Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Pimpsy, Oct 31, 2012.
And I disagree.
Bye for now
In response to your response to my post: That's one way of looking at it. Another would be that foreshadowing and references to future events increase the rewatch value of movies and enriches the experience for the audience.
It's like reading through the HP series, for example, and then realizing how much of the story was actually planned from the beginning. There are lots of hints in the first books that the first-time reader likely misses but in hindsight are very significant nods to later events and revelations. To me, that makes the HP books all the more compelling.
Whether or not people pick up on the hints in the PT depends on the individual. Some see it, others don't.
The true shocker of that trilogy, though, is Anakin turning to the dark side and ruining everything in ROTS. From the viewpoint of someone who wasn't exposed to the marketing campaign for the PT release, of course. If you go in with no knowledge of his turn, there's very little in those movies that could prepare you for it. Yes, he struggles with his dark side, but to think that he would actually turn evil... even to me, that seems unreal - not because of poor execution, but because I wouldn't believe that a person like him would do that. After all, you want him to overcome his dark side. You root for him. At least I do.
The revelations in the OT, then, become rewards, as GL would say. With the knowledge of what happened in the first trilogy, we see the tragedy of Luke and Leia living in fear of their father, unaware of their connection and the fact that he ruined their chances of living happily together as a family; father, mother, daughter and son. The duel in TESB gets an extra layer of tension as we think to ourselves: Is he going to tell him? Then, when Luke calls out to Leia and she hears him, we can't help but wonder when they're going to realize the truth.
The actual revelations become rewards, because they finally know the truth and can finally try to do something about it.
The OT takes on a slightly different role with this approach. For years, "I am your father" was the big shocker of the Saga. Now, ROTS is and the OT is more about Anakin's kids dealing with the consequences. Darth Vader used to be the ultimate badass. Now, he's just a very tragic part of Anakin's life. I see nothing wrong with that.
In the end, I would never say that you're wrong, because from your point of view, your view is the most reasonable one.
To my mind, though, the impact of ROTS and the shadow that it casts over the OT is such a great experience that I would never want to rob a first-time viewer of now that it's available.
...and again, I think the numbers of the episodes speak for themselves.
"From my point of view, the numbers are evil!"
I can't really think of anything that doesn't make sense if one hasn't seen the OT first to be honest. And I say this as a person that viewed PT films first. You say that the potential surprises in the PT are not hidden very well and are obvious to those that have seen the OT, but what exactly does that prove? To a new viewer, that hasn't seen any of the films, they are very surprising. Or at least they were, for me.
The "tragedy of Darth Vader" doesn't work only if you use a very strict definition of tragedy. A tragedy, defined broadly is:
An event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress or a medieval narrative poem or tale typically describing the downfall of a great man
And there are some works that are considered tragedies despite happy endings. Pierre Corneille's tragic play Médée has a happy ending although it is considered a tragedy. Tragedies are essentially about a characters' flaws and mistakes inducing their own downfall, which is certainly true in Anakin's case.
Also, the OT is primarily focused around Luke, but he is not the only character to have a major stake in the proceedings. Particularly in Episode VI, it is Anakin who endures a major emotional conflict. Luke is conflicted about his father as well, but he is not the only to experience growth and resolution is my point. Their stories can (and do) run concurrently.
Although, like you, I am fond of the "Fathers and Sons" angle as it is a theme throughout all six films.
But Leia being the "Other" adds little to the proceedings. The fact that she is Luke's sister is merely used by Anakin to anger him and his love for her would still have existed regardless of whether or not she related to him. It also seems to come a bit out of left field without the context of the prequels, in my opinion.
And I already outlined why Vader as Luke's father is better with the PT -- sure it's not a surprise, but there's much greater tension for the audience when Luke goes to battle him since, as I pointed out, if Luke were to kill him, then he would be killing his own father and the audience is aware of this fact while Luke himself remains ignorant. Watching the OT first, you never develop this tension, nor do we wonder what Luke's reaction will be to Obi-Wan's deception in ANH.
Plus, like I said, the shock of the Vader revelation isn't really built upon. ESB ends not long after, it isn't mentioned in ROTJ, and then it's simply confirmed by Yoda. Nor do we see Luke struggle with the realization throughout ROTJ -- he comes into that film convinced he is going to redeem his father, so there isn't any real narrative payoff in that sense.
I disagree. If anything, the PT made it so that anything is fair game and there is a real tension about whether or not Anakin will save Luke. Having watched the PT, you know that Lucas is perfectly willing to have characters (even main characters like Padmé) die and have those they love be responsible for it. So there's a much more "anything goes" feel to the Saga following the PT. If Anakin could fall, there's little reason to see why Luke could not as well.
No offense, but you saw the OT first didn't you? Then you can only estimate how surprising the PT events would be. I actually did see them first, and I can tell you that everything about ROTS caught me off guard. Of course, it varies from individual to individual, but I think you also have to consider that a lot of people who saw the PT when it was first released saw it when they were not only older, but also after seeing the OT. I honestly don't think you can speak to how surprising something is when you are already aware of how it will unfold.
It was not "very obvious" that Padmé would die in the next film. Mostly because it was not obvious that Anakin would turn. I expected Anakin to face a struggle (that he would overcome with the help of his friends and family) but that eventually, he and Padmé would live happily ever after, cheesy as that sounds.
That's one thing that works well with the Prophecy -- I thought that since Anakin was the Chosen One, that there was no way he would fail in any large sense. It's a bit like how I was sure that since Harry Potter was the Chosen One, he wouldn't die, since he had to kill Voldemort and "neither can live while the other survives."
In large part, I think one of the reasons the PT works so well is that it makes it seem as though bad things could happen, but they won't pan out. So when they do actually happen, it's all the more shocking. Imagine, for example, if Han had not showed up at the end of ANH or if Luke had turned at the end of ROTJ and you'll basically have my emotional response to the end of ROTS.
I don't think so. If anything, that makes the switch to Luke as central protagonist all the more interesting. One of the things to consider is that only some of the PT characters survive while others become more marginal in the story which, I think, gives it a much more interesting narrative structure as their is evolution in the protagonist.
I disagree. There's a clear evolution in Anakin's character. He's a very nice kid in TPM who does something terrible in AOTC. But early in ROTS, we can see that despite that horrible event, that he's clearly trying to be a good person. He's much more grateful to Obi-Wan and he clearly recognizes many of his flaws and failings (such as when he apologizes to Obi-Wan) and it seems as though despite the strain of his current situation, that he is on track to overcoming many of his difficulties.
It was well done, in my opinion, because since Anakin is the protagonist and the "Chosen One" one doesn't expect him to turn, especially with his recognition of his flaws. It is perceived more as a challenge that he will overcome (or at least I did). In no way did I expect him to succumb.
To be honest, I didn't know. I was edging towards Zuko eventually joining the Gaang (as he did) but I thought there was also a chance that his story would be a tragedy to contrast with Aang's. By the fifth episode, though, I was pretty certain that he was going to join the good guys (especially after the scene at the fire where he expressed how he was angry at himself), but before then I was unsure of the direction they would take.
Part of the issue with A:tLA though was that since it aired on Nickelodeon, I figured that they wouldn't let him stay on the villains' side. With Anakin though, especially after he had killed the Jedi children and been complicit in Alderaan's destruction, I really had no idea in which direction Lucas would turn.
One of the issues I have with the Vader revelation, though, is that it is never really played upon that much. And here I'll have to explain a bit -- we never really see the transition period where Luke is uncertain about what to do. Nor does he express any anger at Obi-Wan or Yoda for deceiving him. There's a bit of it at the end of ESB (when Luke says, "Ben, why didn't you tell me?") but as soon as Luke enters ROTJ, he is certain that he wants to save his father and doesn't seem to hold anything against his mentors for lying to him.
That is, in large part, why I don't consider the father-Vader revelation so great -- there's very little payoff involved. There's no struggle within Luke as to what to do and that was really what I was looking for. Nor does the revelation push him any closer to the Dark Side by being more easily manipulated by Palpatine telling him that his mentors were only using him, for instance.
With Anakin's fall, there's a much more direct payoff for the audience -- it leads to the destruction of the Jedi Order, to Padmé's death, to Anakin burning alive, etc. Luke's journey is changed, yes, by the Vader revelation, but I feel like we as the audience aren't given the full picture. Of course Luke is going to have to face his father now and decide whether or not to kill him, but this element exists whether you watch the films I through VI or IV-VI, I-III. The actual moment of revelation doesn't add much (for me) because we as the audience don't really get to watch Luke come to terms with the information. I hope that makes sense.
That's fine. I do think, though, that it's interesting to note that we both prefer to introduce the films in the order we originally watched them in. Personally, for me, I felt that watching Anakin's story first really helped me to connect to Luke's story (hence why he is, far and away, my favorite OT character).
Trust me, you don't wanna go straight from Radioland Murders to American Graffiti. Comedy to Dramedy is just a weird transition. Besides, the Indiana Jones trilogy went out of chronological order...
But I really have to disagree with your opinion of Radioland Murders. There's not as much potty humor or nudity as you seem to recall. There's literally only about a half second of nudity, man. And I can't even think of any potty humor, unless sexual innuendo counts as potty humor, I guess. As for bad taste? Give it another chance, man. It does get funnier the more you watch it. It's so dense that it's unlikely you can catch all the jokes without multiple viewings.
And what I love so much about More American Graffiti is that it really IS such a different film from the first one. The first one's all fun and exciting, and the second one ... well, real life happens. The characters are every bit as believable and the actors do well. The way the songs are matched with the scenes is every bit as brilliant as it was in the first movie, if not more so. A dry sense of humor might help along a few laughs, but it really is more Drama than Comedy this time around. The last half hour gets me every time.
I've given it more thought, and perhaps the best impossible marathon would go:
Star Wars I-III
More American Graffiti
Star Wars IV-VI
I think Piett's assessment is spot on. I saw the OT before the PT, but I'd already known who's who (I think the whole world knows that now, so most of the OT's surprises are ruined anyway). I kept thinking "When is Luke going to find out? How's he going to react?". When Vader nearly killed his son during the DS trench run, I was getting rather worried! So it works rather well.
The prequels are really in the unique position of the movies that were both meant for the audience familiar with that that would came after as well as the future generations. After the ST comes out, inspect all the newcomers watch it 1-9 simply because of the numbering. I know it's hard to accept for those who grew up with the SW as it was originally released, but I clearly remember watching ANH on home video and thinking: "Episode IV? WTF? Where are the first three? Oh, they haven't been made yet... Now that's lame, I want to see them too!".
That's not what I said - I was referring to modern films with the same sort of over-the-top broad humour as Radioland Murders, such as Farrelly Brothers movies, containing bad taste, toilet humour and nudity, not Radioland Murders itself, which doesn't really have any at all.
Point being that if you're going to make a comedy based around so much physical comedy these days, audiences aren't really going to accept it without the dirty jokes or really eye-wateringly painful slapstick. Radioland Murders might have been a hit in the 1940s, but in 1994 it was always going to bomb.
Oh well yeah. Lucas kind of made the same "mistake" with the prequels, I reckon. Someone on this board said "All style, no substance." And I'll agree it's super stylized. In fact, it should have been black and white.
Though, again, much of the humor isn't just slapstick, it's fast and smart. Almost like a Woody Allen movie, or, like a comedy from the 30s.
Why would the prequels be black and white? Or are you referring to Radioland Murders?
Whatever order you watch them in watch them a bunch of times. And pay attention.
Radioland Murders. Nah, don't watch the prequels in black and white. I mean, you CAN. Actually, it takes your eye off of things you normally would see and you can more easily redirect your attention to things you've never noticed before. And it feels more like one of those old 1930's serials if you watch em in black and white.
You know what I mean, though. 1930s setting aside, it's still a very old-fashioned style of film. This is what I had to say about it on the temp boards:
Two other examples of prequels is the Narnia series and the Foundation series.
In both of these cases I think that reading the "prequels" first lessens the following books.
"Prelude to Foundation" spoils many things in the first book, same with "Magicians Nephew".
I have seen a C. S. Lewis quote that seemed to say that he wanted people to read MN first but I don't know if Asimov had any such ideas.
And I have no problem with that, if you feel it enriches the story then great.
I am just givin my reasons why I think 4-6, 1-3 works better and beyond my personal feelings, my main reason is the narrative suprises.
Bye for now.
The Guarding Dark
I read Magician's Nephew first and it worked out fine.
As for "surprises" in the OT... like I said, the whole world knows them by now.
One addition to my former post.
I am not sure that I prefer 4-6, 1-3 just because I saw them in that order.
I saw the HP films in order but I don't think the first one is the best, I would say it is one of the weakest.
Nor do I think the first book is the best. For me, film and book three was a big step up in quality.
Same thing with the ST films, I saw the first one first but that one is far from the best one.
Of the Bond films, I would say that Skyfall and CR are among the best.
I like Hellboy 2 far better than Hellboy 1 despite seeing that one first.
I saw Burtons Batman was the first one I saw but I rate Nolans films higher.
In closing, I don't think my opinion is only due to nostalgia.
Bye for now.
IMO, if have watched them all already, you already know the story so watch I, II, III, IV, V, VI. But, if you watch them for the first time, then IV, V, VI, I, II, III. Speaking from my experience, nothing can replace the "I am your father" moment in Empire. I am so grateful I watched the originals first, my jaw literally dropped in episode 5.
See, I just don't understand how you can say this. You were aware of the outcome coming in, so how can you judge the shock or surprise a new member of the audience would feel? It's one thing to say you don't consider these surprises to be as good the surprises of the OT, but quite another thing to declare that they are "not well hidden" which may very well be true for you, but certainly not for everyone. And seeing as how you didn't watch the prequels first, I don't think your estimates on the subject are all that realistic because you have no personal experience with the subject.
In regards to Palpatine, while I agree that his secret identity could have been concealed more greatly, to me, it isn't what springs to mind when I imagine the PT plot twists. Leia being Luke's sister is actually a good reveal in my opinion, because without it, the familial relationship in ROTJ can come across as contrived. And I very much disagree with you that Anakin's turn was too telegraphed. I think Lucas did an amazing job of developing it so that when it occurred, you can understand why it is happening, but it still catches you completely off guard, as was the case for me.
Sure, but again, is that really that great of a plot twist? It doesn't build up for very long (a small segment of one movie) and, in the end, doesn't really affect the outcome so greatly -- Yoda still teaches Luke regardless. No doubt it's an interesting lesson in not judging people based on their appearances, but that is a lesson that is reinforced quite often throughout the Saga. Plus, I do think there's an enjoyment to be had in watching the scene already knowing who Yoda is -- we get to watch Luke's reactions in an entirely different mindset, of course, but more importantly, there's a very sad element to seeing him again. To watching Yoda fight with R2 for Luke's lamp, which looks like a lightsaber -- it's like seeing an old friend again. I'd agree with you more if this was a significant point in the OT (such as if Luke's attitude towards Yoda initially caused him to be rejected as a student), but I don't think it can outweigh the twists of the PT, given that it is a relatively contained "spoiler" and revealed quite quickly.
I don't think that's a huge deal, personally. Many long series let characters fade into the background only to bring them back at a later point. Harry Potter was rather masterful at this. Voldemort, the main villain, didn't really appear or have a role in Book 3, but that didn't mean that the audience disliked the third movie by any stretch. Plus, Palpatine (as the Emperor) is mentioned by Tarkin in Episode IV.
Why not? If you watch Episode IV right after Episode III, as many people would I imagine (since I can't imagine them waiting months or years between the films), there's a good chance they could remember Tarkin. This is actually far more of a problem if you watch the Saga IV through VI then I through III because the other four films are between IV and III. Tarkin doesn't have a huge role and isn't mentioned by name in ROTS, so I find it more likely that the audience would forget him in this viewing order rather than if it was watched I through IV, when they had just seen him in ROTS before transitioning to ANH.
I always got the impression that Luke was selected simply because Obi-Wan was with him. Plus, don't forget, that Leia was flying over Tatooine in the beginning of ANH -- she seem to have been familiar with who Obi-Wan was and says that her father begs him to come and help with the fight. She was supposed to bring Obi-Wan to Alderaan with her and thus this might indicate that Organa sent Leia to Tatooine not only to collect Obi-Wan, but to begin her training with Luke. With Obi-Wan's death, though, Yoda and Obi-Wan may have decided that keeping Leia "in reserve" was the better choice. As Luke himself says, if he doesn't make it back, then Leia is the only hope for the Rebellion.
And, truthfully, these issues are present whether watching the films I through VI or OT then PT. When Leia is revealed to be Luke's sister, the same question still pops up but I think my explanation works in either case.
I don't really think this matters all that much though. Even without the PT, Leia never really gave Luke the time of day. In ESB, for example, she only kisses him to make Han jealous, in response to his comments about her. Had there been more focus on the love triangle, I might agree, but as it is there's not really much tension about who she is going to end up with. This isn't the Twilight Saga (thank god) so I don't think it's that much of a loss.
Sure, but that reality still exists whether you watch the PT first or not -- there's still the question of whether Luke will make it out of this alive. What will Anakin's reaction be? But my point was that watching the PT first adds yet another layer of tension to the proceedings -- wondering if Luke will find out the truth and what the fallout will be should it occur. Watching the OT first, you don't get this extra layer of dramatic tension and I think it really adds to the film and makes the audience even more invested in Luke's story (or at least it did in my case).
In this regard yes, but it's true no matter the order you watch the film in. The audience does, however, get resolution to the tension in terms of how the fight will play out -- will Luke learn the truth? How will Anakin react? Will Luke unknowingly kill his father? etc. The issue with Obi-Wan is (sadly) not delved into much, but there is still a great deal of appeal to watching Luke learn the truth and feeling the suspense build along those lines.
I think you misunderstand what I mean -- Luke in ESB clearly harbors hatred for Vader for killing his father and torturing his friends. And yet at the end of the film, Luke learns that Vader actually is his father. But we never really see him come to terms with this. We never see him resolve his previous anger at the man who caused him so much pain. How did Luke decide to save him? -- that's what I'm getting at. The audience isn't really privy to this journey. We don't get to see him struggle with the decision of whether or not to kill his father -- he basically flat-out tells Obi-Wan as much when he confronts him about the truth-- "I can't kill my own father." Yes, there's resignation on his face, but we don't see him struggle with the decision, which is what I feel the narrative payoff would have been. I don't mind the endpoint of Luke deciding that his father is worth saving, but the real narrative importance of the revelation would have been to see it's effect on Luke, and I don't feel that's explored in-depth enough.
Wait, how is that wrong? Luke doesn't give up hope in his friends -- in fact that is exactly what Palpatine lists as his greatest "flaw," his faith in his friends.
But that's the thing -- the revelation of paternity is a shock because it basically upends Luke's worldview. He has to re-examine long held beliefs and try to come to terms with it. That's the real narrative payoff of the revelation. Watching him struggle and come to terms with this information the same way the audience must process it. And yet, we are never privy to Luke's journey, only his destination -- his decision to save his father and not kill him. There's payoff of Luke's faith to be sure, but not from the revelation itself in my opinion because that would mean watching Luke come to terms with it.
Errr...I'll be honest. I don't consider that the greatest example because I always felt energy bending came off a bit as a Deus Ex Machina. Narratively, I don't think it was resolved as well as it could have been given that energy bending was introduced so late that it simply seemed to be a way for Aang to avoid the whole issue rather than face it head-on. Had it been more thoroughly explored earlier in the series, I think there could have been a bigger payoff, but as it was, I felt its introduction was too convenient on some levels.
Luke has a similar problem in that I feel that his arc kind of sweeps the issue of him coming to terms with his heritage under the rug -- instead, we are only privy to the tail end of it once he has made up his mind, which decreases the impact (for me personally) of the father-Vader revelation.
I disagree. Mainly because the prophecy itself, after ROTS concludes, is pretty much up in the air. Was it even right in the first place? I think it helps, also, that it isn't mentioned in the OT (obviously, since they were made first). But it offers lots of interesting directions for the viewers. Having watched ROTS, one does wonder if the Jedi were wrong about Anakin being the Chosen One, if there even is a Chosen One, or if it is, perhaps, Luke. If it's Luke then the possibility that he will kill his father is that much greater. But I don't think the Chosen One prophecy detracts from anything in particular because, following ROTS, its status is ambiguous enough that it doesn't hint at an outcome.
Plus, with Padmé, we have the same issue as we would with Luke -- Luke also says that there is still good in Anakin. Plus, don't forget that Padmé has been demonstrably very wrong before. I don't think the Saga loses anything by having her say such words. If anything, they help to explain (in part) why Luke himself might believe there is good in his father despite little evidence of this -- he has his mother's spirit. In ROTS, though, we saw that she paid a high price.
Not necessarily. Given how deep Anakin's relationship is with Palpatine (how malignant and twisted) there is the question of whether he will be able to escape it. Plus, as I said, there is the question of whether Luke himself could be the Chosen One -- I've seen many people express such a sentiment even after Lucas confirmed it was Anakin.
For AOTC, I would count Shmi -- she was certainly an important character in TPM. Certainly, she had similar screentime to Yoda in ESB and ROTJ, at the very least. ROTS also has Mace Windu die, although he would be a secondary character.
Lucas had it planned out, to be sure, but it wasn't readily apparent to all of us who hadn't seen the OT first. I thought she would survive, personally. The notion that she would die (and that Anakin would be responsible no less), never really crossed my mind.
But you are saying this from the perspective of someone who knows that Anakin is going to fall, that he is going to succumb. To me, his mother's death merely made him susceptible, but I expected that he would overcome it, especially since he was the "Chosen One." His reaction to his mother's death honestly caught me off guard, but I expected that he would be tempted again but overcome. More than that, though, I wanted Anakin to succeed. I was rooting for him to do the right thing and his shock, shame, and guilt at his actions in AOTC, I felt, really balanced the approach.
What I'm getting at is simply this: you can string these events together because you have both the start point and end point available to you. It gives you a target to build towards. Since you know that Anakin will turn, you can be on the lookout for events that will push him towards that. But when you're not aware that he will turn, it isn't a though that cross one's mind necessarily (at least for some, as was my case).
Knowing Luke would turn while watching the OT, for example, would cause me to see his every bad action as yet another step in that direction. That's essentially the point I'm getting at. Some people might catch Anakin's turn, but then quite a few (like myself) won't -- especially if they are younger viewers who aren't specifically looking for it.
Again, though, I think you make a mistake in generalizing your experience to the rest of the audience. There were a lot of OT-first caught off guard by Padmé's death. To say nothing of those who start with the PT. That's like saying that if someone can predict that the big plot twist of ESB is that Vader is Luke's father then it's a bad twist. But I wouldn't say that's true, although I do know of people who successfully picked up on it -- adults especially.
I disagree. I don't think Anakin's turn is at all obvious if you don't know it's coming. As it's happening, yes, you can understand why, but that doesn't make it any less shocking of an occurrence. I didn't expect that Lucas would really do something like that, but he did. In all honesty, when I first watched ROTS, even at the landing platform when Padmé confronted Anakin, I still thought, that somehow, she would get through to him.
I disagree. There's no reason that Anakin had to defeat Palpatine in Episode III (he could have escaped) or killed all the Sith in that film. So without having watched the OT first, one could easily expect that Episodes IV through VI would be about the fallout from the revelations of Palpatine's machinations. Really, if you haven't seen the OT, they could conceivably be about anything. Plus, the way ROTS plays out, it casts doubt onto the fact that Anakin is the Chosen One or if there really is such a person. Hence the "anything goes" sense. If it's Luke, as I mentioned, before, who is the Chosen One, then he might have to kill his father as a result.
But even so -- there's no huge price paid. These are simply setbacks -- the heroes don't lose anything tangible from it. We don't see the Rebel fleet reduced in size in any way. Han is rescued and is just fine -- no permanent after-effects of being frozen in carbonite. Luke gets a brand new hand that perfectly matches his old one. Obi-Wan, even though he dies, comes back as a ghost.
The two permanent losses -- Luke's aunt and uncle and Alderaan -- aren't really touched upon much at all.
Luke's innocence is lost, yes, but I think that the PT gives a much greater sense of our heroes being at the edge of doom than the OT does on its own. For many of the bad things that happen in the OT, for example, the fallout is often blunted.
ROTJ could still have ended on a very bittersweet note, though. Luke could have had to kill his father to save the galaxy or to sacrifice himself. I don't necessarily think the audience would hate that and I think that the PT makes such a possibility more tangible because it showed that Lucas clearly wasn't concerned with pulling punches and killing off characters or utterly destroying their lives.
Personally, I don't think it's a problem. Many Sagas, for example, aren't about a singular hero, but about a family. In the case of Star Wars, it's about the Skywalkers and those who played major roles in their lives. I think it also works well, in terms of viewing, in that following the very somber ending of ROTS, we get the more uplifting ANH which then gives way to the darker and more contemplative ESB. When watching the Saga OT then PT, there is very little continuity, in my opinion, of this emotional arc. And I don't think it's a bad thing to shift character focus following the conclusion of the PT -- that's what ROTS' ending is all about -- passing the torch to the children.
I didn't find his attitude off-putting to be honest. I found rather refreshing and open -- given Anakin's abilities and his past, I can see how he would look at his skills as a source of pride. I also liked how this was nicely contrasted with his lack of personal security. In terms of self-centered, he certainly could be, but I also very much liked how this was counterbalanced by his desire to help others and his willingness to put himself on the line for them. In a similar manner, I never felt that Luke's "whininess" was a problem because I felt it was natural for the character and was used to build him up and make him more interesting.
Likewise, although I can, in retrospect, see the trajectory of Anakin's arc, I still found that it was well-done in the sense that the audience could conceivably imagine Anakin overcoming his problems.
I honestly never considered that to be that bad. Is is any worse than the soldiers who killed Osama bin Laden on Obama's orders? (To give an American example). Although I knew that the action was wrong, I did not see it as an indicator of Anakin falling to the Dark Side. That he didn't kill Dooku outright (despite his hatred of him) and instead had to be ordered to by Palpatine (someone he trusted and his Head of State) did not seem to indicate that he was doomed to fall, to be honest. That doesn't make his action right, of course, but I think that Anakin's actions would have been more controversial to me had they not been done at Palpatine's behest (and considering their relationship).
But that's the thing. Zuko's choice worked very well because even though you can see and understand why he chose as he chose (and in retrospect, see all the points leading up to it), the audience could conceivably imagine him making a different choice, hence the shock value. For me, the same as true of Anakin's turn.
I feel much the same way. I just think you're selling the PT's surprises a bit short. While you may have picked up on them, not everyone will. I myself am an example of a person who was caught completely off guard. And, from my perspective, the PT offers better narrative twists while enriching the OT. Of course, not everyone will agree that I through VI is the best order, but if I were introducing the Saga to someone, I'd have them watch it I through VI if they asked for my opinion.
I think you misunderstand. I'm not saying that your opinion is due to "nostalgia" but I do think that, having watched the OT first and being aware of how the PT will end, you are not going to be able to speak to how surprising the narrative was because you are already "in the know" about many aspects. It's fine to say that you like the OT's surprises better, but when you say the twists in the PT aren't surprising, I don't think it's fair to generalize this point because if one hasn't seen any of the Saga before, the PT can come across as genuinely shocking (as it was for me).
It's got nothing to do with nostalgia and everything to do with "spoilers." It's like how people always say not to peak at the ending of a book or the narrative will lose it's impact. Now, obviously, you didn't peak at the ending of the book, but I do think that because you knew the ending ahead of time, it's more difficult for you to give accurate estimations of how "surprising" something is. And I also think that part of this issue is in the construction of the PT, which was designed to be viewed before the OT while the OT can stand perfectly fine on its own.
I'm not saying that you don't like the PT because you saw them second, I'm saying that you can't experience them the way a newbie (like me) would have and thus what surprises me won't necessarily surprise you due to your knowledge. You likely also saw the PT when you were older than me as well. Though do correct me if I am wrong -- I saw the PT as a young teen.
i recommend you watch them the way it is originally release. alone, with lots of food besides you, and the day that you are totally free no work pending no girlfriend/boyfriend calling, god! love it,
Well that argument applies to you as well, you saw the OT with the knowledge of the PT so the Vader reveal wasn't a big shock to you as you already knew about it. So if I can't experience the PT as a newbie then you can't experience the OT as a newbie.
Anf if we are to deal with anecdotal evidence then I do know some people that saw the PT first and they picked up on Anakins growing darkness and something bad would happen to Shmi and Padme.
In closing and I don't think we will get further, though it has been qquite interesting.
1) ESB is made with the intent that the Vader reveal to be a suprise both to Luke and the audience.
When have a scene where Vader and Palpatine talk about Luke and the reveal could have been made there. But from a conematic point of view it is more powerfull to make it at the end of the fight, so both Luke and the audience are shocked. Even RotJ still have Vader and Palpatine dance around saying Vader is Luke's father. Only after Yoda has told Luke the thruth do Vader and Palpatine drop the word twisting and speak directly.
So having the reveal spoiled by a previous film works against what ESB and in part RotJ is trying to do. So that is one reason why I have a hard time accepting that we are supposed to watch SW 1-6.
That and the obvious fact that 4-6 were made first and they were made without the need to have seen the PT first.
2) The Vader suprise is something you can't figure out just from ANH and ESB.
The PT suprises, Shmi's tragic death, Anakins journey into darkness and Padme's death are things you CAN see coming. How hard it is we can leave aside for now. So PT OT will spoil you as it will reveal in advance something you couldn't have figure out beforehand. OT, PT might spoil you as the suprises are such that you might be able to spot them anyway.
I always thought Luke's line of "He told me enough! He told me you killed him!" sounded pretty hateful and accusatory. Plus, I mean, Vader tortured Han and Leia -- I would personally find it very surprising if Luke didn't harbor some intense feelings towards the man. Maybe not hatred, but certainly anger and resentment. He saw this man kill Obi-Wan as well, don't forget. Plus, even if he didn't intend to kill Vader, by confronting the man, he has to know that there's the possibility that it could escalate to that. Lightsabers don't have a stun setting after all.
Well, yes, but how does that demonstrate that Luke is wrong? He became angry and upset, but I don't think that he lost faith in his friends. Even Lando, who was in the thick of the battle, had not given up on Han. Luke doesn't strike me as the type of person who would give up on his friends -- he's been hopelessly outnumbered before and suffered huge casualties and still pulled through a victory after all -- such as in the battle against the original Death Star, where only four ships came back.
Not a main character, no, but I'd put her on the level of Yoda. Her screentime in TPM was about equivalent to his and they both die in subsequent films. I would say that she was an important secondary character though.
You miss my point. I'm saying that every time Anakin does something evil or bad, because you know what his eventual fate is, you can see how this fits into the larger picture. You wouldn't consider his loss of control in AOTC, for example, to be something that he can overcome; seeing that, you would clearly see it as Anakin on the path to Darth Vader. In that sense, there's no way that you could possibly see his turn as surprising.
Or, as an example, let's say that ROTJ was different and in that film, Han was revealed to be an Imperial spy and tried to sexually assault Leia. Don't you think that if you went into ESB knowing this fact, that it would color your opinion of his actions in that film (regardless of what the original film's intentions were)? If you kept ESB exactly the same but radically changed ROTJ, I imagine that a person who knew what happened in ROTJ before they saw ESB would find Han and Leia's romance in that film disturbing. When Han pushed Leia against the wall to kiss her or refused to let her go, those actions would be seen in a much darker light, regardless of the characters' intentions in that moment.
That's why I'm saying that it's much more difficult to be surprised when you know the ending.
Actually, I did remember reading a review of ROTS where the reviewer claimed that she had correctly predicted the twist in ESB -- though she did mention that she was Greek and it is a very classical reveal in that sense. I can link you to it if you like.
Plus, in terms of Qui-Gon, I doubt that the vast majority of the audience is going to purchase the soundtrack before viewing the film. I certainly didn't. And the same can be applied to ESB -- those who read the novel already knew the famous plot twist as the novel was released before the film.
And I think you overestimate how easy the PT plot twists are to spot -- I certainly paid attention to the films and didn't spot them, but regardless of the progression of Anakin's character arc, there's very little indication of Order 66 (with all the Jedi except Obi-Wan and Yoda dying). Nor of Palpatine creating the Empire. Padmé's death (and how it comes about) are also very difficult to spot in a first viewing. And, I'll be honest, Anakin's fall caught me completely off guard.
But, for me, the question is one of balance -- the ESB twist might be a tad more difficult to spot, but I don't think it is as radical or engaging as the PT plot twists personally.
I honestly don't the answer to that, but I'm glad he made them the way he did. I think he might have had a tendency to romanticize Anakin/Vader in the OT had he made them in order which I don't think would have been very fitting. I very much like that Anakin is really an out-and-out villain in much of the OT with little attempts to gain our sympathy -- I find it's a more realistic approach and refreshingly open.
One of the things I feel I should point out, though, is that you have mentioned before that because ROTS is in the middle, that audiences would expect for things to go badly for our heroes. Now, while I see your point to a certain extent, I think ROTS destroys things so utterly that there's little chance the audience would expect it. When you look at films like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, for instance, the second film -- The Two Towers -- ends on a relatively good note, with no major characters dying, the battle of Helms' deep won, and Frodo and Sam on their way to Mordor (although there is Gollum's treachery to contend with). There's very little of the Earth-shattering destruction seen in ROTS. Or take Harry Potter. Yes, beginning in the fourth book, people die (such as Cedric Diggory), but the protagonists' world doesn't collapse in on itself. There's evil and difficulty, but it's more contained -- Voldemort returns, but Harry survives and is surrounded by friends and loved ones. ROTS is like a cataclysm in comparison.
I suppose we can agree to disagree. I think one of the reasons I identify strongly with Anakin is that I can recognize a lot of my deepest fears in him -- the fear of being alone and unloved -- while at the same time also having grown up in an setting where I felt like I was merely tolerated rather than actually welcomed by those in authority. I also see a lot of Anakin in my own father (well, to a degree -- they share some personality traits). I could see how Anakin, given his background, had grown up into the person he was. I also base my liking of characters less on how "likeable" I find them but rather how interesting I find them. If Anakin were a real person, I very much doubt that I would be friends with him, but I do think his story and character are fascinating and sympathetic. But, nonetheless, I don't really see him as "rather bad" in AOTC -- I find him rather immature and looking to find his way/prove himself, but I wouldn't say he's a bad person.
I also very much liked Luke's growth, especially from ANH to ESB, although I would have liked to see more of the transition from ESB to ROTJ, htough I digress.
I don't know that I would call it murder though. I think you're right that it was done clear-headedly (unlike AOTC), but considering Dooku is the leader of the opposition in a war, and Anakin is a soldier who answers to the Senate (whose Head has just ordered him to kill Dooku), I don't know that I would see it as a murder. That's why I bring up Osama bin Laden. Because while it is certainly a killing (and wrong in that the person could have been taken in for a trail), I don't think less of the soldiers why followed those orders. If anything, my criticism is on the policy-makers.
I would say that the fact that Palpatine is Anakin's Head of State and a legitimate authority figure (at the time) is probably what prevents me from condemning Anakin too harshly. When Luke confronted Vader in ROTJ, for instance, he was being manipulated by a man he knew to be his enemy and to whose authority he was not bound. Therein lies the difference for me.
I understand, but I'm not arguing that the ESB twist is easy to spot (it isn't for almost everyone), I'm simply arguing that the PT twists are better and thus would rather not spoil those. The PT twists strike me as more genuinely shocking and narratively impactful, There's also the fact that familial revelations are rather common in media nowadays, so I don't think the ESB reveal would have the same impact on an audience after the initial surprise. Plus, I feel that going into the OT with knowledge of the PT reinforces its intensity and adds another nice layer of tension and drama to the proceedings.
In my opinion, the Vader revelation is the only real twist that the PT spoils -- I don't think that Yoda and Leia's reveals add that much to the proceedings. And I just don't think it warrants spoiling the PT in order to preserve it when the PT adds to the narrative of ESB rather than detracts from it (in my opinion).
Yes, I agree that ESB was made with the intent of shocking the audience. The thing is, though, I don't really think the film loses all that much from the audience coming in knowing the truth -- we still get to watch Luke reaction, which I think is far more important. The reason I say this is that the ESB reveal doesn't change how we fundamentally view the characters. Even after hearing the twist, Luke is still the hero and Vader is still the villain -- they are family, but they aren't different and their perceptions of them aren't different. So even going in spoiled, you can still experience the characters the same way.
I don't necessarily think the same is true for the PT. If you go in having seen the OT first, then you already know that Anakin is going to become Darth Vader. And that very much colors your perception of his actions, because you know he will eventually succumb to the darkness. Now, obviously, you're correct in saying that the OT was made first and without the need to see the PT, but that just proves that they can stand on their own. I think one could just as easily argue that the PT was made with the intention that the OT serve as an ending, not an introduction, and thus it makes sense to start with the PT since the OT can stand on its own regardless.
I disagree. Even if one did believe that Shmi would meet a tragic end, there's no way the audience could know how she was going to meet that end and, just as importantly, that Anakin would have such a violent reaction to it. Padmé's death, likewise, isn't really hinted at strongly until ROTS. Plus there's other points to consider, such as the destruction of the Jedi Order and Order 66 and the formation of the Empire. Anakin's fall itself, I would also say, is much more difficult to see coming without Vader's shadow constantly hanging over him. So while there's a chance that the audience might pick up on some of these points, I think, truthfully that any one of them alone is as good as (or better than) the reveal in ESB. That's why I'd start with the PT, even with the most scrutinizing observer.
There's also the fact that I don't think that the PT functions very well to end the Saga. To me, the only true and proper end has always been ROTJ, so I don't think it would be very satisfying for a first-time viewer to finish with ROTS.
Ewoks Battle For Endor
CW Micro Series
Lego SW special
Absolutely the only way to experience the Saga.
Well Vader has just given Luke a severe beating and cut of his hand, I would expect this to make Luke a little angry.
Yes Luke would probably expect a fight and he would not back down from it. But the reason he goes to Cloud City isn't so that he can kill Vader, he wants to save his friends. Had Han and Leia been captured by some regular imperials and tortured in the same way I would think Luke would still go.
At no point in ANH or ESB do Luke say that he wants to hunt down Vader and kill him for what he did. Vader is an enemy and one Luke has extra reason not to like. But Luke's goal in life is not revenge on Vader.
When Luke came to the DS2 he knew nothing about the trap that Palpatine had set. He knew why he was brought there, Palpatine was going to try and turn him but he knew that if he could Palpatine busy long enough then he wil die in the attack and take Vader and Palpatine with him.
This gives him some small comfort I think but that is removed when Palpatine tells him that he knows about the attack and you can see the suprise on Luke's face. Then he is forced to watch the rebels ships get destroyed and worse of all, the DS is actually operational. This feeds his anger and hate and eventually it pushes him to the brink of trying to kill Palpatine. He must know that this will not stop the DS or the death of the rebels but he is just so angry. So I would say his hope is at least diminshed.
Ex. Babylon 5. We have two character, Londo and G'Kar. Early on in season 1 Londo tells says that he has seen his own death and he saw himself and G'Kar strangle each other to death.
Early on the two characters hate each other so we would thin that this hatered is what will eventually lead to their deaths. In season three we finnaly see their deaths play out and it is nothing like we thought. Londo and G'Kar have actually become great friends and their deaths is now something totally different. So even though I knew how they would die, I was still suprised when I saw how played out.
Bottomline, even when your audience knows the ending, you can still suprise them.
First I didn't buy the soundtrack, I just looked at in the store.
Second, looking at the soundtrack and reading the novel are two very different things.
Of course reading the novel will spoil you, how can it not?
Another example of how, to me, the PT doesn't try to hide potential plot twists, but this has nothing to do with the OT.
Dooku. In TPM he is not spoken of. Then in AotC the opening crawls mentions him and the seps and they sound like they are up to no good. Then an attempt is made on Padmes life and she accuses Dooku. Leaving aside that she has no logical reason for thinking this, it again paints Dooku in a bad light. Then when we finally see him we imideatly learn that yes, he is a bad guy. He was involved in the attepmted murder of Padme and he also plans to attack a defenseless republic. Sure aren't told that he is a Sith yet but he is very much a bad guy. Here there was potential for a character that the audience would not be sure of, if he was a good buy or not. And his eventual reveal as a villain could have been a suprise. But alas, to me, it was made very clear in the film that Dooku was a bad guy from the start. Which I think is a pity because there was potential here for something interesting.
I still think you are making this harder than it needs to.
It mostly is narrative set up, pay off and narrative misdirection.
Ex. In Raiders we learn early on that Indy hates snakes. It tells us something about the character but it is also narrative set up. Then we we get to the Well of Souls, the snakes there and Indy's reaction is made stronger because we alredy knew his fears about snakes. Could we have the scene withut the earlier set up? Of course but this made the scene even ickier. The hero now has to face his worst fear.
Or take Belloq, we see him early on, we hear that he and Indy have locked horns before but then we don't see him for a bit. We know that the Nazis are the bad guys but only later do we learn that Bellow works for them as well. This is also narrative set up. Would you have Belloq just in the first scene and then not see him again? That would be weak from a dramatic standpoint.
So it would not be unreasonable for a person that watches Raiders to think that Indy fear of snakes will come into play later or that Belloq would reappear later in the film.
To follow up on Indy and his fear of snakes, Temple has him react to a snake but we aren't told why. Of course we know since we have seen the first film. But Temple is technically a prequel as it takes place before Raiders but watching Temple first would cause questions about Indys reaction.
Then in Last Crusade, we have an opening scene with young Indy and here we see quickly that then he isn't bothered by snakes. That is a set up for us and tells us that we will see how Indy got his fear of snakes.
An example of narrative misdirection is in the film Angels and Demons, there the head of the Vatican police is hinted to be a not so nice guy and Ewans characters is shown as vey warm and caring.
This is then turned upon it's head. And yes this too I could spot and I had not read the book.
Take a common movie cliche, a standard cop movie and the protagonist cop is single but he has a partner that is married and maybe has a kid. In many films the partner dies to leave the wife alone and the child fatherless. Not terribly hard to spot.
Or take Camerons Avatar. One of the things that made the movie less good to me is that the movie was so predictable. I could spot that the end fight would be between the evil military guy in one of these robot suits and the hero as a Navi. I could spot that the hero would download into his Navi body with the help is this God tree. Plot point after plot point I could spot from afar.
Take Shmi. First of she is Anakins mother, he cares about her and she about him. Thye have a very teary goodbye and Anakin asks "will I ever see you again." This is narrative set up. Why have all this if we are never going to see Shmi again?
Then we have the Jedi telling Anakin that he misses his mother, (well DUH), and they warn him about the dangers of this. Yoda gives a very omnious speech "Fear leads to anger ..." This speech was even put into the trailers. So again, narrative set up. Anakin misses his mother and don't want to loose her and bad things could happen if he does. Again why do all this if you're not going to have Shmi appear again?
Several times we are told about the danger that Anakin represents, the council, Yoda and even Obi-Wan. Then we have Palpatine, not terribly well hidden as a Sith, say that he will watch Anakin. Again narrative set up.
The notion about darker middle chapters is mostly that it is a relative scale, not an absolute one.
So you can't compare middle chapters from different stories with each other, only with other entries in the same series.
The first two HP books and films are quite light and easy going. Book/film three makes things a bit darker, and to me, more interesting. Book/film four represents a shift. Finally Voldemort is back, he is no longer this very weak creature that needs to feed of others to even stay alive. He is back, stronger than ever. How is Harry or anyone going to stop him? Then in book five and then book six, more and more people around Harry dies.
TTT the book ends with Frodo captured by Orcs, that is bad enough but if he is tortured and spills the beans on the plan then all is lost.
Temple of Doom is darker than Raiders but that to has a happy ending.
ESB is darker than ANH, ANH have the heroes score a great victory, not without losses but they win big. ESB have the heroes loose a lot and while they don't die then ending is bleaker.
RotS is darker than ESB on an absolute scale yes but that wasn't my point.
AotC is by itself quite dark, Anakin does a terrible things, war breaks out and the ending is rather downbeat. So going in with the "middle chapter" idea, one could expect that things would get even worse than they did in AotC. And they certainly do.
If you like him Anakin then good, I understand your reasons even if I don't agree with them.
What made the character fail to me is that he had far too many traits that I didn't like and not enough traits that I liked. I can tolerate and even like characters with flaws if they have something that balances that. Han was self-centred and cynical but he had a certain amount of charm.
Tony Stark had a massive ego and a very flippant attitude but he too had a certain charm and humor. At least in Iron Man 1, in no 2 he didn't work as well but mostly that was due to the lack of interesting bad guys.
And sorry but I didn't find Anakin very interesting, there certainly was enough potential for an interesting character but I felt the movie didn't take time to explore that.
For ex. a conversation between Anakin and another Jedi about having a loving parent would have been really interesting. It would have been nice to hear the reasons why the Jedi have such strict rules about no-attachment.
About Osama, I don't know the full details but I would think that those soldiers knew ahead of time that this mission would most likely involve them killing him and possibly other civilians.
If those soliders felt that such an act was unacceptabe for them then they could turn down the mission. Also, the other key difference is that Anakin isn't a soldier, he is a Jedi that have very different moral codes. Murder isn't acceptable. Lastly, the Jedi have these rules not just to play nice but also the very real danger of turning to the Dark Side, something Anakin would be aware of.
So comparing Jedi to normal soldiers is flawed because normal soldiers don't have access to a supernatural power that can twist and corrupt them if they do certain things.
Anakin must have been told that if he uses his hate and kills then not only is that wrong according to the Jedi codes, it would change him as well. It would make him into an agent of evil.
If the PT had done a better job of hiding it's suprises and plot twist I migth agree but since they don't then still favor the OT first.
I also think the PT spoils Vaders redemption along with other little things.
Ex. Palpatines Force Lighting, that was quite a suprise to me first time I saw RotJ. That was a totally new power. Even the Emperor himself is somewhat spoiled. With Ot first, you hear about the emperor but don't see him, then you only see his image then finally you meet him. A slow build up with an eventual pay off. Pre SE the same was true of Jabba, you heard about him but never saw him.
I do think the Vader reveal does change the characters in fundamental ways.
Obi-Wan and Yoda are changed to look more dubious and self-serving. They lied to Luke and hid important facts from him. What else have they hid from him?
Vader changes as well, ANH has him as a total bad guy, no redeeming qualities what so ever.
That he is Luke's father chnages this. Obi-Wan spkoe very fondly of him in ANH so can he be all that bad?
It chnages Luke in that it destroys the image he had of his father, the Jedi Knight. It makes his task all the more difficult, can he bring himself to kill his father if it comes to that?
I certainly didn't know HOW Shmi would die, I was reasonably certain that she would die and that her death would have an impact on Anakin. I was actually a bit suprised that Anakin would go that far over the top with his kiiling. But that just made the character, that I didn't really like, even worse.
As for Padme, we have Anakins promise not to let anyone else die, that he wants power to stop people from dying. All this is a clear set up for the next film. And again, with the OT, I would actually expect Padme to live for a while after the twins were born.
And this does tells us something about Anakin. He lost someone in horrible circumstances and he did something terrible as a result of his loss. Anakin admits that his actions were bad for a Jedi but does he try to change himself? Train his self-controll so that he doesn't go off like that?
Not to me, instead he wants power to stop people from dying. It seems that he either can't or won't change himself so instead he wants to change the universe so that people he cares about won't die.
Instead of accpeting that people will eventually die, he wants to stop the natural order of things.
And this is exactly what Palpatine tempts him with in the next film.
As for the Jedi, several things set up bad things for them.
1) In TPM Maul talks about that the Sith wants revenege on the Jedi. Given that the Sith is less than nice, that revenge won't be pleasant.
2) The third film is called "REVENGE of the Sith". Even the title hint that things will go bad for the Jedi.
3) The clone army. In AotC it is made abondantly clear that there are a great many things fishy with the clone army. We know that the Sith, Palpatine/Dooku had a direct hand in their creation and we are told they will obey ANY order without question. So that they turned on the Jedi was very obvious to me, again just waiting for the shoe to drop. And no the OT had little to do with this. All that said was the Empire hunted down and killed the Jedi, but no details.
The biggest suprise to me was that the Jedi were so clueless about it. But that is another debate.
Well then one can watch SW 4-6 then 1-6. I recently tried that and it works quite well. You get all the narrative suprises in the OT, you get to see how the SW saga evolved over time. Then you get the back story and then you can see the OT again with a different perspective.
This has been very interesting and quite enjoyable but I will have to take a break from these boards for a while due to work so perhaps we'll just agree to diagree.
In closing, for all the complaints I have of the PT, I will happily admit that it did overall a good job and mostly that it did things well enough that it works both before and after the OT. And that is no mean feat. How well is up for discussion.
Bye for now
Honestly, I don't understand why people wanted Anakin to be likable. Good guys don't become mass murderers. Also, he's a nice kid in TPM and fans actually complained about that. Then they complained he was too evil or not badass enough.
Anakin's entire life is a story of wasted potential. For all their flaws, prequels showed that very well. Likable or not, he's certainly the most interesting character in the saga.
People don't care about characters that aren't likable. Which is why the overall impact of his downfall, to most people, was 'meh'. It would have been fare more emotional and dramatic if Anakin was a charming, charismatic, leader before he turned, instead of a wet bag of emo.
When ROTS, I remember talking to some coworkers (non-fans) about it. They liked Hayden in that movie well enough (they didn't remember much from the first two prequels). Most complaints always come from fans.