Saga Which film has your tone-of-preference?

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by drg4, Sep 15, 2012.

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  1. drg4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2005
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    More than most franchises, the Star Wars series showcases disparate tones: the original film light, breezy, and remarkably streamlined; The Empire Strikes Back decidedly meditative and borderline adult; Return of the Jedi and the Prequels fusions of the two styles, with varying emphases on the light or dark.

    Which film serves as your ideal iteration of the Star Wars myth?

    Personally, I'd opt for Revenge of the Sith. It's nearly as beautiful and oppressive as Kershner's masterpiece, but is infused with a brash operatic quality and peppered with just enough silly bits to keep it from straying too far to the extreme.
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  2. StampidHD280pro Force Ghost

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    Jul 28, 2005
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    Um, I was just thinking about the tones recently as I'm still shuffling around my ideal Saga viewing order to include American Graffiti and More American Graffiti. The first being very upbeat, the second being borderline depressing.

    I'm gonna go with Attack of the Clones. The tone is hard to describe in terms of light and dark, but it reminds me of a cross between foreboding and excitement.
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  3. Ingram_I Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2012
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    This is sorta like asking us to name our favorite Star Wars film period, which is damn near impossible for me to answer. I’ve always said this about the saga: storytelling (ahem, good storytelling) is about transition. It’s about arcing. It’s about going from one thing to something else, narratively, thematically, often geographically, visually (concerning cinema) and, in summation, tonally. Transition creates variety; variety creates contrast; contrast creates a dynamic; a dynamic is a thing that works. There is a great topography to the Star Wars saga that isn’t random or haphazard but purposeful. It has an aim. It’s like a scrolling tapestry, allowing the audience to experience an assortment of changing elements across the six installments from Episode I to Episode VI (or, interestingly, Episode IV to Episode III) where differences --and in turn, similarities -- are emphasized to give holistic meaning to characters and events.

    But where characters, themes and motifs are largely intellectual, tone is emotional. It is the musicality of the saga; Star Wars is, after all, a space opera. I agree with the OP: more than any other film series, Lucas and Co. fashioned an audiovisual epic that is the most tonally diverse, while remaining thematically consistent. By no coincidence the Indiana Jones series is the only other that nearly equals said diversity, but unlike Star Wars it is does not tell a singular unified story. So, to answer your question, I like 'em all the same precisely because each is different and unique, which, of course, is a copout. Therefore I’m going to force myself into contradiction and say that, tonally, it is a toss-up between Attack of the Clones and Return of the Jedi.

    Attack of the Clones is an interesting phase shift from the brighter and largely oblivious nature of Episode I to the oppressive gloom of Episode III; unlike those two, it feels less anchored, free to take audiences further into pulp-future noir, medieval romance and bizarre alien environments (Kamino and Geonosis). It’s about mystery and temptation, marked by fog and glowing erotic colors. It is a dreamer affair where everything seems more ambivalent. I also think it is simply the weirdest installment of the saga.

    Return of the Jedi is the closer, which means it tells the least amount of story on its own, leaving it stripped down to the basics of plot and action. Tonally, it is arguably the silliest of the bunch given certain features and characteristics of its peripheral settings, but I also think it earns that right. There’s a kind of stress relief that goes with the final installment as it ups the proceedings with playful mischief. At the same time the film also acts as a denouement to the previous two (and even the prequels via retrofit) and, in my opinion, is the quietest and most resolute of the entire saga regarding the last leg of Luke Skywalker’s journey; intimate scenes shared with Yoda, Ben, Leia and Vader are calm and reflective, but they also exhibit how Luke has replaced his hubris and naiveté with focus, maturity and sound conviction. Thus, Return of the Jedi is maybe the most juvenile with Muppet-aliens, Ewoks, a bumbling-to-catch-up Han Solo and a narrative reduced to mere plot-logistics, but, ironically enough, it is also the most adult Star Wars movie. This is not due to darkness and moodiness and tragedy as waxed in a number of the previous films. Instead, and for the first time in the saga, a hero rises to the occasion both wiser from his own mistakes and having figured out that which every hero, mentor and villain before him could not. For not only does Luke differ from any temptations of the dark side of the Force, but also from narrow-minded absolutions that long plagued the light side as well. Essentially, Luke grows up, which is a perfect way to end a fable intended primarily for younger audiences. The final lesson to be learned.
    Last edited by Ingram_I, Sep 15, 2012
  4. Samnz Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 2
    Attack Of The Clones for me.
    It's not as dark as ROTS or TESB. It's not as naive as ANH. It's not as innocent as TPM.
    But it's tremendously foreshadowing, it's melancholic, it's war and love, it's death and birth. It represents a wonderful mixture of beautiful, warm orange couloring and cold, in part almost sterile blues.
    From the mood of its images it's definately the SW film I enjoy the most.
  5. Frank T. Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    The Empire Strikes Back. The tone is much more even throughout the film. The emotional pitch is never too extreme for my mood. The colors are soft or warm. The soundtrack follows these trends. These factors plus the focus and depth make TESB the most often watchable movie for me.
  6. EHT New Films Manager

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    It's an interesting question, but I can't choose. One of the many things I like about the SW Saga is that it has this mix of different tones and feelings from one episode to the next.
  7. PiettsHat Force Ghost

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    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    Hmmm...this is tough. I think Attack of the Clones just edges out Revenge of the Sith for me. The tone of Sith is perfect for the film, but its bleakness can edge towards overwhelming at times. It is fitting, certainly, but there's almost a sense of relief when it's over. Notably, though, it does have one of my tonally favorite moments in the entire Saga -- Anakin and Padmé's reunion. It's a scene that really has to strike a difficult balance -- the euphoria of finding one another, the post-battle high, Padmé's stress over Anakin's safety and her pregnancy, his uncertainty, surprise, etc. Yet it manages to do all this and more -- in that one scene, I can believe, just for a moment, that things might turn out all right for them. So it's always heart-breaking when catastrophe strikes.

    Attack of the Clones, though, is really rather astounding because it manages to merge a huge number of styles while still maintaining an overall tone of duplicity. Nothing is as it seems and this is reflected in almost every action the characters undertake. Yet, at the same time, Lucas is able to mix a variety of genres (or at least, pieces of them): mystery, film noir, star-crossed lovers, western, some harder sic-fi, a dash of political cinema, and so on. It's rather startling, then, that the tone pervades the entire film. We see Anakin and Padmé having a picnic, but at the same time, we realize that the backdrop to this is a brewing galactic war. It's a very effective film, in my opinion, and highly underrated.
  8. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Gotta go with ESB (although SW/ANH remains my favourite film of the lot). There's an intense sense of peril about it, without going too over the top, plus it takes Luke's journey to the next level. You have the feeling from the start that everything's been ramped up quite a bit and isn't necessarily going to turn out OK in the end.

    That said, AOTC - despite being my least favourite - often conveyed the desired sense of impending doom more than any of the other prequels, and sometimes came close to what I'd been expecting for 16 years, it just wasn't consistent. After being a bit disappointed by TPM, the scene with Anakin & Padme in the Lars' garage sent chills down my spine, & for the first time I really believed that this character would become Darth Vader. Hayden's great, Natalie's great, the score is great - just an excellent scene.
    That's not the only moment, though, a lot of transitional scenes in AOTC give the impression that everything's not quite right, largely thanks to John Williams' score, which I think is extremely under-rated in the six.
    Sadly, one of my favourite moments didn't make the final cut - the deleted scene where Anakin & Padme are at dinner with Padme's parents and Padme downplays the danger she's in & Padme's father asks Anakin, "Is she?", to which Anakin replies "Yes. She is." Instead, GL decided to shoot that stupid droid factory sequence in pickups & include that.

    ROTS took the sense of impending doom a bit further (and beautifully), but by that stage everything was a foregone conclusion anyway, so it felt like they were jamming it all in too quickly. I'd really loved to have seen the creeping darkness start earlier, rather than in Episode II. Yes, there's the bad guys waiting in the wings in TPM, but the heroes didn't have the necessary black cloud hanging over their heads.
    Last edited by Darth_Nub, Sep 16, 2012
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  9. oierem Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2009
    star 3
    Same for me: the variety of tones within the Saga (evident in the use of differnet colour palettes for each location) is one of the strenghts of the Saga, and I really love all of them. Can't really choose.
  10. Samnz Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 2
    That scene is tragic.
    When Anakins says "This is a happy day. The happiest day of my life." and you know what waits for him next night, you have to feel sorry for him (if you're not a passionate Anakin hater ;) ).

    Yeah, but the Droid Factory wasn't a replacement for those family scenes. It replaced scenes with Count Dooku.
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  11. oierem Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2009
    star 3
    Honestly, I never liked those family scenes, I get why some people like them, but for me they're too.. mundane. They don't feel like Star Wars, they're more like Star Wars soap opera. And you introduce so many new chracters for a couple of scenes?

    And I'm a bit tired of blaming the droid factory for all the editing problems of AOTC. It wasn't the only pick-up scene shot, neither was the last one (it was shot in the first round of pick-ups, in early 2001). People tend to make it as if it was a last-minute addition thrown into the movie without any thought and it's not.
  12. HevyDevy Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2011
    star 4
    My favourite in tone would have to be Empire Strikes Back. That movie is surreal. It has the most interesting character development, and feels the most real.
    Second I would go for Revenge of the Sith. While not as consistent as Empire, to me it is the most intense of the six. Like someone else mentioned, it is very operatic, and has a noticable and meaningful effect on every other movie in the saga.
    Last edited by HevyDevy, Sep 16, 2012
  13. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    ROTJ, because it represents hope, the triumph of love and goodness over hatred and evil, and a main character who was brought back from the depths of hell through unconditional love. That movie made me a Star Wars fan.

    Next would be AOTC, for the reasons that PiettsHat and Samnz said.

    I hate most of ROTS but I do watch the first part of it just for the Anakin/Obi-Wan banter and Anakin and Padme's reunion scene.
  14. PiettsHat Force Ghost

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    Jan 1, 2011
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    That line kills me simply because of the brutal, literal, inescapable truth of it -- Anakin will never be as happy again in his entire life as he is in that moment. Before that moment, he had spent his life as a slave, separated from his mother, worried about her and mourning her death, or fighting in the Clone Wars. When he is reunited with Padmé, then, he is at the greatest peak he will ever be -- he managed to save his two friends (Palpatine and Obi-Wan), killed Count Dooku, the Republic is winning the war, he's back with his wife, and he finds out he's going to be a father. There's so much to be happy about, but it's so fleeting. Because right after, he'll soon start having visions of Padmé and I don't think he's really, truly happy again until 23 years later when Luke takes off his mask. And even that must be tinged with sadness, at his regrets and how little time he has left with his son.
  15. obi-rob-kenobi4 Force Ghost

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  16. MrFantastic74 Jedi Grand Master

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  17. QsAssistant Jedi Grand Master

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    Apr 13, 2011
    star 2
    Really it just depends on my mood. Right now I'm feeling kind of light hearted so I want to watch ROTJ. Tomorrow I might be in a little bit darker mood so I may want to watch ROTS or ESB.
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  18. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Tossup between ROTS, TESB, and ROTJ.
  19. EHT New Films Manager

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    Very well said. =D=
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  20. Jordan1Kenobi Host of EUC Battle of... Games

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  21. CoolyFett Force Ghost

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    Feb 3, 2003
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    ESB & ROTS have the best feel to them those 2 chapters are so good they make the other 4 movies better. ROTS does a really good job of connecting Ep2 & Ep4.
  22. Jordan1Kenobi Host of EUC Battle of... Games

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    The movie that did the least for me would have to be TESB, I know heaps of people say it's their favourite from the saga, but it just doesn't have much going on if you compare it to the other 5 movies, as all they do is have the battle of Hoth, Luke goes to Dagobah and they all go to Cloud City, it's not a lot, but the story is still really well done, still a great movie.
  23. The_Book_of_Sith Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2012
    I think it depends on what mood I'm in...I like the breadth, mish-mash of genre and colour palette of Attack of the Clones, and I thoroughly enjoy the slow burning build up, music and dark majesty of The Empire Strikes Back, as well as the blues and orangey reds.

    I think tonally alone, TESB shades it, but it's definitely a close call.
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  24. LordMortis315 Jedi Grand Master

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    Sep 2, 2012
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    I like me some dark and edgy stuff, so I'd go with ROTS. :D
  25. Eternal_Hero Jedi Master

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    Sep 21, 2012
    star 1
    ANH-ROTJ-TPM-TCW S1: Bright n breezy, colorful, a fairy tale.

    ROTS - TCW Season 3.5-Present: Dark, has that hard to define "mythic" quality, great stuff.
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