CT The Impact of the Star Wars Original Trilogy on Modern Cinema

Discussion in 'Classic Trilogy' started by The Wagonmaster, Nov 3, 2017.

  1. The Wagonmaster Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 24, 2017
    First off, you can still believe that the original trilogy are good, or even brilliant, films while also acknowledging the damage that they did. I like to compare it to Nirvana. Some believe they were a good band (Not my opinion) that inspired an entire generation of insipid post-grunge bands. It's not really Nirvana's fault, but we can see where the stem of the issue was.

    If we wanted to point to a true date of when cinema started getting bad, it would probably be 1985, with 1986's Top Gun being the nightmarish vision of the future. Yes, I realize that many films aren't made in the United States, but even foreign film output was diminishing by the late 1980's, leading to filmmakers like Lars Von Trier, who have to stir up controversy every time they release an art film just so it gets people to see it. On top of that, all one has to do is peruse the top-grossing films of European and Asian countries to know that big Hollywood blockbusters, including Star Wars, are the most popular films in the world. No, box office isn't a measure of quality, but it speaks to the influence blockbusters have.

    And the truth is, before Jaws (1975) and Star Wars (1977), the blockbuster didn't exist. For the past 40 years, every film has tried to be Star Wars. Star Wars was the first time that toy merchandising became out of control. The Empire Strikes Back inspired a generation of unnecessary sequels, Return of the Jedi introduced a trilogy system that, while working for Star Wars, is wholly unnecessary for most films. Pulpy forms of fiction such as horror, science fiction and fantasy now dominate film, coming off the 1960's, when foreign film was at its peak, and the early 1970's, when American films were becoming foreignesque in their themes and character studies.

    But if we return to the comparison of popular music, though many say recorded music died in the late 80's (Interestingly it has the same trajectory as film) you can still see the decline coming by the mid-to-late 70's. Arena Rock bands like Foreigner and Boston were surely the first cracks before the foundation collapsed. The same is true for film. Perhaps bad art films like The Missouri Breaks (1976) made people yearn for something like Star Wars. But the point is that if we look at the world of cinema pre-Star Wars and Post Star Wars, it's clear that pre-Star Wars films are superior - especially in the 1940's and 1950's, when American AND foreign film were regularly producing masterpieces.

    Whether you concede that Star Wars was the beginning of the end for cinema, you must concede that it's at least dead now. Film attendance is all but dead. I don't even go anymore unless I go see a classic film (Up until 1985) projected on 35mm film. It's the easy answer, but it's true: the home viewing experience has won. A Netflix original film was recently booed at the Cannes Film Festival because the film industry now sees this. But, in the end, the film industry only has themselves to blame. Streaming services are creating interesting new content and the film industry has been trying to copy Star Wars for the past 40 years.
    Last edited by The Wagonmaster, Nov 3, 2017
  2. cubman987 PT Book Club Host - PT Trivia Host

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    Nov 7, 2014
    star 5
  3. The Wagonmaster Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 24, 2017

    What in my text did you disagree with, if you don't mind me asking?
  4. Martoto77 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2016
    star 4
    I don't believe cinema was ruined forever. I haven't really read your OP to see how you would define "ruined" though.
  5. cubman987 PT Book Club Host - PT Trivia Host

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    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2014
    star 5
    I don't think Star Wars ruined cinema forever and I don't think cinema is dead. Maybe for you this is true but it's not for me and a lot of other people.
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  6. IrB Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2016
    I think that technological changes as DVDs and internet would change anyway how corporates must produce and distribute movies. It's unthinkable that you can do the movie in the same way as before, now that people can basically watch and copy movies whenever they want. I'm not saying that copying a movie is right, I'm just saying that it happens, and it happens a lot, and so this has consequences on the market. Plus, of course, with new technologies, new totally legal ways to distribute a movie are invented and used by corporations themself. And if you change your container, you change also your contained. We still read and enjoy books that were handwritten before the XV century, but print invention changed the literature.
    So, as much important as SW OT can be, IMHO we still must take into consideration the impact of DVD and internet era on cinema.

    Plus, IMHO there's a basic misunderstanding about the OT. It was surely a blockbuster, but what it makes it enduring are its less blockbuster features: a well planned plot and working characters. Critisisms to new SW movies (even Lucas' new SW movies!) show clearly the essential features weren't visual effects (the new ones are better), the space battles (there are many in the new ones), lightsabers (there are more and faster duels), the Force (there is more), etc., but plot and characters (I don't mean you can't love new movies, I'm just reasoning of the impact of the movies on the cinema, so I don't want to flame against PT o ST at all, just coldly to try an examination of what happened with criticisms, some of which I don't even agree!).

    After OT, directors shot too many movies thinking that a space battle here and a visual effect there would do a new SW and that clearly wasn't good for the cinema in general. But IMHO saying that SW OT ruined the cinema is a little too far.
    It would be like saying than Tolkien ruined literature because in the shopbooks there are too many low quality fantasy books and too many lazy writers thought that a bit of magic in an unreal world would make the new Lord of the Rings.
    IMHO, indeed, Tolkien himself improved literature because he gave us a great story and lazy writers of bad fantasy ruine literature. In the same way, SW OT improved cinema because it gave us a great story and lazy directors of bad movies ruine cinema.
    Last edited by IrB, Nov 3, 2017
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  7. CLee Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jun 18, 2017
    star 1
    I'd have to pretty strongly disagree that cinema is dead, let alone has been for a long time, or that post-Star Wars films (which may be too long an era to really be a single era anyway) are clearly inferior to pre-. Sure there were a lot of pulpy/genre films but a lot of them were at least good and there were also a lot of unnecessary sequels but those existed before too. Through the '90s I think there were also a lot of good artistic and original films and there have still been a fair amount since then.

    More recently, I think Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Shrek and maybe especially Iron Man were themselves of varying quality but did have some bad influence on film and lead to some overall decline.
    Last edited by CLee, Nov 3, 2017
  8. Qui-Riv-Brid Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 2013
    star 5
    The films in themselves did no damage. The only damage was from those who decided that the most important thing was marketing a movie first and making the movie was secondary as opposed to Lucas where it was all about the movie itself and then you market it.

    In Star Wars terms it's the difference between the PT and the ST. The PT was story first and marketing off of that story. The ST was marketing first and story second.

    Now does that mean the ST is a lousy story?

    No. What it does mean though is that they determined what elements they needed that would be the best to sell then formulate the story around that.

    I disagree that cinema got bad. There is no time ever where it "got bad" just as there is no time ever where it "got good" it's just different and what anyone likes or doesn't like.

    Actually it did as pointed out in the Lucas book Blockbusters.

    It's just that they were thought of in a different context.

    Star Wars and Jaws were not designed as blockbuster movies. They became them after the fact and people looked back on their marketing strategy as a major factor. They also were the original summer blockbusters at a time when blockbusters were specific studio promotions for the fall into Christmas. The logic was why would anyone want to go to a movie when it's nice out? Same reasoning why Tv in summer was repeats not new shows.

    Ben-Hur was designed to be a blockbuster. Many movies were made by studio bosses where they spent tons of money to make a huge hit movie. Gone With the Wind, Lost Horizon, all sorts of 50's EPIC historical movies and religious movies like The Ten Commandments, Quo Vadis etc etc.

    The blockbuster was the movie itself which they then spent a ton on marketing in the old way of doing things. Jaws and Star Wars was by comparison were super cheap to make and by using marketing the logic is that is what made them into huge money -spinners. So the actual movie itself came to some to be looked on as secondary to the marketing. Sure they thought it had to be good enough but the marketing is what would draw them in the first place.

    To them the marketing aspects supersede spending time on the movie itself and in fact shape the movie as opposed to the movie shaping the marketing.
    Last edited by Qui-Riv-Brid, Nov 3, 2017
  9. J7Luke Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2017
    star 1
    Here is my brief opinion: Film-making is an evolving art just like music, sculpting, painting, architecture, etc. It is different than it was decades ago and it will continue to change. If you are particularly fond of a certain era of an art-form, that's great. That doesn't mean all future eras are worse, they are just different. You may like those eras less, some will like them more.

    Side Note: Yes the "home viewing experience" has gained popularity, but that doesn't mean that going out to the movies is losing popularity. And even if it it was, that has nothing to do with Star Wars. I rarely go to the movies, and almost never go to premiers. However, I have watched all the recent Star Wars movies at a movie theater on opening night as well as several times afterward. I know others are the same way. So, in a way, Star Wars is actively boosting movie theater popularity.
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  10. Sarge Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 1998
    star 6

    That's exactly the analogy I was going to post. Thanks for sparing me the effort, IrB.
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  11. PymParticles Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 1, 2014
    star 5
    Bad films existed before Star Wars. Bad films continued to exist after Star Wars.

    Good films existed before Star Wars. Good films continued to exist after Star Wars.

    Nothing has killed cinema, and honestly, market desires haven't changed all that much. The blockbuster as we currently understand it didn't exist prior to Jaws, but there are trends that wax and wane through the years and people only ever seem to mind in the present, while painting the picture of a halcyon past that never existed. Genre films didn't just come into existence recently, they have for some time. Look at the sci-fi B-movies that were released by the barrel in the 1950s. Look at the Universal Monster series of the 30s and 40s; we remember the classic originals, but each led to a series of successively worse sequels, and those led to crossover films. And yet it's like Marvel made the shared universe in some attempt to kill true cinema just yesterday. As another example, take the supposed glut of superhero films. There were six released this year. Compare that to the amount of westerns produced by Hollywood in the year 1950 alone; over 100. There have always been sequels. There have always been remakes. There have always been Big Movies that studios sink a lot of money into. And most movies, like most music, books, and paintings, have always been bad. We just don't remember the bad when we look back, unless it's exceptionally atrocious. Usually, we only remember the good things about the past and compare that to the bad things about the present, and that's where we get the phrase rose-tinted glasses from.

    Cinema is changing, for sure. For the most part, that's neither good nor bad, it just is. And I get it, I love older films. I love practical effects and I love 35mm film and I love non-genre movies that make me think and feel in a more grounded way than the heightened reality experience I get from blockbuster spectacle. I also love the experience of going to see films, and although attendance is in decline for a variety of reasons, I don't think the potential death of the traditional viewing method is equatable with the death of the art form, no more than the death of print is synonymous with the death of good writing.

    Using your comparison of music, I was listening to a few older bands I really like and I found myself thinking, "They don't make music like this any more." I wasn't thinking it wistfully, or negatively, I was just thinking a fact. They just don't, and that's okay, because they're also making music now that never would have been dreamed of a few decades ago. Similarly, they're making films now that never would have been made, even in the "Golden Age" of the '70s that so many pine for. Go watch Moonlight. Go watch The Florida Project. Go Watch Whiplash. Go watch Baby Driver. Go watch The Wolfe of Wall Street. These are super basic, popular films, by the way, all acclaimed. Literally look up a list of movies made in any given year and go pick out the ones that seem particularly good or like they might speak to you in some way, and then watch them. In a theater if they're playing, otherwise rent or stream it, because they're no "wrong" way to watch a movie. But if you're sitting there thinking, "They stopped making good movies after 1985," the only thing ruining cinema is you, and only for yourself.
    Last edited by PymParticles, Nov 3, 2017
  12. The Wagonmaster Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 24, 2017
    Here's a video showing how music is objectively worse than it used to be.



    Here's a video showing how film is objectively worse than it used to be.



    I'll respond more later, but I have to go to bed.
  13. PymParticles Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 1, 2014
    star 5
    "Modern things suck," says guy whose only supporting evidence are YouTube videos. More at 11.

    Also, I didn't watch the second video but I did find the article version of it, because I have better things to do than waste 56 minutes-34 seconds of my life. Not only is it self-admittedly not made with the intent of persuading anyone or changing anyone's mind, instead aimed directly at those people who already agree (so the whole point of the work is providing confirmation bias), but his points are frequently garbage. I mean, there are some genuinely stupid statements made there. Here's a fun one:

    Seriously, what does that have to do with the quality of the work? The show is bad because... everything isn't exactly the same? Let me sum up a lot of these points: He wants things that make him feel like how old things used to make him feel, even though that's not possible because time has passed, but he also hates things that are different. Point 27 is also just asinine. You don't have to like him, but Christopher Nolan is a visionary filmmaker. As is Denis Villeneuve. Damien Cazelle. Alfonso Cuarón. Wes Anderson. I don't even like his work, but Alejandro Iñárritu is nothing if not a visionary filmmaker. To ignore their films, and the many other good movies that are released every year, while listing Red Dawn (a pretty bad movie) as one of the true greats of 1984, is just being a luddite.
    Last edited by PymParticles, Nov 3, 2017
  14. WookieTrooper Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 12, 2017
    I don’t believe for a second that “modern cinema” is dead today let alone accusing the Star Wars film as being the beginning of any sort of decline. What Star Wars did was open up the flood gates to a new way of making movies. Lucas’ single greatest strength and his lasting legacy is that he was a visionary. He saw how films could be made and Star Wars was the key that opened the door. Steven Spielberg was quoted as saying “Once Star Wars came out all film makers realized that their wildest cinematic dreams could now become a reality”.

    My issue with cinema today is the lack of creativity on the part of film makers. Maybe that’s what the original poster is getting at. I go to the theatres only for the Star Wars releases, nothing else. An experience that needs to be seen on the big screen. I’m tired of the remakes of remakes of classic films. The vast majority of films today are not deserving of the $45.00 dollars that it costs for two people to go to the Multi-Plex. I wait for the reviews then stream the films a couple of months later.
  15. PymParticles Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 1, 2014
    star 5
    There were, like, three remakes this year. Beauty and the Beast. IT, which isn't so much a remake as a different adaptation of the book. Flatliners, which I wouldn't call a remake of a classic. Those aren't just the only three I can remember, I actually looked it up, and even though Flatliners was terrible those first two were really good movies. It's a super overblown criticism, and not even a particularly valid one, since a bad movie is a bad movie for reasons other than remaking a previous work. The original is still there, and the remake can actually be better. Case in point, Ben-Hur (1959) was a remake. The Thing (1982) was a remake. The Fly (1986). And Scareface (1983). More recently, the 2010 remake of True Grit was fantastic.
  16. Valeyard Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2017
    I think Star Wars did a lot of damage to cinema, yes. However it wasn't necessarily a great industry before it anyway.

    The decline of the distributor-owned cinemas in the US is what really lead to quality dropping. You can find plenty of bad quality films made independently, or outside of the US, in the 70's and early 80's.

    Not true- not every film tries to be a "blockbuster". But yes, they did start the blockbuster genre which gave way for the Indiana Jones films and other "action" movies of the 80's.

    The film industry churns out repetitive formulaic garbage to sell tickets, it's lost all validity as an art-form for the most part. But I don't agree that TV/Netflix has produced higher quality content either.
  17. anakinfansince1983 Nightsister of Four Realms

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    Mar 4, 2011
    star 9
    I don’t really go to the theater anymore either unless I want to see a movie prior to its being released on Blu-Ray, but given that art is inherently subjective (and analyzing it according to film appreciation class or art appreciation class standards takes all the fun out of it for me), I take issue with the term “objectively bad.”

    I loved Top Gun; I was a teenager when it came out in theaters and my crush on Maverick and Goose remains. :p

    Personally I don’t think Star Wars ruined cinema. The industry has certainly changed, and a lot of people take issue with that, but there were good movies and crap movies before Star Wars premiered and there have been good movies and crap movies since Star Wars premiered.
  18. Bazinga'd Porg Overlord of the WNU, CT, and Saga Forums

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    Nov 1, 2012
    star 6
    @The Wagonmaster I am just wondering why you would chose to post a topic like this on a Pro-Star Wars forum. You are treading very close to baiting territory.

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  19. The Wagonmaster Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 24, 2017
    Everyone in this thread has responded rationally because they know I was posing this topic as a question, leaving it open for pleasant debate. You're the only one so far who has been upset.
  20. Bazinga'd Porg Overlord of the WNU, CT, and Saga Forums

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2012
    star 6
    And to be blunt, there are only two peoples opinions that really count in this forum when it comes to appropriateness of thread topics. @anakinfansince1983 and myself.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  21. The Wagonmaster Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 24, 2017
    @PymParticles I just want to apologize if you felt that I was being dismissive by leaving those videos before going to bed. I ironically had to end our discussion of film so I could go to my cinema college class in the morning! I just felt like those two videos could put into words why I feel both of those industries have been in decline since the mid-80's much more succinctly than I could. That second guy thinks film has only been bad since 2000, however, which I think is too arbitrary a date.

    Now, to everyone listing the good films that have come out lately, almost all of them are from directors who were around BEFORE the decline. Yes, Scorsese's Wolf of Wall Street is one of the best films that has come out lately (Certainly the greatest DiCaprio performance, who is usually terrible) because Scorsese is from that older generation. Woody Allen is another one of them, although Cafe Society was atrocious and so was his godawful miniseries, so he's probably finally in decline himself. The other directors listed don't really get me excited, especially not Christopher Nolan. He's awful
    Last edited by The Wagonmaster, Nov 4, 2017
  22. Bob the X-Winger Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 8, 2016
    star 3
    Well it is not an exaggeration to say that cinema attendance is in decline as cheaper alternatives have come around but CGI and merchandise has ruined the cinema experience. Storytelling has been substituted for the visual experience exclusively. Look through the films that came out this year and many of the expected blockbusters did not do well commercially.
  23. darkspine10 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 7, 2014
    star 5
    Merchandising has been around since before the first SW movie. One only has to look at Dalekmania, or the Gerry Anderson marketing lines of the 60's to see that.

    As for CGI, I don't see how it can make a movie worse than, say, models or stop-motion can. CG is certainly easier, which probably leads to a greater number of films using it, but that's wholly unrelated to quality of movie.
  24. The Wagonmaster Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 24, 2017

    Saying cinema attendance is in decline is, in my opinion, a gross understatement. This year was a record low for box office.
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  25. Bob the X-Winger Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 8, 2016
    star 3

    That is to say that a lot of fans of CGI movies won't see bad movies for what they are glorified video games. Models and stop motion had good stories to compliment them. Today it is non stop CGI action. Take the War of the Planet of the Apes movie which i actually like but you'll notice the merchandising on that film was not as big as Jurassic Park or Star Wars. The market for CGI films is in decline.