Discussion in 'Star Wars: Episode VII - Spoilers Allowed' started by Diggs, Nov 8, 2012.
stupid connection error
"Better" is so subjective. If you mean "more like the OT" that's not necessarily "better". What GL brought to the PT is completely unique and I'm glad he got to do it before retirement. They would have been less interesting films, in my opinion, without him at the helm; his style was right for them, warts n all.
To me it's like saying: "If Fellini had worked with Cecil B. DeMille, Satyricon would be a proper Roman epic, not some weird movie full of gross stuff and crazy characters."
I like that GL went crazy, it was a breath of fresh air during the period where every genre movie was either a rip off of The Matrix, The Lord of the Rings, or something like The Rock.
Now it's time to get back to basics.
Yes, the innocence of Star Wars is always a breathe of fresh air in a cynical time and when TV us considered great just because there is sex and swearing in it.
I'll have you know I am on the ground floor right now.
You are indeed the Palpatine to my Anakin, this is true.
Uh, every opinion is subjective. We are all subject to our own personal biases. In fact some might argue that the only reason the prequels were received well by anyone at all is because the name Star Wars was attached to them. And yes, quality is not something that's inherent in art. Art doesn't have value until the audience gives it value.
But you cannot argue that there exists a certain "science" when it comes to film. There are laws in movie making. Choose to disregard those laws and you risk leaving a disconnect between the film and it's audience. There are proven steps to storytelling. There are steps to building characters. A good filmmaker understands these things and will build his film on that structural foundation. And if he's fortunate, hopefully the audience will give a damn about his characters and the story/struggle he places them in.
The prequels pretty much abandon these laws the whole way through, and it is that reason why they have failed to resonate. Whenever Star Wars is referenced in pop culture, it is never associated with anything that came out of the prequels. Even supporting characters like Chewbacca and Jabba The Hutt are more iconic cultural figures than Hayden Christensen's Anakin Skywalker and Liam Neeson's Qui Gon Jinn. No one outside of Star Wars fandom gives a damn about Mace Windu or Count Dooku. These are not lasting memorable characters. You will never see a clonetrooper on TV in place of a stormtrooper.
Now if you love the prequels, that's fine. You have every right to place them on equal standing with the originals. I can only try and argue my point and hope you understand where I'm coming from. But there is a reason why the prequels divided the fanbase like no other thing before it. You can't just place all the blame on the audience when they don't like something. If Star Wars fans aren't responding positively to a Star Wars movie, that's a problem.
People like to rant when it is made easy. The Internet allows that.
People who enjoy a think are less likely to spend time on the net praising it.
It's just how people are.
I fail to see the humour in child abuse and rape.
Just how I was raised.
But I believe the Mod has said enough.
The "like" was accidental by the way.
People do have a strange tendency to purposely work themselves up in a fury over things that they are in no way forced to interact with.
It's a very strange phenomenon.
Dude, where's your Bill Shakes post?
Hard to see any statement on the quality of the films as anything but opinion.
Guilty here too
Haven't you heard? Mike "Plinkett" Stoklasa invented laws of filmmaking so that the PT could retroactively be said to have broken them. Case closed.
It's hard to resist that urge, hahah.
It's all we got
That, and a stick with nails in it.
The Opinionator 3000
You have to remember that the prequels are essentially an origins story. Their goal is to provide backstory for existing characters in the OT, not introduce new ones. That said, I think you're wrong about "never". For example, there's a an entire character in Stargate SG-1 who's based on Darth Maul's fighting style. There're also all sorts of references to "the Sith" (the concept was introduced in the movies in the PT, but it fit with the story), "padawans", etc. Heck, I even noticed a reference to the "bigger fish" in Abrams' Star Trek. Are they less influential than the OT? Sure, I don't think anyone hoped they would match the cultural impact of the OT.
Deal Alterer sums it up pretty well for me.
Purely from an objective storytelling and screenwriting point of view, the PT is more flawed than the OT.
Again, subjectively anyone can love the PT more than the OT, but there are reasons that there isn't (on the whole) a polarisation when it comes to the OT and there is with the PT that can't be pinned purely on the audience and overhype.
I'll give you a couple of examples:
Villains. It's a truism in screenwriting that your hero is only as good as your villain. In TPM we don't really know who are villains are or what they want to achieve. I know we have the trade federation, Sidious et al, but it's all really nebulous and, worse, mostly conveyed through exposition. We see them invade Naboo, but very little cost of invasion. The Battle Droids are ineffective (even compared to the Storm Troopers). I'll grant that the Droidekas are a threat, but they rarely come into contact. Darth Maul is a fantastic villain and a serious threat - but because GL doesn't want to overshadow Vader, he's under-developed and given far too little to do. What is Sidious's plan? He wants to manipulate the blockade to get the Queen to sign a treaty to force her to act to trigger a vote of no confidence in Valorum so that he gets a step closer to power. Or something.
Compare that to ANH. Right off the bat, Vader and the stormtroopers are introduced as badass villains. the rebels are presented as underdogs and the stakes couldn't be higher. If our heroes don't succeed, the evil Empire will destroy their planet and rule the galaxy forever.
I totally get what is interesting about the TPM scenario, and I think a good screenwriter could have found a way to make that very compelling, but GL can't.
Heroes: In ANH, we're given a clear hero to root for - Luke - and he also serves as our guide into this strange world. He has clear external goals - rescue the Princess and defeat the Empire - and an internal goal - learn how to use the force - both of which he achieves. I'm not even sure which hero we're meant to follow through TPM. Qui-Gon? He's certainly the most likeable character, but the story isn't told from his POV. Obi-Wan - can't be him, he vanishes for large chunks of the story. Neither seems to have a clear internal goal. It could be Padme, but again, I'm not sure she's that easy to root for. Is it Anakin? Maybe. We switch to his POV for large passages but....
My point is, from a simple screenwriting perspective (I am a screenwriter but if you don't believe me or think I'm biased look up all the screenwriting advice you want - you won't find much praising the PT over the OT), TPM is objectively inferior to ANH. Never mind dialogue or anything like that. Simple, basic screenwriting principles. And there are countless more examples between PT and OT I could go into but as I highly doubt I'll win many people that disagree over to my thinking on this, I'll leave it there. Life is too short!
Again, as Deal Alterer says, if you love the PT and don't see these flaws, that's great and more power to you. It may not look like it, but the last thing I want to do is drag this into PT vs OT. There are many parts of the OT I enjoy and I couldn't be more excited at the thought of a new trilogy.
I really don't think there is "widespread negativity" directed at the prequels. I think the vast majority of people do see them as inferior films to the OT, but I equally don't think that they are hated by many, either. The only people who do seem to have major issues with the PT appear to be die hard fans of the OT, and even then it still makes up a minority. I think the majority of "normal" people like them. That’s why they all made as much money as they did. For one of the most “hated” films of all time, the 3D showing of TPM I went to was oddly very busy.
Silent majority and vocal minority. Over the years the people who like them or are indifferent haven’t felt the need to jump on Internet message boards to proclaim that George Lucas raped their childhoods. Those are the "fans" that have created this myth that the PT is universally hated and despised.
I do think TPM and AOTC are probably the two most "problematic" Star Wars films. I also think ROTS is one of the best (my second favourite, actually).
Complete nonsense. This is what happens when people blindly parrot RLM talking points instead of thinking for themselves.
You could well be right. I'm not saying the media or my anecdotal accounts are correct, but it's very rare you read media commentary on the PT that is positive. Likewise, within my own circle of friends, I'm pretty much in the minority of being a (you won't believe it but I have been) PT apologist. I'm in no doubt that the general public generally love SW in all it's shapes and colours but go onto any non-SW message board, look at all the articles on the prospects of the next trilogy, or indeed virtually any article on SW on any film-site (even here!) and the vibe you pick up is that the OT is more well-loved than the PT. That may or may not be fair, but it's certainly my experience and I'm sure I won't be the only one to notice it and it can't just be explained as a vocal fanboy conspiracy.
Does it matter? If you love the PT, OT, saga or whatever, probably not. But is anyone really trying to claim that vibe isn't out there?
Last warning, Arawn.
And guys, I know this discussion is inevitable when we're discussing writing for E7, but it would be nice not to get stuck in the usual OT/PT rut.
"PT apologist" is a very correct term, hahah.
I don't agree that there are "laws" to storytelling. Lucas broke 'em all in '77, that's what made the movie memorable and a success. Indeed, he created a few "laws" in the process.
What you're talking about is one of many possible formulas. Look at the dozens of movies that have tried to score big using those "laws" and which failed. It doesn't always work. And yet the PT was enormously successful, even with all the hard (and pretty accurate) criticism.
A good writer can "build" a character any way they want. Look at Joyce and Harold Bloom in "Ulysses".
Better to discover your story and your characters than impose rules, laws or formulas.
Arawn, don't patronise me please - read the rest of the post. I'm not blindly parroting anything. My point is, if you compare the villains in TPM to the villains in ANH there is no contest, both in terms of clarity and simplicity of what they are trying to achieve, and outright villainy. Maul is great but he's hardly in it. He could have been amazing, but he's ultimately under-used. The Neimoidians are awful villains. I realize they are being manipulated by a puppet master in the shadows, but while that they may be clever, is it as satisfying as the Empire?
Eternal - you raise a good point about rules and laws. Yes, one should not be bound by rules and laws, and, yes, Lucas did break "some" in 77. But when you break those rules, you'd better make sure what you're doing instead works like gangbusters. And I would argue that not having a clear, relatable protagonist to root for in TPM was not a success.