PDA

View Full Version : Wooden Dialogue



Sithspawn
26 July 2005, 05:58 AM
RANT ON

I've just read another review of ROTS, this time in a works magazine, repeating "if you can get past the wooden dialogue" comment as seen in pretty much every review of this or any Star Wars film recently.

Excuse me? Have any of these reviewers EVER seen any other Hollywood movie? Or any sitcoms? The delivery of lines is appaulling. I see nothing wrong with the dialogue in the Star Wars movies, especially compaired with nearly every other movie out there.

And then there's the other line reviewers seem eager to use, "well this isn't exactly Shakespear." Thank the gods, that's what I say. I cannot stand Shakespear, and yes I am English.


When Star Wars came out in the 70's it was fantastic, with only a few poor reviews the media raved about it. Nowadays it seems like the media just want to rip it apart for being successful and that good. Compaired to what else is out at the moment the only thing that I have found on par with ROTS this year is Doctor Who.

RANT OVER

darkforcerising
26 July 2005, 07:18 AM
I totally agree. It seems like every critic out there feels the need to put down certain aspects of the movie just because it's the thing to do. Just because Star Wars is fantastic entertainment without all of the heavy baggage of critic-loved films (Million Dollar Baby?), critics want to bash the film's weak points.

This is precisely why Roger Ebert and friends have almost no effect on what I watch. Because they (almost) always get it wrong.

Sabre
26 July 2005, 01:37 PM
Critics have to hate the things everyone else loves. They make a living off of being entertained and commenting on it. So they have to make it seem like they know something the rest of us don't, or that they somehow know what we ought to like better than we do, because it's more 'artistic' or 'refined'. Really, though, even if they were presented with a piece of work so great it's still around and still enjoyed a thousand years from now, they'll poo-poo it on principle.

PsychoInfiltrator
26 July 2005, 03:24 PM
If ROTS was the greatest movie in history byt the sum total of an additional five stars, (I think it was) critics would shun it because of AOTC, which was said to be (mostly) bad (because of TPM) which was in turn said to be bad because it wasn't the originals, and Jar Jar reminded people about ewoks. Ewoks (and ROTJ) were said to be bad because it was too 'commercialized' and apparently wasn't as good as TESB. TESB is often said to have been the best because the Rebels got wupped big time and there were alot of realistic elements. And because special effects wise it was better (they had a bigger budget, after all) than Star Wars. Star Wars was said to be a good movie because it was a good movie.

Also, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that if Greedo hadn't shot first in the spec edition, the Special Edition would get all the credit and fawning-over it deserves because (mostly due to special effects) it made the movies look a whole lot better.

But I still say the DVDs suck. Getting to actually hear the Stormie nearly conk his lights out isn't quite worth the grimace from Lucas changing Anakin's ghost.

Fingon
28 July 2005, 02:03 PM
I might just be living in a little bubble out here, but every one I know, besides two people, said the only real problem with the prequels was the bad diologue. I agree. It just wasn't that good and really took away from the movies. From 'Ani's "are you an angel" to Vader's final "NOOOOOOO!!!!" It just wan't very good or delivered well. Some people, you included, disagree with me, but most people I know said everything was good except the dialogue.

It may be that the dialogue is as good as in the origionals, but standards for movies have changed over the decades. If you want a movie with good delivery, I'll give you some. The Matrix, Lord of the Rings (not as much RotK) Batman, Spider Man, Titanic, Jurassic Park, The Sixth Sense, The Terminator, etc etc etc.

I'll give you that Episode III has done well in the box office (#8 of all time), but everyone HAS to see Star Wars and we all know it. I personally believe that if Star Wars had good dialogue (ie, Lucas doesn't write it), Episode III would be in the top 3 movies of all time.

Corr Terek
28 July 2005, 03:29 PM
If you want a movie with good delivery, I'll give you some. The Matrix

Let me get this straight...you're saying that a movie that starred one of history's all-time worst actors had a better dialogue delivery than Revenge?

The Matrix was cool, yah, but the dialogue was nothing special. No better than Star Wars, certainly.

boccelounge
28 July 2005, 04:23 PM
Originally posted by Corr Terek
Let me get this straight...you're saying that a movie that starred one of history's all-time worst actors had a better dialogue delivery than Revenge?

LOL... "Whoa."


Coincidentally, have you guys watched the Episode I DVD extra feature on the casting of young Anakin? They show Jake Lloyd and a couple other kids auditioning, with a cool comparison of their delivery of the "are you an angel?" line.

Now, I hate to join the staggering number of people willing to bash poor Jake Lloyd... but man, there's another kid who really delivers the line well. It makes you realize how much better the role could have been...

And I think there's an important argument to be made that a good actor can sell an awkward line. And by "awkward" I mean "non-contemporary." Lucas is quite good at capturing a certain archaic, "fairy-tale" -type speech, but it takes a pretty talented actor to make it sound natural on film.

Look at the LotR films... Tolkien's language (as represented by the filmmakers) certainly isn't contemporary, and could've sounded really bad, but the actors all sold it so well. On those same lines, with all the long dialogue scenes Palaptine has in RotS, an actor less skilled than Ian McDiarmid could've really botched the character, and thus the whole movie... as it was: WOW. He was amazing.

So, even though some fans may not like the language Lucas uses, I say they should at least recognize that it isn't a "mistake," it's very intentional; AND, it's still up the actors to play it correctly.


2cr

SmugglerJedi
4 August 2005, 09:21 AM
Well, the dialogue from all the prequels just wasn't as good as the originals, IMHO. RotS was definitely better (hanger scene) but they were never that good. They just, just didn't seem natural. They seemed too artificial. Without emotion. Episode I was the worst in that regard, though it still outranks about 85% of every other movie created in the last 50 years.

And dialogue was the only real problem with the prequels. I would have loved RotS with 150% of my heart, <I>except</i> the love dialogue between Anakin and Padme` <i>sucked</i>. Yeech! I mean, this is George Lucas! What the fark is with this crap? "I'm in love with you because you're beautiful" or some crud like that. Bad delivery. Ugh. Ewan McGregor, on the other hand, was great. Probably not as great as the original actors, but he still did an extraordinary job in Ep3.

And as for the critics, they're paid to be a$$[deleted]. Whenever I look in the TV guide, all I see from the critics is "how horrible this movie sucked" and etc. etc. etc. They're paid to say that stuff. Because if they said "It's great!", well, it would go against the law of physics.

Just my opinion. SJ.

boccelounge
4 August 2005, 10:05 AM
Originally posted by SmugglerJedi
Well, the dialogue from all the prequels just wasn't as good as the originals, IMHO. RotS was definitely better (hanger scene) but they were never that good. They just, just didn't seem natural. They seemed too artificial. Without emotion. Episode I was the worst in that regard, though it still outranks about 85% of every other movie created in the last 50 years.
I guess... but again, realize the dialogue was more formal and more "wooden" as a result of a deliberate choice by the filmmaker. He wanted to contrast the formality (stuffiness?) of the Old Republic era with the more backwater Tatooine/Rebel settings prevalent on the OT.

But yeah, the delivery is sometimes bad.

Not to get into all the petty griping, but I've been pretty disappointed with Portman thoughout the PT... I think it's accurate to say that in the last two films, the status of her tummy was more important than anything she said. ;)

On the other hand, I'm in the camp that thinks Hayden Christensen (sp?) at least partially redeemed his AotC performance by virtue of his RotS performance. There were some rough spots for him in AotC, IMO, but having seen the entirety of his "Darth Vader" arc, I now appreciate what he was doing in AotC a little more. Namely, he was trying to work a little "James Earl" into his speech. That's... pretty cool, now that I "get it."




And dialogue was the only real problem with the prequels. I would have loved RotS with 150% of my heart, <I>except</i> the love dialogue between Anakin and Padme` <i>sucked</i>. Yeech! I mean, this is George Lucas! What the fark is with this crap? "I'm in love with you because you're beautiful" or some crud like that. Bad delivery. Ugh. Ewan McGregor, on the other hand, was great. Probably not as great as the original actors, but he still did an extraordinary job in Ep3.
Ah man, I can't help but sound like a corny fan: Ewan's cool as hell.

And yeah, I don't know about the love scene dialogue. RotS wasn't as bad as AotC in this regard, but it was surely the weakest part of each film. I guess it's hard to sell traditional "romance novel" dialogue when we've grown up thinking that courtship in the Star Wars universe involves terms like "nerf-herder" and "scruffy."

But, you know, there are a lot poor performances in the OT. Don't get me wrong; I entirely love it, but technically speaking, there are some terrible deliveries by (for example) Harrison Ford. Watch his face after Leia answers his question "what's so important, what's he carrying?" I think Ford meant to look "shocked," but to me it looks more like "flatulent." :)




And as for the critics, they're paid to be a$$[deleted]. Whenever I look in the TV guide, all I see from the critics is "how horrible this movie sucked" and etc. etc. etc. They're paid to say that stuff. Because if they said "It's great!", well, it would go against the law of physics.

Just my opinion. SJ.
Well, legitimate literary criticism is something I enjoy reading (and writing, occasionally) but I don't think of "movie critics" as anything more than shills-- they're trying to sell me something, whether it's the film, their magazine, or themselves. There's nothing inhereently wrong with that, but that doesn't mean I care to listen to it. You're clearly better off making up your own mind. Who cares what some CNN chick thinks about, well, anything?


Good conversation. Thanks. Now it's back to old salt mines for me...

Ris
5 August 2005, 05:55 AM
On the other hand, I'm in the camp that thinks Hayden Christensen (sp?) at least partially redeemed his AotC performance by virtue of his RotS performance. There were some rough spots for him in AotC...
Another thing to recall about Anakin's dialog in Ep. II, is that George told Hayden to play him that way & that presumably inlcudes not only the dialogue but how it was delivered. This has been reported in several interviews before & after the RotS premiere. Apprantly Hayden was not thrilled about his Ep. II instructions at the time.

SmugglerJedi
5 August 2005, 07:35 AM
He isn't the only one. SJ.

boccelounge
5 August 2005, 09:33 AM
Originally posted by Ris
Another thing to recall about Anakin's dialog in Ep. II, is that George told Hayden to play him that way & that presumably inlcudes not only the dialogue but how it was delivered. This has been reported in several interviews before & after the RotS premiere. Apprantly Hayden was not thrilled about his Ep. II instructions at the time.

Yeah, good point.

And let me clarify: I liked Hayden in AotC to begin with, but now that I've seen RotS, I like his AotC performance even more.

That is, there were "good" and "bad" parts of the film and his part in it, but on balance, I thought the good easily outwieghed the bad-- and now I that understand the reasoning behind some of the stuff I didn't like... well, I think you get the point. I think I'm in "over-explaining mode" this afternoon. :)

Wesly Senesca
5 August 2005, 05:00 PM
Another thing to recall about Anakin's dialog in Ep. II, is that George told Hayden to play him that way & that presumably inlcudes not only the dialogue but how it was delivered. This has been reported in several interviews before & after the RotS premiere. Apprantly Hayden was not thrilled about his Ep. II instructions at the time.

I knew it! Could one of you guys poiny me to some of those reviews. I'm having a hell of a time trying to convince people that Hayden over-acted on purpose.

BEGIN RANT
Also, it's my opinion that people who are over-critical of the PT usually have unreal and exploded expectations of the movies and were disappointed with what they got. In a way they got what they deserved believing that Star Wars let them down.
END RANT

Master Dao Rin
5 August 2005, 09:26 PM
Originally posted by Wesly Senesca
I knew it! Could one of you guys poiny me to some of those reviews. I'm having a hell of a time trying to convince people that Hayden over-acted on purpose.

You don't need a review my friend.

As a filmmaker and director myself I can tell you straight up that every one of those actors was told to act they way they did. Trust me, a director doesn't put one single frame of film up into the final print that they can't at least live with. Sure, there are moments when a director can't get something just so, but actors don't just stand in front of a camera and make pretend without any direction ... hence, the title Director.

Natalie was given very specific instructions on how to block each scene from George; she just didn't suddenly lose all her acting experience when she entered the Star Wars mythos.

So too with Hayden and Ian and every other actor in the film. I'll say it right now: Mr. Christiansen is a good actor - anyone saying otherwise doesn't quite understand acting IMO.

One of the most valuable lessons I've learned too, in this craft, is to listen to a performer's thoughts and feelings on the character they are trying to portray. Usually, it enhances the performance immensely when the actors are able to connect on a deeper level with the character they are creating with the director.

So, while each performer obviously shares responsibility in their performance, the large majority of that responsibility lies with the Director since it's the Director's decisions that are determining what is finally seen by you, the audience. If they didn't want you to see what you saw, you wouldn't have seen it - or, hopefully less likely - you are witnessing a director that is not as experience in their craft as their peers.

Thus, George Lucas must rightly shoulder the blame if you think that the acting was "wooden" or poor ... but not the actors.

Fingon
8 August 2005, 11:31 AM
Well, the dialogue from all the prequels just wasn't as good as the originals, IMHO. RotS was definitely better (hanger scene) but they were never that good. They just, just didn't seem natural. They seemed too artificial. Without emotion.

I agree. Most of the conversations just didn't seems real, like it was an actual conversation between two people. The Origionals did this much better in my opinon. And I also agree that there were some VERY bad lines, but not any where near as many.

Just to clarify, Matrix did have bad lines, but some of them were delivered well, which was what I was listing.


Also, it's my opinion that people who are over-critical of the PT usually have unreal and exploded expectations of the movies and were disappointed with what they got. In a way they got what they deserved believing that Star Wars let them down.


Wesly Senesca, I didn't have 'exploded expectations,' I just wanted to see a movie where I didn't cringe several times watching it.



Thus, George Lucas must rightly shoulder the blame if you think that the acting was "wooden" or poor ... but not the actors.

Agreed. I've almost always put the blame of Lucas, rarely the actors.

chiefcaptin
9 August 2005, 06:05 AM
Star Wars has always had bad dialogue. In Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays he admits he stinks at writing dialogue. Why he keeps on doing it, we will never know...

Master Dao Rin
9 August 2005, 09:36 PM
Because we still lap it up like pablum no matter what he writes.

It's Star Wars man. The dialogue doesn't freakin' matter.

boccelounge
9 August 2005, 09:49 PM
Originally posted by Master Dao Rin
It's Star Wars man. The dialogue doesn't freakin' matter.

You can't say it better than that.


(Though I still hold that it's not correct to simply call it "bad" and that the "woodenness" was a deliberate choice, not a mistake. That doesn't mean you have to like the dialogue, but at least realize it wasn't done accidentally.)

(But I digress-- Master Dao gave us the definitive word on the subject. :) )

chiefcaptin
10 August 2005, 04:52 AM
Originally posted by Master Dao Rin
Because we still lap it up like pablum no matter what he writes.

It's Star Wars man. The dialogue doesn't freakin' matter.

My point exactly. It's always been bad and even back in '77 we loved it all the same. Do we love it now? Ofcourse.

Master Dao Rin
10 August 2005, 06:52 PM
Hell, the same goes for the acting too.

I simply cannot grasp why people stress over these two things when talking about The Greatest Movies of All Time.