Dialogue of the Original Trilogy versus the Prequels

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by MASTERJOEDA1974, Jul 4, 2005.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. MASTERJOEDA1974 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 29, 2005
    star 1
    Is it just me or doesn't the Original Trilogy have dialogue that sounds somewhat familar to the words we use today? Take when Han calls Leia "Sister" all the time. As in "Listen sister, I'm in it for the money." That's somewhat a vernacular of the 70's. Now take the Prequel's dialogue. It's regal, almost robotic, cold. To borrow a phrase from Harrison Ford, "You can type this s..t but you can't say it!". Mind you he was referring to the Original trilogy dialogue. Lucas gets beaten for creating wooden dialogue and in the Prequel's I think he deserves it!

    What say you?
  2. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    The dialogue in the prequels is formal, suiting the formal atmosphere of royal courts, political office and philosophical discourse. The dialogue in the original trilogy is looser and more casual, suiting the looser atmosphere of social distinctions and casual relations unhindered by a rigid class system, adopting only a more baroque and formal tone in regards to the old-fashioned Jedi and the fiercely conservative Empire.

    The dialogue in each case makes absolute sense.

    By the way, for anybody who thinks that the dialogue was any less wooden or corny in the original trilogy, just remember gems like this from ESB of all films:

    "I don't know where you get your delusions, laser brain!"
  3. Wester547 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2004
    star 4
    Except those 'gems' were flawlessly executed and delivered, and even at times made the characters seem a little more human, or just defined the characters perfectly, which is why they worked so well.

    In the prequel trilogy, on the other hand... it's a different story.... yeah.
  4. MASTERJOEDA1974 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 29, 2005
    star 1
    Exactly what I was saying. The original movies dialogue gave the characters depth even with corny lines like the one Leia used. It conveyed her attitude really.
  5. bebbie Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2002
    star 1
    *sigh* It always has to come back to ye ole ?the original trilogy was flawless? verses ?the prequel trilogy was crap" conversation.

    Sorry, but I was there and I can tell you that no-one was saying that any dialogue or acting was flawless in the original trilogy at the time of their releases.

    Back then, I was madly defending the original trilogy against critics & friends and today, here I am, defending the prequels for exactly the same reasons....






  6. MASTERJOEDA1974 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 29, 2005
    star 1
    I'm not trashng the Prequel dialogue I'm just saying that there IS a discernable difference between the Origianl and the Prequel in tems of dialogue. I think because Lucas wanted the Prequels to show things before they crapped out all over (a-la Episdoe IV) he made the dialoge VERY wooden.
  7. RamRed Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2002
    star 4

    I know how you feel. I get sick of it, too. I even came across an essay in which the author who used the settings of Mos Eisley in ANH and the Coruscant setting in AOTC, to compare the two trilogy - in favor of the Original Trilogy, of course. How nauseating.

    By the way, there was plenty of wooden dialogue . . . and acting in the OT. But since most SW fans tend to view the OT through rose-colored glasses, I doubt that they can ever be convinced of this.
  8. SkottASkywalker Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jan 3, 2002
    star 4
    I totally enjoy the dialogue of the entire STAR WARS Saga.

    It's STAR WARS and feels like STAR WARS and is part of the charm of STAR WARS. :) :cool:
  9. TheWhiteTuxedo Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2004
    star 1
    I don't think the dialogue in the first two films was all that bad. These movies aren't about dialogue. So the OT dialogue was fine enough and at times some great phrases popped out. The Prequel dialogue isn't as hot though. Not completely terrible (except for some places), but I think a lot of it is the execution. Lucas gives some excuse about wanting "30's style acting" or some such nonsense. If the dialogue was executed better in the Prequels, it wouldn't come under as much fire. But I think does lack flair. I wouldn't say the PT dialogue is like something out of a regal court. I'd call it more utilitarian. It gets the job done, nothing more.

    And I'm not wearing rose colored glasses. :p
  10. dontlookatmethatway Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 5, 2005
    star 3
    The OT dialouge was great. All of the lines were well executed and they really added depth to the characters. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the prequels. Lines like "Are you an angel" just sound pathetic. The acting wasn't that great either.
  11. Shelley Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2001
    star 5
    I'd say that the dialogue is about the same in all of the movies (sometimes the OT's dialogue is better, sometimes the PT's is); the difference is that the OT actors deliver it more fluidly.

  12. LukeCloudjogger Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2005
    star 2
    Yeah, I'd say Shelley hit the nail right on the head.

    "I'm Luke Skywalker. I'm here to rescue you" is one of the corniest lines of the saga, yet delivered so flawlessly by Mark Hamill.

    The OT can also be quoted and quoted all day. So many witty lines and memorable dialogue.

    The PT, I'm sorry to say, had a little of this but not as much.
  13. Shelley Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2001
    star 5
    Furthermore, I seriously doubt Vader's lines would be so impressive if they weren't spoken in James Earl Jones's voice -- if, for instance, they were spoken in David Prowse's voice.

    I think there are memorable lines in the PT. Not as many as in the OT, but there are there.
  14. dawnsstarr Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2005
    It is a give and take situation, as in all movies, between the actors and the writers. Sure some of the lines in OT were extremely corny, but the chemistry between Hamill, Ford and Fisher is amazing. They have it down so flawlessly, that by Jedi the three of them just have to walk on screen together and bam it is there. No script needed.

    The acting in the PT was pathetic. So, though the script did not help them out at all, they are actors, this is their day job, work with it. The actors in PT gave nothing of themselves to the part. They added nothing. Maybe they were in awe of the Star Wars legacy or something, but it felt more like they were action figures doing the motions then real people.
  15. newwillorder Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 29, 2004
    star 2
    I thought the PT lovers were the ones with the inferiority complex.
  16. Shelley Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2001
    star 5
    I thought the PT lovers were the ones with the inferiority complex.

    [face_laugh]
  17. DarthSil Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2003
    star 4
    And the OT lovers suffer from a superiority complex? [face_thinking]
  18. Spike_Spiegel Former FF Administrator Former Saga Mod

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2002
    star 6
    Please refrain from "Which is better? PT vs OT" discussions and stick to the matter at hand. The original post tried to discuss how the dialogue has changed during both trilogies, not whether one is better than the other.



    Regarding that first post, this shift in the tone and the "lightness" in dialogue is perhaps due to the scope of the movies. The PT deals with political shifts and the scope is centered in the center of galactic civilization. Dialogue then tends to be more formal and "regal." the OT centered on the outskirts of civilization. Many of its characters are either in the fringes, like Luke and Han, or heavily influenced by them. The dialogue is hence much lighter than the PT and less formal.
  19. Winston_Sith Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 8, 2004
    star 5
    Bad news for OT 'purists':

    Today, I heard a little boy in the toy department of a major retail chain talking to his mom... I think it was his mom...

    They were on the "Star Wars" aisle, and she was suggesting something about what toy he should buy.

    He said "No. that's from the trilogies. Those aren't very good, anymore."

    I just thought I'd bring this to your attention.

    I'm shocked too.
  20. Tyranus_the_Hutt Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2004
    star 4
    Today, I heard a little boy in the toy department of a major retail chain talking to his mom... I think it was his mom...

    They were on the "Star Wars" aisle, and she was suggesting something about what toy he should buy.

    He said "No. that's from the trilogies. Those aren't very good, anymore."

    I just thought I'd bring this to your attention.

    I'm shocked too.


    Hmmm...I recently saw a well-received foreign film in which early on, one of the characters (a child) lets out a resounding, "Yipeeee!" Interesting that the film community hasn't begun its indictment of this particular exclamation, one whose inclusion in "The Phantom Menace" has not been fortunate enough to escape a seemingly impossible amount of critical ire.

    The dialogue of the OT was based in a hyper-real 1930s fluidity which characterized such popular entertainments as "His Girl Friday," "It Happened One Night," "The Palm Beach Story," and "Bringing Up Baby." There is a terseness and rapidity to the particular delivery of this dialogue which tends to make banal or uninteresting passages of colloquy seem wittier and more inherently clever than they might otherwise appear; Lucas adopted both the style of delivery, as well as the succinct, humorous nature of the dialogue itself, and applied it to his artistic canvas for use in the original three "Star Wars" films. While obviously quite derivative, the snappiness and verve with which this verbiage was conceived, consequently enabled his pictures to generate a tonality and texture which approximated the pulpy excess of the Saturday-matinee serials on which the movies were based. There are no shortage of clunky lines in these pictures, but the aforementioned fluidity with which the dialogue is delivered, helps to iron out most of the rough spots. When there are overtly silly line-readings, such as Lando's "We'll last longer than we will against that Death Star!", the intellectual application of this material's pulp roots serves to neutralize the starchiness of these bits, positioning such hackneyed compositions in a comprehensible aesthetic context.

    In choosing to create the prequel films, I think it was imperative for Lucas to employ a type of stylization which stood in diametric opposition to the more accessible dialogue used throughout most of the OT. I support this decision, at least in its abstract form, because the disparate nature of interlocution helped the director to imply the transitional nature of contrasting eras, particularly when observed over the complete trajectory of the six-film cycle. This isn't an attempt at realism, but an artistic device used to cultivate the idea of progression within the saga's dominant story arc; the Sirkian formality which haunts Lucas' flowery, sometimes overstuffed dialogue, has less of an ironic, contemporary feel to it, and is reasonably successful in suggesting the lost, fated qualities of a dense, regal environment. The deliberate intonation used by the actors to compliment these lines isn't as superficially entertaining as the unnatural incisiveness displayed in the first trilogy, but that isn't its purpose; here we have an "antiquated" precision to the ebb and flow of the colloquy, one which is more evocative of Wyler and Hecht, rather than Sturges or Diamond. Whether or not Lucas' endeavors in this regard were successful, is of course a matter for debate, but conceptually, I admire the stark contrast between the two trilogies; in a cumulative sense, this level of affectation transcends its technical parameters, and while it isn't "great" writing, it does serve to enrich this cascading filmic tapestry, thus infusing it with a towering pulp grandiosity.
  21. darth-amedda Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 8, 2003
    star 4
    Tyranus_the_Hutt, perfect observations! Moreover I think that this reasoning is supported by the fact that stylization of Kenobi's dialogue and behaviour (who is omne of the the links between trilogies) in OT is also more formal and old-fashioned. Apparently he doesn't speak in such an accessible way as the other OT-ish characters.

    And one more detail to correspond with your description. It is part of one of the original ESB reviews:

    After one has one's fill of the special effects and after one identifies the source of the facetious banter that passes for wit between Han Solo and Leia (it's straight out of B-picture comedies of the 30's), there isn't a great deal for the eye or the mind to focus on. Ford, as cheerfully nondescript as one could wish a comic strip hero to be, and Miss Fisher, as sexlessly pretty as the base of a porcelain lamp, become (is it rude to say?) tiresome. One finally looks around them, even through them, at the decor. If Miss Fisher does much more of this sort of thing, she's going to wind up with the Vera Hruba Ralston Lifetime Achievement Award.
  22. DIRTHMULL Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2005
    star 1
    Generational differences, just like dialogue in cartoon's today differ from say back in the 80's.
  23. wcleere Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2002
    star 3
    The generational differences work for the films. For example, Leia in ESB tells 3p0 to "Shut up." Imagine Padme saying that...she never would. They grew up in a different time and it's exemplified by touches like that. Luke and Leia are "the kids these days" while Anakin and Padme, Padme in particular were the respectful adults of an older generation.
  24. C Creepio Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 25, 1999
    star 3
    Let me just say one thing:

    Han's "I'm a nice man" speech is a far superior pickup attempt than Anakin's "I don't like sand..." speech.

    OT has PT beat in the romance dialogue department, hands down.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.