PT Red Letter Media and other Prequel Reviews

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by Obi-Wan McCartney, Feb 12, 2012.

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  1. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    Wrong. A screwup is a screwup. Film "criticism" filled with screwups is inherently worse than criticism which accurately represents the source material.
    Last edited by Arawn_Fenn, Oct 15, 2012
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  2. sinkie Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 27, 2004
    star 1
    Nope. No one is "screwing up", they're simply speaking of the impression it had on them. Plus, if you were speaking of some review in Film Comment or something I'd be more on your side. The fact you're harping on about it from a review that is told by a fictional serial killer with some quite obvious (fictional) serious issues, is a bit much. The getting it wrong is clearly just him disrespecting the material as he does in numerous other instances. So yes, RLM taken as accurately sourced criticism is problematic. The overall points once one chooses to analyze whether or not the getting it wrong really affects the overall point. Not so much.

    After seeing TPM, my friends and I were quite aware that Qui Gon had said the midis channel the Force, but we dismissively mocked it by calling the Force a blood disease, because this was the slant it now seemed to have given the heavier shift to the scientific paradigm.

    To go back to my royalty analogy. Those that had experienced the Force in a looser way in the OT were free to fluctuate between a scientific and a more mythological/religious/supernatural way. It worked for them, just as believing your bloodline was god-given if one was royalty. Then you're told, down the road, well actually it might be god-given but there are still these detectible organisms in your blood that channel whatever that energy is. This changes things for some. This is no longer taking the king's word for it, you're being asked to look at positive evidence. This is a different paradigm.

    The "getting it wrong" you keep sticking to has, ultimately, absolutely nothing to do with the effect it has. I am not watching these films in a vacuum, I am not watching them without previous experience with this universe, I have been trained by the earlier films to watch in a certain way. Therefore, the reaction is not one of just having misheard or misunderstood. It is one of rejecting as applicable, as part of this universe that has been established by the previous work. There is then, no reason to actually get stick to the right words because the point is that the new material is not accepted as functioning properly in the whole overall experience of this fictional universe. I may get it completely, but I dismiss it, I even then distort it to demonstrate the impression it has made, "the Force [now feels more like it] is a blood disease!" and focus on the effect rather than trying to now make the old work with the new.

    If I take the actual lines and definition of midis from the films, I still end up with the same effect. So me or anyone else calling the Force "a blood disease" or more properly calling it "made more accessible through a blood disease" changes nothing other than for those trying to deflate the overarching argument. But as I just pointed out, either definition, the one that gets it slightly wrong (perhaps even on purpose for humour-sake) or gets it right, still leaves me feeling the same way about the altered portrayal of the Force. I'm like someone who was having fun in the fantasy realm loosely believing in something more akin to a royal bloodline and now I'm being forced to see that there may be something much more scientific going on here...which leads me to suspect it is all science in the end, the pointer starts to point in this direction since the writer/director has chosen to make this move towards something more specific and less open ended.
    Last edited by sinkie, Oct 16, 2012
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  3. Mnhay27 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 1
    Here's an interesting tidbit.

    Rotten Tomatoes TPM page features a quote from respected British movie magazine Empire's original review that describes TPM as "A great work from a greater director, and a blockbuster of quite the most swashbuckling kind." Which sounds like pretty high praise to me.

    But if you follow the link to read the full review, you'll find that it is "no longer available".

    Instead, Empire has replaced it with a newer review elsewhere on the site that describes TPM as "The most disappointing film of all time".

    So it would seem that even film critics are guilty of jumping on the bandwagon. Which makes me really want to read the full original review.

    Does anyone have it?
    Last edited by Mnhay27, Oct 16, 2012
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  4. sinkie Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 27, 2004
    star 1
    I'd be interested too.

    They might be jumping on the bandwagon...or the opposite? Perhaps this particular reviewer was a giddy SW fan, saw it, was influenced by the overall hype and then in retrospect realized that they had not experienced the film outside of that hype and changed their mind. Not saying this is true, but it is possible. And it wouldn't be evidence of an overall failure of TPM, but perhaps for this one reviewer they regretted their knee-jerk, hype-induced praise and wanted to retract it. So they wouldn't have necessarily thought they had to tow the line, but rather they could have had a legitimate change of heart. Though maybe not.

    But yeah, this is pretty interesting and would be fun to read more.
  5. Yunners Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2006
    star 2
    I have to admit to hating the bandwagon excuse. I've been called a bandwagoner quite a few times by one who shall remain nameless. It's as if TPM was the only movie in history that people wanted to like, then on subsequent viewing it became less and less the movie they thought it was. I could run off a list of films I loved when I first saw them, then realized shortly afterwards what crocks of **** they were. This was long before RLM,so called 'forced memes and anti-star wars propaganda', social media. So people (gasp!) can actually form opinions without outside influence.
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  6. ezekiel22x Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2002
    star 5
    If it's the same writer the mag could simply publish a TPM revisited review, wherein the writer explains why he has altered his thought process. If it's a different writer just call it another look at TPM and allow the two views to coexist.

    Completely deleting the original is pretty hokey (to use a recent buzzword around here), though. Fortunately, however, the net has opened up arts criticism enough that hokey mags don't have to be as relevant. I know I've read some fan essays on Star Wars that absolutely crush anything I've seen offered in pro publications.
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  7. Samuel Vimes Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 4
    RE: Midis.

    Firstly I don't really mind them very much. Their primary use is pretty obvious, a quick way to show that Anakin is really strong with the Force. Could it have been done differently? Yes, Qui-Gon could simply have sensed Anakins Force signature and been amazed that it was so strong. As strong a well trained Jedi and yet Anakin has had no training. The whole bit about the prophecy I could have done without as it wasn't developed or used well enough.

    How exactly are midis passed down a generation and what exactly determines what the conc will be?
    A human child is a combination of DNA, half from the father and half from the mother.
    So does the midi conc work the same way?
    If the father has 10 000 conc/cell but the mother only has 1000 conc/cell will the child have an average of these two numbers?
    In this case 5500?
    If this is so then simply because Anakin has a high count doesn't mean that his children will also have a high count, that will depend greatly if Padme has a high or low count. Say if Anakin has 20 000 but Padme has only 1000, then Luke and Leia, will have only around 10 500.
    Probably quite high but nowhere near Anakins levels.
    In fact. given that the child grows inside the mother and shares it's metabolism with the mother, it would make sense if the mothers midi conc would have a bigger impact than the fathers.

    How can the midiconc even be passed on? The midis are a separate life form, connected to other living beings but still separate.
    Human have a number of bacteria in our digestive tract but they aren't passed down to our children.
    If one person has lots of dandruff would that mean his or her children will be born with lots of dandruff?
    The midis, being a separate life form, would reproduce by themselves, so the number might not be constant. If the midis reproduce in great number then the conc will increase, if they don't, the conc will decrease.
    Since the midis is a separate life form that lives inside cells then there are probably outside factors that determine the number, how much food/energy the cell has, how it functions, temperature, etc. Say if the cell has living conditions that favor the midis then the number is high but if it doesn't then the number is lower. If there are no outside factors and the number is totally random then how can it be passed on?
    If two identical cells can have very different midi conc then something else is involved. Either the midis choose to exist in higher numbers in some people and lower in others. But if that is so then a high number might not be passed on. Or the Force has told the midis to exist in high numbers but that is essentially the same as the Force just choosing to be strong in some people.

    In closing, the midi conc seems to imply a stronger limiting factor in Force use than the OT.
    Luke and Leia are strong with the Force yes but nowhere is it said that other people can't learn to use it as well. perhaps not so quickly and perhaps with less potential, but they could learn it. In fact it is implies that Luke would start a new Jedi order but then there must be others that he can train, Leia not included.
    How the Jedi in the PT use the midi conc seem to indicate that too low a number means that you can't be a Jedi. They use the midi conc of newborns and based on that they determine who gets to be a Jedi. So obviously they must have some cut off point, a lowest number, below which means you can't be a Jedi. Now this could be because they have decided that too low a number means you can never learn to use the Force no matter how hard you train.

    So, to me, the midis seem to make Force usage more restricted than what the OT implied.
    If your midi count is too low then it doesn't matter how much faith you have, the power will still be beyond you.
    And it places a bigger emphasis on biology, Anakin is the chosen one, not because of anything he has done or how he is a person, just due to his cellular makeup.
    Luke and Leia are talked about as last hopes but two things to remember there. Obi-Wan and Yoda had time to watch them and se how they acted and both of them had made a stand against evil. The fought against the empire and the sith.
    Second, let's not forget their connection to Vader. Both Yoda and Obi-Wan could figure that Vader, when learning that his child was alive, would not be so quick to kill them and might instead try and get them on his side. That gives them an advantage, any other strong force user Vader might simply want to kill as to not be a threat. So Luke and Leia could have a bigger chance to get close to Vader and/or Palpatine than an other Force user might.
    Just speculation I know but something to think about.

    Bye for now.
    Old Stoneface
    Last edited by Samuel Vimes, Oct 16, 2012
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  8. Mnhay27 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 1
    That's a fair point.

    Reading your post I was wondering if I'd had that experience. Took me a minute to think and then it came to: The X-men movies.

    I've been a huge fan of the X-men comics for as long as I can remember so I was hugely excited when they hit the big screen, got very much caught up in the hype, and thought they were amazing.

    And then....repeated viewing made their flaws hugely apparent. To the point that I simply cannot watch them anymore and genuinely do think they are awful, awful movies.

    So I do actually see where you're coming from even if TPM is a waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy better movie than any of the X-men travesties.
    Last edited by Mnhay27, Oct 16, 2012
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  9. Yunners Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2006
    star 2
    Exactly! It can be applied to a lot of popcorn flicks. The first Starship Troopers, Independence day, Alien Resurrection, Transformers. It's not a phenomenon that's bound solely to the prequels. There's also the opposite. I really enjoyed RLM's review of First Contact. Did it make me dislike the movie? certainly not. It remains one of my favorite sci fi movies.
    In other words, if you need a review (albeit a slightly lengthy and deranged, if not hilarious one) to help you form an opinion on a movie, then help should be sought.
  10. Mnhay27 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 1
    No it's a different writer.

    And what's funny is that the new review implies that TPM seems better now than it did at the time. Here's the complete passage:

    "The most disappointing film of all time it remains, but with the galaxy of hype now far, far away Menace seems much less of a public menace than it did in the summer of 1999. Alongside the obvious action highs, the ability to consume the saga in a single sitting has created a veritable feast for those fans still keen to mine for irony, with Palpatineā€™s Shakespearean scheming particularly delectable here."
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  11. MrFantastic74 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2010
    star 4
    Very astute questions, which further illustrate how midichlorians have gone and muddled up a concept that was meant to be much simpler (albeit, more mysterious).
    Last edited by MrFantastic74, Oct 16, 2012
  12. Valairy Scot Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    My first thought after TPM: disappointment, ONE of the worst movies of all time but not nearly bad enough to be THE worst movie of all time.

    Expectations, anybody?

    I won't call it the one of the greatest, now, but now I thoroughly enjoy TPM (fastforwarding thru scenes on DVD helped). Yet, when I "had to" watch the whole thing when it was released in 3D - hey, it still was fine. I like TPM now.

    I always like AoTC.

    I LOVE ROTS though dark as it is, I don't watch it nearly as much as TPM & AOTC.
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  13. sinkie Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 27, 2004
    star 1
    My first impressions of TPM were, well, I laughed at it. But not really in a smug way, more just a stunned way, like I was laughing at myself a bit for expecting it to be my cup of tea after all the time that had past. I was just kind of like, yeah, ok, I'm not even sure what that was but, oh well, I'm pretty attached to the OT and I've got that so I don't need new Star Wars. I wasn't even really frustrated off the top, just mostly bored and puzzled as to how it had turned out that way.

    But honestly, other than making fun of Anakin and Jar Jar, my social circle was just kind of happy we had grown up with the OT.

    I never really got frustrated until I begin to put things together. New Star Wars along with the Special Editions being the official version now alongside the fact that the technology for watching the unaltered versions was being replaced by more high fidelity methods and the OOT was in danger of being swallowed up and diminished by all this "new".

    My ultimate complaint remains the attempted diminishment of the OOT. If this "problem" can be worked out, I'd find myself respecting Lucas much more again and seeing the PT as less of an attack on access to the originals. As it is, I'm fine with the PTs existence, I like to speculate on how it could have been different but I have no delusions that this speculating will have any effect on reality. Its just fun, therapeutic, a hobby, a way of keeping it fresh for me, but I'd love to think that the OOT will one day be restored and kept in circulation for centuries to come for all sorts of reasons not the least of which is historical and the most idealistic of which is that it could spawn a breed of fan that sees the OT as SW and the rest in the context of a continuation after the fact. Because that's one way some fans probably currently do live it and experience it.
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  14. ezekiel22x Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2002
    star 5
    My ultimate hope is that 600 years from now the Gungan and Ewok Adventure Hour is remembered as definitive Star Wars.
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  15. MrFantastic74 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2010
    star 4
    @sinkie: I find myself "like"ing a lot of your posts. I think it's because we are in similar boats. I'm like you in that I don't hate the PT, but wish the films were better, different, more Star Wars-y. There are aspects of the PT that I really enjoy, but unfortunately those elements are thinly sliced and sandwiched between thick layers of things that I don't really care for.

    It's interesting that you say that, because I occupy a lot of time (much more than I really should) just thinking about how the PT could have been different/ better. I've gone so far as to begin writing screenplays for a completely overhauled version. Now, of course, I realize the endeavour is a colossal waste of time, as the script will never see the light of day, but in a strange way, it's very therapeutic. It's as though I'm creating an alternate and personal SW canon.
  16. Valairy Scot Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    See, I don't get this personally. As said, I'm an "OT-originialist" and I don't have any sense of diminishment, attempted or otherwise.

    And not addressed to Sinkie even though I used that quote, that's one of the frustrating things I find about either PT dislike or TCW dislike - this idea some put forth of GL & LFL etc. deliberately attempting to sabotage existing material. Sinkie, you said "diminishment" - why do you think so (I'm especially asking about the "attempted" portion of that phrase)?
  17. sinkie Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 27, 2004
    star 1
    Sometimes I just like the sound of certain words!

    :)

    But I mean that Lucas has flat out stated the SEs are "it". And the OOT doesn't exist as far as he's concerned, they were rough cuts etc.

    The bonus DVDs were "ok" but they were far from the respectful and careful treatment those "rough cuts" that fans adored for decades, deserve, as well as posterity. These were the films that started it all and that everyone alive during the hype came to know...and sometimes love. The fact that even the print from the film archives has been removed and replaced by the SE is "disturbing". They should, at the very least, be preserved as they were for the historical record in a reproduce-able form.

    So the importance of these original cuts are being diminished by the slow erasure of any source that could generate copies in the future. The "attempted" part is that there is some resistance, there is originaltrilogy.com for example that seeks to try to keep them alive in the highest quality possible. I know some people question their motives etc but I for one laud them their efforts but would more than happily buy them again and again as the years go on if they were official releases on the the current (and upcoming) formats. I think the attempted part is also an attempt on my part to be hopeful that he may have a change of heart before it is too late...if it is not already. Some have said the negatives are not irreparably altered too.

    The only "logical" explanation I have ever heard for their suppression is that Lucas would have to share the profits with those he signed contracts with decades ago. I see this as logical though pretty unfair to those that contributed and signed that agreement in good faith.
    Last edited by sinkie, Oct 16, 2012
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  18. Valairy Scot Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    I'm missing something because now you're talking original release vs SE's - but what has that to do with the PT diminishing the OT?
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  19. sinkie Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 27, 2004
    star 1
    Sorry, the OOT vs SEs was what I was trying to convey in the original post. The PT doesn't intentionally, and perhaps doesn't at all, diminish the OT, that would be a matter of perspective. But I think a clearer case can definitely be made for the diminishment of the OOTs importance by its unavailability and risk of disappearing into obscurity. Sorry for the confusion!
  20. DARTHVENGERDARTHSEAR Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2002
    star 4
    These reviews and arguments will go on forever and ever, but in the end it doesn't matter what we think because Lucas will not admit his mistakes and will only release what he feels is his true vision, whether it be good or bad. The sad thing is, after Lucas is dead, the Star Wars film franchise will die with him, too.

    I hope one day he has a change of heart and decides to delve into the story of the Sith's rule that supposedly happened a thousand years before TPM.
  21. Valairy Scot Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    I don't consider the SE's to be a mistake - I liked the inclusions. Ok - I'm "meh" on Han vs Greedo, but I like the inclusion of better backgrounds, the Biggs insertion. I'm hazy on the other changes, though.
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  22. sinkie Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 27, 2004
    star 1
    I'm actually not even advocating for people to like the changes but rather to see the value in preserving the theatrical releases as they were at the very least for the historical record and posterity and perhaps out of an empathy for those who grew up on them and will eventually lose the ability to watch them as they were or at least in a form that isn't substandard.
  23. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    I don't think that's it; as someone who does some writing just as a hobby, and no matter how many times I revamp a work, I always feel that I could improve it again--and from that perspective I understand where Lucas is coming from. He wants the product that is "out there" to be his finished product, not what he considers his "****ty first draft" (borrowing the term from one of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott, who has also written books and how to get started writing--she advises making lots of "****ty first drafts"). I know the hard-core OOT fans don't consider Lucas' rough cut to be ****ty at all, which is fine--I don't either. But he would rather that the product most prevalent on everyone's minds 200 years from now, be his finished one.

    I don't think his contract signers had anything to do with it. And I'm pretty sure the "rough cuts" are preserved in the Library of Congress for historical record.

    And for the sake of full disclosure, in case my user name doesn't give it away, I also grew up on the OOT. I was 5 when "Star Wars" was first released, 25 when the SEs were released, and I remember thinking that the changes were awesome; a more colorful Bespin is the first thing that comes to mind, plus the stormtroopers riding banthas, and no Vaseline-wheels on the jawa cruiser. Can't say I really understood the fuss over Han vs Greedo shooting first either; one way or another, Han was shooting in self-defense.

    Can't say I liked the inclusion of Jabba, who was by far my least favorite aspect of ROTJ, but generally I liked what Lucas did.

    However...my one complaint: Vader's ROTJ "NOOO!" chaps my hide.
  24. Samuel Vimes Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 4
    First, the comparison with an author is not totally correct, an author works alone, a film director isn't the sole artist that creates a movie.
    So Lucas isn't just changing his work, he is altering or even removing other peoples work.
    Lucas could, if he so choose, remove Alec Guinness completely and replace him with Ewan. Now I don't think this is likely to happen but Lucas is within his rights to do this. Then Alec's work will be gone.
    Second, calling the finished films "rough cuts" is to me a rather degrading term. A "rough cut" is something that is never intended to be shown to a paying audience, at best it might be used at a test-screening. Many people worked very hard with the OT films and to dismiss their work as "rough cuts" isn't terribly nice. Same thing with calling it "half a movie". I didn't pay half-price when I saw it.
    Third, I can understand that Lucas prefers one version and wants that to be seen by people in the future. But the existance of the OOT in an up to date form will not prevent that. If he puts out his version and say "This is my prefered version" but also allows the OOT to be released, how is that in any stopping people from seeing his prefered version?
    Give people the chance to make up their own minds and if his prefered version is SO superiour then surely everone will watch that instead of the originals. But for some reason Lucas seems reluctant to this. He doesn't want the OOT released and in essence he wants it to be gone and forgotten. And I think that is sad and does a disservice to movie history.
    Fourth, Lucas might be unhappy with the original version but he can't be unaware that the films were huge hits and much beloved. So he has nothing to be ashamed off. Letting the OOT continue to exist will not be some black mark on his reccord or something that future generations will deride him for. Instead his refusal the release the OOT and his apparent desire to let it fade away HAS caused criticism and in part Lucas has only himself to blame. If he had released the OOT on DVD, in up to date quality, in 2004 then he could have avoided a lot of the flack he gets. And yes some of it is undeserved but not all of it.
    Fifth, Lucas has said that movies are never finished, so there can never be a "finished version". He can keep tinkering with these films until he dies and that version won't be "finished" just the most recent one. He could write in his will that the films should keep being altered forever and ever.
    Lastly, what I think gets some people upset is not just the changes but also Lucas weak excuses. He said that Greedo was always meant to fire first but the avaliable evidence speaks against this. Lucas has also said that before Han was a cold-blooded murderer, which is nonsense. It was a clear case of self-defence before and after. So Lucas reason to change it makes no sense.
    That and in the 1997 SE, the change looked bad.

    In closing, I am all for Lucas be given the right to keep changing his films as much as he wants but don't let the originals fade away.
    Both can exist side by side. Many recent films have shown this, where both an orginal version and a directors cut has been made avaliable.

    Bye for now
    The Guarding Dark
  25. StampidHD280pro Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2005
    star 4
    For me, I had the opposite experience. When I saw Episode I the first time, I was pretty quickly aware that what I was watching wasn't going to be what I wanted once the sea monsters started showing up. I was mostly indifferent toward Jar Jar, and Anakin's story just had this bad kiddie-movie tone that I was not into. "Not MAH Star Wars. This doesn't give me warm and fuzzy nostalgic feelings." Said I.

    But because of all the backlash, I realized I was being just as stupid as most people. That's a pretty good rule to live by, I think. If everybody else is doing it, run in the other direction! A friend of mine told me "You know, most of the people who think Jar Jar sucks listen to Coldplay." And that, my friends, put everything into perspective.
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