Is it really Lucas' fault?

Discussion in 'The Phantom Menace' started by ST-TPM-ASF-TNE, Jul 11, 2002.

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  1. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    No, because every answer is simply an opinion.

    :D
  2. Bubba_the_Genius Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2002
    star 4
    It amazes me that the bashers can't even agree on what Lucas did wrong: some say he settled for what was merely "good enough," some say he micromanaged the film to death.

    Which is it?

    Have you considered this possibility? Art -- great art -- has a tendency to polarize people. For example, some see Moulin Rouge as sensory overload, while others see its frenetic pace as a way of conveying the excitement of the dance hall atmosphere.

    It's possible that the prequels actually are great works of art, but that you simple fall on the wrong side of the polarization. Perhaps you had such a concrete image of what the prequels should be that any deviation would disappoint. Perhaps you've grown in one direction and Lucas has grown in another.
  3. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    Makes sense to me, it's why some people didn't like the classic trilogy either.
  4. JenX Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 26, 2002
    star 3
    It amazes me that the bashers can't even agree on what Lucas did wrong: some say he settled for what was merely "good enough," some say he micromanaged the film to death.

    It amazes me that people expect bashers to agree on this. I don't expect such a diverse group of people to come to a single conclusion on this. Can all gushers agree on everything that Lucas did right?

    Have you considered this possibility? Art -- great art -- has a tendency to polarize people.

    Yes, but just because great art can polarise, doesn't mean that everything that polarises = great art.


    It's possible that the prequels actually are great works of art, but that you simple fall on the wrong side of the polarization.

    Well, if you view the PT as a great work of art, then if I fail to recognise it as such then I will have fallen on the wrong side. But then I don't think the prequels are great works of art. I think they are not very good at all.

    Perhaps you had such a concrete image of what the prequels should be that any deviation would disappoint.

    Well I didn't have any concrete images of what the PT was going to be so, no, that's not why I feel the way I do about the prequels.
  5. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    That's exactly what the people who never saw what was great about the classic trilogy said.
  6. JenX Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 26, 2002
    star 3
    That's exactly what the people who never saw what was great about the classic trilogy said.

    That's exactly what some people who never saw what was great about the classic trilogy said, Go-Mer-Tonic.

    And some people who never saw what was good about Batman and Robin said something similiar, as did some of the people who never saw what was good about Scooby Doo, I Spy and Master of Disguise.

    But the fact that different people said similair things about different films doesn't really say anything does it (apart from they all thought the various films they were describing weren't very good)?
  7. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    The difference here is we are not talking about the guy who screwed up Batman, we are talking about George Lucas. The same guy who made the classic trilogy possble in the first place.

    What are the chances that most of the world could correct Lucas about the SW saga?
  8. JenX Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 26, 2002
    star 3
    The difference here is we are not talking about the guy who screwed up Batman, we are talking about George Lucas. The same guy who made the classic trilogy possble in the first place.

    And another difference is that you were talking about different people's reactions to different films (ANH, TESB, ROTJ, TPM and AOTC). So lets stop bringing up other people's opinions when dealing with each others.

    What are the chances that most of the world could correct Lucas about the SW saga?

    Who said that most of the world could? And what has the rest of the world got to do with my opinion of the prequels?
  9. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    You would have to ask yourself that one.
  10. hoth-nudist Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 5, 2000
    star 3
    hey Im just answering the topic question posted by ST-TPM-ASF-TNE or whatever his face is. Im not trying to offend Gomer's gusher guru group of the PT. I realize some people's tastes change as time goes by, and its Luca$'constant taste changing I dont like. The PT has a whole different flavor and it is bitter/sour to me. Comes from making stuff up as GL goes along in 125 mil. PT stinkers. All I anticipated initially was the same kind of production,taste and effort as the OT, but all I saw on the PT came out was, cram it together-its good enough-throw in some poop and fart jokes-sesame street caliber characters and acting-add some easter eggs-pay homage to joe blow the legendary sci fi whatever- and lets hit the editing room to butcher the thing kind of SW movie. So I still say YES its Luca$ fault!
  11. hoth-nudist Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 5, 2000
    star 3
    double post. oops! Its still luca$ fault though.
  12. hoth-nudist Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 5, 2000
    star 3
    play it again sam... triple post
  13. Bubba_the_Genius Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2002
    star 4
    JenX, the problem with the comparisons to The Master of Disguise and I Spy is that they're not really polarizing: most people agree those movies suck.

    Not so with the prequels. There are a large number of people who think it's quite good, so good that analysis of the movies yields thought-provoking results nearly four years after the first one's release.


    And hoth-nudist, if "Luca$" was merely concerned about money, how do you explain the complications and the subtleties in the story?

    Sure, you can point to the one or two flatulence jokes as proof that Lucas wasn't trying (is it not possible he was merely trying to make a movie for all ages?), but if he was really just going through the motions and slapping a movie together, how do we get the subtle plotting of the Sith? If he really was sacrificing art for popularity, why did he make characters that were so formal?

    The conclusion simply doesn't hold up when you look at all the things he was attempting to do in these movies.
  14. hoth-nudist Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 5, 2000
    star 3
    Bubba, Luca$ is mainly concerned with the "presentation" of his films. He has even admitted it in interviews that he thinks the audience is more interested in the "roller coaster ride" aspect rather than plot. So practically all of his attention goes into FX instead of other things like story, character developement, performacnce etc. It just feels like he's blowing everything off without much effort. The Gary Kurtz interview is a perfect example where it is said that GL told GK after ESB was made: "We could have made just as much money if you didnt have to make the film so good" That kind of attitude and his having total control over the PT is where Im getting at. Thank goodness he didnt have total control back then!
  15. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    He says that people are more interested in the action that exposition, something he doesn't like to include but he does because he has to. He tries to make the exposition as fast and as painless as possible so they can get back to the motion of the story.
  16. Bubba_the_Genius Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2002
    star 4
    hoth-nudist, the assertion that Lucas cares not a whit about the story or the acting does not fit with the evidence that we have.

    In terms of the story, the plotting of both prequels is quite dense, and nearly every scene serves to advance the plot in multiple ways.

    In terms of acting, the documentary on the digital Yoda proves that performance matters a great deal to Lucas: the toughest scene for the animators, the "widow-maker," was not the fight scene but Yoda's last bit of dialogue.
  17. TadjiStation Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2001
    star 4
    hoth-nudist, the assertion that Lucas cares not a whit about the story or the acting does not fit with the evidence that we have.

    In terms of the story, the plotting of both prequels is quite dense, and nearly every scene serves to advance the plot in multiple ways.


    If I may share some thoughts:

    I agree with you here, Bubba. The plot of the PT so far has been dense. I would argue that it's too dense. The problem I see with Lucas' presentation of these films is that he's unsure how to balance the exposition with the action. Go-Mer indicated before that Lucas doesn't want to include a lot of exposition and instead focus on the action. If, by exposition, Lucas is referring to dialogue driven scenes, then I agree with his argument. However, this stems from Lucas' admitted lack of writing ability. It's no wonder he wants to move the story along as fast as he can - his dialogue is unusually wordy, generally stagey and not very well thought out. Hence, scene after scene around a variety of tables, in a variety of offices, discussing critical plot elements that could have been shown instead of just talked about. When the action does occur, it's usually fast and furious, but it never builds quite right. The exception to this, IMHO is the DOTF in TPM, particularly the Jedi/Sith battle.

    I believe this is why the OT works so much better than the PT - Lucas relied upon the talents and collaboration of other writers to flush the characters and scenes out.

    In terms of acting, the documentary on the digital Yoda proves that performance matters a great deal to Lucas: the toughest scene for the animators, the "widow-maker," was not the fight scene but Yoda's last bit of dialogue.

    Herein lies another problem I have with Lucas - he'd rather spend the time making sure a single monologue delivery is perfect for a DIGITAL character than spend time trying to exact sturdy performances from his live actors.

    As to the quality of the other performances in SW thus far, I find the OT performances more spirited and generally more lifelike. I've been somewhat disappointed by what I've seen in the PT. The delivery of stilted and boring, lacking in emotional and dramatic resonance. This was a real bummer to me because we've seen how great actors like Liam, Ewan and Natalie can be. There are moments, however, when the magic really does happen. I was convinced, for example, that Shmi died in Anakin's arms, and his response was great, particularly his change from sadness to rage - extremely effective. I only wished that there were more of these scenes. The only actor in the PT that seems to be having any fun whatsoever with his role is Ian McDiarmid. Who wouldn't have fun with a dual role like his? It's a chance to really shine! :)

    I beleive that there exists a measuring stick for acting, directing, editing and so forth in the world of film. Go to any film school and you'll learn the rules of filmmaking. Go to any writing or acting class, and you'll learn the do's and don'ts of those artforms. For me, as a filmmaker, the quality of performance (of any type) is not an entirely subjective thing. It's from this vantage point that I don't consider Lucas a very good filmmaker or writer. I think his story ideas are highly imaginative, but when he tries to apply himself to tasks that he admittedly doesn't like, the end result suffers. In this fashion, I find that the faults I see in the PT are due to Lucas' lack of filmmaking ability, and not to my expectations (I didn't have any, quite frankly). I wanted to lose myself in the films completely, and felt myself being pulled out of the experience time and again by what I saw as filmmaking flaws.
  18. Bubba_the_Genius Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2002
    star 4
    I'm not sure if the original trilogy is any less guilty of exposition via chats around the table. Off the top of my head, I can think of a good half-dozen or so bits where explaining the plot may have slowed the movie:

    - the Lars dining table
    - Obi-Wan's desert hut
    - the Yavin IV ready room
    - Yoda's hut
    - the Star Destroyer bridges
    - the Mon Cal ready room
    - the Emperor's throne room (Vader/Palpatine)

    Perhaps the pacing doesn't suffer there because there's less to explain: up until the waning moments of ROTJ, it's pretty clear who's good and who's evil. The story revolves around an external clash rather than an internal corruption and betrayal.

    Or perhaps we've just gotten used to faster-paced movies.

    Or perhaps we're being hyper-critical. I believe that the much-heralded Fellowship of the Ring makes both prequels seem like music videos.


    I can't imagine a good solution to this problem, either: make the tale too straight-forward, and it loses its impact as a story of Shakespearen subterfuge. And if you try to show things like the Jedi being stretched too thin, you're dragging out the movie, probably introducing more characters, and perhaps making the overall effect even more confusing to casual viewers.

    The only solution I see would be flashbacks and voice-overs, and that simply doesn't gel with the style set forward by the original trilogy.


    On the acting, perhaps the point was to have the royalty, politicians, and Jedi to be formal -- the "more civilized age" that Obi-Wan referred to. It draws a sharper contrast to Anakin and to the tumultous era of the Galactic Civil War.

    It may be a hair presumptuous, but I do think TMRFE has thought all these things through.
  19. NadaDevotchka Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2003
    star 1
    I can't believe people are still rationalizing wooden acting by saying it was intended by Lucas "to represent the more formal situations and people."

    Obi-Wan and Yoda were both Jedi in the OT, just like the PT, but they were amusing, kind, and REAL (as real as a muppet can be, in Yoda's case) characters.

    Now it's "Around the survivors a perimeter create!" and "I hate it when he does that."

  20. SomeRandomNerd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 20, 1999
    star 4
    This "good enough" thing makes me laugh, when you consider that he was talking about the Empire Strikes Back special effects.

    When you know the context of the quotes, a lot of people in this thread seem to be contradicting themselves...
  21. TokyoXtreme Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 24, 2001
    star 4
    Joe blow the legendary sci-fi whatever! That's some hot posting hoth-nudist; you are seriously cracking me up over here!

    ORIGYNYL TRYLOGYSTS 4 LIFE!
  22. TokyoXtreme Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 24, 2001
    star 4
    But SRN, there is a scene in the TPM documentary I believe, in which TMRFE discusses how you have to draw a line or something, or else a production takes forever. In my opinion, sometimes films have to run late in production, and it's a good thing if the end result is better for the extra time. There was a sign on the door at ILM that said "This movie comes out on May 16th 1999, no matter what." and then, just below, "-- Rick McCallum". That's such a dumb sign to put up, not to mention how egotistical it is to make it look like it was quoted from a flipping book of proverbs or something. Oh, Rick.
  23. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    It lets people know when the deadline is, and who made it. That's part of Rick's job, and getting a film out on time and under budget is his responsibility.

    I wonder how long one would last as a producer if they kept going over budget and past the deadlines in the name of "perfection".

    That's part of the reason Kurtz is no longer working on SW movies.

  24. TokyoXtreme Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 24, 2001
    star 4
    Is The Phantom Menace a better film than Apocalypse Now?
  25. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    I would say they are both up there. There is too much going for both of them to say one is better, not to mention they are both very different kinds of films, which makes comparisons vague at best.
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