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Saga A "Cold" Saga Viewing In Episode Order

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by bswb, Sep 18, 2011.

  1. bswb

    bswb Jedi Master star 1

    Dec 2, 2000
    Back when the Blu-Rays were rumored, my wife and I decided on an experiment -- remove ourselves from Star Wars, then watch them in Episode order upon release. I pulled out all DVDs from time to time but she hadn't seen any of the prequels since the theatrical releases; she was a pretty ardent basher about pretty much anything PT.

    So, while we can never experience seeing the saga for the first time again, it was probably a good 2-3 years since either of us had seen ANY Star Wars movie, and much longer than that for her on the PT. It's probably as much as you can do to try and experience it new, and in a completely different way from how we saw it growing up (we're both 32).

    This weekend was our marathon. Here's an overview of how it panned out:

    TPM: Qui-Gon Jinn = awesome. Stoic, wise, and filled with gravitas. The subtle manipulations of Palpatine and the senate scenes seemed less stuffy than before; instead, it was filled with intrigue. Duel Of The Fates was still awesome; in fact, all of the lightsaber stuff in TPM is top-notch. Jake Lloyd was also much better than we remember and we both got a kick out of Watto. On the other hand, Jar Jar and the silliness of the Gungan battle were both worse than we remembered, and we both felt that Anakin's whole adventure in the starfighter was just unnecessary and silly. I think she summed it up best: "Lucas made a kids movie intercut with C-SPAN."

    Random funny thought during it -- we debated what Darth Maul was doing while waiting for his probe droids to return, playing Bejeweled or updating his Facebook status. "Hoping my droids don't find Bantha poodoo LOL"

    AOTC: As Anakin was being a "punk" to Obi-Wan, I found my wife constantly laughing to herself. I asked her why and she said that her brother acted EXACTLY like Anakin at that age. Later on, I found myself doing the same thing with Anakin's dialog to Padme -- because I said/felt stupid stuff like that when I was a teen. So, even though it's not particularly eloquent (and uncomfortable to view), it hits pretty close to the mark. Outside of that, the droid factory battle was better than I remember, and the rest of the movie was a great sci-fi adventure -- we really enjoyed it, especially any Obi-Wan scene. The sense of impending doom at the end was striking. My wife, the prequel basher, said, "That was much better than I remember." One note -- of the PT films, this one fared poorest on Blu-Ray because the clarity removed some realism to the CG backgrounds. Many scenes felt like the characters were floating. We both agreed, though, that a lot of the stuff in AOTC could seem obtuse to a non-die hard fan, and it probably suffers for the casual moviegoer because of it.

    Also, right after Anakin slaughtered the sandpeople, my wife goes, "I could totally justify him doing that."

    ROTS: Anakin's turn had been a point of debate for us for years, but for some reason, it really worked for us this time. One thing that stood out with more clarity was just how everyone seemed to be asking something of Anakin -- the Jedi, Palpatine, even Padme. And through it all, Palpatine's slick play seemed like the only real sympathetic ear. This, along with the line "Just help me save Padme's life" made the turn work. I think in previous viewings, that line just failed to register. I think my wife is also now curious about the upcoming Darth Plaguis book.

    The infamous "NOOOO" had been forever tainted by "DO NOT WANT"

    In the end, I always liked and accepted the PT for what it was while my wife bashed it. Now, she thinks they're much better than she gave them credit for, though we both agree that TPM has serious problems.

    ANH: Surprisingly, the transition from ROTS to ANH didn't seem jarring, probably because so much of the first act is set on Tatooine. Also, the slower pace to the opening act was a relief after the non-stop intensity of ROTS' second half. It's funny, when Vader walks through the door, my wife goes, "All I see is Anakin now." This was the first time I'd actually viewed ANH back to back with ROTS, and there's so much more weight to
  2. princethomas

    princethomas Jedi Master star 2

    Nov 19, 2001
    Im so glad you did this. Its a realization that I had around the time of AOTC, and it changed my whole world on thinking prequels.

    What people forget is that Lucas wants you to watch them this way. Some dont want to, some think this was a mistake. But we know that, right or wrong, that was his intention. So while he was building the prequels, he is going back and watching the OT and considering how it will be affected.

    I believe that one reason a lot of people hate the prequels is that it changed the way you view the OT. You said a lot of ROTJ seems silly. Yes, its true. Some things are diminished. But so much is enhanced. Just lines of Dialog that have more depth.

    "your father? Powerful Jedi was he...Powerful Jedi" (Sigh, sad look)
    "through the force, things you will see. The Future, the past, old friends, long gone"

    a couple of my favorites.

    One of the big things that I think put off people is how it changes our view of the Jedi. I think people spent years and years assuming the Jedi were these awesome people that sadly lost a war to the Emporer and that Palps victory was simply made possible by Anakin/Vader's betrayal. What we got from the prequels however was a more complex and (believe it or not) more sophisticated story from George. That the Jedi weren't perfect. That in fact, the way they were doing things was probaby wrong and ultimately led to their downfall. The underappreciated part of TPM are the few scenes of Qui-Gon disagreeing with the Yoda/Windu group, and Obi-Wan's saying that he would be on the council if he would just follow the code. Qui-Gon, and also, Count Dooku to some degree, know that this isn't the right way. Q goes against them. What I love is that in the end, because Q communes with Yoda, and probably with Obi-Wan. The new Jedi, the Return of the Jedi is based upon Qui Gons model and not the old code. This really upset OT fans that refuse to view it in this new order.

    The other thing is this. If you go OT first. You think why doesn't Qui-Gon disappear when killed. I remember the night I saw TPM. My roomates and I talked about it for hours. We talked about this question all the time. And an answer never really comes. In the end of ROTS you get only a cursory reference to Qui-Gon and then nothing.

    However, if you go 1-6. You have no reason to expect Qui-Gon to disappear so there is nothing of note. Then the scene in ROTS does not have any question that needs answering so its fine as a simple tease of things to come. You are left thinking hmmmmmm I wonder what thats about. Then when you watch ANH and Obi-Wan disappears, you're like Whoa, what happened. Youll note that even Vader is confused by Obi Wans vanishing. Then you hear his voice talking to Luke and you know that this what Yoda meant in Sith when he said hed teach Obi what Qui-Gon told him.

    Another thing is the Leia remembers her mother bit. If you see ROTJ first then you accept her version as fact. Mom must have died when she was a kid. So when you see Padme die in Childbirth it absolutely means contradiction without any decent way to rationalize it. If you go 1-6. It works beautifully. We see her die at childbirth so that is FACT for us. Whe Leia says what she says and says all she remembers is "Images really, feelings" we absolutely understand that she is the daughter of the most powerful Jedi ever, that she must be extremely force sensitive, but has absolutely ZERO understanding of the force. Of course she thinks her force visions are memories. Shed have no way to know what else they could be. It is wonderful to be an omniscient viewer here watching the characters figure it out.

    Love it this way. Makes the PT better, Makes the OT better.

  3. Darth_Harmon

    Darth_Harmon Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 4, 2005
    Yeah, props to the OP for their comments!

    I prefer 1-6 because while it does spoil the revelation of Vader being Anakin, and Leia being Luke's sister, I think the background provided by the prequels give OT moments much more weight. And that weight, in my opinion, is far more powerful than a few revelations that are a one time thing. I mean, I watch the PT then the OT multiple times and still feel that OT scenes have more weight to them. Meanwhile, I just can't imagine "I am your father" and "Leia is my sister" to have the same impact after the first time. Even pop culture has made it so people new to the saga will already know the character relationships.
  4. EHT

    EHT Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 13, 2007

    Great observations overall. =D=
  5. qui-gon-kim

    qui-gon-kim Jedi Master star 4

    Apr 19, 2001
    For first time viewers, the 1-6 viewing order instead has the surprise of the kindly old politician Palpatine as the evil mastermind and the Chosen One joining him.

    Also, there is added drama of when Luke will finally realize the truth of his heritage. All of Luke's mentors (Owen & Beru, Obi-Wan and Yoda) actively try to keep his lineage a secret, and is made explicit when Yoda tells him in ROTJ that he was "not ready for the burden". The little hints ("He has too much of his father in him", "That's what I'm afraid of", Obi-Wan's uncomfortable looks when Luke asks about his father and his relief when he drops the issue) have much more significance when viewed 1-6.

    Also ESB gains much more tension, knowing what happened to Anakin when he reacts to visions of his loved ones in pain. We see the same thing happening to Luke, and we fear more for what will happen.
  6. Darth_Harmon

    Darth_Harmon Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 4, 2005
    Yeah, i much prefer the anticipation of Luke finding out all these secrets to both the audience and Luke being in the same boat. I think it's more fun to know what all the other characters are thinking and not saying rather than seeing them the same way Luke sees them. Such as the anticipation of Obi-Wan returning, the fun in knowing Yoda is just goofing around with Luke, and the fact that any moment Luke could be told the truth. So when the ESB reveal happens, the surprise is the fact that Vader chose that chance to tell him.

    Lol, it's sort of like watching Maury and you know the whole situation, except for the guy/girl in the back room closed off from what is happening on the show. So when they come out, you feel the tension of the impending reveal.
  7. EHT

    EHT Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 13, 2007
    ^ Congratulations on making a successful comparison between The Maury Povich Show and SW. :p
  8. oierem

    oierem Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2009
    You're totally right about those "plot-holes". Viewing 1-6 makes them perfectly acceptable
  9. obi-rob-kenobi4

    obi-rob-kenobi4 Jedi Master star 4

    Apr 17, 2007
    I went like 6 months without watching any star wars before having a marathon with the blu-ray set and it was absolutely amazing!

    Watching them in the correct order makes almost every aspect of the OT even better imo! There is now more weight to just everything said and done in the OT. Its an amazing experience to say the least, i cant even describe what it feels like. [face_love]
  10. Drewdude91

    Drewdude91 Jedi Knight star 3

    May 21, 2011
  11. iarann

    iarann Jedi Knight

    May 21, 2007
    I always see people say this, but no one ever comments that Darth Vader was never an old man in Jedi robes in the first place. The Force ghost isn't how you looked when you died, or Vader would have always looked like Vader in that scene. To me, it makes way more sense to have him look as he did just before he became Darth Vader.

    Overall, great job reviewing the Saga as a whole. I watched them all in order last when the DVDs first came out, and made a lot of the same discoveries you did about viewing them chronologically. In the end, I prefer it by far and will continue to treat them as a whole. The blu-ray presentation is so good, I will probably have a similar marathon this weekend since I have spent the past couple of weeks coming through the special features and documentaries.
  12. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon

    Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Knight star 6

    Dec 17, 2000
    Which is why he had to do a pick-up shot when someone pointed out he forgot to have Obi-Wan take Anakin's lightsaber...
  13. StampidHD280pro

    StampidHD280pro Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 28, 2005
    There's a difference between complimenting the OT and being consistent with the OT. There's a bit of both, especially in ROTS, but it appears that Lucas was more concerned with the former. What the lightsaber represents in ANH is more important than on-screen proof of Obi-Wan taking it.

    Besides, just because you forget something doesn't mean you haven't thought about it.
  14. EHT

    EHT Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 13, 2007
    This has been claimed for a while, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't really forgotten by Lucas. Besides, pick-up shots are not just made for things that were forgotten in principal photography; they could be planned that way for certain scenarios.
  15. bswb

    bswb Jedi Master star 1

    Dec 2, 2000
    [blockquote]Yeah, i much prefer the anticipation of Luke finding out all these secrets to both the audience and Luke being in the same boat.

    It does change the whole "surprise" of things. I actually think that it adds a hell of a lot of tension to Empire. It also feels like it's not just hinged on a pure surprise, but now it's built up with anticipation and aftermath. Kind of like when you're in on a surprise birthday party, part of the joy is building up to it and part of the fun is seeing the reaction.

    Of course, this birthday party involves slaughtering younglings and blowing up planets. But you know what I mean.

    [blockquote]I always see people say this, but no one ever comments that Darth Vader was never an old man in Jedi robes in the first place. The Force ghost isn't how you looked when you died, or Vader would have always looked like Vader in that scene. To me, it makes way more sense to have him look as he did just before he became Darth Vader.

    I justified it as it's Anakin's sense of himself (including arms and legs). Yoda and Obi-Wan lived and died with grace so they're cool with their "image" at old age while Anakin's essence is his younger self. My other friend (non-stop PT basher) insisted that it's only because GL wants people who only buy the OT to accept his vision.

    It's funny because half the fans I've told about this have commented that maybe the PT isn't as bad as they felt and the other half are just so anti-PT they feel there's no merit to them. I'm just glad that I can enjoy the whole saga now without a basher wife.

    I'm still kind of surprised at how much TPM's "humor" rubbed me the wrong way, so much so that I'd probably avoid the 3D re-release. I understand that it's humor for kids but it feels so forced. I have crazy new-found appreciation for AOTC, though. I just wish they'd increased the quality of the CG troopers to match ROTS.


    JEDI-RISING Force Ghost star 6

    Apr 15, 2005
    "All i see is Anakin now"

  17. DarthWolvo23

    DarthWolvo23 Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 30, 2005

    AOTC rules.
  18. Arawn_Fenn

    Arawn_Fenn Force Ghost star 7

    Jul 2, 2004
    Especially if you put it in the script and approved the OT-consistent saber prop in the first place...
  19. Darth_Harmon

    Darth_Harmon Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 4, 2005
    Lucas actually discusses viewing order in the archive commentary at the end of Empire Strikes Back.

    I was surprised to hear him discuss 4-6 then 1-3. It's not his preferred, but he does mention how it would make "I am your father" a surprise. However, he prefers 1-6 as it gives much more weight to Vader. He specifically talks about how Vader's entrance on the Tantive IV is now a defeated Anakin encountering his unbeknownst daughter.

    It's a good listen!
  20. DanteVader

    DanteVader Jedi Youngling star 1

    Nov 3, 2010
    Far from a "cold" viewing, but I avoided all things Star Wars once this set was rumored. I'm through A New Hope so far in my first official 1-6 viewing. The story unfolds in a complete unique way now (most of which has been discussed above).

    What I wanted to focus on is the Vader vs Obi-Wan battle on the Death Star. Granted, I'm only through A New Hope at this point, but the additional gravitas added to this duel is just astounding.

    Instead of this: bad guy we know very little about vs old guy we met an hour ago, who was once the bad guys teacher

    We now get this: Fallen Jedi, seduced by the dark side in an attempt to save the love of his life, hindered by a life support suit his foe put him in during their last confrontation, thus making him a slave (again) to the Emperor vs a guilt riddled, aged and slowed former Master Jedi who's learned to commune with the other side, unafraid of death and willing to sacrifice himself to set in motion events that will finally fulfill the prophecy of the chosen one.

    When I was a kid, seeing this movies for the first time, I always took Ben's "surrender" to Vader as nothing more than a way to "light a fire" under Luke (i.e. if Luke see's this robot man kill me, it'll piss him off enough to do what needs to be done). Knowing that Obi-Wan has already learned the key to immortality, not to mention the massive weight he's carried for 20 years (along with Anakin's thirst for revenge), the move carries so much more weight.

    I'm equally confident that both of Luke's clashes with Vader, and the mirroring arc of the seduction of the dark side to save people you care about, will pay off greatly.
  21. JediCow

    JediCow Jedi Youngling star 2

    Jun 27, 2005
    I just tried a saga viewing the other day. First time in years I'd seen any of the movies except for Star Wars. Sadly, it was poorly planned, started too late in the day, and I was too tired to continue past the first hour of Star Wars. I still took away some interesting things from my attempted marathon.

    For one, my enjoyment of the prequels increased immensely. While I've always enjoyed them to a degree, I considered them fairly disappointing, deeply flawed movies. But watching them straight through, I had a REALLY good time. It's a surprisingly strong trilogy. Even the love story elements of Attack of the Clones worked for me, which I find myself kind of embarrassed to admit. Especially the scene in the field. The acting across the board isn't amazing in the conventional sense, but it's got its own stylistic quality, and once you're sort of immersed in that universe, you don't even notice it. Sort of like watching Shakespeare. No, normal people don't talk like that, but it's clearly an intentional choice, and after a little while it feels fairly natural.

    My two biggest gripes were these: Jar-Jar Binks. Not in the whole of Phantom Menace. I've actually never really minded him as a character. Everybody in this universe can't be a swashbuckling hero. But what he DOES do is ruin the grassland battle at the end with his goony antics. Which is similar to my second gripe; C-3PO on Geonosis. Should've just stayed in the ship. His puns and slapstick actively detract from the rest of the action and drama. Take these two characters out of the third acts of their respective movies, and you've strengthened the whole trilogy a remarkable amount.

    Now, as I said, I didn't get through the original trilogy, merely an hour of Star Wars. But I was granted some new perspective on a couple of things there. For a start, as somebody else mentioned, when you see Darth Vader now, it's hard not to think of him as Anakin. Especially because, to his credit, Hayden did a very good job of mimicking James Earl Jones' vocal cadence. So it becomes very easy to listen to Darth Vader's lines and imagine them spoken in Christensen's voice.

    The really big thing for me, though, was Obi-Wan. Now, I don't think even the biggest prequel fan would argue that Lucas was making it up as he went along, to a certain extent, anyway, with the sequels and prequels. I believe that he had the broad strokes laid out, if not every detail. I think Luke and Leia's kiss (and especially their deleted kiss) are evidence of this. That said, I can't be sure if Lucas told Guinness to play it this way, or if I'm reading into things now that I know the backstory... But Obi-Wan LOOKS like he's lying when he tells Luke stories of the past in his hut. He shifts uncomfortable in his seat, his eyes twitch, he rubs his thighs awkwardly, and there's the occasional pause, as if he's deciding how to word his next lie. And it sets up this interesting parallel, because Obi-Wan begins his relationship with Luke by manipulating him, like he and the other Jedi manipulated Anakin. I think that would cause a new viewer to be even more concerned about Luke's potential to turn to the Dark-side in Return of the Jedi.

    All that said... I do have one problem with the saga viewing order. And it's that Star Wars feels very much like a first movie, which I know is because it IS the first movie. It very slowly introduces you to this new universe, in a way that I feel is unfitting for a fourth chapter. Similarly, The Phantom Menace just kind of drops you in without establishing any rules or explaining where we are, as if George thought, "Well, I don't need any of that... EVERYBODY'S seen Star Wars..." He handled it more like a sequel than a prequel, and I think that would be my main argument against a saga viewing order.

    But yeah... Sorry for the length of this. Didn't plan THAT. Just figured I'd share what I took away. I'm definitely going to sit through the original trilogy in the coming days, just to finish out my aborted marathon. Someday a couple years from now I'll try to sit through the whole sa
  22. WhiskeyGold

    WhiskeyGold Jedi Master star 4

    Nov 13, 2001
    My son is 5 and its been hard keeping it secert who vader is. Now does I ask, how do i show him Star Wars? Story order or release order? I know you get the big Vader/Father shock but if your in order, do you get a shock that Anakin turns bad? that be even a bigger shocker I think. Or you have no idea who Darth Sid is. So there could be some shocking twist to seeing it order, right?
  23. princethomas

    princethomas Jedi Master star 2

    Nov 19, 2001
  24. StampidHD280pro

    StampidHD280pro Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 28, 2005
    If you pay attention just about all the SW movies begin at the 30 minute mark.
  25. princethomas

    princethomas Jedi Master star 2

    Nov 19, 2001
    Completely agree. The problem for me is that the first 30 minutes of 2-6 are pretty good at being grounded in one basic thing.

    AOTC: Padme attacked. Protect Padme.
    ROTS: Rescue the Chancellor
    ANH: Droids get plans to Obi-Wan, introduce Luke
    TESB: Jedi Discovered on Hoth, Escape Hoth
    ROTJ: Rescue Han Solo

    TPM: Find out about Blockade/Invasion Rescue queen. It really doesn't play out even that simply. Especially when you get all the way to Tatooine by the end of 30 minutes. Pick up Gungan. Introduce Sideous and plans.