LOTR, The Matrix, and the Star Wars PT: Which trilogy will stand the test of time?

Discussion in 'The Phantom Menace' started by ElfStar, Oct 7, 2002.

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  1. Ultimate Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 14, 2000
    star 3
    "Um, what? How can you judge the lasting cultural appeal of a film that has yet to release it's final two thirds?"

    I'm judging the first 3rd. And it didn't do anything you said it did. It had vitually no impact or lasting cultural appeal when the first one came out. So why would the next 2? You don't tend to get that sort of thing from sequels.

    "Actually, if you're immersed in the popular culture, I can't see how you could believe that. Fellowship, from the first day of release, took the steam out of Harry Potter and became THE franchise, critically and financially. It outgrossed Potter worldwide, it damn near tied it domestically, and it killed it critically. And that was just the FIRST one...wait til the series really hits it's stride with The Two Towers."

    It didn't take the steam out of Harry Potter, because Harry Potter was to busy setting records and outgrossing LOTR in the US and world combined. Potter merchandise beats the hell out of LOTR in every single catagory, except maybe book to book and I'm not completely sure LOTR has outsold Potter even with a multiple decade head start. Potter is THE thing among parents, families and kids by a LONG shot. Critics don't determine popular culture, audiences do and Harry Potter has been more ingrained into the buying public that LOTR has, even though LOTR is quite big itself. It's not even a comparison, Harry Potter has been the phenomenon since the first book came out, only rivaled by Pokemon. LOTR barely even rates.

    "Kids and early teenagers don't mean anything though, it's kids in their late teens and beyond who control pop culture, due to disposable income. And besides, things you like at age 12 you don't like at age 18, but things you like at 18 you may still like at 24. Harry Potter is a fad, and the success of Fellowship exposed that almost immediately, surprising everyone."

    The success of FOTR wasn't as big as the sucess of Harry Potter. Period. It was close in final US box office, but got it's doors blown off in almost every other single catagory. Potter made over a 100 million dollars more in the US and world combined than LOTR. It beat LOTR in the US and cleaned it's clock worldwide. Potter is the 2nd highest grossing film of all time, LOTR is fifth. Potter had the number 2 opening of all time (recently eclipsed by Spider-Man), LOTR is 26th. Not to mention stuff like DVD's, videos and other merchandise, all of which Potter outclasses LOTR. Take the 18 to 24 market if you want, they aren't spending as much money on LOTR stuff as the Potter audience is. It may very well be proven to be a fad, but as of now it is king over LOTR by a wide margin.

    Harry Potter is probably the biggest cultural thing among kids since Star Wars in 1977. And you could pretty much make that case without even using the movies.

    "Where do you live, and is it an island?"

    No, I reside in the land of easily provavble statistics that back up my assertations. You might want to consider moving there.

    "It was both, actually, and just about all the major publications (Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone) picked it as their film of the year and maintain that it was robbed of the Best Picture Oscar."

    Some critics had it on their lists. In the case of Entertainment Weekly, one critic had LOTR on the top of it's list the other didn't include it at all. But this isn't really indicitave of cultural impact, pop culture or anything other than critics liked it now is it?

    And the magazines never really had any outrage about LOTR losing because they were all picking a Beautiful Mind and Ron Howard to win and talking about how great Opie was, how it was finally his year and all the various Russel Crowe controversies. None of the entertainment media paid any attention to Peter Jackson or Lord of the Rings at the Oscars because it was the year of Ron Howard, A Beautiful Mind, and black actors getting nominated like gangbusters. Everyone knew LOTR wasn't walking away with anything significant so no one paid it attention. Think of all the nominations it piled up, it's right up ther
  2. Rebel Scumb Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 22, 1999
    star 6
    "Would there have been a movie coming out soon if KS had not resurected Daredevil?"

    Yes but odds are the movie will be awful, just based on the atrocius casting.

    "I think he (KS) did to DD what Frank Miller did for Batman."

    Yes but what about what frank miller did for DD? I would never mention KS and FM in the smae sentence.
  3. Green_Destiny_Sword Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 20, 2001
    star 4
    If we are talking about being immersed in pop culture, the Matrix EASILY outdoes any of the franchises.

    For the people who were alive and actually old enough to be aware of things in the early 80s, there was no way someone could say "use the force" and u would not know what they are talking about. Lines from SW became societal catch phrases. Saying "I am your father", breathing heavy or pretending you had a ligthsaber were things comedians or entertainters could do on TV or on a stage and the audience would recognize it immediately.

    The same has happened with the Matrix. People can say "free your mind" or "there is no spoon" or say they are morpheus and people know exactly what they are talking about. The movie has become completely ingrained in pop culture. And we know there are hundreds of spoofs, copies and tributes to the Matrix. The main characters are all icons in terms of the most popular movie characters. The most popular thing the PT had produced is Jar Jar Binks, and he is probably one of the most despised movie characters ever. Again, I am not trying to go overboard, but I have to give a realistic assessment. I think many people like to write off the Matrix here because of all the bad feelings back when TPM and the Matrix both came out. There is still a lot of bitterness over it.

    But the Matrix is much more ingrained than the PT or FOTR. Missy Elliot's multi-platinum album in 2000 was called "Da Real World" and opens up with her trying to make a call to her producer to exit the Matrix. The examples go on and on. Even When Mary J. Blige won R&B female artist of the year at the MTV VMAs over the summer, she said "wow, there must be a glitch in the matrix.."

    Again, who will stand the ultimate "test of time" is debateable. but if we are talking about being ingrained in pop culture, I think the Matrix has that locked.
  4. Durwood Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2002
    star 5
    GDS:

    While The Matrix is certainly the flavor of the moment, I don't think it has "ingrained" itself into pop-culture quite the way you think it has. Your examples of iconic lines are obscure enough that I imagine most people would look at you funny if you quoted them out of context.

    Rebel Scumb:

    I still say that Star Wars is timeless because there is nothing in it that identifies itself with the era in which it was made. In other words, you're not required to be familiar with the time the movies represent in order to enjoy them (by way of example, the "Pepsi Free" joke in the first Back To The Future requires you to be familiar with the product and the culture that was obsessed with making everything low-cal. Many kids today have probably never even heard of Pepsi Free and so won't get the joke. They'll just think it odd that Marty is asking for a free Pepsi).
  5. Green_Destiny_Sword Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 20, 2001
    star 4
    DURWOOD-- Do I need to mention all of the movies that have Matrix- jokes in them? It's been parodied on the Simpsons at least 5 different times. Everyone knows the Matrix. Everyone knows the popular lines. They are not obscure at all. People know who Morpheus is. The whole back bend/dodge bullets move.
    It's okay, people still know Star Wars too. In fact, did u see the Mad TV 'behind the scenes of AOTC' skit? It was hilarious.

  6. Durwood Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2002
    star 5
    The only Matrix "joke" that is widely recognized is bullet time spoofs, so I agree that that particular effect is part of pop-culture, but I still know people who recognize it from the GAP commercial and don't associate it with The Matrix at all!

    And saying that "everyone" knows who Morpheous is and that a large segment would "get" a joke that ends with the punchline "there is no spoon" is begging the question. In fact, when you mentioned the "spoon" line, I actually found myself having to think about the movie for a moment before recognizing the context of that phrase even though I've seen the movie about a half-dozen times. Now if someone like me who actually enjoys the movie doesn't immediately recognize a supposedly iconic line of dialogue, what chance does that leave for the casual public?
  7. stone_jedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 17, 2001
    star 4
    I still say that Star Wars is timeless because there is nothing in it that identifies itself with the era in which it was made.

    If you're talking about the OT, I would agree. If you're talking about the PT however, I must disagree. Pop culture phrases like "Exsqueeze me" and "How Wuude" are ripped straight from a late '80's/early 90's sitcom. And need I mention the 1950's diner that clearly rips one out of a GFFA and lets us know that things aren't really all that different there, aside from the robot waitress? Not to mention the sports bar with the video games playing in the background. ;)

  8. JenX Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 26, 2002
    star 3
    What iconic lines of dialogue would the general public recognise as coming from the PT?

    Seriously, I'm racking my brains here trying to come up with one. I can think of quite a few that come from the OT...but the PT?

    Aggressive negotiations? Your focus determines your reality? Errr...no.

    The Matrix is hardly chock full of instantly recognisable lines, but it has left it's mark visually. Bullet time has become inextricably linked to it.


    editted to add: yeh beat me to it, stone_jedi
  9. Green_Destiny_Sword Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 20, 2001
    star 4
    Aggressive negotiations? Your focus determines your reality? Errr...no.
    lol!
    How about "mind your thoughts.." ?? ;)


    Just saying "the Matrix" is a pop culture term in itself. That's why I gave the example of Mary J. Blige at the VMAs. The crowd understood what she meant. She thought she had no chance of winning. Things weren't going as they seemed programmed to, etc..etc..

    And yes, even if people don't think the lines from the Matrix have become ingrained (I still do), visually, a great deal of the movie has become ingrained in pop culture. I don't think there is any denying that. JenX expressed the idea better than I did.

    I remember seeing Blade II (a complete Matrix homage from an action/costume standpoint) and when I was walking out of the theater someone said "man, that was great. I can't wait to see Matrix 2!"
  10. ElfStar Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 24, 2001
    star 4
    I think you're underestimating LotR a little, Ultimate. While Harry Potter did beat LotR in most box office/money related areas, it does have the advantage of being much more kid oriented. This is in of itself a big advantage. Furthermore, most people I know thought LotR was a much better movie than HP.

    And HP, one must remember, had much more hype than LotR starting out, and opened much bigger. LotR had a far smaller opening, but in the end it made only about 3 million less than HP domestically.

    I think the real proof will come at the end of the year though. The box office of Harry Potter 2 and The Two Towers should show to some degree which has become more of a pop culture phenomenon.
  11. Darth Euro Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 25, 1999
    star 4
    Ultimate, there is no question that HP outgrossed LOTR, domestic and worldwide. By a wide margin? No. Most of the $102 million worldwide difference came from Japan, and in most countries HP and FOTR ran very close, with FOTR outgrossing HP in quite a few countries (Europe mostly), and vice versa.

    Did HP sell more toys and impact kids more than FOTR? Without a question. But how does this lead to a movie (or a set of movies) standing the test of time, as the thread questions?

    One of your own examples of something that had a huge impact on kids was the Pokemon phenomenon. But have the Pokemon films stood the test of time? Clearly (IMO), the answer must be no. And perhaps even the whole Pokemon phenomenon is passe' now with kids.

    What I'm suggesting here is that how successful a film is with kids is not the ultimate factor in wether a film "stands the test of time". After all, "Lawrence of Arabia", "Casablanca", and "Citizen Kane", to name a few classics, were never kids films at all.

    Elfstar makes a very good point - The relative success of HP2 and TTT compared to their predecessors will be a good example of how well each series is standing the test of time, at least for the short term.
  12. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    My personal feeling is that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone falls far short of being either a classic movie, or a classic of children's literature.

    On the other hand, I agree with the earlier post that Harry Potter as a cultural phenomenon rivals the release of Star Wars in 1977.
  13. TadjiStation Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2001
    star 4
    Maybe I'm wrong, but I tend to think that both HP and LOTR will stand the test of time because they aren't really glued to any particular time reference in this world, and don't have what I would consider to be pop culture references at all. They are both excellent examples of storytelling done right, and that in and of itself is timeless. :)
  14. RogueSith Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 24, 2001
    star 3
    I think that LOTR might be at a slight disadvantage here, simply because it lacks the classic protagonist, like Luke in the OT, or Neo in The Matrix. That isn't to say it's not good, or even great, but to achieve the status of the OT, the central character is very important.

    In ANH Luke gazes off to the binary sunset while dreaming of a better, more exciting life - while getting yelled at to do his chores. Neo is searching for a deeper meaning to his life - but is catching crap from his boss for being late. Dorothy wants to run away from the farm and sings "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". A big part of the success of these movies is that not only do we sympathize with those protagonists, but while we're sitting in that dark theater - we are them.
    I'm sure plenty will disagree with me, but I didn't get that feeling with FOTR. I don't identify with the Hobbits in that way, because they seem more like comic relief. And Frodo doesn't take on the central role in the end - he isn't the Returning King, like Luke is the Jedi in ROTJ, or how Neo is the chosen one.
    I think that missing aspect of "The Hero's Journey", could be what prevents the LOTR from landing in a truly timeless spot in the heart of American pop culture.

    IMO
  15. Rebel Scumb Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 22, 1999
    star 6
    "I remember seeing Blade II (a complete Matrix homage from an action/costume standpoint) and when I was walking out of the theater someone said "man, that was great. I can't wait to see Matrix 2!""

    too bad that matrix is itself entirely ripped off fromt he style of the first Blade film. And the storya carbon copy of dark city, which shot in some of the same locals in Sydney just months before.
  16. RogueSith Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 24, 2001
    star 3
    There are definite similarities, but it was not a carbon copy. And Blade didn't exactly invent wearing black leather to look cool.


    EDIT : and to be frank, as SW fans we shouldn't even bring up the practice of swiping bits and pieces from other movies.
  17. stone_jedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 17, 2001
    star 4
    And the storya carbon copy of dark city, which shot in some of the same locals in Sydney just months before.

    I could provide a link to a website that proves that the story of the Matrix was developed years before Dark City, and thus is in no way any kind of rip or adaptation of the story, but the website is private, unfortunately. Anyway, Dark City came out a year before the Matrix, and the Matrix took roughly 2-3 years to film and put together. It was also written in 1994-95, and presented to Warner (I think?) back then, but the Wachowski's hadn't made any movie then, so they were shot down, as you would have to be crazy to give $60 million to rookie directors. ;) Then they went out and made Bound, which convinced the studio to let them do the Matrix. So unless the Wachowski's went to the theater and decided to completely change their movie at the end of production to rip off the story of another movie, you're argument holds no water.

    Besides, SW is an amalgamation of several different films, including Hidden Fortress, which came 30 years earlier. Just because a movie has similarities with something else doesn't mean it's a rip of that previous film. ;)

  18. Green_Destiny_Sword Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 20, 2001
    star 4
    Stone Jedi-- You have the story of the development of the Matrix right. That is why they made Bound, just to prove themselves. But the concept of the Matrix was already being shopped to producers.

    Anyway, Blade had nothing to do with the Matrix. lol. But Blade II, again was a complete homage.

    You gonna be okay Rebel Scumb?? You seem a bit wound up. Relax. You really need to unplug.
  19. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Bound is a great movie in its own right. Another flawless performance from Joe Pantoliano. and what could be more timeless than Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly having sex?
  20. RogueSith Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 24, 2001
    star 3
  21. TadjiStation Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2001
    star 4
    ...and what could be more timeless than Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly having sex

    Let's just hope they don't have a sequel 30 years down the road featuring these two actresses doing more of the same.


    EEEEEWWWWWW!!!!!!!

    :p
  22. RogueSith Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 24, 2001
    star 3
  23. Menlu Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 27, 2001
    star 2
    Eww, just thinking of them having to remove their Depends stops that visual for me ;P
  24. Durwood Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2002
    star 5
    I must disagree. Pop culture phrases like "Exsqueeze me" and "How Wuude" are ripped straight from a late '80's/early 90's sitcom. And need I mention the 1950's diner...

    Whether you recognize the origin of those things or not is irrelevant as Star Wars doesn't rely on popular culture to tell its story. The origins of such phrases like "Exsqueeze me!" can safely be forgotten and the impact on Star Wars will be zero.

    Incidentally, Han's liberal use of phrases like, "He's the brains, sweetheart!" and "Not this ship, sister!" are pulled straight out of 1970's slang. In fact, the 1990's equivelant would be, "Not this ship, girlfriend!" But most viewers simply don't recognize this fact, and the impact on Star Wars is zero.
  25. Menlu Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 27, 2001
    star 2
    Durwood: "Incidentally, Han's liberal use of phrases like, "He's the brains, sweetheart!" and "Not this ship, sister!" are pulled straight out of 1970's slang. In fact, the 1990's equivelant would be, "Not this ship, girlfriend!" But most viewers simply don't recognize this fact, and the impact on Star Wars is zero."

    Agreed.

    You go, homey!
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