Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by El_Machete12, Dec 21, 2012.
Why does everybody seem to like AOTC? It's a decent movie, but I prefer ROTS tenfold.
My favorite was Episode 1, I am not joking around! I saw it when I was 12 so that helped but to me it was only prequel that was lighthearted adventure. My least favorite was AOTC for having some of the most cringe worthy dialogue of the saga which is saying a lot.
My favorite character is Palpatine so how could I NOT choose ROTS? It's my second favorite Star Wars movie only behind ESB
I tend to really dig calm before the storm stories, where we get a sense of what normalcy means to the characters and setting. AOTC does this very well, from the "dreams pass in time" conversation to the courting scenes on Naboo where the splendor of the physical surroundings and the evolving relationship is still kept in check by the realities of both Anakin's and Padme's life. ROTS, on the other hand, seems to be all dramatic tension getting tighter and tighter throughout the entire piece. There's little breathing room there, as it should be, but the reason the tension mostly works for me there is because of the manner in which AOTC set it up so well.
Additionally, AOTC's Padme is one of my favorite characterization moments of the series. Both trilogies suffer in terms of finishing the story arcs of the lead women, but AOTC does a great job of presenting Padme as a woman with things going on in her life in addition to a love interest. And even when the relationship becomes the focus of the film I don't get the impression that Padme is dependent on Anakin as much as she is deciding to have him in her life. In ROTS I agree with the common criticism that Padme didn't have to be such of a doomed house wife. Didn't ruin the film for me or anything, just as ESB and ROTJ weren't ruined for me even though I think Leia post ANH is primarily reduced to a Harrison Ford character love interest, but the criticism remains, and thus does my preference for AOTC.
Oh yeah, and the ending montage as well. Imperial March transitioning to Across the Stars, a doomed galaxy to the "blissful" picture of Padme holding Anakin's skeletal hand. Such a perfect stretch of cinema, for me.
I loves me some AOTC; it's the most "Star Warsy" of the PT films (when compared to the OT, which set the template for such judgments). It's very artfully directed and, while the performances by the lead actors are occasionally disappointing or unconvincing, the intrigue of the plot and the stunning visuals are sufficiently distracting away from those flaws. I think AOTC also has the best pacing of the PT; both TPM and ROTS bog down in the middle, but AOTC just keeps chuggin' along from mystery to romance to revelation to action. Awesome film.
Even though, like I said, ROTS is my favorite of the lot, I love everything about AOTC.
Episode I, no question!
Despite the negative press it seems to get, I think it's actually a really great film. It had some awesome scenes and some very emotional moments. I'm one of those people who doesn't mind Jar Jar (I rather like him, actually), so I don't let my experience be ruined by something that may or may not be out of place. I think it set the scene very well, for not only the rest of the prequels, but also the original trilogy, giving some real insight to Darth Vader's background and factors which lead up to his inevitable turn to the Dark Side. I loved the political, non-action side of the film, too; I think it was those subtle moments where there weren't blasters and lightsabers that impacted me the most. I think it also really expanded the Star Wars universe, at the time, with the introduction of so many new characters and species. Overall, while I love all the films, it seems to me like a more solid film than AOTC, and I find it easier to watch than ROTS.
Now, from a personal standpoint, TPM is very much my childhood, just as ANH was for many older fans. Most importantly, however, it gave us the Neimoidians. Now I know I'm in an incredibly small minority, but the Neimoidians are more important to me than I can say. I've loved them pretty much since I first saw the film as a child. I think they are intelligent, interesting and incredibly beautiful beings, with a fascinating culture. They have given me an endless source of inspiration and interest, have allowed me to improve my art skills to points I never believed I would reach, and given me countless opportunities in the Star Wars community. I've been published twice, been interviewed, met countless friends, and have now permanently become part of a Star Wars podcast because of them. I know it sounds over-the-top to some, but the honest truth is that my love of Neimoidians has seen me through the three harshest years of my life. I hope some among you can relate to having Star Wars be a light in darkness, but I just choose to focus my love on a certain area of the Star Wars universe.
...and I wouldn't have this without Episode I
Politics are boring in my opinion!!! In my opinion,
@Kweh-chan, why not turn the Neimodians into an army of evil lizardmen aliens races for the star wars prequels trilogy of films/of movies, rather than a bunch of a group of boring, chatting, cowardly, boring, politicians???
I agree 100% with your thoughts on TPM, and although I don't share same love for Neimodians as you do, I still think they were interesting.
As for my love for TPM, I saw it eleven times in theaters with my uncle, and twice for the 3D re-release. I tend to always watch TPM and ANH more often then the others because the darker the films get the harder it is to watch, but in a good way. Since the beginning of TCW, the Order 66 scene has become so much more depressing to watch because I now care about each of the Jedi being killed a lot more.
I hate to admit such an unmasculine thing, but I did cry during these videos, guys, over here!!!
Ah, John Williams, you always make such great music. Anakin's Betrayal is definitely one of my favorite Star Wars tracks.
Would You have preffered the Imperial March during that jedi Temple March scene, you know, the one with lord darth vader leading the 501st legion of stormtroopers/clonetroopers over there, or not???
Nah, I liked how subtle the Imperial March was used throughout the prequels.
For me, I think it would have taken away from the Neimoidians. I like subtleties of Star Wars; for me, at least, it's not all about blasters firing and lightsabers swinging. There's sophistication, there's diplomacy, there's complexity. On a personal level, I grew up in the diplomatic community, so the intricacies and procedures in both the Republic and Separatist governments are all very familiar to me. I don't like politics much, but I do like diplomacy and foreign relations!
With Neimoidians, it's entirely about subtlety. I like how mellow and laid back they are, I like their appreciation of beauty and the finer things in life, I like their customs and formalities; they take their issues to the conference table, not the battlefield. And, of course, I think they're stunning.
It's just my opinion, and you, of course, are entitled to yours
I agree with your thoughts on TCW entirely. They REALLY fleshed out the Jedi and Clones so that one makes a much more emotional connection to them, than before. It added so much more to the saga than I think people realise, and, in many ways, was kind of a missing link to that whole Order 66 scene. It was sad before, but now that we have TCW and that extra connection, the scene reaches a new level.
I love this. I admire the life experience you bring to your enjoyment of the Saga. It's wonderful to read an informed corroboration of Lucas's cogent portrayal of diplomatic relations. I concur the prequel films are sophisticated and complex, and I will add that it's on a level that critics and non-fans seem to miss.
Especially after agreeing with you at the top of this post, I'm quite simply baffled by the above quote. The Neimoideans are "mellow and laid back"? In TPM the Neim's are a riot of worry, twisting their hands and faces in fear -- of Sidious, of Maul, of the Jedi, at the very situation they're in -- when they're not plotting some new scheme of greed or tyranny. In AOTC they're vengeful war-mongers. In ROTS they die miserable, craven deaths. I can meet you at their appreciation of the finer things in life, their customs and formalities; their material culture has an Eastern European and Asian vibe I can dig. But the Neimodeans themselves clearly do solve their problems on the battlefield, employing robots which are called -- in case anyone missed the subtlety of their presentation -- battle droids.
The Neim's in the Trade Federation are the only ones we meet in the films -- apart from the two starpilots in Mos Eisley, who have no dialogue -- and they are uniformly depicted as greedy war mongers.
Sure, but not at the expense of facts. Let me put it this way: It's your opinion that the Neimodeans are "stunning". It's a matter of fact, however, that in TPM they wage war on a (presumably) defenseless planet. In the first instance I won't challenge your aesthetic tastes; in the second your assertion that they're peaceable and "laid back" is directly contradicted by the events and dialogue of the PT films.
Best ending montage out of all of them, without a doubt.
The little musical spike of the Imperial March at the end of the credits is the best thing ever.
I probably didn't explain myself too well here. I recognise that the Trade Federation ended up being a war machine that very much too its problems to the battlefield. By saying that, I meant to differentiate the Neimoidians from beings such as the Trandoshans and the Rodians, for whom violence and war plays a huge role in their culture. I'm looking beyond the films and the Trade Federation, and in normal circumstances, the Neimoidians would not have gone to war. It's made very clear that they are businessmen, not warriors. Neither they nor the Trade Federation are equipped or prepared for it, and had it not been for Darth Sidious' pursuasion, and the taxing of trade routes, to give them motive for invasion, it wouldn't have escalated that far. What happened in TPM was outside of normal circumstances; I mean, come on, they're terrible warriors!
The two pilots in the Mos Eisley cantina are, in fact, Duros, which I'm sure you know are the ancestors of the Neimoidians. Actually, by calling them "mellow and laid back" I also mean to differentiate them from the Duros (which I also love, very much, don't get me wrong). The Duros are adventurous, daring, etc, whereas the Neimoidians are reserved, cautious, and formal (all traits which I like and identify with).
I actually love all the films but at times I feel AOTC is the better of the PT films and at other I feel it's ROTS, just depends on my mood. I have to admit more often than not it's AOTC. For some reason it just holds a special place in my heart and I'm not sure why. I think I'm one of the few that actually likes the romance scenes with Anakin and Padme. I wish GL would of kept the scenes with Padme's family. It added more to their relationship and to the world of SW.
For long time it was ROTS, but AOTC has more and more become my fave SW film. I love the romance between Anakin and Padme, as well as seeing the brewing of galactic war. it's an epic film.
This is actually kinda difficult because I like to think of the whole thing as 1 saga not 6 films, some of my favorite parts happen in ep 3 though, but its really just 1 big saga
I enjoy all three. THe order would be:
ROTS is perfect. New characters are great, planets are awesome and effects are as astonishing as ever. ROTS has a nice mood to it, it's pleasant to watch and there are some great scenes (like Coruscant chase). TPM is a nice beginning, but Jar Jar is given way to many screen time.
Now it's not perfect. The editing is not that great, it needed an extra like 30 min for dialogue and a couple of deleted scenes
But there are some really great things like some said: the Coruscant speeder chase, Obi-Wan and Fett, the Beast Arena, seeing Yoda fight for the first time, seeing tons of Jedi battle, Count Dooku, Clone Wars beginning, learning the background of the army, Boba Fett, so many others that I'm probably forgetting
All the foreshadowing: "Why do I get the feeling you're going to be the death of me" a little funny but really sad cause it's true. Anakin killing the Sand People and then Vader's theme begins to play, the ending with the army and then cutting to the wedding. The Sith and "everything is going as planned"
The settings: seeing different areas of Coruscant = awesoome. Naboo too, it's possibly where I'd want to live in the SW universe
Honestly, it's everything I love about Star Wars wrapped into one incredibly heartfelt package. It's the awe at the wonders of the galaxy, it's the spirited adventure in space, it's the powerful bond between people, it's the corruption of what was once good, it's epic yet personal, big yet small. It personifies what Star Wars means to me.
I vacillate between Menace and Clones. Sith has fallen down in my personal estimation only because I seem to like the colossal symbolism inherent to the build-up -- anticipating both the Greek tragedy of Sith and the future direction of the other movies -- more.
In the above manner, I probably find AOTC the most stimulating, where symbolism in general seems manically heightened, but it kind of has an equal in TPM because of that earlier film's eerie lightness of tone suffused with a quiet palette of dread (Clones is louder and more obviously complex/horror-laden in this regard; so TPM can offer more charm at times). In terms of production history, though, I seem most fascinated with TPM, by far, because it's uplifting to know that GL was returning to Star Wars after all that time, and finally committing to a new trilogy, a bolder vision. Seeing him explore his mythology through his artists and the choices they could offer him is at its most stirring, for me, with TPM. I suppose the title "Episode I" jangles the soul: it's the foundation on which all the madness is laid. And there's also a strong "nature" motif to TPM, especially in the design work, that I love, even in ways that others might find trivial, like how the skin tones of Jar Jar and Captain Tarpals echo, say, the skins of sweet potatoes -- a nutrient-dense "health" food -- in our world (Naboo being very much an idealized Earth state). The music, too. Whoa, the music. It has a lovely open feel, giving the saga the delightfully imposing sense of a richly-segmented opera, with this as its first movement: George Lucas' and John Williams' Stravinsky-esque "The Rite of Spring" (Stravinsky's work even has a movement within it called "Glorification de l'élue"; or "Glorification of the Chosen One").
But Clones really appeals because of the scale of the movie: the epic range of locations, the gorgeous cinematography and art direction to match, the love story, the strange mystery that's never truly solved, the jaded Kubrickian tones (the allegedly horrible "walking and talking" scenes deliberately convey an ossified air -- watch how Lucas summons the Lunar Hilton from "2001" in those early office/apartment scenes where the high-and-mighty chew the cud but get nowhere fast). And while I was down on the music before, I've come to appreciate the movie's more subtle approach, even the heavy recycling of TPM material in its latter act. Clones has some pretty baroque stretches of silence, too, like for most of the asteroid chase, the execution passage in the arena, and briefly after the clones show up and lift off with the remaining Jedi as war now rages. How could a person not love the flights of fancy that AOTC takes them on? The real-world locations in the film are also inspired; and work as powerful counterpoint -- a form of music in their own right -- to the more studio/effects-bound work elsewhere. What is more important? The sets in this movie; or the locations? The thing that dominates; or the the thing that challenges and contrasts? Perhaps that's too loaded a way to ask it. But there's a real aesthetic point to those locations: a poignant beauty. And between all the weirdness and goings-on, including a galactic love affair, Clones is almost the George Lucas answer to "Last Year At Marienbad". He doesn't just lift from well-known classics like "Lawrence Of Arabia" or "Citizen Kane", but cinema that's that bit stranger and more removed from wider tastes.
Time and again, it really is the visuals, and that sense of peculiarity/estrangement, which really stand out in Clones, marking it as something special. The early bickering in a posh apartment at night, the near comically-overlit (like a gameshow) enclave of Tipoca City and Jango's apartment (who would wanna live there?), Anakin meditating over still water (a composition with amazing framing -- and a stance from Anakin in a location that recalls less Vader on the Executor, more Hitler at the Berghof), striking shots of ships coming into land; especially Amidala's dart-like silver vessel (a gleaming "toxic dart"?), Palpatine's blood-red office (like the elevator scene in "The Shining"), Anakin falling to his knees at his mother's crude grave, Artoo mischievously taking flight in the droid factory, various shots in the arena, including a wide shot of the Jedi being forced into a circle as battle droids menacingly engulf them, shots of people presiding from balconies, Dooku's flight in his solar sailor back to Coruscant, and the haunting end shots of soldiers being packed off to war and a private marriage in fading light (a final reminder, if nothing else, that AOTC takes many cues from its OT equivalent, TESB, right down to its moving, operatic close). The whole thing is a rich, sweeping, evocative piece of cinema: a homage to one-hundred other works of cinema, including previous SW installments; and yet a work totally unique unto itself.
And I do, indeed, find favour with AOTC being the most poetically elegant -- bold, expressive, twisted, jaded -- of the prequel trilogy, just like TESB is of its attendant trilogy. If you play the movies side-by-side, you'll see that certain timings are eerily identical, like the fact that an explosion happens in a bright/foggy place in the first chapter, post-crawl, at almost the exact same second, or the way the basic layout of Palpatine's office recalls Echo Base (big light diffusing through a narrow, cave-like opening at screen right; posts/columns/pillars/alcoves in the background at the centre of the frame). Tonally, AOTC even seems to evoke the icy-cold remoteness of Hoth when it begins, making that environment a literal part of the presentation of its characters' external and internal worlds. Both films also toy with the mythology of the trilogies to which they belong, emphasizing upside-down situations via the camera (Clones) or a main character (Empire), drenching themselves in cave imagery, strange planets beyond the scope of normal or systematized reasoning/reckoning, two-act story structures where characters begin together, split apart, and meet back up as the result of an ill-considered rescue, and one of my favourites: a galaxy within a galaxy (in Empire, it's the galactic structure seen at the end from the medical frigate; in Clones, it's the Rishi Maze; and, indeed, several representations of it on computer screens, holographic projections, etc.). In this way, Clones kind of lampshades the vast interiority of its visual language, gilding its thematic import of the precariousness interconnectedness of all things (consider the whole bit with Padme falling out of the gunship: why she falls, how she falls, how it influences future events, etc.).
The whole luridity of Clones is a big factor in my liking it, too. Just consider the title. It is, from a certain POV, the dopiest of all the movie titles, but it probably has the best meaning. "Attack" essentially means "attachment". "Clones" essentially means "twigs". Attachment of the twigs. "Attachment is forbidden"; and yet it is everywhere, in everything. There are numerous arrangements of twigs, sticks, spikes, stakes, spears, and things bunched together. Even the dialogue smuggles this meaning in a jokey encounter at a bar: "You don't want to sell me death sticks". Lightsabers? Lots of 'em in this movie. Stick-like aliens making literal CLONES that take on stick-like robots after the death-stick (lightsaber)-wielding Jedi appear to face imminent death (then, with the clones, it's delayed death, delayed destiny). The film gets goofy-good on Geonosis during the battle scenes. The dialogue is at its cheesiest -- "Around the survivors, a perimeter create!"; "Attack those Federation starships, quickly!"; "Good call, my young padawan!" -- and the visuals are like some pure sensory experience of those illustrations that once graced Science-Fiction magazines of the 1950s. Seeing the galaxy go to hell in a handbasket is oddly exhilarating. Lucas sharply criticizes war, but turns it into extravagant spectacle. Pay attention to his intercutting, too. Yoda says, "Very good" to a war report, there's an action montage, then the next line spoken is, "This is not looking good AT ALL!" Irony/black humour is very strong throughout this picture; and it's a very underrated component of all the SW movies. For the scale of the story being told -- primarily, a visual story, with the dialogue as a series of tactically-deployed punctuation marks -- I think I must invariably choose, and remain with, AOTC.
Even its smaller details thrill. Like the way Anakin and Padme are both uprooting grass as they nervously converse and deflect their real feelings in a sprawling meadow. Or the sobering realization, when it hits, that the Jawas Anakin meets up with, on his way to his mother, probably hated the Tuskens as rival scavengers, and in tipping Anakin off helped get their competitors killed. How much a single shot or glance is worth. How much is at stake. Action and reaction. Practically the whole history of the galaxy is laid out here; you just have to watch closely. I also like things that probably were never intended, but are just these cool little links, like the way Jar Jar aggressively (but innocently) shakes Obi-Wan's arm almost to the point of wrenching it off in their first (and only) scene here, which is like a "sequel" to their first meeting in TPM, where Jar Jar suddenly turns his head and almost clips Obi-Wan in the face (teasing decapitation). Losing an arm or losing your head: the two great calamities that frequently befall characters in these movies or lurk as ever-present dangers just inches from realization. It's a fun movie with lots to see: jerky but fluid, clumsy but assured. Much like its leading man/boy/teen....
Yes, this movie's production notes even muse that this is perhaps the most complicated period in Anakin's development; and that's something that seems wholly expressed in the topography of the film and its rapidly-shifting locales. Charcter and movie are practically one: artfully contorted, slap-dash in parts, yet driven and purposeful. The Anakin character is a mixture of brash and despondent; he simultaneously takes charge and feels lost; complains about authority yet clamours for acceptance. Is Anakin not us; are we not he? How, then, could Padme's heart fail to be stirred by this brooding mass of contradictions; the only character, it seems, capable of "playing the blues", so to speak, in this GFFA? And for all that she witnessed of him in TPM -- two outsiders with a common sense of desperation and isolation -- this recalcitrant Jedi is her romantic equal. I enjoy how the journeys of these two characters are interwoven. I really love the mythic grandeur of Clones, if you will, when Padme is regarding Anakin in the meditation scene, and all that it whirs up inside her. Anakin's very exhalation, with his back turned, in his lacy garment, seems to hypnotize Padme, and that's another motif here: these characters seem to have powers of persuasion that they're barely even aware of. BREATHING. It's huge in the prequel trilogy. And again, it's the poetic landscape of AOTC, and the way it does things, that call this to mind: brings what is dormant or latent in the surrounding episodes to a place of sublime elevation. And THEN there's the Orphic journey Padme goes on, accompanying her princely guardian into an underworld bathed in daylight, while she herself remains oddly frozen, near mute: an unlikely inversion of happenstance and meaning that, once again, is very TESB-esque: provocatively skewed.
Finally, there's that impending sense of doom, of cosmic collapse, written into every frame, every gesture. It's rather lovely to regard, in an odd sort of way. It's like seeing characters under a microscope. They err constantly and greatly. And only a few people, at picture's end, are cut up about it: Yoda, Bail, and Padme. No-one else seems to sense the danger; and those that do seem strangely vulnerable and powerless to do anything about it. What soaring scope, big, retro-futurist fiction! The political process turns into a two-headed monster: both heads of a Sithian nature. It's an entire world in free fall. The hurt hasn't yet hit. Even Anakin, tellingly, is effectively put to sleep when Dooku cleaves off his arm. The true "force" of what's bound to happen, or already has, hasn't really been felt. Can't be. Shroud of the Dark Side 'n' all that. Noir imagery, blinds. AOTC gives a viewer so much to be swept away by. It almost feels like a lifetime's work; but there's a lot of last-minute dabbling and creativity, too. And for all its exotic prowess, its trippy excess, it is ultimately a film for our world: a contemporary paean for modern decline and disillusionment. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times". Yes, make mine a cup of AOTC, thank ye.
Well done to any and all that read through this. My deepest condolences. It's been a while.