PT Revisiting the prequels

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by Pimpsy, Nov 1, 2012.

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  1. Pimpsy Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 2012
    When I was a kid I loved the prequels. But now, 7 years later in the wake of the big news, I decided to re watch the prequels (I'll re watch the originals later, I only have them on VHS at the moment so I need to get the blue rays. I don't have a VHS player anymore). When I did watch the prequels, they were nothing like I remembered. Everything, especially the dialogue scenes, just seemed REALLY awkward. Like, it felt like it was an amateur movie or something. Of course when the action scenes started rolling out the awkwardness went away and it felt like a real movie again. I'm not sure, but does anyone else know what I'm talking about? I'm not bashing them, I'm just describing my experiences re watching them.

    EDIT: I just realized my widescreen TV was on "Zoom" mode the entire time. Maybe that contributed to the "Amateur" feeling.
    Last edited by Pimpsy, Nov 1, 2012
  2. DarthEmpron Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2012
    That's alright, that's kind of how I felt.

    There's nothing wrong with looking back on something nostalgic like the prequel star wars movies and being willing to admit that something was legitimately off about it.
  3. PiettsHat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    I agree with you to a degree. Some of the dialogue scenes can be painfully awkward, but I don't think that's a result of being "amateur" or bad, necessarily. It feels much more candid, organic, and earnest to me and makes it easier to believe in the world the characters inhabit, even though I do feel embarrassed for them at times. For example, the scene in AOTC when Anakin meets Padmé again is terribly awkward as he stumbles over his words and tries to compliment her, but I think it's intentionally so, and Padmé herself even dismisses Anakin because of it. I don't count that as a negative, however.

    Too many films, in my opinion, are so "slick" and concerned with making the characters appear cool and refined that they lose a lot of humanity -- it comes off as artificial. This is one of the reasons I could never get into movies like Iron Man II because it seemed set up in such a way as to constantly assure us that are main characters were badasses that we should want to be. They seemed more concerned with creating empty escapist shells rather than three-dimensional people.

    Personally, I'd rather just take a character, warts and all.
  4. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    This. Exactly.

    Another perspective: I was 27 when TPM premiered so I didn't experience the prequels as a kid, but I've always loved them. I grew up on the OOT, and to me that seems amateurish upon a re-watch, not because of the dialogue, but because I now notice that the sandcrawler's wheels were greased with Vaseline and there was nothing but white wall outside of Cloud City.

    But--I still love it for nostalgia reasons, even amidst my appreciation for the SE changes.
  5. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    I don't think that's what the film's problem was. Unless we should all want to be drunken asses.
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  6. Pimpsy Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 2012
    I don't think awkward was the right term because that suggests it could be an intentional part of the character development, it was more like, it felt like I was watching a soap opera with inexperienced actors in the dialogue scenes.
    Last edited by Pimpsy, Nov 1, 2012
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  7. PiettsHat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    That's actually part of it, though, in a way. The movie producers were too afraid of turning off the audience by giving Tony Stark a real character flaw (that would play into the narrative) and thus they made him a drunk in order to show him behaving "badly" while still retaining audience sympathy. But he overcame it easily enough and it didn't end up costing him anything in any real sense.

    There's "good flaws" like being snarky towards others or drunkenness that characters can seemingly magically "turn off" and not risk alienating the audience.

    But giving a character more serious flaws, like immaturity and arrogance, and actually having them play a large role in terms of what gets the character into trouble, well, that makes for a much more compelling story, in my opinion.

    Edit:
    @Pimpsy

    Star Wars has always been melodramatic, but AOTC especially was noted to be this in the commentary. I always thought it was more of a reflection of the characters' inexperience with romance and (especially in Anakin's case) his difficulty in processing his emotions. Here's a kid who has been taught to suppress his emotional attachments and has never seen a healthy romantic relationship in his life. I found his behavior fitting to his character, personally.
    Last edited by PiettsHat, Nov 1, 2012
  8. Pimpsy Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 2012
    Yeah, I can get anakin and deal with his characters immaturity and awkwardness. That's a part of his character development, and a flaw. But that's not really my problem, it doesn't come off as melodramatic to me. So many characters in the prequels really didn't have much of a distinctive personality when they were acting. Sure, they were in circumstances that were significant, but their characters did not portray it convincingly in any way or form from what I saw. In my opinion, they were just really boring and when they said the lines in the script that were meant to be dramatic or fit with their personality, it just didn't sit well with me and made the entire conversation seem really cheesy. Like a soap opera. Some of the ones I found to be this way were padme, qui gon jinn, and Anakin (although there were some scenes where Anakin (Hayden Christensen's) acting was pretty decent, like the final scenes in episode III. But for the vast majority of time from my perspective, they just seemed like cardboard cutouts.
    Last edited by Pimpsy, Nov 1, 2012
  9. Zer0 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 3
    The dialogue wasn't always the best at times, amongst other things, I still enjoy the films though, the sheer amount of hatred I've seen the last two days towards the PT popping back up is a bit disturbing.
  10. PiettsHat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    @Pimpsy
    I guess that's simply a difference of opinion. While the PT characters didn't really fit familiar archetypes, I found that they all had very well-defined personalities and, just as importantly, I believed the world they inhabited. It's a mark of a well-crafted story, in my opinion, that you can imagine the characters having lives beyond what you see on the screen. They don't simply come across as being there for your entertainment and that was something I really appreciated with the PT. That, and I could understand why the characters were behaving the way they were, even if I didn't necessarily agree with their actions.

    Certainly, there's cheesiness to the prequels but I don't really think that's a bad aspect -- it's there in all the other films and I think it fits in with the story well. The balcony scene in ROTS, for example, is extremely cheesy, but it doesn't bother me because the scene is, by all accounts, meant to be a tad over-the-top. These are two people who haven't seen each other for months and one of them has just found out he's going to become a father.

    I'm surprised that you listed Qui-Gon Jinn as a cardboard cut-out, though -- he's one of the most distinctive personalities in my opinion and certainly as good (if not better) than Alec Guinness' Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan, in ANH at least, was very much the generic "Old Master" archetype, which I found a tad dull. Qui-Gon, though, had a lot of warmth as a character, although he could be cold and thoughtless in his dismissals of Obi-Wan as well. And he was a great Jedi despite going against the Council.

    But again, to each their own.
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  11. Samnz Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 2
    I agree.
    I have more problems taking a movie seriously if it seems like the dialogue is all written for the audience instead of the characters themselves. I think the Prequels have very little dialogue that is actually targeted at the audiences and expects the audience to react in a certain way. There is some of it in Obi-Wan's character, but it's not much. Whereas I think Han Solo, for example, is a character who is talking as much to the audience as he is talking to his counterpart in the movie.
    I don't want to decide whether one is better than the other, but I think dialogue that doesn't really "involve" the audience, creates a more intimite and natural flow of the converversations, which in turn, however, might alienate parts of the audience because they're more of an observer than participant. But it makes many small things more apparent, if you ask me, and I appreciate that.
    Last edited by Samnz, Nov 2, 2012
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  12. Mnhay27 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 1
    I've heard this before but I don't understand why people find the balcony scene "cheesy" or "over-the-top", I really don't.

    Ok, maybe it's a tad melodramatic but I think people forget some of the stuff they themselves have probably said when they've been in love that would sound silly to outsiders. I certainly think my wife and I had similar conversations in years gone by. So in that sense, I think it's one of the most grounded or "realistic" scenes in the whole movie.
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  13. Mnhay27 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 1
    This is another frequent complaint that I don't get. Maybe it's just because I've been a Chris Claremont fan my whole life but I don't see why Lucas's dialogue is worse than that in any other sci-fi/fantasy type movies. I hear people complain that the dialogue is "unrealistic" and that just makes me laugh. I mean, we're talking about movies in which people do ridiculous and scientifically impossible stuff (like flying past light speed, levitating objects and choking people with the mind etc) and that's all cool but the dialogue is just not believable?!!! Gimmee a break! The fact of the matter is that in the real world, people don't always talk so eloquently, they don't alwways choose the right words, and they don't usually speak in amazingly articulate monolgues like Kevin Smith characters. Just about any combination of words is likely to be or have been spoken somewhere at some point so in many ways the dialogue is the most realistic aspect of the movies.
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  14. Zer0 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 3
    Some of the lines weren't the best, mostly the AOTC stuff between Anakin and Padme, was the worst of it it, that's all.
  15. Mnhay27 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 1
    In what way though? What lines do you think aren't so good and why?
  16. Zer0 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 3
    I'll get back to you on that, I don't know the lines off hand.

    Edit: Well, for example, the fire side chat, the majority of the dialogue in that scene just felted forced and a bit rushed to me.
  17. Samnz Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 2
    I get you mean concerning "realism". What I always wondered...when did all these complaints about dialogue Star Wars really arise? Whenever someone is criticizing the dialogue, they're gonna name an example from AOTC's love story....that's all?

    I also think it's sad that people are so fast to criticize while they often don't pay enough attention to see the great details .
    Take AOTC: everyone complains about some lines in the love story, but nobody ever mentions the brilliance of Shmi's funeral when the dialogue (monologue) was used to highlight distinctive traits in the way that Cliegg Lars just talks about Shmi (what she meant to him and what a good person she was) while Anakin only speaks about himself (his loss, his failure, his determination to not fail again, his pain).
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  18. -NaTaLie- Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2001
    star 4
    I wasn't a kid when I saw the prequels so my opinion has stayed pretty much the same. I acknowledge the flaws but I manage to ignore them.

    By the way, this phenomenon is not limited to the prequels. A lot of people have outgrown the OT in their teenage years (kids movies, not could enough).
  19. Legacy Jedi Endordude Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2012
    star 3
    Fist off, some parts are supposed to be awkward, and some aren't. My guess is that you watched the prequels again after hearing all the prequel hate on the internet right? so you though you'd watch it again just to be sure, right? Well if so, you probably had the idea that the prequels have alot of problems. So, i'll tell you what, go rewatch the prequels again, try to unlearn what you have learned from the internet trolls for the time being, and tell your self, "i'm going to like this, this is going to be awesome!" and take all of the other feelings out of your mind. As you watch the Prequels, try to imagain yourself in the shoes of the main characters. This worked for me, i found when I had the prequel haters and red letter media in my mind, I enjoyed them less.

    Then again, I could be wrong, but I worked for me.
    Just a suggestion.;)
  20. TheMasterOfSoresu Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 23, 2011
    star 1
    Why can't you have something fairly basic - such as the love between man and women - translate realistically in a fantasy film?

    It's genre/technology should have no affect on the emotion a film creates.

    But they were speaking eloquently - to some extent - as their grammar was correct. And that was perhaps the problem; they were using metaphors to describe something as impulsive as love in their conversation. Which simply isn't believable.
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  21. WIERD_GREEN_MAN Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2010
    star 4
    I think this is true for many other instances. For example, when I first read Escape From Warsaw, I was absolutely blown away, and thought it was one of the best things I had ever read. I was in elementary school.
    Then I got older and forgot about it. One day I read the book again. Unsophisticated writing, flow problems, etc. I still like the book a lot, but it is no longer perfect.
  22. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    Because there is nothing "basic" about human beings--or the love between a man and a woman. No two stories are alike and how a love story plays out, depends on the personalities of the people involved and the circumstances in which they live and fall in love.

    In fact, I would say that a story about a love between a man and a woman "isn't believable" if it is portrayed as "basic."

    I've been in love more than once and I don't remember ever having a conversation along the lines of what Anakin and Padme had--but I've also never been a Jedi raised to believe that such a relationship was fundamentally "wrong" or "dangerous," nor was I ruling an planet at the age of 14 or a Senator from a planet at the age of 22. (Padme's outfits also weren't "believable," I don't know any women nor have I seen any pictures of any women who dress like that.) My point is that the metaphors were believable for them, even if they don't really work in our society.
    WIERD_GREEN_MAN likes this.
  23. WIERD_GREEN_MAN Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2010
    star 4
    LADY GAGA
    Yeah, Padme and Anakin had a weird relationship because they had weird childhoods.
  24. StampidHD280pro Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2005
    star 4
    To the original poster, watch this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8I0lo42gcgM&feature=related
    And try not to laugh. If you make it through a few episodes, you'll notice that instead of attempting to imitate real life or "realistic" modern films, Star Wars is imitating this kind of old stuff. It's cheesy. But that's part of what makes it fun.

    Yes, the prequels resemble a soap opera a bit more than the original trilogy, but that's due to the self-indulgent nature of the project. Largely, Lucas has been making movies based on things HE likes, not entirely on what will appeal to broad audiences. People don't like hearing "You don't like it because you don't get it", and claim this is a "weak argument", but it's pretty clear that people don't "get it" when they don't expect this style.
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  25. TheMasterOfSoresu Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 23, 2011
    star 1
    By 'basic' I meant something that comes naturally to a human being in relative comparison to - as Mnhay27 put it - flying past light speed.

    Of course love is complex, and it differs from human to human, hence Lucas's inability to recreate it on screen.

    And I don't buy that the metaphors were 'believable for them'; that's a poor excuse which could be applicable to any lacklustre dialogue in film in attempt to excuse its flaws - which is wrong, bad films should be reproachable - or how will cinema improve, matter fact how will the franchise learn from the mistakes of the PT?

    Though I understand where you are coming from...
    Last edited by TheMasterOfSoresu, Nov 2, 2012
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