PT JJ Abrams opinion of the prequels?

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by Luukeskywalker, Jan 26, 2013.

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  1. drg4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2005
    star 4
    I’ve always had an aversion to the third act of AOTC. By the time our heroes set down on Geonosis, the interpersonal drama falls by the wayside and the film proceeds to offer up an escalating series of CGI-festooned setpieces that utterly tax my interest. There’s really nothing visceral about the Kamino battle, and the valid argument that the detached artificiality compliments the nihilism of the war itself doesn’t necessarily justify how lifeless the climax is, of how weightless it all feels.

    Thankfully, I rarely felt this disconnect with Revenge of the Sith. Chalk it up to the injection of emotional stakes, or to superior craftsmanship/staging, perhaps the aid of a superlative musical score, or maybe decisions like opting to grant the Clonetroopers authentic human movement.

    You’re right (as usual). My desire for a character swap boils down to the unbridled enthusiasm I have for the character. I honestly feel Watto is the equal to Yoda in realization, eclipsing the Threepio, Chewbacca (both of whom wore out their welcome at some juncture in ESB) or Jabba the Hutt. It pains me to think Lobot (for criminey’s sake!) inspires more threads than this supreme CGI triumph.

    Maybe Disney could produce a spin-off, wherein Watto frequents the Coruscant casinos, utilizing Jar Jar as a sort of Rain Man totem which ends in spectacular failure.
  2. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4


    That final stretch, to me, is where the film excels -- from the abrupt cut to Anakin and Padme waiting to be led into the arena in the private gloom of that holding area, right the way until the final shot of them looking over the lake on Naboo in fading autumnal light (and, indeed, the credits that follow). The intense layering of CG-laden setpiece on CG-laden setpiece is where a lot of the fun lies, for me; and the digital cinematography is really put through its paces as well, creating an hypnotic, kaleidoscopic portrait of war, Flash Gordon style, with a lot of verite twists thrown in.

    Seeing Jedi do battle with stick robots is hella cool, in my opinion, and all those lightsabers create a dizzying, subliminal effect: like glowing candy bars or neon tubes in broad daylight: gaudy yet regal. I really enjoy all the surprise, improbable gags, too, from Mace's purple blade -- it's like an extension of the pinks and purples seen in the Coruscant chase/nightclub sequence: the shadow world finding its way into the realm of mortals, the land of the living -- to Threepio's personal calamity, to that dumb quip Anakin and Padme exchange after their faithful chariot is finally overturned, to Obi-Wan's brief rematch with his lobster/mantis adversary (those two battle droids freaking out with "Uh, oh!" and "Roger, roger!" when they see the acklay looming behind Obi-Wan just before he realizes crack me up), Padme kicking that cat creature and winding it by swinging on her chain, much to the annoyance of Nute Gunray, Mace's tete-a-tete with Jango, Artoo setting Threepio right, including Threepio's trash puns, to the dazzling rescue of "the survivors" by Yoda with clones at the ready. Even this deus ex machina -- cheese on a stick -- gets completely twisted around, since Lucas uses the opportunity to have Padme notice the clones, not any of the Jedi, and it's this moment where the lunacy of everyone's actions reaches fever pitch. Overall, it's POW! POW! POW! One sensation after another.

    And that's just the arena segment, of course. Because then comes the pursuit. And then a lightsaber duel (or several stacked together). Dooku's escape. Reconvening on Coruscant and Yoda's last words. Watching the clones get packed off in those enormous war cruisers. And finally, a secret marriage with Artoo and Threepio as silent witnesses. While the final third of the film is a little light on the interpersonals, since the main mode of expression is action -- and more action! -- these passgaes are punctuated by precious -- or that might better be called: precarious -- moments with future implications, like Obi-Wan and Anakin's heated exchange on the gunship, Yoda sensing something amiss, his "failure in the cave", Padme rushing up to Anakin in full view of Yoda and Obi-Wan, Yoda's final sadness as he seems to recognize the Jedi Order is doomed if not even Obi-Wan or Mace can distinguish the difference between martial triumph and moral victory, and the operatic "silent" montage, which contains enough Sophoclean portent to fill ten libraries on literature, politics, history, and mythology combined.

    Weightless is not quite the right word, for me, although it does suggest a sensibility that seems consonant with the way the movie starts, with the camera panning up, as if drifting aimlessly into space, not lead-weighted like the other five. In this fashion, everything is just... floating, floating, floating. It's the 2001 "pen" moment without end. In that movie, Kubrick places a lot of emphasis on wheels and revolutions, of trite verbal conversation and getting nowhere fast. White is such a dominant colour in that movie, too, that it's almost the main character. AOTC takes any number of cues from 2001 (perhaps the single film GL reveres most, once upon a time calling it "the ultimate science fiction movie"), and if things feel "off" -- that little more disturbed than usual -- it may be half the point. There are a bunch of floating things in the movie (more than normal): people, spheres, chairs, cars, bikes; even the Kaminoans walk like they're gliding on air. Several references also pop up to positioning: Obi-Wan says of Kamino in the map-reading bit with the younglings, "It should be here, but it isn't", then repeats himself when he arrives at Kamino, "Right where it should be...", and later in the gunship, tries appealing to Anakin with, "What do you think Padme would do if she were in your position?" The lamentations issued in adjacent scenes by Mas Amedda and Count Dooku might almost echo that poignant sense of disillusionment or confusion in the audience: "If only Senator Amidala were here...", and, "I wish he were still alive, I could use his help right now..." (wishing: "I wish I could just wish away my feelings, but I can't"). What *is* going on in this movie? It's stranger than it first seems; and it may seem quite peculiar to begin with.

    So... that's Clones. I don't find it dispiriting or odd in an undue fashion. That kinda seems to have been Lucas' aim: to sort of tug at the carpet, move the furniture around, leave a wrinkle or two. If TESB is the movie that is burrowing into the mythology of its predecessor, then AOTC does likewise with its progenitor. Only it's that bit more complicated and fussed-up in AOTC's case, since it's accounting for no less than *four* progenitors, two trilogies -- and itself. There was, perhaps, a lot more avant-garde stuff in TPM than fans are prepared to handle, including a final lightsaber confrontation that seemed to involve a clone fighting a clone (the "attack of the clones" already happened in TPM -- as overture to the REAL "start" of the story): Obi-Wan and Maul. If you go back and watch that confrontation, some pretty interesting things happen (e.g., when Maul is kicked to the ground, the groan sound he makes is freakily like the groans that Obi-Wan makes when winded; when Obi-Wan leans tightly in Maul's face, as if getting dangerously closer to learning he's peering into his own dark mirror, during that tense moment when their sabers lock and sizzle with pregnant energy, Maul quickly pushes him back, as if denying him any more than a faint intimation of the truth, knocking him into the abyss, very nearly leading to Obi-Wan's dissolution). In short, if TPM was strange, AOTC had to be stranger. It's very Buddhist in a way: http://glennwallis.wordpress.com/tag/nibbida/ Maybe you have to first go "BS!" before you can start to process and appreciate AOTC's upside-down aesthetic.


    *** Okay, the font/formating got increasingly messed up from this point on; I tried to correct it, but to little avail -- stupid new board software... ***

    That movie's a keeper, alright. There's a great focus and energy to it -- and a certain locked-down mood, once the opening sequence has played out -- that I think makes it a more appetizing entertainment to some. And, of course, it has a dark, propulsive tone, consistent with the tragic inflection it wishes to grant its meaty material. The score is certainly a lot more front-and-centre than AOTC's, more often than not, I think, and this is important in its final reels. Where AOTC can seem like a lot of sound and fury signifying too much or not enough, ROTS brings an apocalyptic scenario fully to life, rounding off with a fitting epitaph. And the build-up is delicious, from a night at the opera (opera within opera), to Padme's ruminations, and Order 66 which is practically a film in itself (though, I would mount the same claim for the final third of AOTC, which has more thrills and spills, and more revelations for me, personally, then ten other blockbusters sewn together). I suppose there's sort of a slapstick sadism and giddy schadenfreude to AOTC's final third, which might make it a bit insubstantial if you want a more Wagnerian quality when you're that deep into the prequel trilogy; but both movies work a charm, for me.




    Well, shoot! I'm seeing potential with that idea!! Watto is probably the most brilliantly realized of all the CG characters in the prequels, though my heart is forever with Jar Jar.
  3. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    One of the many reasons I hope Whedon never has anything to do with SW. Yeah, he puts his characters through the ringer, but after a while that gets rather painfully predictable, and it loses any of its meaning. The big deaths of "Serenity", "Dollhouse" and "The Avengers" had zero effect on me because I'd already been primed to the Whedon death formula. I wasn't worrying if any of the characters were going to die, or even wondering who it'd be-- generally whoever he's gone to great lengths to develop, usually somebody with an overabundance of quirk, but who has almost nothing to do with the mechanics of the plot. There really is such a thing as an expendable character in his stuff, which is also something that bothers me after a while.

    Odd thing is, I can see where he might've gleaned that from ESB, which underlines why it doesn't register with me as much as others. Han is basically your standard Whedonesque sacrificial victim character-- the only relevant part he plays in the story (aside from Luke's rescue at the start, to explain his car-crash scars) is to act as bait in Vader's scheme to lure Luke. The only difference is he doesn't stay dead, something Whedon never learned from. You can only traumatize people with death so many times before it just comes off as empty. Not every story needs to relive the pain of Gwen Stacy or Dark Phoenix, and only ESB should "Go ESB".
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  4. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    But who decides which aspects/moments are the "worst" and which are the "best"?

    Oh, I see - you do. How convenient.

    But at least we agree that STXI is consistent with what came before.

    Why do bashers always insist on misrepresentations of the facts? Is there a rule or something?

    There is most definitely an entire empire of Romulans out there, in either timeline or universe. So Nero's high school buddies are ( most likely ) yet to be born? So what? What does that have to do with the definition of genocide?

    If you're looking around for someone in the plot to hang the "genocide" charge on, you're farcically looking in the wrong place. A better candidate for the "genocide" label would be - oh, I don't know - the crew that's going around destroying entire planets. But instead you're sticking the label on the people who killed them. Of what use is this up-is-down, black-is-white, Jar-Jar-doesn't-suck mentality? ( Hint: the implied answer is conspicuously jammed into the question. )

    I'm not the one calling the destruction of one ship "genocide". At this rate we'll soon be calling isolated killings "genocide". In other words the term you're looking for is "homicide", but you apparently thought that wouldn't have enough weight so you needed to spice it up a bit.

    I'm pointing out the obvious inconsistency of your position - not what I would call the textbook definition of hysteria. Then again, since you're desperately posing as the arbiter of the true meanings of words, I suppose hysterical means pretty much whatever you want it to mean, in much the same way as genocide does.
  5. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    But who decides whether Jar Jar sucks or not?

    Oh, I see - you do. How convenient.

    Yes, *I* do, and yes, *you* do. That's what holding an opinion is all about.

    Clearly, IN MY PERSONAL VIEW, the J.J. Abrams picture DOES NOT draw from the best of the series.

    No, we don't. In my opinion, it's a hodge-podge of arrested cliches and mawkish, empty melodrama -- in many ways, far worse (again, in my opinion) than what preceded it.

    How is it a "misrepresentation"? The timeline of the film is explicitly stated to be an "alternate reality": a rebooted, revamped universe.

    "Most likely". You were picking at my qualifications earlier, so now I'll pick at yours. Facts are facts: Kirk blew away the only known tribe of a given group of people: Romulan miners from a separate universe. For all Kirk knew, they could have abducted other people like Pike and Spock Prime, too; so they got taken out by the Enterprise without a second thought as well. A correction is therefore needed to my earlier statement: Kirk committed genocide and may also have committed good old-fashioned murder (and he didn't seem to care either way).

    Er, no. One group being guilty of a crime does not absolve a separate party of *their* crimes. Nor does it provide a sensible template for an equivalent or similar response from a separate party (even though many people still seem to think it does). This is what is normally termed RETALIATION or VENGEANCE. That thing that Star Wars associates with the Sith, ya know? Or as Gandhi said: an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

    So... you're just going to go after my fan stripes, now? Like a typical IMDb troll? Nice move, AF. Nice move. Yes, I like Jar Jar. What of it?

    That's your inane projection -- kind of like your "hysteria" accusation. I have explained exactly why the destruction of a single ship can -- and in this case, does -- qualify as genocide. At the end of the day, you're defending the actions of a character who has an array of psychological blindspots, is unnecessarily brutal, and is then rewarded for his actions, in a film which is played for mass entertainment, in part of a franchise that has done far better in the past.

    There's no inconsistency to my position. I have presented coherent arguments and been forthright and plain in everything I've said. If you want to think otherwise, go ahead. And it's fine that you do. There is no truly "right" or "wrong" opinion to have about the J.J. Abrams film: ultimately, it all boils down to personal opinion. But my personal opinion of the film is not one I consider flippant, ill-considered, inconsistent, or wrong.
    Last edited by Cryogenic, Feb 1, 2013
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  6. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 17, 2003
    star 4

    ^^^This.
  7. Alexrd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2009
    star 5
    Argument for the prequels? No, I'm merely stating a fact.
  8. Obi-Wan21 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 27, 2002
    star 4
    What does his opinion even matter? He's just one man. Will his opinion change your opinion, will it change anyone's opinion, or will it give credence to slam Episode VII if he does happen to enjoy them? I'd say let it go. It's a non-issue.
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  9. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    Erase and rewind.

    It's not a Pyrrhic victory to merely indicate a consistent tone/texture to a film series that is meant to be one giant film segmented into x amount of parts. Why do OT fans always skew things that way? Indicating the presence of cheesy/clunky dialogue in OT installments is not -- by default -- a bash; it's adducing a certain flavour, or stylistic motif, in one film or trilogy to indicate that it is true of the whole (and to suggest that OT fans sometimes appear to be fond of rose-tinted eyewear).

    ANY reasonable metric? ANY? Did I hear you right?

    Oh, LISTS. My goodness, where would we be without lists? Next time I do the groceries, I better be sure I'm not shopping for "Citizen Kane" or "Driving Miss Daisy".

    And don't mistake my facetiousness for a denial of history. Yes, those films -- the first two films of the OT: ANH and TESB -- do crop up on a fair few lists where the others don't. They're clearly both popular and highly-regarded. You're committing an error, however, if you over-generalize this to unceasing, unanimous praise.

    Personally, I hope they never do. In my view, interesting art is also controversial art.

    Argument from ignorance/strawman. And if "cinematic experiences" is meant to be some kind of qualifier -- i.e., people may have hated them as films, but they still had a good time? -- I think you'll still find your share of people who found and find ANH and TESB intolerable as art and entertainment both. For example, further to ezekiel's original response, here is an annotated reproduction of David Gerrold's review of TESB*, as was published in the September 1980 edition of "Starlog" magazine: http://acertainpointofview.net/?p=1479 (What makes that review particularly piquant, by the way, is the supercilious tone and cherry-picked argumentation Gerrold uses to trash the film and pre-emptively bat away those who might disagree -- much like the way people dissing the prequel movies have often chosen to frame their attacks).

    *NOTE: Re-reading that, Gerrold calls the film "great fun", apparently, so maybe these sorts of reviews/sentiments are thinner on the ground, but to dismiss even the possibility that they exist -- which, for all intents and purposes, is what your rhetoric amounts to -- is rather steep.

    Despite what you may believe, some people had a problem enjoying the original '77 film, at least on the grounds of anything more than mindless entertainment, and a good deal were put off -- at least, at the time -- by the darker, less feel-good tone of TESB and its more mythic pretensions. As I said in an earlier post, you may also be in for a rude awakening if you go to the IMDb comments section and filter to the negative reviews. The volume of people slamming the first two Star Wars films may be smaller than the volume of people that have slammed the prequels, but dissenting voices exist for any and all six movies: always have, always will.

    To presume that any of the films are universally adored, borders on delusional thinking. And saying you've never encountered anything to the contrary is like declaring that you've never heard a single objection to gun ownership in America or creationism in the classroom. You've either been living under a rock or you've selectively ignored a mountain -- or at least a decent-sized hill -- of contrary opinions.
    Last edited by Cryogenic, Feb 1, 2013
  10. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    The fact that those two movies can exist on the same list should be enough to illustrate how useless those lists tend to be.
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  11. drg4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2005
    star 4
    You're correct that Star Wars and Empire are far and away the highest-rated installments, but I never got the sense that the majority of seasoned critics regards the pair as sacrosanct. Whatever praise Star Wars draws is almost inevitably eclipsed by a bemoaning of how its juvenile designs and financial success utterly destroyed the integrity of American '70s filmmaking. (Not necessarily a fair charge, mind you, but I can't count the number of times I've read variations of this.)
  12. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Force the same voice on all the characters? By far the best thing about The Avengers was the way in which all of the characters had their own distinct voice. I couldn't disagree more with that part of the criticism of Whedon that you're making.
  13. GGrievous Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2005
    star 5
    And that's hard? :p I think that was an overrated statement for Whedon. It's like ignore all other writers and go for Whedon if you want all your characters to shine.

    JJ has shown this before too.
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  14. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    Okay, I kinda bodged it last night, because I really wanted to present evidence of someone thinking the original movie was complete trash. Here is a classic example:

    http://www.booknoise.net/johnseabrook/stories/culture/force/index.html

    BTW, that link is well worth your time -- some terrific GL quotations there.

    Here's where the author/critic unloads, giving the film both barrels:

    (In reference to the first screening at George's house)

    This was published in January 1997. George Lucas evidently found it so funny that he had it printed on a t-shirt and wore it during the production of Episode I*.

    The cognoscenti have long held Star Wars in contempt: the kind of contempt, funnily enough, that OT fans seem to think is uniquely theirs to possess toward the PT and its many fans.

    *The t-shirt, if you're curious to see evidence of George wearing it, can be briefly glimpsed in "The Beginning", from the Episode I DVD, on the day of GL and Rick McCallum inspecting the wrecked pods after the storm, and in two adjacent photos of the same event on p.94 of "Star Wars: Episode I - The Making Of The Phantom Menace" by Laurent Bouzereau and Jody Duncan (in my UK "Special Collector's Limited Edition" copy, anyway: ISBN 0 09 186945 5).
    Last edited by Cryogenic, Feb 2, 2013
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  15. DRush76 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2008
    star 4

    I'm happy for you . . . even I don't agree with your opinion of the Battle of Endor or the third act of AOTC.
  16. Carbon1985 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2013
    star 3
    You have to understand that being a director is like being part of a fraternity, and RARELY do you see one director criticize another director's work. Whether Abrams liked the PT or not, I think he will be diplomatic towards them answering any question that comes up. Regardless, the ST is going to tie with the OT alot more then the PT, so it really doesn't matter in the end. If he was directing Episode III back in 2003, then it would be more relevant what he thought of Episode's I & II.
  17. d_arblay Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 26, 2005
    star 4
    As director of the most recent Star Trek movies (y'know, the ones riddled with more holes than swiss cheese) he's got a bit of a cheek doing such things, if you ask me.

    EDIT: Appears that's a bogus story. Apologies.
    Last edited by d_arblay, Jun 6, 2013
  18. dsematsu Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 6, 2013
    I think even if Abrams was a fan he'd be afraid to come out and say it, due to the vitriol his peers -- mainly that hack Lindelof -- would dump on him. It worries me that someone as dense as Lindelof has Abrams full attention.
  19. Padmes_love_slave24 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 24, 2003
    star 2


    Oh just stop it with that tired act, I can't stand when some people act like if you like ROTJ or the prequels to the level of Empire and ANH you are not as big a fan of them as the one's who consistently bash the other films. I love the OT, I am 34 and I grew up the with the OT and I have collected more Star Wars merchandise than most people I know so I can't stand when people try to validate how much they love the first two films by bashing the other one's. I don't care if anything is universal it is still a opinion, so in your world once something is accepted as universal we should stop questioning it because we must be wrong than.....? Their are many films that are universally lauded as great that I just can't stand and their is nobody that's going to convince me to like them or think they are any good(LOTR, Social Network, Flight Club etc, etc, etc) Any my thought process goes for every aspect in my life I don't care what is socially accepted I pride myself on challenging every and anyway of thinking, I am glad me and fiance don't want to have children, I feel so sorry for anyone growing up in this world who is taught to question nothing because they are universally accepted as right or wrong, no wonder why we as a society will never have any progress just constant regress..
    Last edited by Padmes_love_slave24, Jun 7, 2013
  20. topgoalscorer_no11 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2001
    star 3

    I agree - what Lindelof served up with Prometheus was way more a betrayal of the original 'Alien' than the prequels were of the Original Trilogy.

    He had carte blanche to make an intelligent Hollywood SF movie, and boy did he blow it. Not to mention the ending of Lost was utterly insipid.

    Give me Lucas's lapses in judgement and taste over Lindelof's total lack of anything to say.

    Has Lindelof ever written a line as memorable as 'May the Force be with you', 'Luminous beings are we...' - would he even be capable of conceiving such thoughts? Who's the hack writer out of the two? It ain't Lucas.
  21. Carbon1985 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2013
    star 3
    Maybe off topic, but that is the best documentary out of all the extras from the PT movies. It is informative and really gives the viewer an intimate look at the whole evolution of Episode I. I was expecting the same type of docs for Episode II & III and they never transpired?
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  22. d_arblay Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 26, 2005
    star 4
    Yep. Best "making of" doc ever. I could take another hour or two every time I watch it. They said 600 hours was shot if I'm remembering right. One tiny hour in the final cut just doesn't seem fair, does it? :_|
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  23. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    Seconded. My collection is running out of shelves.
    Last edited by Iron_lord, Jun 7, 2013
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  24. JoshieHewls Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2013
    star 1
    Regardless of how Abrams feels about the prequels (he seems to at least understand that his children view Star Wars from a different perspective than he does via their love for the prequels), we at least know one thing: he respects the living hell out of George Lucas.

    http://www.grantland.com/blog/holly...til-now-secret-relationship-with-george-lucas

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  25. GGrievous Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2005
    star 5
    I'm looking at the article date. Of course, he doesn't want to get fired. :p
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