Lay Off Lucas & Co. Already!

Discussion in 'Attack of the Clones' started by Jamiebacca, Jun 27, 2003.

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  1. AdamBertocci Manager

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    I certainly agree that the acting in LOTR has been better than the acting in SW (either trilogy).

    I have yet to see anyone in LOTR give a bad performance, whereas SW has a few I consider outright bad (Jake Lloyd, Harrison Ford, Natalie Portman in TPM).

    However, there are also some performances in SW I deem great--Alec Guinness, Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid... plus, like LOTR, the talented actors and puppeteers who bring nonhuman characters to life.

    I think acting in SW has actually improved somewhat from the OT.

    Which is a scary thought.

    gezvader -- Declare the critics of the OT wrong if you like, but then don't ever let me catch you to ever bring up the critics' reaction as an indicator of PT weakness.



    Rick McCallum loves you!
  2. MeBeJedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2002
    star 6
    "Yes, and out of that, we got one good directing job (ESB) and, if you ask me, one bad one (ROTJ)."

    Blame that difference on the material. We know how much Lucas butchered his last 4 episodes to make everything fit into ROTJ, including adding a second death star and turning wookies into ewoks. That being said, ROTJ isn't such a bad film in light of that, but the focus and drama of ESB definitely makes it superior.

    "I never said I agreed with Durwood on every single point."

    My apologies. That comment wasn't directed at you. [face_blush]

    "Good God! I disagreed with a fellow gusher! The h0rr0r!"

    Only because there's a real difference between honest debate and self-serving logic. ;)

    "However, there are also some performances in SW I deem great--Alec Guinness, Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid."

    Liam did a good job with limited material. There wasn't much range with the character. Ewan (and subsequently Alec) as well, are doing much with a character that has little to begin with. (The Jedi are supposed to be like this, if I can borrow "gusher" logic.) Ian is able to put a lot of dry irony and humor into his character, who is also supposed to be very reserved, as patience and subterfuge are major tenets of the Sith Order.

    Hayden, on the other hand, has to go to extremes, yet Lucas keeps "holding him back". If he portrayed Anakin as he did his character in "My Life as a House", then I would be impressed. Portman is held back to a similar degree. She's a great actress, yet delivers dialogue monotone and walks around in pretty dresses.

    I don't have a problem with all the acting in the PT (just as I agree that Ford could ham up some of his parts), but to have such blandness in two crucial characters really floors me.
  3. AdamBertocci Manager

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    I don't consider ROTJ butchered. I happen to prefer it to ESB. It is, for a while, a mess (the Tatooine segment is full of wasted time), but I don't mind the Ewoks. Nor do I mind the Death Star, although I do sometimes wish they'd made it look a little different and not called it a Death Star.

    While ROTJ is flawed at the beginning, it eventually gets its stuff together for pure brilliance. ESB is competent throughout but, with the exception of the "Who's your daddy?" scene, never really soars as ROTJ does for me.

    I give them both B+ grades... ROTJ gets an 89, ESB gets an 88. Damn fine films, but not the best in the saga. And that's okay.

    Moving on.

    I find Portman actively bad in TPM and passable in AOTC. To be frank, I have never found her to be good in anything. AOTC gave me more of an indication of what Lucas saw in her.
    It doesn't help her case that she is playing the PT equivalent of Leia, my favorite major character, and thus I expect coolness.

    Ewan didn't get much to do in TPM, but I was still very, very impressed with his Alec Guinness imitation. I can really see that character becoming the Obi we know from ANH et al. With AOTC he got to have a little more charm and humor.


    Hayden Christensen just IS Anakin Skywalker to me. Even something as basic as his look. I never was super-thrilled with a lot of the rumored actors for Anakin (all eight million of them). I think I liked Jonathan Jackson best.
    But when I saw Hayden, I was just, like, "Well, of COURSE it's Anakin."
    I love his physicalizations. The way he walks like Vader and fights like Luke. The way he can bring boylike charm and a dangerous edge together.
    Even when he's delivering some poor love dialogue, of which AOTC has more of than I care to think about, he does it as the young Vader would. He understands what you have to do to make SW dialogue work. He doesn't fall into the same trap that I sometimes feel Portman does, which is say the lines as if they're in just any old teen romance.
    I can say honestly that, of all the actors his age on the Earth, there is no one else I would want as Anakin. Except myself. Because I'm selfish. (And I think I could be a good match for Jake Lloyd.)

    Oooof. Long post. I have to lie down now. :p


    Rick McCallum loves you!
  4. MeBeJedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2002
    star 6
    "I don't consider ROTJ butchered. I happen to prefer it to ESB."

    I didn't mean the movie itself, just the source material. It tried to do so much.

    "but I don't mind the Ewoks. Nor do I mind the Death Star, although I do sometimes wish they'd made it look a little different and not called it a Death Star."

    Agreed. These weren't horrible elements, but knowing what we know now, they could have been better.

    Imagine that, me putting down the OT. ;)

    "While ROTJ is flawed at the beginning, it eventually gets its stuff together for pure brilliance. ESB is competent throughout but, with the exception of the "Who's your daddy?" scene, never really soars as ROTJ does for me."

    Absolutely agreed. The ending, thankfully, was fantastic, and really wrapped up the Saga well.

    "AOTC gave me more of an indication of what Lucas saw in her."

    Are you referring to the black leather outfit? [face_mischief]

    "Ewan didn't get much to do in TPM, but I was still very, very impressed with his Alec Guinness imitation. I can really see that character becoming the Obi we know from ANH et al. With AOTC he got to have a little more charm and humor."

    Agreed. He played it straight, and had a great example to follow.

    "Even when he's delivering some poor love dialogue, of which AOTC has more of than I care to think about, he does it as the young Vader would."

    Okay, but how would you feel if he did it exactly the same in Ep.III? He is still not the Vader I would expect, though admittedly there are still some life-changing events that need to occur. If these events do occur, and he's still simply a "troubled teen", then there will be no real connection to the OT, in my opinion.
  5. AdamBertocci Manager

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    Your last point about Anakin... That's a hard thing to talk about, really. Having no idea what happens in Episode III, I can't cite examples. It's not like I can say "Well of course there'll be a smooth transition, we're going to see it in the Battle of Wink-Wonk."

    Because the falling-in-love and the marriage has been covered and all that remains to fill out the STORY points is one final romp between the sheets so Luke and Leia can be created, Anakin no longer needs to be so likable to Padme. Thus, he can also afford to be more of an evil character.
    And life-changing events are going to occur. Lucas and McCallum have told us a thousand times that this is the sad story. Now think about where Luke and Anakin's flirtations with darkness have come from.
    AOTC: Anakin kills all the Tuskens because they killed his mother.
    ESB: Luke ignores Yoda and rushes to fight Vader because his friends are in danger.
    ROTJ: Luke screams and tries to kill Vader because Vader threatens Leia.
    Once again, in Episode III, evil will threaten what the Skywalker hero loves. Potentially on an even more massive scale than what goes on in ESB. Anakin will make choices in how to deal with this... choices not nearly as 'correct' as Luke's to throw away his lightsaber and say "You've failed, your Highness."
    If you ask me, Anakin's "troubled teen" days are over the minute he hears from the Lars that Shmi is dead. With the exception of a couple of witty remarks here and there, his humor is gone. He frowns, scowls, yells. Anger. Fear. Aggression.

    Watch the following two scenes in AOTC:
    (1) Anakin promising "We WILL find out who's trying to kill you"
    (2) Obi and Ani's argument on the gunship after Padme falls
    In the first, he's a troubled teen, rebelling against his father figure. In the second, he's moved beyond whiny into actively pissed-off and not afraid to show it.


    Rick McCallum loves you!
  6. Kambei Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    Just a few points.

    MeBeJedi>> "AOTC was full of them."

    I would have to disagree with that one. I felt AOTC maintained a suitable distance in general. Even more so that The Phantom Menace. Space plays a big part in AOTC and the cinematography treats the spaces well (eg exterior Tatooine shots). There were a few closer-than-usual shots during the love scenes for obvious reasons, they did work really well and they didn't feel messy or unjust.

    On the other hand, this is exactly what ROTJ fell foul of MeBeJedi. Although containing some of the best scenes of the saga, Marquand relied heavily upon too many close-ups and close shots which affected the overall feel of the film. It never destroyed the film but it was the only film of the saga which is greatly affected by this aspect. Lucas has even made claims to this effect prior to the work on the Special Edition.

    MeBeJedi: "Blame that difference on the material."

    Well, you can't really. The material was poorer, but that doesn't affect factors like too many close-ups or some poorly staged sequences. If there is one thing you must give Marquand credit for, it is getting some of the best performances of the saga out of his actors, particularly Mark Hamill.

    MeBeJedi: "but the focus and drama of ESB definitely makes it superior."

    I agree, also the atmosphere Kershner managed to create. No Star Wars film has ever risen to that yet.

    MeBeJedi: "just the source material"

    But the source material comes from Lucas. So he may have developed the script poorly 'in your opinion', but to butcher one's own creation in the process of creating it doesn't seem correct somehow.
  7. Darth_Insidious Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Apr 26, 2002
    star 4
    ANH and ESB were recieved well by critics. ROTJ's reception wasn't as good, but it wasn't as low as either prequel.

    The fallacy that the OT was trashed by critics is just another crutch used by people who're looking for reasons to debunk the issues said critics raise in their reviews. And when you ask those people to prove their claims, they simply shrug it off with a "Everyone knows that critics always hated Star Wars".
  8. anidanami124 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 24, 2002
    star 6
    Ok to end this thing about ANH and ESB were recieved well by critics, and weather the critics liked it or not. Are there any links. And I don't mean links to places like imbd or anything like that. I mean things form newpapers and magazens.
  9. AdamBertocci Manager

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    And be sure to post reviews written in 1977, 1980. Not stuff that got written a decade later calling SW great in retrospect.

    I've read exactly two reviews from that period that complimented SW.



    Rick McCallum loves you!
  10. Darth_Insidious Jedi Padawan

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    Apr 26, 2002
    star 4
    I've been through this before with other posters for ESB, and I think we came up with 6 positives and 3 or 4 negatives.

    For ANH it's not even worth discussing. The 10 Oscar nominations (including Best Picture), among many other accolades, easily shows how well-accepted it was.
  11. anidanami124 Jedi Master

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    Aug 24, 2002
    star 6
    The 10 Oscar nominations (including Best Picture), among many other accolades, easily shows how well-accepted it was.

    That's like saying we all accepted Titanic. I don't care how many Oscar's Titanic won. I don't like it. I really hope that the next LOTR movie kicks it out off the top spot.

    So again to end this can someone any one post links to newspapers and magazens that are form 1977 and 1980.
  12. Darth_Insidious Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Apr 26, 2002
    star 4
    Titanic was overwhelmingly accepted by the public when it came out, which is why it made much of its money from repeat viewing, and had non-existant week-to-week drop-offs for many weeks.

    But that doesn't even matter, because we're talking critical reception here (which Titanic also did very well with). And you don't get nominated for 10 Oscars, among many other major awards, without being critically accepted very well.

    And finally, ROTK will very likely be the first movie since Titanic to break a billion worldwide (unadjusted of course), but it isn't going to come anywhere near its sum.
  13. MeBeJedi Jedi Grand Master

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    May 30, 2002
    star 6
    Of course, all this assumes that one's opinion of the films should have some basis in the opinions of others.
  14. anidanami124 Jedi Master

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    Aug 24, 2002
    star 6
    Titanic was overwhelmingly accepted by the public when it came out, which is why it made much of its money from repeat viewing, and had non-existant week-to-week drop-offs for many weeks.

    But that doesn't even matter, because we're talking critical reception here (which Titanic also did very well with). And you don't get nominated for 10 Oscars, among many other major awards, without being critically accepted very well.


    I think you miss that part where I said I don't care how well it did or did not do or how many Oscars it won. I do not like Titanic. My have movie by James never has been and never will be Titanic. It will always be T2 for me.

    Again I said I (key word) I don't care hwo many Oscars it won I don't like the movie.

    So if no one can find any thing form any newspapers or magazens form 1977 and 1980 about the reviews of ANH and TESB I will have to say this:

    Can we not keep bringing that up. Because we have two sides that when they bring it up have nothing back up what they said. And it get's pointless.
  15. Darth_Insidious Jedi Padawan

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    Apr 26, 2002
    star 4
  16. Darth_Insidious Jedi Padawan

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    Apr 26, 2002
    star 4
    I don't care what you think of Titanic. I don't care if you agree with critics. That's not what this is about.

    This is about whether or not ANH and ESB were critically well-recieved when they came out. For ANH, it's unquestionably was, as it was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, 6 BAFTA's, 4 Golden Globes, a WGA, a DGA, and won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards for Best Picture (Best Music too).
  17. AdamBertocci Manager

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    Thank you for posting those reviews. I thought they were a real joy to read. :)

    Is it just me, or were movie reviews just better-written back in the day? Those reviews got to take their time, really talk about the movie. Now of course there is more of a fight for space on the page.

    The third review was 3000 words! :eek:

    But it's nice to read something that compliments the OT and doesn't whine that Lucas killed moviemaking.


    Rick McCallum loves you!
  18. anidanami124 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 24, 2002
    star 6
    Adam
    Thank you for posting those reviews. I thought they were a real joy to read.

    Yes it was nice to see

    Is it just me, or were movie reviews just better-written back in the day? Those reviews got to take their time, really talk about the movie. Now of course there is more of a fight for space on the page.

    Yes that is true. Also at times newspapers...well report about things that are nto importent. Exmaple. I live in MI. The Gov knwo what's the whole state to get cool [face_plain] So she worrys mroe about whta MI looks like then about the schools

    The third review was 3000 words!

    But it's nice to read something that compliments the OT and doesn't whine that Lucas killed moviemaking.


    Which never happened form what I have seen ;)
  19. Durwood Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2002
    star 5
    Durwood, what's wrong with close-ups?

    Nothing is inherently wrong with close-ups. It's just my opinion that PJ's predominant use of close-ups gives his Rings films a very small feeling. It's an epic story, and it should look epic, but it doesn't. I think Lucas' choice of wide shots makes the prequels look and feel very grand and larger than life, just the thing you'd expect from an epic movie series.

    [Audiences] genuinely CARE for those characters, they FEEL with them. And how did Jackson achieve this? His close-ups are one of the reasons.

    I disagree. Lucas uses close-ups relatively sparingly in the prequels, and I care for the characters as much as any film characters. While it's great that PJ fills the frame with Gandalf's face (getting in close enough that you can count the pores on Ian McKellen's nose!) I would have prefered fewer of these kinds of shots.

    Lucas on the other hand thinks his latest Rendering package is the heart and soul of the film. Or the toys. Or the Pepsi deals. Actors? Oh, yeah, they're those annoying guys that always say in the press how awful it is to work on the prequels. Make them CGI!!! And give me more toys!!!!

    That's certainly an interesting fantasy. Quite the active imagination you have there. We live in a real world. Come back to it. :p

    ----------

    "As for close-ups, I thought AOTC certainly had its share of them."

    AOTC was full of them. So much for "long lenses".


    I assume you are unfamiliar with exactly what a long lense is and how one is used.

    ----------

    Thing is the critics were wrong , about the acting in the OT, it WAS great.

    Interestingly enough, they're wrong about the prequels, too.
  20. AdamBertocci Manager

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  21. MeBeJedi Jedi Grand Master

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    May 30, 2002
    star 6
    Assume all you want, Durwood.
  22. gezvader28 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 22, 2003
    star 4
    Adam-
    Declare the critics of the OT wrong if you like, but then don't ever let me catch you to ever bring up the critics' reaction as an indicator of PT weakness.

    Well not quite. I'll clarify - George has a tendency to exaggerate the criticisms of the OT - 'they didn't like the acting, dialogue, 3po, Yoda' etc. But as Insidious says , and I agree, most of the reviews were positive.
    However the acting was never given it's due praise, IMO.
    But, yeah, if you want to you can remind me in future that I said the critics didn't think much of the acting in SW, but remember, I only said it about the acting. I don't tend to use critics as proof of anything on their own, but I don't mind if others do as long as it's part of other points of argument as well.

    I think Harrison Ford was great in ANH and
    ESB, not so good in ROJ 'cos the script didn't give his character much to do acting-wise.
    Mark Hamill a great performance in all 3.
    carrie Fisher may not be the best actress in the world, but the character is so well written and she has loads of charm and personality which really shine through = Great.
    And together the 3 of them have such chemistry - so vital to these movies. Lucas was wise to cast them as a threesome.
    Plus - Peter Cushing, Alec Guiness, Tony Daniels, Peter Mayhew - yeah I think he deserves a lot of praise, I never look at Chewie and think there's a guy inside. Yoda, Vader, great performances.

    My problem with the acting in TPM is - altho there are some good actors the writing is poor, thus the characterization/relationships are poor. So Liam Neeson gives a good performance from what he's got, but like most of the other characters it never really comes alive.
    Same with McGregor, Portman. Jake lloyd is generally poor, I blame the writer and director for that.
    Pernilla August is very good. So is McDiarmid. Shame they aren't in it more.


    g
  23. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    ESB wasn't always given a great review...
    The New York Times June 15th 1980
    'The Empire Strikes Back' Strikes a Bland Note
    By VINCENT CANBY

    The Force is with us but let's try to keep our heads. These things are certifiable: "The Empire Strikes Back," George Lucas's sequel to his "Star Wars," the biggest grossing motion picture of all time, has opened. On the basis of the early receipts, "The Empire Strikes Back" could make more money than any other movie in history, except, maybe, "Star Wars." It is the second film in a projected series that may last longer than the civilization that produced it.

    Confession: When I went to see "The Empire Strikes Back" I found myself glancing at my watch almost as often as I did when I was sitting through a truly terrible movie called "The Island."


    The Empire Strikes Back" is not a truly terrible movie. It's a nice movie. It's not, by any means, as nice as "Star Wars." It's not as fresh and funny and surprising and witty, but it is nice and inoffensive and, in a way that no one associated with it need be ashamed of, it's also silly. Attending to it is a lot like reading the middle of a comic book. It is amusing in fitful patches but you're likely to find more beauty, suspense, discipline, craft and art when watching a New York harbor pilot bring the Queen Elizabeth 2 into her Hudson River berth, which is what "The Empire Strikes Back" most reminds me of. It's a big, expensive, time-consuming, essentially mechanical operation.

    Gone from "The Empire Strikes Back" are those associations that so enchanted us in "Star Wars," reminders of everything from the Passion of Jesus and the stories of Beowulf and King Arthur to those of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, the Oz books, Buck Rogers and Peanuts. Strictly speaking, "The Empire Strikes Back" isn't even a complete narrative. It has no beginning or end, being simply another chapter in a serial that appears to be continuing not onward and upward but sideways. How, then, to review it?

    The fact that I am here at this minute facing a reproachful typewriter and attempting to get a fix on "The Empire Strikes Back" is, perhaps, proof of something I've been suspecting for some time now. That is, that there is more nonsense being written, spoken and rumored about movies today than about any of the other so-called popular arts except rock music. The Force is with us, indeed, and a lot of it is hot air.

    Ordinarily when one reviews a movie one attempts to tell a little something about the story. It's a measure of my mixed feelings about "The Empire Strikes Back" that I'm not at all sure that I understand the plot. That was actually one of the more charming conceits of "Star Wars," which began with a long, intensely complicated message about who was doing what to whom in the galactic confrontations we were about to witness and which, when we did see them, looked sort of like a game of neighborhood hide-and-seek at the Hayden Planetarium. One didn't worry about its politics. One only had to distinguish the good persons from the bad. This is pretty much the way one is supposed to feel about "The Empire Strikes Back," but one's impulse to know, to understand, cannot be arrested indefinitely without doing psychic damage or, worse, without risking boredom.

    This much about "The Empire Strikes Back" I do understand: When the movie begins, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and their gang are hanging out on a cold, snowy planet where soldiers ride patrols on animals that look like ostrich-kangaroos, where there are white-furred animals that are not polar bears and where Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) almost freezes to death.

    Under the command of Darth Vader, the forces of the Empire attack, employing planes, missiles and some awfully inefficient tanks that have the shape of armor-plated camels. Somehow Han Solo and Princess Leia escape. At that point Luke Skywalker flies off to find Yoda, a guru who will teach him more about the Force, Yoda being the successor to Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi (Alec Gui/>
  24. AdamBertocci Manager

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    Feb 3, 2002
    star 7
    I totally agree with your point about Anthony Daniels, Yoda, Vader and (to a lesser extent) Peter Mayhew.

    Something quite similar is happening with Andy Serkis (Gollum).

    These guys just don't get enough credit. People who do voices and do non-standard "acting".

    I've read Lucas tried to get Frank Oz a best supporting actor nomination. Didn't happen. Now, mind you, I don't think voice/puppet actors SHOULD get nominated alongside standard ones. But it's a shame that the more 'serious' awards can't clear out space for "Best Nonstandard Actor". Sort of how 'fun' awards like MTV are doing Best Virtual Performance to reward Gollum.

    Watching the TPM documentary and seeing Lewis MacLeod do Sebulba's voice or Frank Oz doing Yoda's... it just doesn't seem right to me. It's like they're lip-syncing along to pre-existing recordings of Sebulba and Yoda characters.


    Heck, I think Frank Oz (with his puppeteer pals) gives the best performance in all of ESB. Y'know, when you think about it... boy, those scenes could have sucked. Seriously, can you imagine being a Fox exec and saying "What? A Muppet explains the secrets of the universe? Lucas has lost it! We're ruined!" But it turned out to be pretty decent in my book. :D


    EDIT: C'mon, Go-Mer, you could've just linked that.



    Rick McCallum loves you!
  25. JohnWilliams00 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jan 29, 2002
    star 4
    Ack, the Vincent Canby review. Run! 8-}

    (Sorry, but that's the 20th time I've seen that same review used on these boards. (I honestly think some of you have that review bookmarked) None of us are pretending ESB or ANH receieved no bad reviews. But there is more evidence that it received more good than bad.)

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