AOTC - From a Writer's POV

Discussion in 'Attack of the Clones' started by DarthLascivious, May 23, 2002.

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  1. Fitten trim Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 1999
    star 4
    Based off my original post, this is to Gonk.

    Perhaps I'm not explaining myself clearly: YES, I hope the characters change, but I prefer it to be consistant.

    The ESB romance: at the beginning of the film, Han and Leia are bickering with acid tongues; really insulting each other. By the middle of the film, the much of the acid has evaporated, they still argue but with less vitrol and they even share a kiss. By the end, NO acid, and they declare their love. The romance has built. Now imagine, that they were mean to each other in one scene, then romantic toward each other, then bickered, then romantic, then diplomatic... well you see how this could destroy the flow and seem inconsistant? Well, that's how the AotC romance comes across to me (that is until Ani/Amidala reach Tatooine, after that point I think everything works fine).


    One more note, in ESB, Han & Leia kiss, then Leia pulls away. She's stopped it and the romantic aspect leaves their interaction UNTIL Han's smart thinking hides the Falcon on the Star Destroyer and then Leia pecks him one on the check. So we see how she might warm back to romance: he did something really impressive.

    Now look at AotC, Ani & Amidala kiss, then Amidala pulls away. She's stopped it, Ani looks completely confused by her and a tad frustrated... we cut away... then the next time we see them, they're in a playful romantic conversation about her ex-boyfriend?!? We didn't see why Amidala would suddenly warm back up to Ani.

    If the middle romantic section works for you, great. I had trouble with the flow, and that's what my original post was about.
  2. skywalter Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2002
    i agree whole-heartedly. but this movie was just a back-story...

    i can't wait to see things tied together in ep III.
  3. a. block Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 1, 1999
    star 1
    For whatever reason, I don't see a nod towards another film as something that is artistic in itself, it should be there for a reason that helps the story its in. And I don't see a shadow of a future persona as something other than a cheap ploy, I believe that it doesn't do much to enhance or deepen the meaning of this particular story, or for that fact the entire 6-film story.
  4. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    Well you can certainly think what you want Fitten. I for one don't think the Padme/Anakin antagonism was as intense or pointed as Han/Leia. This is because Padme is quite different from Leia. PAdme is nurturing: Leia is far more the quintissential space brat with more on her mind than people's feelings. This is evident from TPM and ANH, respectively for both characters.

    Again, think as you wish, but I think you're trying to refer to the same character archtype when we're really looking at two different ones. As such, a scene in one trilogy means something different than it does in another. The female lead in the PT does not usually say what she's thinking, unlike the OT, where Leia says almost anything she damn well pleases.
  5. Fitten trim Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 1999
    star 4
    Gonk,

    I don't want the Ani/Amidala romance to be like the Han/Leia romance in anyway SAVE ONE:

    I wish the Ani/Amidala romance had followed a logical linear build like the Han/Leia romance did.

    I remember teenage romances (I'm not that old ;) ) And while the can shift in dynamic in a heartbeat, there was always a logical progression to the shift: for me, AotC lacked this.
  6. Darth Geist Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
    star 5
    "Movies are a visual and emotional experience, not a literary one."

    I beg to disagree. Many effects-driven movies have failed when a good script could have saved them. (Think Godzilla, Lost in Space, Dungeons and Dragons, Battlefield Earth...)

    To elaborate, compare Final Fantasy to Shrek. Both released in the same year, both featuring state-of-the-art CG; one raked in the cash and took home an Oscar, while the other died away so quickly and quietly that today almost no one thinks of it anymore.

    Shrek was a fun, enjoyable movie, the kind that appeals to kids while winking at their parents. It had a sense of humor, and a sound and enjoyable story. It succeeded, and deserved to.

    Final Fantasy, despite its near-photorealistic CG and striking visuals, was nearly humorless (aside from the occasional clumsy wisecrack), with a story that baffled most and bored the rest. With a better script, it could have won the recognition its makers worked so many years for. As it was, even its prettiest pictures couldn't save it.

    You see my point.
  7. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    I wish the Ani/Amidala romance had followed a logical linear build like the Han/Leia romance did.

    I thought one of the basis of this romance is that it wasn't all that logical? And that the build, at least on Anakin's side, was set from TPM? And the build on Padme's side was was set from who her character was in TPM?

    Neither one of them are terribly logical characters. Padme tries, but someone spouting off that she can seriously find a diplomatic solution at the same time as breaking into the geonosis foundry is just a touch on the over-idealistic side. Same with the views on love.

    Believe me, I've seen teenage romances, and seen shifts that absolutely DEFIED logic. I've seen people literally profess love one week, then come to the conclusion that it's just not going to work the next, with no buffering conversation or argument in between.
  8. Propp Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 27, 2000
    star 2
    Romance is incredibly difficult to write in as much as every individuals experience is different. For everyone who has experienced 'irrational', angsty love there is another to whom love is black and white, pure and simple.

    The real tragedy of Anakin/Padme is that their love will be ended because Anakin sees in black and white. Love and hate. Lucas did the hard work in AOTC, and it's as much in the characters as individuals as it's in their interaction that both their attraction and the failure of their relationship can be seen.

    BTW, I remain firm in my conviction that Sifo-Dyas will be mentioned in E3 during the goading of Obi-Wan - drafts of AOTC and the fact that Sifo-Dyas went from a red herring to a mysterious Jedi with a backstory points - to me at least - of a very canny Lucas picking up a piece of 'striking imagery' from TPM...
  9. DarthHomer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2000
    star 5
    I thought Lucas did plan out the entire plot of the prequels before making TPM. Just because Dooku or Sifo-Dyas weren't mentioned in Episode I, doesn't mean Lucas is making it up as he goes along. The prequels have such a complex story that there's no point mentioning new characters until they become relevant to the plot.
  10. Fitten trim Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 1999
    star 4
    We will probably never know, but I think Lucas created a general outline of the PT, and then started writing TPM.

    It might have gone something like:

    Ep. I - Ani's a slave, & freed, leaves mother behind.
    Ep. II - Returns to Mother, she dies. Falls in love with Amidala.
    Ep. III - Something happens to Amidala, Ani turns to dark side.

    I just can't see any 'tight' 3 piece movie that people claim the PT is. IMHO Lucas had an outline of the story (only going into detail on very specific things like EpIII's act of Ani's true turning to the dark side).

    Why do I think Lucas is writing the specifics of the story as he goes along?

    Mainly because:

    A. Dooku and the Seperatists just came out of the blue, nothing really tying them to TPM.

    B. The strange way in AotC that Shmi's death and storyline seems so arbitrary and tacked on.

    C. The midichlorians, freeing slaves, Jar Jar and other issues that Lucas certainly SEEMED to be setting up in TPM just disappeared in AotC.


  11. DarthMalifluous Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2002
    star 2
    Fitten trim: I completely agree. If George's entire Star Wars saga was fleshed out, we would see far more allusion and foreshadowing, contemplative reference of past events that now affect current or future outcomes. Personally, I still think that George is working off his original 13 pages of lined notes that he took to Alan Ladd way back in the mid-70's. There are so many little ties that he is not drawing conclusions from. And, for all those out there who feel that George is just waiting to whollop us with revelation and total continuity logic, I'm sorry, but he's only got 2.5 hours to do it in. He seems to be creating holes and then fixing them. He made a mistake with midichlorians, but then left himself such a huge plot device that he has not seen fit to at least turn that mistake into a triumph, and perhaps make the OT films better films for the reveal.

    Actually, that is what I was really hoping for. I was hoping that the PT films would easily make the OT films better movies, but so far after 2 PT films, he has yet to lend resolve to that end.
  12. Teta040 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 22, 2002
    star 1
    Yes, that is a good point, I've been thinking about that myself: how is GL going to delete refs to the midichlorians? There was no ref to them in AOTC, and I think that by now, as we get to the real Greek tragedy part of the tale, that maybe he sees that the fans, in this instance, were right: that it really is a shallow and half-hearted premise. If he's not above (reportedly) bringing Natlaie to Austrialia in 2002 to film something for ROTJ the final DVD, then he's not above making cuts...(my question is, it had better be a flashback...b/c Natalie's spirit can't be seen standing next to Anakin if the audience doesn't know she's Force-sensitive...and anyway, can't a Jedi MASTER alone do that?)

    The only way I can see her falling for Anakin in the end is not just her desire to comfort him but knwledge of some dark truths about herself that SHOULD have been developed. She knows how Ani feels about losing his mother, but that may not be enough to explain why she continues to love him after he confesses to butchering a village of Sandpeople. My only explanation is (and this is building on the novel, where she says, "You're only human.."etc) that she can personally relate to this too, I mean, isn't she a little sick and tired of all these ppl trying to kill her? In the beginning of the film, she shows an angry streak when she tells Palpy "I want to find out who is trying to kill me." She certainly harbors feeling sof bitterness, and yes, hate.

    Lucas did NOT develop any kind of a "Dark Side" for Ami--dark side as in not always being such an angel, not in the Force sense--but I don't notice this at first. We are just suipposed to assume that she has a desire to comfort the little lost sheep, even if that sheep has become a wolf...

    Even so, I am amazed at the deceptive simplicity of the story structure. The Republic is crsuehd by a dual pincer movement, with the alliance of Dooku and the TF and the Droid army on one hand and the Sith and the Colnes on the other, with the Jedi crushed in the middle. Accordingly, discovers one "claw", then is led to the discovery of the other corresponding "claw", then taken captive. On a parallel level, both of the lovers visit each other's home planets before ending up on Geonosis with Obi-wan. It's a story arc very similar to Empire, but slightly more complex.
  13. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    Yeah, I agree each epsiode is written individually. But this in essence sort of agrees with the flow of SW. I mean, Yoda and LAndo are introduced in the same out-of the-blue way in ESB.
  14. abmccray Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2002
    star 2
    I agree with the original post in a lot of ways - many of the points made mirror my own review.

    It also illustrates what I'm saying - those more educated in movies are the ones that tend to find more flaws in AOTC, which is why the critics are disproportionate in like to the "average moviegoer." There's no conspircay - those that write or create are finding big flaws with the movie. Some can ignore them in favor of the action, some cannot (note how most of the positive reviews praise the action and lack of Jar Jar, not character development and writing).

    You should never be able to see the writing in a movie, and that's one of AOTC's biggest flaws. You can "feel" the contrivances being made as soon as they begin to be shaped.

    The point was made that educating yourself on movies is a disadvantage since you'll like less. I don't agree with that. You might like less movies, but you'll have an even GREATER appreciation of the good stuff, due to being able to enjoy it on so many levels.
  15. saddy1 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 10, 1999
    My two cents (if anyone makes it this far into the thread ;-):

    Since the movies are meant as one big movie, it doesn't make sense to look for character development in any one movie. Having said that, I think Obi-Wan's lack of change in this movie will be his undoing. He is an immature boy scout in Ep1 ("If you would only listen to the Council..."), and a mature boy scout in Ep2 ("Don't do anything w/out consulting either myself or the council"). He's the worst possible teacher for Anakin, since the "system" is not designed for someone like Anakin. You see this most clearly in his conversation with Anakin while they're protecting Padme (easy to miss, since you're focusing on those gross things slithering into her room). Anakin tells him about his nightmares, and Obi-Wan says "Dreams pass in time." Great. Probably the last thing Anakin wants to hear.

    To paraphrase Yoda, too sure of himself Obi-Wan is (although he does admit he can't take Dooku alone). He's extremely dogmatic, and looks down on non-Jedi, even Padme ("She's a politician, and they're not to be trusted"), and of course Jar-Jar ("another pathetic life-form"). Where do you think Anakin got his "Jedi business - go back to your drinks" attitude from?

    Now let's look at the OT Kenobi. He is broken and humbled by his failures, in exile for his sins. Although he still has some of his condescension ("wretched hive of scum and villainy"), he is much more humble about his role in the galaxy. His attitude is more "Let me buy you a drink" than "Let me cut your arm off" (although he still does the latter when necessary).

    (On a side note - what a stunning scene that is, considering that's the first time Obi-Wan has come out as a Jedi in almost 20 yrs)

    No character arc? No development? The defense rests.

    --saddy1

    p.s. Most of these ideas either belong to or are inspired by Molly Domenjoz, who wrote an article about Obi-Wan three years ago. The url is here:
    <a href=http://www.space.com/sciencefiction/movies/obi_wan_tragic_hero_000502.html>http://www.space.com/sciencefiction/movies/obi_wan_tragic_hero_000502.html</a>
  16. DarthHomer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2000
    star 5
    abmccray, you make a good point about how being a writer or filmmaker gives you a better appreciation for great films, and a lower tolerance for crappy films. But I think it's still important to maintain a balance between watching a film for enjoyment and just critiquing it (too many professional critics seem incapable of doing the former when it comes to blockbusters).
    I can think of many writers who do appreciate Lucas's work on TPM and AOTC. Lawrence Kasdan has praised Lucas's artistic vision many times (and he has no reason to kiss ass anymore because he's no longer involved with Lucasfilm in any way). Also, Moriarty on the Aint It Cool News website is a filmmaker who is highly critical of event movies that don't fulfill their potential, and he wrote a glowing review of AOTC. I myself have written many stories and scripts (nothing published yet, unfortunately) and I have a great appreciation for Lucas's work on the prequels so far. I know I couldn't craft a story as complex as his and make it all hang together.
    To sum up: it is possible for people who are knowledgable about filmmaking to think Lucas is a good writer and director, you know :)
  17. augusto Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2001
    star 4
    Wow. Talk about elitism and pomposity.

    Now we have people saying you have to be "educated in movies" to really appreaciate the film.

    That's like saying that you need a fine arts degree (worthless in the real world) to appreciate a painting.

    tsk, tsk, tsk.
  18. Teta040 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 22, 2002
    star 1
    Amen Augusto. Does the targeted audience--which generally these days, even when niche-marketed, is everybody (since the most desired rating for a film from a marketing POV is PG-13) go into a film saying things like, "Oh, the lighting is too bright in this scene, you can't see the forest for the trees," "Crappy introduction to the tension. Not enough of a narrative "bridge" involved-bridge in a musical sense. I don' tlike the non-lineal development pattern of this relationship." What BS. It's an Ivory Tower attitude that is as bad as the Jedi Council in AOTC.

    Why does a scene of a shark biting a girl have such effect? Or a lady stabbed while taking a shower? Or..I could go on and on. Most successful storytellers in film (at least behind the blockbusters of today) were film -school dropouts...

    I don';t care about reading critical diatribes in themselves. What galls me is that they also seek to convert the "ignorant" public. They think that we are retarded. It isn't enough to say a film is bad...but they assume the reader has a bain the size of pea and has to be spoon-fed.
  19. KristSlayer Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    I have been a writer for over 10 years at the New Yorker. In my professional opinion allow me to state 2 facets of plot development that I found particularly intriguing.
    1) The FX were cool
    and
    2) Yoda roxx0r$
  20. Ender_needs_Bean Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 2
    AOTC is an odd little gem. It introduced us to many new elements that we've never been exposed to. Elements like romance have never been expanded to the level of subplotting. A mystery subplot was also a new addition to that galaxy far, far away. For myself, however, I think the one aspect of AOTC that seemed very foreign was the narrative structure. What? No active protagonist within a starwars film? Not possible...

    Starwars used to intercut between our protagonists (our heroes) and the antagonists (the bad guys) a lot. In fact, it's that well defined good vs. evil structure that allowed some critics to give it a passing grade. The clear definition of good and bad, helped make Starwars so universal...

    Think of what TPM stands for. "Phantom Menace" being the key there... However, even TPM intercuts between the heroes and our phantom menace. Specifically, we get to see Sidious' plotting. We get to see him giving Maul orders. Throughout most of the StarWars films, we get to see and hear exactly what the antagonists have planned for our heroes. Dramatic Irony is a powerful cinematic technique, and Lucas mastered it with ANH.

    AOTC has a drastically different narrative structure. If I had to compare it to another Starwars film, it would have to be ESB. For one thing, the political Palpatine takes up more time than the menacing Sidious. Palpatine's choices aren't menacing enough at the surface to seem like your typical antagonist. He doesn't noticable throw hurdles at our characters. Actually, our hereoes don't really care about him at all! They're certainly not on a quest to stop him. Throughout AOTC, we don't get to see Sidious smiling, or giving orders...It's as if we only discover what are only allowed to see what are heroes see. Also, AOTC divides our heroes into a scattered mess for most of the film. It feels non linear, and directionless... Anybody notice how many wipes there were this time? Here, Lucas has thrown away his classical three-act structure. With the lack of an active Antagonist continuously throwing hurdles at our heroes, it creates no MAJOR GOAL at the beginning of the film. Instead, we are simply taken from location to location. Where we are treated to wonderous FX, some minor OT revelations, and comic relief, but it doesn't feel planned... UNTIL you actually consider THE BIG PICTURE.

    AOTC introduced many unique elements to Starwars, but the narrative was probably the most unique. It is a little closer to ESB, and because of that, it was a risky move...

    Hopefully, when we look back on the PT, it'll all pay off...
  21. Telemachos Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 2
    Now we have people saying you have to be "educated in movies" to really appreaciate the film.

    No, but if you're "educated in movies" you can often appreciate it MORE.

    Most folks don't want to think about movies -- they just go for two hours of enjoyment. Having a critical understanding of cinema allows you a greater understanding of a film and its overall place in cinema history. This is true of any artistic endeavor.

    NOTE: you don't need to go to film school to educate yourself on film -- just be willing to see lots of films, of all sorts, from all eras and countries, and read up on the grand history behind it all.
  22. DarthRaptor Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 24, 2002
    star 1
    Well, first off, I'll confess that I didn't read your ENTIRE post. Hey, it's an awful lot to read, you know. But, I did read quite a bit of it. And, your summary at the end. And, you know what? That's what I've been thinking all along. The scenes on Naboo was what hurt this movie. Personally, I don't think completely cutting them would be necessary. I DO think that they should be completely re-written. I mean, the problem is that Anakin & Padme don't really DO anything on Naboo. That's not so bad. They could still fall in love okay . . . if the dialog works. Which it doesn't. I think if they would rework the dialog from beginning to end with the scenes on Naboo, I think it would go a long way.

    But, to be honest with you, I thought the rest of the movie was perfect. Maybe there wasn't the greatest character development in the world, but this IS Star Wars, not Gone With the Wind.

    So, in case you decided to skip over my post, too, ;) here's a summary. Re-write, don't delete, the love story scenes on Naboo. Otherwise, don't change a thing. In my opinion.

    By the way, I do like to consider myself an amateur novelist, since I did write a novel when I was a teenager (it wasn't very good). However I've never been published, and probably never will be until I hunker down and actually WRITE the idea that I have for a novel that I think would work this time. That is all. Have a nice day. :)

    DR
  23. augusto Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2001
    star 4
    those more educated in movies are the ones that tend to find more flaws in AOTC, which is why the critics are disproportionate in like to the "average moviegoer." There's no conspircay - those that write or create are finding big flaws with the movie.

    "Those that write or create" are usually not called movie critics, unless by writing it's meant as writing articles. And the ones that have are not good at it, hence they are movie critics. Sorry, but qualifications for movie critics is not high, obviously you hold them in high esteem, most people don't.

    As for being educated in movies I think supermacho has a different meaning than our previous poster. People can always enjoy something by dwelving deeper into the creative process, but our expert write here concentrates on the writing portion, while others like me concentrate on the visual elements of the movie.

    Either way, it doesn't matter if you are a 3D code monkey or a frustrated writer, the ultimate test of a movie is if it's audience likes it or not. When you popup the "expert" non-sense, it sounds like you value their opinion more than lay people, and that's patently absurd. Specially when the experts here have no real qualifications, and the product here is intended for the masses not the delusional elite.

    One need not look far to find how completely disconnected some of these reviewers are, specially one I always held in high regard, Ebert. But anyways, enough about dumb critics ...
  24. bed_speling Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 9, 2002
    star 1

    I agree with the original post in a lot of ways - many of the points made mirror my own review.

    It also illustrates what I'm saying - those more educated in movies are the ones that tend to find more flaws in AOTC, which is why the critics are disproportionate in like to the "average moviegoer."



    abmccray, I think it is unfair for you to enlist the participants of this thread into your private agenda.

    When I participated in this thread, it was with an implied consideration that the ideas proposed in this thread were tweaks to what is essentially GL's story. I should not speak for all the others, but I got the feeling that the participants in this thread were respectful of GL's work.

    The spirit of this thread was one of kinship: fellow creative artists (or budding artists) empathising with GL's creative struggles. I didn't get the sense that participants of this thread were donning the critic's hat.



  25. abmccray Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2002
    star 2
    As I said, it wasn't "donning the critic's hat," it was recognizing that the dialogue COULD be improved/needed work as compared to other such threads where you'll get a million "I don't see anything wrong - I thought it was great!"s.

    Someone made a comment earlier about making a movie for the laypeople as opposed to your critics or peers.

    The greatest artists create things that both critics, peers, and laypeople enjoy. A peer would be the best judge of your work, as they are most likely to understand what goes into it. A critic may understand, but there is more chance of agendas and less chance of actual knowledge of the medium. Most of the general public is not educated in any art form enough to be a true judge of it (they may "like it," but they often don't understand the technicalities). However, if you make it accessible so that they can like it, all the better.

    That's why I say that Spielberg is the greatest director - he appeals to all 3 at once more often than anyone whereas people such as Kubrick/Lynch/etc. etc. etc. would alienate one or the other.
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