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 4
    I suppose not. In the film, though, Watto seems to just be struggling to get by, and his mild antagonism is understandable -- to me -- given the context. He's a little greedy and cynical in his own way, but his intransigent avarice is almost charming: like the Del Boy of Star Wars. And his last-minute resistance to Qui-Gon winning the bet, threatening to renege, is a measure of his desperation, such that when we see him give in because Qui-Gon threatens to turn that planet's endemic crime lords on him, some sympathy is extracted for his character, I think.

    Later, in AOTC, we understand the basic decency of Watto in a deeper way, since that film's lone scene with him in it portrays him as a sad, lonely, somewhat addled character who was broken by Qui-Gon's bet; and his reasonable treatment of Anakin and Shmi -- again, given the context of the planet -- is played off as ironic counterpoint against the Jedi's anemic moral injunctions and apparent apathy to Anakin's predicament. The screenplay to TPM also had Watto telling Anakin to come back and see his mother one day: the very thing the Jedi expressly forbade him to ever do.

    Granted, you do need to see AOTC to get the full appreciation of the Watto character arc, but that also speaks to another problem that reared its ugly head the moment TPM came out: abject impatience. People bristled against the idea that Episode I was laying a foundation and was merely the first chapter in a larger story, if they even considered it at all. Rather than give any attention to Qui-Gon's opening advice to Obi-Wan to "be mindful of the living Force", they took to whining and slamming Lucas for a childish tone, for a plot that they alleged went nowhere, and for character attributes that they took out of context and falsely equated with cultural stereotypes, without looking at the bigger picture, or waiting to see it emerge, as they engaged in racist conflagrations of their own.

    It might be beyond the scope of this thread, but I'll add that the Jar Jar hate would also seem to be based on latent homophobia and profound societal discomfort with people who cross gender lines (even Hayden Christensen would be slammed for being too pretty or whatever, earning the appellation "Gayden Christensen" in some quarters -- based on his physical appearance and even some of his reputed traits that are apparently synonymous with one's sexual orientation ... *snort*). Really, Star Wars just seems to be held to a slightly different standard to normal, in a manner that scales with its immense popularity. In a fantastic universe as rich and colourful as the SW universe, this is probably the burden of popularity. And as I said before, if you want to sound like you have some objective measure of a film's failure to impress you, why not bandy the racist accusation around?

    In other words, people are stupid. And Star Wars is functioning beyond the base prejudices of the day. It's a commentary about our present-day, but in order to really appreciate that, you need to step outside of the "present day", in order to see just how decadent you and the present day really are. This is part of the reason why a lot of art that's later accepted as "great" is maligned to begin with: a fear of newness/difference and a total mis-comprehension, or lack of willingness to accept or understand, beyond one's simple frame and the ingrained concerns of the present moment.

    Good point. It's not a "hook" nose. And by pointing this out, you exemplify my earlier substituting of the Emperor for Watto. The Emperor, in contrast to Watto, really DOES have a crooked nose, and has some ugly traits that fit the fact that he is Darth Vader's boss and the villainous mastermind of the main Anakin Skywalker storyline. Yet has HE been called racist? Has HE been seen as an attack on one culture or ethnicity or another?

    People are always guilty of heavy detail-suppression when they isolate these traits in the first place. I mean, creature-design-wise, Watto is a bit like an elephant, a bit like a walrus, a bit like a hummingbird, and a bit like a duck. He's also like none of these animals. In-universe, he might be genetically linked to the likes of Max Rebo (an Ortolan). Although, it must be added, Max Rebo seems to be based more on an anteater. They're both blue, however, and Qui-Gon casually (but significantly) refers to Watto at one point, at the moment he chooses to patronize him, as his "blue friend". Is THAT bit of in-universe racism ever picked up on? No. Again, detail-suppression and/or willful blindness. (I'm guilty of some there: Watto is a magnificent blend of blue and yellow with a variety of subtler shades that form part of his extremities or his mottled pigment: greens, browns, purples, etc.; only Max Rebo is completely blue-skinned -- and even he isn't entirely monochrome). All too often, people only seem to see what they want to see.
    Last edited by Cryogenic, Feb 15, 2013
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  2. Chainmail_Jedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 26, 2013
    star 2
    seriously? I thought we were done talking about god damn Watto
  3. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    Hm, Lucas probably liked Ian McDiarmid's nose so much because it might've reminded him of Nixon. And come to think of it, don't the WASP-y sounding Banking Clan baddies at Dooku's meeting in AOTC have big noses, too? Ergo, in "Star Wars" big nose = Republican. The bigger the nose, the more lies it means.

    Oddly I feel less upset about Max Rebo dying on Jabba's barge now.
  4. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    No, Muuns are not generally known for big noses.
    [IMG]
    Last edited by Arawn_Fenn, Feb 16, 2013
  5. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    [IMG]

    Depends on the angle maybe. I also recall that the way they're drawn in the first CW series emphasizes their noses.

    [IMG]

    At the very least, they're not like Voldemort, always.
  6. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    Yeah, the series ignored the film. Not too shocking. I think AOTC should take precedence.
  7. battlefrontboy Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 2012
    star 1
    Which characteristics of Jar Jar do you associate with Africans? It's ridiculous. I associate the actual black men in the Phantom Menace with black men. Mace Windu, a Jedi Master on par with Yoda. Captain Panaka, a voice of reason and respected head of the Queen's security. The black men represent black men, not the water breathing, long eared, duck faced, 3 year old voiced, bumbling fool.
  8. BoromirsFan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2010
    star 4
    Indeed. I don't see anything of the sort in Jar Jar. Perhaps some people want to think he is a caricature because his voice and motion capture actor is black?
    Last edited by BoromirsFan, Feb 18, 2013
  9. DRush76 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2008
    star 4

    I suspect that is the truth. The ironic thing is that Ahmed Best was not originally hired to be Jar-Jar's voice. He approached Lucas for the job and created Jar-Jar's voice on his own.
  10. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    I think it's also because those set photos of Best in the Jar Jar suit are, to put it simply, rather silly looking. Putting him in a full Jar Jar costume with the head worn as a hat makes him look like a Disneyland mascot taking a cigarette break. It's also worth noting that he wasn't giving a mo-cap performance, but simply was standing in during unused takes for the actors to memorize their lines, and to provide a little suggestion for the animators visually. It wasn't as exact as the ping-pong ball covered skintight suits that Andy Serkis used in LOTR or that guy wore in "Holy Motors". Those things look silly, but at least they appear somewhat technical.
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  11. Jarren_Lee-Saber Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 16, 2008
    star 4
    Not entirely true. The actor in the body was supposed to be what we saw in the end, with only the head replaced with CGI. In post-production they discovered it was cheaper & smoother to replace the entire body. And they did mo-cap (there is footage of this in the extra disc on the 2008 box set of the PT.)
    Last edited by Jarren_Lee-Saber, Feb 26, 2013
  12. Neonic Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2013
    When I first saw the Plinkett reviews of the prequels, I hadn't seen the films for a while, so I accepted his mean breakdowns as fact.

    Now that I'm not ignorant of the films, I can't enjoy the reviews as much anymore, seeing all the misjudgement.
    I still get a sick kick out of Plinkett - my type of humour:

    Show Spoiler
    Last edited by Neonic, Feb 27, 2013
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  13. Slowpokeking Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2012
    star 4
    Plagueis had arts with big nose and no nose.
    [IMG]


    [IMG]
    Last edited by Slowpokeking, Mar 1, 2013
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  14. Chainmail_Jedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 26, 2013
    star 2
    RLM Review of the PTs = Winning
  15. Valairy Scot Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
  16. Slowpokeking Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2012
    star 4
    Part of the reason I wrote my own review is some people keep use RLM to bash the PT but could not say even a few lines of criticism with their own words.
  17. The Supreme Chancellor Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 4
    It's obvious from a lot of the statements he makes that he doesn't understand the story or scope of the films.
  18. Klingon Padawan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2013
    star 1
    The problem with the RLM reviews is how Plinkett was always over analyzing the prequels. If you over analyze anything, you can find fault in it, and your enjoyment of it can be haltered. That's the problem with Plinkett and his fans, and how they interpret the prequels.
    Last edited by Klingon Padawan, Mar 5, 2013
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  19. Jarren_Lee-Saber Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 16, 2008
    star 4
    An even bigger problem is how they ask so many dumb questions with extremely easy answers that they don't seem to get.
  20. Seagoat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2013
    star 4
    I would actually contest this point. I believe that one may only truly appreciate the prequels for what they are with deep analysis. For example, look at the "Visual Links" thread in the Saga section, and if you have a moment, read this article: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/01/watching-the-star-wars-prequels-muted-an-experiment
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  21. Darth_Pevra Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2008
    star 5
    Some of the arguments in this thread are as bad as the worst parts of the Plinkett reviews. I find it telling how many here are seemingly incapable of getting over a bunch of reviews.
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  22. The Supreme Chancellor Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 4
    that's what the thread is about...there are plenty of other threads to participate in if you don't like this one...
  23. Darth_Pevra Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2008
    star 5
    What? So I can't respond to the posts made here? I was trying to point out that some arguments given damage your anti-Plinkett case more than they help it. Using insulting ad hominems when critizising Plinkett for being insulting is pretty screwed up logic.

    You yourself said "It's obvious from a lot of the statements he makes that he doesn't understand the story or scope of the films." which is shorthand for "You don't understand, therefore you are wrong" without any explanation or definition given what Star Wars is supposedly about. Others have implied Plinketts reviews are full of disdain and disgust, which in truth changes nothing about the points he raised or arguments he made.
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  24. PiettsHat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    I agree that using ad hominems when criticizing Plinkett isn't productive.

    I think, though, that you have to look at the context in which some of those comments were made. The "disdain and disgust" comment was made in response to someone simply stating that the reviews equalled "winning." There wasn't really that much in that prior post to respond to and thus the person who replied simply made their opinion of the reviews known.

    In regards to Plinkett not understanding the story or the scope of the films, well, I don't think that's a really a wrong statement given how Plinkett himself constantly goes on about how confusing the films are and that he doesn't understand them or what the characters are doing.

    One could equally criticize simply using the Plinkett reviews as the end-all-be-all of evaluations of the PT without explaining why they are (supposedly) good. Just declaring that they "win" is equally counter-productive as simply stating that they "suck."

    For my part, I dislike Plinkett's arguments because I find they rely too often on stereotypes and conformity when evaluating whether a movie is good or not. For me, the best types of movies and media are those that subvert your expectations. Moreover, although the PT has some plot holes (such as Anakin being brought to Naboo as a child for the battle), I don't think these are any more outstanding than things you see in other films which are quite readily enjoyed -- like ANH, Harry Potter, LOTR, etc. On the whole, I actually think the PT's plot is rather more cohesive than most people give it credit for.

    As a separate topic, though, does anyone know of the reviewer who liked ROTS but hated the others in the series? I recall reading his review a while ago and he primarily enjoyed it for the drama of Anakin's fall but couldn't stand the action and more fun/adventure aspects of the film (such as the Battle of Kashyyyk). I've been interested in reading it again if anyone knows what I'm talking about.
  25. Darth_Pevra Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2008
    star 5
    For that argument to work you would first have to define what the story is about and that is entirely subjective (imo). I don't think you can really generalize "Star Wars is about the epos" for instance when so many are fans because of the Space Battles (example).
    I share a lot of the confusion Plinkett has when it comes to the Senate scenes in TPM for instance. On one hand the movie does contain politics, obviously in there for the adults, but on the other hand the political speeches are full of childlike naivetee. Padmé is supposedly a professional politician but she acts more like an afraid child and is extremely easily manipulated by Palpatine. Same for the Neimoidians who have the guts to order a full-force blockade on a republic planet but cower before a hologram.

    This I agree with.

    I don't agree with this but those are fair points to make.
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