Was TPM impossible before 97?

Discussion in 'The Phantom Menace' started by Katana_Geldar, Jan 9, 2005.

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  1. Tyranus_the_Hutt Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2004
    star 4
    That's an interesting musing, DS615. With the prequels, Lucas has deliberately inverted the narrative and character structure of the original films, while concurrently infusing his story with a borderline convoluted political plot. That is not a criticism, necessarily, merely an observation. I wonder to what extent that "Episode 1" would actually be recieved more favorably without the "baggage" of the OT? People viewing the film without 'expectations', might see it differently. I guess that we have no way of knowing, but if "The Phantom Menace" were the first "Star Wars" movie, would more people be willing to overlook the film's flaws, and view it with a more "open" and positive frame of mind? Or would it be a colossal failure?
  2. Thumbjoint Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Feb 3, 2005
    <<<TPM was possible in '77, but would it have worked?

    If Episode I was made first, would there have been any more at all?

    Is Episode I good enough to stand completely alone?>>>

    Probably not.
  3. Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2004
    star 6
    TPM probably could have been made in 1977, the Jedi duel, the Podrace and the battles could have been filmed using SFX techniques that existed in the late 70s, early 80s. The sticking point however would be Coruscant. I have no idea how you would pull off Coruscant is the way its been done without using computer graphics.
  4. Ree Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2005
    star 5
    If it was possible to be made before 1997 it would have. I don't theink GL would have waited 14 years to make the prequal on purpose....
  5. DS615 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 30, 2003
    star 4
    I have no idea how you would pull off Coruscant is the way its been done without using computer graphics.


    Models, blue screen, stop motion, and Matte paintings. Costly and time consuming, but very possible.

    Ever see Blade Runner?

  6. Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2004
    star 6
    Yeah, I'm familiar with it, but I don't think that Coruscant would have the same feel if it was done with models.
  7. Darth-Stryphe Former Mod and City Rep

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2001
    star 6
    Similiar, but not indentical. Remember, the question is "was TPM impossible before 97", not was CGI impossible. Having a slightly different feel, or inferior effects doesn't make it impossible.
  8. Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2004
    star 6
    I don't think it would have impossible, but certain aspects, like Coruscant would have been WAY more difficult to pull off with the level of realism.
  9. lightsaver Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 8, 2005
    star 2
    *clears throat*

    While I do believe the films could have managed quite well before 97, I must stress to you one important fact.


    George Lucas hadn't begun writing the scripts until sometime in the early to mid-ninetys. yes, he had plot points and ideas, planets and probably vessels and creatures as well.

    though IF he had the scripts back then, i'm sure all would've gone well...or it would've been a complete failure.
  10. Zaphod Beeblebrox Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 26, 1999
    star 4
    I think an important thing that has not been discussed yet is DIGITAL COMPOSITING.

    You could have shot 500 shots of model ships flying around in 1977, but it would have been near imposible to composit them optically.

    as at least some of you know, a lot of the SW universe is still made with models since they are cheaper and easier to build and light and shoot than CGI.

    You could propably make the gungan battle with Go-motion, but it would take a decade.

    The digital technology development in the early ninties made it possible for George to make TPM with a reasonable budget and in a reasonable timeframe.

    My point is:

    TPM WAS possible before 97, but it would have cost a fortune to make, take a decade (or more) to produce and it would not blow anyone away, even visually.
  11. Chancellor_Ewok Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2004
    star 6
    I wouldn't go so far as to say it would take a decade to make, but it way the Gungan battle would have to have been done with stop-motion animation and you would have lost the feel of being the thick of things that the battle gave you. There's no way they could have done something that big with animatronics, the space battle would have been pretty straightforward, as would the Podrace and the Jedi duel. As I've already said the problem would the wide panoramic shots Coruscant. Digitally compositing the cityscape into the same frama a thousands of moving spacecraft would have been very, very difficult.
  12. Darth-Stryphe Former Mod and City Rep

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2001
    star 6
    I don't think it would have impossible, but certain aspects, like Coruscant would have been WAY more difficult to pull off with the level of realism.

    Wouldn't have been harder than Cloud City. They would have had to be more selective in what they shown, is all.
  13. Gobi-1 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 22, 2002
    star 5
    I think people need to remember story and the look of the film as different. The story could have been told in 1977 however it would have looked much different.

    Lucas wants droids that look like droids, not droids that look like people dressed as droids. Now the battles droids could have been done with stop motion but I doubt Lucas would get 7,000 on screen at once.
  14. Billy_Dee_Binks Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 29, 2002
    star 4
    It would have been pretty much impossible, I believe. For one, the Nubian ships probably wouldn't have been painted with a reflective Chrome, rather dull gray. At least until 1991's Terminator 2.

    "TPM was possible in 1977. It just would have had to use stop-motion (for many of the droids and some aliens) and matte-paintings instead of CGI. That and GL would have needed more than the budget he had for ANH (ANH ran on a rather small budget for a major motion picture)."

    The space battle would have been very slow (remember how slow the ships in ANH were before the SE in some cases- if you go with the 1977 theory of release).
    Also, the lightsaber fighting would have been very different. Much slower and probably no double edged saber. Remember the issues they had to deal with in 1976: Blades broke easily, moving the saber out of frame would not make it glow anymore.
    Podrace would have probably been impossible in 1976 too.
  15. Loco_for_Lucas Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2002
    star 5
    There were ways around the effects issue, most of which they used to their advantage. Editing was the biggest thing. It pretty much saved ANH and it could have been done here too. Effects don't look as good? Hide them with quick editing. You see it long enough before you cut away to something else, it hides the deficiency of the effects and helps build excitement. There are creative solutions to the problem, so it's never "impossible."
  16. Asharak Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2003
    star 4
    "One word: Coruscant."

    two words: Blade Runner
  17. loki41872 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 13, 2002
    star 4
    The discussion seems to be about would it have been possible to make TPM as we know it NOW before 97. No, it would have been a completely different movie. Just like the OT, Lucas would have been forced to IMPLY more things instead of just throwing them out there with CG. The story would have been better, and the movie would have been more character driven instead of being a gloryfied PS2 game.

    Take away all of Lucas' new CG toys and he would be forced to actually THINK about what he's writing and you end up with a movie like ANH or ESB.

    I would love to visit an alternate universe where Lucas never did "Willow" or "Howard the Freakin Duck" and had started on the Prequals sometime around 1985 for a release in 88!

    We could be discussing the SEQUAL trilogy right now and complaining about the overuse of CGI to make Harrison and Fisher look younger!
  18. Loco_for_Lucas Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2002
    star 5
    Well, that's the thing; with limits in technology, the film would probably have to have been much more streamlined. The proverbial fat would need to be trimmed away to keep the overall project alive. The droids would have needed to be people in suits, and the Gungans more humanoid, and I think that would have moved them away from being pointless pieces of eye candy. I also think if Jar Jar were more human, he wouldn't have been the cartoon he was.

    To me, something is impressive when you can overcome boundaries. There have been little to none in the Prequels so far, so I see these more as exercises in ego and plain show-offery (coined a new word there, cool).
  19. Billy_Dee_Binks Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 29, 2002
    star 4
    Interesting thread turned into another CGI and Lucas bashfest.
  20. Darth_Punk Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 12, 2002
    star 4
    The answer is yes.
    If you ask the question could GL have gotten away with doing the cloud city scenes in TESB SE back then? yes, because he did with the original version. He then went back and did the SE to fix up the special effects.
    He would have done the same with TPM (and will do the same as the effects are not good in todays standards)
    The real question is, would the be accepted to the wider audience if it was first instead of ANH.

    I personally think it might have just made it, because most people went to see ANH for the effects and not the story.
    Put TPM in 1977 with ANH effects it might have just won the people over. Would AOTC have the same impact TESB did as a sequel? I seriously doubt it.
  21. AnakinBrego Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 15, 2004
    star 3
    I don't think Episode 1 wasn't impossible, it would have just been different, less scope, and no Gungans, no Naboo, and no podrace, George would of had to have to rewrite his ideas like he did for episodes 4,5,6 to make them feasible to the times, what he can or can't do, what he doesn't have technologically.
  22. Lukecash Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 6, 2001
    star 4
    I'm gonna have to watch Bladrunner agian. I'm thinking people are remembering it too foundly.

    The city was always shown at night... not a lot of daytime shots in that one....

    The gundans would have been muppets...or at the very least.. Admiral Akbar..


    And the thing is this: There were a lOT of tequniques that they used to get the BEST looking shots in TPM. AND AOTC.

    As mentioned before: It's about Digital composititng


  23. Lars_Muul Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 2, 2000
    star 6
    The plot could've been told, but all these fantastic environments and huge battles that Lucas desperately wanted to include would not have been possible to portray satisfactory.
    Lucas wanted to show what the galaxy was like before the Clone Wars. It was a more beautiful place, full of life. For the Clone Wars to convincingly change all of that, they had to be huge. If we'd gotten more battles like those in the OT, they wouldn't have been convincing enough, since the battles that we see are the key battles.

    However, the Clone Wars did not begin in TPM, so there wouldn't have to be a big land battle between gungans and droids.
    The environments, though, need to be there in order to show us the galaxy the way it was before the big turning point.
    Also, TPM had to warm up ILM's skills for the clone battles.



    The Phantom Menace - I love it
    /LM
  24. Steve1977 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 27, 2000
    star 3
    Back in 1982 they couldnt execute the opening battle as they would have liked. So they had see through cockpits. TPM is set mostly during the day and has a massive battle on land. Sure it could have been made in 1977 but George Lucas would have had to compromise his artistic vision.
    Instead of a bright happy movie where everything is drenched in the warm haze of the sun, they would have had to film it at night as not to spoil the illusion. The end battle on land would have been a more decidedly low key affair, similar to the battle at the end of ROTJ where the Troopers are overcome by a small band of Ewoks. It might have been an epic battle had they had CGI back in the early 80's, although it does support the narrative structure of the Empire being arrogant etc.
    They wouldnt have been able to show the scope of the Galacy either. We'r not just talking about the advancements in CGI that have been made since the 70's, we'r talking all aspects of effects and stunts. For instance.... Minatures have come a long way since then, not to mention prosphetics. All manner of things have improved since 1977 and so was TPM impossible before 1997? Well necessity is the mother of invention and for them to get the same film, the same vision that George Lucas wanted, they invented new techniques....just like they did in 1976 when Lucas wanted to envision a battle between good and evil in a galaxy a long way away.
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