Discussion So J.J. Abrams wants Star Wars to feel real.

Discussion in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Spoilers Allowed' started by PrincessKenobi, Sep 20, 2013.

  1. PrincessKenobi New Films Manager of DOOM

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    Over here in this article he says: “It’s been nice see that how important it is and to be reminded how important it is to so many people. We all know that [creator George Lucas'] dream has become almost a religion to some people. I remember reading a thing somewhere, someone wrote about just wanting [the new film] to feel real; to feel authentic. I remember I felt that way when I was 11 years old when I saw the first one. As much of a fairy tale as it was, it felt real. And to me, that is exactly right.”

    How do you think he will go about recreating that kind of realism in Episode 7?
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  2. Ryus Force Ghost

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    :eek: You mean it wasn't real! I thought they where historicial documents! :eek:

    Last edited by Ryus, Sep 20, 2013
  3. Count Yubnub Force Ghost

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    By using excessive digital color grading.

    And, of course, filming in some old real-life locations--like, say, an old Spanish or Italian palace.
    Last edited by Count Yubnub, Sep 20, 2013
  4. Pro Scoundrel Chosen One

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    Que OT vs PT argument in 3..2..1
  5. Ryus Force Ghost

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    OT ftw :p

    Begun the better trilogy debate has...
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  6. HL&S Magistrate Emeritus/2014 Celebrity Deadpool Winner

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    [IMG]

    "Fairy tale? I need something more real."
  7. mes520 Jedi Grand Master

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    Soon we'll have a Sequel trilogy and spinoffs, so that debate has barely begun
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  8. Lee_ Force Ghost

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    I think he is talking in a broad sense here- everything from the story and characters to the special effects, everything that makes a movie feel real.

    I was pretty sure this was his aim to start with, but perhaps this statement by JJ can help to calm the jittery geeks who are so worries about what he will do with SW.

    [IMG]
    Last edited by Lee_, Sep 20, 2013
  9. Dra--- Chosen One

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    Dec 30, 2012
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    I like the subject of what makes something seem "real" in movies, or narrative in general. What we're talking about in a nut shell is how to make a lie -- fiction -- believable. Personally, I think it's more productive and less likely to lead to a bashing of either PT or OT if we think of realness, especially as it relates to fantasy, as specific details that create believability.

    Trying to break the binary approach down, I'll try to give an example or two from each trilogy that amounts to successful belief and unsuccessful belief.

    PT success: Someone mentioned Watto in another thread, and I think that's a great example of good detail -- what worked for me was all the course stubble on his chin and face. It's not too uniform and so it has enough variety to it that it seems like real unkempt stubble. I have an expectation of what stubble looks like, and there it is, on an alien face, and adds this interesting concrete detail that makes me think less about Watto's alien qualities, and more about the fact that he seems to be a living creature.

    OT success: Before we enter Jabba's palace at the beginning of ROTJ, we see a long shot of the palace from afar, and in the foreground is some kind of lizard thing that eats another smaller lizard thing (if I'm remembering correctly). The believability of this shot is all about the juxtaposition between the foreground and background. The effect amounts to believing this kind of palace exists out in a desolate wasteland because, low and behold, here is a little creature that's also living and feeding off other living beings, just like those beings in the palace. We see the detail in the foreground up close, and don't even have time to question the reality of the overall setting in the background because our eyes are taken up with the little detail and action that's been placed right before us.

    PT fail: In general, rooms are beautiful, which means details that create beauty, but they also seem unlived in, which means they tend to lack details that denote living. Whether we're in Padme's room in AOTC, or Anakin and Padme's apartment in ROTS, I can't remember any details of living that brought the rooms to life for me. I'm not sure what I'm hoping for exactly here: maybe some clothes on the ground? An old tome of some kind in the foreground or background? Something specific, like art, that evokes the personality of Anakin and Padme on the walls? Where is the GFFA equivalent of a stereo system or entertainment center? Where is that goofy strip of photos they probably took together at the Coruscant fair? ;) Don't these two ever leave anything lying around? What if we saw a lil droid in the background vacuuming the floor? That's the sort of detail that would have brought the beauty of the rooms to life for me.

    OT fail: Ewoks butts. Let's face it: living creatures have butts. And by butts, I mean butt cracks. Why the Ewoks don't have them is a mystery of biology and nature to be sure, but in the movie, all it makes me think when I see them is Teddy Bear SuitTM. They already knew how to solve this problem with Wookies -- their hair is so long it creates the illusion/belief that the hair is covering a butt up. I guess they didn't want to go a similar route with the ewoks because then they might seem too much like little Wookies, but still -- if you don't have a butt crack, I can't believe you're a real creature. Real creatures poop.

    So, at least in terms of the visual aspects of believability, I hope that the ST focuses like a laser on those little but important details that make me believe the fantastic is real (that is, probable).
    Last edited by Dra---, Sep 20, 2013
  10. TheBBP Chosen One

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    How real? Real like the beating that my Seahawks put on the Niners last Sunday night? Or a different kind of real?
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  11. Seagoat Force Ghost

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    @Dra--- I'm pretty sure Ewoks would have been a little less kid-marketable if they had realistic anuses on them.

    ...Still not a bad idea for a potential CGI update to a future SE.
  12. Pro Scoundrel Chosen One

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    @Dra--- I love your last post. =D=
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  13. Darth PJ Force Ghost

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    Dra - like I mentioned in another thread... whilst I understand what you are trying to state, I think you are confusing general tone and technical application with perception of 'reality' and/or 'believability'. There is a very little difference in the hyper reality on display between the OT and PT... other than Lucas using much more clipped and formal dialogue/situations to make the PT seem somewhat more time set and 'historical' than the OT (and of course the advent and use of digital technology).The PT is Lucas depicting his galaxy as if it were ancient Rome before the fall of the Republic... e.g. It's cultured, but decadent... beautiful, but corrupt. It's the aesthetics of the curves and colors of art deco versus the stark lines of the industrialist architecture to come. To think that the worlds on display in the PT don't look "lived in" when compared to the OT seems to miss the intention of the filmmaker by a Kings mile i.e. to represent visually the socio/political impacts on 'culture' in a totalitarian society and the degradation of both culture and the cultured.

    Now that's not to say that one can't have a preference for the 'used' look and feel over the 'new' and shiny feel (I too prefer the falcon to Padme's starship) but again this has little to do with 'reality' or 'believability' per se when both exist in a hyper-reality.

    Furthermore... That "lived in" environment is still on display in the PT - one only has to look at the Tatooine scenes to see how Lucas has tried to recreate the aesthetic of desert homes and simply cultures. Look at the detail on display in Wattos shop/junkyard or Shmi/Anakin's slave quarters... and see how it's juxtaposed to the lavish and cultured environments of Naboo and Coruscant.

    Now I'm not trying to say for a second that the PT and OT is 'realistic'... but one should be careful about what one wishes for. JJ's interpretation of 'real' seems to manifest itself in lots of hand held camera work/overt camera shake and lens flare etc... which in itself is pure artifice. Star Wars exists in a much more stylised and fairytale like universe than Star Trek does (specifically in JJ's Trek movies - where women seem to be overtly sexualised and men are men... in a mans world). The PT and OT are much closer in tone and style than they are to the Star Trek movies... and moving Star Wars closer to JJ's version of Star Trek will only move the franchise further away from what made the OT so unique and profound in the first place.

    Those who want it to be "more real"... be warned.
    Last edited by Darth PJ, Sep 20, 2013
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  14. appleseed Force Ghost

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    By "real" I think he means "sincere", and what made the OT so sincere was Mark's performance. He believed in what he was doing, and therefore the audience did too.

    If the cast of these new movies have Mark's kind of sincerity and humility, it will help a lot. Hopefully his presence will assist with that.
  15. JediGirl_Angelina Force Ghost

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    Oh, I like this one.

    I for one had no real problems believeing Naboo or Coruscant existed. I think we needed to see rich worlds and deep ends like Tatooine too to get a sense of reality in the story.
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  16. StoneRiver Force Ghost

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    If he can get good fluent performances out of his actors, when the actors have conviction in their delivery of lines and use of surroundings/props, it will be believable.

    Even in the face of "You can write this **** but you can't say it" ;)
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  17. chris hayes Jedi Grand Master

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    It makes it seem more real if you pretend it's real......
  18. Darth_Panicius Jedi Grand Master

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    The key to realism with regards to sets/scenery is that it has to appear 'lived in'.

    I propose that the cast and crew live on set for a month before filming starts. How much more lived in can you get? :)
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  19. Vespasian Jedi Grand Master

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    I think Abrams means that the film should be genuine and as somebody above said, sincere. The universe should feel genuine, the characters and their emotions should feel genuine, the special effects should feel genuine.

    I like Episode III and I love Episode I (yeah, I said that), but I just cannot get into Attack of the Clones. Apart from Obi-Wan Kenobi, everything seems unreal to me: the CG effects aren't nearly as good as in Revenge, the Anakin-Padmé relationship is extremely forced, there are way too many "nods" to the OT. Episode I was more free.


    I'm not sure what you mean by "pure artifice". Movie-making in itself is pure artifice: from sets to make-up, from the film music that manipulates the audience's feelings to foley artists. It's all make believe.

    However, I don't think Episode VII will be too much like the new Star Trek. In the Making of... featurettes on the DVD, JJ&co say they wanted to make Star Trek more like rock&roll, as opposed to being old-school, slow Trek: quick cuts, shaky cam during action, everybody's running, emotional overdrive, etc.The reason behind the lens flare was that the future is so bright the camera cannot take it in.

    Also, Abrams recently expressed some regret over the lens flare, he's clearly aware of the Internet backlash, so he'll try to resist the temptation in Episode VII.


    (But I totally disagree about the sexualisation of women in JJ-Trek. Women were always treated like sex idols in Star Trek, form the Original Series and TNG to Enterprise, all embodied by a singe character: Seven of Nine. There some exceptions, like The Wrath of Khan, and even then there's the scene between Saavik and Kirk in the elevator, but not many spring to mind.)
  20. Grand_Moff_Jawa Chosen One

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    How can I put this without it coming across as an OT versus PT thing...

    Star Wars is all about fantasy, be it the OT or PT. Perhaps the OT was a little more accessible to the audience than the PT? None of it is real, obviously, but something about the OT (for me) felt more "real" than the PT. Maybe it was the almost documentary feel of ANH. It's hard to put my finger on, but if JJ can capture that fantasy feel of the OT, he will have done some real magic. It's an elusive thing. He nailed it with Super 8. That really felt like old Spielberg stuff.
  21. Darth PJ Force Ghost

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    With all due respect, and this isn't a critisism of your good sefl, bu that actually doesn't mean anything. How can special effects "feel genuine"? Do we think, for example, Sir Alec Guinness gave a 'sincere' performance as Obi-Wan Kenobi and somehow Liam Neeson or Ian McDiarmid et al were insincere or misleading? I just don't get that type of language when talking about performances... I personally find it very nebulas and incredibly subjective.

    I assumed we were working on the assumption that there were various degrees of 'realism' that can be achieved in a film? Point being is that, for example, hand held camera work is usually used to give an air of reality ala documentary style footage... it's the camera operators real movement manifested on screen. However, if that camera shake is artifically added to give the impression of movement, it can add to a general sense of artifice (IMHO)... same applies to articially induced lens flare. Now I'm not stating that all camera shake should be removed... the OT had its fair share of that... but again it's more about tonality - fantasy versus a contrived reality. It's why (IMHO) the OT has (in the main) better cheorographed and constructed action/effect sequences than the PT (although the PT still strives to maintain the same sensibilities)... it's why (IMHO) both the OT and PT are better artistic achievents than JJ's Star Trek movies... because Star Trek attempts to create a false/believable reality to tell a story... whereas Star Wars strives to use images and sounds in a much more poetic and loose way, giving it a heightened reality that we know is fantasy.

    Don't get me wrong... I like Star Trek and the fast editing, lens flare and shaky cameras has it's place. I just don't think that will make for a 'better' Star Wars movie.

    I don't think the defence of "that's the way they always did it" is much of a defence at all... ;)
    Again... I'm not a prude, I'm just using it as an example of how JJ isn't scared of playing to the cheap seats... and I would'nt really want to see that in a new Star Wars film (whilst acknowlding that even Leia wore a skimpy bikini).


    Well I do agree that the OT was more accessible and it was more 'fun'. Re. Super 8 - it really depends on how you view Super 8. I thought it was an incredibly bland film done in the style of 70's/80's Spielberg.
    Last edited by Darth PJ, Sep 21, 2013
  22. Darth_Panicius Jedi Grand Master

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    I sometimes sympathise with JJ with regards to Lens Flare. When used sparingly it can sometimes add to the emotion of a scene. I think JJ sometimes got over zealous with it. But he's taken an awful lot of heat over it, so maybe 'lesson learnt'.

    Again, this comes down to the whole 'lived in' atmosphere. I seem to recall that GL was adamant about the fact he wanted things 'dirty and used' in the OT. He didn't want things all sparkly and new.
  23. ezekiel22x Chosen One

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    ESB feels the most real to me because I was in a fake swamp one time and a Muppet stole my dinner.
  24. Echo-07 Force Ghost

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    I think JJ is secretly devloping smellevision to go along with 3D. That will make it feel more real. Smell more real too, when the Wookkiee raises his arms or a batha poodoos if you know what i mean.
  25. gezvader28 Force Ghost

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    Mar 22, 2003
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    hopefully it'll mean less CGI / green screen .

    more actual sets and locations .
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