 May 2003, 05:00 PM
I see your point, cheshire, but I guess you didn't get mine. I'm just saying that George Lucas is not a great director IMHO, so you'll most likely be dissapointed if you go in to a Star Wars prequel movie expecting oscar material.


Marketability does not mean it's high quality. Look at how many Yugos were sold. I actually think that the expanded universe does more to tarnish the legacy that the original trilogy started rather than continues it. Granted, some of it is entertaining and well written (such as some of Zahn's work), but the vast majority of it is not.

Sure, but Lucas doesn't really care much about what anyone writes, which I think is the cause of your "problem". Lucas wouldn't consider any of it true cannon no matter how ingeniuos it was, and thats why there is so much of it. The Expanded Universe, in my opinion, has become more of a pick and choose system. If you don't like a certain novel, ignore it and read another one (or none if you like). The reason that there is so much of this so-called tarnishing material is because Lucas has basically given writers free range (hey, he let 'em kill Chewie). I agree that there is a great deal of EU crap going around, but I keep quiet because the time of chosing is long gone.I just keep quiet, and read what I want.

cheshire
22 May 2003, 10:14 AM
I see what you're saying now, Admiral_Atredies. Thanks for the clarification.

I will say this much as far as Lucas' directing: I think he's got a great thing going on in the technical aspect. We've always been able to count on him to advance the medium.