PT Red Letter Media and other Prequel Reviews

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

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Moderators: Bazinga'd
  1. windu4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2008
    star 4
    The evil villains were white because the Star Wars movies are generally made up by a cast of white people. Just because some of the white actors in the Star Wars movies are evil does not mean it's racist. Just because all the "black guys" or whatever are good guys doesn't mean there isn't a proper racial representation of other cultures in Star Wars.

    Especially when most of the heroes are white too. Institutional racism is when minorities face clear inequality in society. This can't count against the white characters in Star Wars since they are a vast majority in the Star Wars movies. This counts for the Original Trilogy too.

    So do I think Jar Jar Jinks is a racial caricature? As a black man I definitely do. It doesn't matter if he's a good guy or a bad guy.

    Then again this is merely my opinion and clearly I'm going to get heat for this for even suggesting there are possible racial undertones in Star Wars movies. No matter how faint it might be.
    vinsanity and V-2 like this.
  2. windu4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2008
    star 4
    Also I'm not too sure if I appreciate that people who have legitimate racial issues with Star Wars movies are generally titled as "race baiters".
    V-2 likes this.
  3. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    As a woman, I find Stoklasa to be a sexist ****tard, and that overshadows any points that he might make otherwise that I could agree with.
    kainee and Darth Chiznuk like this.
  4. windu4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2008
    star 4
    Yeah well that's your opinion. It's perfectly within your right to think he's sexist. That doesn't mean your right, no more than it makes me right about my opinion. However, I'm not talking about Stoklasa. I'm talking about the movie.
  5. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    And this thread is about the review. I'm seeing a bit of irony in criticizing perceived racist stereotypes in TPM while being in full support of the bigoted stereotypes and caricatures that Stoklasa uses in his reviews.
    Andy Wylde and Darth Chiznuk like this.
  6. windu4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2008
    star 4
    I never said I was in "full support" of Stoklasa. Again: Stoklasa's reviews are his opinions.

    It almost seems pointless to say anything else at this point.

    Edit: He utilizes these stereotypes and caricatures as A) humor or B) when he's pointing out what he perceives to be stereotypes and caricatures in the movie itself.

    I get that your offended by him attempting to deconstruct what young men and young women are looking for in a relationship. You don't have to project that on me.
    Last edited by windu4, Jan 22, 2013
    vinsanity likes this.
  7. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    Well, they're both special pleads, in a way -- though the "as a woman" plead maybe carries a bit more weight (because the person you're making an accusation against is male and may, as dialectic opposite, inherently have one or more blindspots when it comes to women; but this is still highly general).

    The thing with saying, "as a black man", is that Ahmed Best himself, the man most responsible for bringing Jar Jar to life, and a great defender of Jar Jar from that day to this, is black. You can't escape that. Beyond that, I think there is plenty of subtext within the Star Wars movies, and TPM itself, to say nothing of the thoughts and actions of George Lucas, that says this man is actually radically integrationist and anti-racism.

    I don't know if I consider Mike Stoklasa a sexist-whatever, either. In a "bigger picture" view of things, he seems to use sexist humour as a comedic coping strategy as substitute for openly engaging with the material he's critiquing in a deeper/more meaningful way. I see it as more of a playful evisceration of the films, where Stoklasa is hinting that some viewers are likely to give into such stereotypes, if only temporarily, as a kind of reactionary thinking: a surrogate to the way many have recoiled against the A&P romance's perceived pallidness. In other words, he's saying, for many, their minds will roam, and come out with silly, sexist alternatives/outbursts, like when Stoklasa/Plinkett shouts out, in slurred impatience, "Let him get his rocks off!"during a clip, IIRC, of Anakin and Padme in the fireplace scene. In any case, that seems to be why people find his trashing of the A&P romance so funny. It's just a means of scoring one back over what Lucas served up (which they, personally or collectively, have chosen to dislike and seek a kind of therapy for).

    There is a place for humour; even harsh or rubbish humour. On the other hand, I feel I can see where you're coming from, AFS1983. There do seem to be moments, for instance, where the mask is lowered, so to speak, and Stoklasa takes on a less comedic tone, appearing to bash the prequel movies for real, in his actual reviews: like in his wrap-ups to all three; his vocal tone is that bit different, the analysis is drier, and he really seems to want to make semi-credible general points that resonate in jaded fans. Other things also rub me up in the non wrap-up parts, like when he calls Jar Jar a "loathsome ****" in his ROTS review, which just seems nasty rather than funny. I do struggle with some of his schtick. And I've said plenty, I hope, to rebut various attacks and assumptions he makes in his prequel reviews. So this isn't some blanket defence of Stoklasa. On the whole, though, despite their numerous fallacies, I've kinda enjoyed all three reviews; as well as his Star Trek ones. I just know the films -- for me, anyway -- are a lot more eloquent and deeper than these videos could possibly hope to portray even if it was their maker's intention to try.
    Last edited by Cryogenic, Jan 22, 2013
    kainee likes this.
  8. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    I've probably mentioned it already in this thread, maybe more than once, but I could accept Stoklasa's pathetic attempts at "humor" in the guise of sexism a little better if fans of his didn't use his sexist points as serious arguments when discussing the love story.

    "It wasn't realistic! As Stoklasa said, women only want a certain type of man! And 19-year-old boys have no interest whatsoever other than ****ing!"

    Stereotypes aren't funny anyway IMO, and when they're taken as gospel, they just get ridiculous.

    And this isn't directed at you for pointing out that the stereotypes were an attempt at humor, but I've seen the same fans of RLM's critiques who use his arguments as gospel critiques of the PT, tell those of us who criticize the stereotypes that we're humorless.

    OK, either he was just being funny, or he wasn't. If he was just being funny, then why use his so-called funny arguments in a serious discussion and expect them to be taken at face value?
    Last edited by anakinfansince1983, Jan 22, 2013
    Andy Wylde, kainee and Darth Chiznuk like this.
  9. windu4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2008
    star 4
    It doesn't matter that the actor were black. Black people are just as capable of being culturally insensitive as any other race. I'm not trying to make a special plead or case. I just have to introduce a different cultural perspective that relates to my own identity. I know that there are other black people who don't hold the same opinion on this matter. Ahmed Best is an example of this.
  10. windu4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2008
    star 4
    You've mentioned this several times and I've said several times that its within your right to be offended.

    And RLM didn't use that as the sole reason for why they weren't compatible. He phrased several good questions while deconstructing their relationship. Would you marry someone who supports a fascist government and murdered women and children? I wouldn't.
  11. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    Your last paragraph (as bolded) is a bafflement I share. As Jim Raynor has said, some people want it both ways: they'll say it's just humour, but they want to propound that same humour as truthful accounting of the prequel movies' alleged failings, too.

    Another problem is that Stoklasa plays on contemporary cynicism -- at least where the A&P romance is concerned -- ignoring the old-fashioned melodramatic motifs that George Lucas used; but you can't adequately critique classical music if your only reference point is hard rock.

    Then, of course, there are the various distortions, omissions, and trite distraction tactics/red herrings Stoklasa uses to skip over any areas in which the films contradict what he says or implies, or wants the viewer to believe. A lot of context is willfully jettisoned to create issues out of thin air; to leave out things that might weaken or undermine a given belief or impression that Stoklasa wants the viewer to share or ineluctably arrive at.
    Fair enough. The problem, however, is that rather like the "I'm a woman" plead, but even more steeply, in a way, a reader cannot really know the "cultural perspective" you mean to introduce, as it pertains to your ethnicity, without further elaboration. Just stating you're black, or a woman, or Jewish, or whatever, is presuming to speak for untold numbers of other people, who may have radically different life experiences and views, and is, in a way, quite racist in itself. Without explication, you're speaking with an authority you don't have, but want people to assume you do. Like saying, "Trust me, I'm a doctor", though you might not be, or may be medically qualified but have given incorrect advice, for example.
    kainee likes this.
  12. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    There are women who don't have a problem with RLM's sexist stereotypes; I just always find it funny when someone comes along and says "Stoklasa wasn't being sexist, he was being funny, but Jar-Jar was a racist caricature." OK. Different perspectives for different folks.

    So he's doing two things: one, grossly oversimplifying two different scenes, and two, assuming that it matters whether or not I personally would marry Anakin.
    Andy Wylde likes this.
  13. windu4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2008
    star 4
    I just stated that I dot represent all black people. I never claimed that I spoke for all black people. What I am saying is that I have a cultural perspective that heavily plays into how I view Star Wars. Some people may not share or understand that perspective which is why I explained mine.
  14. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    There's maybe some cognitive dissonance there. People are both more willing, perhaps, and even need to give Stoklasa the benefit of the doubt, but they won't do that for Lucas. It makes sense, in a way: it's why they dig Stoklasa so much to begin with.

    Yes. That's rather ridiculous; and you have very concisely revealed exactly why. I love the added sentence, too: "I wouldn't". Is that meant to make a person sound more discerning and/or morally superior?
    Last edited by Cryogenic, Jan 22, 2013
    Valairy Scot likes this.
  15. windu4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2008
    star 4
    He murdered innocent women and children and supports a fascist government. Explaining why only makes it worse.
  16. windu4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2008
    star 4
    It may not matter to you whether you would marry Anakin but many people watch movies and hope to identify with their characters. It's difficult to identify with Padme or Anakin due to their romance.
  17. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    Unless you've made some earlier posts on the matter, which I may l have missed, this is apparently all you've given a reader to go on:

    "As a black man"... and then what? You invoke a personal detail about yourself presuming that it suffices; but it doesn't.

    You seem not to understand the fallacies inherent to your original statement:

    1) You strawman two separate scenes.
    2) You assume the matter of Anakin's goodness, and ASF1983's own discernment/intelligence, hinges on whether she would personally choose to marry him; or, rather, a caricature of your making.

    For good measure, you then:

    3) Repeat yourself, not seeing the original errors.
    Identification is subjective and is not determined purely by the strength of one's desire for betrothal to a fictional character.

    If marriage is your only metric, I hope you don't enjoy a lot of movies, or you'll probably be a very busy, very cash-strapped polygamist in no time flat.
    FRAGWAGON and anakinfansince1983 like this.
  18. Valairy Scot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    I'll buy into this (and haven't read earlier posts for a while): from your perspective @windu4 can and will you elaborate more on what you see as racist and why (for example, character design, speech patterns, whatever you see or hear)?

    There is no doubt that our own experiences color our perceptions (no pun intended) and thus we do not see the same things.

    Would you characterize these things you see as blatant, or unconscious?

    Since you mentioned Jar Jar is portrayed as a good guy (and usually racist stereotypes are negative) would you elaborate on what about him is stereotyped and why such, to whatever degree, is negative.

    (Somewhat like Anakinfan, as an older woman, I sometimes see things that males sometimes don't "get" especially if they're younger but that's another subject.)
    Last edited by Valairy Scot, Jan 22, 2013
  19. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    In your opinion. In mine, the Tuskens torturing Shmi to death is an important factor that those who like to grossly oversimplify this scene, almost always choose to either ignore or blatantly dismiss.

    And I'll wait for the "it doesn't matter what the Tuskens did, Anakin shouldn't have..." in 3...2...1... Proving my point.

    As far as "supporting fascist government," he was teasing Padme, and in doing so, was a hell of a lot funnier than Stoklasa is in his reviews.

    And LOL at the notion that I must be personally willing to marry a fictional character in order to accept that another fictional character might want to marry him. There is so much complicated dynamic involved in choosing someone to marry and I'm not a 16-year-old girly-girl in love with the idea of a white dress and veil. And to provide a contrast to Cryo's point about polygamy--if a viewer is personally negative about the institution of marriage, does that mean he or she could not possibly enjoy a story in which two characters fall in love and decide to marry?
  20. windu4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2008
    star 4
    I'm not going to explain why I don't like Jar Jar and view him as a racist caricature. I have explained it in this thread at least twice and multiple times throughout the board. I have a strong feeling that even if I did it'd be deconstructed and someone would explain to me why I shouldn't be offended.

    That's not what I was saying at all. Many people watch Star Wars because they find the characters believable and because they can identify with them. For example: I can believe that Luke Skywalker would have a boyish crush on Leia after first seeing her. She is beautiful and represents something he hasn't seen before. When he learns that she is his sister and backs off I did find that a bit strange and ludicrous that he would crush on his sister. But when I saw ANH I could identify with his feelings.

    Can I identify with Padme choosing to marry a man who murders women and children because of his temper and admits to believing in a fascist government? Definitely not. I don't believe Anakin was joking when he said that. Maybe it was because of Haden's wooden acting or whatever but I thought he was absolutely serious. There was no evidence provided to him joking on the matter and claiming that he was joking is just an attempt to take away from how unlikeable his character is. I can't believe Padme would marry someone like that. It's just not realistic.

    I place the same critique on all movies I watch. I don't like most romantic comedies because they aren't realistic. Just like Anakin and Padme's romantic subplot.

    Regardless of George Lucas' beliefs on marriage I still think the way he told the story and presented the characters made the romance that much harder to believe.

    I'm not sure if you've seen transformers but Michael Bay did the exact same thing with the ghetto Transformers. Racist caricatures created for cheap laughs.

    What?

    Not necessarily. I wouldn't support the idea of occupying Vietnam or Iraq but that didn't stop me from enjoying Apocalypse Now and Hurt Locker. Just because you don't agree with something in real life doesn't stop you from being able to judge a subplot without bias.
  21. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    Earlier you asked me if I would marry Anakin, and from that I assumed that you believe that I must personally be willing to marry a fictional character in order to believe another fictional character would marry him. And you argued with me when I said that it is irrelevant whether I would marry him or not.

    Are you assuming that you personally are judging it without bias? Or that Stoklasa is? I think we're all bringing biases into this, which is fine, film is art, not science.

    Getting into a discussion in which one person tells another person that his or her opinion is "wrong" as opposed to simply different, which is what Stoklasa in his arrogance does--that is where the problem lies.
    Andy Wylde, kainee and Darth Chiznuk like this.
  22. windu4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2008
    star 4
    You keep bringing this up. I keep saying that I don't necessarily agree with him saying that.

    That was an important question because when many people watch movies they judge the characters based in their own moral paradigm. I thought that you did that too based on some of your posts that I read. If you don't than that's fine. If you think Padme would marry him despite his glaring shortcomings...well that's your opinion.
  23. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    Heh. Well, I understand your exasperation, but that's a major part of the discussion process, isn't it?

    Well, firstly, Star Wars is mythology; it's not about realism.

    Secondly, whether Anakin was being serious or not, Padme assumed that he was joking, and this earned him a very intrigued/approving look from her.

    Thirdly, you have falsely conflated Anakin's callow thoughts on the ineffectiveness of the Republic, and his desire for a more efficient/just system, as him yearning or believing in a fascist system. This, to me, is patently not the case. Fascism is more about flag worship and repressed homosexual urges, in my opinion, than it is about strong governance or brutal oppression (though it certainly involves the latter, as well). What Anakin advocated for could be said to be benevolent/benign dictatorship or benevolent/enlightened absolutism (a key qualification is he uses the epithet "wise", rather than the term "strong", to define who he thinks should be the leader/figurehead), both of which may share some of the hallmarks of fascism, but are not, strictly speaking, the same thing:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benevolent_dictatorship

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enlightened_absolutism

    Such systems actually draw on the principles of the Enlightenment -- the latter especially (hence "Enlightened absolutism") -- and are not, in theory, anyway, about the aggressive flexing of power, or might-is-right nationalism/ethnocentrism.

    That you and countless other Star Wars fans appear not to know about these alternative forms of centralized government, and easily believe the lies/distortions of a YouTube video rant, is truly tragic.

    To say a little more about all this...

    It's pretty implicit that Anakin derives his frustrations with the Republic, and his belief in a wise ruler having the power to make or impel others to function or behave in a certain fashion, themselves unencumbered by legislature or bureaucracy, by the time he has spent with Palpatine: an outwardly wise, sophisticated, seasoned mentor figure from the cultivated paradise of Naboo. Palpatine does not speak or behave in a way that really aligns him with fascism, but he makes for a pretty good example of someone who seems benevolent -- or would appear so, I think, to a person like Anakin -- and is being held back in what he can achieve through the existing political machinery. It stands to reason that Anakin would be sympathetic to a person like this; and annoyed that not more is being done to end things like slavery on Tatooine.

    Padme, for her part, balks at the idea of dictatorship, but that's a bit rich, really, because she was the one bamboozled by Palpatine in the previous film, willingly helping to vote Valorum out -- opening the motion for his removal -- on Palpatine's say-so, after he played on her impatience and convinced her that Valorum was weak, and that a stronger leader was needed to cut through the red tape and get things done. Does that make Padme fascist; or simply naive? She doesn't really have the right to malign Anakin for the same sentiments that caused her to open the door for Palpatine's rise to power -- the very individual that increasingly has Anakin wrapped around his finger. But fortunately, Anakin is shrewd enough to pass his remarks off as a joke; and he probably doesn't fully believe in what he says, anyway. It's not quite that his remarks are necessarily flippant or spur-of-the-moment, but they are a little hollow, and Anakin probably knows he's a little out of his depth with Padme (said lightly, but with a grain of truth, probably, about how he feels around such people: "I'd be much too frightened to tease a senator").

    These are more plausible, even-handed personal statements. There is not much to debate on this front.

    I'm not sure if you've read my own remarks about Jar Jar, or the Star Wars saga generally, but there's a strong colonial dimension to the entire series, with white male characters, who speak English, dominating in the galaxy, hogging the highest echelons of power, and basically selling democracy through taxation and coercion, practically forcing everyone to speak the same language -- English -- and communicate correctly (legally -- and even then, in a way that agrees with the whims of the Chancellor/the Jedi) if they are to get anywhere at all. TPM shows this unequivocally.

    Jar Jar is there as an affront to the presumed superiority of these colonial powers that dominate other races and points of view. His species name is ripped practically wholesale from a film called "Gunga Din", based on a famous Rudyard Kipling poem -- himself a famous colonialist writer -- of the same name. He is completely ignored when the characters arrive at Coruscant, even by his own system's senator, and he remains the only alien (non-human) on the landing platform. Palpatine continues to ignore him outside his office; and Palpatine still ignores him at the end of the movie (the victors in the other action segments in the Battle of Naboo are thanked (Obi-Wan, Anakin, Padme) but Jar Jar and the Gungans aren't acknowledged at all).

    That is all quite deliberate by Lucas; he's testing to see if anyone even notices. Apparently, the vast majority haven't noticed, but are keen to deem LUCAS the racist, or he of the unfortunate caricature. Which, as I said in the other thread, when I came out with this stuff earlier today, proves -- to me -- that real racism is always unexplored/unnoticed/unconscious.

    I think the basic idea behind that comment is that women are a bit more switched-on, or quicker to notice things, than males sometimes are; especially when they have the benefit of age/experience on their side.

    Are "Apocalypse Now" and "The Hurt Locker" even suggesting the occupation of those countries by foreign powers was/is a good thing?

    My quip about polygamy still stands. If you were being consistent with your earlier criterion, you might well seek to marry hundreds, if not thousands, of different individuals.

    It's fatuous to presume there are set standards that you can apply to other people -- even yourself -- for determining whether fictional characters are likeable or believable or not. It varies greatly according to time and place and the relative experiences and mental states of the recipient at the moment they're encountering or contemplating a given work of art or components thereof.
  24. windu4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2008
    star 4
    I am quite aware that they exist. I did graduate from high school. That being said Anakin is indulging in a dream that simply doesn't exist. Do you know how many people wish for "enlightened absolutism" and end up with a dictatorship? The fact that he thinks something like that would actually work not only points to his ignorance and impatience but also ignore what it felt like to be controlled while he was a slave.

    I was aware of what she meant. I was more amused that she'd actually have the gall to say something like that in a discussion like this.

    It was a nice quip but ultimately it doesn't apply to me. I have no problem with marriage. I have a problem with a fact that Anakin and Padme married even though they are not compatible.

    Believe it or not I actually had issues with the PT before I saw the Red Letter Media Reviews. (I didn't see them until about a year ago). I was just glad to see someone who shared some of my issues. Do I totally agree with RLM? No. Like many youtube commentators he uses fast editing and humor to cover some of the fallacies in his argument. However, there's no denying the fact that he knows a great deal about cinema and the art of movie-making.

    I was just proving a point. I'm not assuming everybody believes the same thing.

    Clearly you have a well thought-out theory about the Prequel Trilogy and Jar Jar himself which is perfectly valid. I'm not going to try and argue with you on that point. I don't think George Lucas is necessarily racist. And I don't need you to tell me about racism. I understand how it works just fine.

    I'm not too sure what you're saying about Lucas and "testing" people. I think you're giving him too much credit.
    Last edited by windu4, Jan 22, 2013
  25. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    "You're a better man than I am, Jar Jar Binks" so to speak?
    Last edited by Iron_lord, Jan 22, 2013
    Cryogenic likes this.
Moderators: Bazinga'd
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.