PT Flash Gordon and the Prequels

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by Corran1138, Nov 9, 2012.

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  1. Corran1138 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2012
    star 1
    In the past year, I watched through all of the old Flash Gordon serials. As is well known, these were a huge influence for Lucas, and various elements of the Star Wars series have been directly taken from Flash Gordon. After watching these films, I came to the realization that all of the "flaws" of the prequels are really just trying to emulate the style of 30s sci-fi serials.

    For example, the script is often criticized because characters' lines serve only to move the plot forward, and are sometimes stating the obvious. This is exactly how the old Flash Gordon/Buck Rogers dialogue works. The same goes for the Romance scenes with Anakin and Padme. The over the top flowery language is what was always used in the 30s, as opposed to the Han/Leia type of dialogue.

    The often criticized scenes such as the droid factory scene in AOTC, which don't serve to further the plot but only present a horrible dilemma endangering the characters, only to be solved quickly by the protagonist is exactly what always happens in these old serials. This particular scene really reminds me of something that would happen in a Flash Gordon comic.

    Perhaps Lucas isn't as bad of a writer as is often assumed. The style and manner of dialogue was used on purpose. These films are the tribute to the old sci-fi serials that Lucas always intended Star Wars to be.

    This works very well when watching the films in order. The prequels emulate the picturesque idealistic sci-fi world portrayed in the 1930s, whereas the original trilogy portrays the realism and grittiness of a post World War II world. This is why the prequels portray a universe that is new and beautiful, rather than the "used future" concept of the originals.
  2. DRush76 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2008
    star 4
    If the "flaws" of the Prequel Trilogy can be traced to these 30s sci-fi serials, then one can say the same about the "flaws" of the Original Trilogy.
  3. tuskinraiderfromhell Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2004
    star 2

    Well said.
  4. StampidHD280pro Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2005
    star 4
    The OT kind of had a hybrid of the acting style of the old serials, especially in parts of A NEW HOPE, but TESB and ROTJ are more like a prime time drama. The PT is more blatantly stylized to match old Flash Gordon interspersed with bits of daytime soap opera, which is a similar type of entertainment when you think about it.

    Night and Day... Gosh I love the Skywalker Saga.
  5. Lee_ Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 3, 2012
    star 4
    I agree pretty much with what TS is saying. I think there are some similarities in the OT also; some pretty campy dialogue, especially in Hope, which is indicative of the genre/style being incorporated in the particular movie.

    But yes, I think a lot of people dismiss the PT merely as flawed when in fact, it was meant to look and sound a certain way (namely early sci-fi like Gordon), and was often effective in doing so.
  6. Winston_Sith Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 8, 2004
    star 4
    Where did you get them?
  7. MatthewZ Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2003
    star 4
    Netflix or YouTube
  8. -NaTaLie- Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2001
    star 4
    Han and Leia are not exactly realistic. They're fun but I can't take them seriously anymore. It's a testament to Kershner's skills and Ford's charisma that it works at all. Anakin and Padme's relationship is actually much more interesting, but I do wish Lucas didn't go too flower, to the point of the audience snickering at the characters instead of feeling for them.

    The droid factory has grown on me. There're all sorts of metaphors there: "machines making machines", Anakin's hand cast in iron, etc.

    StampidHD280pro likes this.
  9. obi-rob-kenobi4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2007
    star 4
    The first 3 episodes of the OS (original saga) are the ones that in many ways succeed better than the last half of the Saga in being like Flash Gordon and the comic book style adventure serials that SW has always fundamentally been based on.

    Personally, I always loved little things like how the view screen we first see the Queen on (and the sound it makes) is directly taken from Flash Gordon. As well as the Geonosians attacking padme and anakin in AOTC were based off the rock people from Flash Gordon.
  10. Frank T. Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    I think this is one of the reasons why I prefer the OT. Cuz it doesn't try so hard to be something else.
  11. ObiAlKenobi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 10, 2012
    star 2
    Very true. I am not excusing the faults of the movies, but it is definitely Lucas' mindset. I grew up on those old serials courtesy of my father. A lot of my artwork is a product of the past and its influence on me. The SW movies are still a homage to the past.
  12. StampidHD280pro Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2005
    star 4
    On the contrary, it borrows from more things. Episode 4 in particular is a mishmash of Flash Gordon, westerns, Wizard of Oz, Kurosawa movies, and of course the WW2 dogfight footage. One of the movies that Return of the Jedi's style is said to be based on - believe it or not - Benji!

    I think perhaps the PT, because it's set in an outwardly idealistic, "gilded age", was designed to imitate the science fiction features more closely so that when the paint needs to come off, there's more to chip away at.
    Last edited by StampidHD280pro, Nov 18, 2012
  13. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    The trench run is often compared to Dambusters. Pinching SW lines for that would produce:

    "You're required to manuever straight down this lake and skim the surface to this point"

    "Only a precise hit, will collapse the dam"
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