Did anyone not like the story of TPM?

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

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  1. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    Cool, I have MORMEGIL trained to respond to himself.

    Harlowe Thromby, I am not telling you why you have to like Jar-Jar or anything in the film. I am just explaining why I liked it. Not everyone will. Just like not everyone likes any of the SW films.

    I happen to be a die hard SW fan myself, and I just have to speak up when people say Lucas screwed this film up.

    He may not have met your demographic, but he at the very least, met mine. I am sure I am not alone, but I try not to pretend to speak for others.
  2. mjskywalk Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2001
    star 1
    What story?! George Lucas wrote the whole script with leftovers from the other movies only to serve his special effects. 90% of the movie was Lucas playing with the computers at ILM or where ever.
    Before you disagree; think about it. The pod race was an idea recycled from "A New Hope" which was never used in the movie, but was featured on the radio drama (with Luke and landspeeders). The final space battle was just a bad remake of the battle to destroy the first Death Star. It was bad in that you didn?t get to know the other pilots who were dying. You got to ?know? Jek, Wedge, Biggs and some of the others enough to feel bad when they died and know they had an important role in saving the galaxy. In TPM it was all Anakin. It didn?t matter that there were other people up there fighting and dying for the same cause; it was all about this snot nosed brat.
    The writing for this chapter of the story was so bad and so full of holes that the next two will have to be phenomenal to make up for it.
  3. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    He says he is repeating themes. That for better or worse, he is approaching these films like a symphony. he repeats themes, sometimes with a different instrument, or sometimes with a different key, but it is done in an effort to show the same thing from many different sides.

    It seems to me that Anakin and Luke will have similar things happen to them, but the important stuff is in the differences between them.
  4. Patrick Russell Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1998
    star 4
    First off, let me say that while Gomer and I may butt heads constantly and share few points of agreement on the relative success of TPM as a film overall (or the lack thereof) I don't think he deserves the pointed personal attacks that he's been getting. If you truly don't like TPM, why not argue with Gomer on that level? Yes, occasionally some personal stuff will spill over a bit, but at least it's in context of a debate over the film itself, and not merely a personal rant on the guy.

    Personally, part of me envies Gomer's ability to see past all the flaws in TPM< and just enjoy it as it is. As I've said before, as a SW fan I have been trying since 1999 to find a way to watch TPM and actually love the damned thing. I've been unsuccessful, to say the least, but ultimately my goal is to actually LIKE TPM so I can eventually watch the whole saga in one sitting INCLUDING TPM and not have to spend the first two hours looking at my watch waiting for Episode II.

    Unfortunately, I still watch TPM and see low grade dog food. ("DOG FOOD??? I geev heem "DOG FOOD"!!! AAARRRGGHHH!!!") And when it comes to discussing why, I know that Gomer and I will never see eye to eye. But come on... we're still all frickin' Star Wars fans no matter WHAT we thought of TPM, right? Okay, so somebody holds some opinions on TPM which kinda chaps your ass... is that reason enough to use Star Wars as an excuse to attack somebody?

    Okay, okay... I know... "Shut up, ya lame-ass hippie!" I know... I'm just saying, of all the stuff to possibly fight over, why Star Wars? Y'know?
  5. Harlowe Thrombey Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 19, 1999
    star 2
    mjskywalk: Just because Lucas uses old ideas doesn't mean that those stories are inherently bad. He did the same thing with the Indiana Jones sequels, and those ideas turned out great. I don't care when Lucas thought of the podrace; it was awesome.
  6. Patrick Russell Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1998
    star 4
    MJSkywalk, I hear ya on a lot of those points. I cannot believe that Lucas' imagination is so limited that he's got to CONSTANTLY recycle the same scenes and plotlines. And I will say that I saw a definite decline after ESB in Lucas' attention to detail in terms of making small roles such as various pilots and soldiers into identifiable small roles where we actually get a small chance to know and care about the characters in the small amount of time they're on the screen. In the first two movies the fighter battles (and I include the Hoth battle here) are more dramatic because the pilots have NAMES. By ROTJ, the only one who stood out in the space battle aside from Lando and his copilot was Wedge. How many pilots did we see more than once in that battle before they met their maker? How many names did we catch? Y'know? It's a small difference, but it's an important piece of texture. And I, for one, miss it.

    Same in TPM... Ric Olie will likely be the Wedge of the PT, and that's fine. What dialogue he has isn't... well, it isn't good so far. But he's at least a secondary character we can have SOME way of identifying with. The female pilot in the final battle is in there a couple times, but did we catch a name? How about the one fellow who we last see as his N1 cockpit bursts into flame? Biggs, Wedge, Porkins, Zev, Dack, Janson... you put a name to a small role and you give them a rudimentary amount of substance. When they die in battle, you look at them go and at least there's a name flashing through your mind when you say "Aw, man... bummer!" or "Good! Shut him up once and for all!" or whatever it is.

    And yes, the EU and collectible card authors always come up with names for every last extra on the screen at any given time... but again, we're talking about the movies in and of themselves.

    When I was 12 and ESB came out, I remember being impressed that the Imperials were given more humanity than they'd had in ANH. Piett, in particular, struck me as an INCREDIBLY strong minor character. He was one of the bad guys, but you still had to feel for the guy when after being field-promoted to replace an Admiral who was dying at his feet at the moment the promotion was being laid upon him, by the man who had killed that Admiral, no less. And when the Falcon ultimately escaped we could hold our breath with the guy as he waited to be killed himself.

    In ROTJ, he had a few general lines and a spectacular death. Fine... we got to know him in ESB. But by comparison it almost felt as if the films had changed tone by not giving a moment's focus to these interesting sideline characters. And too often in TPM it felt like this glossing-over of the minor characters was picking up where it left off in ROTJ. Almost as if the films were moving too fast now to take the small amount of time needed for these little touches which were such a fun little part of the first two films.

  7. Darth23 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 14, 1999
    star 4
    "MJSkywalk, I hear ya on a lot of those points. I cannot believe that Lucas' imagination is so limited that he's got to CONSTANTLY recycle the same scenes and plotlines"

    This is probably one of the most clueless things I've read about Star Wars. OF course there will be repeated patterns and themes. You'll be seeing a lot more of it in Ep 2 and 3 so get used to it. The important thing isn't that there's repetition. It's the changes each time around.


    I can't believe he keeps finding so many different ways presenting the same themes and ideas. :)
  8. Patrick Russell Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1998
    star 4
    Repeating themes is one thing... repeating situations and entire plot points is something else again. Let's see... three out of four of these movies so far end with the old "penetrate the big ship's defenses and lob a couple torpedoes into it's main reactor" gimmick. THREE OF FOUR. Two of the four have also ended with the old "primitives take on the technologically superior oppressors in a pitched ground battle" scenario. It's one thing to restate themes, but to rely on the same ENDING over and over? That's not clever, that's just freakin' lazy!
  9. MORMEGIL Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 1, 2001
    star 2
    Yo Patrick, if there's anything that I've learned on these boards in the three short weeks I been hangin out, it's that GoMer is pretty doofy, and pretty set on himself. Since he doesn't listen to word ONE that you or I put down, I don't think making peace is the answer. I consider it an insult, and so I will have as much fun with him as possible.

    GoMer, you did what? TRAINED me? You didn't do a damn thing, son. I think if you had actually answered my questions - which you conveniently avoided doing - whether to yourself or in a post, you might see in yourself some lacking skills in the art of discourse and logic. We are simply stating opinions, and you repeatedly state that they are stupid or invalid. You are condescending. You are disrespectful. You don't listen in the first place. I'm not out to convince you of anything, for sure, but I won't stand for your little wiseass snippets whilst you act like the virgin Mary. When I said you ought to thin the gene pool by taking a dive, of course it was in jest, but I think it did more to illustrate my point than ten posts that skirt the issue of your being unable to conceive of a better plan based on a preexisting one.

    I don't like the story, and I can think of hundreds of ways that would have made it MORE appealing for MORE people and kept to a solid plot. I would have taken away most of your beloved Jar-Jar. Live with it. You feel you've heard it all, yes? Well you've concurrently decided that you want to characterize yourself as the completely normal and sane one; a cause which not only requires, but DEMANDS that you make us out in the opposite image, called the 'other.' That's a friggin first year psych term. Learn it well, sir. Your 'other' will haunt you, if you don't try to reason with it.

    EDIT: Oh.... and Lucas completely screwed this film up.
  10. MORMEGIL Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 1, 2001
    star 2
    PR, you keyed my mind with your X out of Y comments.

    I just had a great idea for the fighting parts of the plots. Since we've had major battles and single combat, how about small bands that go around and do some damage, completely cut off from their command. Like, how about a group that has to be dropped on the opposite side of a planet from their objective, and they have to use any means necessary to achieve it and get out with some enemy technology. They have to use sustained stealth and cunning to get through enemy traps and lines of defense. Make it take at least a week, going through swamps and mountains... maybe cross an ocean or two. Just a platoon of about 36 or less. All these all-out WWI situations get me a little bored.
  11. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    Mormegil,

    First, I did several montsh ago start telling people who disagreed with me that they lacked certain brain functions.

    I have since realized how hypocritical that was and have since ceased. In the time I have seen your name, I have yet to say any of you are stupid, but rather of a different opinion. As far as not listenting to you I am not sure how you come to that conclusion, considering I practically go over posts which I disagree with a fine tooth comb. I am not ignoring your arguments as much as dismissing them as either not important to me, or simply missing the point as far as I am concerned. I could say the ame thing about you. That I have presented some very good arguments that show Jar-Jar has a purpose in the film, and that many of you simply ignore that. The reality of course, is that we have differing opinions.

    And why should I respond to your last post, when you basicaly told me how you see my responses anyway? Did you want me to clarify that you were paining a distorted picture of my arguments? Would that make any difference in your mind?

    Morgemil: "I don't like the story, and I can think of hundreds of ways that would have made it MORE appealing for MORE people and kept to a solid plot. I would have taken away most of your beloved Jar-Jar. Live with it."

    Go-Mer: I don't care if you want to rewrite the thing so it is better for -you-. Becuase TPM is already the way I liked it. It isn't like you can change what TPM is to me. And if you can do something to make your enjoyment of the first chapter better in your mind, I say more power to you.
  12. Patrick Russell Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1998
    star 4
    Watched TPM again last night, and realized how much stronger the EXACT same basic story would have been had Obi Wan been the one to go to Mos Espa hunting for the replacement hyperdrive. As I watched, I realized that the bonding between the main three characters of the PT which should have occurred in TPM and did not would have happened as a matter of course had Obi Wan been sent out to Mos Espa instead of Qui Gon. It would have made perfect sense... Obi Wan was quite close to the point of taking the Knighthood trials as it was. The little mission to Mos Espa would have been a perfect little preparation for his going out on his own as a Knight permanently.

    As I saw Qui Gon's interaction with Padme and Anakin, I realize how much more naturally the story would have flowed had Obi Wan been out there coming into his own. Even the fact that it would have been Obi Wan "picking up a pathetic life form" for a change despite his usual attitude when Qui Gon "adopts" a lost cause would have shown some growth in his character. Had Qui Gon been the cautious one, warning Obi Wan to not rush into taking responsibility for a Padawan, and then finally telling Obi Wan to follow his instincts and train the boy (passing his approval and blessing to Obi Wan as he died rather than forcing a responsibility onto him to carry out a task Obi Wan had not believed in to begin with) I think we'd have ended up with a more satisfying story arc.

    As it was, the main trio of PT characters really didn't have the type of interaction that they needed to "introduce" themselves to us and (more importantly) to each other. Putting Obi Wan into the thick of the action rather than having him sit there offscreen on the ship with his thumb up his arse the whole time would have created a character momentum which would have made TPM a far more effective "introductory chapter" to the PT. As it is, I cannot see that TPM won't end up feeling disconnected from the events of the next two films. It was enough of a stretch to have 10 years pass between Episodes I and II. Necessary, perhaps, but requiring some additional finesse in order to make it feel connected to AOTC. IMHO, that finesse could have (and should have) come in the form of allowing Obi Wan's character to get out there into Mos Espa and be a primary participant in the events which brought him, Padme and Anakin together.

    It cannot be denied that these three characters are intended to be the focus of the PT. They should have had the events of the middle third of TPM to bring them together the way the events of the middle third of ANH brought Han, Luke and Leia together. Qui Gon was destined to be snuffed out at the end of the film anyway... why spend THAT much time developing a one-off character while pointedly ignoring one of the PT's main characters?
  13. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    I think the basic isolation of the main characters who will band together for the second Episode is important to create the rift Anakin will have to overcome if he wants to court Padme.

    Why do you think they should have bonded more than they did in TPM Patrick? Just beucase the main heros in ANH did?
  14. stone_jedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 17, 2001
    star 4
    Gomer:Why do you think they should have bonded more than they did in TPM Patrick?

    Patrick_R:As it was, the main trio of PT characters really didn't have the type of interaction that they needed to "introduce" themselves to us and (more importantly) to each other. Putting Obi Wan into the thick of the action rather than having him sit there offscreen on the ship with his thumb up his arse the whole time would have created a character momentum which would have made TPM a far more effective "introductory chapter" to the PT. As it is, I cannot see that TPM won't end up feeling disconnected from the events of the next two films.


    There is your answer. Good points Pat_R. Even though TPRE has made me enjoy the movie more, I still see several shortcomings that no edit, short of re-filming, could overcome. This is one of those shortcomings, and you explained it and argued it thouroughly. Good post. :D

  15. Patrick Russell Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1998
    star 4
    "Why do you think they should have bonded more than they did in TPM Patrick? Just beucase the main heros in ANH did?"


    Yes Gomer... as you know I insist that all future SW films be literal re-filmings of ANH with all new characters.

    But seriously, no... it's not because of ANH that I feel the characters should have bonded. It's because when you create a multi-film story and are introducing characters, you need to create a momentum for those characters. And in a character-driven film, it's the relationships between the characters which needs to provide that momentum. At this point, Anakin is merely a burden foisted upon Obi Wan by his dying Master. Anakin and Padme have merely shown us the whole "little kid with a crush on the pretty older girl" thing, and there has been NO bond established between Obi Wan and Padme at all. All we have is a disconnected trio of characters who have little actual relationship with one another beyond a schoolboy's crush.

    Sorry Gomer... once again I can't go along with this whole "There's nothing there... isn't that DEEP??" notion that you put forth every time somebody points out the shallowness of this or that aspect of TPM.
  16. PMT99 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 23, 2000
    star 4
    I think that was the whole point of the prequals.

    Not having the 3 main characters bond together is one of the main factors to Anakin's turn to the darkside. Anakin will be impatient with Obi-wan's teachings which in turn cause him to be more hard-headed and independent which is what Sidious needs to have Anakin as his apprentice and have him take out his former master.

    Anakin will have an obsession with Padme because he will be thinking about her so much that he'll do anything to protect her but that is another one of his weaknessess that will be used against him to have him turn to the darkside.

    Having these characters disconnect is what helps the OT characters learn from their mistakes so that they have a better chance of defeating the Empire and it paid off.

    I think this is what Lucas had in mind when he did TPM.

  17. Patrick Russell Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1998
    star 4
    Well, unfortunately it's tough to keep the audience's interest if your main characters have no discernable bond.

    Maybe you're right... maybe Lucas does intend to avoid bonding his characters on anything more than the most superficial, co-dependent level, and then blame Anakin's fall on that fact.

    But it won't create characters with the depth that they could easily have had if they had been allowed to develop a true and lasting bond.

    And really, the problem with this is, if Vader's fall is blamed on the fact that he didn't have anything besides superficial, co-dependent relationships with anyone, I guess that tends to remove all dramatic tension in Episodes IV thru VI when it comes to the possibility that Luke might turn to the Dark Side. Since he has true friends, and that friendship is obvious throughout the trilogy, why WOULD he turn to the Dark Side.

    IMHO, the more like Luke we see Anakin to be, the more intense Luke's own inner struggles become in the second trilogy. If everything about Anakin is purposely made different from Luke, then by the time the last three movies roll around there will be little question that Luke will turn out okay. And why go that route? Y'know?
  18. VCT Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2001
    star 3
    Well said again, Patrick. Your points about character bonding are right along the lines of what I've been trying to say about lack of good characterization in TPM all along.

    DarthStryfe, I don't know if you're still around, but you asked about the movies I've worked on. They include a couple of (IMHO) great movies, as well as a really bad one:

    Toy Story 2 (my first feature experience, worked on various characters)
    The Iron Giant (animated the Giant)
    Osmosis Jones (animated "Drix" -- now in theatres, though no one is seeing it)
    Megiddo (animated Satan -- out next month, sequel to "The Omega Code," don't see it it's gawd-awful)
    Scooby-Doo (current project -- the live action movie coming out next summer)

    As a character animator I attend a lot of meetings about the characters (particularly the ones that I work on) and how they should be portrayed -- personality, motivations, mannerisms, relationship with other characters, and so on. In the case of the really good films that I worked on (Toy Story 2, The Iron Giant), a LOT of time and effort was spent on this. Scenes and dialogue, and even plot points, were revised and re-written many times to make characterization and the character's role in the story more effective. Although I am not a story guy I have to be on top of this process, since it is my job to bring my assigned character to life in whatever scenes I get -- so I do think I'm somewhat qualified to discern good characterization from lack thereof when I watch a film. And when I watch TPM, I just don't see it in the major characters. There are flashes of good moments here and there, but overall the main characters and their interactions with each other seem very flat and lacking in conviction IMHO.




  19. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    Just because I don't think it was appropriate to have them bond any more than they did doesn't mean I am saying "look how deep nothing is".

    It looks as if you guys have it all figured out. You obviously understand how the next two films -SHOULD- play out in your mind, so I guess there is no reason to disagree with you.

    I mean really, not only does Patrick Russell think so, but the "well put" brigade as well.

    If you apply the laws of herding detractors, I -have- to be wrong.
  20. Malthus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 1999
    star 4
    ... or it could simply give some merit to the notion that Lucas made a pretty big (though pretty) mistake in TPM's story.

    Sorry all for being gone. Had to catch up on the lengthy posts. I stand by my statement on page 1 of this thread.

    I do have one last thing to add though: I second Patrick_Russell's plea for several of you to GET OFF Go-Mer-Tonic's back in regard to the personal attacks. It's rude, and it doesn't advance the cause for which you are arguing. Agree with you or not, I simply do not respect that, and I feel a little like it gives those who feel the way I do about TPM a bad name. So please stop the personal insults.

    If I met the man in real life I'd buy him a beer and likely never bring the subject of TPM or Star Wars up (unless I was careful to keep it light and "on the surface"). He's largely been alone in this thread in defending TPM's story. I admire that in my "foes".

    ;)
  21. Patrick Russell Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1998
    star 4
    I have "Fuzzy Math" on my side, Gomer! I am impervious to your onslaughts!! I AM... uhh... er... damned calculator... uh... what th'... Oy.

    (Er, hey Gom'... can I, uh, borrow a couple double-A batteries maybe? Ol' buddy ol pal?)

    ;)
  22. Patrick Russell Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1998
    star 4
    VCT, I'm glad you hear what I'm saying on the whole characterization angle. The OT was never exactly the deepest thing in the owrld, but at least enough attention was paid to the importance of effective characterization that Lucas originally auditioned the main trio in various groups of three to make sure that the actors themselves would bring a definite chemistry to the screen since they essentially had to carry the trilogy.

    In the PT, it feels more like the Star Wars brand name itself is expected to carry the trilogy rather than the characters themselves, seeing as how character chemistry and development appeared to be a secondary concern at best in TPM.

    I've heard excuses for this ranging from "It's just the introduction" (an incredibly weak argument at best, IMHO. NO movie should ever be treated as a throwaway with the implied promise of the REAL story starting in the NEXT episode...) to "the lack of character interaction will prove to be a vital element in Anakin's fall to the Dark Side..." (which is, to put it charitably, reeeeeaching...)

    My hope is that Lucas was just rusty when he brought himself out of mothballs to write and direct TPM, and that with a co-writer onboard this time around Episode II will be a more satisfying film over all. But I cannot stress enough that the characters MUST come first... otherwise the entire thing will be flat. Flashy and with great special effects, I'm sure, but flat nonetheless.
  23. Darth-Stryphe Former Mod and City Rep

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2001
    star 6
    Yep, VCT, I'm still around, although since I haven't posted in over a day here, I almost couldn't make it through the Go-Mer/PR aruging to get to your post, but -- **shew** -- I made it (ignoring the pointless bickering was the key, ha-ha, no offense, guys).

    I appreiciate your work experience, and what your saying. To me, character development in TPM isn't about how interact with each other, it's how they interact/react to this situation that matters. Looking at it from that point of view tells me alot about Padme, Qui-Gon, Anakin, and Palpatine (working under the assumation he's Sidicious/to-be-Emperor). However, it tels me nothing about Panaka, Ben, and very little about Yoda. Now, given the overall effect the prequel will have in the overall story, I think it is very important that in EII/III, that be reversed, and we see the characters develop not to their situation, but, as you say, in their interactions between each other, espically in the context of Anakin and his relationships since it sets up the OT. If GL handels characters interaction/development in the same way he did in TPM, I'll assume he's forgotten how to handle character development on the screen, and unfortunately, will probably leave a bad taste in my mouth in regards to the film.
  24. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    Could you possibly entertain the idea that for Anakin's jealousy to work in the next film, that he can't be a shoe in for Padme's life mate from the get go?

    Or is every case where people don't interact more than they did a "mistake" on the writer's part?
  25. Harlowe Thrombey Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 19, 1999
    star 2
    I agree that the character bonding between Qui Gon, Amidala, and Anakin isn't that strong during the Tatooine scenes. I agree that having Obi Wan go to Mos Espa would be an interesting change and potentially lead to good character bonding. But I don't think its just Qui-Gon's character that leads to the poor bonding; it was probably just the execution of the idea. The actors and the direction just didn't have the right chemistry to portray the relationships as Lucas envisioned them. The exact same thing could happen if Obi-Wan was leading them. I personally think it was a bold move to have Obi-Wan not be the central figure of Episode I, since he is the obvious choice. I do think that Obi-Wan should have been featured a little bit more prominently, but I really like QG's character and I'm glad GL decided to focus on him.
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