Saga The Saga: Single Story in 6 Parts, or Six Individual Films?

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Merlin_Ambrosius69, Jul 26, 2011.

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  1. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2008
    star 5
    These days I'm seeing a number of assertions being made on both sides of this question.

    Is the STAR WARS Saga a single, unified story told in six cohesive, interrelated parts, or is it six very different films which only attempt to be seen in the context of all the others? Or is the answer somewhere in between -- that the films try to be cohesive and unified, and sometimes fail and sometimes succeed in this goal?

    I'm of the mind it's the latter: the answer lies, as it does in so many areas of life and art, somewhere in between. Let's explore the reasons together.
  2. CoolyFett Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 3, 2003
    star 4
    No in between at all for me. Its one movie in 6 parts, six chapters. The saga could easily be put into 3 parts / 3 chapters. Individual fans feel that certain chapters belong to them and other chapters can be done with out, which is wrong. Any good story will make you feel something. You make feel hate, annoyed, excitement, immersiveness, confusion etc etc. I would actually like to see Star Wars Saga in a different format. A 1000 page novel, an 90 issue comic book or graphic novel, An animated movie, an RPG video game would be really cool based on the complete saga would be great too. You start with Qui-Gon & Obi Wan & end with Luke, Han, Chewy & Lando. The Star War Saga is just up there with Hamlet, Beowulf, Romeo Juliet, Camelot, Odyssey, The Bible, Norse Myth, LOTR, West Side Story, etc etc the greatest stories in history the Star Wars Saga competes. To segregate different chapters because of a dislike for one or two characters is a selfish thing. If you call yourself a real fan of Star Wars and share any aspect of the saga with a new comer and purposely leave parts out than you are doing that person a disservice. Dont share Ep 4 and not share 1 2 & 3, dont share Ep 3 and not share 4 5 & 6. They should all be viewed together.
  3. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2008
    star 5
    I dislike any and all references to "real fans" and who supposedly constitutes that imaginary group.

    As a former moderator of this very forum, and as the host of this thread, I invite all contributors to please avoid using the term, "real fans", whatever your definition of the term might be.

    Dogmatic assertions aside, it's reasonable here to mention, in brief, the origins of the Saga as revealed in official sources. The LFL-published Rinzler "Making of..." books make it clear that the Saga was neither written nor conceived as one cohesive piece. Lucas wrote the scripts and treatments in advance of each film, not as one continuous piece as the other works listed in the above post -- Beowulf, LOTR, etc. -- were done.

    Inconsistencies in content, detail, tone and imagery make it impossible for me to consider the Saga a unified, cohesive work. Lucas certainly tried to do this, but he dropped the ball in a number of areas in my estimation, and the finished product play more like six individual films that are moderately well unified, rather than as one single story in six parts.
  4. BoromirsFan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2010
    star 4
    I see it as both one whole saga and six films.

    There is one big story, but its episodic.

    By now pop culture knows what the force is and jedi, so TPM doesnt need to explain the force. (it should have though)

    None of the films lead directly to the next.

    There are breaks in the stories. This not like Lord of the rings or Deathly Hallows duology.

    The time shifts make things feel different.

    none of the films feel completely alike. They have similar star wars feelings, none of them feel too far out.

    But ANH and ESB feel completely different in terms of tone. Same with ROTS and AOTC.

    so i think its all subjective. Its one saga but there are so many gaps to fill in, thus the EU
  5. -NaTaLie- Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2001
    star 4
    Even before the prequels, the originals didn't seem all that consistent to me. Saying that "Lucas dropped the ball" is a bit harsh in view of the all the retcons (does anyone want Vader NOT to be Luke's father?) I think we should be grateful that, despite some glitches, it still works as one continuous saga.
  6. drg4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2005
    star 4
    Largely unified in terms of theme; wildly erratic in tone, internal logic and aesthetics.

    Therein lies the paradox: On one hand, the inconsistency might preclude Star Wars from being the greatest of film series; on the other hand, said quality renders it the most eminently watchable. (Lord of the Rings is as efficiently constructed as a Swiss watch, but the prospect of a marathon viewing...unfathomable.)
  7. Bacon164 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 22, 2005
    star 7
    Sometimes I wonder how interesting it would be if Lucas had continued to subtitle the films in order to mimic the feeling of walking in on a multi-part serial where you've missed a couple of episodes (hence Episode IV: A New Hope) and to evoke the fragmented thoughts we have ("have I missed something?" "YES, Anakin hitting puberty" "YES, the Clone Wars" "YES, the birth of the Rebellion" "YES, Vader becoming a badass and Han/Leia becoming attracted to each other" etc.) when venturing from episode to episode. So, for instance, what if the numerical order of the Saga proceeded as such....?

    Episode I: The Phantom Menace
    Episode III: Attack of the Clones
    Episode V: Revenge of the Sith
    Episode VIII: A New Hope
    Episode X: The Empire Strikes Back
    Episode XII: Return of the Jedi

    Wouldn't make much of a difference, obviously, but it rather reminds me of the compilation of the Bible: the inconsistencies and disjunctions between the books (many being left out by the powers that be for whatever reason) and a feeling of having to read between the lines to get the big picture. I've always thought that the phrase "imperfection is beauty" applies to Star Wars remarkably, because some of the imperfections and inconsistencies are what makes the series most interesting, and sometimes, illuminating. In that way, I don't think there's an either/or answer here. The answer is both. Each film has its own agenda that, consciously and sometimes unconsciously, serves a larger story at work. The story told over the course of the saga is a unified one, but each film tells its own tale.

    FTR: Don't try and call people "real fans" unless you're five. In which case you shouldn't be registered here. It's great that you've got your own point of view, but others have theirs, and you aren't any more a substantial fan than they are because they don't care for a film that does and should stand on its own.
  8. Drewton Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 8, 2009
    star 4
    The six films just do not fit together for me, let alone all three prequels. Too many inconsistencies, especially when they started switching ti digital with AOTC and ROTS. I've tried to view them as one chronological saga but it just doesn't work for me, I can't switch from a 2005 digital movie with over 50% CG to a 1977 film and think of it as being like a direct sequel.

    The original trilogy did just fine by itself for almost twenty years so I definitely disagree that they *have* to be seen as one saga.
  9. Drewdude91 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2011
    star 2
    Both. I see it as one big story. I'm not a huge baby about inconsistencies. There are ways to justify them, although a bit far fetched. Oh well....
  10. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    Of the supposed inconsistencies, there are really none that require explanations which are particularly far-fetched.
  11. CoolyFett Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 3, 2003
    star 4
    What do you mean exactly?
  12. Drewdude91 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2011
    star 2
    A Star Wars marathon takes longer than a LOTR marathon
  13. CoolyFett Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 3, 2003
    star 4
    I do my part sharing the Complete Saga to new comers. I dont own any of the six chapters, but it funny some people think they do. Thats all Ill say on it.
  14. StampidHD280pro Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2005
    star 4
    Too true! Great observations.
  15. -NaTaLie- Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2001
    star 4
    And then the fans would bash Lucas for needlessly confusing everyone [face_whistling]
  16. drg4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2005
    star 4
    To put it another way: LOTR is all-you-can-eat steak; SW is a seven-course meal.

    I prefer the latter.

  17. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2008
    star 5
    Unfathomable as it might seem, some friends and I did this c. 2004 -- and it nearly killed us! With ten minutes between each disc of the EE, it took about 12 hours. I drifted off sporadically during TTT and dozed through half of ROTK. My wife claims she stayed awake through the whole show, but I have my doubts. ;)

    In all my long years as a fan, I've never done the same with STAR WARS -- neither the OT nor the PT, and certainly not both back-to-back. I get what you mean about their being digestible, like a 7(6-?)-course meal, but again in my estimation they're so stylistically distinct I think I'd have a hard time getting through them all in one go. "Unfathomable", you might say. :p

    I think this is such a brilliant, fun idea that I've (inevitably) added my own episode titles to the list. If I had a billion dollars I'd make 'em all! (Part of the delight of STAR WARS, IMO, is in the flexible and fan-ready nature of the stories and characters. Don't like the EU or like only parts of it? Make up your own EU!):

    Episode I: The Phantom Menace
    Episode II: The Tower of Fear (in which Anakin, tutored by Kenobi, confronts his fears and faces deadly robots on the mechanized moons of Neimoidea)
    Episode III: Attack of the Clones
    Episode IV: The Clone Wars (a live action, film-length version of the best CW TV episodes)
    Episode V: Revenge of the Sith
    Episode VI: The Adventures of Starkiller (a live-action version of The Force Unleashed)
    Episode VIII: A New Hope
    Episode IX: Hunters of the Crystal Gem (a live-action version of the 1978-1979 comic strip by Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson)
    Episode X: The Empire Strikes Back
    Episode XI: Shadows of the Empire (a live-action version of well, you know)
    Episode XII: Return of the Jedi

    These extra installments would smooth over some of the inconsistencies, most of which, I can agree with Arawn-Fenn, are relatively minor and can be explained and clarified in the intermediate installments, which will also attempt to strike a balance tonally and visually between the episodes on either side of it.

    But I digress! What a terrific concept, Bacon, thanks for introducing it. :cool:
  18. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    The fan club credits are the real killer. File that under adding insult to injury. There oughta be a law.
  19. Ord-Mantell70 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2009
    star 3
    That's basically how I feel too. Although I'd say that there are in the end 2 distinct trilogies rather than 6 individual films, even if each has actually a feel of his own.

    It's now meant to be a unified saga and "the Tragedy of Darth Vader", but it was not so originally in the OT era.

    Anyway, trying to make a 1977 movie the direct sequel of a 2005 one is a really perilous attempt, unless you shoot the later 70's style, which Lucas did not.

    Lucas was less interested in story-wise and stylistic continuity when crafting the PT, than making a character's study and telling a tragedy about the roots of evil, as well as using new FX technology.
  20. ezekiel22x Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2002
    star 5
    A story that spans six films. I'm much more concerned with thematic and emotional layering than visual and world-building continuity. In other words: R2 has rockets. Cool. No big deal. The "We were brothers" exchange? Very big deal, as in this might be the best scene in franchise filmmaking, let alone the saga (of six individual films).
  21. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2008
    star 5
    Yes, I agree with all of this, with the addendum that the "2 distinct trilogies" are each comprised of three distinct films, from a purely visual, if not tonal and thematic, standpoint -- especially with the OT.

    What I'm talking about primarily are the cinematography, editing style and production design: the "look" of the OT films. While the picture is now more homogenized with the digital tweaks on the DVDs, the three original movies are still widely disparate in terms of the film grain, contrast levels, color palette, "mise-en-scene" (meaning everything visible in the frame) and especially the editing techniques employed.

    The difference in the photography -- based on the unique film stock and light levels of each production -- is self-evident, so I won't belabor it. In brief 'ANH' has more grain; ESB has a softer, romantic look; and ROTJ is sharper and more colorful.

    As to the editing, for example consider the scene in 'ANH' in which the Falcon is set to leave Mos Eisley and the Stormtroopers come in blasting. The view toggles back and forth between Han and the 'Troopers 11 times -- a frenetic series of cuts which gets the blood pumping. There is nothing comparable to this in either of the sequels.

    I could go on. These visual and stylistic differences set each movie apart and mark them as unique, individual entries in the over-arching Saga. I'll address the story and character distinctions in another post.



  22. Drewton Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 8, 2009
    star 4
    Agreed. I tried a marathon once, and I didn't get past AOTC, because even TPM and AOTC have entirely different feel. The ten year time gap just seemed way too long, and again, the switch from film to digital and the cinematography. A much "cleaner" image, maybe too clean, with a lot more CGI. I noticed there was more zooming in and panning in and the Battle of Geonosis feels completely different stylistically from anything else in Star Wars. Much of it seemed like a test for digital filmmaking. For example, the long, boring CGI shot of the ship entering Coruscant's atmosphere.

    ROTS seemed much more refined and GL seemed to actually be trying to get back to more of a film feel. But it's still got things I could never picture in even the other two prequels, like General Grievous. And he'd rethought many of his story ideas.
  23. Darth_Harmon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 4, 2005
    star 4
    I think of the series as two trilogies that make up a saga and with each episode acting as an individual film. Thats why I like the series so much, it's very flexible.

    Just for a comparison, with Lord of the RIngs I find it difficult to just pop in The Two Towers without feeling like I should have watched Fellowship first then follow it with Return of the King. I don't mean in one sitting, but were I to watch Fellowship, the next week I'd feel the need to watch Towers. Star Wars isn't like that for me. I could watch any one of the six films and be content, not feeling like I dropped into the middle of something thanks to each movie having it's own little plot going on that is (usually) resolved by the end (Empire Strikes Back is the only real cliffhanger).

    The first four Harry Potter movies sort of have that going on too. There is a larger story, but each of the four movies have their own beginning and end. The final four Potter movies, however, are more like Lord of the Rings in their focus on a larger narrative and less of a focus on a contained story.
  24. CoolyFett Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 3, 2003
    star 4
    Oh ok cool...
  25. CoolyFett Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 3, 2003
    star 4
    Good post.
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