Is Lucas a better/worse DIRECTOR today than when he made ANH?

Discussion in 'The Phantom Menace' started by hawk, Dec 10, 2002.

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  1. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    But Queen Amidala is supposed to appear unflappable. That's the reason she has makeup on and speaks in monotone.

    The performance is like this not because Lucas is now well fed, but because SHE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE LIKE THAT.
  2. royalguard96 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 13, 2001
    star 5
    Yes, I agree but I don't mean the characters. I mean the actors.

    So are we saying we want to see Lucas direct the actors in one given way, regardless of the nature of the characters they play? The type of character an actor has completely dictates how the director directs that particular actor. Lucas understands this, and it's reflected in the varying performances in all the movies. My concern is that if Lucas directed all his actors to behave in a more zealous way, he would get tons of criticism for directing the actors in one way, regardless of scene.
  3. hawk Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2000
    star 5
    No. I am not just talking about the Queen. They are all sitting around discussing the fact that an army is probably heading down to the planet to cause havoc and each and every one of them just sits there reciting lines. I DON'T think they should behave like Imperials (I knew someone would think this) but I do think they should look INVOLVED in the plight of their planet. I have seen more heated conversations about movies than these people discussing invasion of their planet.

    It is bad storytelling to have a 16 year old Queen not display any emotion. And if this is, once again, the way it is supposed to be, then I not only disagree with what the scene is supposed to look like and think that it is a mistake. Characters who look like they couldn't care less about their planet does not make interesting storytelling. I think people you the "supposed to" thing as an excuse to cover up weak direction. It makes it seem Lucas can not make any mistakes bc we can always attach what he was trying to do. If Lucas' intention was to show lifeless, dull characters who display little emotion then he succeeded but it is STILL a mistake to do so.

    I might decide not to study and fail my course and that would be a mistake regardless of whether I intended to or not.
  4. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    They are behaving like rational adults. Sio Bibble is obviously concerned about the prospects of negotiation, Panaka grimly explains they wouldn't be able to resist an invasion force, and Amidala adamantly sticks to the idea of working things out.

    It isn't bad storytelling to have a 16-year-old queen hiding her emotions. It was done intentionally, and it was not a mistake. It was obvious that Lucas invested a lot on making the helplessness and sadness apparent to the audience by having Portman convey her inner feeling of weakness through her darting eyes, betraying her stoic outer appearance as she literally looked to others for answers she did not have. The one scene where she is watching the tanks roll into Theed and bows her head is pretty emotionally resonant to me. It is great storytelling and attention to detail.

    Lucas set out to finish his story the way he wanted to finish it, and so far, he has succeeded in that. I like the prequels quite a bit myself, which is just gravy on the side as far as I am concerned.
  5. hawk Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2000
    star 5
    Rationale adults display emotion. They look like this is all in a days work. The President of America doesn't weep or scream at a press conference but you can tell he is genuinely concerned. Heck, even the Imperials were being quite civil in the scene I described (besides one) and they showed that they cared. It is very bad storytelling when you don't allow charcters in a dire situation to show great concern, fear and anger. This isn't a tea party, it's a full blown war for goodness sake!

    I do think Lucas is delivering the story the way he wants too. But IMHO, I believe he is making mistakes by not directing the actors to perform as believable characters.
  6. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    Rational adults can hide their emotions from time to time as well. They seemd like believably caring people to me, and I think it was what Lucas set out to accomplish in those scenes.
  7. TadjiStation Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2001
    star 4
    Go-Mer,

    I'm honestly glad that the acting (particularly of Amidala) has emotional resonace for you. You find emotion in something as seemingly insignificant as a glance, and that's pretty darn cool as far as I'm concerned.

    What I see and what you see are two very different things, I'm afraid. I don't connect with Amidala the way you do, primarily because I don't believe her as a character. Natalie Portman's performance, while intentionally stoic, doesn't resonate with me because she doesn't emote AT ALL. That's not believability, that's sloppy direction.

    If it's Amidala all along that's involved with the Jedi and the the Neimoidians, then some similarity between the performances (in her dual role as Padme and Amidala) should have been recognized, and there wasn't. In other words, her more compassionate side when dealing with Anakin should have been brought into better light when dealing with the impending invasion of Naboo, but it isn't. Instead, we have someone who looks stiff, and if she couldn't command a band of R2 units much less be the head of an entire planet. Lucas may very well have intended it to be this way, but his instincts did not serve him well, IMHO - her performance is not dramatically involving from where I sit.
  8. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    It's not sloppy filmaking if that's the way Amidala was supposed to act. Part of the point to having the dual identity for Amidala was to allow her character to show emotions as Padme that she could not show as Queen.

    Part of the reason they do the monotone voice and even delivery is to make her appear unflappable. The fact that they are the same person is all the link you need to her dual personality. She is a bit nieve about the unfolding situation, but that's why Palpatine got her elected in the first place.

    Sorry you didn't like it.

  9. hawk Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2000
    star 5
    Stoic and unflapple not completely emotionless. It isn't as though the Nemodians invade Naboo every Sunday. It was was a huge event that should have had some impact on Amidala and her advisors. They aren't supposed to be unflappable. Where's the excuse for their emotionless performance? Sloppy direction from someone who has directed some believable scenes in the SW universe.
  10. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    It didn't seem emotionless to me. I think Lucas did a fine job.

    Sorry you don't agree.
  11. TheAnointedOne Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2002
    star 2
    If Lucas was trying to create a character in the queen who was stoic, then that's okay. There is, however, a way to do that and have the audience relate to the character. He could have and should have shown her during private moments when she can let out some of the emotion that she was obviously holding back publicly. The audience has to be able to connect with the characters in order to care. If in the film, the characters don't seem to care, then why should I?
  12. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    She did break down and show her emotions when she confided in Anakin that she didn't know what to do if the Senate couldn't help her. She even says that it was the Queen who is very worried. I thought Lucas did it in a way that the audience could pick up on it. I know I picked up on it. I connected with, and cared for the characters quite a bit. So Lucas did good by some of us anyways, even if he couldn't please everyone.

    If you didn't care about the characters, then I can understand why you would feel the film is lacking.

  13. TadjiStation Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2001
    star 4
    She did break down and show her emotions when she confided in Anakin that she didn't know what to do if the Senate couldn't help her.

    I have to admit that I don't remember this breakdown as such. The only time I remember Portman (as Amidala) showing anything that could be called emotion was during her meeting with the senate, and her discussion with Jar Jar (When he comments on the Gungan's "grand army"), and the emotional content of her performance here was a bit on the short side, IMHO.

    She even says that it was the Queen who is very worried.

    Another rule of filmmaking: SHOW, DON'T TELL!! :)

    I thought Lucas did it in a way that the audience could pick up on it. I know I had no trouble picking up on it. I connected with, and cared for the characters.

    Right On!
  14. Shelley Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2001
    star 5
    Another rule of filmmaking: SHOW, DON'T TELL!!

    Uh huh. And yet many people who hate TPM think that all the events in it could have, and should have, been condensed into a summary and tacked onto AOTC. In other words, the events should've been TOLD, not SHOWN.
  15. stone_jedi Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 17, 2001
    star 4
    For me, this is one of those TPM problems that got worse because of AOTC. This is why: we learn in AOTC that there has never been a war in the Republic for a thousand years. By that rational, wouldn't you get a little concerned and nervous when someone is committing an act that hasn't occurred for a thousand years?? The TF basically commits an act of war by invading Naboo, yet all they do is sit around and look relatively uninterested, even bored (IMO).

    It's cool if you connected emotionally with the characters, but I have a hard time doing it when little inconsistencies and seemingly basic lack of common sense exists among them ("I will not condone an action that will lead us to war", umm, too late, you're already being invaded.)

  16. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    The invasion is not considered a full scale war. That is what hasn't happened in so long.

    Actually, this isn't the first time the TF has used similar tactics with other worlds, that is why Amidala tells Nute that he has finally gone too far.

    We see Padme talk about how worried the queen is, and she is showing her concern as padme. That is how they show the emotions the queen is feeling without having the queen herself show the emotions, because as Queen she can't show them.

    I think it's brilliant myself.
  17. poweranger Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Apr 21, 2002
    star 2
    well, umm.. lucas is the same director today that he was when he did the original trilogy - the new trilogy does a better job of highlighting his flaws, in the same way that lucas shows that jedi arent all powerful or immortal in this trilogy. what i like is that the jedi we meet arent the myths but mere mortals trying their best to serve the greater good.
  18. hawk Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2000
    star 5
    Go-Mer,

    I connected with, and cared for the characters quite a bit. So Lucas did good by some of us anyways, even if he couldn't please everyone.

    There will always be people who connect with characters even if the film has poor acting and direction of the characters. I'm not saying that is what is happening here but just because you enjoy the performances does not make them of good quality. The fact that so many people have brought up Portman's wooden acting in I and II suggests that Lucas is not being as "brilliant" as you make him out to be. How brilliant is he for creating characters that so many don't believe or can connect with?

    Actually, this isn't the first time the TF has used similar tactics with other worlds, that is why Amidala tells Nute that he has finally gone too far.

    This isn't shown in the film.

    We see Padme talk about how worried the queen is, and she is showing her concern as padme. That is how they show the emotions the queen is feeling without having the queen herself show the emotions, because as Queen she can't show them.

    Perhaps if Padme SHOWED real concern. I honestly don't think her performance really delivered. And since when must a Queen show no emotion? Was this ever said in the film? If the monotone voice is used by Queens to hide emotion then why doesn't Queen Jamilla use it too? Or is their yet another excuse for her too? I don't even think it is totally obvious what Padme is doing anyway since she remains so stiff as Padme as well. All that seems to change is her voice and make-up.



    Shelley,

    Uh huh. And yet many people who hate TPM think that all the events in it could have, and should have, been condensed into a summary and tacked onto AOTC. In other words, the events should've been TOLD, not SHOWN.

    I understand what you are saying but that is really a separate issue. Basically, I think they were saying that if you are going to go ahead and show these things (which they don't consider important), at least do it right! What's right or mistakes is part of what this debate is about. :)
  19. Shelley Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2001
    star 5
    There will always be people who connect with characters even if the film has poor acting and direction of the characters.

    Yeah. Look at the OT.

    I'm not saying that is what is happening here but just because you enjoy the performances does not make them of good quality.

    And just because you don't enjoy them doesn't make them of bad quality. I don't enjoy much of Marlon Brando's acting. Does that mean he's a bad actor, or that his acting is just not my taste?

    The fact that so many people have brought up Portman's wooden acting in I and II

    I think Portman's acting is fine in I. It's wooden in II, but then I think her acting has lacked for quite some time now. I thought her acting was better when she was a child.

    suggests that Lucas is not being as "brilliant" as you make him out to be.
    How brilliant is he for creating characters that so many don't believe or can connect with?


    And how so many do believe and can connect with?

    This isn't shown in the film.

    Yes it is. She says the Federation has gone too far this time.

    Perhaps if Padme SHOWED real concern.

    How would you have liked her to show it? By breaking down and sobbing?

    I honestly don't think her performance really delivered.

    I do. I think she showed plenty of concern through her eyes.

    And since when must a Queen show no emotion? Was this ever said in the film?

    Does it need to be? When's the last time you saw the Queen of England show overt emotion?

    If the monotone voice is used by Queens to hide emotion then why doesn't Queen Jamilla use it too?

    Maybe because she isn't caught in as desperate a situation as Padme? Because her planet and people aren't suffering and dying and being directly threatened?

    Or is their yet another excuse for her too? I don't even think it is totally obvious what Padme is doing anyway since she remains so stiff as Padme as well. All that seems to change is her voice and make-up.

    Actually, no. I think she loosens up considerably as Padme.

    I understand what you are saying but that is really a separate issue. Basically, I think they were saying that if you are going to go ahead and show these things (which they don't consider important),

    But that doesn't mean they aren't important. Lucas thought they were, which is why he showed them. If they don't like it, fine, but that doesn't mean they aren't important.

    at least do it right! What's right or mistakes is part of what this debate is about.

    Right according to whom? Mistakes according to whom?
  20. hawk Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2000
    star 5
    Yeah. Look at the OT.

    What's wrong with the OT?

    And just because you don't enjoy them doesn't make them of bad quality. I don't enjoy much of Marlon Brando's acting. Does that mean he's a bad actor, or that his acting is just not my taste?

    You may not enjoy it but you at least recognise the quality of the acting otherwise you wouldn't have cited him as an example. There is a difference bw enjoying a performance and knowing when one blows or rocks.

    I think Portman's acting is fine in I. It's wooden in II, but then I think her acting has lacked for quite some time now. I thought her acting was better when she was a child.

    I agree except for EpI. So you probably can understand why we are saying she isn't doing it for us in the acting department?

    And how so many do believe and can connect with?

    Not as many in my experience.

    Yes it is. She says the Federation has gone too far this time.

    That could mean anything. She may have meant the TF stole her lunch last time for all you know.

    How would you have liked her to show it? By breaking down and sobbing?

    Um, to act it? A tear wouldn't go astray either.

    Does it need to be? When's the last time you saw the Queen of England show overt emotion?

    How the Queen acts on tv is no example. You have to maintain calm for your people and have the time to prepare yourself. How she acts in private or with her closest advisors is unknown to us. But I would believe it would be different.

    Maybe because she isn't caught in as desperate a situation as Padme? Because her planet and people aren't suffering and dying and being directly threatened?

    So when the situation is dire, the Queens flick on the monotone voice?! "That's 50 people in trouble, better change voice now". Pretty silly.

    Actually, no. I think she loosens up considerably as Padme.

    PPOR

    But that doesn't mean they aren't important. Lucas thought they were, which is why he showed them. If they don't like it, fine, but that doesn't mean they aren't important.

    I wasn't saying that. I was explaining what they were trying to say. Separate issue.

    Right according to whom? Mistakes according to whom?

    I wasn't saying that either. I said this debate is what may determine that. In other words, "that is what we are discussing right NOW". I wasn't making any conclusions in that post merely explaining.
























  21. DrEvazan Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2002
    star 4
    "If you didn't care about the characters, then I can understand why you would feel the film is lacking."

    why would anyone care about the characters? what in the film made you care? i think its perfectly reasonable that people did not connect with the characters as they dont have anything to connect to. what is it about these emotionless characters that you connect to Gomer?
  22. Shelley Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2001
    star 5
    What's wrong with the OT?

    It's not a matter of there being something "wrong" with it. But it has bad acting too, and some might say poor direction.

    You may not enjoy it but you at least recognise the quality of the acting otherwise you wouldn't have cited him as an example. There is a difference bw enjoying a performance and knowing when one blows or rocks.

    That is true. However, your point was that enjoying a performance doesn't mean it's good. My point is that not enjoying a performance doesn't mean it's bad. Like you say you were explaining below, I was explaining here.

    I agree except for EpI. So you probably can understand why we are saying she isn't doing it for us in the acting department?

    Yes. And I think that's due to her just not being a very good actress, regardless of Lucas's direction. Lucas rarely errs when it comes to choosing actors, but he erred with her.

    Not as many in my experience.

    Maybe not, but other people's experience is different.

    That could mean anything. She may have meant the TF stole her lunch last time for all you know.

    Oh please. Why would she say it if it didn't pertain to past behavior from the Trade Federation?

    Um, to act it? A tear wouldn't go astray either.

    Believe it or not, crying isn't the only way to show emotion.

    How the Queen acts on tv is no example. You have to maintain calm for your people and have the time to prepare yourself. How she acts in private or with her closest advisors is unknown to us. But I would believe it would be different.

    Why?

    So when the situation is dire, the Queens flick on the monotone voice?! "That's 50 people in trouble, better change voice now". Pretty silly.

    Not really. It's more like, "I can't fall apart or people won't take me seriously. Emotion will be construed as weakness."

    PPOR

    When she's cleaning R2 and talking to Jar Jar. When she and Anakin first meet. When she hugs Anakin after the podrace. During the picnic scene in AOTC.

    I wasn't saying that either. I said this debate is what may determine that. In other words, "that is what we are discussing right NOW". I wasn't making any conclusions in that post merely explaining.

    Fair enough.
  23. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    There will always be people who connect with characters even if the film has poor acting and direction of the characters, just as much as there will always be people who do not connect with characters even if the film has excellent acting and direction of the characters.

    Because I (and many others) enjoy the performances, it makes them of good quality to us. The fact that so many people think her acting is wooden isn't our problem. Lucas is brilliant to those of us who like the job he is doing. Just becauuse there are some who do not appreciate him doesn't mean he hasn't done great to the rest of us.

    You say it wasn't shown that the TF had ever done anything like this before, but as Shelly pointed out, Amidala tells Nute Gunray that he has gone too fat this time[\i] indicating there had been other times before.

    From where I sit, Padme did show real concern. Sorry you don't think her performance conveyed that, but again, that doesn't change the fact that I (and many others) thought it was great.

    The Queen needs to be unflappable for the same reason all great leaders need to seem unflappable. If they appear to not have the answers, the people might lose faith in that leader. So in an effort to avoid any kind of unproductive panic, they avoid showing their emotions. They don't explain this in the film because in the end it isn't pertinent to the story being told. All you really need to know for the film is that the Queen from Naboo simply talks anbd acts like that.

    Queen Jamillia -does- use the monotone presentation, which is probably why you think her performance was stiff as well.
  24. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    Obviously Dr. Evazen, there is something to connect to about the characters, or nobody would have. I think their portrayal of the main character's inner turmoils is what made me care.
  25. DarthBane93 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 11, 1999
    star 4
    I think the biggest change is that Lucas is now a full fledge parent. He is making these movies for kids, maybe specifically his own kids. TPM as a result had more of a childlike quality to it, although I even enjoy that movie more than AOTC.

    I still think the best solution is for Lucas to write a generic story, have someone write the dialogue (maybe with a couple of improvisions from the actors themselves), and someone else should direct it. We have now seen two SW movies from Lucas concerning the prequels, I would like to see someone else's vision now.

    But it wont happen so...yeah, nuff said.
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