Did anyone not like the story of TPM?

Discussion in 'The Phantom Menace' started by Joey7F, Aug 11, 2001.

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  1. Joey7F Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 2000
    star 4
    Now before anyone cries out "Joey7f you stupid moron RTFBB!" This is not did you not like TPM.

    If you take out the "Yippees!" the trade federation funny accents, the gungans way of speaking etc. would you like the story (provided you don't like the way it stands now)?

    It seems like most complaints were about the childish nature of some of the characters. Who thinks the story iself sucks?

    --Joey

  2. Darth Geist Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
    star 5
    I think it had its weak spots (mainly in terms of pacing and overuse/underuse of certain characters), but it was serviceable enough most of the time.
  3. Charth_Maul Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 5, 2001
    star 4
    They made it too kid appealing, which hurt the movie greatly. If they took all that out, it would be sooooo much better. Though I absolutely love it now, I'd love it even more.
  4. Patrick Russell Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1998
    star 4
    Very good question! I dig the way you worded it, because I think it does get down to the crux of the biscuit as far as the problems many "bashers" had with TPM.

    There are a few fundamental changes that IMHO would have made the story much stronger, but even with events as they were in TPM I think that much of the problem was with surface elements such as Lucas going overboard on kiddie gimmicks and too many CGI effects that seemed to be there strictly for their own sake.

    As I've said elsewhere, the political storyline in TPM had a great deal of promise. But it needed another 5-10 minutes of attention in terms of screen time in order to really draw the audience in. Expositional scenes in which half the dialogue was done in the semi-intelligible pseudo-Asian yammering that was chosen for the Neimoidians didn't help either.

    I think that had Jar Jar's antics been cut down to about a third of what ended up in the movie, it would have left more room for story development. I also think that Anakin needed to be at least a LITTLE older so that it was easier for the audience to relate to him. A nine year-old genius savant? Who can relate to that, really?

    Could also have dealt with a climax to the movie that wasn't recycled from ROTJ... that was a bit much, and I think George could have applied himself and come up with something a LITTLE more original than that.

    But in general TPM's basic story wasn't bad. I think had it been tweaked a little bit to better highlight its strong points we'd have had a much better overall movie.

    YMMV.
  5. Boba_Phat Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 29, 2000
    star 4
    The storyline confused me for a while, but as I've figured it out I've learned to appreciate it.
  6. Patrick Russell Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1998
    star 4
    The sad thing is that it didn't NEED to confuse anyone. It's not that complex. It's just that the film wasted so much time on garbage like Jar Jar's endless slapstick gags that crucial elements of the story were simply not expanded to the point where they should have been. I mean good God, if people can follow a Columbo episode then there's not much to TPM that they shouldn't have been able to follow... had a little more of Lucas' attention been paid and screen time devoted to the political storyline, that is.
  7. ewingsquadron Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2001
    star 5
    I liked the Planet is in trouble, and people are sent to help. I like how some one was elected to lead the Republic because of it. It's just the character and locations, and some situations that needed a complete do over.
  8. MikeM199 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 3, 2001
    The basic plot was fine, but the characters were weak and there were too many childish parts. One problem was that I never really cared about Naboo or hated the TF. They needed to show the Naboo suffering by the hands of the TF to spark my interest. In the OT Vader did many terrible things that made you hate both him and the empire, and I felt sympathy for the main characters and the rebellion.
  9. mithmaster Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 22, 2000
    star 3
    I didn't have any problems with the story (Anaking being nine, Quigon training Obiwan, etc) just the execution. I agree with the person who said just a little longer on certain scenes, and a little shorter on others, would have made the film much better. It's funny, cause GL has always said editing is his favorite part, but he just doesn't seem to be that good at it. Especially when he attacked the OT in 97 with the ridiculous SEs.
  10. That_Wascally_Droid Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 29, 2001
    star 6
    It was fine by me :)

    Patrick Russell, you said that if Anakin was a little older. How is relating to a 9 year old different from relating to a 12 or 15 year old? Or even an 18 year old? In each case, you're forced to relate to someone younger than yourself. If you can do it with an 18 year old, a child isn't too hard. Now about his position as a prodigy. That didn't really affect him as a person that much really. If it did, he would have been deep dark and moody, or incredibly obnoxious and smart like that kid in JP3. But nope. He was pretty much a normal little guy.
    The story and plot were very well done. Left room for so much expansion in the other two. Very complicated (as compared to the OT). Very adult. Perhaps lucas was angling that the plot would be enough to satisfy the older people? Well apparently that didn't work :p
  11. Patrick Russell Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1998
    star 4
    It's not a matter of Anakin being younger than me... it's a matter of him being an as-yet unindividuated young child who is also this supragenius kid who's building droids, flying spaceships, etc. Not only is he a small boy (who has yet to develop enough of a personality to be particularly interesting) but he's also anything BUT a normal little kid. He's this mechanical Mozart who was (allegedly) conceived by microscopic symbionts in his mother's cells (though I reckon we'll eventually learn that this was not exactly the case). What's to relate to?

    Yes, he would have been somewhat more interesting had he been 13-14 in TPM, and would have been FAR more interesting if he was 18 or so as Luke was.

    There's just nothing all that interesting or dramatic about a nine year old kid. Put 'em on film and they're basically a dime a dozen. They haven't had time to develop any sort of character yet. "He's nice, he's generous." Okay, fine... where's the dramatic character potential there?

    Sorry, I just think making Anakin that young removed any possibility of his character being of any real dramatic interest.
  12. darth-sinister Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2001
    star 10
    When I watch movies I don't go in and relate to the characters. I just watch the movie and be done with it. And if you do, it's easy to relate to being an outsider. I'm a bit of an outsider. So, if I related to Anakin, it would be based on that.

    I happen to like both the SE's and TPM.
  13. Darth23 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 14, 1999
    star 4
    I think the fact that Anakin was so young is one of the reasons that he doesn't even have the most screen time in own story. There are TWO story lines in TPM (very cool imo) and I think this is what confused a lot of people. Also the characters that have the most screen time aren't really the main characters of the movie. I think PARTS of the film were definitely aimed more towards younger people, and parts were clearly not. The best parts of the movie were the elements that had more universal appeal. Unlike others, I don't resent the fact that every single scene and character didn't appeal directly to my demographic group. And I KNOW there were lots of people laughing at Jar Jar's gags in the theater, no matter how popular it became to trash him later on.

    I liked both stories. To be honest I didn't even know where the movie was heading until the Amidala and Jar Jar scene on Coruscant. the story is definitely more complicated than any of the other Star Wars films. I think this threw some people off also.

  14. Dionysus Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2001
    star 1
    Judging TPM on a ten point scale, ten being the highest...

    Story: 8
    Dialogue: 6
    Cinematography: 8.5
    Editing: 7
    Design: 10
    Visual effects: 9
    Jake Lloyd's acting: 5
    Everyone else's acting: 8

    To put those totally subjective and unsolicited ratings into some perspective, I would give ESB (my favorite SW film) the following...

    Story: 9
    Dialogue: 7.5
    Cinematography: 8
    Editing 8.5
    Design: 9
    Visual effects: 9
    Acting: 8

    ANH would be just a bit lower (notably in dialogue and acting) and ROTJ would be just below that, but a notch above TPM.

    That said, I still really like TPM, believe it or not. ;)
  15. IronParrot Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 2, 1999
    star 5
    TPM isn't even a complete story, so why judge it?

    The only "completed" arc is the one involving the Trade Federation's blockade and invasion of Naboo. And in fact, the full repercussions of the events in this story arc will probably be expanded upon in Episode II.

    This is like taking the first half of Gone With The Wind and asking the question, "Is this a good Civil War movie?" when we haven't even reached the part with Reconstruction yet!
  16. Darth-Stryphe Former Mod and City Rep

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2001
    star 6
    I think TPM had the best plot of all of them, and I think it was written the poorest of any of them, too. My favorite kind of sci-fi story is the kind where some evil master mind is working to take control of things slowly gradually behind the scenes. Take Babylon 5, for example, or Dune, or Children of Dune. They all had this. The only way I think TPM could have been better written is if it were being written with a target audience of 16 plus in mind, like the above mentioned did. Plus I think Anakin's piloting talents were force-rammed into the story, and didn't really fit. The pod part did, but him being a space pilot -- I mean, when did Wattoo let him go strolling around the galaxy? That tracking device he has implanted him must be awful darn powerful
  17. stone_jedi Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 17, 2001
    star 4
    The story was good, the execution of the story was terrible. I like the political intrigue, I like learning how Palpy took control of the Senate, and I like seeing the old time Jedi. What I don't like is the useless stuff thrown in between all of this. I dislike how overused jar jar was, I dislike how underused and underacted Anakin was, and I don't like how the movie catered to children. Take out some jar jar, throw in an interesting Anakin, and give us more of the behind the scenes stuff with Palpy and Sidious, and I think the movie would be much better.

    As it is, I don't like TPM.
  18. SHINOBIWANKENOBI Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 10, 2001
    I thought the movie was perfect as the beginning chapter. I wouldn't change a thing, except maybe a nude scene with Natalie Portman (just kiddind...wait, no I am not ;))
  19. Darth23 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 14, 1999
    star 4
    Babylon 5?

    Check please.
  20. Darth-Stryphe Former Mod and City Rep

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2001
    star 6
    Hey, hey, hey, no Babylon 5 bashing, Darth23. We all know it was the greatest sci-fi TV series ever. Admit it, and you'll feel better.
  21. Malthus Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 1999
    star 4
    What Patrick_Russell said: "Very good question!"

    I loved the premise of the story. A minor squabble brings a snowball of events to turn it into a galaxy-rending event, steered by a manipulative and Phantom Menace. In addition, a young man's journey with the Force has just begun -- a journey which we only knew the end of.

    I didn't love how the potentially powerful scenes were constantly robbed by clown-like antics. The Gungan battle was horribly executed. I half-expected to see a little Volkswagen roll through one side of the shield and let 20 clowns out to add to the festive air of stupidity (sound effects included).

    As I see it, the problems worth getting stuck upon are the ones that interfered with its ability to tell its story. Details aren't important; the way they're integrated into the story is. stone_jedi pointed out (rather well) that the execution is what lacked. The way you tell a story is just as important as the story itself.

    After doing some thinking and soul searching on this and other matters (as well as watching the trilogy+TPM due to a recent need to watch Star Wars on weekday nights), I think I've found what it is that truly bugged me personally about TPM:

    I wasn't engaged.

    Let me tell you all something. Confession time. I'm a pretty sappy fellow -- watching movies with powerful emotional scenes can put quite the tear in my eye. I was a happily sobbing mess at my own wedding. I must admit that my list of movies that can do this to me includes each of the previously-made 3 films.

    - The desperation of the Rebel cause and losing R2 at their most desperate moment of the battle(ANH).
    - The dedication and selflessness of the radio op guy who Leia has to order to his transport on Hoth(TESB).
    - The firm resolution of Mon Mothma when she reveals the most importan reason they are attacking the 2nd Death Star(ROTJ).
    - The courage of Admiral Ackbar when he and his Rebel fleet come to face their enemies in a do-or-die confrontation to rid the galaxy of evil -- "May the Force be with us." THEY MUST SUCCEED! (ROTJ)
    - The boldness of Lando Calrissian as the Death Star opens up on the reeling Rebel fleet. Because they MUST defeat the Death Star and the Emperor, he advocates hurling themselves upon their tormentors, trading lives for time (ROTJ)
    - The way the confrontation between Luke and the Emperor built into a duel, then "roller coastered" upward into a climactic change of heart for Vader. Victory, redemption, and salvation, all wrapped up into one POWERFUL scene. The music really gets me during the electrocution scenes where Vader looks back and forth between Master and son, and then again when the music resolves into the victorious and moving Force theme. (ROTJ)

    But not TPM. In every situaition where I normally would have had a trembling lower lip, there is always something to spoil it. Be it bland acting, stupid dialogue, lack of character development, cheesy plot events, or Jar Jar Binks' clowning around, I just wasn't emotionally involved. And that says a lot. Looking back, I realize I just didn't care what happened to anyone in that movie, that I wasn't allowed to care for them, and so my first viewing of TPM was one marked by apathy.

    Ultimately, all of this opened the door for me to lose my suspension of disbelief almost immediately after the movie started -- instead of being emotionally and mentally engaged, I actually was given the chance to sit back and frown at elements I was seeing and hearing. Before long, I began to be critical and start to shake my head at the continued clowning around and ridiculous plot mechanics.

    Aside from those heavy emotional/intellectual things, I do have a criticism for how the story's plot mechanics went -- George is very obviously over-fond of the "tiny fighter shoots the Achilles heel of the super-ship and triggers a chain reaction that blows it all up and saves the day." And I guess I'm a little tired of things like that. I wish that he'd have thought of
  22. darth-jihad Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 20, 2001
    star 1
    The major plot of TPM was probably the stongest of the movies to date. The machiavellian Senator playing everyone in order to gain control of the galaxy, great stuff. The only plot points I didn't like was the introduction of Midichlorians and the luck factor in Anakins destruction of the Droid control satelite. Everything else can be redeemed later, Obi-Wan can get more time in the next two episodes with Jar Jar getting less and hopefully proving himself to be a useful part of the STAR WARS universe (laying down his life to save the twins perhaps).

    To my way of thinking Midichlorians rob us of the feeling that the force is something that is there for everyone. Now in the OT when the Rebels tell each other "May the Force be with you." I'll always think, but your out of luck unless you have a high midi count. The Force was universal, now its genetic which for me is sad.

    Anakins destruction of the droid satelite seemed to be plain old luck, not the will of the Force. Just luck and that doesn't sit well with the rest of the saga. There has always been an element of luck involved but it was always in events leading to the climax not the climax itself, now all future events are based on Anakins fluke.IMO
  23. stone_jedi Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 17, 2001
    star 4
    That was a great post Malthus. I totally agree with you when you say you couldn't connect with any of the characters. The problem I think is that they all seem over-characterized, if that makes sense.

    For one thing, it's okay to have a bumbling fool. But to repeatedly have him bumble and clown and fool around totally overemphasizes the point. We understand that he was banished for being clumsy. How about show him trying to not be clumsy. Show that he learned from his mistakes. Show that he has remorse for them. Don't show him doing more of the same.

    Next, the queen. I realize that she is uptight because she is worried about her people and that she has to hold up the disguise. But let her show some kind of emotion at some point in the film. I realize this was supposed to happen when she was on the balcony talking to jj, but she came off as bored and monotone. Let her express her feelings somehow. It seems like she is too bored for her own good.

    The Jedi...Where to start? Qui Gon isn't too bad, but Obi has almost no character at all. And it's not his fault. This one lies solely on the script and the director. He is given no character at all. Qui Gon starts as a mentor and guide. He teaches Obi Wan and gives him instruction. They fight together, and it seems as if he is the model of an excellent Jedi. But then he changes when they reach Tattooine. All he does is guide them in seemingly illegal ways. He gambles a little boys life on a race, then he gambles for the little boys life, and his mother, then he tells the JC that he will openly disobey them. Who is this guy? Give us a character, not some thrown together ideas.

    This is a start. I will elaborate with other characters if anyone so desires. Let me know.
  24. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    Patrick Russell: "There are a few fundamental changes that IMHO would have made the story much stronger, but even with events as they were in TPM I think that much of the problem was with surface elements such as Lucas going overboard on kiddie gimmicks and too many CGI effects that seemed to be there strictly for their own sake."

    Go-Mer: First of all, these are at heart, children's films. Secondly, the whole 6 film saga has to do with Anakin Skywalker first and foremost, who is only 9 in this film. IN that way, I thought the juvinile presentation of the film fit perfectly. Also, it is interesting that you would cite CG effects that were "only there to be there". I find that while SW has always had the most effects in film, they had always been used the most judiciously. I have yet to see one single effect that was just there. You know that bit in Airplane II where William Shatner asked the technician what the thing with the neon lights that alternated did. The guy said it basically flashed back and forth like that. That was it. Well even the things that just flash in the background of a SW film have functions thought out for them. Take the droid detector in Mos Eisely in ANH. It is a typical blinking light appliance, yet they timed it to go off when 3-PO went in front of it, and the bartender was then prompted by it to tell him to keep out. I guess I would like an example of one of these "just there" effects you are talking about if you could.

    Patrick Russell: "As I've said elsewhere, the political storyline in TPM had a great deal of promise. But it needed another 5-10 minutes of attention in terms of screen time in order to really draw the audience in. Expositional scenes in which half the dialogue was done in the semi-intelligible pseudo-Asian yammering that was chosen for the Neimoidians didn't help either."

    Go-Mer: What more did you need in those 5- 10 minutes? What wasn't there? And are you trying to tell me you couldn't even understand the Niemodians? Thats a first.

    Patrick Russell: "I think that had Jar Jar's antics been cut down to about a third of what ended up in the movie, it would have left more room for story development."

    Go-Mer: What parts of Jar-Jar would you cut, and what more did you want in the way of story development?

    Patrick Russell: "I also think that Anakin needed to be at least a LITTLE older so that it was easier for the audience to relate to him. A nine year-old genius savant? Who can relate to that, really?"

    Go-Mer: A 9 year old, you know, the target audience?

    Patrick Russell: "Could also have dealt with a climax to the movie that wasn't recycled from ROTJ... that was a bit much, and I think George could have applied himself and come up with something a LITTLE more original than that."

    Go-Mer: Well personally, the reppetition of similar events IS pretty darned original and creative as far as I can tell. Of course, you have to notice the -differences- to really appreciate it. Lucas says that he is trying to show the same thing from different perspectives. For better or worse he is approaching these films like a symphony. Some movements repeat themselves, but sometimes it is with different instruments, or with a different key.

    Patrick Russell: "But in general TPM's basic story wasn't bad. I think had it been tweaked a little bit to better highlight its strong points we'd have had a much better overall movie."

    Go-Mer: What were it's strong points in your mind, and what would you do to highlight them?

    Patrick Russell: "The sad thing is that it didn't NEED to confuse anyone. It's not that complex. It's just that the film wasted so much time on garbage like Jar Jar's endless slapstick gags that crucial elements of the story were simply not expanded to the point where they should have been."

    Go-Mer: So it isn't so much that Jar-Jar distracted you from the plot, it just wasn't spelled out enough for you? What were you missing? What should have been there in place of Jar-Jar?

    Patrick Russell: "I mean good God, if people can follow a Columbo episode then ther
  25. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    Darth-Stryph: "I think Anakin's piloting talents were force-rammed into the story, and didn't really fit. The pod part did, but him being a space pilot -- I mean, when did Wattoo let him go strolling around the galaxy? That tracking device he has implanted him must be awful darn powerful."

    Go-Mer: Or, piloting a Pod was a decent trainer for a Naboo Fighter. The Naboo fighter even has the same "dual engine in the front" form. Also, the autopilot did almost everything, and when he turned it off, he ended up getting hit and spun out of control into the hangar. He finally got the hang of it when he took off after torpedoing the main reactor. Combining Anakin's prepensity for learning things quick, like the scene where Anakin impresses Rick Olie for understanding the controls faster than he can explain them. To me anyway, this seems not only plauseable, but very thouroughly set up.
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