The Gusher's Supplemental to the Basher's Sanctuary.

Discussion in 'The Phantom Menace' started by Go-Mer-Tonic, Apr 10, 2002.

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  1. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    Well, it has become apparent that we need a place to continue the back and forth between Gushers and Bashers. We have sanctuaries for both sides, but neither allow for differing opinions, or direct confrontations.

    Now before we all engage in "battle", I want you all to keep in mind that this thread is not in any way exempt from the official terms of service. That means you can only debate the points being made, and cannot attack the people making the points.

    Trust me, I know how fine a line this can be, and I know I am not always great about it myself, but if we can all maintain a decent level of respect for all involved, this thread has the potential to bring both camps closer together. We may change our minds on certain issues, and even if we can't, we can at least gain a better understanding of those issues.

    Yoda: "A Jedi uses his strength for knowledge and defense, never attack."

    Let the respectful mayhem begin. :)
  2. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    It would be great to keep this near the top until AOTC opens. That's when we'll have new thoughts about TPM. In the meantime, however, this would be a great vehicle to discuss that Steven Hart article in Salon.

    My take: Hart went too far, and not far enough in criticizing Lucas. First, he failed to mention the stealing from Kurosawa or the reason behind Lucas's efforts to hide the traces of his influences -- protecting his intellectual property from lawsuits by the people from whom he steals.

    Second, Hart correctly ridicules some of the more shallow connections made between Star Wars and mythological influences, but he never really undermines the completely plausible connection between the OT story and the "hero's journey." If Lucas borrowed from so many other sources, why not from Campbell too?

    Third, Hart implies that Campbell is a hack. But he should go farther and say it outright: Campbell is a hack.

    Fourth: if there are so many influences on Star Wars, does it really, truly rise to the level of intellectual property theft? I wonder this myself. Lucas is so broadly influenced by science fiction literature and film, and by the wider history of cinema, that it's difficult to not simply capitulate on this issue and say Lucas is heavily influenced, but did a fine job synthesizing all these sources into something original. He's a petty thief, true, but he made something of himself.

    Five: "The Magic of Myth" exhibit is a traveling prop and costume show for Star Wars. That's all it is. Any effort to give it an aura of educational value is silly, and shame on all the great museums that bought into it.
  3. Ree Yees Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 2000
    star 5
    Then let me be the first warrior from the Basher's Sanctuary to appear and claim the right to thrash George Lucas' return to directing firmly into the mud. :D

    So, what shall we argue endlessly about this time?

    Is there anything at all we haven't debated ad infinitum?
  4. Ree Yees Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 2000
    star 5
    Aha, the Joseph Campbell/Kurosawa inspiration.

    I have said this many times before, and I gladly state it again:

    George Lucas doesn't have the imagination he boasts he has.

    He is a scrupolous and inventive marketing genius, perhaps, but when it comes to writing, nope, Lucas is not responsible for delivering us the magic. The main men behind the magic are really persons like John Rollo, Ralph McQuarrie, and in the case of 'Episode I', Ian McCaig, as well as other talents like Kurtz, Kershner and Trisha Biggar, for that matter.

    Point of evidence:

    With "Episode I", Lucas claimed he would be showing the world just what imagination he had, and how CGI could realize his fantasies. And there was absolutely nothing in there that supported his claims. Nothing exciting, no candy for the brain, nothing. The few cool/inspirational/timeless ideas were either already established by others during the making of the OT, or made *together with* other artists working on the film.

    I'm sharpening my light-axe :p

  5. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    By Hart's standards, Shakespeare would have "borrowed" heavily from the Greek Classics to craft his own.

    The best stories have already been told. All that remains is the different ways in which to retell them.

    Lucas' was a different way.
  6. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    Where has Lucas ever claimed to have such a great imagination? I can recall a lot of other people saying that about him, but Lucas never said anything like: "Check out the big brains on me!"

    If anything he constantly attributes the visual splendor to the art department.

    So yeah he isn't the one coming up with the actual designs, but Lucas is the guy who takes what they come up with and directs it into something that fits in with his vision of the SW universe.

    He comes through the art department with a "Fabioso" stamp, and the approved designs get stamped, while the others do not.

    Then he will tell them what he likes and doesn't like about the designs, and they go back and tailor that to be closer to what Lucas is going for.

    As far as the writing, he is responsible for the great story of the saga. He isn't the best at dialogue, but the story structure is all Lucas.
  7. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Shakespeare borrowed plots, lifted wholesale from earlier works. He borrowed themes, literary, historical and biblical references. But his dialogue was so strong, so original that it rewrote the English language.

    I agree with Ree. Lucas's originality is in the packaging for pop culture, the marketing savvy.
  8. Scott3eyez Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 1, 2001
    star 4
    >>>>Why didn't Obi-Wan and Yoda *secretly* train Luke from his birth?

    Because they wanted Luke to be trained when he wanted to be trained, and his family would allow it- unlike the Republic Jedi kids swiped from their homes and families because of their genetics?
  9. bleh19 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 24, 2001
    star 4
    "..other talents like Kurtz..."

    oh good god....
  10. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    I'm not looking for Shakespearean dialogue in a Star Wars film. THAT would be silly.

    If SW draws its sources from 20th century SF roots, then the dialogue in all four films fit that school just fine. Except of course for a handful of Jar Jar and Anakin spoutings in TPM. ;)

    Star Wars is cinema. Cinema plays more off its images and visuals than its dialogue. If I want great dialogue, I'll watch Playhouse Theatre.

    What I do want to see in a Star Wars film is a sense of adventure. The OT gave us that.
  11. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    No arguments about that. Star Wars cornered the market on "sense of adventure," at least in the first three films.
  12. bleh19 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 24, 2001
    star 4
    The three things for me that really detracted from the action/intensity/adventure aspect of TPM for me were

    -Basically knowing the ending at first glimpse of a plot outline...
    -Jar Jar's silliness during the Gungan battle
    -Anakin blowing up the TF ship accidently

    IMO, If Anakin and Jar Jar had stepped up in the end and done something great b/c they sucked it up and chose to, then it would have gone a long way into bringing the movie together at the end and would have been loads of character development "...in one swift stroke." ;)

    btw, I love TPM...
  13. Shelley Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2001
    star 5
    --I agree with Ree. Lucas's originality is in the packaging for pop culture, the marketing savvy.--
    PPOR.
  14. Shelley Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2001
    star 5
    --George Lucas doesn't have the imagination he boasts he has.--
    OK. Please show the numerous times he's boasted of having a great imagination.

    --He is a scrupolous and inventive marketing genius, perhaps, but when it comes to writing, nope, Lucas is not responsible for delivering us the magic.--
    Yes he is. He wrote the original movie. He wrote out the outlines for the next two. He wrote Episode I. He had many influences and he's never said otherwise.

    --The main men behind the magic are really persons like John Rollo, Ralph McQuarrie,--
    They are some of the contributors and they have all been given due credit.

    and in the case of 'Episode I', Ian McCaig, as well as other talents like Kurtz,--
    Kurtz had nothing to do with Episode I, and
    what did he contribute to the OT?

    --Kershner and Trisha Biggar, for that matter.--
    Who have all been given due credit.

    --Point of evidence:--
    This isn't evidence, and it doesn't support your implication that Lucas sat around picking his nose while everyone did all the work for him and he claimed all the credit.

    --With "Episode I", Lucas claimed he would be showing the world just what imagination he had,--
    When and where?

    --and how CGI could realize his fantasies.--
    He could realize his vision for what Episode I would look like.

    --And there was absolutely nothing in there that supported his claims.--
    Yes there was. CGI had never been used so brilliantly or with such volume before.

    --Nothing exciting, no candy for the brain,--
    Wait, I thought Episode I was nothing but candy for the brain. At least, that's a favorite claim of bashers.

    --nothing. The few cool/inspirational/timeless ideas were either already established by others during the making of the OT,--
    Like what?

    --or made *together with* other artists working on the film.--
    The artists who he's given plenty of credit to.
  15. Lukecash Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 6, 2001
    star 4
    Hart is really off base for a lot of reasons. He claims that Star Wars is trash, that he stole from others and that it shouldn't be considered art.

    First of all, Lucas HAS freely spoke of the fact that he took inspriation from Kirosawa, Campbell, and pulp science fiction. He mearly incorperated some of Campbells observation into the Star Wars story. Campbell considered Lucas a story teller who recognised the imporance of mythological symbolsm.

    Lucas had said on the DVD that it may start with him, but by the end of the movie 2000 people have come together to bring a galaxy to life. He has givien credit to others who came up whith race nams and characters. He has praised the work of Williams, Mcquarrie, and Chaing.

    And while he did not change writing history, as did Shakespear, he did change movie history. Star Wars made Science Fantasy an accepted A list genre form for movies. (2001, while advant garde, was not accepted by moviegoers or even science fiction fans) Before, when you bought a ticket to the movies, you could sit there as long as you wanted. Star Wars visuals and words are now part of the popular culture. With Star Wars, theaters began clearing out between showings to allow paying customers in. Star Wars also created the "summer blockbusters". Before it, summer was considered the worse time to release a movie. To this day, John Williams score is easily one of themost recognisable movie and "classic" soundtracks around.

    The Phantom Menance is perhaps his most ambitious projects. Unlike Star Wars, where the universe was stripped down version of mechanics, He asked for thougth, craftsmaship and desgn priciple behind each creation. Yes the ships were shiny and new...but it reflected a time when the galaxy was at its brightest. He paid more attention to clothing and what it stood for. (especially with Pademe)

    He was no longer limited by what he could do visually. CGI allowed him to dream, and not worry if the Battle Droids would work on the set or not. Of course some things were the same from the OT...its all part of the same universe. There must be some continuity.

    The Lucas is a true renissance man. Not all of his works are successful...not everything he does turns to gold.
  16. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    LukeCash, I agree with most of what you said. Whatever the influences on the Star Wars saga, the end result, at least for the first two movies, was marvelous. GL synthesized so many sources, and he did it with a shrewd sense for telling a strong adventure story with broad appeal. I'm not about to deny Star Wars its status as art.

    But as for TPM, I get the sense that GL has his head so far up the butt of the mechanics of 21st century filmmaking that he has forgotten how to actually make a movie. He is so excited about digital editing and digital cameras and CG effects that he has trouble focusing on what it is that makes a story appealing, and it's none of those things.
  17. AgentCoop Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 16, 2002
    star 4
    "CGI had never been used so brilliantly or with such volume before."

    "Volume"? HooooYes! I'm with you all the way on the volume. "Brilliant"? No.

    "Wait, I thought Episode I was nothing but candy for the brain. At least, that's a favorite claim of bashers."

    You're just a tad off on that one. "Bashers" claim that TPM was nothing but candy for the eye , not the brain. "Candy for the brain" implies a different kind of movie experience entirely.
  18. DarthHomer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 29, 2000
    star 5
    What I find amusing is that the same people who scoff at Lucas re-using classic myths for his "low-brow" saga usually go on endlessly about how brilliant and original the mythic themes were in The Matrix.
  19. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    The real truth is that classic pulp science fiction really was Robin Hood set in space or Arabian Knights set in space, or the king arthur saga set in space. But the legwork for those references to ancient story forms was made by the original science fiction writers, the ones that Lucas stole his ideas from. The original legwork was also done by Kurosawa, who also made that connection in his films to ancient storytelling. There is the suspicion that Lucas only connected himself directly to Campbell after the fact, trying to seize an opportunity to distance his movies from the direct sources that influenced them.

    That doesn't in any way lessen the epic quality of Star Wars, but it does, as Conan O'Brian would say, make GL look like a "self-aggrandizing jackass."
  20. Malthus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 1999
    star 4
    Ho, boy. I'm not 100% sure why I've come in here, but I know that at least 50% of it was the invitation by Go-Mer to come. :)

    Well, I'd be interested to see what direction you think he's taken it in, and why you disagree with it.

    Here or elsewhere...


    SomeRandomNerd has asked me twice now to explain where disagree with the direction Lucas has taken with TPM and other related things. I wouldn't do it in the thread mentioned because I didn't want to start a big debate in a thread designed more as a community.

    I don't have the time to post right now, but will do so within a day.
  21. Lukecash Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 6, 2001
    star 4
    Jabbadabbadoo.

    I agree with you on the sources for the Pulp classics.

    I also think that he had a good story... it contained many of the mythilogical aspects that was laid out in the OT.

    Was it a well exectuted? No, his story did get sidetracked by some poor editing choices. I believe that he overwhelemed people people with the amount of special effects, meshing of creature styles and the subtleties of them.

    I mean there was so much going on For example- the Obiwan and Qui-Gon scene on the balcony talking about Anakin at sunset. Beautiful scene, but a lot of ships flying in the bacground...distracting the adience and pushing the suspension of disbelief. And it detracted what Obi Wan and Qui-gon were talking about.

  22. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    That's my biggest gripe about TPM:Good story, sometimes poor execution.

    Still, in spite of that, it was good just to see Lucas directing again.
  23. Darth-Stryphe Former Mod and City Rep

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2001
    star 6
    If Lucas borrowed from so many other sources, why not from Campbell too?

    He did borrow from Campell, he admitted it, but Campell was just outlining what his research had shown about such tales, so that's by no means copyright infringment.


    Five: "The Magic of Myth" exhibit is a traveling prop and costume show for Star Wars. That's all it is. Any effort to give it an aura of educational value is silly, and shame on all the great museums that bought into it

    I went to that exhibit in Houston, and I really don't know what you're talking about. "Eduational value"? It was portrayed as any other Museum exhibit, what is wrong with that?


    IMO, If Anakin and Jar Jar had stepped up in the end and done something great b/c they sucked it up and chose to, then it would have gone a long way into bringing the movie together at the end and would have been loads of character development "...in one swift stroke."

    Agreed.


    --I agree with Ree. Lucas's originality is in the packaging for pop culture, the marketing savvy.--
    PPOR.


    You don't think Lucas is a marketing genius who made his mark on pop culture? Well, someone at LFL sure is, I give Lucas the credit.


    With Star Wars, theaters began clearing out between showings to allow paying customers in. Star Wars also created the "summer blockbusters". Before it, summer was considered the worse time to release a movie. To this day, John Williams score is easily one of themost recognisable movie and "classic" soundtracks around.

    Actually, Jaws started that trend, but it took the success of SW to insure that trend continued.
  24. Smuggler-of-Mos-Espa Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jan 23, 2002
    star 6
  25. AgentCoop Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 16, 2002
    star 4
    It's when you strike oil! :D
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