If you got a job (on TPM) working with the creator of Star Wars would you speak up?

Discussion in 'The Phantom Menace' started by hawk, Nov 3, 2002.

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  1. hawk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2000
    star 5
    A lot of people think the reason why so many were unhappy with TPM was because Lucas was surrounded by people too afraid to tell him his ideas were lame. For instance, had more of his colleagues spoken up about Jar Jar, the character would have been toned down.

    My question is, would you have told Lucas your thoughts if you disagreed with him? Some say, in his defense, that they DID speak up or that they simply trusted that Lucas would be right (and was). But if you were lucky enough to be working on the first SW film in 20 years, would you risk that by suggesting that Lucas was making big mistakes? I wouldn't give him the chance to find someone else who wouldn't disagree. So, regardless of whether the film is bad or gold, isn't it logical to assume that Lucas is surrounded by yes men? Would you seriously voice negative opinions while working on a SW flick?
  2. Plo_Koen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2001
    star 4
    Ben Burtt was not shy to speak up to Lucas, as seen in "the beginning" documentary.

    If Lucas listened... that's a different question...


    Are you actually defending TPM here? [face_shocked]
  3. Plo_Koen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2001
    star 4
    On the other hand... 20th century FOX suggested that Lucas dropped the battle of Yavin, for budgetary reasons...

    Lucas did not budge.
  4. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    If you want someone to blame for your not liking the movie, it is convenient to assume there were yes men invovled so you only have one person to blame: Lucas.

    To entertain the possibility that other people actually agreed with what Lucas was doing would open up a pandora's box that would eventually lead you to consider the possibility that the film was intended to appeal to other people on the planet aside from yourself.

    But that's just crazy talk, Star Wars should have been exactly what YOU wanted.
  5. Plo_Koen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2001
    star 4
    When are you two gonna admit that you are totally in love with each other?
  6. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    Hawk, you aren't rough like sand are you?
  7. scruffy-lookin Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 25, 2001
    star 3
    Tough question.

    As pointed out before Lucas has often been right when others were wrong. That has probably taught him to trust his own judgement over others. Since there don't seem to be any of the higher-ups left from the OT I think it would be extremely difficult for someone new coming in to "tell it like they see it"

    This leads me to the (old) idea that maybe it would have been better if Lucas had warmed up on something other than the first Star Wars movie in twenty years. Using at least some of the same "team" would have given them a chance to develop a dynamic where people speak out.

    Hell, he could have even hired a writer.

  8. Durwood Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2002
    star 5
    First of all, Lucas isn't surrounded by "yes" men. Secondly, he's in charge so he's only going to take so much guff from someone before he cans their ass. When a director is on a deadline and a budget, the last thing he needs to do is convince his crew to do the job he's paying them to do! It is no different with any other Hollywood project. So just because Lucas rightly gets his way in the end it is in no way indicitive of him being surrounded by mindless "yes" men. They are "yes" men only to the extent that they do what he tells them to because he's paying them, but as far as creativity goes, Lucas gives his crew wide latitude to get the job done in the best way possible.

    As for your question, it really depends on what position I held on the crew. If I was an editor or a ranking member of the creative team then, yes, I would voice my opinion--gently--but if the director said, "No, I'm doing it my way" then my only answer would be "Yes, sir." If I was a production assistent or member of the visual effects team, it would be my job to render the director's vision in the most accurate way possible, so in that case, my opinion would be pretty meaningless as I would have a specific job, and telling the director how he should do his would be a step towards the unemployment line, and rightfully so.

    Now why do I hold this opinion? Because it's the way I would expect my crew to react to me when I'm helming the project. There's only one director, and anybody who tries to move into my territory is going to be tossed out.

    Now if I was working with Lucas and he said, "So, what do you think?" I'd first say, "Do you really want to know?" and if he responded in the affirmative then I wouldn't hesitate to give him my honest opinion. That said, my opinion would have been very positive if I was working with him on The Phantom Menace.
  9. anidanami124 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 24, 2002
    star 6
    First of all, Lucas isn't surrounded by "yes" men. Secondly, he's in charge so he's only going to take so much guff from someone before he cans their ass. When a director is on a deadline and a budget, the last thing he needs to do is convince his crew to do the job he's paying them to do! It is no different with any other Hollywood project. So just because Lucas rightly gets his way in the end it is in no way indicitive of him being surrounded by mindless "yes" men. They are "yes" men only to the extent that they do what he tells them to because he's paying them, but as far as creativity goes, Lucas gives his crew wide latitude to get the job done in the best way possible.

    As for your question, it really depends on what position I held on the crew. If I was an editor or a ranking member of the creative team then, yes, I would voice my opinion--gently--but if the director said, "No, I'm doing it my way" then my only answer would be "Yes, sir." If I was a production assistent or member of the visual effects team, it would be my job to render the director's vision in the most accurate way possible, so in that case, my opinion would be pretty meaningless as I would have a specific job, and telling the director how he should do his would be a step towards the unemployment line, and rightfully so.

    Now why do I hold this opinion? Because it's the way I would expect my crew to react to me when I'm helming the project. There's only one director, and anybody who tries to move into my territory is going to be tossed out.

    Now if I was working with Lucas and he said, "So, what do you think?" I'd first say, "Do you really want to know?" and if he responded in the affirmative then I wouldn't hesitate to give him my honest opinion. That said, my opinion would have been very positive if I was working with him on The Phantom Menace.


    I agree with out Durwood said. No matter what job you have you have a boss. If you wnat to do something that goes agansit what the boss said. Well you will be fired. That said it depends on what I'm doing for TPM.
  10. Otis_Frampton LFL Artist, Moderator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 7, 2001
    star 4
    With regard to the idea that Lucas is surrounded by "Yes Men" . .

    From what I've read, Rob Coleman and his team of animators tried desparately to tone down George's ideas regarding Yoda's acrobatic lightsaber style in AOTC.

    Lucas insisted, and the animators came up with what George wanted; an amazingly agile Yoda, fighting in a style reminiscent of (in George's own words) "the Tazmanian Devil". The result was an amazing scene, one of the highlights of the film and a new fan favorite.

    His animation team may have had a valid point when they exressed doubts about their boss's vision. But imagine if Lucas had given in to those fears and toned down the fight scene.

    I, for one, admire the man who has the guts to press forward with the ideas he has despite the criticism and fears of not only the fan community, but his own creative teams.

    -Otis



  11. Ree Yees Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 2000
    star 5
    The result was an amazing scene, one of the highlights of the film and a new fan favorite

    Or: the result was the ultimate letdown, the final evidence that GL has lost all touch with his saga. The once magical character YODA completely thrown out the window. No charm, no wit, no nothing.
  12. Otis_Frampton LFL Artist, Moderator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 7, 2001
    star 4
    I think the idea that George Lucas has "lost touch" with his own creation is rubbish.

    More likely, some people are having a hard time admitting that they're simply not as entertained by Star Wars films as they were when they were younger.

    Just because one does not care for the direction that the saga is going, does not mean that the man resposible for it has somehow lost touch with it.

    There IS a Classic Trilogy forum, folks. There are people on the prequel boards who constanly sing the praises of those films, yet seldom post on the TFN board which represents them.

    Curious.

    -Otis
  13. SomeRandomNerd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 20, 1999
    star 4
    >>>Or: the result was the ultimate letdown, the final evidence that GL has lost all touch with his saga.

    Or, the final evidence that some of the fans have lost all touch with Lucas' saga.

    Depends how you look at it, I guess. I loved it...
  14. Patrick Russell Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1998
    star 4
    "His animation team may have had a valid point when they exressed doubts about their boss's vision. But imagine if Lucas had given in to those fears and toned down the fight scene."


    Yeah, Yoda's character would have remained consistent with his character in all the other films. Imagine that! ;)

    Or are anger and aggression (both of which Yoda displayed in his little pinball-with-a-lightsaber routine) only Dark Side territory when somebody else indulges in them?

    But apparently consistency in characterization isn't important as long as a scene is "kewl", eh?
  15. Oakessteve Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 9, 1999
    star 6
    That's a good point. Yoda does certainly seem as if he's letting his hate flow through him, or whatever. And while I think the Yoda fight sequence was executed terribly well, I felt it took away from the impact of Obi-Wan and Anakin's duel with Dooku, that is probably slightly more significant and character building than the Yoda fight scene. But that's going entirely off the point...

    ...But if I did work with George on anything, I'd probably be so tickled pink with the fact I'm working with someone like him, that I'd agree with whatever he said. Except, of course, if he said Tarpals was rubbish. Or if he said Steven Spielberg was a terrible director. If that happened, I'd have to ask him to step outside so we could settle it like gentlemen. Or I'd do an Indy on him. Hmmm....
  16. Otis_Frampton LFL Artist, Moderator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 7, 2001
    star 4
    I didn't see anything inconsistent in the way the character of Yoda was depicted in the final fight scene of AOTC. He wasn't attacking Dooku, he was acting in defense of his comrades. Seems very consistent with his later teachings to Luke.

    What WOULD be inconsistent is if Yoda were the only Jedi that did NOT fight, despite being the head of the council.

    Besides, didn't Luke describe Yoda as a "great warrior"?

    The fact that we never see Yoda fight in Episodes IV-VI does not preclude him from doing so in Episodes I-III.

    -Otis

  17. Patrick Russell Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1998
    star 4
    Yoda yelling in anger, flinging himself aggressively at Dooku, striking "A badass am I!" poses... NONE of this dovetails with the mindset he holds and tries to impart to Luke in ESB.

    Yes, when looking for Yoda, Luke refers to him as a great warrior and Yoda LAUGHS at this. This is little more than the classic meeting of a naive, clueless young man and a wise old sage, and it certainly doesn't cast Yoda as an actual "great warrior".

    What we really needed to see was Yoda confronting Dooku in a manner which reflected the values Yoda espouses in literally EVERY other film in the SW saga... a Jedi Master who is so advanced that he can defeat a foe using purely defensive tactics. Yes, we see other Jedi solving problems with lightsabers, but Yoda has the distinction of being close to a thousand years old... he's had FAR more time to perfect more subtle abilities than the average Jedi.

    Also, the other problem I see is that the implied distinction between "Jedi Knight" and "Jedi Master" from the OT was completely abandoned in the PT. Now we have a Padawan being made a Knight and being simultaneously given an apprentice of his own, and a Jedi Master bashing sticks with an enemy like any other Jedi Knight. IMHO, Yoda's position as a Jedi Master would have been best illustrated by his confronting Dooku without using ANY tactics common to Jedi Knights facing a Force-wielding enemy, and ultimately forcing Dooku to in essence defeat himself by expending all his energy.

    But instead George went for flash and fan-gasms over character and story.
  18. yodaschum Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 9, 2002
    star 4
    No, who am I to question the man that bought us Star Wars and Indiana Jones?
  19. Otis_Frampton LFL Artist, Moderator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 7, 2001
    star 4
    "Yes, when looking for Yoda, Luke refers to him as a great warrior and Yoda LAUGHS at this."

    And then he says: "Wars not make one great."

    One could infer that Yoda spoke from experience.

    Also, it's not like Yoda was teaching Luke how to be a pacifist during his time on Dagobah. He was training in mind and body, learning to use the Force in matters of defense, not attack.

    And in ROTJ, he even ENCOURAGED an active confrontation with the enemy: "You must confront Vader." I don't think he was inferring that the lad should dit down with Vader and have a hearty father-son chat about the moral ambiguities of Dark Side.

    But you're probably right . . it would have been a much better scene if Yoda had simply tried to REASON with Dooku.

    There wouldn't have been as many "fan-gasms" (which I have never personally witnessed, nor do I want to), but it would have been more in character for the little green guy. ;)

    -Otis
  20. JohnWilliams00 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 29, 2002
    star 4
    What's with the "John Wayne" pose (as Lucas called it) that Yoda does? That's disgusting! We wouldn't have had that crap back in 1977 or 1980. Today it's more about fan-pleasing and button pushing rather than taking time out for important plot/character development and strenghtening and defining their personalities. Yoda's bumblebee dance was way overdone, and what did it show at the end of the day? That he was a "bad-ass"? And Mace was a "bad-ass" too. Two films and the best Mace is portrayed is as a "bad-ass", because Lucas isn't good with character development anymore. Mace = boring. We live in a MTV Jackass age where bad-ass is our favorite word to describe our heroes and the attention span has shortened. It's no wonder a film made before 1970 seems ancient these days.

    ^^^^That's what I would've said right to the bearded one's face. Of course I'd be fired on the spot, and probably slapped by Rick McCallum, but this is an imaginary job anyways.
  21. Patrick Russell Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1998
    star 4
    Oh, I'm not talking about him "reasoning" with Dooku.

    After the big hurling-of-lightning contest (up to which point Yoda WAS acting in a purely defensive manner, other than his little growling Ninja pose) the obvious solution once Dooku drew his saber would have been for Yoda to have used things like his speed, perhaps an ability to generate illusion, etc., along with a stream of Yoda-esque taunting to push Dooku's buttons, get him riled and attacking, and simply avoid every single blow and ultimately cause Doku to exhaust himself angrily lunging at shadows.

    Then, of course, Republic forces would have eventually showed up, forcing Dooku to retreat (under cover of his dropping of the crane on Obi Wan and Anakin) before they could surround and capture him.

    Actually, come to think of it, I'd have left the whole Force Lightning thing out as well, and just left that for Palpatine, perhaps not even until ROTJ. I mean, the way it was used in ROTJ, it wasn't just some little parlor trick... it was concentrated hatred. You could see that in the face and the body language of the Emperor when he was letting Luke have it. And IMHO, it would have been far more dramatic to leave this as something that only Palpatine did.

    After all, did Vader need Force Lightning to be a dangerous villain? Nope. Neither did Dooku.
  22. yodaschum Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 9, 2002
    star 4
    We live in a MTV Jackass age where bad-ass is our favorite word to describe our heroes and the attention span has shortened. It's no wonder a film made before 1970 seems ancient these days.

    Well you know what they say - SW ushered in the cinema age we are in now. ANH was a futuristic snapshot of cinema in the year 2000.

    Some say it ruined cinema.
  23. SW3TheHolidaySpecial Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 19, 2001
    star 4
    well I would not say anything but people who work for george DO voice concern,as seen on the TPM DVD.Lets see...

    "We don't have a good way of doing this right now."-Rob Coleman,I think?

    "Seems like a lot of short scenes"-Rick McCallum
  24. bjbrickm Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 14, 2002
    star 3
    Something that people who don't like Yoda fighting tend to forget is Yoda fights in AOTC BEFORE he gets preechy in ESB.

    It's not disrupting characterization. Far from! It's making it even better.

    Should Yoda have fought Dooku? He spent the first half of the confrontation not fighting, but holding off Dooku's attack.

    In fact, Dooku lit his saber first. Dooku initiated the fight, not Yoda.

    Did Yoda give in to the dark side? I would say temporarily, yes. I think he is angry that his own student would turn against all he knew to be good for his own personal benefit. I mean he gets a very grumpy look on his face. But I also think Yoda gives Dooku a chance when their sabers lock up. Why does he stop fighting? Why lock up sabers as if it's a draw? I feel Yoda was giving Dooku one last chance.

    And Dooku took that hesitation and threw it back in Yoda's face by endangering Obi-Wan and Anakin and escaping.

    So I feel that after the devastating events of Episode III, Yoda will feel he could have done things better, handled the situation differently. That is why he is so adament about staying away from the dark side and "wars not make one great" in ESB.


    Now if in ROTJ Yoda had dueled like he did in AOTC, I would agree that Lucas was being all about looks and not about story.

    But need I remind you that story-wise, AOTC comes far before ESB. Several years earlier in fact.


    As for "yes men", their is a fine line before presenting any arguments you have with your boss tactfully and outright disagreeing with him.
  25. Patrick Russell Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1998
    star 4
    Moviegoers today have far shorter attention spans than anyone in 1977 could have ever imagined they would.

    I mean, what's the thing we always hear about ANH nowadays, especially from younger fans? "ANH had too many slow scenes."

    Back in '77, ANH had people leaving the theatre out of breath and wanting to line up for another ride. Now every time a SW movie goes for more than five minutes without a gun battle or an explosion, people are bitching about how "slow" and "boring" it is.
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