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PT The Blockbuster Double Standard

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

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  1. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    Speaking of double standards, in films Natalie Portman loses the will to live all the time. It's kind of her thing.
  2. Cryogenic Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5
    Heh.

    Maybe some people just don't like Natalie Portman?

    If there's any firmer proof we live in a sick, stunted world, I'd like to see it!

    * * *

    Seriously, though, if one slightly (or more-than-slightly) disdains an actor or actress, I'd imagine it could cloud their ability to find any kind of poignancy or beauty when they witness them playing a character who dies under ignominious circumstances (take that with a grain of salt, if for no other reason than I can't think of a non-ignominious death, real or fictional).

    * * *

    I also suspect there's a low-level misogyny that pulses malignantly around male-dominated entertainments and pursuits like Star Wars. To me, this subtle distrust and hatred -- ultimately rooted in fear (that Yoda line about fear being the path to the Dark Side... profound, man... PROFOUND) -- is shown every time someone complains, let's say, about Padme being a mother and her dying and leaving her kids behind; and the proposition that these are NOT the actions of any decent mother. Yes, that might be true, but only from a very small vantage point. First and foremost, it's pretty clear (at least, to me) that Padme DOES care, but has already begun ebbing away, like the rupturing of a dam that can't be stopped. And much more crassly, the proposition is, effectively, lumping scorn on women by presuming a woman MUST care for her newborns by default: fascism by another name. And like fascism, I think it's ultimately rooted in unresolved fears stemming from infancy, about abandonment and neglect. "No, no, no... my mother loved me, right? MOTHERS LOVE! THAT'S WHAT THEY DO!" For better or worse, certain standards are foisted on things like Star Wars, which are expected to conform to imagined norms and satisfy deep-seated needs and desires. I think it's easy to see how and why some bashing exists and takes the form it does.
  3. TOSCHESTATION Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 17, 2003
    star 4

    Here's a 'novel' idea:

    Instead of all the amateur psychoanalysis being proffered (like above), it may be that people who don't like the PT simply don't find it entertaining .


    I think the 'subtitle' of this thread should be: "The World-Wide Conspiracy* Against the PT/Lucas**"

    *a 'conspiracy' that includes even friends like Steven Spielberg in it's ranks, apparently
    **not Star Wars in general, mind you, but the PT and Lucas specifically
  4. CT-867-5309 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jan 5, 2011
    star 5
    Indeed, the obsessive defense of the prequels is just as bizarre as the passionate attack.
  5. QuangoFett Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 11, 2011
    star 4
    Ah, it's always better to have two gangsters in town. Balance of power and all that...

    "So my full truth is I'm as much a capitalist as I am a socialist, but since we live in the only mature country in the world where socialist is considered so dirty a word that no-one dare admit to being one, I feel more compelled to stand up for the socialist side of me than the capitalist side."
    - Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC, 1/8/2011

    This is similar to how I feel about PT-criticism and PT-praise (swapped for capitalism and socialism respectively). All the deserving criticism of the PT has been made already, so what remains isn't worth being accepted without a pinch of salt. There's a risk that the casual, undeserved put-downs of the PT could be accepted as common wisdom unless they're opposed with counter-arguments. I don't agree with everything Cryogenic, JediFordPrefect et al. have posted, but I'm glad that they're loud and proud about it.
  6. Cryogenic Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5
    If they "simply don't find it entertaining", then they should "simply" say that, instead of working themselves into rants and making snotty remarks and insinuations about others who think and feel differently. When the latter approach is taken, others will naturally begin to ruminate on what animates a subset of fans to be so fervent in their condemnations.

    Also, I wish to enter, for the record, that JFP, the thread starter, has already aired a dislike of Padme's death and her "losing the will to live". But I wasn't really referring to him. However, I could have been, couldn't I? If you fail to discriminate between particular grievances and the reasons given (and the manner in which they're delivered), you may not see a difference; which your lack of finesse and subtlety seem to suggest.

    Well, that would be projection on your part, for certain, since a "world-wide conspiracy" has neither been articulated nor implied in here. That said, if it personally helps you look down your nose at this thread and its contributors, then more power to ya.

    Well, by that "logic", it would have to include Lucas, himself, who has a preferential admiration for some aspects and movies of Star Wars over others, if several of his comments -- and, for that matter, human nature, itself -- carry any weight or meaning.

    * * *

    Anyway, thanks for stopping by. It's nice to see you've chosen to interject almost two-hundred-responses deep, with nothing more than simple-minded strawman statements based on a thread you happen not to like.

    I appreciate that quotation, and your thoughts, QF. Let's hope you haven't already brought too much politics into this thread (I don't think so), but I think the situation is very akin to declaring oneself a "socialist" -- or, even, as the quotation seems to imply, airing thoughts that cause one to be subsequently labeled "socialist", as if that's automatically filthy and bad -- in contemporary (American) politics. To my mind, that's actually a very astute analogy, and I thank you for making it.
  7. PTisgreat Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 18, 2011
    I just joined here so I don't know the history (I've been trying to read through some older threads just to get a taste of this forum). I have to say the majority of people here are real nice and there are some nice threads about the movies that I have enjoyed giving my two cents.

    But I don't get the fans here who seem to just hate on Lucas butting heads with the ones that seem to defend Lucas on everything for that same reason.

    When I answer a thread, I just give my opinion, and really don't have any bias either way. Now I enjoy all 6 movies equally, so I may be slanted towards being a fan of the saga, but if I see something I don't like in the movies, I won't hesitate to criticize.

    I guess I am naive, but I still will never understand how some one gets bent out of shape if a SW fan likes all or a few of the movies. I really like the PT, but I have come across people in work who don't care for them. But the debate ends there. :)

  8. Adali-Kiri Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2000
    star 4
    Personally, I can't believe that a summer blockbuster gets as good as Inception. I'll never stop raving about it. And I also agree about J.J. Didn't like Star Trek one bit. I've never been a fan, but it seems that J.J.'s version is just riffing on something that critics don't pick up: Most of his concepts deal with alternate or parallell realities. I mean, LOST, Fringe, Star Trek... I loved LOST, but J.J.'s sameness of premise from project to project is something I've certainly seen people critizise Lucas for.

    Well, they are blockbusters, so it's a little harsh to blame them for that whole aesthetic. Personally, I find Nolan to be one of very few filmmakers working in American cinema that are very active and whose work I really love. I'd put him up there with David Fincher and Darren Aronofsky. I'd also list M. Night Shyamalan, but I know people will bite my head off for that. [face_plain]

    Yeah, that's kinda like Spider-Man falling from a rooftop into an alley and being just fine. I don't personally feel that Nolan's Batman does this thing too often, so I'm not that bothered. But Star Wars films can sidestep this sort of issue through the nature of the Jedi and the Force, and even so it doesn't come up that much. (Anakin's dive at the start of AOTC comes to mind, though). Never thought of it, but this is another instance of Lucas' approach that I find refreshing in comparison with most other blockbusters

    Fair point. Personally, though, I'm attracted to these kinds of through-lines in people's work. That's part of the reason why I adore the work of both Lucas and Shyamalan, although Shyamalan probably has just one intended blockbuster to his name. Which is also the only film of his that I don't like.

    I don't see it as genius, but it signals something about a director's identity as an artist. Even Kubrick had something of this, although he is probably on a different level to all the other's I've named. At least so far.

  9. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    This thread has fallen off a bit, but I'd like to point out another thread in the Classic Trilogy forum that's pointing out some of the same kinds of "flaws" in the original films that people often whine about in the Prequels. It's another Double Standard thread, in a way, and it's going strong.

    http://boards.theforce.net/classic_trilogy/b10002/31863249/p1/?12
  10. Adali-Kiri Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2000
    star 4
    Sorry for killing your thread with a boring post, J_F_P. I-)
  11. ezekiel22x Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2002
    star 5
    Probably been mentioned already, but I've always found it a bit curious how lava surfing is unacceptable while shieldboarding and elephant surfing are way cool. Ditto for Jar Jar's cartoon antics during battle vs. a good round of dwarf-tossing. Also, Mace's "This party is over!" is hack writing while Jim Gordan's "I've got to get me one of those!" is the work of a genius.
  12. Cryogenic Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5
    Nay. It was a fair and respectable follow-up. In fact, that's why I didn't respond to it. You basically dotted the "i"s and crossed the "t"s in a very neat and adroit manner. Plus, I think the thread had grown a little stale. Anyway, inter-trilogy, or intra-saga, double standards are a league unto themselves, and that's a cool link JFP has just given (with predictably-strong input from his good self).
  13. Pendulous_Dewlap Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2011
    star 1
    How dare you criticize Lord Nolan?:p
  14. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    Exactly. If people "simply didn't find it entertaining," I wouldn't think they would be so concerned with the fact that other people do find it entertaining.

    The "passionate defense" in question is really a direct reaction to the assertions that factually and objectively the PT movies were worse, or that those of us who like the PT are Lucas shills and have no taste. How long was that thread on the RLM video? 70 pages? I would say at least 40 of those were directed at passionate hatred of the PT and attempts to tell PT fans that RLM's opinion is superior to theirs.

    I think 40 pages of hatred for a set of movies deserves some evaluation as to the causes behind the passion.
  15. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    These are all some good observations. The shieldboarding and elephant slide bits always bothered me as anachronistic, and way too specific as pop-cultural references ("The Flintstones" and extreme sports? Really?). As for dwarf-tossing-- it's part of the trilogy-wide undermining of Gimli, who's really one of the only characters I more or less enjoy in the films (being played by one of Indy's buddies helps). Still, I'm bothered by Merry and Pippin in those movies more than anything Jar Jar put me through.

    Gordon's line to the Tumbler-- that always takes me right out of the movie. It's such a self-conscious "movie" line, so contrived. I don't mind it that much, but it's distracting, as though Akiva Goldsman had doctored Nolan's script to add in a few choice zingers from his <i>Batman Forever</i> days ("It's the car, right? Chicks dig the car."-- I do like that movie quite a bit, though).

    Here's one that really bothers me, as a TPM fan. Critics always complain about how little screen-time Darth Maul has. Okay. But what about Two-Face in TDK? Yeah, we get plenty of Harvey Dent, but his time as a facially-scared psychopath is almost an afterthought. It's especially frustrating, knowing that Nolan decied not to go with the incredibly obvious option of having Two-Face be the main villain of the next film, in lieu of Bane and the second coming of Ra's Al Ghul.
  16. StampidHD280pro Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2005
    star 4
    Exactly. I used to be a nitpicker and a basher, but then I saw people online acting like bullies about their preferences in art, and its became obvious that most of these people didn't know what they were talking about and had no idea. I had to switch sides. This involved actually LIKING things instead of dismissing them. It turns out its FUN to LIKE things, even if it makes you seem as crazy as the rabid prequel-bashers.
  17. Adali-Kiri Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2000
    star 4
    I agree with that. Pippin in particular takes me out of the film just about every time he's on screen. I can't stand Boyd's acting, and it could actually have been less annoying if he were CG. I never loved Jar Jar, but I was never annoyed with him either.

    You like Batman Forever? :eek:

    ;)

    It's interesting to watch Batman Begins and The Dark Knight in sequence. In the first one, there are several instances of such self-conscious, fanboy-catering lines. As the first film changed the aesthetics of superhero movies, so the second keeps it going by pulling away from these things. Credit is due Nolan and his team for that.

    That film isn't out for another year, so already bashing it seems like a double standard in itself in light of this thread's subject. Personally, I think it takes guts not to go with the "incredibly obvious option", and Nolan deserves praise for not doing the obvious thing. I also quite enjoyed the way both Maul and Dent were used sparsely, and I've honestly seen as much criticism of the former as the latter.
  18. Darthman1992 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 17, 2011
    star 1
    I know it's a bit off topic but I've to say that while it isn't as good as the Nolan films, but it's a much better film than given credit for being. It's basically criticized for lacking Burton and Keaton, as well as being guilty by association with the following sequel. It's an even bigger victim of unfair judgments by many more than the Prequel Trilogy.
  19. Adali-Kiri Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2000
    star 4
    I love the off-topic stuff in any thread.

    I agree that Batman Forever is much better than the sequel. But I don't think the Bat man found a safe home between Burton and Nolan. And I would be kind of pleased if there's some kind of movie out there that gets more flak and plain hatred than Lucas' more recent SW films. ;)
  20. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    Batman Forever is a dumb movie, but it's dumb fun, and it captures the giddy, imaginative vision of DC comics of, say, the 70's pretty well, when Batman stories could be dark but still fun and adventurous, before Frank Miller made everything uniformally dark and despairing for decades. Oddly, that was the era that gave rise to Ra's Al Ghul, where he was a much more flamboyant, fantastical villain than we got in the Nolan films.

    But whatever. Jim Carrey is great as the Riddler. Tommy Lee Jones is kinda embarassing as Two-Face, and a prime reason I wish that Dent was kept alive in TDK. Completely underrated, however, is Val Kilmer as Bruce Wayne-- I frankly think that he captured both the edge and lightness of that role better than anyone who's donned the cape and cowl. Keaton was too withdrawn. Clooney was on autopilot. And Bale has been phoning in either a recycled Patrick Bateman performance from American Psycho or that awful gravelly voice. In the end, of course, nobody beats Kevin Conroy from the cartoon, but whatever.
  21. Darthman1992 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 17, 2011
    star 1
    Wow. I basically agree with most of that. While it certainly has its dumb moments, as all of the original Batman film sequels did with RETURNS getting away with a lot of things they hold against this one (See I can somehow round this back to Blockbuster Double Standards!) I wouldn't call it overtly dumb. (Like let's say BATMAN & ROBIN) I felt a greater investment in the Bruce Wayne character and Val Kilmer (I think Keaton is the best in-costume Batman, though I'd say Val Kilmer was a stronger Bruce Wayne), Chris O'donnell, and Jim Carrey (Like Nicholson before him a natural fit for the part) all do very good jobs. Yeah TLJ is the big fault of the film (apparently he decided to act that way in a bid to not get upstaged by Jim Carrey).

    And yeah he shouldn't 've been killed off in TDK. Real missed opportunity for a great leading villain.


    This is an interesting conversation, but I guess we should get back to STAR WARS before we're given a warning post to get back on topic.
  22. Jedi_Ford_Prefect Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2003
    star 4
    Well, you mention RETURNS up there, which reminds me of one of the biggest complaints put against the PT (and the OT, at times, but not anymore)-- shifts of tone. Between action-packed set-pieces, bright-eyed adventure, childlike slapstick and uber-mature tragedy, the atmosphere of the films can change wildly from one scene to the next, much to critics' chagrin. But so often I see the same things happening in so many other acclaimed blockbuster stuff, particularly in the superhero genre, that tends to mine the same pop-mythology ground that Lucas revolutionized in cinema. Burton's old schtick of mixing innocent children's imagery with dark and disturbing stuff is at peak in RETURNS, with a near-canibalistic Penguin riding about on a rubber-ducky and threatening to blow up Gotham with weaponized penuins and (cliche of cliches) a sinister circus. The newer Bat-films have mostly avoided that kind of shifting-tone in lieu of a much more universal Miller-esque dark realism that I sometimes fear loses much of the fun of the character, something the best of the comics and animation never lose sight of.

    But anyway. Lucas can tend to go from the very mature to the very juvenile, but let's face it-- so can guys like Peter Jackson, but nobody seems to mind it there (I still cannot abide Merry and Pippin's antics in those films). More and more blockbuster stuff have been leaning towards mature characters and stories, even when they don't push things too hard in terms of sex or violence, so perhaps this is just evidence of Lucas as representative of the prior generation of cinematic fantasy-makers.
  23. Darthman1992 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 17, 2011
    star 1
    I actually enjoy BATMAN RETURNS, but it is very weak as a sequel to BATMAN 89. With every following film in that franchise they kept renovating the tone and style to the point that none of them really feel alike and while they can be entertaining films on their own (even BATMAN & ROBIN for its so bad its funny hilarity) they don't make for a strong overall series. Nolan's films make for a much stronger strung together set of films.

    While STAR WARS does have tonal shifts they aren't as extreme, so it bothers me that a lot of people who probably criticize some of the STAR WARS films for that probably don't criticize RETURNS for that. Even they've got somewhat different tones and looks they always feel like they're part of the same series to me. Even in the OT you've got some tonal shifts

    A NEW HOPE-A somewhat lighter more whimsical space fantasy adventure
    EMPIRE STRIKES BACK-Quite a bit darker and more operatic than its predecessor in tone and story (We see Vader on a whim offing his officers and of course the big revelation as examples)
    RETURN OF THE JEDI-Was noticeably lighter than its predecessor and while the story didn't seem too juvenile or anything it does get in the more kid-marketed approach with the Ewoks and some of the goofier creatures we see in Jabba's palace (which the film used to be very highly criticized for). Aside from the kid stuff I felt its tone overall to be closer to A New Hope, but the bits with Luke, Vader, and Palpatine are very much akin to the tone of Empire to me.
  24. Adali-Kiri Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2000
    star 4
    Some years ago I had the pleasure of studying Tim Burton films as part of the empirical work I did for my master's thesis. I really came to appreciate the aesthetics and narratives of Batman Returns and Edward Scissorhands. This was, in my opinion, Burton at his early career zenith. After the nadir of Planet Of The Apes he returned with what I consider to be his ultimate masterpiece: Big Fish.

    Here's one thing about the Star Wars prequels: They ended on a spectacular note, in my opinion. A good final chapter is really thrilling to me. Lucas delivered one with Revenge Of The Sith. I didn't think Jackson quite pulled it off with The Return Of The King. (I think the first film is really strong, but the two others have serious problems, some of which have been noted here.) Nolan is now attempting the first ever real ending in the superhero subgenre, since The Dark Knight Rises is actually the end of the story, the last Batman film from Nolan and Bale.
  25. Drewton Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 8, 2009
    star 4
    =D=
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