Discussion The Little Nuances that make a Star Wars Film

Discussion in 'Star Wars: Episode VII - Spoilers Allowed' started by phatdude1138, Nov 3, 2012.

  1. phatdude1138 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2005
    star 3
    Good catch! I just played the beginning of ATOC and it does indeed pan up.
  2. Force Smuggler Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    Star Destroyer seen first thing in 3-6!
    Original Oatmeal likes this.
  3. my kind of scum Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2002
    star 3
    Except that the ship is upside down, so *technically* it is still panning "down.". ;p
    Original Oatmeal likes this.
  4. Poli-Sci Jedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2013
    star 1
    telling much of the story off-screen. leaving a sense of mystery about the galaxy. Not showing too much. In this sense, I actually think JJ Abrams has it right when he talks about the mystery box.
    Original Oatmeal likes this.
  5. Bobatron Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 3
    ...which is why I was blown away when at the start of Attack of the Clones, the camera panned up. It was the coolest thing in the whole movie.

    Nuance: shootouts and fights where people don't quite move around like trained Earth soldiers.
    Darth Chiznuk likes this.
  6. Darth Claire Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2012
    star 4
    I say for this Star wars trilogy we need at least 10 hands cut off. Its a Star wars tradition.
  7. Jarren_Lee-Saber Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 16, 2008
    star 4
  8. Poli-Sci Jedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2013
    star 1
    True, but right hands only
  9. Bobatron Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 3
    Usage of the number 327. I would like to hear 1138 again, used as cleverly as in the line from The Empire Strikes Back.
    themetresgained likes this.
  10. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    Don't forget Pre Vizsla - probably the biggest groaner in SW...
    Original Oatmeal likes this.
  11. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    I want to see Robocop and The Terminator making a cameo.
    Original Oatmeal likes this.
  12. QsAssistant Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2011
    star 2
    lol that would be a good title for the finale SW film, Peace Among the Stars. I'm not kidding.
    Episode Swag likes this.
  13. Episode Swag Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 9, 2013
    star 1
    In all of the movies there is a big NO! moment.

    1: Obi Wan after seeing Qui Gon dying. (Best one IMO.)
    2: Yoda hears Qui Gon do one in a meditation session via a vision.
    3: Darth Vader after hearing of Padme's fate.
    4: Luke after seeing Obi Wan's death.
    5: Luke after Vader telling him that he is his father.
    6: (Blu ray only) Vader as he goes to grab the Emperor.

    This tradition, as cheesy as it is at times, should continue. And heck, it's fine to have a bit of cheese in Star Wars seeing as they all have some corny moments/lines/whatever.
    Original Oatmeal likes this.
  14. phatdude1138 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2005
    star 3
    Awesome catch!! Wonder if that's why George added it in ROTJ? That, or to make people angry.

    Seriously though, I like that there is a "Noooo" moment in every film.
  15. Zurita-Films Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 26, 2006
    star 3
    Also, the camera moves in a very limited way. It's a lot of 2 dimensional motion with tripod shots, pans and tilts, and very little zooming. There's also very few dolly shots, jib shots, or steadicam shots. There's more of these in the action scenes, but still not a lot. Hollywood really likes its intense zooms, focus shifting, and 360 degree camera shots nowadays, which would feel weird in a Star Wars film.
  16. appleseed Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 5, 2002
    star 4
    Probably a little of both, George likes to troll his audience. That's why Boba became a Sarlacc snack.
    Original Oatmeal likes this.
  17. Ingram_I Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2012
    star 2
    There is nothing remotely amateurish about the screen wipes. In one sense, yes, they’re meant to approximate the rapid, chaptered pacing of vintage B-serials, even as simple in design as to evoke the turning of a page to some sci-fi wonder pulp. But Lucas was equally influenced by Kurosawa’s use of screen wipes, particularly for The Hidden Fortress. Thus, we’re not just talking some low-rent film technique; they’re a stylized form of editing employed by one of the greatest editors (and filmmakers all-around) in the history of the medium. The screen wipes seen in these films are smooth, expressive and creative, providing a visual accent to John Williams’ ever driving musical score. Individually, they’re often fashioned in response to the composition of whatever the immediate frame, from one frame to the next. Holistically, they cut to the very bone of Star Wars as a protracted but elegant form of montage storytelling, obscuring passages of time to such a degree that, in some cases, it virtually has no meaning.

    For example, Luke’s training on Dagobah paralleled with the Falcon’s flight from the Imperial pursuit logically makes little to no sense; said timeframes shouldn’t match, when you really stop and think about it. Yet Star Wars is myth and fairy tale. It’s human dreams blown up on a galaxy-wide canvas. Screen wipes are an aesthetic touch that help bridge such inconsistencies, unifying separate scenes and narratives (light years apart) into a singular temporal state that’s almost entirely relative. Tone is heightened and purified as the experiences of different characters become tangential: Anakin’s pastoral romance with Padme wipes over elliptically with Obi-Wan’s noirish, gumshoe journey to-and-through THX-land.

    Yes, Star Wars needs screen wipes. Star Wars is screen wipes. They are the footwork or very heartbeat of the story as told cinematically. If Abrams is eccentric enough to drench his films with lens flares as a means to express his inner fancies then he should likewise be able to recognize and adopt the screen wipe style for Episode VII. Let’s just hope he understands it as well, because going through the motions without understanding their purpose is a prime recipe for hollow imitation.

    Another essential detail? Two-dimensional characters, for lack of a better term. Hear me out. Star Wars is not character driven storytelling. I repeat: Star Wars is NOT character driven storytelling. Yes, the characters are vital to the story, but never complex in-and-of-themselves. All the players throughout the saga are representational; symbols, vehicles for complex ideas, mythic themes and age-old human wisdoms. There is, of course, a basic emphasis on characterization: status, motive, personality type, specific traits and appearance--all of which to make a particular point. But it’s a point that does not require the constant, tedious posturing of deeper substances within a dramatic scene via camera-mugging histrionics. The actual performance direction in these films has always been broad and simple, stylistically in-step with the pre-method acting era, i.e. genre films prior to, roughly, the 1950s. I’m not just talking about the old Saturday matinee B-movies either (though they’re obviously a prime template); even the swooning and pained woes in Gone with the Wind are strikingly similar in style and presentation to any character interlude from Attack of the Clones.

    Star Wars deals heavily in emotions but not sentimentalism, of which there is a difference. Emotion is a distinct psychological response, in this context, triggered by story-points that drive the narrative forward. Sentiment is more of a mental state or attitude that drags-out dramatic scenes, or worse, forces them out of thin air simply to hook the audience into thinking that something necessary is happening in the story, often as a result of not having an interesting story to tell. Contrary to both popular belief and average cinematic practice, drama does not tell a story. Drama is merely the product of a story told where key events affect characters in a deeply emotional way. George Lucas understood this with all things Star Wars. Even with Kershner and Marquand as his avatars, the dramaturgical approach was always fairly streamlined: get in, address the theme, convey the idea, give the characters a few cue-card lines or gestures, get out. The rest comes from the story, the music and the visual presentation.

    My hope is that Abrams doesn’t sour the Star Wars experience by trying to contemporize it with falsely layered characters and pseudo-realistic/naturalistic performances, forcing it to become something it’s not, like an episode of Felicity or Lost, or just about any other genre blockbuster that suffers from similar TV platitudes. Bleh. Barf! Keep it simple. Keep archetypical the heroes and villains; whimsical the comedic sidekicks and other such participants. Take full advantage of the classic pulp style. Paint in broad strokes.
    Last edited by Ingram_I, Jan 31, 2013
    Episode Swag and Iron_lord like this.
  18. awesomejedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2012
    star 3
    Don't forget the crazy hair styles! We can't have SW without elaborate hair!:D
  19. phatdude1138 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2005
    star 3
    Agreed. A lot of folks either are "yes have them" or "we don't need them". A key piece is understanding that their placement is crucial. You just can't slap them anywhere, and for no reason (like a lens flare :( )

    This is well said.

    The Star Wars universe IS the center of the story, not the characters. The characters are "Secondary" or like you mentioned "2 dimensional". Also you don't really see through any one characters "eyes" in the Star Wars universe, you just see the universe as a whole, and the characters are parts of it. It can be argued that the story is told from the points of the "droids". I'm okay with that, but I look at it more as they are the only one "constant" that moves through the saga from film to film.
    Original Oatmeal and Ingram_I like this.
  20. phatdude1138 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2005
    star 3
    I just noticed another "trend" in the six Star Wars films:

    With the exception of "Luke" there aren't many (that I know of) traditional "American" names used. This includes first and last names.

    I'd hope J.J. / Arndt, will honor this and not use "normal" names. I've noticed in some of the EU, normal names are sometimes used.
    Original Oatmeal likes this.
  21. DarthBreezy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    'Ben' Kenobi....
    Original Oatmeal likes this.
  22. Darth Chiznuk PT Trivia Master / Game Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2012
    star 5
    'Owen' Lars, 'Dexter' Jettster.
    Original Oatmeal likes this.
  23. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    "Ben" as an alias for Obi-Wan.
  24. phatdude1138 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2005
    star 3
    Good catch on the "Ben".

    As for Owen and Dexter, I personally do not know any. Doesn't mean there aren't any out there, but it doesn't seem super common.
  25. StoneRiver Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 6, 2004
    star 4
    That's funny as hell. Almost fell off me chair.

    But not as funny as that!

    This is going to be a continuation of said saga so must remain consistent, surely?