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. EHT New Films Manager

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    I think TPM and ROTJ are a tie. TPM spends too much time on the podrace, while ROTJ spends too much time at Jabba's palace and with the ewoks. TPM redeems itself with a great establishing story, beautiful visuals, and unabashed emotion. ROTJ redeems itself with excellent space battles and the scenes with Luke, Palpatine, and Vader (which themselves are the payoff scenes for the entire Saga).
  2. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

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    Aug 4, 2008
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    That about sums up my perception as well, except that I like the podrace at its current length, and even wish it were longer. (I have a VHS edit I made in which I re-cut the podrace using all the deleted laps and gags and at some 7 or 8 minutes longer it's awesome. :cool: )

    ROTJ's speeder-bike chase is brisk and tightly edited by comparison, and is still an amazing sequence as well. But what the podrace lacks in cinematic efficiency it makes up for in immersive thrills.
  3. Anakin's Daddy Force Ghost

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    Aug 13, 2002
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    I love it! Do it George. Do it!
  4. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

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    Aug 4, 2008
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    So we've had our chance to wax philosophical about how alike/different TPM and ROTJ are from one another. So far no one has disputed that they are the most similar of any two episodes, comparing one from each trilogy.

    As an aside, I do find it interesting that these two most kid-oriented installments are either seen back-to-back (chronological release order viewing) or first and last (numerical episode viewing). But let us not dwell on order of view; there's a thread for that!

    Moving on, then, which two episodes are the least like one another? 'ANH' and any other installment? ESB and TPM? I think discussion of this question will reveal to the doubters (CoolyFett, I'm lookin' at you ;) ) that there is a wide disparity of tone and visuals between and among the films.

    Visually speaking, my vote is for ESB and... any of the three prequels. Though the use of close-ups in ESB is mirrored fairly effectively in ROTS, there is a simplicity and elegance in ESB's images that is not seen anywhere else in the Saga -- especially not in the PT.

    In ESB the frames are not jammed full of ships or creatures or landscape features; even the busiest of frames, at Bespin on the Falcon's arrival, are composed for clarity of object and space, distinction of foreground and background, contrast of movement and stillness. Compare the Bespin arrival with the arrival on Coruscant in TPM, at Naboo in AOTC or the various comings and goings at Utapau in ROTS, and you see how complicated, ornate and downright byzantine are these scenes in the PT, as compared to the relative simplicity of similar shots ESB.

    I'm not intending to make a judgement call here, just an observation of the differences.
  5. Anakin's Daddy Force Ghost

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    Aug 13, 2002
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    I'm going to say that I think the two most different films are ESB and TPM. This might actually explain part of many people's initial disappointment with TPM when it first came out because ESB was generally the favorite.
  6. drg4 Force Ghost

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    Jul 30, 2005
    star 4
    I'll have to go with ANH and TESB.

    The former features archetypes, an exuberant tone, frenetic direction, and a narrative largely bereft of subtext; the latter has living, breathing characters, a melancholy tone, elegant direction, and is fairly substantive.

    It's almost like watching two different interpretations of the same myth. (And it's interesting how Lucas sought to amalgamate these approaches for the four subsequent films, reaching near-perfect success with Revenge of the Sith.)
  7. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

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    Aug 4, 2008
    star 5
    Yes, emotional responses aside, objectively speaking the two films (TPM and ESB) are wildly different in terms of visual style, shot composition, color palette, etc. While the stark winter landscape of Hoth and the barren sands of Tatooine are not so different visually speaking, the way Kershner and Lucas, respectively, film each landscape shows a very distinct approach to the camera and to cinema in general.

    Consider if you will the first shot of Hoth with its moving Taun-Taun over the windswept icy slope. The camera is moving in, mounted on some kind of gigantic, high-up crane. There is movement and dynamism in the shot, as though we are part of the snowy winds themselves, looking down on the beast and its rider.

    The first shot of Tatooine in TPM is captured by a tripod-mounted camera, which remains still as the chromed Nubian ship comes in for a landing.

    I don't mean to suggest that Lucas doesn't use moving shots in TPM -- he does -- but looking specifically at landscape angles, his approach is very different from Kershner's.

    Tonally and thematically, I would opine that ESB and TPM aren't drastically dissimilar, both being partly humorous, partly darksome youth-adventure tales. Obviously ESB is the darker work, but it also has a good amount of humor and TPM earns its title with a phantasmally menacing tone underneath all the good cheer.
  8. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

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    Agreed! Very well-said, even if I think TPM is more differenter to ESB than 'ANH' is. Are we confused yet? :p
  9. ezekiel22x Chosen One

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    Aug 9, 2002
    star 4
    A New Hope and Revenge of the Sith for me as far as being the least like each other. Quick battle in space aside, ANH opens with a "lazy river" of narrative motion wherein we have plenty of time to soak up down to earth yet surreal scenes of droids wandering the desert and little hooded alien merchants plying their daily trade. ROTS opens with a whirlpool of chaos that draws our heroes into more frenetically paced and converging plots. ANH is brilliant at painting vibrant yet relatively shallow character portraits, while the broad strokes of good vs. bad offer equally brilliantly plotted if a bit by-the-numbers-feeling "we did it!" action. ROTS pulls no punches in portraying interpersonal, spiritual, and societal dissolution, oftentimes while making no apologies about delivering its themes in the midst of action sequences that take the spectacle to a new level even by Star Wars standards. And some smaller stuff as well. Dooku's acrobatic pre-duel flip could never work in the phsyical world of ANH. Try as I might (and with respect to Owen and Beru as they exist through Luke's teenage viewpoint), I cannot imagine a scene in ANH where we are given a look into a married couple's bedroom.
  10. drg4 Force Ghost

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    Jul 30, 2005
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    As I remarked elsewhere, the ROTS bedroom scene is nothing short of revelatory, as it introduces sexuality into the series. As Anakin rises from the bed half-nude, we come to the stark realization that this husband and wife actually did it! (All the more jarring, considering that the OT love story started with sizzling foreplay (TESB), yet opted to skip any suggestion of adult sensuality in favor of dowdy, sitcom-styled marriage banter (ROTJ).)
  11. MissPadme Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 1998
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    The scene is interesting because of the intimacy shown between Anakin and Padmé. If Kevin Smith says Han and Leia's first kiss in TESB was the Star Wars equivalent of porn, showing a couple in the same bed--one shirtless, the other obviously pregnant--is the equivalent of "Banned In Denmark" :p. It sexualizes Vader, something I never would have expected back in the day.

    --MissPadme
  12. drg4 Force Ghost

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    Jul 30, 2005
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    But doesn't it make perfect sense now, that the monster condemned to an iron cask relinquished his soul for the most beautiful woman in the galaxy? Brings new meaning to the expression "from womb to tomb."

    That's the surest sign, for me, that the Prequels are a resounding success: I can't imagine the story any other way.
  13. EHT New Films Manager

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    Good point. Love and/or lust can be very powerful motivators. People in real life have been driven to do things for them that could be seen as "dark side" actions. As I've said before, Padme (or the loss of her) is not the only reason Anakin turned, but it is plausible that she is one of the major reasons.
  14. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    When ROTJ came out and it was confirmed that Vader was telling the truth about being Luke's father, I remember my tween brain thinking, "Damn. Darth Vader had sex." Right before I went back to staring at Han Solo. :p (Who was, sadly, never shirtless, but seeing the half-nude Anakin 22 years later more than atoned for that.)

    But seriously...

    This, exactly.

    I always assumed that Vader turned to the Dark Side in order to save someone, although I had no idea who and I didn't speculate on that too much. But it makes perfect sense that he turned in order to save his wife, especially given that in the end, it was indirectly his relationship with Padme that saved him, through their son.
  15. -NaTaLie- Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2001
    star 4
    C'mon, guys, married couple sleeping in a bed mostly clothed could probably fit in a Disney cartoon. It's not the reason why ROTS received the PG-13 rating. Not that I mind a nice fanservice, especially since Hayden buffed up nicely for ROTS [face_batting] Now, if they actually were in bed in AOTC (even without any explicit stuff), that's what I'd call pushing the envelope :)

    But it's part of one of the themes in the PT:

    In TPM, Anakin and Padme are just innocent kids who like each other (he does manage to get her into his bedroom though ;) )
    In AOTC, we see each in their beds, separately
    In ROTS, they're together and Padme is pregnant.
  16. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

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    Aug 4, 2008
    star 5
    Yet it was not so long ago, indeed right before the first Star Wars film was released, that seeing a married couple sharing the same bed was considered off-limits for family/mainstream entertainment. The Brady Bunch, of all TV shows, stirred something of controversy in this regard in the early 70s -- a scant half-decade before the film now called A New Hope hit theaters.

    The OT is functionally sexless. Carrie Fisher has complained that she had to have her breasts strapped down in the first film because George didn't want any "jiggling in space".

    Given the asexual tone set by that first film, the depiction of pregnancy, intimacy and childbirth in ROTS does represent something of a departure compared to the rest of the Saga and a significant step forward in terms of mature themes and imagery.
  17. Rev Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 3, 2005
    star 2
    I'm not the first to advance this view, but it's one which I've embraced as my own: there is not a single saga, but rather three distinct narratives (thus rendering your question meaningless according to my viewpoint).

    The first narrative is Star Wars, the first film, as it stands on its own, independent of the other films. This is the narrative George Lucas originally conceived and which audiences in 1977 experienced.

    The second narrative is the original trilogy, in addition to the notes and allusions provided by Lucas in regards to aspects of the universe not portrayed in the films themselves. This is the narrative nearly all fans accepted between 1983 and 1999. Both the first and the second narratives are centered on the adventures of Luke Skywalker.

    The third narrative is what most today would call the saga, that is, the six films (note that unlike the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy does not constitute a stand-alone narrative). This is perhaps the first narrative to bring about contention or debate in regards to acceptance amongst fans. Its central story is the tragedy of Anakin Skywalker.

    Other narratives are possible. There are various formulas for inclusion of expanded universe materials. Future films in the series could also create a narrative not centered on Luke or Anakin, per se, but rather the Skywalker dynasty as a whole.
  18. CoolyFett Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 3, 2003
    star 4
    I like what you are saying....good post. For the record these two chapters are the first two that I ever seen. I saw Return of the Jedi all the time on HBO in the 80s and got caught in the Phantom Menace hype of 99...Never seeing New Hope or Empire Strikes Back...with that being said it was Ep VI & Ep I that made me a fan. The two weakest links.
  19. CoolyFett Force Ghost

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    Feb 3, 2003
    star 4
    Which chapters are the MOST DIFFERENT?? For me its 4 & 5...two totally different feels. I could also say the same about 1 & 3...but its the mirror images in 3 & 5 that reconnect everything. Both chapters are really dark. The one episode with no happy or sad ending is Attack of the Clones. Jango is dead, The war has started, but really the Jedi are still together & the Republic is still intact. Out of all 6 the two most different? Maybe 2 & 4?
  20. CoolyFett Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 3, 2003
    star 4
    ummmm welll.....There was quite a bit boob shaking in someones palace in Ep 6. Lots of female skin & curves in a certain palace. There were even some women in the Cantina scene if I recall. Nothing really sexual about Ep 1 besides Sebulba getting serviced before the pod race.
  21. Ord-Mantell70 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 9, 2009
    star 3
    True. Editing, photography, color range and "mise en scène" are different, but it's not so evident when watching the movies casually, except maybe for the color palette shift which is clearly evident and striking (ANH and ESB). You have to carefully analyze each movie to be aware of that.

    I mean, in the end, thematic and tonal continuity tend to overshadow those filmmaking differences, at least for the casual viewer.

    PS : apologies for the late answer. ;)
  22. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

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    Aug 4, 2008
    star 5
    Yes, good point about "slave Leia", though that, as they say, is the exception that proves the rule. Other than that single sequence early in ROTJ, the OT is functionally sexless. At the very least 'ANH' and ESB are functionally sexless; Kershner is on record as opining that a kiss in a SW movie is the equivalent of a couple sleeping together in another film. ;)

    As to TPM, I never made any claim about it having sexual content. I was drawing a contrast between ROTS specifically, with its scenes of intimacy and childbiorth, and the rest of the Saga, which again is functionally sexless.

  23. EHT New Films Manager

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    To be fair, there is "jiggling" on Leia in ANH... just saying. ;)
  24. CoolyFett Force Ghost

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    Feb 3, 2003
    star 4
    Leia??? I was talking about the Max Rebo back up singers, and the dancer he dropped in the dungeon. She a had weapons malfunction on her way down, and both of her green man catchers popped out.
  25. CoolyFett Force Ghost

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    Feb 3, 2003
    star 4
    Im actually glad GL is finally releasing all 6 together, which he could have done in 2005 for the DVDs. There were the two DVD sets that came in 2008, but one complete 6 episode set never existed until now.
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