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. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5
    You're quite aware that they exist? And you were taught about them in high school? REALLY???

    Personally, I just think you're claiming to know things after they've been introduced into the discussion, to cover up ignorance and marginalize what I've said.

    No, I'm not aware of many. Then again, I'm not aware of many people that know about or understand the principles of the Enlightenment; or much of any aspect of history, for that matter.

    Right. Anakin has his beliefs; Padme has hers. It doesn't mean they're grossly unsuited.

    You acted like it was a problem, but I read it as a pretty neutral interjection, myself.

    I wasn't calling your attitudes about marriage into question; I was simply taking one of your arguments involving marriage to its logical conclusion.

    Who says Anakin and Padme aren't compatible? Okay, you. But this is a highly personal view, so I don't see the need in arguing it out.

    The same ol' spiel.

    Personally, I don't give a flying fig whether someone "knows a great deal about cinema and the art of movie-making" or not. I care much more for personal passion and creative insights; which sometimes come from a place of ignorance, or localized knowledge, not some academic comprehension of cinema. In fact, the latter can make someone into a blowhard: a prejudicial statistician or poindexter that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. Mike Stoklasa is a little more like the latter, unfortunately, since he seems to be an exponent for clear, comprehensible cinema, and argues from arbitrary standards that don't really exist and would be pretty useless if they did.

    I never tried to suggest you didn't have issues with the prequels before Mike Stoklasa came along. On the contrary, his videos seem predicated on the assumption that the average viewer is likely going to be a disgruntled Star Wars fan who has stewed over the perceived deficiencies of the PT for some time, and finally has an outlet for their frustration. You can't really go to his videos and hope to understand what the hell he's talking about before seeing the movies for yourself; but that's a scary thought. Nonetheless, every time you parrot something he's now inscribed into nerd lore, you give tacit approval to that same attack/complaint/distortion in his reviews.

    I'm just not sure what point you've really made; let alone what point has possibly been "proved".

    Sorry if that sounds rude, but I've been quibbling your argumentation here, so I'm just reiterating where I'm at.

    If I was too broad before, let me make a small adjustment: racism takes many forms. I was mainly talking about the form it takes when people choose to start pointing fingers. A few days ago, Obama was being slammed in the news for making poor choices with his recent cabinet choices -- white males -- and it struck me as just that sort. I don't know if you're American or not, but a lot of the bluster about Star Wars and these purported elements seems like it can be traced to there, and I find that to be a reflection of where America was at thirteen/fourteen years ago and is STILL at today, sadly. There's a climate of fear and paranoia over racism, with many people ringing that bell for a host of different reasons (some personal, some political); but they're the ones -- more often than not -- that seem to be perpetuating racism in reverse. Projection comes easy to the human mind; and what better card to play than the race card in modern society?

    There's a parallel in the film itself: Anakin is tested for his ability to perceive different objects/forms in the mind of Mace Windu holding and looking at a small display screen. He is meant to be using the Force -- his own intuition -- to do it. The films are flooded with imagery and situations designed to seduce, puzzle, and intrigue. Everything is some kind of test. Lucas himself is an experimental filmmaker; one of the things he is experimenting with is audience response. But I suppose it is necessary to deny this cornerstone of his art if you're dissatisfied with his work and looking to slam his decisions and call his characters racist.
  2. Arawn_Fenn Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    quoted for truth
  3. anakinfansince1983 Nightsister of CT, SW Saga and Lucasfilm Ltd

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    star 8
    I think this was again a comment on your question "Would you marry Anakin?" I don't think the suggestion was that you have a problem with marriage-- quite the opposite in fact, as you seem to be suggesting that whether two fictional characters are compatible for marriage should be based on whether you'd marry one of them yourself. Hence the comment about polygamy, when the other option would be judging a lot of fictional couples incompatible. And my point was that if I would not marry again on this planet, much less fantasize about marriage to fictional characters, asking me whether I would personally marry Anakin is rather pointless.
  4. PiettsHat Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    On the contrary, I would say that his history as a slave is precisely what makes him susceptible to Palpatine's suggestions of a dictatorship. You may recall that in Episode I, Anakin lamented that the biggest problem in the universe is that nobody helps each other. That's why he's frustrated with the Republic, because it did nothing to help him or any of the others slaves on Tatooine. Nor was his mother helped, even when he was made a Jedi. One of the founding ideas behind a "benevolent dictatorship" is that democracy is too messy, inefficient, and corrupt. Certainly the Republic had most of those problems and Anakin is young. He's only 19/20 in AOTC and not many people that age have settled into their political opinions. Young people can also be more radical in their thinking.

    The idea of the benevolent dictator goes back to antiquity as well -- to Plato and Aristotle who declared it to be the best form of government. Anakin doesn't envision himself as the leader (as he points out to Padmé) but there is someone (Palpatine) whom he greatly admires and whom he could see making the galaxy a better place, should the Senate get out of the way. The idea of a benevolent dictatorship doesn't seem so crazy when you already have a dictator in mind, I would wager.

    Plus, when you look at Anakin and Padmé's conversation, Padmé thought that Anakin was teasing her ("you're making fun of me!") but their discussion of politics did show her that Anakin cared about the system that people lived under.

    I don't quite see how they're not compatible. Both of them have dedicated their lives to service and have had irregular childhoods (to say the least). In my opinion, I think Anakin was drawn to Padmé precisely because she had many of the qualities he had always longed for and missed -- a very great capacity to forgive and see the best in others, her dedication to people, the fact that she recognized him as a person even when he was a slave and she was a queen, and she was a comforting center of emotional strength for him.

    Anakin clearly cared about the political system. He had dedicated his life as a Jedi to serving others. And he had helped save Padmé's planet and her very life not too long ago. Plus, he cared about her and was open with his feelings and I can imagine that Padmé is quite used to people saying one thing and meaning another, since she works as a politician. But it's more than that. Padmé has always struck me as a bit of a martyr, ready to dedicate herself to her causes, no matter the cost. When her planet is invaded, she goes back herself to reclaim it, although she's very well aware that she could be taken prisoner or executed. In AOTC, she describes how she couldn't refuse the request to serve as Senator even though she was relieved when her two terms were up. We see this again when Obi-Wan is captured and she heads off to Geonosis to try to find a diplomatic solution. Now where does Anakin fit into this?

    Well, I would say that one of Padmé's problems is that she's been raised to never really do things for herself. She won't be with Anakin because he might have to give up his future for her. I think that when Anakin loses his mother and slaughters the Tuskens, on some level, it makes it easier for Padmé to justify to herself to be with him because he needs her. Then, it's not just her being selfish and going after what she wants, but Anakin clearly needs someone to help stabilize him and find his way again.

    You can't forget that Padmé is well aware of Anakin's nightmares about Shmi -- how long it's been going on, Anakin's tiredness, how much he's worried about her, and Padmé was there when Cliegg Lars described what happened to Shmi. Given how Anakin reacts to what he's done -- the overwhelming guilt and pain, I can see how (in this context) she decides to keep it secret for him. It's not that she doesn't recognize what he's done is wrong, but she doesn't think he's a bad person, given the circumstances and his reactions. She wants to "heal" him is my understanding of the scene. Plus, you have to remember that Anakin didn't just tell Padmé about what he had done but he also told the Chancellor -- an authority figure -- and one of Padmé's friends. That, and Anakin was going to fight in the war to protect the Republic.

    I think, to be honest, that the Anakin-Padmé romance (whether it was intended by Lucas or not) works very well as a deconstruction of the "girls want bad boys" cliché because the reason that this trope is so popular is that it's predicated on wanting to "save" the other person. Wanting love to be strong enough to support and redeem them. To give them the strength to be better. I think where the PT romance works very well is that it demonstrates that Padmé's love, while well-intentioned, is not enough on its own to get Anakin through this. He experienced an extremely traumatizing event that he doesn't really get to deal with or confront the implications of. And it re-manifests itself with disastrous consequences by ROTS. I also think the romance demonstrates the dangers of acting as someone's sole source of emotional support -- when Padmé's life is threatened and it's possible that Anakin could lose her love, he doesn't know how to handle it. And Padmé's love alone is not enough to get him through that as it is the very thing he fears losing.

    Personally, I think the dynamic works very well because I can see the context for why they love each other and how that love supports them, but is weakened by their inabilities to be honest with themselves. Anakin needs to admit that he needs help and not try to pretend to be a model, detached Jedi. And Padmé needs to accept that she's not adequately equipped to help Anakin. She can be there for him, but she can't be the only thing that is keeping him balanced.

    I don't know. TPM had quite a strong message against racism -- the theme of symbiosis and how we are all dependent on each other and how only by working together could the humans of Naboo and the Gungans free their planet. I guess your mileage may vary though.
  5. Valairy Scot Backpacking One Pack a Day Mod of New Films

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    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 6
    Really? As a white woman I don't have the experiences you have had; I can try to imagine how being black in American affected you but to truly understand, I need to ask YOU.

    You won't have the same perspective on women as I do (since you're not an older white woman) - how the media portrays them or dresses them or slots them into roles - now vs 1965, for example. You didn't experience that: as I defer to you on "being black" in another discussion you might wish to defer to me as to what I've seen growing up female over the last few decades.

    It's not complicated.

    It's asking to see things from another's perspective.

    OH DEAR edited to pick up this:


    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.
    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.
    You acted like it was a problem, but I read it as a pretty neutral interjection, myself.

    What!?! [face_dunno] How someone gets THAT and then another person gets bent out of shape over that iincorrect interpretation - HELL NO. Just no. Read what I meant above this edit
    Last edited by Valairy Scot, Jan 22, 2013
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  6. Arawn_Fenn Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    The addition of the "sometimes" saves this from being hilariously off-base and sexist.
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  7. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5
    Sure. One is forced to make qualifications when the other person has already ventured down a rocky road. Suddenly, everyone has to watch their step.

    Personally, I don't know how all this started, or why it's pathetically limped on for so many pages. It doesn't really have much to do with Star Wars or the PT.

    The core of the Plinkett material is not the humour used, as such, but the complaints made about the films, which are rather varied and many, even if they tend to take the same form and tone. This other line of discussion is an annoying sideshow and I feel glad I was accidentally banned so I couldn't get involved in it till now.

    But it is late and I'm probably just feeling cross. You can see how quickly people try to make a meal out of it, though. All I was doing was trying to slightly unpack the vagueness of the original remark made by Valairy Scot; I was not trying to engage in any gender stereotypes of my own. And according to her, I got it completely wrong, anyway.

    When you guys want to talk Star Wars again, let me know.
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  8. Valairy Scot Backpacking One Pack a Day Mod of New Films

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    star 6
    For Force's sake, I NEVER said women (me) are more switched on or quicker to notice things! That is a total misreading of my statement which I noted in my last post and I am :mad: at what is being ascribed to me. Just as I can't fully understand what it is like to be male in America, the males on this board can't understand what it is like to be female. I don't have the same experiences as males, as people of color, as an immigrant...so I was trying to make it clear that I truly wanted to understand a perspective I'm not fully equipped to understand on my own.

    Yes, we can have empathy, but not the direct experience.
  9. anakinfansince1983 Nightsister of CT, SW Saga and Lucasfilm Ltd

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    star 8
    Sadly, though, as I'm sure I have said, the so-called "humor" gets in the way of his points, to the level at which his obnoxiousness is far more memorable.

    I wish that weren't the case. I enjoy talking to people who disagree with me about the prequels, but not with people who tell me "I know what you like because you're a woman." My reaction to the latter statement is "Yeah, **** off."
  10. Iron_lord Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 8
    I wondered how much of the Jedi order concept "guardians of peace and justice" came from the Guardians of Plato's The Republic essay.
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  11. Jarren_Lee-Saber Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 16, 2008
    star 4
    So true!!
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  12. Samnz Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 3
    What confuses me the most about that "argument" is that its supporters are usually the same who ignore Lucas' (as someone who received nominations for America's most reputable movie awards and worked with some of America's most reputable filmmakers) expertise on the other hand. That doesn't work.
    Last edited by Samnz, Jan 23, 2013
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  13. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5
    I was flustered last night, but...

    Your anger seems all out of proportion, IMO. If you didn't want to be so catastrophically misread (although, personally, I think you're splitting hairs), you should have been clearer to begin with. And I put it to you that no-one knows what it's like to be anyone other than themselves. The assumption that I'm a man, and therefore, I know how is it to be male, is rather vulgar. What does it even mean: "to be male"? Experiences differ. That's why, when polls are conducted, a sample of more than just one person is taken. Large numbers can tell you something (while still not accounting all that much for minor variations and idiosyncrasies), but small numbers are often next to worthless.

    Well, I think we just have a basic difference of opinion on that. I kinda dig the Plinkett persona; so I dig the humour (they're interchangeable, I guess). But I don't wish to disparage your own level of engagement with the material; or what's said about it after the fact. If it offends you, by all means, be offended. But, for me personally, because the Plinkett character is just that -- a character, an act -- I'm not able to get too bent out of shape about it. The intolerant -- and intolerable! -- ranting of someone like Confused Matthew annoys me ten times more. And then there are genuinely racist, sexist, homophobic pundits like Rush Limbaugh, or most of the people who work for Fox News. I don't place Mike Stoklasa in that category.

    On the other hand, I'm not convinced his reviews are all that helpful in every sense; especially when it comes to the fight against misinformation. On that level, they might actually be quite damaging, contributing to denatured discourse on a host of pertinent matters. Like, I dunno, someone says they kinda dig the idea of benevolent, centralized authority, only for someone else to immediately label them a "fascist" and have them ostracized from a group. It encourages crude reductionism and stifles free thought. If the videos have that kind of power, even just a little bit, they may well be worth more people getting mad about. But I'm not trying to rubbish your own tastes and attitudes. Perhaps more people should be unsettled the same way; I dunno.
    That is pretty funny, ya. Well done for pointing that out. I've done so before on IMDb. Here we are talking about a man who won awards in film school, made a very bold -- if box-office flop -- Science-Fiction indie flick in "THX-1138", got big acclaim, including Oscar noms, and fashioned a huge money-spinner in "American Graffiti", "shook up a paradigm in the west", to quote MSTRMND, with the (again) Oscar-nominated, mega-bucks-grossing "Star Wars" -- the reason we're all here today -- kick-started another serial masterpiece in "Indiana Jones", set up lucrative film companies that are the de facto torch-bearer in Hollywood today -- THX, Skywalker Sound, ILM -- went back to Star Wars with the prequels and made over $2 billion, revitalizing the entire brand, leading to a $4 billion sale of Lucasfilm and all its assets to the Walt Disney Company as announced last October, and has been gifted both the Academy's Irving G. Thalberg Award in 1991 and the AFI's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. Yet Mike Stoklasa, a guy who puts together rambling video critiques of other people's work in his spare time, is the genius know-it-all? Well, it takes all sorts, I suppose.
    Last edited by Cryogenic, Jan 23, 2013
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  14. Valairy Scot Backpacking One Pack a Day Mod of New Films

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    star 6
    My anger was because someone tried to clarify with horrible results what I meant, leading to another poster taking this as gospel truth as to my meaning when my attempt was to seek further insight from someone with a different perspective than me.

    I would hope that when someone attempts to explain another's post, others would refrain from jumping on it as "truth" until the 1st poster has a chance to say "You nailed it" or "Oops, not what I meant."

    And I certainly don't mean one person's experience is the same as all the members of said group: I asked Windu4 if he would explain his position relative to himself.

    That's the last I'm saying on this.
  15. Sistros Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2010
    star 6
    Actually I think the racial/ethnic stereotypes used in the PT are far more offensive than anything done in the RLM reviews -- aside from murdering and dismembering prostitutes. That's all done in the Plinkett character to break up the reviews and keep them from being 90 minute walls of uninterrupted criticism and obviously it's simple dark humor...
    -----

    oh right, so abducting and murdering "prostitutes" was done to make them not boring and was simple dark humour ?

    yet flimsy evidence of racism (i've not seen any concrete evidence of this) is offensive?
  16. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5
    Since a recent thread on Watto was started and closed before I even got a chance to log on and read through it, let alone say my piece, let me just add now...

    1) I find it disconcerting that not one person -- NOT ONE -- in over a hundred replies said anything about TPM's links with "Ben-Hur", including how Watto is a homage to that classic film's character of Sheik Ilderim, played by Hugh Griffith. This page gives a good overview: http://www.moongadget.com/origins/benhur.html

    2) If people are going to get hamstrung over Watto having a hook nose and whatever other traits horribly offensive Jewish stereotypes are meant to have, why did they not get up in arms in 1983 or any subsequent year over the Emperor, whose crooked nose is meant to imply formidable villainy and even earned Ian McDiarmid the part (as the actor has frequently reminisced, George Lucas, at the end of their meeting, before later giving Ian McD. the part, shot back, "Great nose!"), who is greedy and twisted to almost supernatural proportions, and who -- in parallel to that bizarre conspiracy theory about Jewish people that won't die (the "excuse" for antisemitism; along with centuries of stoking by the Catholic Church) -- seems to be behind and in control of practically everything? This "malady" of Star Wars clearly began before the prequel trilogy, but you'll never hear the OT being criticized the same way.

    3) Ignorance is the fountainhead of racism. To that end, perhaps it isn't surprising that people who go after certain characters in TPM, including Watto, conveniently overlook the fact that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are good friends, that George Lucas cast Liam Neeson, world-famous at that point in time for playing Oskar Schindler in Spielberg's Best Picture-winning movie on The Holocaust, as, for all intents and purposes, TPM's leading man, is widely read on anthropology and history and has an ecumenical appreciation and understanding of myth and culture, explicitly incorporated themes of symbiosis and co-operation into TPM even down to the micro-cellular level, and clearly based elements of the Galactic Empire around the Wehrmacht and SS divisions of the military-industrial complex of Nazi Germany. I could do a similar breakdown for the furore over the Trade Federation aliens or Jar Jar. To call George Lucas racist, or to even imply he's guilty of promulgating unconscious racist stereotyping in his work, is simply absurd, IMO.
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  17. BoromirsFan Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2010
    star 4
    GL's films seem to encourage looking past differences, not being ignorant or hateful. So I don't see the racism in the works, other than people trying to look for it where it doesn't exist.
    Last edited by BoromirsFan, Feb 15, 2013
  18. Darth_Pevra Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2008
    star 6
    You don't need to be racist to put something racist in your movie, though. Accidents and oversights can happen to everyone, after all. I never "saw" any stereotypes in the movies, but I'm not going to criticize anyone who did.

    Personally I'm less worried about racism in the movies but rather of speciesism. Non-human species often appear dumber than the human protagonists or more violent or both. Geonosians, Kaminoans, Ewoks, Gungans, Neimoidians, they are all portrayed inferior in some way or another.
    Last edited by Darth_Pevra, Feb 15, 2013
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  19. BoromirsFan Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2010
    star 4
    How are kaminoans inferior? They came off as elegant more cerebral creatures to me.
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  20. Darth_Pevra Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2008
    star 6
    Morally inferior. They create an entire army of living and feeling slaves for the republic without showing much remorse. But I guess you could argue the humans are just as bad for using that army. Hm.
  21. Iron_lord Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 8
    Obi-Wan does seem disturbed in the AoTC books by the moral implications of what the Kaminoans are doing.

    And in The Clone Wars: Wild Space, Yoda acknowledges the "deep moral and ethical questions" that the use of the army raises- but thinks that the Republic's desperate need of the army might override those questions.
  22. Chainmail_Jedi Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jan 26, 2013
    star 2
    I've never seen or heard of other movies that have been put under a microscope and dissected as much as the Prequels to Star Wars. I've never seen a review of a movie (and a comedic one at that, not meant to be taken seriously) put under a microscope and dissected.
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  23. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5
    You put it more eloquently and succinctly than I did.

    EXACTLY!
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  24. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    A quick counter to this point. I do believe that if there are any real references for characters that Watto might be based on, this is as good as any. A big difference however is that Sheik Ilderim isn't an antagonist in the same way that Watto is to Anakin. He doesn't own Judah Ben-Hur, doesn't bet against him in the race-- actually, he's all around a pretty good guy. So I suppose it's harder for someone like me, who's seen the film, to really make the connection right away. You don't think to compare a bad guy to a nice guy without some prompting, necessarily.

    I might as well make this point here-- I've never understood anybody when they say that Watto has a hook nose. It's not a nose. It's a trunk. So, have a character who's greedy, corrupt, treats people who work for him like crap, and is modeled after an elephant. Therefore, Watto clearly is a stereotype after all-- he's a Republican.
  25. I Are The Internets Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 8
    I like RLM videos (although Half-in-the-Bag is kind of dull) because they are so ridiculously bizarre. Yeah they're not for everybody. There have been some points in his videos where I have thought to myself "yeah I get your point, but you might be going a little too far with it".
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