Is it Lucas's fault if audiences can't see past the special effects?

Discussion in 'The Phantom Menace' started by DarthHomer, Apr 1, 2002.

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  1. Basil_Hennington Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 8, 2002
    star 4
    stinging, prune, terribly, painfully stinging wit, not to mention amazingly ORIGINAL.

    [face_plain]
  2. PruneF8ce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2002
    star 4
    Basil go look at the big picture on testing double standards, then give me a response.
  3. Basil_Hennington Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 8, 2002
    star 4
    you're a walking, talking double standard, prune. [face_plain]
  4. PruneF8ce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2002
    star 4
    I tested the OT forum to see if people would even give me the time of day, like some bashers expect here. I came back with everyone basically telling me i shouldnt criticize the OT. What does this say? That both sides are the same. They do not wish their movies nitpicked just as we do not wish the PT nitpicked. The only difference is that im not going to someone elses board every single day and expecting the double standard to be in place every time, as do bashers of this forum do. They expect themselves to be heard here, but no one can say anything bad about the OT in its proper forum, or theyll basically tell you to shut up and "why are you here?" and all that nonsense. Same thing.

    Bashers have every right to be here just like they do in the OT forum, but the morale of that place suggest that shouldnt be the case. We dont always have to agree with everything we read.

    Oh and repetitiveness is strictly enforced over there.

    Darth Dark Helmet:
    Don't you already have a number of topics about your contructive critiscms of the OT?

    I was told to consolidate my criticisms in 1 topic. That is more than I can say for this board.

    I do not intend on making a career out of this, twas just an experiment. Im normally fine with ALL SW films.

    If you still choose to not look at the big picture, i have nothing more to say to you.
  5. Darth23 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 14, 1999
    star 4
    .........So!


    How bout them Matyland Terps!

    North Caromlina and Duke are way out of it and the ACC STILL manages to get a basketball championship.



  6. Basil_Hennington Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 8, 2002
    star 4
    I'm happy Duke lost! [face_laugh]

    anyway, prune, I guess I wish more of the gushers were like you, in that they actually hear the bashers out. :)
  7. PruneF8ce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2002
    star 4
    Yeah I know. Because of Basil were way off topic.
  8. Basil_Hennington Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 8, 2002
    star 4

    nice! I thank YOU and YOU bash ME! [face_plain]
  9. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    I think what is meant by "no plot" is actually hyperbole. TPM does have a plot, and it could even be a great one if executed well. The problem is that it isn't really executed all that well (at least that is how I see it). I mean, a lot of important parts of the story happen offscreen, or are downplayed a lot, and a lot of the things which are focused on aren't important at all, and IMO, even somewhat stupid. We don't see stuff like the actual invasion of Naboo (you know what I mean, we see the transports heading towards the city, and then, all of a sudden, the city is conquered. If they actually showed it being conquered, it would allow for a lot of dramatic tension and punch, but that was completley sidestepped), or the actual election of Palpatine (although it is alluded to in dialogue), or the fact that Republic is crumbling (again alluded to in dialogue), and many of the character's emotions, and human qualities and traits, are downplayed more than I feel they should be. Instead, we see stuff like Jar-Jar's "hilarious" escapes in the end battle, JAr-Jar getting farted on by an Eopie, and, well, lots of Jar-Jar. We also see stuff like the adventures and trials of a couple of middle-class slaves, monster after monster after monster eating each other underwater, and the fact that some long-haired guy slowly comes to realize that the happiest kid in the galaxy is some kind of force messiah. The long-haired guy dies at the end of the movie, and doesn't even show up as a ghost or disembodied voice in the next movie, and I am ultimately left wondering why the Hell Lucas didn't just have Obi-Wan do all this, as originally wriitten. And the fact that Jar-Jar ( a special effect, the first one with over 90 minutes of screentime, as he was hyped up as) is such a presence in this movie while all these other things are downplayed, well it's not to hard for some people to put 2 and 2 together and say that the effects distracted Lucas from what was important
    - DarthTorgo


    I felt that this was cogent enough to warrant reposting, since it is an excellent response to the question posed by this thread.

    I would also add that there are many problems with the film that *are* Lucas' fault. The characterization is problematic - that is, how Lucas chooses to realize the characters and character archetypes on screen. Considering he had the greatest influence on the final product, both in terms of writing, directing, and overall vision, he can bear great responsibility for inconsistencies in presentation. To be fair, Lucas did get great performances from Liam and Ian; they are great actors and they fleshed out the parts well. Yay Lucas - mad props.

    On the other hand, he also elicited bad performances from Lloyd (who can be forgiven somewhat due to his relative inexperience), Portman (who has evoked much more stirring performances in other films (notably Leon), MacGregor, and Quarrie. Other performances were given too much characterization. JJB's characterization suffered because it was stressed too much - he was no longer a character archetype; instead he became a character stereotype. Like in Aristotelian philosophy, too much or too little of a good thing is a vice, not a virtue. Too much characterization is just as bad as too little; since he created and developed the character (*before* giving reign to Ahmed Best), Lucas can bear responsibility for the alienation of the audience members who did not react positively to the character.

    The pacing of the film is also alienating to many people - and since GL again has the biggest voice, he can be brought to task if the audience is alienated by the pacing of the film. Editing is crucial for maintaining the audience within the moment. Many felt that the editing was poor (to the point of creating their own versions of the film) - which is not the fault of the audience. Critical reflection is just that - review of a film based on standards appropriate for the genre and saga. Many fans were disappointed; many professional critics were disappointed.
  10. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
  11. PruneF8ce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2002
    star 4
    Interesting. Maybe for a hologram recorded message?
  12. Lukecash Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 6, 2001
    star 4
    Personally, I have no problem with the Matrix nor the Matrix special effects...or even winning Oscar. One of the main reason it WON was because they showed a different visual style and utilized innovative special effects tequniques.

    The difference is, the Matrix shows unusal events in a "world" that is similar to our own...thust it seems a bit more "real" or easier to accept.

    Lucas, on the other hand, is showing us his worlds, universe and characters. These are places that can't possibly exist in our world...thus harder to subconciously accept. And he's not intrested in showing us a bleak and dark mirror of world. But a shiny, exotic, and hopful kiledascope version of what could be out in the universe.

    My opinoin is that George, in allowing the visuals to tell the story, took undeserved claim that he was obsessed with special effects. He did not spoon fed the plot to the audience like he did in ANH or the OT..when there were clear cut bad guys and clear cut good guys. This is a murky tale...of intrigue, betrayal and loss.

    His intent, (and he knows this because of people reaction to OT of star wars), was to make a movie that could stand up to multiple viewings and repeated viewing. Sure the TPM edits are quicker, but after watching ANH...the Death Star fight seems way too long. The quicker cut allows me the chance to delve behind the scenes, look for nuances without being too long. (and if you think the acting was bad, a careful examination of characters-subtle actions and reactions are actually priceless. This is one of those things you get from watching the movie again...or at least I did.)

    Whooo kay...not like I am gonna convince people otherwise :D
  13. Raincitygirl Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 1, 2002
    star 1
    First off, Go-Mer-Tonic, Some of us are trying to remain unspoiled for Ep II. Please don't put spoilers in your posts unless you make them invisible unless the reader chooses to highlight them. Can you please edit it so that somebody else who's trying to stay unspoiled doesn't stumble across your info about Liam?

    To Quixotic Sith, beautifully said. Whose post were you quoting, by the way? I'm amazed by the vehemence of the TPM debate on the internet. I've discussed the film in real life with people who disagreed with me. Nobody ever told me it was my fault that I didn't enjoy enjoy the movie. We all perceive things differently. It's called being individuals. Just because somebody happened to like a particular movie doesn't make them peculiar or wrong, and just because somebody else doesn't enjoy that particular movie doesn't make them wrong. Again with the individuality thing.

    I'm a big spinach fan, but I know some people who would rather walk over hot coals barefoot than let spinach pass their lips. I'm not going to try and convince them that it's their fault, that the spinach is delicious and they're just not perceptive enough to realize that. By the same token, I don't expect anybody to try and convince me that my dislike of shrimp is something to be overcome, that when I eat the shrimp and dislike it, I've got the wrong attitude, and can't appreciate the beauty of shrimp.

    We all perceive the same stimuli (whether it be a movie or a food) differently. There's no need to be insulted when somebody disagrees with us. I only get insulted when somebody tries to tell me I have no right to my feelings on the subject. I sure as hell wouldn't tell them that on a matter where we disagree, so do unto others.
  14. DarthYosef Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2001
    star 1
    I've been reading this debate, and I just thought I'd say something about one point that is brought up repeatedly throughout here, why do the bashers come in here and bash TPM...

    They're not just random people who hate TPM or something and ran to their computers to bash it, they're people who (presumably) like the OT and Star Wars in general, not TPM so much; because of their like of SW, they go to a SW website, check out the discussion boards, find this place, and decide to read around, post their opinions. They find people with different opinions, and they debate, and threads like these are the result. It's not some diabolical scheme to disparage TPM.
  15. Malthus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 1999
    star 4
    I think the thread's question is a bit biased to begin with, giving a certain "tint" to the answers. The question is incriminating to start with, but it's still answerable.

    It's been asked what the posts above want. I can venture an educated guess:

    People are able to try to look past the special effects. I'm sure if you asked each one of the people that are targeted by the question, they'd be able to tell you what plot events happened, what story elements took place, etc. It's therefore unfair for others to believe that bashers literally can't see past it, because that's not the case. The CGI bothers them, but it's just one "issue" among several other things. When these "bashers" discuss specific points, and go into great detail about why they disliked a certain aspect, it's often taken that this one thing they're discussing is a real sticker for them. So when someone like hawk here gripes about CGI, it's taken that he's totally hung up on it, that he disliked the CGI and he hated the movie from that moment on... you will find that folks' disappointment and dislike of the movie has more to do with the sum of its parts.

    At least, that's what I've seen in here and that's also the way it fell for me. As I watched the movie the first time, I was bothered a little by the Neimoidian accent, but shrugged it off, but then Jar Jar showed up and annoyed me a little. I shrugged that off... after all, this is Star Wars, there was much more of the movie to go. But time after time, I was needled with little things that just bugged me. So that at the end of it, I was heavily disappointed with the entire thing.

    I guess what I'm saying is that discussing specific points is the tip of the iceberg for most who took the movie as I did. But since threads seem to be about one specific subject or another, we find ourselves deeply engaged in argument/discussion about a point that (if none of the other bothersome things were in the movie) we'd have otherwise dismissed as a minor thing that had no bearing on our ability to enjoy the movie to its fullest.

    Make sense? I hope so. I rambled a little bit there.
  16. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    Sorry guys, I guess I didn't think of it as a spoiler, as I wasn't coming to any conclusions about it (if you don't know what I am talking about, nevermind, I can't explain it here, if you really want to know, PM me).

    Sorry I will be more careful about that.

    I don't know, I don't see blaming the audience member any more out of the question than blaming the director.

    Communication is a two-way street. If it was simply a problem with the film itself, then why do any of us like it?
  17. Malthus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 1999
    star 4
    Communication is a two-way street. If it was simply a problem with the film itself, then why do any of us like it?

    An excellent point, to be sure. But movies aren't just a form of communication. They're a form of expression. Ah, but they're not just that either... Lucas SELLS his expression to the masses in the form of a movie. Not just any movie, though: it's one that has garnered fans from all over the world who have "grown up" with the original trilogy that revolutionized the industry. We bought his toys as kids, and then as we grew up, we bought the music, we bought the Laser Discs, the VHS tapes, we bought movie tickets. Others started as adults, but that is because the movies' appeal completely saturated the demographic grid.

    There's a symbiosis there, then. If we were not around to buy his merchandise, his movies, he'd be out of a job. Likewise, we'd not have the greatness that is Star Wars if he'd not done it. He'd probably have found something else cool to do and we'd probably have latched onto something else, but that's all hypothetical.

    Ultimately, it's up to GL to make the movie. But when that human being makes mistakes (and when he triumphs), he will find that many of his fans will react to it, in a wide variety of ways. That's unavoidable. We're as much a part of the whole Star Wars phenomenon as he is, because we're watching it. It can't be said that we fans should just take what he feeds us, GULP, no questions asked. He owes his position in the industry to us just as much as we owe him for giving us Star Wars.

    So just because people like the movie doesn't mean the problem doesn't exist with the movie.

    By way of example, in the music industry if a rock star has a drug problem, some fans will be turned off by it, and some will applaud, some band members will be incensed, others will not be bothered... there's a number of ways to look at it, but it doesn't mean that there's not a problem.
  18. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    Well it means for some of us anyway, the problem doesn't exist with the movie.

    I mean I think it is a fantastic entry into the SW saga, and the "problems" you guys have with the film are just that, -your- problems.

    Don't think for a second I am not sympathetic about it, but I am adamant in the idea that you guys will eventually be able to see it the way I do. Perhaps for some of you it will take the release of Episode II or even III, but there is little to no doubt in my mind that Lucas knows exactly what he is doing here.

    Sure, the film isn't flawless, and Lucas isn't a diety, but for pete's sake if anyone has a snowball's chance in hell of making this all work it is Lucas, not a bunch of people who bought his action figures over the years.

    I am sure you guys who have alternate ideas for TPM have come up with some cool things. I think it is great to be creative. I just don't see anything (yet) that is more solid than what Lucas did.
  19. Patrick Russell Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1998
    star 4
    "I am not even implying that anyone is thick headed or not smart enough, I just think some people weren't willing to put in the effort."


    That it requires "effort" to enjoy a Star Wars film tells me that there are some undeniable flaws with the film itself.

    And again, you're back to your old circular argument once more. "People who didn't like TPM simply weren't willing to put in the effort" versus "If you feel it requires effort to enjoy TPM, that's YOUR fault and not the film's".

    Which is it, Gome? Pick a team, willya?

  20. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    I am on the team where I firmly beleive that the only reason someone who loved the classic trilogy would not like TPM has to do with not having all the facts.

    Sure you may never think Jar-Jar is cool or Anakin's acting was stellar, but that's not what so cool about it. What's cool is the whole story and how everything comes together.

    I don't think everyone understands why TPM's story went the way it did, and the release of the next two films will (in my opinion) set everyone straight.
  21. Patrick Russell Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1998
    star 4
    So now, on cue, you're back to "If you didn't like TPM you just weren't bright enough to understand it".

    Just like a Swiss watch...
  22. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    No you are back to that interpetation.

    I have always been of the opinion that you guys are capable, you just choose not to figure it out on your own.
  23. Malthus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 1999
    star 4
    Well it means for some of us anyway, the problem doesn't exist with the movie.

    I mean I think it is a fantastic entry into the SW saga, and the "problems" you guys have with the film are just that, -your- problems.

    Don't think for a second I am not sympathetic about it, but I am adamant in the idea that you guys will eventually be able to see it the way I do. Perhaps for some of you it will take the release of Episode II or even III, but there is little to no doubt in my mind that Lucas knows exactly what he is doing here.

    Sure, the film isn't flawless, and Lucas isn't a diety, but for pete's sake if anyone has a snowball's chance in hell of making this all work it is Lucas, not a bunch of people who bought his action figures over the years.

    I am sure you guys who have alternate ideas for TPM have come up with some cool things. I think it is great to be creative. I just don't see anything (yet) that is more solid than what Lucas did.


    Gomer, I'm as close as I possibly can be to making peace with that post (esp the last 2 paragraphs). Some good points, and nothing I feel a great need to refute or argue with that I haven't already hashed out. Obviously, I don't see it exactly as you say, but am willing to let a little difference in our perspective on the thread's topic slide. We're both fans and can see each others' side at least.

    <hands Gomer some dark Jedi beer>
  24. AgentCoop Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 16, 2002
    star 4
    Answers we've heard so far to the question posted by this thread, condensed for your convenience:

    "It's not Lucas' fault if the movie he made had problems, it's the audience's fault. They either are not smart enough to understand the film or they simply do not want to because they are part of a vast conspiracy of 'Star Wars' fans who have it in for the prequels for no aparrent reason."

    "The fact that TPM did not perform as well as expected at the box-office had nothing to do with the fact that it turned off a lot of fans that would otherwise have provided a huge amount of repeat business. It is the fault of the media's bias against Lucas and 'Star Wars'. This bias caused the sheep-like moviegoing public to avoid the film like the plague against all conceivable logic."

    Wow, it's amazing how Lucas in no way shoulders ANY RESPONSIBILITY for the film that he made. We are constantly being told that one of the proofs of TPM's supposed genius is that Lucas was finally able to make the film he wanted, in his way. Yet if the effects are over the top, the acting weak and the characterizations shallow it's not his fault. Presumably you're only too willing to give him full credit for the things in the film that DID work, so how does he manage to avoid any accountability for the things that didn't?
  25. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    "Wow, it's amazing how Lucas in no way shoulders ANY RESPONSIBILITY for the film that he made. We are constantly being told that one of the proofs of TPM's supposed genius is that Lucas was finally able to make the film he wanted, in his way. Yet if the effects are over the top, the acting weak and the characterizations shallow it's not his fault. Presumably you're only too willing to give him full credit for the things in the film that DID work, so how does he manage to avoid any accountability for the things that didn't?"

    Lol! Excellent AC. :)

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