Prequel Script Writing quality: The whole debate

Discussion in 'Attack of the Clones' started by Darth_Pseudomorph, Jun 5, 2002.

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  1. Jar Jar Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 1998
    star 4
    It's all ridiculously simple. Anakin used the force to destroy the Trade Federation control ship, the exact same way as he did to drive/pilot the podracer he built to win at Boonta Eve. Why is this so hard to accept? We see it established in plain black and white that he is the only human who can race a pod and that he obviously has a knack for all things mechanical in creation, repair, and use, yet it is so far-fetched that he can fly a Naboo fighter with no experience? He is obviously establised as a boy who is almost totally as one with machines, yet it is so far out of line that he knows how to destroy the control vessel without trying to?

    Even in AOTC we see him tell the clones where to shoot to disable other ships I'm sure he's not familiar with and it's because he is so in tune with them. Why does there not have to be an explanation or massive exposition for that scene yet there must be for the control ship scene? To me that's just silly.

    800 pound cow? More like 1/2 pound squirrel! Big, but not far-fetched. Don't make more out something than it is.

    Oh, and sorry I wrecked your day revolution and sidetracked you, but you didn't have to bother to reply if my claims were so wild and out there.

    "I must have hit pretty close to the mark to her all riled up that huh kid?"
  2. Glaukos Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 13, 2002
    Alright, maybe I'm simply viewing the series with rose-tinted goggles on, but there is seriously not a single scene in any of the five movies we have seen so far that I disagree with. Period. Don't get me wrong, there are several scenes which could have been written better, no doubt. But, in my opinion, that doesn't matter. When one considers the amount of scrutiny the Star Wars films undergo DAILY--these boards alone contain thousands of fans--the fact that every scene in every movie can be plausibly defended in some manner is remarkable. I'm fairly sure that even such great movies like The Godfather and Schindler's List could be improved if carefully analyzed for an extended period of time. So could Star Wars...but there is nothing wrong with it the way it is, and I for one am happy with it.
  3. Jar Jar Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 1998
    star 4
    Well said Glaukos! I too believe that there is very little in the PT that has problems and all of that was in AOTC and not TPM. The prequels have both had fine scripts but chunks of them never made it to the screen and in AOTC it hurts things in the love story I think.

    Oh and here's something that you would never think that a guy like me would say, but I pretty much think the Yoda fight was one of the worst moments in Star Wars history. The more I think about it and the more I think about all the contradictions Lucas made against himself when he made that scene the more repulsed by it I get, but I can get over that because the rest of the movie was so good. The problem is that many nitpickers can't get those little, in some cases tiny, complaints out of their head and it ends up ruining the entire movie for them.
  4. smauldookie Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2002
    star 5
    my problem with the pt is not in script writing quality but in the way the actor perform their lines on screen. story is great and love the scripts but if you have wooden actors playing the characters then it will suffer. all the actors except ian sucked in TPM. and in AOTC i only had a problem with natalie and sam jackson.

    it's freaking starwars man! the script are the best part of the films.
  5. Ded-Man Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 18, 2002
    star 2
    Well said Glaukos. The amount of scrutiny the PT has been under has been amazing, yet it has held up quite well.
  6. TokyoXtreme Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 24, 2001
    star 4
    I smell a Marvel "no-prize" in somebody's future!
  7. smauldookie Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2002
    star 5
    "I smell a Marvel "no-prize" in somebody's future!"




    say what?
  8. revolution Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2002
    star 1
    Glaukos wrote::
    >Alright, maybe I'm simply viewing the series with rose-tinted goggles
    >on, but there is seriously not a single scene in any of the five movies
    >we have seen so far that I disagree with. Period. Don't get me wrong,
    >there are several scenes which could have been written better, no doubt.
    >But, in my opinion, that doesn't matter. When one considers the amount
    >of scrutiny the Star Wars films undergo DAILY--these boards alone contain
    >thousands of fans--the fact that every scene in every movie can be plausibly
    >defended in some manner is remarkable. I'm fairly sure that even such great
    >movies like The Godfather and Schindler's List could be improved if carefully
    >analyzed for an extended period of time. So could Star Wars...but there is
    >nothing wrong with it the way it is, and I for one am happy with it.

    Problem is it didn't take much time or a lot of analysis to see the major flaws in the Anikin control ship destruction storyline. It happened right there while I was watching it - building to the final destruction. I talked about it with the person I saw the film with on the way home from the theater. Minor flaws or inconsistencies don't really bother me - but this is a major part of the story involved in moving the plot along. No I didn't hate the film because of it - as mentioned before I found it entertaining. But this aspect of the storyline is indeed one I think was poorly done. And I would disagree with you that every scene in every movie can be plausibly defended - there is really no good defense for the way this particular storyline was written.
  9. revolution Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2002
    star 1
    Jar Jar wrote:
    >It's all ridiculously simple. Anakin used the force to destroy the
    >Trade Federation control ship, the exact same way as he did to drive/pilot
    >the podracer he built to win at Boonta Eve. Why is this so hard to accept?
    >We see it established in plain black and white that he is the only human
    >who can race a pod and that he obviously has a knack for all things
    >mechanical in creation, repair, and use, yet it is so far-fetched that
    >he can fly a Naboo fighter with no experience? He is obviously establised
    >as a boy who is almost totally as one with machines, yet it is so far out
    >of line that he knows how to destroy the control vessel without trying to?

    Yes in fact it is far fetched. Anikin built his own pod racer for his own physical needs and so obviously knew how to drive it - Anikin did not know how to pilot the fighter as clearly evident on film when he got in. Anikin joined the pod race - he didn't stumble into it. Anikin entered with the goal of getting to the finish line and knew where it was - he didn't accidentally or by chance happen to cross it - ie destroy the control ship.

    I will repeat again the dialog between Luke and Obi Wan in ANH - Luke: "You mean it (the force) controls your actions?" Obi Wan: "Partially. But it also obeys your commands." People are not automatons that hang out waiting for the force to take control and through contrivance and clumsiness create success. Now that is a ridiculous notion.
  10. revolution Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2002
    star 1
    Sometimey wrote:
    >It is when one uses language like "800 pound cow" that others seem to turn
    >blind eyes.
    >
    >Nine year old Anakin is not and should not be like 20 year old Luke.
    >Anakin should not be able to intentionally destroy anything. He should
    >not be able to become "in tune" with the force in a moment of Zen and
    >miraculously destroy the Trade Federation ship. He just pushed the right
    >button and hit the right spot. Call it one funny and fortunate accident.
    >Call it fate. Call it destiny. Call it subconscious use of the force
    >(which is probably what I'd call it).

    Actually I call it lacking in the writing department. Dropping a cow or piano is just a phrase some people use in explaining why an actor moves off his spot - ie the writing in motivation and setup is too weak for the character to move, so the character is forced off his spot by the falling object. In this case the clumsiness of flipping levers and various chance occurrences, like bad guys showing up and standing in just the right place, allow a character to accomplish what by your own admission he shouldn't be accomplishing. There is certainly a place for chance occurrence in films, but the extent with which it was used to setup and accomplish the Anikin/control ship destruction is an example of poor writing. The writer apparently was intent on having a very young Anikin to delve into the early years, but also intent on having him destroy the control ship, and it simply wasn't a good fit as evidenced by the hi-jinks required to accomplish the control ship storyline.
  11. Jar Jar Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 1998
    star 4
    It depends on your point of view I think. An Asian studies major who is a friend of mine pointed out to me that George obivoiusly treats the force like Taoism in aspects and it has a very eastern influence in most of it's teachings. After some research on my own, I discovered he is quite right and I highly recommend one looking into Taoism for insight on the force and Jedi. At the heart of Taoism is the idea of returning one to a pure, ultimate state of youth in order to achieve immortality. Children are placed at the heart of the Tao and are the aspiration of those who follow it. The Tao is almost like teachings for changing your thoughts and actions into more and more childlike ones.

    Taoism's basis for immortality through reversion quotes several concepts in children that adults lack due to thought. One such idea is that adults cannot yell for hours because they become hoarse yet a baby can cry endlessly. A man's hand will tire if it is clenched yet a child can seem to clench it's fists for unlimilted amounts of time. There are other such ideas and comparisons but I do not know them all.

    The concept for Anakin is that he is the living embodiment of the force. He was concieved by it, his midichlorian counts far exceed that of anyone or anything else, and he shows unbelievable talent and speed without any training. For other Jedi, the force is a part of what they are, but for Anakin Skywalker, it's not just a part, it is all he is. Combine this with the ideas of Taoism and you have one who acts with the force at the age of 9. Combine this with his love of machines and you have yourself one who can do anything inside of one and save his friends without even realizing what he is doing.

    When I saw that part of the film, I thought it was awesome that he could do that with the force and that he was already so strong, but for others I guess it wasn't enough. I respect that don't get me wrong, but I still think it's pretty simple to see how it happened.

  12. TokyoXtreme Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 24, 2001
    star 4
    smauldookie, a Marvel NO-PRIZE is awarded to a comic fan who writes a letter to the editor explaining why a mistake in the comic really isn't a mistake. While researching the NO-PRIZE just now, I found an interesting anecdote for you:



    > do i get a no-prize ? ... heehee ... btw, does anybody
    > know what a no-prize really is ? A free signed comic ?
    > A t-shirt ?

    the no-prize that i got (from a contest in stan lee's soapbox column in
    marvel age) was an empty envelope that had a drawing of the hulk's head in
    the corner and said something like "Congratulations! Enclosed is the
    Marvel Comics NO-PRIZE which you have won!"

    I took an envelope and drew my head in the corner, and marked it up just
    like the no-prize except mine said, "Congratulations! Enclosed is the
    NO-THANKS for the NO-PRIZE that I won!" I addressed it to stan lee and
    dropped it in the mail. a while later, i got a hand-written letter from
    stan saying "i got a real kick out of the NO-THANKS that you awarded me.
    just wanted you to know. excelsior! stan lee"
  13. Mertroid Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2002
    star 5
    I agree. The script for the original triology was better. The romance script in Episode 2 wasn't the best. I think they could have made it stronger and better.
  14. smauldookie Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2002
    star 5
    okey thanks for that TokyoXtreme.
  15. Sometimey Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 1, 2002
    star 1
    "In this case the clumsiness of flipping levers and various chance occurrences, like bad guys showing up and standing in just the right place, allow a character to accomplish what by your own admission he shouldn't be accomplishing."

    The actual destruction of the control ship was not due to clumsiness at all. Anakin just hit something he wasn't aiming at, as I pointed out in my first post. He was aiming at the various "bad guys" and struck the reactor. He then knew he was in trouble so he flew out of there.

    But at the time he was having a lot of fun popping off "bad guys" which is very realistic for a 9 year old in my opinion. I didn't say he "shouldn't" have been able to do it. I do think that other things could have occurred, such as shooting the "wrong thing" or getting caught but that didn't happen to the "chosen one". I don't think the sequence was highly implausible.

    "There is certainly a place for chance occurrence in films, but the extent with which it was used to setup and accomplish the Anikin/control ship destruction is an example of poor writing."

    Chance occurrence? In that entire sequence, only one thing occurs purely by chance, and that is Anakin hitting the reactor with his shot. It was an accident. But unlike the Jar-Jar Binks sequence, Anakin wasn't shooting by accident. He was shooting and missed what he was aiming at and hit something else instead. That's it. He got there in the first place because he was trying to figure out how to work the fighter so he could help his friends.

    "The writer apparently was intent on having a very young Anikin to delve into the early years, but also intent on having him destroy the control ship, and it simply wasn't a good fit as evidenced by the hi-jinks required to accomplish the control ship storyline."

    I simply do not agree. I don't think there were any "hi-jinks" at all. Again, hi-jinks would be Jar-Jar's escapades on the battle field. Anakin was trying to be brave and at the same time adventurous and that's the kind of thing that happens when the chosen one, the embodiment of the force, gets brave and adventurous.
  16. Darth Geist Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
    star 5
    "It was an accident."

    One of many; you'll notice that Anakin says "oops" four times. :p
  17. TokyoXtreme Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 24, 2001
    star 4
    If he didn't say "OOPS", how would we know it was an accident!! In real life, people are always saying "OOPS" when they screw up.
  18. DarthHomer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2000
    star 5
    Don't know how I missed this gem:

    "Your a scriptwriter yourself? Well, your standards must be pretty low to actually think AotC's script and characters were "very good". Watch a movie like Schindlers List, The Godfather and countless other brilliant movies and you will see what patronising crap AotC's script is."

    Brodie, just who do you think you are? It's one thing to disagree about the quality of a film, but to imply that no one who enjoyed AOTC could know anything about film is a better example of "patronising crap" than anything Lucas has written. Have you read any of my screenplays? I don't pretend to be a great writer (my weakness is dialogue, just like Lucas) but I'm still improving, and I would certainly never criticise anyone else's talent or critical abilities without firsthand knowledge.
    For your information, The Godfather and Schindler's List are two of my favourite films, but I'd still rather rewatch any Star Wars film (even ROTJ) before them, because they're more fun.
    Please be more considerate of others with your posts in the future. And that's all I'm gonna say about that, because life is really too short to get involved in petty squabbles on the Internet.
    MTFBWY :D
  19. Pooja Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2002
    star 6
    What to say...there's so much to say...or type...or whatever...

    Ok.

    What we call "flaws" well, aren't. These are Lucas' films. If he wants Anakin to accidentally blow up a ship or whatever, how is that a flaw? Lucas WROTE it. If there was a "flaw" I'm almost sure he would have changed it.

    Lucas knows that he has fans that are in thier 70's now, but he is, and I stress, NOT going to crank up the maturity that far. According to some of you, the Star Wars prequels should have cursing, profanity, and porn. Just to catch up with the aging of fans.

    Uhm, no?

    Now, I'm not accusing anyone specific of saying such, but it just seems like you people want Star Wars to age WITH you. I remember a film I used to watch in my childhood called "The Neverending Story." It was a childhood favorite, up there with Star Wars. I'm 19 years old now, and I still love it. Why? I loved it as a child. And I know that if the Star Wars prequels came out in my childhood, I'd love them just the same.

    When Episode I was about to come out, I knew it would seem childish to me. I knew it would have dialogue that none of us like. Empire Strikes Back has dialogue I'd like to erase. All movies do.

    But it's time to get over that. I seen A Beautiful Mind last night, which won Best Picture of 2001, and I analyzed that films' writing. And you know....I didn't find the writing to be all that impressive. It was smart and well thought out of course, but the actual dialogue- what people say and how they say it- wasn't that "OMG."

    If Episode II had a mess up in SFX, that would be a fault. If you could see a cameraman in the background, that's a fault. If some of the plot didn't make sense or if one plot point interfered with another, messing it up, that would be a fault.

    Anakin blowing up the ship and saying stupid things like "Now this is podracing" is not a fault. Lucas wrote it, that's what Lucas WANTS to show us. If he came out and told everyone that he messed that scene up, that it was stupid and irrelevant, and he would do anything to change it, it would be a fault. But it's how the story goes, it is what Lucas wants us to see. IN translation, NO, it's NOT a fault. It just doesn't bode well with what we wanted to see.

    On Jar Jar. From day one, I knew Lucas was up to something about JJB. While everyone moaned and groaned about him, I tried to think of why he was there. What he is doing as a character. Why is he so stupid? Well we found out didn't we? Lucas knew from the start what Jar Jar's purpose in the prequels were. He knew people wouldn't like him. And that's where he succeeds. You can argue with me all you want, I don't care. But frankly, JJB is stupid for a reason. He is hated for a reason. If I were writing these movies, and I wish to never have to because it would be such a daunting task, I would make a stupid character too just to screw up the Republic. And what better way than JJB? Lucas didn't put JJB in the movies to make fans and critics grumble. He put JJB there to give children something to laugh at and love, and to further Palpatine's scheme.

    OHHH, once again, we have misconcieved the word "fault." Ouch. Sucks to be stupid doesn't it? Yeah. JJB is not a FAULT. He is there for a reason. He is a retarded nutcase for a reason. He is annoying for a reason. Lucas knows this, and to be quite honest...JJB is possibly one of the most well handled characters in Star Wars. If we LIKED JJB, then Lucas failed. We are not supposed to.

    I love the tagline of "American Beauty."

    "...look closer."
  20. Duckman Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 21, 2000
    star 4
    Ha. Writing "experts" crack me up :)
  21. k-man Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2002
    star 3
    On one hand, I agree with Pooja -- these are George's movies and what's shown on film is what he intended for us to see and thus we can't really classify them as "mistakes" or "faults."

    On the other hand, just because some one intends to do something does not mean it's not a mistake in other people's opinions. You could think it's a good idea to hack your genitals off with garden tools, but most would probably view this as a mistake.

    I do believe the prequels are subpar to SW and Empire, but in certain ways, I think AOTC is superior to ROTJ. I also think AOTC is INferior to ROTJ, due more to editing than to writing.

    That's just my opinion. And after 10 pages of debate, I think we can all agree this is not a resolvable issue. We'd probably all do something different if SW was our baby as much as we think it is.
  22. revolution Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2002
    star 1
    TokyoXtreme wrote:
    >If he didn't say "OOPS", how would we know it was an accident!!
    >In real life, people are always saying "OOPS" when they screw up.
    >

    "OOPS" is actually an old term used in mythology to indicate concentration. It goes back to Chaucer and also Greek mythology. So whenever Anikin says "OOPS" he is really trying to concentrate the use of the force. It has nothing whatsoever to do with screw-ups, mistakes, or clumsiness:)
  23. revolution Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2002
    star 1
    Pooja wrote:
    >What we call "flaws" well, aren't. These are Lucas' films. If he
    >wants Anakin to accidentally blow up a ship or whatever, how is
    >that a flaw? Lucas WROTE it. If there was a "flaw" I'm almost
    >sure he would have changed it.

    Ah yes - the old "GL did it so it's all good because GL did it" line of reasoning. How can you argue with that;)

    Although this logic could come in handy. Next time I do something poorly at work I will tell my boss that I intended to do it that way - which will make it OK. I am sure my boss will agree;)

    I'm afraid that regardless of intention, unless GL is God, or has assumed the mantle of papal infallibility, he is quite capable of good and bad in his work. That's no slight of GL - it's just a quality of being human.
  24. Fitten trim Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 1999
    star 4
    As I've written before in another thread, these are the changes in the script, which I would have made. These are my personal thoughts, if you don't agree, please don't get your panties in a bunch.

    In Palpatine's Office...:
    #1. Padme says she believes Count Dooku is behind the attack... but gives no reason for this belief, not even after the Jedi tell her they don't think Dooku's involved. Adding a line about why she thinks Dooku is behind the attack would further flesh out Dooku and the coming conflict.

    #2. Add a line/lines explaining why the Seperatists are leaving the Republic, and why that's bad for the Republic!!! (This could be accomplished with an additional Padme's line about why she thinks the Seperatists are behind the attack.) Not ONCE in the entire film is the Seperatist's motive explained. Yes, Dooku mentions corruption in his scene with Obi-Wan, but please. If the conflict between the Republic and Seperatists is important, Lucas had to set up WHY its important!

    #3. Add a line to clarify that Padme was going to vote AGAINST the creation of an army. Strangely, the "vote about creating an army" is barely in the movie: the opening scroll, a throwaway line in the Jedi Council, and one line in Padme's bedroom "I'm the leader of the opposition." If the vote and Amidala's position are important to the story. You've got to address them. Based on Lucas' edit of AotC, the vote isn't important, then why not cut it entirely?

    In AMIDALA'S apartment...

    #1. Obi doesn't want to investigate, Ani wants to overstep the mandate and investigate. This is meant to show that Ani breaks the rules. Yet later, the Jedi Council apparently agrees with Ani and thinks Obi should investigate. So was Ani right and Obi wrong? This bit of confusing logic may seem like a minor thing on the surface, but IMHO it muddies the story (and no, I don't believe Lucas is doing it on purpose!)

    #2. Cut Ani's line about "It was Padme's idea" to use her as bait. The story's set so that "Padme barely recognized me, she doesn't remember me" yet in an instant (not shown on camera), Ani and Amidala have a secret plan formed behind Obi-Wan's back??? Just have it be Ani's plan... because he and Padme haven't come together yet.

    Romance
    #1. - CUT NABOO. Sure, it painted a pretty backdrop... yes, anybody could see two people falling in love in such a romantic setting... BUT outside of that, Naboo provided NOTHING to the story, and to include it, Lucas had to insert loads of exposition. All the same romantic situations scenes could take place on the shuttle or on Tatooine.

    #2. Smooth out the transitions. I've written before about how in one scene Ani&Padme are fighting and in the next they're flirting... and Lucas didn't show the transitions?!? Example of one simple line change that connects the dots:

    Padme: Are you going to use one of your Jedi Mind tricks on me?
    Ani: How can I? I'm not a Jedi yet, you said so yourself?

    This provides a nice wink, IE: yes, these two flirting kids are the same people you just saw being snippy to each other in the palace.

    OBI-WAN'S INVESTIGATION

    The story of the clones is generally well-thought out:

    The senate's about to vote to create an army not realizing that an army has already been created... Senator Padme's doesn't want an army and the bounty hunter trying to kill her is the source of clone army, just waiting to be used... A Jedi ordered an army 10 years ago but there wasn't a problem with the Seperatists 10 years ago, why would the Republic need an army 10 years ago... Obi-Wan tracks the source of Republic's army/ to the home base of the Seperatists...

    This is a really great puzzle; a puzzle the audience is thinking about... Obi-Wan should be wrapped up/thinking about it too! The novelization author realized this and wrote multiple passages about these questions swimming around Obi-Wan's mind.

    In literary fiction, Agatha Christie always gave her top two detectives (Miss Marple, Hercule Periot) partners. Sherlock Ho
  25. Darth Geist Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
    star 5
    On that note, Fitten Trim, I had an idea the other day on how to drive the Separatists' conflict home.

    Imagine this scene, early in the film:

    INT. SENATE CHAMBER - DAY

    Regal CHANCELLOR PALPATINE presides over the vast assembly from a central podium. On a floating platform, the stately COUNT DOOKU addresses his fellows with a passionate speech.

    DOOKU
    I no longer see a Senate. I see a marketplace; a place to buy power and privilege! The corruption, the inefficiency--did those die with Valorum? No! They are with us today...

    He locks eyes with Palpatine.

    DOOKU
    ...and we are blind to ignore them! (Lowers his voice) This blight upon our worlds is beyond any vote or committee. We must sieze it by the roots, tear it from our hearts and build anew!

    Various SENATORS attempt to shout him down, but Palpatine quietly raises a hand, and they fall silent.

    DOOKU
    On behalf of my ruling council, I declare the Sereno system free of the Republic, and capital of the Confederacy of Indepedent Worlds! Those who see this stagnant pool for what it is: Join, and be welcome.

    A mixed cry rises from the crowd; some boo, while others cheer.

    DOOKU
    Good day.

    Escorted by his aides, Count Dooku turns and leaves. A slightly flustered Palpatine calls for silence.

    PALPATINE
    Well, this brings us to our next issue: Does the Republic need an army?
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