Saga If you were to recommend that someone see only ONE Star Wars movie...

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Obi-Wan McCartney, Jan 1, 2012.

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  1. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Guys you're being introduced to well past the halfway point of their respective stories.

    Luke's a Jedi? Who's Luke? What's a Jedi? The blind guy loves that bounty hunter? Or does he love that ape creature in his cell? Why does he owe Luke one? Is he in love with him too?
    Who's whose father? What's that ghost have to do with anything, & why is Luke so annoyed at him? Luke's sister was Jabba's Playmate of the Month?
    Why does this Luke guy have a mechanical hand, & what's it got to do with him cutting off the confused bad guy's hand? WHO CARES?

    Regardless of how much you can logically piece together, ROTJ doesn't stand on its own at all. If you haven't seen ANH & ESB, it's the resolution of something you don't know about, & therefore, can't care about.
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  2. StampidHD280pro Force Ghost

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    You mean like...

    [image=http://iandore.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/vader-boards.jpg]

    Its perfectly okay to like movies that don't make sense to you. I'm sure many people liked ROTJ as their first Star Wars movie.
  3. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Big can of worms, & still doesn't relate to the topic at hand, which is to pick one SW film, & one only, for someone to watch, ever.

    Putting aside arguments about just whether or not the character in that image actually had the backstory GL claims he did in 1977, ANH didn't require any knowledge of Eps I-III, as they hadn't been made - and it wasn't even called Episode IV, or 'A New Hope' then. GL was trying to make one film, and one film only, with its own beginning, middle and end. What backstory was required for the viewer (there was an Old Republic before the evil Empire, there were Jedi Knights) was extrapolated in the film itself (& the opening scroll) as backstory.

    ROTJ doesn't do that, apart from what's in the opening scroll - little more than a "Last week on Star Wars".
  4. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    ANH would likely be my first choice, for the reasons Nub gets at. It just stands alone really well. However, I do think that it's possible for the viewer (for some values of viewer, anyway) to be able to get into a story in later parts. For example, Empire is another I'd consider, because its style is my favorite (so I have motive to try to make it work), and also, what do you need to understand at the beginning? There are Rebels and an Empire... the Rebels are on the run and are underequipped. Pretty much all necessary information about the setting can be pulled out of the movie by a careful watcher.

    Of course, I'm also the type of person who watched the second season of LOST before the first.
  5. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    You could say that about any of the films to a certain extent, but the main problem with ESB is that it ends unresolved, far more than any of the rest. In terms of what came before, you've got Obi-Wan appearing to Luke in the snow (who the hell is 'Ben'?), plus the big revelation of the film doesn't have the same impact.

    As I understood it, the very point of this thread was to determine which SW film could best stand on its own, not just which ones possibly could. It's really only ANH vs TPM, and as I mentioned before, TPM leaves just a bit too much stuff hanging, even though it does wind its own story up neatly enough.
  6. Alexrd Force Ghost

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    ANH leaves (in my opinion) even more things hanging, like the Empire and Darth Vader. However, it does explain important concepts like the Force.
  7. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

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    What's great about that is that those things aren't particularly important to the main story of that film.

    Not in the way that "Jedi figuring out what's going on with the Sith" is a major (unresolved) story point of TPM.
  8. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Right. ANH leaves itself open for further episodes, without making them 100% necessary. Luke has become a hero by using the Force, the Empire has been crippled by the loss of the Death Star, and Han Solo has discovered the true meaning of friendship.:p They all live happily ever after.

    The situation regarding the Empire after the first DS was blown up is similar to how it is at the end of ROTJ - there's an Empire still around, but with Palps & Vader dead, it's just a matter of time before it's overthrown. Same deal in ANH - the dialogue in the Imperial meeting indicates that the Empire has put all its eggs into one basket with the Death Star by dissolving the Senate. With no DS, they've got nothing to control the galaxy, & the Alliance would be in an ideal position to restore the Republic.
    Or, you can carry on the story & ramp things up, which is what GL did. Works both ways. If SW had flopped & no further stores were ever done, I'm sure there'd be fans who'd love to have seen more, but no one would feel the film itself was incomplete.
  9. princethomas Force Ghost

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    This thread ought to be called.."Try to make a case for any movie other than A New Hope to be the one and only Star Wars film someone sees"

    I can't see any way, if you took this assignment seriously, that you could do another movie. Unless you were using people as test subjects, I guess.

    It doesn't even have so much to do with "Self-Containment" per se. Although that is an issue. But A New Hope, or "Star Wars" as it would be called in this case, is really a brilliant piece of filmmaking far beyond any of the others.

    Im a big Prequel defender, but even I know this.

    The genius behind "Star Wars" still exists. Lucas making this pure fantasy set in space. In this movie, the names Vader, Skywalker, Kenobi, Han Solo, Leia etc. are all somewhat meaningless.

    Lets a make as generic a fairy tale as possible and set it in space. Its brilliant. Princess, Farmboy, Pirate, Wizard, Evil Sorceror, 2 fools, Huge Oppressive Army/Navy, Rag-Tag band of freedom fighters. Its timeless if set on earth, in that it could have happened anytime before the present. Set in space, but not Earth Space, its timeless again because it could happen in any millenia throughout all of time.


    It would be a fantastic story, nearly devoid of star warsy stuff.
  10. CaptainHamYoyo Jedi Grand Master

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    This.

    I've been messing around in my head for a while to draw a Star Wars fan art taking the Space Fantasy concept but minus the Space(space would be oceans, planets would be continents, space ships would be sea ships, Droids would be steam-punk, aliens would be fantastical creatures). Haven't put pencil to paper yet, but if I ever do, and finish it, I'll share it.
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  11. drg4 Force Ghost

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    Yeah. For me, Star Wars feels like the first half of the story, followed up by a sequel wherein Luke embarks on a quest to slay his father's killer and win Leia's hand in marriage.

    Call it Knight Wars.

    Or Quantum of Sithness.
  12. Mikaboshi Force Ghost

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    It would have to be ANH. From start to finish it can be viewed without prior knowledge of Star Wars and it's ending is clean. Great film all around.
  13. Sword_Of_Goliath Jedi Master

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    The original. It's perfect & it stands alone. No other SW film has come close to its purity, clarity & perfection.

    Buy ya know, I watched it last week for the first time in about two years, and it is definitely from another era. I don't know that a modern viewer would accept it as an action movie. It moves pretty slowly, and it's pretty corny compared to modern films.

    Maybe, for an adult, my runner-up would be Revenge of the Sith, or one of the better Clone War arcs, like the one with Tarkin.
  14. QsAssistant Jedi Grand Master

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    Apr 13, 2011
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    The only one that would make sense to watch would be A New Hope. IMO it's the only one that is a stand alone film. The bad guys lose, the good guys win, and there's only one follow up that another could be made and that's Vader living.
  15. PiettsHat Force Ghost

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    Jan 1, 2011
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    If someone only planned to see one Star Wars movie, I'd actually suggest The Phantom Menace. It tells a complete story, the freeing of Naboo, while also introducing many plot points of later episodes. In and of itself, though, it wraps up nicely. It also does a good job of establishing the fantasy world and the Jedi's reputation. What's more is that there's something for everyone to enjoy. The kids get Darth Maul and and the pod race while the adults get Palpatine and Qui-Gon. Best of both worlds, in my opinion.

    In terms of ANH, for me, it is too disconnected from the other episodes. Aside from the main cast getting together, the plot doesn't really carry over, which I feel wouldn't be much of an inducement to keep watching the subsequent films. Alderaan getting blown up is never mentioned again and the destruction of the Death Star doesn't seem to have changed much for the Rebellion. Nor does Luke ever bring up the deaths of his foster parents or Leia of her adoptive parents. A lot of people like ANH for its completeness, but it feels too isolated to me.

    Then again, I'm biased since TPM was my first Star Wars movie.
    :p
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  16. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Hence why it would be fine to watch ANH & none of the others.

    Of course, you'd ditch the "Episode IV: A New Hope" title in the opening crawl & leave its original title of 'Star Wars'.
  17. MrFantastic74 Jedi Grand Master

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    Your points about TPM are certainly not completely invalid, although I would disagree about the pod race and Darth Maul being for the kids (those were my two favorite elements, and I was 25 when I saw the movie) and about Qui Gon and Palpatine (those characters did not "do it for me"). However, personally, I would not consider TPM in this discussion. Even though I realize opinions differ from individual to individual, I would never recommend a film to someone if I feel the movie is seriously flawed.

    I stand by my selection: TESB. Even though I admit that it does not stand alone as well as ANH does, it is the greatest film of the saga, and (IMHO) one of the greatest films in cinematic history. There are only a few plot points that would have to be explained to a first time viewer to ensure they understand the plot. I know the story ends on a cliffhanger, but that is one of the things that make this film so intriguing.
  18. PiettsHat Force Ghost

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    Sure. My point was simply that if you want a film that will impel people to watch the other Star Wars movies that TPM would be a better choice than ANH (in my opinion). It has, for me, a better sequel hook -- setting up Anakin's training. At the same time, I think both films are rather self-contained, so if there's no way this person is willing to watch another film, then TPM is just as good as ANH in this regard.

    I was speaking from personal experience. Based on my sample size of two (myself and my brother) TPM seems to be a good jumping off point for the Saga. I'm not saying that adults can't like the pod race or Darth Maul but I found that I wasn't able to enjoy Palpatine and Qui-Gon until a few years passed and I grew up a bit. Once I examined their roles more closely, I found their sections of the film to be most intriguing, though your mileage may vary. Personally, I don't consider TPM any more seriously flawed than ESB. There are still some things about ESB that I don't understand in terms of plot, but I just ignore them and it doesn't detract from my viewing experience.

    I wouldn't choose ESB as a standalone simply because I feel it works much better in the context of the Saga. The character relationships are far more complicated than the film itself can portray. For example, the "I am your father" line works if you've seen Obi-Wan lie to Luke about this in ANH. You realize why it is so horrifying -- not just because Luke's father is evil, but also because Obi-Wan, the good mentor, lied to and manipulated Luke. I don't think describing Luke and Obi-Wan's conversation can do it justice. Opinions will vary, though, obviously.
  19. Game3525 Force Ghost

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  20. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Fine, but the question of this thread is which single one of the six films is best for someone to watch, assuming that they're not going to see any others, i.e. which one best stands alone, not which one is the best to start with. A 'sequel hook' doesn't come into the equation - if anything, a particularly strong one is a point against, as it can be considered a loose end.

    My argument for ANH over TPM (apart from personal preference) is that TPM has a few too many such specific sequel hooks (what about the Sith, what happens to Shmi, what's the deal with the Chosen One Prophecy, why are the Jedi worried about Anakin), whereas ANH only really has one - Vader got away - and that's more of an old-school tease than a loose end.

    It's all very well to try to make arguments for one's own personal favourite episode, but even after recently watching ESB on Blu-Ray & being utterly blown away by how well it still stands up after 31 years & who knows how many repeated viewings, I still feel somewhat frustrated that it can only ever be "the best part of the Star Wars Saga", not "the best Star Wars film" for me - because it doesn't stand alone at all.

    In order of 'stand-alone' value, here's the way I see it:

    1. The Film Formerly Known As Star Wars
    2. The Phantom Menace
    3. Attack Of The Clones
    4. Revenge Of The Sith
    5. Return Of The Jedi
    6. The Empire Strikes Back

    3-5 I'm not 100% about, but bear in mind that how well a movie stands by itself has as much to do with just how much prior knowledge might be required, as how much is left unresolved at the end (hence ROTJ's low ranking).
  21. EHT New Films Manager

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    I agree with this ranking. As stated, this is not supposed to be a discussion of favorites, simply which episode can stand on its own the best for viewers who have not seen any SW movies and intend to just see one. I hope those people's minds would be changed after watching that one movie. :p Anyway, as I said earlier in the thread, and as shown on this list, ANH seems to be the clear choice to me.
  22. PiettsHat Force Ghost

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    I think I was just reading the question differently than you. I got the impression that the original situation was more like showing a film to someone that didn't want to see Star Wars because they'd heard it was "lame" or for "nerds" and wasn't very eager to see any of them. If given this opportunity, my natural inclination would be to show them not just the film I consider the best, but the one that might pique their interest in the Saga while not requiring extensive background knowledge. To be honest, if they're really absolutely refusing to watch more than one no matter the quality of the film or how much they like it, I wouldn't even bother. It doesn't seem like it would be a very fun movie-going experience to begin with.

    That's certainly true, but I'd argue it doesn't keep story of the film from feeling complete in and of itself. Some of my favorite works of media have extremely ambiguous endings and don't tie everything up -- the fate of a character will be left open, or the villain's fate is unknown. But that doesn't mean it can't tell a complete story. These kinds of works often leave me satisfied with what I got but wanting more. ANH, in my opinion, has too tidy an ending to really have that effect. The only ambiguous point is Vader and he isn't a very large focal point in that movie as it is.

    Well, TPM isn't my favorite episode (although I do love it) but it was the first Star Wars movie I saw, so I don't necessarily see what the problem would be in letting someone see it as their only episode. I also think it works very well with spectacle. Unfortunately for ANH, it is so iconic that popular culture has assimilated much of what made it shocking and exciting in 1977. It's still a great film, but it suffers from having its plot copied by so many other works. Just as an example, I read Eragon before ever watching Star Wars, so none of the plot points ever surprised me. Contrast this with TPM where Qui-Gon's death caught me off guard. It doesn't speak to the quality of the film, but it does affect enjoyment. Because of this, ANH is my least favorite of the Saga although I recognize that it is the greatest for its time and the most revolutionary.
  23. MrFantastic74 Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 4, 2010
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    The title of this thread is "If you were to recommend that someone see only ONE Star Wars movie..."

    I understood this to mean exactly what it says. Which movie would you recommend. I would recommend TESB.

    But, some of you are adamant that this thread is about which movie stands alone as a self-contained story. If that's indeed the case, then we are left with only one clear choice as far as I'm concerned: ANH, formerly known as "Star Wars".
  24. Sword_Of_Goliath Jedi Master

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    I don't see anything wrong with starting with ESB. Just about any of the movies work.

    I'd say, if it's a small child, TPM or ANH.

    An adult, RotS, ANH or ESB (maybe a marathon?)

    Teenage girl? Attack of the Clones.

    Dunno. Let them choose?

    I never try to turn people on to things, it's a thankless job, they never appreciate it...
  25. Cryogenic Force Ghost

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    Jul 20, 2005
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    No biggie. If we had a particular skill for it, we'd all be stupid not to get rich off of it.
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