Is TPM the greatest film ever made ?

Discussion in 'The Phantom Menace' started by Darth-Walken, May 27, 2003.

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  1. anidanami124 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 24, 2002
    star 6
    Jar Jar would have suceeded 10 times more if he weren't the comic relief

    I agree with this 100% Jar Jar could have been much better. He did not need to be comic relief. But I don't let him get to me.
  2. Glorian-Eversea Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 26, 2002
    star 2
    "I have a theory that this, along with Anakin's especially clumsy romantic advances in Episode II, are things the core Star Wars audience would rather not be seen reflected on screen. They would rather continue to live in the fantasy that their lives resemble that of the cool, cynical scoundrel Han Solo, and avoid re-living the adolescent hell of physical and hormonal clumsiness."

    Ha. Come on. Cut it out with the pop psych. You're worse than Oprah doing her impression of Dr. Phil.

    Me not liking Jar jar has nothing to do with not wanting to remember my youth. For starters, you have no idea whether I was clumsy. There are a billion valid reasons for hating Jar jar that have nothing to do with not being able to face our inner teenager. Really...this is just too much.

    Glorian
  3. Darth-Walken Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 27, 2001
    star 4
    Thanks for all the replies everyone. There has been some great discussion in this thread so far. I appreciate all the different view points and arguments :)
  4. JohnWilliams00 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 29, 2002
    star 4
    I really would like to see an end to the "16 years of expectation" angle. I might as well say people who dislike the LOTR films have had over "50 years of expection" to cloud their judgement.

    First of all, not everyone here saw ANH, ESB, and ROTJ in theaters in 1977-1983. Secondly, not many had the slightest idea that prequels would ever be made, so they weren't exactly thinking about these prequels for 16 whole years.

    The ideas of prequels have been rather rare until the last few years. There have been a few prequel movies within the last, say, 30 years, but the mentality of most of Hollywood has always been sequels sequels sequels, not prequels. If I can credit George with one thing, he did popularize (although not invent) the term prequels. It's one of the latest buzzwords. (There's a rumor of a Gladiator prequel for instance.)

    Prior to TPM, I bet a majority of fans were fantasizing about the continuing adventures of an aged trio of Luke, Leia, and Han more than they were thinking about the rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker during the Republic. It's easier to think about characters you know well than characters and situations you're not familiar with.
  5. The_Abstract Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2002
    star 4
    "Ha. Come on. Cut it out with the pop psych. You're worse than Oprah doing her impression of Dr. Phil.

    Me not liking Jar jar has nothing to do with not wanting to remember my youth. For starters, you have no idea whether I was clumsy. There are a billion valid reasons for hating Jar jar that have nothing to do with not being able to face our inner teenager. Really...this is just too much."


    I think it's a perfectly valid theory. We want our heroes to be "cool", which for most of society means "not like us."

    A lot of heroes today are nothing more than inflated ego-images. Most specifically in the land of comic books.

    Let's look at three examples:

    -Thomas A. Anderson, a mid-level cubicle dweeb in a random tech company, who spends his night hacking on the internet. The boy hasn't seen the sun in God knows how long. So he just happens to be "The One", a prophesized savior of the human race, which has been enslaved in a computer construct by intelligent machines for hundreds of years.

    - Peter Parker, a geeky student who is bitten by a mutant spider, and gains superpowers that let him shot webs form his wrists and other arachnid-like abilities.

    -Bruce Banner, a mild-mannered scientist who is forever altered when exposed to gamma rays. Whenever he gets angry he becomes The Hulk, a green body builder played by Lou Ferrigno.


    Now consider this fact. Everyone loves Darth Vader as a villain. He gets to choke people with the Force, wield a cool lightsaber, and basically terrorize everyone in his path. In fact, he was just named the #3 villain of all-time by AFI.

    But people hate his previous incarnations in the prequels. One, played by Jake Lloyd, is a tow-headed 10 year old slave, who doesn't have any of the cool traits of his future self. In fact, he's a pretty decent kid. But people hate him because they wanted to see an Anakin Skywalker that fights in the cool Clone Wars, already an adult. So flash foward 10 years and we have Anakin Skywalker played by Hayden Christensen as a rebellious teenager with a crush on an older Senator. They say he whines too much. (much like his son) They say he's too evil, or he's not evil enough. They say his lines are terrible, forgetting he's a Jedi Padawan inexperienced at romantic relationships. He's not smooth like Han Solo.

    In my very humble opinion, Jake Lloyd nails the role he's supposed to play, a 10 year old boy. I have a brother who was that age when TPM came out, and damn if he didn't act the same way. Yes 10 years olds can be hyper, and sometimes annoying, but they're kids, and normal kids don't nail takes perfectly and have philosophies of acting that rival Marlon Brando's. Mostly at that age, they play make-believe.

    Now Hayden is given a tough role, because he has to play Vader without the mask sometimes, and sometimes he has to play a lovesick fool, and sometimes he has to play a petulant teenager. Now if there's one thing I know about 19 year old guys, it's that they think they run the world. They're adults know, and believe they're entitled to the full privelages of that. Go to any college campus and spend a night in a crowded, sweaty bar, and you'll find out. And we all know guys in real life are idiots when it comes to love. We see a girl we really like, and we freak out. If a guy doesn't, he probably doesn't really care anyway.

    But here's a test for AOTC. Figure out someway to mess with the voice levels and lower the pitch of everyone's voice. Hayden nails the inflections of Darth Vader, and Hayden nails the movements as well. The purposeful stride, the flowing cape, they're all there. What's missing is the James Earl Jones voice and 20 years of evil built up inside of him. Anakin in the prequels is a hero with very dangerous flaws and he eventually falls apart in the end.

    But the audience expects something different when they go to movies. When it comes to fantasy movies, they want escapism. They don't want to seet their flaws thrown up on screen. They want swashbucklers, and scoundrels, and old smoothies like Lando. They want w
  6. TadjiStation Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2001
    star 4
    In my very humble opinion, Jake Lloyd nails the role he's supposed to play, a 10 year old boy. I have a brother who was that age when TPM came out, and damn if he didn't act the same way. Yes 10 years olds can be hyper, and sometimes annoying, but they're kids, and normal kids don't nail takes perfectly and have philosophies of acting that rival Marlon Brando's. Mostly at that age, they play make-believe.

    Interesting that you mention this. Frankly, I would have been fine with Anakin as a child if I felt I was watching a true character study and performance on the screen, and not a kid who looks like he's struggling to remember his lines.

    Further to that, there's nothing in the script to suggest that Anakin is just an "ordinary" 10 year old. In fact, Lucas goes well out of his way to show you that he's anything but. Most children tend to be needy and selfish, yet he is show as all giving. Most kids play with G.I. Joe's and make believe (as you mentioned before). Anakin does no such thing. Instead, he builds protocol droids, pod racers and works in a garage. Lastly, most kids have a heck of a time riding a bike half the time, yet this boy can pilot a pod racer, think intuitively in life and death situations, and best Sebuulba in a NASCAR style pod race.

    Now Hayden is given a tough role, because he has to play Vader without the mask sometimes, and sometimes he has to play a lovesick fool, and sometimes he has to play a petulant teenager. Now if there's one thing I know about 19 year old guys, it's that they think they run the world. They're adults know, and believe they're entitled to the full privelages of that.

    I will give you that Christensen plays these well (at times), despite the stiffness of the script. The distracting thing for me about his performance in general is that it lacks true focus or consistency. This is Lucas' problem, as he's never been a good director of actors, so the actors are fending for themselves. Hayden does the best he can and pulls off an acceptable job (IMHO).

    Go to any college campus and spend a night in a crowded, sweaty bar, and you'll find out. And we all know guys in real life are idiots when it comes to love. We see a girl we really like, and we freak out. If a guy doesn't, he probably doesn't really care anyway.

    Speak for yourself, bub. :p

    But the audience expects something different when they go to movies. When it comes to fantasy movies, they want escapism. They don't want to seet their flaws thrown up on screen. They want swashbucklers, and scoundrels, and old smoothies like Lando. They want wizards like Ben Kenobi, Yoda, et al.

    Possibly, but at the center of any of these movies is a story that most viewers can relate to on a purely human level, flaws and all. The PT throws up archetypes, not people. They tend to be on the extreme ends of good and bad, insofar as what they represent. Further, everyone plays their character's in a very stoic fashion, which doesn't connect with me dramatically as a viewer.

    This is why LOTR works so well for me. Frodo may be seen as a cry-baby by some, but I felt his emotional outpourings were completely appropriate to his situation. Who hasn't felt like crying when all hell breaks loose in their lives, when you feel completely lost or up against odds you're sure will be your demise? Life makes us emote in very real and sometimes exaggerated ways. The PT hasn't shown us this side of the characters yet (albeit with the one exception: The death of Shmi).

    Anakin in the prequels, and Jar Jar for that matter don't fit those bills, because their flaws are too plain to see. It's almost too much realism in a sci-fi fantasy movie, something that belongs more in the Godfather II. (or the 3 Stooges in Jar Jar's case)

    See above. It's not enough realism. Further, the only flaws I see are those of the performances (acting, directing, etc.) themselves - factors that continually draw me out of the filmic experience and make me contemplate on how a given line could have been better delivered or a scene
  7. Glorian-Eversea Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 26, 2002
    star 2
    "Thomas A. Anderson, a mid-level cubicle dweeb in a random tech company, who spends his night hacking on the internet. The boy hasn't seen the sun in God knows how long. So he just happens to be "The One", a prophesized savior of the human race, which has been enslaved in a computer construct by intelligent machines for hundreds of years.

    - Peter Parker, a geeky student who is bitten by a mutant spider, and gains superpowers that let him shot webs form his wrists and other arachnid-like abilities.

    -Bruce Banner, a mild-mannered scientist who is forever altered when exposed to gamma rays. Whenever he gets angry he becomes The Hulk, a green body builder played by Lou Ferrigno."


    Certainly none of these examples are appropriate to your argument. Parker finds that his powers bring him more troubles rather than help him solve the ones he has. He also finds that the powers tend to seperate him from the ones he loves. That's real life. Ask anyone who gains power in the real world.

    Banner faces a modern nightmare, not mere wish fullfillment or ego boost. He turns into the Hulk and real people get hurt and killed because of his rampaging. AT the center of it all is a man in deep conflict with his demons and at war with his troubled youth.

    Neo finds himself on a search for the nature of reality and choice that leads him to question everything he ever thought was important. Trinity is important to him because in many ways, she is all he has that is real.

    And in each case, the people at the root of the stories _ Parker, Banner and Anderson are much more like real people than Idiot #1 Jar Jar Binks. The three heroes you mention teach us about the best parts of ourselves, how we deal with adversity and how we determine what is really important about life.

    Parker IS an aqward teenager and remains so even at the end of the movie.
    Calling these stories simple ego-fantasies is nonsense.

    Again, you're oversimplifying to the point where the sun and the moon are the same, just because they both appear in the sky.

    Glorian
  8. JohnWilliams00 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 29, 2002
    star 4
    And in each case, the people at the root of the stories _ Parker, Banner and Anderson are much more like real people than Idiot #1 Jar Jar Binks. The three heroes you mention teach us about the best parts of ourselves, how we deal with adversity and how we determine what is really important about life.

    Great post Glorian, and good points too Tadjistation. I agree completely. I have no problem with Anakin being portrayed as a realistic and flawed human, it's just that it's not convincing or deep enough.

    I think many of us knew full well before going into Episode II that it would deal with a awkward, forbidden and troubled romance. We weren't expecting to see dashing and smooth Valentino moves from Anakin. Even the trailers clearly show a few awkward moments, and I'm sure we had no problems with that.

  9. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    I have always said that Jar-Jar represents qualities a lot of us refuse to admit we all share. I also agree that Anakin is probably hitting a little too close for comfort for a lot of people as well.

    Anakin was a normal 10 year old kid who also happened to be a mechanical whiz and one of the best pilots ever. I don't understand why anyone would say Jake didn't do the role justice. I suppose expecting more depth to the future dark lord could do it. I just don't understand what it was people were expecting. Some say he always looked like he was trying to remember his lines, but I just don't see it.

    As far as Hayden being "inconsistent" during AOTC, that is the whole point. He is going through changes that bridge Jake's performance with the future James Earl Jones/David Prowse performance. I couldn't imagine him doing a better job. They way he is so impatient and childish in the beginning, the way he darts head first into courting Padme, even though he knows he shouldn't. The way he loses it when his mother dies, and the way he finally breaks down and cries when he confesses to Padme. I was just stunned by it. For me, Hayden completely nailed it.

    I also think the prequels so far mesh perfectly with the clasic trilogy. If you watch the films in proper order, there will be no need for the classic trilogy to go over prequel character's long since gone.

    I wish everyone could enjoy these films as much as I do, but it was inevitable that some classic trilogy fans would not be able to enjoy the prequels. With each new film it seems there are more fans claiming Lucas has lost his touch.

    It's like a game of musical chairs, and in the end, not everyone will have a seat. I must just be really good at getting a chair each round I guess.
  10. TadjiStation Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2001
    star 4
    I have always said that Jar-Jar represents qualities a lot of us refuse to admit we all share. I also agree that Anakin is probably hitting a little too close for comfort for a lot of people as well.

    And many others have said that this is just plain silly. I, for one, have no problems recognizing and affirming my fault, failures and shortcomings as a human being. Having said that, I saw nothing in JJB's character that spoke to any of that in me personally. I just saw Jar Jar as a failed attempt to be the comic relief character.

    Anakin was a normal 10 year old kid who also happened to be a mechanical whiz and one of the best pilots ever. I don't understand why anyone would say Jake didn't do the role justice. I suppose expecting more depth to the future dark lord could do it. I just don't understand what it was people were expecting. Some say he always looked like he was trying to remember his lines, but I just don't see it.

    Fair enough. However, I see the use of your line "Anakin was a normal 10 year old kid who also happened to be a mechanical whiz and one of the best pilots ever" as a true oxymoron. No kid with that amount of intelligence, ability or insight would typically be perceived as normal, either by himself or any other person. There would always be this awareness of the child's special "gifts" or "abilities" and they would inherently be seen differently. This is why society actually refers to said children as "prodigy" or "genius". The name itself implies a deviance (not negatively) from the norm of childhood development. Jake Lloyd is an actor playing a character with said special abilities, yet we never see him feel any sense of seperateness or uniqueness from the other kids around him (at least not until the TPM DVD came around).

    As far as Hayden being "inconsistent" during AOTC, that is the whole point. He is going through changes that bridge Jake's performance with the future James Earl Jones/David Prowse performance. I couldn't imagine him doing a better job. They way he is so impatient and childish in the beginning, the way he darts head first into courting Padme, even though he knows he shouldn't. The way he loses it when his mother dies, and the way he finally breaks down and cries when he confesses to Padme. I was just stunned by it. For me, Hayden completely nailed it.

    Again, Lucas' abilities are what comes into question for me here. For me, I never see a real character develop with his performance. With Lucas' direction, I only see Hayden playing the character to a minimun of dramatic capacity, essentially going through the motions. He's not deep enough in the role for it to have any impact on me.

    I also think the prequels so far mesh perfectly with the clasic trilogy. If you watch the films in proper order, there will be no need for the classic trilogy to go over prequel character's long since gone.

    Many people will remember these films in the order in which they were released, not the way in whcih they're "meant" to be viewed. When the last bastion of fans of the OT has died off, and a new generation of fans who grew up with the PT are all that's left, will the truth about the perceived quality of these films be finally measured.

    I wish everyone could enjoy these films as much as I do, but it was inevitable that some classic trilogy fans would not be able to enjoy the prequels. With each new film it seems there are more fans claiming Lucas has lost his touch.

    He has lost his touch Gomer. You're just easily amused, that's all. :p

    It's like a game of musical chairs, and in the end, not everyone will have a seat. I must just be really good at getting a chair each round I guess.

    Nah, you just have the chair strapped to your butt so as to always get a seat! :p

    No hard feelings, Gomer. I'm just playing around. :)
  11. -_-_-_-_-_- Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2002
    star 6
    Prior to TPM, I bet a majority of fans were fantasizing about the continuing adventures of an aged trio of Luke, Leia, and Han more than they were thinking about the rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker during the Republic. It's easier to think about characters you know well than characters and situations you're not familiar with.


    Excellent point. This would only add further disappointment to the high expectations considering that the majority of fans, as you said, were expecting the further adventures of Luke, Han, and Leia rather than Anakin/Obi-Wan if anything.
  12. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    So you don't see Jar-Jar within your own character at all TadjiStation? That's my point. A lot of people simply refuse to relate to him. It's not that "people can't", it's that some people won't. Personally, I related to all of the characters in TPM and AOTC.

    Geniuses and prodigies are normal kids who happen to be really smart and or abnormally capable. It's not an oxymoron, it's a qualifier.

    I am not sure what you wanted from Hayden, as I said, I thought he nailed it as well as I could have hoped for.

    If I am easily amused, then some of the rest of you are just being difficult.
  13. TadjiStation Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2001
    star 4
    So you don't see Jar-Jar within your own character at all TadjiStation? That's my point. A lot of people simply refuse to relate to him. It's not that "people can't", it's that some people won't. Personally, I related to all of the characters in TPM and AOTC.

    D'OH!

    You realize, of course the implications of your statement are that I'm in denial, and that somehow you have insight into my character. Be VERY careful here Gomer. You've been spanked before for this kind of dialogue.

    Geniuses and prodigies are normal kids who happen to be really smart and or abnormally capable. It's not an oxymoron, it's a qualifier.

    You're using "abnormal" to define the certain capbilities of especially gifted kids. Isn't this counter to your position that they're "normal" to begin with?

    For what it's worth, I"m not slamming anyone here who's especially gifted. Hell, I'm envious. To me, prodigies and geniuses represent an evolutionary leap in the realm of human development, and this is certainly a good thing!

    I am not sure what you wanted from Hayden, as I said, I thought he nailed it as well as I could have hoped for.

    We shall agree to disagree here. I thought he could have gone further in his performance, to bring it to greater dramatic effect.

    If I am easily amused, then some of the rest of you are just being difficult.

    Not at all. We just don't buy your analysis of us as delusional or out of touch with our human weaknesses, that's all.

    ;)

    EDIT: WIth that, my friends, I bid you a good night. It's midnight in my neck of the woods and I gotta work tomorrow!

    Until tomorrow - all my best!
  14. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    Jar-Jar represents the feelings of being awkward and out of place. Something all people feel from time to time. I am not trying to say we all act like Jar-Jar, but the essense of his character represents traits we all share to a degree.

    I didn't mean to say Anakin was like every other kid. He was like every other kid ecxept that he was a mechanical genius and an amazing pilot. To me, that was what we got. Jake covered the "normal 9 year old" angle, ILM covered the "gifted genius" angle. It worked for me.

    I don't think anyone is delusional, or out of touch.
  15. hawk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 3, 2000
    star 5
    Jar Jar represents the bad jokes we wished we never told or heard.
  16. TadjiStation Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2001
    star 4
    Jar-Jar represents the feelings of being awkward and out of place. Something all people feel from time to time. I am not trying to say we all act like Jar-Jar, but the essense of his character represents traits we all share to a degree.

    And I would agree with you, insofar as we as humans can certainly relate to being out of place or feeling awkward from time to time.

    However, that doesn't necessarily mean that the way in which Lucas chose to show JJB, or the way in which Ahmed Best chose to perform him, actually resonated with those recognizable traits within me. To me, JJB was a mere distraction, and an annoying one at that. His voice was shrill, his manner of speech almost unintelligible the first time I saw the film. In other words, the intended message of JJB was lost on me not because I refuse to accept what he stands for, but because I found his presentation irritating and a distraction from the rest of the film.

    I didn't mean to say Anakin was like every other kid. He was like every other kid ecxept that he was a mechanical genius and an amazing pilot. To me, that was what we got. Jake covered the "normal 9 year old" angle, ILM covered the "gifted genius" angle. It worked for me.

    ...and never the two shall meet...

    The performance fails not because he's so ordinary, but because Lucas didn't instill enough of a real character portrayal for Lloyd to work with. In the hands of another director, they may have pulled this off, but Lucas doesn't work closely with actors. He may frame the shot but then yells "go for it, let's see what happens." This is not a good approach to filmmaking when your script calls for something more specific. It's too open ended, and looks like an out of focus performance (something that's rather constant throughout all of TPM and AOTC).

    I don't think anyone is delusional, or out of touch.

    In the past, when you've inferred that some people choose not to see it, or don't see it to begin with, you usually follow with "they've lost touch with their inner" whatever. ;)
  17. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    That was before the thought police took over toon town. Now, I am not allowed to even comment on that train of thought.
  18. TadjiStation Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2001
    star 4
    That's okay, Gomer, there's much more to comment on in the SW universe than the character traits of TFN's forum posters.

    :)
  19. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    True, besides they speak for themsevles anyway.
  20. TadjiStation Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2001
    star 4
    ooooooooh!

    Bad Gomer! Bad Gomer!

    :D
  21. J-Solo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 6, 1999
    star 4
    Look. I love Star Wars, have the films and have watched them all many times. But I think comments like this thread's title is what makes people laugh at fandom and internet "critics". To put in the same paragraph films like TPM and Citizen Kane, Vertigo and The Godfather is completely absurd. You know what? Probably Lucas would be the first to agree with that. You can compare Star Wars with Back to the Future and the Indiana Jones films, they all belong in the same league. But don't mix apples with vintage wine, please.

    edit Oh, yeah, the answer to the question is: No, of course not.
  22. Darth-Walken Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 27, 2001
    star 4
  23. TheShape82 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 12, 2003
    star 2
    "Is TPM the greatest film ever made?"

    Quite possibly. Yes.
  24. CIDLORD Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 6, 2001
    star 3

    TPM isn't the greatest SW film ever made.

    'Nuff said.
  25. AdamBertocci Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Feb 3, 2002
    star 7
    Not that AFI is the be-all and end-all of everything (Vader only 3rd best villain? Han makes the heroes list and not Luke? What now?) but I thought I'd check out their 100 best all-around movies list.

    Interesting highlights:

    (1) Citizen Kane -- (Their list is very much 'the usual suspects' of good films...)
    (9) Schindler's List -- the most 'modern' of the top films.
    (15) Star Wars: ANH -- the second most modern on the list starting from the top and working down
    (22) 2001:ASO -- the next sci-fi flick mentioned
    (48) Jaws -- the other BIG seventies blockbuster
    (60) Raiders of the Lost Ark
    (77) American Graffiti

    GL directed 2 films on that list and had a significant hand in a third. Not too bad. :)


    Rick McCallum loves you!
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