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stoic_75
27 May 2002, 04:11 PM
All right, at this point everyone's seen the movie. Almost all the posts have been positive and some claim it is not only the best starwars movie but also the best movie in the history of filmmaking. I think everyone needs to take a step back and think hard. This movie is not unique. This was not Citizen Kane. Yes, this movie was very good and lots of fun to watch. It had strong performances by Ewan Macgregor, Ian McClelland, and Christopher Lee. It had "cool" special effects and well executed fight scenes. But so do a lot of movies, even the now villified Phantom Menace. I think most of the success of film is due to the fact that it appeals to the lowest common denominator. It's got fights, stuff blowing up, and special effects. If Natalie Portman took her top off there wouldn't be an unhappy teenage boy on the planet. These things not withstanding, this movie has plenty of bad points. A: Hayden Christensen. aka Mannequin Skywalker. Yes, he was acting awkward on purpose. He just missed the mark. B: C-3P0) aka Jar Jar Binks. I think he gets less funny with each passing film. The part where his head gets put on a battle droid made me think of the Gungan battle in Ep1. What a waste. And finally C: The director. He just doesn't have the stuff. Let's hope he steps aside for Ep3 and let's Irving Kershner close the inning.

Master Dao Rin
27 May 2002, 04:24 PM
It all boils down to "C" I'm afraid. You can't blame Hayden - he was TOLD to act like that by Lucas. C3PO and Jar Jar are solely in there because George wanted them there. So, it really is all just one thing, not three

ALFRED_THE_EWOK
27 May 2002, 05:15 PM
Wow, an anti AotC thread. I didn't think anyone would be brave enough to endure the backlash that this would surely generate, though I would agree with you about the acting and your opinion on the move, I didn't think it was that great.

Superdog
27 May 2002, 05:55 PM
It comes down to whether a person feels the good outweighed the bad, or the other way around. I feel the good outweighed the bad, others don't agree. And Alfred, the Holonet doesn't have backlash for people with dissenting opinions.

ALFRED_THE_EWOK
27 May 2002, 07:00 PM
Originally posted by Superdog
And Alfred, the Holonet doesn't have backlash for people with dissenting opinions.

What about that one guy who said that the people in hijacked airplanes, on September 11th, should have defended themselves and said they were cowardly or something like that. I think it might have even been a moderator that flamed him and told him he couldn't voice his opinion.

VixenofVenus
27 May 2002, 08:38 PM
Well ... I hate to be the voice of the gal who is anti-'anti-AotC' ... but I truly loved the film ... but if you are asking if it is the best film ever made ... you need to define your terms.

A) My favorite film?
- So far, I hope to live to see a better film always, but for now, my whims are pointing to yes, maybe

B) Best historical film from a basis of impact on society?
- While there are a rash of young people all across the globe buying toy lightsabers, talking Yoda dolls, and Star Wars flamethrowers ... other than the ungodly amount of money GL will make from this movie and the stimulation of the world's economy ... it really won't have any more impact than if George had released a movie that said, "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away ... <fade to black> GL walks out on stage and moons the audience ... end of movie" (actually, that might have had MORE impact on society, but we won't get into that) ... so yes, I would say, that Citizen Kane, Casablanca, The Godfather, Raiders of the Lost Arc, Star Wars (ANH), and a rash of other films had way more impact on society.

C) Best made film ever from a standpoint of pure filmmaking?
- Well, it had good cinematography, sound, music, and OK directing ... it was better than Ep1 at least ... but not a stupendous Ridley Scott, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola film. In fact, there are literally hundreds of 'artsy' films that aren't even to be found on video in most large video stores that show off filmmaking at its best ... but once you've seen these films, you either never watch them again or use them to make a raft so you can escape a deserted island to get back to Helen Hunt.



So ... in the end ... it really boils down to ... is this the best film ever made ... NO ... is it a damn enjoyable film ... hell yes. Will it be some people's all time favorite ... yes. Is that so bad ... no, once we as a planet can convince a friend of mine that Galaxy Quest is not the best film ever made ... that will be the first step and then we can continue on to people like me who love AotC.

dgswensen
28 May 2002, 01:05 AM
Okay, a few points...

First of all, If someone wants to believe AotC is the greatest movie in the history of cinema, that's their opinion and they have every right to it. That doesn't mean you have to agree, of course.

Second of all, "uniqueness" is highly overrated, and in the modern world, next to impossible. Show me a film or a story you think is utterly unique and a few hours to research, I will find you several others just like it, most of them made decades, if not centuries, earlier. The original plot does not exist. You can assemble the pieces in new and interesting ways (as I feel Star Wars has done a fine job of in general), but it all comes from the same, very small, set of archetypes.

Thirdly, the "lowest common denominator" argument -- I'm sorry, but I find this to be elitist and, I hope you will pardon me for saying so, intellectually lazy. Star Wars is one of those rare phenomena where millions of people can all see something different in it. Beyond the movies, there have been thousands of books, comics, short stories, fanfics, fan films, RPGs, and other stories told, each with their own particular take on the Star Wars universe.

Yes, AotC does feature a lot of action, but I've had plenty of thought-provoking discussions with fellow fans over what certain (non-explosion-related) events might mean for the next film, or how they tied into the previous film. Not to mention the fact that pooh-poohing a movie because it contains some violence and explosions implies that it's somehow shameful or anti-intellectual to get an adrenaline rush from a movie -- that's just bunk, in my opinion. Even Shakespeare was considered a fairly low-brow entertainer in his day, and plenty of his plays (Titus Andronicus, for starters) feature heaps of sex, wanton violence, and plenty of "unrefined" moments.

Plus, to criticize Star Wars for its action and adventure elements sorely misunderstands what Star Wars is about. Star Wars is Flash Gordon with a budget. It's a Saturday-afternoon serial. They're pulp movies. You want deep, thought-provoking science fiction, watch Gattaca or 2001.

Speaking of which, I own Citizen Kane, and it's one of my favorite movies. Funny enough that you should mention it, but Citizen Kane is similar to Star Wars on many levels. Both films wielded tremendous influence in terms of their use of technology; both directors were reviled and slandered endlessly for years, and the greatness of each film is closely married to both its technical achievement and the story behind its success.

Oh, and incidentally, Citizen Kane is the story of a young man who is taken away from his parents at an early age, given tremendous power, attains control of a massive empire (publishing empire, that is), becomes corrupt and power-mongering, and loses his wife and everything he has in the end because of it. Sound familiar?

Which is not to imply that Star Wars is better or worse than Citizen Kane; they're apples and oranges, ultimately. But they're not the light-years apart that some think them to be, IMHO.

And one last thing. I like Empire Strikes Back as much as the next guy, but I think you might want to take a step back and look at the rest of Irvin Kershner's career before you revere him as some kind of filmmaking god. His body of work after Empire consists of:

<LI>Robocop II
<LI>Never Say Never Again (that turkey of a Thunderball remake)
<LI>An Amazing Stories episode called "Hell Toupee"
<LI>Some SeaQuest DSV episodes. That's right, "Darwin hurrrt!"

In other words, you want to talk about a director whose one good movie is a fluke... Irvin Kershner's your man. Yes, the man did a fine job with Empire, but I don't think his track record bears out his place as the savior of all Star Wars.

All of that having been said, I agree with you that AotC had its flaws -- not the least of which being C-3PO's mooments, which I disliked intensely as well. For the record, I don't think AotC is the greatest film ever made, nor is it my favorite of the films. But I did have a fine time watching it, and that counts for a lot in my book.

Anyway. Sorry if this comes off sounding a little harsh -- I respect your opinion and agree with some of your points. But those I disagree with, I feel rather strongly about. :)

ALFRED_THE_EWOK
28 May 2002, 01:15 AM
Originally posted by dgswensen
Second of all, "uniqueness" is highly overrated, and in the modern world, next to impossible. Show me a film or a story you think is utterly unique and a few hours to research, I will find you several others just like it, most of them made decades, if not centuries, earlier. The original plot does not exist. You can assemble the pieces in new and interesting ways (as I feel Star Wars has done a fine job of in general), but it all comes from the same, very small, set of archetypes.



There has to be uniqueness somewhere though, becuase, If you think about it, all ideas or concepts had to be new at one point and had to start somewhere.

Puck
28 May 2002, 02:06 AM
But to do that Alfred, you have to go back to the dawn of time, when prehistoric humans attempted to explain their world by creating stories.

You look around the world, in every country, in every culture, EVERYTHING - be it play, book, film, can be traced back to the dawn of time. The only thing that would differ is the 'window-dressing' you put on the story (eg. space opera, western, etc).

That's not to demean anything, and it's obivous based on the SHEER number of permutations one can find that there is a lot of scope to mix-and-match, as dgwensen has already stated. That is the only 'uniqueness' you're going to see. And even then, with a bit of research I'm sure you could find something similar somewhere in human history.

There is nothing new under the sun, my friend, and originiality is just hiding your sources well.

That being said, I loved the movie. It was pure fun - I had the same feeling of enjoyment I had after seeing ANH when I was 5 years old. (But that could be because - deep down - I'm STILL 5 years old) :D

dgwensen - excellent work. Give yourself a pat on the back.

Puck :)
Unashamed 5 year old.

Mjolner
28 May 2002, 02:45 AM
AotC is a great movie..the best I have seen in a while. I'm not sure if it's the best Star Wars movie since I'ma big fan off RotJ.

I know it's not the best movie I have EVER seen. There's a few I enjoyed just as much.

Alien 1 & 2 (3 and 4 doesn't exist in my mind :D )
Pitchblack (Best "anti-hero" ever is in that movie)
Gladiator (just plain good)

Those are just a few.

As long as I ENJOY a movie i don't care what the critics or other people think about the director, the sound, actors and all that. It doesn't matter that I could easily see in several scenes that they were shot against a blue-screen.

All that is irrelevant as along as I have a blast watching the movie. No artsy super-cultural movie can do that for me...but they sure put me to sleep soundly.
:D

So, thumbs up for AotC, even if it wasn't the most important step in movie history according to everyone!

OH, and the fact that Anakin chops up those Tuskens still makes the movie twice as good to me! I saw it again today, and heck if that moment isn't the best in the whole movie, rivaled only by Yoda's little duel scene. :D :D :D

wolverine
28 May 2002, 03:19 AM
someone else who likes pitch black.....

reliant
28 May 2002, 10:38 AM
I guess I'm just retarded because I DID like Pitch Black but did NOT like Attack of the Clones. :D

Let me just say that it was a MILLION TIMES better than episode 1, but it was not the end-all movie that some people claim it is.

On the other hand, I'm not gonna bash the EPII lovers either, because everyone is entitled to their own opinion...

Reverend Strone
28 May 2002, 08:03 PM
Some great discussions over here. Hats off to dgswensen and VixenofVenus, both with some very fine points, and articulated politely to boot. Were this discussion over at Harry Knowles's place it would have descended into a slanging match with the second post. All credit to Holonetters for being the kind of folks who can actually carry out a civilised discussion and not end up wanting to kill eachother.

I'm in the 'enjoyed it but don't rate it too highly' category. AOTC is great fun entertainment with some fantastically tantalising SW story movers in it. I'll see it a bunch more times even though I had some issues with some of GL's decisions (3PO among them). It isn't high on my list of great films, but it's up there on the list of purely entertaining ones, and I'm comfortable with that now.

It still irks me a little though, that I have to lower my expectations for good dialogue and kiddy humour just because that's what SW has become with the most recent films. I never used to have to be embarrassed for liking SW. Now it's become a title associated with mediocre filmaking in mainstream population, and I resent that. It wasn't when I got addicted way back.

stoic_75
28 May 2002, 08:57 PM
Originally posted by dgswensen

Thirdly, the "lowest common denominator" argument -- I'm sorry, but I find this to be elitist and, I hope you will pardon me for saying so, intellectually lazy. Star Wars is one of those rare phenomena where millions of people can all see something different in it. Beyond the movies, there have been thousands of books, comics, short stories, fanfics, fan films, RPGs, and other stories told, each with their own particular take on the Star Wars universe.

Careful there. I am certainly not looking down on anyone. I do not ordain myself better than anyone on this board. But I do believe that Lucas was so eager to please and so eager to distance himself from Phantom Menace that he injected the film with pure adrenaline to shut everyone up. Unfortunately this was not what was needed in the first place.. What was/is needed was a sound plot, dialogue, and in my opinion less Star Trek cheese.


Yes, AotC does feature a lot of action, but I've had plenty of thought-provoking discussions with fellow fans over what certain (non-explosion-related) events might mean for the next film, or how they tied into the previous film. Not to mention the fact that pooh-poohing a movie because it contains some violence and explosions implies that it's somehow shameful or anti-intellectual to get an adrenaline rush from a movie -- that's just bunk, in my opinion. Even Shakespeare was considered a fairly low-brow entertainer in his day, and plenty of his plays (Titus Andronicus, for starters) feature heaps of sex, wanton violence, and plenty of "unrefined" moments.

I did not say it was shameful to enjoy such movies. You are missing the crux of the argument. What I said was this was neither the best movie ever made nor the best StarWars movie ever made.

Plus, to criticize Star Wars for its action and adventure elements sorely misunderstands what Star Wars is about. Star Wars is Flash Gordon with a budget. It's a Saturday-afternoon serial. They're pulp movies. You want deep, thought-provoking science fiction, watch Gattaca or 2001.

That's all they are? Maybe, in this quick fix, 1hr photo, instant oatmeal society. But I like to delve deeper. And it is possible to have both action and complex social and psychological issues. ie. Blade Runner.

Oh, and incidentally, Citizen Kane is the story of a young man who is taken away from his parents at an early age, given tremendous power, attains control of a massive empire (publishing empire, that is), becomes corrupt and power-mongering, and loses his wife and everything he has in the end because of it. Sound familiar?

Familiar? Sure. King Midas. Or any number of myths. I chose Citizen Kane as unique due to its innovations in the making of the film, not the plot itself. The art of cinematography has its roots if not origins in that picture.


And one last thing. I like Empire Strikes Back as much as the next guy, but I think you might want to take a step back and look at the rest of Irvin Kershner's career before you revere him as some kind of filmmaking god.

Filmmaking god? I certainly did not imply that. What I am implying is that Kershner directed and had the best feel for the characters with his work on ESB. Perhaps, I'm wrong on this point since ESB has grossed the least of all the films. EP1 easily outsold it.


Anyway. Sorry if this comes off sounding a little harsh -- I respect your opinion and agree with some of your points. But those I disagree with, I feel rather strongly about. :)

No need to apologize dgswensen, you were not harsh. I enjoyed your comments. Afte rall, maintaining a dialogue is what these forums are for.

stoic_75
28 May 2002, 09:08 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by VixenofVenus
[B]Well ... I hate to be the voice of the gal who is anti-'anti-AotC' ... but I truly loved the film ... but if you are asking if it is the best film ever made ... you need to define your terms.

Don't sweat being the voice of.... uh anti-anti-AotC. Thank you for your comments. Thye were much appreciated. I am not anti AotC. It enjoyed watching most of it. What I suggested is that everyone settle down from the rush and flashing lights and think. Think real hard about the other three (ok four) films and how this one fits in. I also was not asking if it is the best film ever made. I was voicing my opinion that it isn't.

Darien_Shadowfyre
29 May 2002, 08:52 AM
I guess my idea of a great movie is whether or not its entertaining. I wil freely admit I loved the movie. While its not the best movie ever, it is my favorite star wars movie (though i'm personally expecting Episode III to replace it promptly, since I enjoy darker movies). Ep2 wasn't the perfectly crafted piece of dramatic cinema that the Academy expects, but it was fun!!! I'm personally sick and tired of nothing but either films striving to be Best Picture Nominee's or being complete garbage. For the last two years I've been aching for good "popcorn movie" as my sister and I call it and Episode 2 finally delivered. (Yes I think Spiderman qualifies but I haven't seen it yet so I can't mention it). I will freely admit to being baffled by complaints about 3PO. I thought the scenes were funny (in a groaning NOT THE PUNS!!!!!!! painful sort of way). He certainly was nowhere NEAR Jar-Jar's level of annoyance.

I think some people just keep expecting to see the original trilogy remade for the 21st Century. Its not going to happen. George made his masterpiece and its in the can. The new trilogy is George's way of 1) showing the story leads to the masterpiece 2) exercise his creative control and 3) make more money :) Try as you might, you can never recreate the magic of something like the original Star Wars Trilogy. To be fair, George isn't trying to do so. He's making something different. We should all just kick back, take a deep breath, and just have fun with it.

Reverend Strone
29 May 2002, 03:02 PM
We should all just kick back, take a deep breath, and just have fun with it.

Wise words Darien. I'll try to follow them.

dgswensen
29 May 2002, 03:50 PM
Careful there. I am certainly not looking down on anyone. I do not ordain myself better than anyone on this board. But I do believe that Lucas was so eager to please and so eager to distance himself from Phantom Menace that he injected the film with pure adrenaline to shut everyone up. Unfortunately this was not what was needed in the first place.. What was/is needed was a sound plot, dialogue, and in my opinion less Star Trek cheese.

Well, see... I actually think that TPM was more plot-driven than the classic trilogy, and that many of its weaknesses lay in that direction.

Take, for example, Empire Strikes Back. What's the plot? The Empire's here! Run away! Now they're chasing us - run away! Oh no, they caught us. We escaped! Run away! Arrgh, my hand! For the most part, it's incredibly simple, but it <I>works very well</I>. TPM, on the other hand, has a plot that's a little difficult to decipher even from the get go (how were trade taxes "disputed?" How do you make a military invasion "legal?" What was Sidious' real plan?), and drags in the middle with all the goings-on in the Senate. I can tell you one thing, I can't imagine Han Solo sitting around a conference room <I>debating</I> things. The focus of Star Wars has always been action -- the dialogue placed in between gunshots, explosions, or fleeing ("He's the brains, sweetheart!") -- and personally, I feel that's when it works best. Which is not to imply I think it should be utterly brainless -- you can have plenty of action and a compelling plot. I think that TPM went too far in the "plot" direction, and that AotC was, for the most part, just the right mix.


I did not say it was shameful to enjoy such movies. You are missing the crux of the argument. What I said was this was neither the best movie ever made nor the best StarWars movie ever made.

I don't dispute that. Sorry if I gave that impression. I just don't find the focus on action in Star Wars to be a bad thing, that's all -- and neither is it much of a departure from the classic trilogy.


That's all they are? Maybe, in this quick fix, 1hr photo, instant oatmeal society. But I like to delve deeper. And it is possible to have both action and complex social and psychological issues. ie. Blade Runner.

Again, I don't think it has to do with modern society; it's just the place Star Wars has always come from. I enjoy 2001 and Blade Runner, too -- for very different reasons than Star Wars. I would be pretty dismayed if Star Wars went the route of either of those films, because I don't feel Star Wars stands up well to a lot of logical scrutiny.


Filmmaking god? I certainly did not imply that. What I am implying is that Kershner directed and had the best feel for the characters with his work on ESB. Perhaps, I'm wrong on this point since ESB has grossed the least of all the films. EP1 easily outsold it.

I understand. All I'm saying is that I hear a lot of talk about George Lucas being "lucky" with Star Wars, and he gets a lot of flak for being a bad director with a bad track record. I'm just saying Irvin Kershner's other films aren't so hot, either.

Anyway. Thanks for the discussion :)

DirkGreystoke
31 May 2002, 09:43 AM
I was not going to get involved in this thread, but I have to comment on the thread starter's criticism of George Lucas' directing. First of all, it was stellar. When you are talking about a film as complex as this, there is no one of the planet who could have directed EPII better than he did. Take the Geonosis scene for example. Each Jedi actor was shot independently, then all the shots are composited together....plus you have to get the background right, and the laser bolts, and the lightsaber blades, and the shadows. In the movie it is seemless and fluid in motion. This is a far more difficult task than directing Citizen Kane. One really needs to stop and think before they criticize Lucas as a director. Episode II is the largest scale and scope, technologically, than any other movie before it. For one just to juggle all the roles of a director on this a picture such as this and complete the film is an accomplishment. To complete the film, successfully fool the audience with the make-believe world, and have people like it is masterful directing that only a select few like George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and a few others can pull off. The reason that many critics of film are hard on Lucas is because he has told Hollywood repeatedly to take a hike and let him make movies the way he wants to. This has crept its way into reviews of Lucas' movies since the he began his career in the mid 1970's. Irvwin Kirshner and Richard Marquand both did admirable jobs directing TESB and ROTJ, but in both instances Lucas was looking over their shoulder at every turn. Those two men did not make very many directorial decisions, Lucas did. If you watch the behind the scenes footage you will see what I mean. Sorry for this rant but I get quite upset at people who criticize George Lucas as a director when he continually does things that have never been done before on the big screen.

Reverend Strone
31 May 2002, 01:15 PM
Dirk, I take your point. Your arguement for the undeniable genius of GL as a filmaker makes sense, and I'm not one of those challenging GL's directing when it comes to the technicalities, but you should be aware that your claims are incorrect.

Ep II was not by far the largest movie in scale and scope (Try filming all three 3 hour long LOTR films with a core cast of around 20 main actors over 18 months all at the same time), and even if it were, I don't think that would hold water with those who criticise GL's creative directing (I'm not one of them by the way). There are plenty of examples of films in which the directors have managed both (GL among them).

dgswensen
31 May 2002, 02:22 PM
Good points to both Dirk and the Reverend, but Rev, FOTR may not be a good counter-example. LOTR, while huge in scope, is three movies across three years. Star Wars is six movies across twenty-five years, the story for which is essentially told backwards -- the ending first, then the origins. Through it all Lucas has to maintain consistency, tone, and scope while under the microscope of some of the most exacting and demanding fans ever -- fans that may even rival those of LOTR in terms of never missing a detail.

Not refuting your point, just saying I think Lucas does deserve some props for the insane scale of the Star Wars project.

Tony J Case, Super Genius
31 May 2002, 03:24 PM
Originally posted by dgswensen
All of that having been said, I agree with you that AotC had its flaws -- not the least of which being C-3PO's mooments, which I disliked intensely as well. For the record, I don't think AotC is the greatest film ever made, nor is it my favorite of the films. But I did have a fine time watching it, and that counts for a lot in my book.

The problem is - it's all about the pacing. In short, if you hit folks with half an hour of hard core action (or any other intense emotion), you start to lose your impact. Some of the best horror movies both provide a scare and make you laugh (or hit you with some other kind of emotion other than fear).

It's the VERY rare movie that can sustain that level for that long sucessfuly - Hard Boiled comes to mind, and that's it.

Thus - 3P0 had to be there, or the fight would eventuly leave the viewer numb and shell-shocked.

dgswensen
31 May 2002, 04:56 PM
I understand the principle of the comic relief, and its reason for being there... I just didn't think it was at all funny. If anything, it was as annoying to me as Jar Jar's antics during the battle in Episode I.

I just think it could have been done better.

Talon Kane
1 June 2002, 12:52 PM
Originally posted by stoic_75
These things not withstanding, this movie has plenty of bad points. A: Hayden Christensen. aka Mannequin Skywalker. Yes, he was acting awkward on purpose. He just missed the mark. B: C-3P0) aka Jar Jar Binks. I think he gets less funny with each passing film. The part where his head gets put on a battle droid made me think of the Gungan battle in Ep1. What a waste. And finally C: The director. He just doesn't have the stuff. Let's hope he steps aside for Ep3 and let's Irving Kershner close the inning.

I absolutely agree with all three points. The worst though is A and C. In regards to A, he wasn't acting badly on purpose. He's just a bad actor.

In regards to C, look back on the original three films. Lucas wrote and directed Star Wars. OK, not a bad movie. He also did American Grafitti, a good movie to me. But, Empire and Jedi were both written and directed by other people. And those were great movies.

Now, Phantom and Clones were written and directed by Lucas. Both films have good points, but both films also have a lot of bad points. And I think if you look at the movies objectively, the bad outweighs the good.

I truly believe Lucas does have a great vision. I just think he doesn't know how to put it into dialogue and in scenes. At least not anymore. I don't know what happened to him between Star Wars and these last two films, but he just doesn't have it anymore.

Reverend Strone
1 June 2002, 02:05 PM
Originally posted by dgswensen
Good points to both Dirk and the Reverend, but Rev, FOTR may not be a good counter-example. LOTR, while huge in scope, is three movies across three years. Star Wars is six movies across twenty-five years, the story for which is essentially told backwards -- the ending first, then the origins. Through it all Lucas has to maintain consistency, tone, and scope while under the microscope of some of the most exacting and demanding fans ever -- fans that may even rival those of LOTR in terms of never missing a detail.

Not refuting your point, just saying I think Lucas does deserve some props for the insane scale of the Star Wars project.

Absolutely, and I'm the first guy there to give it to him on that account.

My use of LOTR was more in response to Dirk's assertion that EP II is the biggest movie to date in scale and scope and that Lucas is a genius for managing it technically (correct me if my paraphrasing has missed your point Dirk). Ep II is not the biggest film of all time in terms of technical scale and scope- not by a long shot. GL would have had to film Ep I, II and III at the same time to rival what was done with LOTR. I'm talking about mechanical logistics and managing of directorial challenges across a shoot, which in reading Dirk's post, was my impression he was suggesting no one else had ever done at this scale before.

DirkGreystoke
1 June 2002, 04:24 PM
EPII is larger in scale than LOTR on a techonolical basis. There are more effects, larger scope, and more untested technology in AotC. LOTR does have large sequences, but nealy all of them were shot on locale, not digitally morphed as EPII was.

Keaton
1 June 2002, 08:46 PM
Well, I guess I'll put in my two cents about this.

When I first saw TPM I did not like it. But it grew on me. After my first viewing of AotC I did not like it. It may yet grow on me. I can say this, I have seen all the films on the first run (the original films, the special editions, the prequels). My wife has seen the special editions and the first two prequels with me. I must say it is bad when my wife falls asleep during a movie. I was bored up until the final battle when things finally got interesting.

I enjoyed Ewen, Ian, and Christopher Lee's performances. I thought they did an exceptional job in their roles. Hayden and Natalie however didn't seem to fit together. The chemistry was off, the dialogue seemed forced and irregular, they just didn't seem to me to be in love. This I really blame on the director. He just didn't seem to me to get the right mood set for the actors. The script in itself seemed to be in desperate need of some editing. The actors didn't seem to feel right when they had to act on the blue screen. Hard to imagine your surroundings and feel comfortable if you cannot imagine what is going to be matted around you.

I think that GL has spent some many years seeing people develop his universe that he wants to find new twists and turns to surprise his audience. To this end he is going to change things far beyond what people expect. After all, who knew except GL himself until the last minute that Vader was Luke's father. He doesn't want people to know the story so he is not telling it the way we have learned it. He is telling it the way he wants it to be.....full of surprises.

Now this is his choice and by god it is his right. It is his universe, his baby, his creation. Do I agree with it......not one bit. But it is his right.

Someone said, here on the holonet but I can't remember who, that GL has no one around him now telling him no to things like he did with the original movies. I think this is dead on. To many yes men telling him that it is fantastic (Rick McCallum for instance). If someone would just tell the legend that some things just might not work I think we would get a better movie.

Now as far as the cinematography, music, fight scenes, etc., it all looks fantastic. But the look of a film can be killed by a bad script, plot devices, and direction.

The ESB still ranks as my favorite movie in the series because of the darker, gritter, I am going to get you feel of the movie. I had hoped that AotC would have the same feel but it didn't. I sat there thinking "damn, and I thought Luke was a crybaby". I have high hopes that the next film will be the dark and sinister film I have been waiting for from GL. But it seems to me he has a lot of territory to cover in the next one. Anakin must become Vader, the Jedi must be purged, the Emperor must claim the throne, the rebellion must have its first seeds, and the twins must be hidden. I just can't see how he is going to make all this work and still be able to now maintain continuity between Episode III and IV. Now I have been wrong many times in my life and he may do it with that old GL magic that we have come to love. But if someone doesn't step in to help him out (either by telling him no, helping with the script, or by directing) I feel that he may do as some have said is possible and damage his series beyond repair (some critics have maintained from the start that this is a distinct possiblity).

All in all I would give AotC 2 stars (TPM got 3 in my book and as I said at the start I didn't care for it much to begin with).


My two cents, flame away at me if you want (as long as you flame me you are leaving someone else alone). ;) :D


Keaton

Reverend Strone
2 June 2002, 12:49 PM
Originally posted by DirkGreystoke
EPII is larger in scale than LOTR on a techonolical basis. There are more effects, larger scope, and more untested technology in AotC. LOTR does have large sequences, but nealy all of them were shot on locale, not digitally morphed as EPII was.

Sorry Dirk, but that's just not true. Pick up a copy of the latest Cinefex (LOTR issue) if you want to know more, and bear in mind, that only covers FOTR, one third of what was done. Sure, AOTC used Digital Cameras, but I don't think you realise how much groundbreaking new technology and programs were developed for LOTR.

Grimace
2 June 2002, 02:11 PM
Dirk, Reverend, please drop the discussion about what movie was more groundbreaking. Take it to PM if you still want to discuss it.

Thank you.

Reverend Strone
2 June 2002, 05:33 PM
Many apologies Grimace. Got a bit carried away on a topic very close to me.

Sorry all for sidetracking the thread.

Dr_Worm
8 June 2002, 01:16 PM
I don't know about you folks, but when I judge a movie I rate it on two criteria: 1)Was I entertained? 2) How did it stand up to movies of a similar nature?

It is this second point that I want to address. I do not find any use in comparing films of differing natures to each other. So when it comes to SW movies I first and formost place them in comtext with each other, then perhaps compare them to other sci-fi or action films.

Many comments that people have given to me personally and on the board boil down to this: The new films don't capture the magic ofthe original trilogy.

Ok:
How old were you when you saw the original trilogy?
How many other great sci-fi movies had you seen before SW?

To this I say: That was twenty something years ago you are not a kid seeing this galaxy for the first time, you an adult who has a whole genre of films to base things on. You can never capture that magic again...that is a fact....but you can sit back and let yourself enjoy the fun and exitement without overanalyzing things. If you could look through un baised eyes at the sricpts of the original trilogy and the last two I belive that you would see the the writing has not changed that much, and perhaps improved in some areas. Sure...no one delivers dry with quite like Harrison Ford, but Ewan is damn close.

My son is 8 and liked PM a lot, but he loved AoTC. I look at him now playing lighsabers and jedi powers, and I see my self at his age. Perhaps I am able to look through a kids eyes better, becasue I never really grew up and I have two of my own.

Gray Area
10 June 2002, 05:36 PM
I agree with the point the Rev made, just because it's a movie aimed at kids does not exclude need for good dialog and plot. The "Iron Giant " is a good example of this. I won't go on about AotC, read my other posting.

Dr_Worm
10 June 2002, 06:06 PM
My point is not that it is dumbed down for kids. My point is that the writing is the same quality, it's just that you have gotten older and are seeing it through different eyes.

ALFRED_THE_EWOK
10 June 2002, 06:41 PM
Originally posted by Dr_Worm
My point is that the writing is the same quality, it's just that you have gotten older and are seeing it through different eyes.

I would disagree with that, considering toilet humor, and large amounts of slapstick seem to be lacking from the original trilogy, but then again I haven't watched them in a while, so I can't be sure...

DirkGreystoke
11 June 2002, 08:50 AM
Dr. Worm and Rev, you are 100 percent correct. The new SW movies are of the same mold as the first three. People wanted Star Wars to grow up with them, but it didn't. Lucas remained true to his word and hence the griping began. I still hold on to the notion that if you watch all the movies as unbaised as you can, Episode II is the best in all categories -- visual effects, scope and scale, acting, plot, and especially directing and production.

stoic_75
9 July 2002, 07:08 PM
Originally posted by DirkGreystoke
Dr. Worm and Rev, you are 100 percent correct. The new SW movies are of the same mold as the first three. People wanted Star Wars to grow up with them, but it didn't. Lucas remained true to his word and hence the griping began. I still hold on to the notion that if you watch all the movies as unbaised as you can, Episode II is the best in all categories -- visual effects, scope and scale, acting, plot, and especially directing and production.

I think fondly about C-3P0 in a New Hope. What subtle humor. Then I think about that perverted unfunny head on an battle droid skit.

kingnat
8 August 2002, 08:55 AM
Argh

Let me start my own little rant-within-a-rant here. It's a rant against many poins made in this thread, and from many sources. Mostly things that really get on my nerves, so if I'm full of vitriol, don't take it personally. It's not your fault; it's the fault of contless people.

1/ As a degree student of Computer Animation (which covers Effects work), someone brought upp in a showbiz family, as well as a general movie afficiando I feel I have knowledge and background to make an informed observation on the subject. The compositing of effects shots (in this case, seperate Jedi filmed in seperate locations) does not make a good director. It makes you a good effects specialist, but that has no bearing on your ability as a director (either positive or negative)

Episode II (and for that matter Ep I) has relied on CGI to the extent where nothing has to be thought about.

In the past this conversation might have taken place

"We can't do that shot"
"Okay, let's see how we can make that feasable... if we do some tricky camerawork, and perhaps some inventive use of a costume/models combined with good lighting, we can keep the costs of that shot down, keep the narrative intact, as well as create tension. We then roll out some CGI to emphasise our point, but lets try to keep it to a minimum else people look at it and go 'dude, that looks so fake!' and we end up looking like fools"

With Lucas' unlimited budget, and love of all things digital, the conversation will go something more akin to;

"We can't do that shot"
"Um, sure we can. Just give it to the boys at ILM and they'll come up with something"

So the credit should be going to the boys and girls at ILM for much of the film. Please give credit where it's due, and more importantly, give it to the right people.

Spielberg has it right - use CGI to enhance, not replace the art of making a film.

2/ Stop blaming Hayden Christensen for being a bad actor. After all, let us not forget that he is a critically acclaimed actor in his own right! You cannot assume to know enough about his acting ability from one single performance to say he can't act. Perhaps he wasn't comfortable in that role? Perhaps George Lucas acttualy told him to act that way? Perhaps he tried a certain take on the character and just fell short of the mark? It happens to the best of them. Even the greatest actors in the world manage to fail when portraying character. Laurence Olivier anyone? One of the greatest actors ever, yet he has had countless bad movies where he simply "hammed it up". DeNiro; "Rocky & Bullwinkle". Leonardo DiCaprio; the Man in the Iron Mask. (and those who want to doubt the ability of DiCaprio, just watch the "Basketball Diaries", and more importantly "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" with Johnny Depp. He was an unknown at the time, and you honestly couldn't tell that this was not an autistic boy)

His acting won't be improved by the fact the Lucas insisted on altering their performance after the fact using digital technology to change theicues, slow them down or speed up their reactions (and I'm not taling action scenes here) change where they were looking etc. Lucas is no ator, and yet he alters the actorsperformance without any form of input from them. There was a lot of acting that was never done by the actor you see on the screen, and as such the overall performance suffered.

While we're at it, Portman is also one of the greatest actresses of her generation. For goodness sake, at the age of 12 she played "Mathilda" in Luc Bessons action masterpiece "Léon" as convincingly as anyone has ever played any part. People need to stop accusing her of being a terrible wooden acterss (though I dn't believe that one has been done on this forum)

3/ Irvin Kershner.
For all the talk of the films being "fun" as a benchmark of whether you thought it was good being bandied around, somehow the thought that Irvin Kershner was not actually all the good based on his filmography didn't get a single batting.

Let us take "Robocop 2" as an example. Was it fun? Yes (to many people) It certainly didn't stink to high hell like it's sequal an subsequent series. Was it as good as the Verhovan original? No, but then you'd have a tough time matching it.
As for "Amazing Stories" (1985) they recieved a fair amount of good critical reception. Just not commercial success.
"Never Say Never Again" (1983); made for two reasons. Reason 1; They had the rights to "Thunderball" and were going to rub it in MGM's face. Reason 2; Sean Connery had said regarding playing James Bond "Never Again" and they wanted to back up reason 1 with the coup of gettng Sean Connery after MGM had taken on the less than popular Dalton, as well as the somewhat less capable Roger Moore (who wass also much less popular than Connery as Bond) considering all that, the fact that it is regarded as being a fairly enjoyable movie by most viewers would seem an advantage in Kershner's favour.

4/ C3PO/Jar-Jar

You have all grown up now, and these characters are the ones you love as a kid. Star Wars isn't actually made for all the fanboys out there. It's made for the Fanboy that is George Lucas. We may wish that he had made them better, but ultimately these characters really are vital to the story structure. Jar-Jar because he takes on the role that C3PO had in the original trilogy, and C3PO because people ×××××ed so much about his lack of screen time in the original. And now that C3PO is in, those same people are ×××××ing because he's doing exactly the same sort of things that he was doing in the original trilogy. As with all comedy, it's somethimes hit, sometimes miss. The droid on another body skit actually hit with a lot of people, but hissed with others. There are examples of plenty of the same sort of humour in the original trilogy, so the fact it missed is not down to a drastic change in the way it was writtemn. After all, who remembers "Wait, Come back! You haven't done my leg!"? Not exactly subtle either.

All in all, the films largest weaknesses were it's over reliance of CGI when there were better ways to do things, and it's weak scriptwriting. After all George, when Harrison Ford feels that your scripts were terrible, you really shouldn't try romance. It's much harder.

kingnat
8 August 2002, 09:19 AM
Wow, I didn't realize that a certain word which also describes a female dog was on the restricted list. Must be less of a social no-no here in the UK, where unless you call a woman one, it's okay to use that word. (It's turned up in books which aren't even in the "Grown Up" section of my library.)

dgswensen
8 August 2002, 11:34 AM
3/ Irvin Kershner.
For all the talk of the films being "fun" as a benchmark of whether you thought it was good being bandied around, somehow the thought that Irvin Kershner was not actually all the good based on his filmography didn't get a single batting.

Let us take "Robocop 2" as an example. Was it fun? Yes (to many people) It certainly didn't stink to high hell like it's sequal an subsequent series. Was it as good as the Verhovan original? No, but then you'd have a tough time matching it.


Well, I would have to disagree... I didn't think Robocop 2 was fun at all. I thought it was dismal and wretched. But, different strokes, and all that. In my view, Robocop 2 is a strike against Kershner, not for him.



"Never Say Never Again" (1983); made for two reasons. Reason 1; They had the rights to "Thunderball" and were going to rub it in MGM's face. Reason 2; Sean Connery had said regarding playing James Bond "Never Again" and they wanted to back up reason 1 with the coup of gettng Sean Connery after MGM had taken on the less than popular Dalton, as well as the somewhat less capable Roger Moore (who wass also much less popular than Connery as Bond) considering all that, the fact that it is regarded as being a fairly enjoyable movie by most viewers would seem an advantage in Kershner's favour.


First of all.. what "most viewers" like doesn't have a lot of bearing on my opinion. Lots of people liked Titanic, Freddy Got Fingered, and Armageddon, too. That doesn't mean I think they're good.

I like the James Bond series quite a bit, though not a frothing fanatic -- and Never Say Never Again is on the short list of Bond movies that are totally unwatchable. Never mind the reasons for doing it -- that has no bearing at all on Kershner whatsoever. (I'm actually not really sure why you're bringing it up.) Moreover, the movie does away with the time-honored Bond conventions, i.e. the James Bond theme and the traditional opening, not to mention it's dull and ridiculous, even above the usual Bond fare. I feel Kershner made some bad directorial decisions.

Oh, and you forgot to defend "SeaQuest DSV" with the original Jar Jar, Darwin the talking dolphin (!)

Anyway, my point was merely that Lucas gets ragged on all the time as having "lost it" or making bad movies, or being a flash in the pan, etc. etc. while Kershner often gets revered as a filmmaking god who is single-handedly responsible for everything good about Star Wars (or, at least, Empire Strikes Back). My point is that Kershner is hardly above reproach -- he's made some turkeys, too. I don't think Kershner is a bad director. I just think he's unfairly exalted in the eyes of some Star Wars fans.

Anyway -- good points all; I agree with you completely about Hayden Christensen, somewhat about the CGI issue, and a little bit about C3PO -- though I do think that 3PO's lines are definitely worse in Episode II. Bad puns and the "head-switching" routine were over the top, and should have been test-screened.

kingnat
8 August 2002, 07:00 PM
Originally posted by dgswensen


Well, I would have to disagree... I didn't think Robocop 2 was fun at all. I thought it was dismal and wretched. But, different strokes, and all that. In my view, Robocop 2 is a strike against Kershner, not for him.



First of all.. what "most viewers" like doesn't have a lot of bearing on my opinion. Lots of people liked Titanic, Freddy Got Fingered, and Armageddon, too. That doesn't mean I think they're good.
[/i]

The thing about about them though was that they set out to do what they intended, and that was to entertain a lot of people.

Titanic was not a bad film. Overhyped? Yes. Bad? No. Freddy Got Fingered was designed to appeal to a certain audience (mainly pre-pubescant boys... or at least older young guys with the mentality of pr-pubescant boys) and it succeded. Armageddon was fun hokum, no more no less.

Now my own personal views on these films are immaterial. They did exactly what they were intended to do.



I like the James Bond series quite a bit, though not a frothing fanatic -- and Never Say Never Again is on the short list of Bond movies that are totally unwatchable. Never mind the reasons for doing it -- that has no bearing at all on Kershner whatsoever. (I'm actually not really sure why you're bringing it up.) Moreover, the movie does away with the time-honored Bond conventions, i.e. the James Bond theme and the traditional opening, not to mention it's dull and ridiculous, even above the usual Bond fare. I feel Kershner made some bad directorial decisions.


It's difiicult to make a film which is made entirely to rub someone elses nose in the dirt over something as "trivial" as being able to do so against the wishes of someone else. I don't think there was really any chance of that film being as good as the others (although there are certainly people who regard it as being better than the crop of Bond movies that were being released about that time)

He may have made some bad directorial decisions, but Never Say Never Again is far from the terrible film that people often portray it as. You may not like it, but over at the IMDB it rates higher than some of the Moore Bond movies. It's also somewhat better than the vast majority of the stuff which was put out that year. True, it doesn't make it a great movie, but you have to consider the conditions under which a movie is made.


Oh, and you forgot to defend "SeaQuest DSV" with the original Jar Jar, Darwin the talking dolphin (!)


And why would I want to do that? ;)



Anyway, my point was merely that Lucas gets ragged on all the time as having "lost it" or making bad movies, or being a flash in the pan, etc. etc. while Kershner often gets revered as a filmmaking god who is single-handedly responsible for everything good about Star Wars (or, at least, Empire Strikes Back). My point is that Kershner is hardly above reproach -- he's made some turkeys, too. I don't think Kershner is a bad director. I just think he's unfairly exalted in the eyes of some Star Wars fans.


Fair enough, but my point was that people often rag on a director without really considering what the situation was. A bad film does not a bad director make. A good director can make a bad script better, and a bad script can make a good director worse (and the opposite can be considered the truth too)

I personally don't think Lucas is a flash in the pan, but I do not believe that he is the best person to direct Starwars any more (final say yes, overseeing yes, ultimate control yes, but the actual directing... I'd rather someone else... like Spielberg)


[i]
Anyway -- good points all; I agree with you completely about Hayden Christensen, somewhat about the CGI issue, and a little bit about C3PO -- though I do think that 3PO's lines are definitely worse in Episode II. Bad puns and the "head-switching" routine were over the top, and should have been test-screened.

on the issue of Digital everthing, I'm with Spielberg; The moment Celluloid is removed from the Equation, some of the magic dies with it.

And yeah, C3PO 's lines/gags were definately worse, but that's not because they changed tack, it's simply because they're not as good.

Perhaps George should give the script to someone else to "fix" because lets face it, his dialogue tends to be rather wooden, his humour is very hit and miss (hence Jar Jar and the lower quality of C3PO endevours) and his romance is wincingly awful. TESB and RotJ were co-written with Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan (Leigh Brackett was only onboard for TESB IIRC) and they suffered less from the bad dialogue than ANH which got away with it for two reasons;

1/ It had no romance in it, which is the primary culprit.
2/ This was still fresh to George. It had not become Georges little baby (to the same extent as the later and current films have) thus he was more willing to change things to deviate from his original vision. Like anyone who works on something for too long, he's suffereing from not being able to let go, and let someone else touch his work.

Oh well, unfortunately my wish to see a Star Wars movie co-written by Tarrantino and Directed by John Woo is never going to happen. :rolleyes:

ALFRED_THE_EWOK
8 August 2002, 08:16 PM
Originally posted by kingnat
Oh well, unfortunately my wish to see a Star Wars movie co-written by Tarrantino and Directed by John Woo is never going to happen. :rolleyes:

Now THAT would be interesting (to say the least.)

kingnat
8 August 2002, 08:39 PM
Originally posted by DirkGreystoke
EPII is larger in scale than LOTR on a techonolical basis. There are more effects, larger scope, and more untested technology in AotC. LOTR does have large sequences, but nealy all of them were shot on locale, not digitally morphed as EPII was.

I'm sorry, but I just can't leave this one alone.

ILM uses off the shelf technology. With a (many) few thousand in my pocket, I can go to 3rd party distributors and purchase the software and machines that were used to create Episodes I and II.
ILM use mainly SoftImage XSI and SoftImage 3D, Maya, and Renderman for rendering (via custom exporters) and run on a mix of NT and Unix machines (they're in the process of switching from NT to UNIX)

It's almost all off the shelf software (and the list above is certainly all standard stuff). Even the Digital Cameras which Lucas is so fond of are off the shelf, and not quite as new as they would like you to believe.
When they claim that something is a new technology in their behind the scenes stuff, it simply means that they're using the latest versions and techniques available to everyone else too. It's not a criticism, because they're amongst the best in the buisness. But the effects in EpII actually owe something to the research done for LOTR by people working in conjunction with WETA digital. ILM don't tend to create new techniques, they use other peoples techniques. This does mean that they can often do them better, since they have not only their own expertese and experience to draw on, but the experience and expertese of those who have used the technique before.

And personally, the fact that these effects shots were shot on location as opposed to being "digitally morphed" (although that could really mean anything) is more deserving of my respect. After all, wha tis harder, matching you effects to a CG setting which you can change to match our needs, or making use of a real setting which you have to match the effects to?

And I'm not so sure about the scope or size either. After all, FOTR which is by far the smallest of the LOTR films in the matter of battles etc had a battle with hundreds of thousands involved. The following two movies are going to be even larger!