Saga The Space Opera Perspective...

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Ananta Chetan, Oct 25, 2013.

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  1. Ananta Chetan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2013
    star 4
    Share a scene from the Saga that used to "bother" you... but that you are now able to reconcile its existence and maybe even enjoy and appreciate a little since becoming familiar with the concept of the Space Opera.
  2. Ananta Chetan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2013
    star 4
    to start things off...

    Mace has several incredibly over-the-top melodramatic moments in the PT, but the two that stand out now that I don't grimace (much) when I watch:
    • Mace's look and body language after decapitating Jango Fett
    • The accent and tone of Mace's response when Anakin tells him of Palpatine's true identity: "A SIth Lord?"
  3. HevyDevy Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2011
    star 3
    I used to find Anakin and Shmi's scenes in TPM a little corny, but after watching the PT as a whole they are some of my favourite moments. Like Shmi telling Anakin "don't look back" as they say farewell in TPM, that holds so much more significance when you know where it is dramatically leading.

    Another one of the top of my head, Luke and Leia discussing their parentage on Endor. After episode 3, and the whole six-movie saga in general, it's quite emotional.
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  4. DRush76 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2008
    star 4


    I've been aware that STAR WARS is space opera for a long time. I also see it as Lucas' take on wuxia.




    Oh brother. It continues.
    Last edited by DRush76, Oct 26, 2013
  5. Ananta Chetan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2013
    star 4
    Those who are at least somewhat familiar with Indian cinema know how infamously syrupy-sweet romance is depicted in their films. Anakin and Padme's scenes together in AOTC, especially in the meadow near the waterfalls, looks like something that could have been lifted right out of a Bollywood movie. Thankfully GL didn't have Padme's entourage of handmaidens signing and doing synchronized choreography in the background.

    Even for someone who grew up with: "I love you"....."I know", it took several viewings to digest and accept the spirit in which their courtship was depicted in the first two Episodes.


    Then a far wiser fan than I you are, my friend. :)
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  6. Pensivia Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2013
    star 4
    Perhaps the "space opera" approach is the most applicable to the Anakin-Padme courtship in AOTC. Honestly, though, I can't say that their courtship scenes don't still "bother" me. Thinking about it using the "space opera" label might help somewhat, but I always find myself wishing those scenes had been better executed (in terms of both dialogue and the actors' performances).

    Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy AOTC both as a whole and for several specific reasons (the great visuals, for example)...it is still SW, after all!:) Just wish that aspect of that film had been stronger (IMO).
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  7. Pensivia Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2013
    star 4
    (sorry for the double post...editing window has closed!) Just wanted to add... on a more positive note, the "space opera" angle does help with the cheesiness (to me) of some of the Han-Leia-Luke interactions in Ep IV:)
  8. Darth_Articulate Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2012
    star 4
    My enjoyment of the saga is not affected by it's being put into any category
  9. Ingram_I Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2012
    star 2
    Likewise.

    Though I appreciate the OP's strive to embrace these films in a new light (sincerely, I do), giving allegedly "hokey" scenes a pass for being Space Opera almost seems apologetic. Nothing about these films are method-style by comparison. The entire saga is a kind of cinematically experimental opera, branching off into various aesthetic avenues under said conceit: space, soap, Chinese, kabuki, ballet, farce, radio etc. The general notion that Star Wars is intended as a musical should not be taken lightly. That being said, there really are hokey moments throughout the films. A lot. Hell, the whole damn thing is hokey when you get right down to it.
    Last edited by Ingram_I, Oct 30, 2013
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  10. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    ^^ Yeah, the "space opera" angle is honourable, but a bit of a fallacy. If you want to analyze or approach these films from an interesting angle, it might be better to think in terms of cubist painting, or interactive movie-making/blocks, or some architectonic metaphor, or even look at the films as conduits/vessels for animate, ecstatic koans, intended to "jar" the movie-watcher -- and I use that word ("jar") quite deliberately -- from their present frame into some higher understanding. Of course, from a purely "genre" or "story" (top-down) perspective, these movies are obviously replete with and redolent of imagery, structuring, and arabesque texturing from a vast firmament of pre-existing artistic forms, unified by a melodramatic cadence, arrayed into pure hokum, glistening with a swift, pulpy grandeur. That is the joi de Lucas. Star Wars, at its essence, is a million Technicolor shards being endlessly refracted through an ever-turning prism: one that produces patterns that are nostalgic, ironic, and ambivalent in equal measure. "Colours at war" might be an apt subtitle for the whole series.
    Last edited by Cryogenic, Oct 30, 2013
  11. Count Yubnub Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 1, 2012
    star 4

    Curiously, I always considered the Anakin/Padme love scenes to be like something out of an (Italian) opera; the dialogue could almost be sung. I get the sense though that that's not the kind of opera that the OP is going for. :)
    Last edited by Count Yubnub, Oct 31, 2013
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  12. Ingram_I Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2012
    star 2
    [face_laugh] Cryo, practically rolling in iambic pentameters. Let it never be said that you are want for waxing. A why is it that every time I read one of your comments I hear Hugo Weaving's voice in my head? I mock, but of course I agree. Yet another interesting perspective, especially the notion of a 'cubist painting'. I might have said this before, but I similarly view the saga as a mural in motion, panning from left (Episode I) to right (Episode VI). With epic music.
  13. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    Oh, I don't wax. I shave.

    Wait, wrong metaphor.

    Wax on, wax off...

    At least you hear a voice. Your brain is still co-operating when fed my prose (rather than rapidly overheating).

    I'll take that as a compliment -- Hugo is awesome. Yeah, there might be a little bit of "V"-ish-ness to my ramblings, I suppose. :p

    What?

    This is not allowed.

    NOT ALLOWED!

    Thank you. The terms/concepts "cubist painting" and "interactive movie-making/blocks" were deliberately placed alongside each other. I was quoting Lucas himself per "The Making Of Revenge Of The Sith". Can't find the exact page now (I can NEVER find the blasted page if I'm looking for a particular one -- the fatal flaw of paper books), but it's a beautiful, brilliant, must-have publication. If you don't own it, order it today.

    The saga is a sort of "mural in motion", I agree. And something of a watery, nebulous dance, too. ROTS essentially allegorizes these ideas in rhymed temptation scenes between Anakin and Palpatine: at the opera, the two are, of course, framed against a strange globular ballet casting nascent purple light over the pair's immediate surroundings, while in the following scene, where Palpatine reveals his identity, Lucas precisely frames Palpatine against a digitally-comped bas relief as Anakin paces forward and begins to encircle him (the framing of Palpatine is eerily precise: he halts his right-left ambulation on the line, "Even the nature of the Dark Side", with Palpatine's head overlaid against the termination point of a double-bellied serpent's body in the relief behind him at this very moment). So, we have the somewhat paradoxical idea of a work of art -- the SW saga -- that is deliberately sculpted/crafted, yet full of organic meanings not consciously intended by its earthly maker; and a somewhat-blurred line between the two.

    Undoubtedly, music plays a very big part. John Williams' score, in Lucas' own words, was the one aspect of the troubled production of the original movie that surpassed his own expectations. And flicking through "The Making Of ROTS" (trying to find that damned cubist/interactive movie-making comment), I happened upon Lucas commenting on the difficulty of determining whether a scene is "working" or not, and trying to figure out whether it's down to the way it is cut or the specific music used in that given moment. In other words, the inflection that music gives a scene or a sequence or a shot or a beat is, potentially, enormous. It is obvious, I think, that a lot of careful balancing and fine-tuning went on in each prequel -- yes, even the chopped-up AOTC -- to get the music and the imagery to sit right together, and that this, in itself, is a precarious art; indeed, it may be one of several supremely underrated aspects of the entire prequel trilogy (and the saga as a whole).
  14. Ananta Chetan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2013
    star 4
    What about our suspension of disbelief...the semi-conscious decision in which we put aside our disbelief and accept the premise as being real for the duration of the story...are we or some segments of the fan-base collectively less able to do it with a Saga that spans nearly four decades?

    TAG: @Cryogenic, @Ingram I
  15. Ingram_I Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2012
    star 2
    Interesting question, but I'm not really sure how to answer, or if I even have an answer. I can't really tell if it's a suspension of disbelief or an acceptance of a particular style that divides many fans.
  16. Ananta Chetan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2013
    star 4
    Yesterday I was hopping around in the PT films watching random clips...then a couple from AOTC had me biting my lip, almost laughing, but with love in my heart, simultaneously...
    • The lightsaber duel between Dooku and Anakin after the "lights go out", begins to resemble a disco scene, with the sabers acting like strobe lights, and several alternating shots of each one of them alone in the frame swinging at no one. Back and forth.
    • Padme reaching for Anakin's mechanical cyber-hand at the end of their wedding ceremony with the sweeping musical score.
  17. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    I thought about it, but I don't have an answer, either. The two are, surely, bound up, however: if one doesn't like a particular style, one isn't likely to find it easy or desirable to suspend one's disbelief. Two "ones" make two. And three "ones" allegedly make three. [face_plain]


    "Random" prequel imagery almost has more pull, in a way, than sequential prequel imagery. I think the beauty of a set of images leaps out at you more, sometimes, when you consider those images in relative isolation.

    Interestingly, this is apparently how Camille Paglia came to her view that the last 30 mins of ROTS is the most significant work of art of the last thirty years: she kept stumbling across bits 'n' pieces of the prequel movies being aired on "Spike TV" until, I guess, she couldn't shake that End-Of-Days imagery anymore.
    Last edited by Cryogenic, Nov 9, 2013
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  18. Ananta Chetan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2013
    star 4
    @Cryogenic
    If you think it would be worthwhile...would you suggest an article or link on Camille Pagilia? I did a general search and got lots of options so thought... why not ask you directly? Enjoyed your posts here. ;)
  19. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    Hey, thanks. :)

    This is Camille Paglia's original article on ROTS and why she thinks George Lucas is the formidable artist of our time:

    http://chronicle.com/article/article-content/134942/

    A provocative interview with her, again, articulating her basic stance on ROTS and George Lucas and on art history / education in the United States more generally:

    http://www.vice.com/read/camille-pa...-sith-is-our-generations-greatest-work-of-art

    As the link says: on the sneering art establishment and the genius of George Lucas / ROTS once more:



    And one I posted to TFN a couple of weeks ago: describing the finale of ROTS in very lively terms to a mildly-intrigued audience:



    I don't have her book, "Glittering Images", where she writes about ROTS in the final chapter, yet.

    I did recently purchase a (second-hand) copy of an earlier work of hers, though: "Sexual Personae". But that was more because I was intrigued, firstly, with the premise, and secondly, for what she had to say about Elvis (Presley). My love for Elvis is the only thing that equals or exceeds my love for George Lucas' Star Wars saga.

    Hope that helps. [face_cowboy]
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  20. Ananta Chetan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2013
    star 4
    Appreciate all of the links. I downloaded and watched both videos and read most of the first article. I found her perspective interesting not only on ROTS, but art, culture, etc. I do sort of flinch though imagining the backlash from someone who so obviously is a real controversial character making such bold claims of adoration for ROTS & GL, since I would assume in our current cultural soup of negativity and hypercriticism, it will serve as additional fodder for some. But, oh well! ROTS is a masterpiece, period. :D

    Do you happen to be a Professor or student of the Humanities yourself?

    @Cryogenic
    Last edited by Ananta Chetan, Nov 11, 2013
  21. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    At this point, you know what? You're a pariah for speaking up in defence of the PT, so why shouldn't an *actual* provocateur take a stand? All that matters, to me, is if Camille Paglia is sincere or not; and I think she is. She has riled a few people up over the matter, it seems (read the comments sections), but that's par for the course these days. Good on her, I say. :D

    Awww, hell to the no. I guess I'm simply a student of life. But I do take a special interest in the humanities. Being an autodidact is fun. [face_peace]

    And while I've always had a basic interest in art, history, psychology, film, literature, and science, I think I owe some thanks to George Lucas and his space opus for giving me a focal point -- a portal to channel my emotions through (categories of thought and action inevitably appeal to our intellect only by appealing to our emotions first).

    This saga is a great gift: a learning aid, an imaginative crane.

    Star Wars is a many-tentacled beast with a long reach.
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  22. DRush76 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2008
    star 4
    I would say that in regard to the fireplace scene in AOTC. In fact, I'll go even further and comment that particular scene, along with the Anakin/Padme romance in general, was straight out of something called "courtly love" -
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Courtly_love.

    I also noticed that after the release of ROTS, more and more summer blockbusters seemed willing to use an operatic element in their stories.
    Last edited by DRush76, Nov 18, 2013
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  23. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    That would have been awesome!
  24. Vthuil Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 3, 2013
    star 4
    I seem to recall saying this before (did this thread exist somewhere else?) but I think all this is a severe misreading of what "space opera" actually means.
  25. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    I recently realized that there is a most peculiar link between handmaidens in TPM and the Invisible Hand in ROTS. And Anakin's fake hand in the "I don't like sand" scene in AOTC. Plus all the other hand references, weird hand motions (e.g., Jedi mind tricks), hand-chopping, prosthetic limbs, and whatever else, in all the movies. Won't you lend a saga fan a hand?
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