Phantom Menace? It Meant Nothing!....Wrong!

Discussion in 'The Phantom Menace' started by Stejo-Miwar, Jun 5, 2003.

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  1. JenX Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 26, 2002
    star 3
    Funny thing is, without the phenomenal success of ANH, there would be no TPM either, and none of us would know who George Lucas was. He'd be working in his dad's hardware shop, working a powersaw cutting plywood for Old Man Henderson's new patio.

    :p

    GL did make "American Graffiti"...who knows what he would have gone on to do if ANH hadn't been the phenomenon that it was? I'm guessing he'd have continued to write and direct...
  2. Loco_for_Lucas Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2002
    star 5
    Yeah, thank goodness he happened to catch that showing of Hidden Fortress otherwise he'd be directing Apocalypse Now or something. :p
  3. Ree Yees Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 2000
    star 5
    Why even bother this discussion, JenX? The way Yoda's character is handled in TPM is superbly flawed, most people understand this from a technical standpoint (dramaturgy). The entire script reeks.
  4. Heavenly_Angel Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2003
    star 1
    well, i didn't really like the title either but i thought it just meant the foreboding evil and menace of the dark side.
  5. Stejo-Miwar Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2003
    star 4
    JenX
    "I don't think I've ever seen that criticism before..."

    Sorry! I probably didn't explain that very well. I was merely pointing at film critics, who are always comparing it to the original trilogy. They forget this is a different time/era in the star wars universe.
    I think Lucas is doing a great job!
  6. LucasCop Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2002
    star 2
    The way Yoda's character is handled in TPM is superbly flawed, most people understand this from a technical standpoint (dramaturgy).

    I guess I fall in the minority, Ree Yees. Here's my approach to the subject:

    The implication of such a mild introduction to the Jedi Council is actually a creative way of revealing how the main characters are immersed in a world far greater than the audience may have presumed. That is the essence of a saga. Stories upon stories upon stories upon stories.

    The audience does not need nor should it expect a grand introduction to Yoda because, at this point in the narrative, there is no hint as to where the saga is going. Yoda - despite having the highest midichlorian count on record - is no more important than Sio Bibble, or Ric Olie, or even Jocasta Nu in AOTC. His role has not even begun to take shape. By injecting an introduction - complete with John Williams violins, reverential bowing, and resultant close up of Yoda's response - would be inappropriate and would stick out like a sore thumb. It really is too bad for those OT fans because his introduction is very much muted. It speaks volumes. From a virgin's perspective, he turns out to be just another guy in a large universe. It isn't until the plot has begun to unravel that the real players, heroes, and villians behind the saga begin to take shape.


    How would you disagree with this concept?
  7. Loco_for_Lucas Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2002
    star 5
    The audience does not need nor should it expect a grand introduction to Yoda because, at this point in the narrative, there is no hint as to where the saga is going. Yoda - despite having the highest midichlorian count on record - is no more important than Sio Bibble, or Ric Olie, or even Jocasta Nu in AOTC. His role has not even begun to take shape. By injecting an introduction - complete with John Williams violins, reverential bowing, and resultant close up of Yoda's response - would be inappropriate and would stick out like a sore thumb. It really is too bad for those OT fans because his introduction is very much muted. It speaks volumes. From a virgin's perspective, he turns out to be just another guy in a large universe. It isn't until the plot has begun to unravel that the real players, heroes, and villians behind the saga begin to take shape.


    If what you said is true, then why are most of the other Jedi, sans two others, silent? They clearly have less value than Yoda and even Mace. Of all those characters, it is Yoda that stands out as the leader and exceptional member of the Council. Were he as "underplayed" as you imply, he would have little to no lines, like the rest of the Council. To get your point across, Lucas would have either had to develop the entire Council rather than just one or two, or have Yoda say nothing like the rest.
  8. LucasCop Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2002
    star 2
    Well...yeah....he's got the lines because he ends up playing a key role in the later films.....not too difficult to understand.......

    He places himself in a leadership position within the Jedi Council. He is a point of contact for the Supreme Chancellor as we see in AOTC.

    ?[face_plain]
  9. Loco_for_Lucas Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2002
    star 5
    Ahh, so he IS more important than any of the other Jedi, which kinda goes against what you said earlier: "Yoda - despite having the highest midichlorian count on record - is no more important than Sio Bibble, or Ric Olie, or even Jocasta Nu in AOTC."

    He doesn't blend in well with the other Jedi at all when he's introduced. He clearly stands apart from the rest as he does most of the speaking and so forth while the rest stay silent.

    he's got the lines because he ends up playing a key role in the later films.....not too difficult to understand.......


    So he's not "another guy in the universe" then, is he?
  10. LucasCop Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2002
    star 2
    The point I was trying to make was that to the audience who is unfamiliar with the Star Wars saga, the narrative does not indicate that Yoda would ultimately have a vital role in the evolution of the story.

    There are hints as to the character's importance; by being a leading member, he ultimately has the prerogative to override the rest of the Jedi Council and allow Obi Wan to train Anakin. Still, throughout TPM, the audience is not led to believe that he will become any more important than Boss Nass or Chancellor Valorum. Fulfilling the introductory purpose of the saga, TPM is being set up with a multitude of characters.

    Yoda is one of those characters whose role is not clear until the story develops in AOTC. At this point in the narrative, his development follows that of Mace Windu and Sio Bibble and others.

    When a saga like Star Wars develops over six+ hours (and 30 odd years in a GFFA), it is a creative touch to exercise restraint from fleshing out particular characters immediately. As the story develops,

    certain characters come to the forefront (Mace Windu, Count Dooku, Lando Calrissian),

    some characters return (Boba Fett, Jabba the Hutt),

    and some fall away (Qui Gon Jinn, Watto, Grand Moff Tarkin).

    Interestingly, depending on your point of view, Yoda's character fits within all three of these categories.

    Stories within stories within stories within stories.
  11. Loco_for_Lucas Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2002
    star 5
    The point I was trying to make was that to the audience who is unfamiliar with the Star Wars saga, the narrative does not indicate that Yoda would ultimately have a vital role in the evolution of the story.

    There are hints as to the character's importance; by being a leading member, he ultimately has the prerogative to override the rest of the Jedi Council and allow Obi Wan to train Anakin. Still, throughout TPM, the audience is not led to believe that he will become any more important than Boss Nass or Chancellor Valorum. Fulfilling the introductory purpose of the saga, TPM is being set up with a multitude of characters.

    Yoda is one of those characters whose role is not clear until the story develops in AOTC. At this point in the narrative, his development follows that of Mace Windu and Sio Bibble and others.


    Actually, he is very different from Chancellor Valorum and any other, their roles as minor characters do not act as hurdles for the characters. They are passive enough to allow the story to continue. Yoda, on the otherhand, is an obstacle in the story, clearly making him different from the more "supportive" characters that he is being associated with. So thus, he can't possibly be shuffled off to the side as he does something completely different from the rest, he gets "in the way" and creates an obstacle for the characters to overcome; thus, you have more than a hint that this character is "special." He is actively being different that is never really like Valorum, Boss Nass, Jocasta Nu, or Ric Olie.


  12. LucasCop Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2002
    star 2
    Good point.

    But Boss Nass provided a similar obstacle by refusing a gesture of good will and provision of aid to a world that thrived on a symbiotic relationship. The heroes could continue their quest only by playing tricks on his mind to pass through the planet core.

    By your same logic, the audience should think that Boss Nass would ultimately play a key role in the overthrow of the empire years later. But he doesn't. He - like many others - are just a part of an immense galaxy of characters in an evolving saga.
  13. Loco_for_Lucas Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2002
    star 5
    Good point.

    But Boss Nass provided a similar obstacle by refusing a gesture of good will and provision of aid to a world that thrived on a symbiotic relationship. The heroes could continue their quest only by playing tricks on his mind to pass through the planet core.

    By your same logic, the audience should think that Boss Nass would ultimately play a key role in the overthrow of the empire years later. But he doesn't. He - like many others - are just a part of an immense galaxy of characters in an evolving saga.


    Then again, Yoda's judgement wasn't usurped by a wave of Qui-gon's hand. Boss Nass had a small moment of defiance, but quickly became a character that provided the main characters with a means of continuing the story without any further hitch. He wasn't a serious obstacle, so there was no need to invest any further thought in him, unlike Yoda, where from the get-go we know he's important to the rest of the story.
  14. Ekenobi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2002
    star 4
    Another fool-proof excuse..er, response to anyone who doesn't like what he's doing.

    Where is it said he does not enjoy what he is doing? The docs I have seen show otherwise.
  15. LucasCop Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2002
    star 2
    You're missing the point.

    Contrary to what you may think, the uninitiated audience member does not truly know that Yoda plays an important part in later events. And that's precisely the point I have been trying to make. This entire discussion is irrelevant to fans like you because you fail to see Lucas' design goal.

    3) The audience failed to realize that the Lucas created TPM with the intention that the audience would not, and more importantly, should not have a priori knowledge of the climax to his six-part saga.

    Unfortunately, because the entire world was tainted with having read the final pages to his magnum opus, on either a subconcious or concious level, many inappropriately drew parallels and comparisons between the two stories.


    The uninitiated will take the story as it is and would not even be phased by the "lack of an introduction" for Yoda. The evolving and maturing story line is all that is necessary to gain familiarity with one of the principle supporting characters. At the conclusion to AOTC, Mace Windu is just as likely as Yoda to have a role extension beyond Episode III. Yoda is not a main character like Anakin or Obi Wan or Luke or Leia or even Han. And as such, he is not granted an elaborate introduction one might expect from a beloved "returning" character; his time has not yet come.

    1) TPM suffered from 16 years of fan anticipation and expectation that it was impossible to satisfy everyone. Because of that, it split an already existing fanbase.

    It seems as though Lucas did not design the saga for people like you. And that is one of the main reasons why TPM failed to obtain a ridiculously wide fanbase like the original. Star Wars is no longer for you.
  16. JKBurtola Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 4, 2003
    star 4
    The uninitiated will take the story as it is and would not even be phased by the "lack of an introduction" for Yoda. The evolving and maturing story line is all that is necessary to gain familiarity with one of the principle supporting characters.

    I was one of the new fans to Star Wars when TPM came out, and as part of the new audience, what Lucascop says here is correct, in my case anyway.

    I never really asked myself "Who is this Yoda?", I kinda had the idea we'd be introduced to him later.
    Besides he isn't integral to TPM's plot BESIDES being the presence that allows Anakin to become Obi-Wan's Padawan.

    And I wasn't too bothered by the lack of an intro to the Jedi Council either, there is no point to it, what was Lucas gonna do? Have them each go "Hi I'm Generic Jedi Council Member #3"?

    Besides I didn't want to know who they were, not after they upset my favourite character: Anakin.

    Besides I was hooked by the story and the characters it starred especially Anakin, Qui-Gon, Padme and yes even Jar Jar. My questions were for the end of the film, because thats usually the point: suspend your disbelief during the film then when you have exited that world and the cinema then you ask your questions....much more enjoyable i think.

    If TPM meant nothing then me being a fan is worth nothing, and that is nothing short of insulting my intelligence and myself as a person.







  17. gezvader28 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 22, 2003
    star 4
    Forget about all the other Star Wars films for a moment, and when you watch 'A New Hope' it is just a space fantasy film with cool characters. You're not aware of any twists and plot points, you just watch and enjoy. Then the 'Empire' was released and this is where Star Wars touched the hearts of us hard-core fans. We where introduced to one of the most famous film quotes of all time and I'm sure you don't need me telling you what it is...Then, 'Return of The Jedi' was released and again, more twists and plots where introduced to us.
    My point is, a lot of people slagged Phantom Menace off because it didn't really do anything. When in my opinion it was just like 'A New Hope', it served as an introduction of characters which like 'A New Hope', we watched and enjoyed. Then only when we have seen Episodes II & III, will the 'Phantom Menace' mean anything, just like the 'Empire' and 'Return of the Jedi' did for 'A New Hope'


    Except that ANH was a wonderful film before/without ESB and ROTJ.
    As for comparing ANH and TPM as an introduction to the characters, well that describes TPM but not ANH.
    It isn't enough to simply introduce the characters, we're supposed to like them, be intrigued, have some reaction to their situation etc. in other words - DRAMA.

    By the end of ANH I could clearly see that the bond of friendship between Han, Luke and Leia was incredibly strong, I cared about these characters a lot.

    In the PT Obi, Anakin and Padme are the main characters, and their relationship with one another in TPM is woefully underdeveloped - anakin and Obi hardly speak, nor do Obi and Padme; and there's nothing between Padme + anakin either. By the end of the film I couldn't care less about them, my only interest is because they're the mother and father of Luke and Leia.

    Even for the secondary characters its a mess - R2 and 3PO are introduced and developed brilliantly in ANH, but in TPM their scenes together don't add up to much at all.

    The only interesting character was Shmi but she isn't fated to appear much in the other movies. Nor is QG or Maul.

    as far as I'm concerned the movie could've been edited down to about 60 minutes, show Anakin having to leave his mother, establish Palpy and his political shenanigans and then move onto Anakin as an adult in the second half. As it is there's very little in TPM of any worth.

    g
  18. DrEvazan Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2002
    star 4
    "I never really asked myself "Who is this Yoda?", I kinda had the idea we'd be introduced to him later."

    why on earth would you think youd be introduced to him later if he was a minor character? im guessing its because you already knew about Yoda to some degree because of the OT. i cant see any other reason you would think you would be introduced to him later.
  19. LucasCop Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2002
    star 2
    I never really asked myself "What is this Zion?" I guess I just realized that I would be introduced to it later.

    (And yes.....judging by Hollywood's historical fixation on greenbacks, I figured at the conclusion that there would be a sequel at some point.)
  20. JenX Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 26, 2002
    star 3
    LucasCop

    I never really asked myself "What is this Zion?" I guess I just realized that I would be introduced to it later.

    (And yes.....judging by Hollywood's historical fixation on greenbacks, I figured at the conclusion that there would be a sequel at some point.)



    TANK: Me and my brother Dozer, we are 100 percent pure, old-fashioned, home-grown human. Born free. Right here in the real world. Genuine child of Zion.

    NEO: Zion?

    TANK If this war ended tomorrow, Zion is where the party would be.

    NEO: It's a city?

    TANK: The last human city. The only place we got left.



    That's from the first film. In fact, I think that this is the first time Zion is mentioned in the film.

    So maybe the reason you never asked yourself "What is this Zion" is because the film told you what it was when it was brought up?


  21. JKBurtola Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 4, 2003
    star 4
    why on earth would you think youd be introduced to him later if he was a minor character?

    Well I didn't know he had a minor role in TPM when I first saw it did i?
    I know now he has a minor role but thats what we like to call HINDSIGHT.

    Besides I made an assumption, which turned out to be correct.
  22. DrEvazan Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2002
    star 4
  23. LucasCop Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2002
    star 2
    "Don't center on your anxiety, Obi Wan. Keep your concentration here and now, where it belongs."
    "Master Yoda said I should be mindful of the future."
    "But not at the expense of the moment."


    Clearly there is a wise Jedi Master who provides counsel for the learners. And this Master seems to have a slight philosophical difference from Qui Gon.

    "....but the reading's off the chart...over twenty thousand."
    "....Even Master Yoda doesn't have a midi-chlorian count that high!"
    "No Jedi has."
    "What does it mean?"
    "I'm not sure."


    Apparently this wise Jedi Master who provides counsel for the learners is one of the strongest Force users on record too. I suppose we'll end up meeting him later in the story.....perhaps upon their arrival at Coruscant.

    I don't understand what your argument is about. The same type of exposition is being provided between The Matrix and The Phantom Menace. Yet, we have not seen either subject at that point. The major difference though is that we actually do end up meeting/seeing this Jedi Master to which they are referring about 30 minutes later. Zion is left to the imagination for four years. Of course, Yoda is never mentioned by name in the council scene, but his identity turns out to be inconsequential to the story line, so the audience does not lose. In fact, none of the Council members are referred to by name. This anonymity coupled with the high pitch choral accompaniment from John Williams indicates that these members are the cream of the crop and make up a class highly disassociated from the mainstream of civilization. The audience is invited to act as a fly on the wall to listen in on proceedings concerning a vergence in the Force and a possible emergence of the Sith Order.

    Still, if the audience is keen, they would be able to properly infer that Yoda is acting as the speaker for the Jedi Council. An appropriate and logical inference.......but, as I said before, the audience does not gain anything new from that information. The scene is about the Sith possibly returning....not fanfare for a returning and beloved character......Ironically....this is the very argument I'm making: TPM is episode I, where all characters' future histories are unknown. Still....you argue that Lucas had an obligation to set up Yoda's character even more in reference to the fact that he will have a significant role in the OT. Flawed storytelling......
  24. Loco_for_Lucas Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2002
    star 5
    If that scene was supposedly about an "the Sith" and not the introduction of the Jedi, then the scene still failed because there was nothing revealed about the Sith of any relevance. Nothing is accomplished, only further "investigations." We don't know a thing about the Sith, how they started, why they could still exist, why they could be back; the characters do not raise this question. Notions are tossed about, but nothing is accomplished; future characters are not developed, the Sith remain unexplained, and the Jedi themselves are still undeveloped as an Order.
  25. LucasCop Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2002
    star 2
    We all get out of entertainment what we want.........if it is really that troubling to you....then perhaps it's time to log off and try a new form of entertainment.....

    Just remember......Obi Wan and Luke never explained what the Clone Wars were all about in ANH. The audience was left to speculate......

    It's backstory that can be argued inconsequential to the current plot......(and be careful before responding......you may need the Sith to be explained or the history of the Jedi Order explained.....but only because you "expected" it to be done after viewing Eps. IV through VI first.....)

    1) TPM suffered from 16 years of fan anticipation and expectation that it was impossible to satisfy everyone. Because of that, it split an already existing fanbase.
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