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. Jcuk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 16, 2013
    star 4
    It's not done in a nasty way, so it's comedy. Nasty mockery is different. When you MEAN to upset someone. It's light hearted and if you feel you've been personally insulted by it then I think your a tad too sensitive.
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  2. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    Yes. This is an important point.

    If you take out all the mistakes, misrepresentations, misunderstanding of characterization, fallacious or incomprehensible reasoning, dishonest manipulation of footage and outright lies, everything he relates is true and spot on in every aspect.

    It's known as "grade inflation".
  3. SuperBrain Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Mar 23, 2013
    If you dispute that the prequel tries to follow "the hero's journey" then you aren't discussing the RLM review(you are rejecting it's validity). in any case you better argue well, because they are very very similar in structure. yes, twilight might not be a good adaptation of "the hero's journey", just like the prequels are not. there are good ones, simply because they execute it well, like harry potter, the first matrix film and the original trilogy.
    the fact that one of you said that amidala is the protagonist is shocking to me.

    let me recap some of what i said in my deleted post: there are only so many ways of telling a story. the RLM review takes the basis of saying that the prequels tries to adapt "the heroes journey", also called "the monomyth", as the template for telling its story. just like the OT did. so if you are going to argue against the RLM review you must argue in light of how successfull the prequels are in this. this is the whole premise of the RLM review. it means you should know basic storytelling like said "the hero's journey". basically it is about having a main character, the protagonist, go through a change with the support of side characters that exist solely to aid the protagonist's story. if the side characters don't have anything to do with the protagonist's journey, they have no meaning and shouldn't be there(to put it harshly). usually the change is told in three acts, where the second can be divided into another two. now comes another important point; if a movie fails to do this it is usually seen as a failed attempt at basic storytelling, or it is an art film (so called anti structure, coined by robert mcgee). art films reject rules because they are usually a comment on how ridiculous they are. problem are, most people don't like them, so they are usually only found in film festivals with directors such as david lynch, terrence mallick, jim jarmush etc.

    the prequels fails becaus they fail in establishing a clear narrative in all but the last film. most importantly they fail because the characters don't arc. neither qui gon or amidala changes through the first film, neither does the kid. this basically tells us that the film has nothing to say. the reason the characters, especially the protagonist, must change is because change is where the meaning of the film is; what the film is trying to tell us.

    As for the one who critisized me for treating the prequels as a whole then switching back to take the first film as an example to support my critique; all three films of the OT follows a classical and rigid structure based on the three act structure. Luke goes through a change in all films. the first arc deals with faith, where he is an unbeliever who in the end trusts himself and believes in the force. the second arc deals with identity and confronting your fears, where he in the end meets vader and discovers that he is his father. the third deals with redemption, accepting who he is and resolving his relationship with his father. learning that using violence will not solve anything; it's only then he becomes a jedi. this ends the only arc of vader; only by saving luke can he save himself and his soul.

    to the one who said that the antagonist can be the main character: you don't get it, simple as that. it doesn't make any sense.

    i suspect that george lucas did not know how to tell the story he wanted to because the main character is the villain. right from the start he has a problem of immense proportion. if the main character isn't likable, the audience tends not to like the movie(how many movie with an unlikable main character is good?). therefore he has trouble focusing the first film, he is all over the place and nothing makes sense. the second film he still can't decide who to follow, obi wan or anakin? right from the bat anakin kills alot of sandpeople children, thus ending any hope for sympathy for the rest of the trilogy(adding some jedi children in the last one for good measure).
    Last edited by SuperBrain, Mar 23, 2013
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  4. Jcuk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 16, 2013
    star 4
    True. Everyone new what was going to happen in the end. There was no mystery to the outcome. The job was making Anakin a sad character, one who you felt for. Instead he was annoying for the main part and then turned into a mass murderer. Obi wan told Luke in ANH that Anakin had been a dear friend. They didnt come across as dear friends. There was no sympathy for Anakin (at least, I didnt feel any) he was very apathetic. As we're all of them.
  5. Slowpokeking Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2012
    star 4
    PT is not just about hero's journey, it's also about how the old Republic and the Jedi order fall, the problem is Lucas could not tell such a huge story good enough in 6 hours.

    Change from a non believer to the Force is not character development. If that counts, Padme changed from a non believer of Anakin, Obi Wan and the council changed their view on Anakin as well. Anakin also knew about the Force and started to like Padme. It's not Luke didn't believe the Force, he barely knew it. Also he always trust in himself. Even before he met Obi Wan he was dreaming to have adventures and be a hero. Of course he trusted himself could do so.

    To be fair, the big 3's characters are cool but has little development and depth in EP IV. Luke's biggest change is from "I don't think the Empire is going to bother my life" to "I must join the rebel to stop this tyranny" after they killed Owen and Beru. Han probably had the most development since he had that comeback, but it's quite typical for such type of character.

    I won't say Padme's development is good enough, but Leia has even weaker character development. Her character didn't have development in EP IV, not even after the Empire blew up her home planet, which should have HUGE impact to her character, but we didn't see it in EP IV, V or VI. The only development she had is the romance with Han. In EP VI she was totally kept out from the conflict between Vader and his child, which she should have involved, as Vader's daughter.

    Tarkin and Vader also has 0 development in EP IV. Since you mentioned Qui Gon, let's compare him to who had similar role in EP IV, Obi Wan, did he have character development?
    Last edited by Slowpokeking, Mar 23, 2013
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  6. SuperBrain Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Mar 23, 2013
    if you refute that the PT tried to tell a story in line the classic storytelling method of joseph campell, then what kind of story is it? are you seriously saying that the PT is an art house flick? meaning a purposely structure breaking film. in any case, in relation to the RLM review, then that discussion is over and not relevant to this thread.

    the fact that anakin in the end turns out to be a villain is one of the major problems of the PT. it doesn't fit. the only other thing he could have done was having another protagonist, which he didn't.

    anakin does not arc in the first film. an arc is an emotional change. becoming a title means nothing. as previously stated, luke's arc in return of the jedi is that he learns what becoming a jedi means. anakin does not learn what being free means. making a choice is easy, the basis of making the right choice comes from what he has learned up to that point. then it becomes something meaningfull. you may argue that he learns something, but i'm not talking about a wiff of a moment change of opinion here.
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  7. Slowpokeking Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2012
    star 4
    PT is trying to telling a story of how the Old Republic fall in corruption, how the Jedi grew out of time and got annihilated. How did the ambitious politician triumph beside the story of Anakin.

    No, the hard choice Luke made, is to abandon the old Jedi way and believe in his father's good.
    Anakin was also making a hard choice in EP III as well, make a choice between the Jedi principle and his own belief and his love.
    Last edited by Slowpokeking, Mar 23, 2013
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  8. Samnz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 2
    What? You should first present arguments that support your claim. The only valid argument here would be a confirmation by George Lucas (that he tried to follow JC).
    Do you honestly believe that someone like George Lucas, who masterfully integrated THJ in Episode IV, would be incapable of doing the same agan?

    That fits your history of "argumentation".

    First of all, this is just not true. Especially if you accept "he believes now in the force" as development.
    Secondly, the meaning of a film lies in the message and the message can be presented in a lot of different ways.
    The Naboo and the Gungans were ignorant of each other at the beginning of TPM. Queen Amidala was arrogant enough to not even consider asking the Gungans for help. In the course of the movie, however, she encounters a Gungan, becomes friends with this very Gungan and learns the see their value. This maturing led directly to the bonding of their respective people and enabled them to free their world.
    So, as you can see, TPM did not only portray growth in individuals (Amidala) but also in societies (Naboo and Gungans). Former silent enemies became friends. They learnt tolerance and mutual advantage. That's a powerful message.

    TPM and AOTC also follow a perfectly visible 3-act-structure. ROTS brilliantly displays a 5-act-structure.

    And I suspect you do not know how to deal with a story that's different from your RLM given pattern.
    Just to eduacate you in short: the main character is not the villain. The main character becomes the villain.

    The first problem with your statement is that "likeability" is not measurable. And even if it was, it would be still irrevelevant.
    One single person on earth who likes a character prevents that specific character from being "unlikable". And that's always the case.

    It doesn't make sense for you. But that's your problem.

    He decided to follow both, huh?However, you can clearly see that Obi-Wan is the character who gets the story going while Anakin is the character who is being put in pivotal situations.
    Just like he did with Luke and Han/Leia in TESB.

    I have another question:
    Why don't you just link us to RLM's videos? You're just repeating them, actually.
    Last edited by Samnz, Mar 23, 2013
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  9. Slowpokeking Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2012
    star 4
    Not just that, the Jedi council changed their idea on Anakin, Obi Wan also changed from "You heard the council, the boy is dangerous" to a friend and believer of Anakin, influenced by Qui Gon's death.

    That's a huge problem, even bigger than RLM videos themselves. Many PT haters couldn't even use their own words to tell anything.
    Last edited by Slowpokeking, Mar 23, 2013
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  10. SuperBrain Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Mar 23, 2013
    how the old republic and the jedi order falled is backstory, learn the difference. you are also talking world building, which has nothing to do with story.

    how is going from a non believer to a believer not a character development? it is the very essence of change(= character development). a story is about change that is gradually progressing through the story. emotional change. cross film change is good, but the most important is that the characters change thoughout the individual film, because that is the definition of beginning , middle and end(three acts). lukes change in a new hope is that he doesn't believe in the force, as stated when meeting obi wan, he is unsure. he slowly begins to believe. his arc ends at the very end when he switches off the targeting computer so he can put his faith in the force. leia is a supporting character. her role is to instigate the story by calling for help. but even she has an arc, a similar one to han solo. she uphelds barriers, refusing to let anyone close to her. she is the least developed character in a new hope, only arcing in empire when she finally let in han solo. but her role is very clear: a princess that needs saving.
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  11. Jcuk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 16, 2013
    star 4
    As I've said before. We all knew Anakin would end up in the Vader suit in the end. Correct? Right, the challenge was making his fall from grace an emotional and believable one so you could sympathise with the character. All against the backdrop of a huge civil war and a political power struggle. There was a lot of material there for a gripping story (even though we all knew how it ended) but it all ended up being poorly told and badly acted. But the SFX were good. Am I wrong?
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  12. PiettsHat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    Why? I don't see Amidala as the main protagonist, but I do think the central conflict is hers -- it is her planet being invaded and she, in the end, is the one to make the decision to go back and fight. A lot of the story centers around her coming to terms with her situation.

    Again, why? And who says there are only so many ways of telling a story? You can tell a story in media res or you can start from the beginning. The entire thing can be a series of flashbacks. There's infinite possibilities. It seems rather limiting, to me, to say that there's only a certain number of ways to tell a story.

    Errr...no. There's nothing wrong with the prequels not perfectly adhering to the monomyth. Again, Lucas isn't re-telling the story of the OT, he's expanding upon it and telling a new story with a much different conclusion. That alone is going to mean that his approach isn't going to necessarily be the same. There's certainly monomythic elements to the PT, but it subverts a lot of the established parameters because it set up to contrast with the OT as much as it harmonizes with it. The PT does have a main character -- Anakin -- but his story is framed quite a bit differently than Luke's. Because he is destined to fall, Lucas wanted to look more at his roots as a child and also give us Obi-Wan as a more classic co-protagonist. Obi-Wan also goes through a journey during the PT -- from student, to teacher, to leader -- and his is inextricably tied to Anakin's. On the contrary, here, it is the OT which seems to have "disposable" side characters -- Han is completely unnecessary to telling Luke's story after ANH. Leia alone would have functioned as a strong enough motivator for Luke.

    And again, there's no reason that the PT must obey a particular act structure simply because RLM declares it so.

    I disagree quite strongly. All of the prequel films have strong narratives that are integral for ROTS to work. Looking only at the development of the political situation, TPM is essential for establishing the disgruntled Trade Federation, the ineffective Senate, and Palpatine's rise to the Chancellorship while AOTC lays out the manipulation of the Jedi and the Senate into war and Palpatine beginning to sow the seeds of his dictatorship. Each film also has its own story -- TPM concerning the liberation of Naboo and AOTC concerning the issue of the war. Both of these are resolved by the end of the films (with Naboo liberated and the beginning of the Clone Wars respectively).

    Likewise, we see a great deal of character development throughout the prequels. Looking at Amidala alone, in the first film, we see how the situation on her planet forces her to learn how to take charge of a situation and not rely so much on others. Anakin himself does not greatly change in AOTC, but seeds are sown for subsequent films -- his introduction to Palpatine, his fear of losing his mother and stress over her, his difficulty with the Council, etc.

    Contrast this with Han: following ANH, how does he change? He's a hero and a good man by the end of ANH and that's what he remains to the end. Or Leia -- she is barely affected by what occurs in ANH, despite being tortured and watching her planet destroyed.

    Right back at you. Plenty of popular works utilize the villain (not antagonist) as the main character, the protagonist. See Death Note as a wildly popular example. Death Note is also rather infamous in that it plays with many of the classic shonen story-telling techniques in a highly cynical manner. It might not make much sense to you but to some of us, yes, it does.

    I disagree. I think Lucas took the right approach with the PT. Anakin was likable and I could readily sympathize with him even when I recognized his actions were wrong. For me, the mark of a good storyteller is that they allow the characters to have significant flaws that drive the narrative and are remarked upon by the story. Anakin's wrongdoings become an important fixture for the narrative but, at the same time, I was able to understand why he was doing what he was doing. In and of itself, people will look for different things out of a story. I'm primarily affected by characters I find interesting not necessarily those whom I would want to be friends with. Again, I also see no issue with following both Anakin and Obi-Wan -- a similar technique was used in ESB, was it not? I never had a problem with the fact that Han/Leia and Luke had separate scenes being intercut (the content of those scenes is a different issue though...).

    If the PT didn't work for you, that's fine and you're not alone. But RLM and yourself should not presume to speak for the audience any more than I should.
  13. Slowpokeking Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2012
    star 4
    No, it's part of the story, even as important as Anakin's own fall. If we look at that OT close enough we can see the reason.

    No it's not, especially Luke barely knew the Force, Obi Wan just told him a bit and he started to accept the training. Actually well before that, he was interested in Obi Wan and wanted to know more of him, he was not really pleased with his life and wanted to be a hero. The real character development, is what I mentioned before. If such belief counts, then people's change of belief over the Chosen One should be counted as well, but NO.

    That's not character development, Padme clearly had more scenes like that, didn't have much faith in Anakin at first but later changed, didn't consider the gungans as help and kneel to ask for help, tempted by Palpatine to vote against Valorum to save her people. Even as a supporting character, she should have her development upon such HUGE impact, but NO.

    Well she is not, she is a rebel leader, the daughter of Vader, she certainly needs to do more than that. Just like Padme is not just Anakin's lover, she is the queen/senator of Naboo, and a fighter for democracy. And she did face a hard choice in EP III, her belief and her love. Leia never did. And the problem is she should have faced it.
    Last edited by Slowpokeking, Mar 23, 2013
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  14. Slowpokeking Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2012
    star 4
    It is part of the saga and it was mentioned in OT. You must tell them as well.
  15. SuperBrain Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Mar 23, 2013
    i'm repeating basic storytelling. it's not magic, it's knowledge. read "story" by robert mckee if you want some insight. read some wiki article on "the hero's journey" if you don't want to bother reading a book. i see that you have no concept of what i'm talking about.

    you are discussing the validity of the RLM review. i've already said why this is not relevant, yet you continue to do so. in addition you don't present any arguments about what the prequels are if not an attempt on "the hero's journey". the RLM review is a review about how the prequels fails at this attempt. if you wan't to critique that review, then argue about why the PT is a good adaptation of "the hero's journey". if you don't agree that it is an attempt at the hero's journet, then you aren't discussing the RLM review.
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  16. Slowpokeking Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2012
    star 4
    There are a lot of ways to tell a story, since you said the protagonist must be liked and cannot be evil, I don't think you really understand it well.

    By that means, Macbeth is a bad work because the main character is a evil person. Oedipus is no good work, Medea is awful since the woman is quite immoral. You need me to continue?
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  17. Seagoat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2013
    star 4
    Anakin/Vader is not a hero. He's a tragic anti-villain. Therefore, he can not fulfill the hero's journey.
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  18. Placeholder Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2013
    star 4
    No, it should be more like a tragedy. But when your main character is an *** to start with, it's not tragic when he falls.
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  19. Slowpokeking Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2012
    star 4
    What ***?
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  20. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    They did in various places, such as the beginning of ROTS. Don't forget they also had to be portrayed as master and student which is not quite the same dynamic.

    So in other words, your real problem is with the whole concept of a prequel, or in particular with there being prequels to the OT, not so much their execution.
    Last edited by Arawn_Fenn, Mar 23, 2013
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  21. Slowpokeking Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2012
    star 4
    Why do they have to across as so dear friends?
  22. Placeholder Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2013
    star 4
    What I'm saying is, the character we see was never really that great a guy to begin with. At least not since he was a little kid. The kid we see in TPM is portrayed as innocent and selfless. So, I guess you could say he was a good guy when he was 9.
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  23. SuperBrain Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Mar 23, 2013
    there are many ways to tell a story, but if you want to create a classically structured one, there are only so many ways.
    the main character can be a villain or even unlikable, it's just not in line with the classic storytelling of the hero's journey. you are talking tragedy. in addition, it is extremely difficult to make it work. but you and others completely refuse to talk about "the hero's journey", probably because you don't know anything about it or any other theories of storytelling.
    Last edited by SuperBrain, Mar 23, 2013
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  24. Jcuk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 16, 2013
    star 4
    They were supposed to be dear friends. There were no scenes when you saw them bonding, and if they tried it was remember this, remember that. All Anakin did was slag Obi wan off behind is back in AOTC. He wasn't this noble Jedi we'd been led to believe he was. He came across as a ****. So in the end many shoulders were shrugged when he turned and all eyes were dry.
  25. PiettsHat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    Part of the problem, I believe, is that people experience that Saga in vastly different ways. I, for example, didn't know that Anakin would end up as Darth Vader (having started with the prequel films). And I did find his fall from grace to be emotional and believable -- I readily sympathized with his character even while recognizing that his actions were worthy of censure. Similarly, I found the story was well-told and acted (certainly as much as the OT -- and even better in some parts!).

    So when people say that Anakin and Obi-Wan weren't friends or Anakin was an ass, I don't really see why they focus on this so much and I strongly disagree with both assessments. Anakin is my favorite character but I'm not at all fond of Han Solo. Yet I never feel the need to denigrate those who enjoy his character or the films he appears in. Certainly people have the right to express their opinions, but why they need to frame it in a collective sense -- with the use of "we," "us," and "the audience" is baffling to me.
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