PT The great things about AOTC

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by d_arblay, Mar 12, 2011.

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  1. -NaTaLie- Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2001
    star 4
    I think AOTC is the most underappreciated chapter in the SW saga. I think what hurt it was primarily was strange editing choices (including music - more so than even acting/dialogue). I remember seeing it in IMAX thinking that it worked better despite having some scenes removed.

    Anyway, to the good stuff.
    While it took me awhile to warm up to TPM (I still think it's too childish and small in scale to be a proper SW movie), I loved AoTC right away, starting with the mysterious, noire atmosphere (the reference to Blade Runner has been caught by many). While TPM only hints at things not being great in the Republic, the feeling of impending doom becomes really prominent here, enhanced by cinematography and music. When the clone armies and marching to war, you realize that it's all over for the Republic and our heroes. I now think that AOTC ending is probably the darkest of all SW movies: even ROTS has a glimpse of hope that lies with the twins. But after AOTC, everything will go downhill.

    It's also a very good middle chapter (better than Empire), continuing the themes from TPM and setting up ROTS. I've come across comments from some folks who claim AOTC doesn't bring much to the prequels and can be safely skipped on rewatching. I respectfully disagree. It's perfectly fine when you don't want to watch something you don't enjoy. But AOTC makes Anakin's fall in ROTS much more meaningful. AOTC is when Anakin's attachment issues, insecurity and even lust for power come to the forefront. He had dreams about his mother suffering, he failed to save her and he wants to find a way to stop people from dying. In ROTS, he's again afraid to lose the woman he loves and he's not going to let it happen to her too. The line about "stopping people from dying" might sound corny and even out of place until you realize that's actually not an impossibility in the Star Wars universe. There're more themes being developed, of course: Palpatine's continuing rise to power, Jedi's growing inability to deal with the Republic's decay, even slavery (yes, for all intents and purposes, the clones are slaves of the Republic, bred to be the canon fodder with repressed free will). Jedi seem too be as unconcerned with this glaring injustice as they're with slavery existing on Tatooine and other outlying planets (I assume). Serves them right to be blasted in ROTS - you can't expect loyalty from beings without true free will.
  2. MissPadme Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1998
    star 4
    Wow, I never thought of that before either :p.

    --MissPadme
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  3. SambX Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 14, 2011
    star 1
    That's fantastic.
    Additionally, I always think the clouds show a devil-like creature (perhaps Baphomet) when Padmé and Anakin marry. It also illustrates where they both end up (hell of Mustafar).
    And look at how Anakin and Padmé stand in the shadow in the first shot, which perfectly indicates their future-life (hiding).
    It's just wonderful and sad that so many people ignore and don't appreciate visual moviemaking like this.
  4. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    There's visual move-making and there's visual movie-making. I appreciate your "shadow" observation, but your cloud divination reads as an example of --> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareidolia
  5. SambX Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 14, 2011
    star 1
    That's certainly possible.
    I mean, you can clearly identify some sort of horns and due to its position right behind the two lovers, I thought it could be intentional (it wouldn't be very challenging to erase some clouds digitally, I guess). In the end, I don't care if it's intentional or by accident since watching a movie is a completely subjective experience and I enjoy to see it that way ;-) .
  6. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    To a large extent, these things are subjective, yes. However, I was a bit worried about you falling into a classic trap. If that pattern is there, for you, and works, for you, making the art better, for you, great. On the other hand, given that cloud formations are a prime candidate for pareidolia, I was just advising caution. A cloud is never just a cloud (i.e., think of all the physical processes that lie behind one, in the making of and the perceiving thereof), but also, a cloud doesn't especially signify anything, even though people have been beholden to the idea they do for thousands of years (that, in itself, should tell you something about human imagination: the nexus of hope, fear and credulity). Then again, this is art: not only can one can see in it what one likes and still not be categorically wrong, but art is (at least partially) designed: a witches' brew of trouble, especially when it comes to the apprehension of metaphor and meaning.
  7. SambX Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 14, 2011
    star 1
    Another nice little thing about AOTC:

    Two times in the movie what we see is not what we hear and it parallels each other.
    At first we hear Anakin and Obi-Wan talking about republican politics while we see the bad guys executing their assasination attempt.
    Later we see Dooku and his Separatists talking about the Republic while we see our hero (Obi-Wan) sneaking around.

    This is unique in the saga, isn't it?
  8. janstett Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 29, 2004
    star 3
    As to the OP, I'm not so sure about the "friendship" between Anakin and Obi-Wan. It's ruined by ham-fisted storytelling.

    First, we have to be TOLD that they are such great friends through expository dialog in the elevator (lazy). Much better to show it through characterization.

    Second, what we do get through characterization is that these two are NOT very good friends. Obi-Wan is cold, and Anakin is petulant. Obi-Wan spends most of the Coruscant scenes lecturing Anakin and having to smack him down (e.g. the disgusted "what?!" on the couch); Anakin starts whining about Obi-Wan to Padme, a person he doesn't know and hasn't seen in 10 years, at the first opportunity, and through the Tattooine dialogue he is very resentful of him.

    If you take out the dialog telling us they're good friends, you're left with characterization that tells you these two do not like each other at all.

    My biggest disappointments with the PT are in this method of storytelling -- we're being told important things in expository dialogue and not shown it. There is cognitive dissonance between what we're told in dialogue and what we see on screen in the characterization -- from Anakin & Obi's relationship to Anakin & Padme's relationship to the workings of the GFFA in general.
  9. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    That's a very cool observation. We do get other moments where the political speak, if you like, isn't completely "front and centre": e.g., Palpatine communicating to Queen Amidala via hologram and the breaking-up that occurs ("Senator Palpatine!") in TPM, and Palpatine declaring the birth of the Empire which is intercut with Anakin executing the Separatist leaders in ROTS. This kinda shows the bashers are both right and wrong, in my view. Yes, there is a lot of political dialogue threaded into the PT films; no, it isn't all delivered at the same pace and manner, let alone as some kind of solemn "debate" or "lecture".
  10. janstett Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 29, 2004
    star 3
    On the bad characterization of Anakin & Obi-Wan's friendship above... Just watched the extended edition LOTR Blu-Rays, probably the 5th time I've watched the trilogy, but it's fresh in my mind.

    Is there any question that Sam & Frodo are friends? No, it's clear by their characters' interaction during the course of events. Do we need to be told they are friends by dialogue as Lucas does with Anakin & Obi-Wan?
  11. d_arblay Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 26, 2005
    star 4
    Well I assume you're speaking in response to my comment "I genuinely feel like I'm being reunited with two old friends who have obviously established a heartfelt rapport and relationship in the years since we last saw them" which was in regards to the elevator scene. I guess its subjective. I read a real warmth between them here that was probably a result of the bond the two actors apparently had during shooting. For example, Obi-Wan's glances towards Anakin I read to be ones of genuine affection. That and the fact Anakin isn't afraid to lay his true, vulnerable feelings and nervousness regarding Padme on the line before Obi-Wan. You don't do that with someone you either don't trust/like, or feel contempt for. I remember seeing the scene for the first time grinning ear to ear. It was just the relationship I wanted to see. Yes they also naturally have the strained relationship of both siblings and a parent and child at times. But their love for one another, although subtle and open to interpretation, is certainly evidenced in my opinion. And while I can't recall all of the dialogue within the scene off-hand, I don't recall any heavy exposition here that definitively stated they were friends (such as can be found in that one scene in ROTS). There is at other times, of course, but we must remember that heavy exposition is established in all of the Star Wars films at times - in my opinion, its not so much a result of lousy/lazy filmmaking and more an acknowledgement that these movies are aimed at actual children just as much as they are us big kids at heart ;) And whether healthy or not, heavy exposition is a staple of all children's films.
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  12. Alexrd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2009
    star 5
    As if Jackson doesn't do the same with the dialogue...
  13. HordaksPupil Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 3, 2011
    One of my favorite things about AOTC were seeing the Red Guards for the first time. I know they are only one for a second but too see them for 'the first time' was awesome :D
  14. Bens_Dad Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2010
    star 2
    Well, I'll take my hat off to anyone who can watch LOTR five times.

    Fact is, Jackson has forever and a day to tell this turgid and poorly paced story whereas Lucas has limited himself to around the two-hour mark. So with Star Wars the devil is in the detail.

    Obi-wan is terrible as a mentor, forever scolding Anakin and being overly serious. However, the friendship to which he refers in ANH is much more evident in ROTS. That said, the conversation they both have about Anakin's dreams is quite touching and I always feel in AOTC that Obi-wan does have his apprentice's best interests at heart.

    What do I think is great about this film? I love the chase through Coruscant, it's a real feast for the eyes. I also love the mysteries of the plot and how that gradually unfolds throughout the film. The love story is almost Shakespearean in the way it's handled (although this is a casualty of the plotting and it does stretch things a bit to have them reunite, fall in love and then marry, all in the space of one film). So we have small moments like the tense conversation between Jango and Obi-wan coupled with big moments like the Battle Of Geonosis (an unadulterated tribute to Harryhausen - which, for someone of my age is a real treat). All in all, there's a lot to come back for with this film.
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  15. StarWarrior92 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2011
    star 2
    One of my favorite parts of AOTC is the scene with Yoda and the younglings. You hear the Yoda theme briefly, it's one of the few parts in the PT where you hear Yoda give some sort of laugh, and it's just a nice quiet moment with Yoda, Obi-Wan and the younglings. I especially loved when Obi-Wan and Yoda give the younglings a brief lesson with the galactic map. Felt really magical.
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  16. HevyDevy Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2011
    star 4
    One touch I like about the Anakin/Obi-Wan vs Dooku duel in AOTC is the "handed down" saber.
    When Anakin duels Dooku, he uses the sabers Obi-Wan and Anakin obtained in the arena. The green saber Anakin had is destroyed, and he then proceeds to lose his arm dueling with the blue saber Obi-Wan also lost with. I always thought this was kind of symbolic, like a cursed saber if you will. Also, keep in mind that Luke loses his arm dueling Vader with a saber Obi-Wan passed down, which belonged to Anakin. Maybe I'm just superstitious, but I read once that Lucas is too.

    I've posted this before elsewhere, but it wasn't really agreed with I don't think.
  17. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    Well, Lucas seems to believe in a higher power of some kind, based on at least one comment I've read, but I don't know about him having smaller superstitions, if you will. Hope my wording won't ruffle any feathers too vigorously. It is probably more accurate to say -- from a certain POV, anyway -- that Lucas may have OCD, or OCD-like symptoms, which we all have, to one degree or another. Artists are people; and people have certain likes, dislikes, habits, vices, etc. Artists are also people indulging their likes, dislikes, habits, vices, etc. Thus, in art, eccentricity is magnified. Lucas does seem to like things a certain way (to say the least), ranging from his trusty No. 2 pencils and yellow notepad paper when starting out, to bilateral symmetry and clean office spaces (real and fictional), as he depicts the movers and shakers of Star Wars within Star Wars and without. George Lucas is a creature of habit and patterns. But again, so are we all; to one degree or another. I do think Lucas works through the details of his films in great depth, but that doesn't mean he's rigidly working from a "master plan" (the strawman often trotted out as if one must either believe Lucas maps everything out or nothing; and if the latter, isn't capable of being deep or precise). He probably does perceive many of these things in his mind's eye, I'd tentatively say. I mean, superstition, timing, significance, things real or imagined, surface versus reality -- these are just some of the artifacts of human thought clearly being explored, in perpetuity, in Lucas' art (in my opinion).
  18. Bens_Dad Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2010
    star 2
    I do agree that Lucas must have some sort of condition whereby he just can't leave his art alone, because he's never entirely satisfied with it. The kindest act would be to take the films from him but obviously that's not possible. So we have to live with the constant revision of the films in a kind of begrudging acceptance or choose the path of denial. For an "original fan" (which is to say 'I was there back in '77; yes, son, I was that solider etc') I've become surprisingly sanguine about Lucas choosing to reinvent and alter with each successive release of the films. I do feel sorry for him, though.

  19. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    I don't think it's necessarily some sort of 'condition'; alot of directors probably have things about their movies they'd like to fix or change. It's just that very, very few actually get the opportunity (through either being famous, independent of the studio, or whatever) to go back and tinker with things basically for the hell of it. Ridley Scott has tinkered with Blade Runner quite abit; James Cameron was the first 'special edition'/'director's cut' I remember, with his edition of Aliens where the sentry guns and dialogue were put back in the film after the fact. Spielberg messed around with ET for the 20th-anniversary release. However, Ridley Scott, James Cameron, Stephen Spielberg, and George Lucas are not your typical Hollywood directors, who don't necessarily have a lot (or any) control over what they're directing.
  20. Bens_Dad Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2010
    star 2
    I hear what you're saying but I do think that someone who seems to fail to be satisfied with their art, no matter how successful it is, is hindered in some way. They can't see what others do - and working in the arts I have first-hand experience of this, when I come away from a show dissatisfied but have to listen to audience members telling me how great it was (that looks awfully conceited now I look back on that sentence but I hope you can see what I mean) - that what they do brings so much happiness to everyone else.

    The other directors you mention may have changed their films once, but George does it every single time his films are re-released. Surely that's not healthy?

    Anyway, we digress (for which I take the blame!).
  21. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    The obvious parallel is Scott and Blade Runner; how many different versions of Blade Runner are there?

    Anyway; I'd say the relative lack of changes (aside from different viewing angles and such, which there are alot of as far as I can tell) to the OT Blu-Rays (there's something like two each in ANH and ROTJ, and none in TESB) are an indication that Lucas is getting pretty close to being happy with these films; the lack of changes to ANH in particular are a pretty good indicator, given that it's fact that Lucas wasn't terribly pleased with it's theatrical release.
  22. Jedi_Hunter_505 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 1, 2004
    star 4
    You know, the more I watch it and the more I think about it, Attack of the Clones is pretty freaking good. I really love the fun feeling of the movie. Plus the pacing really picks up from The Phantom Menace. I also really love Hayden Christensen's portrayal of Anakin.

    I don't really know what more I can add about how I love this movie, but I just wanted to say that it is definitely growing on me. I love it more and more every time I think about it.

    Oh, one more thing; Dex's Diner might just be the coolest scene of the entire Saga.
  23. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    Just watched AOTC again last night. Some observations about the last section (probably my favourite bit)...

    - When Obi-Wan is sneaking round that interior section on Geonosis, I had previously kept forgetting how odd his body language is -- or seems, to me, anyway -- when he walks down those steps (just before going back into the shadows and moving carefully). For, he doesnt really walk, but skips down those steps, practically, like a little boy. The body language is, in my opinion, at odds with someone who should be sneaking around, careful not to attract attention or bump into someone or something. Its peculiarly dissonant: one of many examples of "cheese" in this film. But thats what also makes it brilliant (in my view). To me, the body language implies, despite the low profile Obi-Wan is keeping in other shots, that Obi-Wan, as a roving Jedi Knight, thinks he owns the place. Perhaps, Obi-Wan is simply moving quickly to ensure he doesnt miss anything as he transitions from one spot to another, but that jaunty footwork still strikes a strange note, visually speaking. I think its a "giveaway" to the underlying mentality of ALL the Jedi: despite their self-restricting nature, they ALL think they can just roam anyway, and do anything. Danger is perceived ruefully one moment, then blithely disregarded the next (in my view, there are various scenes, in all three PT movies, that show this). Once again, Lucas threads in the idea -- purely visually (ingeniously) -- that the Jedi are heading for a fall. Let us not forget Obi-Wans earlier impertinence, either. When he is guarding Padme with Anakin, Obi-Wan bluntly shoots his apprentice down, verbally, when Anakin suggests they find out who is trying to kill Padme, and he later protests that using Padme as bait is "too risky", but Obi-Wan dives head first (literally) through a partitioned window, risking death, and later heads an investigation (more or less) which results in the discovery, and then, the use, of an army of cloned, enslaved people, in a fateful military operation. This movie, basically, is a Pandoras Box of moral dilemmas and oscillating emotions. Love it.

    Okay, these other observations are fairly mild/lame in comparison, but Im going to put them out there, anyway...

    - When Obi-Wan is held captive by Dooku, and when Dooku says, "Join me, Obi-Wan, and together, we will destroy the Sith!", I just noticed that Obi-Wan gives Dooku a subtle nod before replying, "Ill never join you, Dooku!" This small gesture makes the Obi-Wan character even more arrogant, in my opinion -- self-assured; TOO self-assured -- in the face of a shifting galaxy, and in the more immediate "human" context of one person reaching out to another (whether Dooku is being fallacious or not, it seems un-Jedi-like, to me, to be so quick for Obi-Wan snap his hand away; especially when Obi-Wan is in such a difficult position -- again, quite literally!). Its not that Obi-Wan is a "bad" guy, per se; but I do find his casual arrogance unsettling (for such an ostensibly-lofty guy). I also love how this scene, and this exchange, contrasts with the one in TESB, between Vader and Luke. The one in TESB has a more primal, enlarged quality, what with Vaders synthetic, reverberant voice, him literally reaching across the void to Luke, and Lukes wild-animal-like rebuff ("Ill never join you!" is really growled out by Mark Hamill), but here, in AOTC, things are more "civil", and chilly; yet, at the same time, theres a kind of hyper-flashy, comic-book-like grandeur, not least with Obi-Wan hovering in the air as blue bolts of electrical energy dance across his body (based on imagery captured on a digital sensor, then amended inside one or more digital devices, versus the chemical-based nature of the cinematography and effects in TESB). Theres a great tapestry here, completely unseen and unappreciated by the characters, but ours for the taking.

    - Now, Jar Jar opening the motion for Palpatine to be granted "Emergency Powers" is always focused on at the expense of his little speech that precedes the motion itself
  24. jc1138 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 16, 2004
    star 1
    Great insights (as usual), Cryogenic. I've never made those connections before--thanks for the new insights and I agree with AOTC's being a film "with it's head on tight."
  25. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    Thank you, jc1138! Im relieved you made it through that mess of mine, replete with, er, missing, apostrophes (alas, my apostrophe key is still broken -- and I cant always be bothered to copy and paste the symbol into the right places, let alone use a keyboard shortcut!).

    Im just going to take this opportunity to return to an earlier discussion strand...

    Looking back at this after my latest viewing, I think the truth is a fusion of our interpretations. What I was reminded of, this time around, primarily, was a certain diffidence on Anakins part, to complement -- or undercut, I suppose -- his inner drive and confidence in himself (or "arrogance", if you like). And during the chase segment, right as Anakin decides to go a different direction, he tells Obi-Wan, "This is a shortcut... I think!" That little qualificatio
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