PT The Blockbuster Double Standard

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by Jedi_Ford_Prefect, Jul 5, 2011.

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  1. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    Something that's bothered me in the past ten years has been the rate at which we've seen big Hollywood blockbusters in exactly the same mold as the "Star Wars" movies-- special-effects extravaganzas with paper-thin plots and two-dimensional characters (not that there's anything wrong with that)-- that more often than not recieve glowing reviews from critics and fanboys alike, the same one who will almost always offer nothing but the most scathing takes on the Prequels. Granted, everybody's entitled to their opinions, but there are times when I see people criticizing TPM, AOTC, ROTS or TCW for reasons that could just as easily be applied to any of the big, accolades-winning pieces of high-concept entertainment from the past decade, which strikes me as rather willfully ignorant. What's good for the goose ought to be good for the gander, yes?

    Here, I'd like to see people share some of the flaws you see in some of the other big blockbusters of recent years that people have made no end of excuses for, while continuing to bash the Prequels. Extra points for those who are willing to point out flaws that the PT and other films (or television series, for that matter) have in common, but nobody's ever willing to admit for the other film. Even more extra points if you're willing to offer examples from films that you, yourself, consider yourself a fan of.

    My first example-- scatalogical humor in TPM and "Fellowship of the Ring". I've heard countless LOTR fans complain about the short bits on Tatooine where Jar-Jar steps in alien droppings (I think there's a t-shirt that says something about that) and where the Eopie farts in his face. Fair enough. But none of them ever seem to mind about the extreme close-up of the giant pile of poodoo that the hobbits nearly tumble into ("Ooh! That was close!") after being chased out of some farm like Peter Rabbit, or the bits where Merry and Pippin get gas from too much Elvish bread.

    That's not just the pot calling the kettle black. That's the pot calling names at the damn tea.
  2. MrFantastic74 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2010
    star 4
    I'll just comment on the example you gave, comparing the scatological homor of TPM and LOTR. I thought the use of this type of homor in LOTR was mildly amusing, and yet somehow, excruciatingly bad in TPM. It's difficult to explain exactly why the humour didn't work in TPM. Chalk it up to comic timing? Perhaps it was because I developed a love for the hobbits on screen, whereas I felt nothing but irritation toward Jar Jar. I don't know exactly, but humor is a difficult thing to do correctly. It either pays off with the auidience or it fails.
  3. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    I was honestly hoping Merry and Pippin would die. It was so bad that I hoped that Charlie would die all through the first two seasons of "Lost". I also had hoped that Legolas the untouchable elf would bite it at some point, and only kinda got my wish when hearing somebody spoil the "Pirates of the Carribean" movies to me. It's all subjective. No matter who the character is, I prefer a long shot of somebody stepping in crap to a giant honking close-up of it.

    Regardless. Let's offer our own examples from now on, and not just nitpick one another's nitpicks.
  4. Alexrd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2009
    star 5
    SFX. Although there is a misconception with this double standard. The one that the Prequels are a CGI fest. Which is not true. Most people who criticize this often overlook the practical effects present in those movies, or think they are CGI.

    Poor dialogue. That's something present in the OT too.
  5. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    Yeah, it's actually fascinating just how much practical models and miniature work was used for the Prequels. Yeah, there's a lot of CGI, but plenty of traditional stuff, too.

    Fair enough, but let's keep it to other recent films. There's plenty of much-touted sci-fi and fantasy epics of the past decade that have been given excuse after excuse for lame dialogue and other screenwriting problems.
  6. Alexrd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2009
    star 5
    Avatar, Transformers, many Marvel movies, etc... Not a fan of any of those, either.
  7. PiettsHat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    A rather minor point, but I never understood why the "are you an angel?" line got so much heat. Anakin is nine -- it's not that big of an issue. Spiderman had a similar line for Peter talking about Mary Jane, "Aunt May! Aunt May! Is that an angel?", and yet I haven't heard half as much discontent with it.

    I think the complaints about that line are also amusing given that in Closer, Clive Owen's character calls Natalie Portman's character an angel (while she was stripping no less) and this movie was nominated for a best screenplay award.

    In terms of SFX, I find the animosity for AOTC's CGI to be confusing because it's, in my opinion, leaps and bounds ahead of Spiderman's yet you rarely see so much complaining about the latter film.
  8. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    Nice catch. I always rather liked the "angel" line in TPM, because apparently, in the GFFA angels are a real thing. Or at least the outer-space equivalent of mermaids. I would've liked to hear more "Star Wars" angel lore (perhaps it's led to some "Evangelion" crossover fanfics).

    There's quite a lot I don't like about the first Spider-Man. Pretty much everything, actually.
  9. MrFantastic74 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2010
    star 4
    It comes down to acting, delivery of the lines, and the context in which the lines are delivered. Jake Lloyd was not a good actor, his delivery was horrible, and the context in which he delivered the lines was borderline creepy.

    But alas, I'm not supposed to nitpick about nitpicks in this thread, so I will depart now.
  10. MrFantastic74 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2010
    star 4
    Wow, we are like polar opposites, my friend. You don't like the first Spider-man film, Merry, Pippin and Legolas from LOTR, and Charlie from LOST... Something tells me we would be butting heads over many an issue at the pub. Haha.
  11. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    He's a kid. That's how kids sound. They can't all be Haley Joel Osment or Dakota Fanning (and to be quite frank, I'm not so sure they were ever that good, either). I like a lot of his deliveries, the down-to-earth frankness of him. He could've been better, and I might agree that an older actor playing Anakin for all three movies would've been a better bet, but it was a gamble, and I admire big-stakes risks.

    But seriously, people. From now on, please only post if you have a new example you want to share. Otherwise, this thread's gonna derail faster than that train in Super 8. Speaking of which...

    ...those kids. Those darn kids. I can understand if you don't like Jake Lloyd's generally underacting in TPM. But my god, I could not stand their zealous overacting. Every time the fat kid squealed "Mint!", I wanted the mysterious alien-monster to come and gobble him up. Or that braces-wearing pyromaniac. Or Elle Fanning sleepwalking through her role, except whenever she was asked to do something geeky, no matter how out-of-character it was. As W.C. Fields once said-- never work with animals or children.
  12. PiettsHat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    People citing the PT's "nonsensical" plot is another double standard I've seen brought up, but I find it perplexing. The PT certainly isn't the only film to have plot holes. Think of JJ Abrams' Star Trek film where Kirk is inexplicably given command of a ship that he was explicitly barred from. Or the fact that he happens to run into "old Spock" and a man who just happened to develop novel teleportation technology. He's one lucky guy, huh?

    Or, as another example, think of the critically-beloved Lord of the Rings trilogy. It's never explained why Aragorn can't simply have the Army of the Dead slaughter Sauron's forces. Nor why Elrond didn't kill Isildur/destroy the Ring when he had the chance. Or how Aragorn knew exactly when Frodo was going to be at Mount Doom to assemble his little "distraction". Seriously, what if Frodo and Sam had been a day late? Then Aragorn and company would have died and they wouldn't have helped Frodo in the slightest since the orcs would be free to go back. That entire plan relies on convenient timing. Just look at the exact moment the eagles arrive. How did they even know to come there? (I know the moth appeared, but still...). So when people tell me they don't like the PT because of "lazy writing" or plot holes, I often have trouble taking them seriously if they love the aforementioned films (which many do).
  13. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    I do find it at least mildly fascinating that people can talk about supposed "plot holes" and "logic gaps" in the prequels all day long, while errors -- and, shall we say, "issues"? -- in other films get overlooked.

    If you're frustrated with all the (seemingly) blind acclaim for LOTR, and you want to amuse yourself, read this --> http://scienceblogs.com/dotphysics/2010/07/how_fast_is_the_beacon_of_gond.php (Tolkien depicted the whole thing more credibly)

    I also like how Minas Tirith, this supposedly tough city, easily crumbles when pelted with rocks. Actual castle sieges took hours or days to achieve in that manner. And all the cartoon physics with the trebuchets also. It's hardly all that gruesome, either. Where's the boiling oil? Yet people turn round and slam the prequels constantly for being "unrealistic" (missing the point of art, but also showing a double standard since they never say a thing when crazy stuff happens in other fantasy movies).

    There are some pretty odd tactics displayed by the characters in LOTR, also. Aragorn does suicidal stuff in all three films, but he never comes undone. In FOTR, he calmly paces -- on his own -- into a horde of uruk-hai, sweeping them aside, one-by-one, with some very unconvincing sword moves (choreographed by Vader himself, Bob Anderson -- arrgh!). In TTT, he improbably leaps across a very large gap, after "tossing" a dwarf (apparently, it's an Aussie pub joke), then proceeds, once again, to fight off a very large group of uruk-hai single-handedly (my apologies: it's a man and a dwarf -- gosh, Monty Python would have had a field day). Also in TTT, during the same battle, Aragorn tells the Elven archers to fire at approaching uruk-hai when they're storming through the broken wall, and the archers take down a number of uruk-hai quite easily, but then, for no reason at all, he tells them to charge forward, despite them having a surfeit of arrows and distance to fire them, and he again takes the lead, running full pelt into a bunch of pikes he (naturally) bats away and magically survives. In ROTK, he AGAIN runs full pelt, on his own, into an entire ARMY of orcs, and then everyone else charges forward, which would surely guarantee death of one kind or another (either being skewered by the opposing army or crushed to death when the two sides meet in the middle). Oh, Aragorn is also stamped on by a troll, yet he somehow manages to stab the troll in the foot and ... you guessed it ... survive (without any internal injuries of any kind).

    I have other things to say about those films, but it almost seems pointless to air my thoughts. It does annoy me how unwilling people are to probe the LOTR films in any detail and consider less seemly characteristics. A big sticking point for me is the attitude to war and killing. In the prologue, Galadriel somberly intones, "And there, they fought for the freedom of Middle-earth" -- rhetoric that would surely make Dick Cheney and his Neo-Con supporters proud. Later in the movie, Galadriel hands Merry and Pippin daggers, and tells Pippin, "Do not fear, Peregrin Took. You will find your courage": the "courage" being to stab other sentient persons to death. And if that wasn't enough, where, exactly, does Galadriel, this more or less immortal being who's never tasted pain or fear in battle, get the chutzpah to tell someone else not to fear, especially when they're primed to go up against people twice their height and about four times their weight, trained -- indeed, BRED -- to mutilate and kill? Well, maybe she looked into that mirror thing, and saw they'd survive or something. But did she calculate the psychological toll of physically stabbing another person to death? In military training, recruits are made to shout, "Kill! Kill! Kill!" when they practice with their bayonets against dummies, to overcome the natural revulsion to take another person's life and look them in the face whilst doing it (another heart-warming exercise includes learning the motto: "What makes the green grass grow? Blood! Blood! Blood!"). I mean... to me, as they stand, the
  14. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    I did find it interesting how much Eric Bana's Romulan bad guy reminded me of Darth Maul, with the tattoos. Also, the "There's Always a Bigger Fish" moment on the ice planet. Plenty of PT with OT stuff mixed in there. Funny thing, though-- not enough actual Star Trek.

    For me, the gold standard of a film with plot-holes nobody calls out is The Dark Knight. Don't get me wrong, I like the movie quite a bit. But there's a few too many moments where our heroes play things "close to the chest", especially in all the cons-within-cons everyone plays.

    Take the whole sequence of events that follows the attempt on the Mayor's life. Gordon is seemingly killed. Dent goes a little crazy thinking Rachel will be next. Bruce Wayne prepares to turn himself in as Batman, only, Dent decides to take the rap and protect the real Caped Crusader, and is arrested to be brought downtown. The Joker wages a citywide offensive against the transport convoy. Batman arrives in the nick of time to save Dent, but is immobilized by the Joker. Then, again at the nick of time, Batman is saved from the Joker by Gordon, who had faked his death and was posing as a SWAT team driver the whole time.

    Now. It's possible for this sequence of events to make sense, but only if Gordon, Dent and Wayne are all privy to one another's plans. The problem lies in the fact that each one of them has no idea what the others are doing-- Batman burns all his paperwork thinking he'll really turn himself in; Dent puts a gun to a Joker-henchman's head in order to find the Joker, something he probably wouldn't do if he knew Gordon's death was a ruse. Furthermore, essential parts of the plan make absolutely no sense, if there's no foreknowledge. Exactly how did Gordon fake his death? Wouldn't there have been examiners to check his pulse? The only way he could've gotten around that is if he had some fake-death pill from Batman, and even then, there's the question of how he wound up posing as a SWAT guard. Did he have to escape from the morgue before his autopsy could be done? It all falls apart.

    Granted, I like the movie, but Holy Plot, Batman!
  15. MissPadme Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1998
    star 4
    The Harry Potter flix. I think they're entertaining for the most part--I'd rather watch any one of them over just about every movie nominated for Best Picture this year--but as a non-fan of the books, I find them occasionally difficult to follow and a little too caught up in its own universe. I've never read any of the Twilight books, but I have no problem at all following the story in the movies. Yet they get passing grades from critics and practically no scrutiny from movie geeks or the internet peanut gallery. All of that CGI's hunky dory. Because thou shalt not speak ill of Harry Potter or something.

    And then there's LOTR. Entertaining, well-crafted, and touching at times; dull, indulgent, and pretentious at others. Nobody would have forgiven Lucas had he put all of those false endings at the denouement of ROTS. The wags complained about Padmé being too passive in ROTS. Granted, most of her Senate scenes were cut but at least she had an excuse...she was pregnant. It's hard to be action girl when you're packing twins in the trunk. But nobody mentioned the utter passivity and unimportance of women in the LOTR films. Even Eowen the warrior chick had at best a small role. Galadriel shows up for a short period of time to pass out some magic trinkets and give everyone a hug. Arwen just hangs out and pines for Aragorn. Admittedly that has to do with the source material; Tolkien wasn't super interested in creating heroines. But by comparison, Padmé's one subversive babe. At least she got a couple of good films out of it before the inevitable knocking up and at least she made the tragedy count.

    --MissPadme
  16. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    The "Harry Potter" movies missed out on the chance for true greatness when the producers turned down Terry Gilliam as director. Either that or they narrowly averted turning it into a disaster of franchise killing proportions. It's hard to tell with Gilliam.

    I remember finding it incredibly odd how those films and their admirers seemed to take the notion of Eowyn as some kind of female empowerment figure seriously. Did the 70's and feminism not happen? Did everyone forget about kick-ass chicks like Foxy Brown, Xena or Leia for that matter? Hell, even Joan of Arc is a more revolutionary heroine. How all that medievalist fantasy can cloud the cultural memory.

    Galadriel is not there to hand out trinkets and words of encouragement. She's there for pure exposition, and to deepen the human inferiority complex the series espouses by making the elves an effective Master Race.

    Which reminds me-- people called the Prequels racist because of percieved stereotypes in Jar Jar, the Trade Federationists, Watto, Jango and god knows what else, even though they could never quite figure out what stereotype everyone was supposed to be. Yet there was nary a complaint about the LOTR films, and how the entire cast was whiter than the cast of Triumph of the Wills (except for all the monsters and turbanned chaps riding elephants trying to kill everyone). A real Rainbow Coalition, that Middle Earth.
  17. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    And watered-down Star Wars. Bana's Nero makes a poor Darth Maul. He's the kind of ranting, genocidal madman Maul could easily have been but isn't. And that "bigger fish" moment is dumber than a can of beans. In TPM, Lucas gives plausible structure to his ecological wonderland and its deep sea beasts; in Abrams' Star Trek, the rather-awkwardly-designed creature gives pursuit after throwing away a meal -- and somehow freaks out at the threat of fire, despite, presumably, never having seen it before, and not possessing an innate sense of curiosity toward the bright shiny light. And how, for that matter, did Spock know someone was being chased in the middle of a frozen wasteland, running to the mouth of the cave in time with fiery torch at the ready? And what was Spock doing lingering in that cave all the while he knew there was a Starfleet base nearby that he could have gone to for help (someone wanting to destroy your home planet and near-enough wipe out your entire civilization would be a pretty strong motivator on the list of strong motivators)?

    On top of everything else, the Abrams' film is wildly inconsistent. A prime example of this is during the bridge scene when Kirk runs in to warn Pike and the rest about the Enterprise "warping into a trap". Uhura is addressed during part of this scene and is alternately referred to as a "cadet" and a "lieutenant". Maybe you can be both -- somehow -- but Spock addresses Uhura one way and Pike another. That's pretty sloppy; in my opinion. It suggests that the film can't even keep basic details straight; or doesn't care for a basic professionalism between its characters at the least. I dunno. The more you try to make sense of Abrams' film, the messier it gets. Yet Lucas is the hack here because -- according to the gospel by RLM -- Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon are referred to as "Jedi Knights" in the TPM title crawl? This, in spite of the fact that the title crawls to Star Wars clearly generalize, and other characters even refer to Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon as "Jedi Knights". But we know which films continually get it in the neck.

  18. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    Funny that you mentioned that. My Dad doesn't like the prequels, and his initial reaction to TPM was, "Why do all the bad guys have Chinese accents?"

    I made the same comment several years ago about why there was no outcry over LOTR and every single actor in it being white. I liked those films, but is Middle Earth supposed to be Europe because Tolkien was English?

    As far as Harry Potter: the books are, Hands. Down., better than the films. I haven't seen film 7 part 1 yet, but I had way too many WTF? moments with part 6. It seemed less like a Harry Potter movie and more of a loud message that, "Hi! I'm Steve Kloves, and I can direct a horror film! Watch!" There was a cornfield scene that wasn't in the book, didn't even resemble anything in the book. Come to think of it, there was a cornfield scene in part 5 as well. Does corn grow in the UK at all? But the Harry Potter films haven't gotten nearly as much flack as the prequels, even from the die-hard Potter fans who do what I just did, and complain about the differences from the books.
  19. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    His question should have been: "Why do all the bad guys have bad Chinese accents?" Bad guys, with bad accents. It's a serial trope very in-keeping with the kind of colourful, discursive 1950s-ish Sci-Fi universe that Lucas kept adding onto in the prequels. He cast political correctness aside to make a veritable pastiche, incorporating modern global politics, emo-like existential angst, and yes, Flash Gordon tributes up the wazoo. Tarantino has also taken his share of hits for his "bad language", "racist overtones" and "grotesque violence"; but he carries right on. Is it just me or is the fact that Samuel L Jackson being a part of these two directors' movies too frickin' cool?

    They're a sort of "white man's paradise". It's not all that unusual given where they were filmed. I believe Australia and New Zealand have long maintained very tight controls on immigration; which is ironic, given that their indigenous populations, which have largely given way to and been screwed over by white settlers (at least, in Australia), pre-date the colonial folk who basically run the governments and control much of the territory. That's not to cast aspersions on individual residents of the two countries, but it strikes me as an obvious environment in which to film a white-only fable and not run into too many accusations about your movie series' lack of diversity.

    Corn (maize) was only introduced to the UK for growing -- to the best of my knowledge -- in the 20th Century (yes, it does grow here); and since the Shire is meant to be a sort of pre-Industrial Revolution sort of place, that's breaking (once again) with Tolkien's world. On the other hand... whatever. It's all make-believe and it's all rather silly on that level. IIRC, Tolkien had to contrive some reason as to why they're even growing potatoes and the like, since they come from the New World, and the Americas don't exist in Middle-earth. In his mythology, these things are brought over by Numenorean folk, I believe. You can interpret that allegorically; or you can see it as the author making a reader squint to make sense of his insular tale, which tamps down the enterprising and chaotic nature of human beings, putting some kind of twee, molly-coddled vision of life in the place of sweat, blood, tears and societal conflict. How fortunate that no-one's myopic in LOTR! Or openly hostile to women! Or molesting of children! Or even simply strict in the home! Or displays any signs of the 1,001 other infirmities and abuses that were common in feudal societies before modern technology and modern forms of democracy were developed and established. On top of Tolkien's excessive sinning by omission and
  20. FalorWindrider Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2010
    star 4
    As far as accent-related stereotypes, here we go:
    Jar-Jar: Black people, as seen by white people of the 1920s.
    Watto: Garden-variety space Jew. He sells junk and is a money-grubber, with the accent.
    Imperials: Brits per an American third-grader's understanding of the American Revolution (read: snobby and always, always Neutral Evil)
    Rebels: Americans per an American third-grader's understanding of the American Revolution (read: down-to-earth and always, always Chaotic Good)
    Neimoidians: Asian. Ruthless businessmen, money-grubbers, stealing what the white people worked hard for.

    The New Zealand accent for the clones doesn't touch on any stereotypes that I can identify (are New Zealanders a proud warrior race?) However, accents don't work that way. Simply having the same vocal structure as a clone wouldn't necessarily mean they would speak in the same manner. The clones have contact with exactly one person who speaks in that accent: Jango. They are raised by Kaminoans who speak in a very plain American accent and I'm guessing the Kaminoans designed their flash-learning software. Logically, most of the clones would speak similarly to Lama Su. It's not like Jango took the time to teach each and every clone Basic.

    As for Tolkien, yes, he was writing what he thought of as a mythology of Europe, with Middle-Earth being an ancient precursor. The actors are all white because the characters are all white. We're talking a relatively racially homogenous culture here. You wouldn't make a movie set in Sub-Roman Britain (read: 6th Century A.D.) starring a black man, a Chinese man, an Indian, a Native American, and a Congolese man, would you?

    Harry Potter is shot, when on-location, in Britain. I'm pretty sure that field was there, considering they have shot the Burrow as being there since the 4th movie. But a lot of that field might be movie magic (pardon the pun), so who knows Anyway, the HBP movie was really stupid for a couple reasons 1.) The Horcux plot was axed (this is the main story, mind you) and 2.) Every other ridiculous sub-plot was over-emphasized. Also, Steve Kloves is a Hermione fanboy. He will do everything in his power to rewrite her as a Mary Sue, while making Ron useless cowardly comic relief. She kind of was a Mary Sue anyway in the books, but Kloves made it worse.
  21. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    Cryo, I've never seen anybody voice such virulent hatred for TDK or the Nolan take on the Batman franchise in general, but I know you're not alone out there, and it's proof positive that there's plenty of people out there who can offer a negative take on any big tentpole series, no matter how popular. Nothing is immune to criticism, though in Batman's case, I think there's a rationale for how it's able to survive such damaging assaults without so much of a scratch-- age.

    Think about it. Batman has been around in comic books since the Depression, on a widely known TV show since the 60's, in hard-boiled revisionist graphic-novels and a series of alternately dark and campy movies since the 80's, and in a popular and critically acclaimed animated series since the 90's, not to mention a sleeper-hit video-game in the 00's. There are so many different takes and spins on Bruce Wayne, it's hard to keep track of all of them, let alone count yourself a fan of every single incarnation out there.

    Therefore, he's a character ripe for imaginative reinterpretations by guys like Nolan, who almost goes out of his way to modernize the franchise to the point of becoming completely unrecognizable. Gone is the dark, fueling angst of the Frank Miller days, replaced by a moral crusade that wouldn't be out of place with Elliot Ness. Gone is the dark, truly gothic Gotham of the Tim Burton movies or the Paul Dini/Bruce Timm series, replaced by a series of increasingly modernist-fetish skylines that looks as though the entire city were designed to fit the specifications of a Michael Mann movie. Gone are the campier, gaudier villains of his rogue's gallery, replaced by grimy, bloody and scarred versions of the characters that seem as though they're aspiring to compete with the depraved imaginations of Hannibal Lector and company.

    Every version of Batman is bound to be different from the next, so it's natural that the films can survive criticisms like yours, even when you're doing nothing more than pointing out the logical fallacies prevalent in the plotlines, because people are simply used to seeing so many different guises of the Dark Knight, and used to thinking that different versions were somehow inferior to the ones they call their own. Fans of the dark, original comics would scarcely recognize the campy theatrics of Adam West's tongue-in-cheek portrayal of the Caped Crusader. Fans of his found themselves morally outraged by the graphic violence and nihilism found in Miller's comics and others of the same era. Fans who loved the more mature take found in "Year One" and "The Dark Knight Returns" rolled their eyes at the Hollywoodizations of the Burton film, with Jack Nicholson hamming it up as the Joker (who also just happened to be the killer of Wayne's parents, this time around). Fans of Burton wanted nothing to do with Joel Shumacher's flicks, what with all the batsuits with nipples and what have you (for the record, I freakin' loved "Batman Forever" when it first came out, and still think it's good fun). Fans of the Dini/Timm cartoons think every other version of Bats just plain sucks. I don't know where you fit, but wherever it is, you've got plenty of company.

    My point is-- Bat-fans were used to revisionism in their franchise. Likewise Trekkies, who'd seen the Original Series make way for the Motion Pictures, then the Next Generation, and so on. "Star Wars" fans, however, weren't quite ready for the changes in store with the Prequels, which was all the more ironic considering that they were coming from the original creator, and not some new creative team. Therefore, while TPM and the rest still enjoyed plenty of mainstream popularity and devotion from a new generation of fans, the old guard was less open to the changes than everyone else, allowing the online criticism to magnify exponentially in ways that the other franchises were more or less innoculated against.

    LOTR and "Avatar" have the advantage of being new films (or at least new adaptations of something already out there) so the standards weren't as set. They got
  22. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    Or Jamaican, carribean, or whatever. Hell, I've heard some call him a space redneck.

    Or Arab. Or Italian. Or Turkish. Or I don't even know what else. Watto was the first character I'd heard people complaining about, and the fact that even the news piece (a local New York thing) couldn't keep track of all the different groups who thought they were being sleighted kept me from taking it seriously. Sometimes a blue hummingbird alien is just a blue hummingbird alien.

    True. They dressed like Nazis, though, and were played by actual Brits. Nobody was really offended, there.

    Well, until ROTJ, at least, when they got some Brits of their own. Nice job on the alignment chart designations, by the way.

    Okay, this one I'll admit I thought about in the theaters, as possibly a throwaway reference to all the yellow-peril villains of the sci-fi and pulp adventure stories Lucas was drawing from (Fu Manchu, Ming the Merciless, WWII saboteurs, etc). The company line is they're supposed to sound Transylvanian, which I also heard traces of. Whatever.

    Well, they're all Temuera Morrison, and he's a great actor, so whatever. The racial angle that people inferred in the United States, however, was that they must've been representing Hispanics and Latinos, because of his skin color. So really, these things don't even have to make sense.

    In the 21st century-- Hell yes.

    This is why I'm an Evangelion fan. Even when an Asuka shipper like Tsurumaki tries to reimagine her as more sympathetic, she stil
  23. FalorWindrider Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2010
    star 4
    Political correctness really shouldn't be the main concern. Think about the setting. An isolated cluster of nations who are largely homogenous would not have racial diversity. If we were talking about a very cosmopolitan setting, I would agree with you, but Dark Age Europe, aside from Spain, was patently not. Neither was Middle-Earth, where Gondor had diplomatic contact with exactly one nation: Rohan. Mordor was a hellhole that was culturally sterile. The Shire is Merry England and as such is completely isolated. And the rest of the regions are simply ruins inhabited by nomads. This isn't a very open setting, with little exchange of people or ideas. Make of that what you will.
  24. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    Except nobody really takes the "Middle Earth is supposed to be Europe from ages, ages past" thing seriously anymore, do they? And if they do, I find the whole enterprise to be rather morally suspect. All of the white peoples of Europe are good, and all of the "other" peoples of the world "to the East" are agents of the Dark Lord Sauron. As I've said before, there's more nuance and subtlety to be found in the Miller/Snyder film of 300 for the way it nakedly indulges in, and thereby blows widely open, the propaganda mythology of West-vs-East in all its forms, from the days of the Spartans to the Crusades for the Holy Lands, complete with elephants.

    Of all the aspects of Tolkien's tale that could've stood a little modernizing, I can't think of anything better than the complexions of the "free people" of Middle Earth. It's hard-- nay, impossible-- for me to have any real emotional investment in the stakes of that kind of white man's burden, especially when it purports to make its fantasy about elves and dwarves into racially minded high drama (can't we all just get along, fellow white people?). That's just not the world I live in, and I don't care if the Orcs have it.

    Back to the matter of Double Standards, though. At the moment, I'm watching The Matrix on AMC. I love these movies, though not nearly as much as I do Star Wars, and one thing that's always bothered me is how people more or less make excuses for Keanu Reeves' performance that they won't for Hayden. Granted, I don't fault Keanu's protrayal, but even when people chuckle at his "woah"-isms, they give him the benefit of the doubt. Is it because audiences were already primed for his surfer-dude demeanour from seeing it over and over again in Bill and Ted, Johnny Mnemonic, Point Break and Speed? Who knows, maybe in the future we'll see Hayden cast in another such sci-fi yarn, and people will welcome a return to "Mannequin Skywalker" with open arms.
  25. drg4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2005
    star 4
    The charge: ?Extraneous and self-indulgent action sequences?

    The point of comparison: Casino Royale (2006)


    For the record, I adore Casino Royale. If Campbell's adaptation isn't the greatest Bond film of all time, it's at least the best outing since On Her Majesty's Secret Service. (The 40 year gulf separating these two masterpieces serves as the single worst indictment of this most banal, unrewarding of cinematic franchises.) Watching Daniel Craig's first scene was as miraculous as witnessing Christ walk on water; his personage so charismatic, so utterly terrifying that he actually managed, at long last, to banish the specter of young Sean Connery. Now here was the glorious monster I always suspected James Bond to be. A force of nature.

    But honestly, I kinda wish the movie had been scaled-down. The obligatory action sequences, no matter how well conceived, practically clashed with the intimacy of Craig's performance. The actor never burned brighter than when sparring with Vesper, or staring down Le Chiffre at the card table, or enduring torture. The Super Mario antics and the protracted airport tanker-hopping was unnecessary, reminding me of the prevalence of splash and spectacle over style and wit.
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