Does ESB really fit in with the rest of the saga?

Discussion in 'Classic Trilogy' started by DarthHomer, Feb 2, 2003.

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  1. DarthHomer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2000
    star 5
    Like many of you, Empire is, and probably always will be, my favourite of the saga. However, I also believe that it stands apart from the other Star Wars films, not just in quality but also in tone, directorial style and pacing. And I think this is a big reason so many people have been disappointed by the PT. ESB is just too "good" for lack of a better word. :)

    Drop the childhood nostalgia and compare the PT to ANH and ROTJ, and there really isn't that much difference, IMO. All four films have pretty much the same hokey quality of dialogue and acting, and the straight-forward directing style is the same (even in ROTJ, because Lucas had a much stronger control over Richard Marquand than he did over Irvin Kershner).

    Of course, someone will argue "If ESB is the best of the saga, shouldn't Lucas have aspired to make the PT as good as that?" That's a valid question, and it remains to be seen if Episode III will be the ESB of the PT (it certainly should be as dark, if nothing else). But I think what Kershner, Lawrence Kasdan and Gary Kurtz did with ESB was to take Star Wars the furthest away it's ever been from Lucas's original pulp and Saturday Matinee inspirations. It has the least creatures and robots of all the films, and even though the story is fairly fast-paced, it devotes more time to intimate character moments than any of the other films. Kershner's direction is also much more creative than Lucas's. Compare how much cooler and more menacing Vader looks in ESB compared to the other films, for example. The basic story and characters would have remained unchanged if Lucas had directed the film himself, but the overall tone and quality of the performances would probably have been quite different. And I'm not saying that the acting in the films Lucas has directed is bad, just that it's slightly more . . . camp, if you will. Which fits in with Lucas's desire to emulate those old aventure serials, but on a much grander scale.

    I honestly believe that without ESB, Star Wars would be remembered more as a fun series of adventure films like Indiana Jones, rather than the deep mythological epic many people view it as now. I also think that ESB has ruined the PT's chances of meeting many people's expectations, since it was a creative peek that Lucas on his own could never match again.
  2. Master Salty Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 1999
    star 6
    I think ESB was exactly the movie it needed to be in order to progress from ANH to ROTJ.
  3. OgiBenDagi Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2002
    star 1
    I initially thought much the same thing until I watched ANH the other night and I realized that it was actually more like ESB than the other films--especially, the stuff on Tatooine, the look, the tone. It was definitely the setup for Empire and they go together nicely. Its the rest of the saga that feels like a second cousin.
  4. Lanky Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 2002
    star 4
    Does ESB really fit in with the rest of the saga?

    After watching all the available SW movies, it really does feel like the odd one out. Even if it is a very excellent "odd one out" :p
  5. DarthKarde Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2002
    star 5
    Does ESB really fit in with the rest of the saga?

    Quite simply yes it does.
  6. hope-in-hell Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2001
    star 1
    It's ROTJ that lets the saga down with them damn teddys.

    I hear that the Ultimate Edition will have Barney in it!
  7. Darth-Stryphe Former Mod and City Rep

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2001
    star 6
    ESB doesn't fit in with the rest because there is no Tatooine segment 8-}


    Of course, someone will argue "If ESB is the best of the saga, shouldn't Lucas have aspired to make the PT as good as that?" That's a valid question, and it remains to be seen

    DarthHomer, the only problem I see with this argument is that it takes the stand ESB is indeed the best, and that it is what sets the bar of excellent for the series. I believe that ANH, not ESB, set the bar of excellent for SW, and that ESB merely continued it.
  8. NiktosRule Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 8, 2001
    star 4
    ESB fits in with the rest of the saga perfectly in my opinion. All 5 movies so far have been great.
  9. ShaakRider Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2002
    star 2
    In respect of quality ANH is close to ESB, while ROTJ to PT IMO. But I agree, ESB is the odd one.

    honestly believe that without ESB, Star Wars would be remembered more as a fun series of adventure films like Indiana Jones, rather than the deep mythological epic many people view it as now.


    I believe it too. But, ironically, ESB was the first step to the "Dark Side" as well: the "I'm your father" twist, which established the saga was also the origin of all evil, certain points of view, Luke and Leia being twins, chosen one concept, etc.

    I also think that ESB has ruined the PT's chances of meeting many people's expectations, since it was a creative peek that Lucas on his own could never match again.


    Well, I think if Lucas had made the PT with the aim of matching ESB, he could have done it (maybe with some help).
    As I see, the problem with PT is that Lucas is tries to put too many things together: tragedy, conspiracy, detective story, cool acton scenes, fun movie, resemblance of old series, FX demonstration?it?s too much for a single movie, I guess. In OT, ESB was the most complex (and also the most elaborate one), but it was still quite straightforward and tale-like. PT tends to be far more complex, without an increased effort to avoid inconsistencies and loose ends.
  10. Dal--Intrepid Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2002
    star 5
    ESB was in the enviable position of being the only true cliffhanger of all the movies. You could watch any of the other movies except ESB and at the end not really have any incredible reasons to look forward to the next one. (This statement only rings true because of the order in which they were made and already knowing the outcome of the prequels. Had they been made in actual order, it would be a different story altogether). Sure, the PT has the broad story of Anakin's turn to the Dark Side, but the "stories within the story" are wrapped up by the end of those two films, which as someone mentioned, seem to wrap up incredibly pat and a little too quickly. There was no feeling of being rushed by ESB. They dropped a couple of major bombs on us with Vader being dad and Han getting frozen and then we just had to wait. The depth of the characters was 10x deeper because they were put in situations where their feelings had to be exposed. ANH was a fun romp, but there wasn't a lotta time of emotional attachments - ROTJ had attempts at character development, but a lot of that was pretty shabbily acted. ("Just hold me . . ." -- Bleech!!) I would definitely say ESB fits in the saga, but I'd just say it was beneficiary of slightly better writing, acting, and directing than most of the others.
  11. royalguard96 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 13, 2001
    star 5
    Interesting topic. I've always wondered if the lack of Tatooine scene was part of ESB's appeal.

    ESB is also when we see the major characters go through the most changes. Han goes from a devil-may-care smuggler to a prisoner in love with a Princess. Luke is an emerging Jedi Knight who loses his hand and his innocence by the end of the film. Vader goes from a big balck-armored villan to a father reaching out to his son, giving him an unexpected depth and dimension. We're also introduced to Yoda. Whoever could have thought pure magic could come from a 24-inch tall puppet?

    I think it's the way the character's changes are protrayed that give this film its due brilliance.
  12. jedi-mind-trick VIP

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2001
    star 5
    I think it's the way the character's changes are protrayed that give this film its due brilliance.

    I totally agree. ANH introduced us to the characters. ESB gave us character development and plot twists that made things astoundingly more interesting. :D
  13. JohnWilliams00 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 29, 2002
    star 4
    Drop the childhood nostalgia and compare the PT to ANH and ROTJ, and there really isn't that much difference, IMO. All four films have pretty much the same hokey quality of dialogue and acting, and the straight-forward directing style is the same (even in ROTJ, because Lucas had a much stronger control over Richard Marquand than he did over Irvin Kershner).

    :_|

    Sorry, in my opinion, ANH and ROTJ have more liveliness, far more, than both PT films combined. I think the tone and style is drastically different.
  14. The_Anakin_Wannabe Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 21, 2003
    star 4
    I honestly believe that without ESB, Star Wars would be remembered more as a fun series of adventure films like Indiana Jones, rather than the deep mythological epic many people view it as now.

    I agree with that 100%. If we look at what pop culture knows of SW its mostly from ESB. "I am your father", Darth Vader being a fearsome character, the Imperial March and Yoda.
  15. DarthHomer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2000
    star 5
    "Sorry, in my opinion, ANH and ROTJ have more liveliness, far more, than both PT films combined. I think the tone and style is drastically different."

    You're entitled to your opinion, but I have to disagree. The PT has the same spirit of adventure and fun as ANH and ROTJ. None of them are really deep films. What I consider to be the real emotionally engaging moments from the saga (Yoda lifting the X-wing, Han being frozen in carbonite, Vader telling Luke he is his father) are all from ESB. I can't think of any scenes in any of the other films that match the power of those, with the possible exception of Vader finally turning on the Emperor in ROTJ.
  16. DamonD Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 22, 2002
    star 6
    In the OT, it's the film that introduce the big problems for the heros to overcome. ANH introduces the heros, and ROTJ resolves things, so for some people ESB will always remain the most interesting due to this.

    I'm not even gonna get into the discussion about the PT. See the sig.
  17. Django211 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 1999
    star 4
    I think what makes ESB so good is that it is so different than most sequels. It doesn't rehash the same script as the original & change minor details. This expands on the characters & allows you to feel for them. Lucas had a lot to lose with this film & took a great chance with it. Because of its success he was able to secure financial independence from Hollywood.

    I think ESB is a double edged sword for Lucas. He asked Kershner to direct a better film than Star Wars & he got what he wanted. Lucas has never been good with actors, despite working with good ones. Kershners films are character driven. For many people ESB is the best film in the series & it is the one that Lucas had the least involvement with. At the time of filming he was usually stateside overseeing ILM as well as the production of "More American Grafitti".

    The story goes that when he saw the rough cut he hated it & re-edited the film to make it, faster & more intense. The result was a jumbled mess where a lot of the character moments were lost. Many of the character moments that give the film depth, were devised on set from improvisation. Chewie howling, "I know", R2 on tiptoes, Han punch starting the Falcon, etc... These were a result of working closely with actors. Again something Lucas does not do well. The PT lacks the feeling that ESB gave & I think it is the result of Lucas being a lousy "actor's" director.

    I think what so many bashers have against the PT is due to ESB. Lucas gave us something completely unexpected with this sequel. Many sequels try to emulate what ESB accomplished. With the PT it seems Lucas is just rehashing what worked in the OT. Instead of taking a chance & trying to do something different, he has taken the easy route & use what has worked before.
  18. blobo Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 7, 2002
    star 1
    i couldnt agree more with u, it seems that Lucas was jeleous of the film Kershner made
  19. Django211 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 1999
    star 4
    I don't even think it's a case of simply being jealous. I think that Lucas never wanted the depth that Kershner brought to it & now he can't live it down, for some fans. Lucas got a better film than he expected but I think it went in a direction he didn't want it to so Lucas took it back & eliminated the depth that was given to the saga by ESB. If you look at all the films since then they don't come anywhere near the emotion of ESB. I don't think this was a mistake. There isn't any depth because I don't think Lucas is that kind of a film maker.

    One of the great things abot making films is working with actors. One of the worst things about making films is working with actors. It is just the nature of the business & it seems that Lucas cares little for the craft of acting. I believe that Kershner, who loves actors, made ESB with the intention to let his actors explore their characters & we the audience gained from it. There has not been one instance in the PT where I have felt anything for the characters & I doubt I will get it in the next film.
  20. ShaakRider Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2002
    star 2
    I think that Lucas never wanted the depth that Kershner brought to it & now he can't live it down, for some fans. Lucas got a better film than he expected but I think it went in a direction he didn't want it to so Lucas took it back & eliminated the depth that was given to the saga by ESB. If you look at all the films since then they don't come anywhere near the emotion of ESB. I don't think this was a mistake. There isn't any depth because I don't think Lucas is that kind of a film maker.

    I agree with every single word of it.
  21. Master Salty Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 1999
    star 6
    That is an outstanding response and I agree with the response.
  22. Django211 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 1999
    star 4
    I also think this (lack of depth) is the root of what Bashers find wrong with Star Wars now. I think the majority of Bashers were around for the original release of the films & they got hooked with ESB. Star Wars was great & a cultural phenomenon but the sequel made it even better. We wanted to know what would happen next. Compare that to Jaws, another film event but the sequel was junk & no one cared about what happened next. With ESB we got more than we could have ever imagined & we have been hoping for the same type of excitement again. Much to our disappointment.
  23. ForceHeretic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2002
    star 4
    ROTJ IMO has more emotion than ESB, but it isn't a dark movie

    The PT I think does have the same depth, the only catch is you have to wait until Episode 3 to understand all of the depth and even realize it's there. So I don't think Lucas is so much against the depth in a film but he simply makes his harder to see

    So it's really just a matter of how you like things in a movie
  24. debeautimous Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 2, 2003
    star 4
    I agree with many of the points you make. I would love to see spielberg direct Episode3 and Carrie Fisher write the screenplay from George Lucas outline.
  25. CoolyFett Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 3, 2003
    star 4
    yeah ep5 fits well I'm not to sure ep1 does but I still love em!!
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