All 6 are great, Lucas is a genius and it's better than Trek AND Middle Earth
Oh and midichlorians are cool. Beat that for controversy. By the time I was old enough to think the Star Wars movies were more than just slow, the prequels were beginning to come out. I had no preconceived notions. The real problem between Lucas and his fans, is the between his films, the fans had built up an idea in their head of what his universe looked like before it was finished. Star Wars fans are basically Harmonians *
I don't know if there is a solution for them. To embrace Star Wars fully, they would need to lose what they have and that's precious and personal. It might not be worth it. But if you are new to the series, and aren't fixed that Hans Solo has to be morally grey and Darth Vader was eternally badass then I implore you to put aside your prejudices because Star Wars should be experienced to the full.
Star Wars is a whole other universe and every corner of it is intriguing. Every alien has a backstory, every force has a theme. The possibilities in every shot pull you in and create a backdrop which gives the stories purpose. Even the force, is at the same time an unstoppable unknowable universe wide power with the same ideological weight a the ideas in The Matrix
or The Truman Show
but is at the same time related to the small insignificant symbiotic parasites. Life surprising in all forms, both mysterious and with tangible implication (sadly the films don't mention this)
Star Trek might be more entertaining, but has less scope. There isn't the same urge to spend hours on Wookipedia learning about every single alien in the cantina. Trek is story a day and focused on the crew whereas Star Wars feels part of a wider whole. Even Middle Earth feels focused around the events of certain important people, but in Star Wars every person seems to have an arc and a place in the greater whole.
The prequels show what a wide bright and vibrant universe it is and then the sequels hone in and show how the small acts of single people have meaning and conclusion. As a whole they show the arc of a human, being born, growing, failing and eventually being redeemed. Where it fails, it's always in the telling and never in the vision. It may not be the most entertaining but nothing else can come close to it's potential.
Glad to see there actually is something we can agree on. Great review, too, although you could perhaps choose a catchier title.
2nd Feb 12
(edited by: Lindaeus)
2nd Feb 12
2nd Feb 12
@desdendelle, Sorry I didn't mean to imply you couldn't and it was only through lack of available words that I didn't explain that each of them is strong in a different area. Lord of the Rings could never be Star Wars because if it did have the strength of detail and breadth of variety it would have weakened the saga feel of the tale. We would attach less importance to the ring, because so much happens in so many other areas. Equally Star Wars suffers vice versa because the Death Star feels in no way as great a threat as the ring. I think they have both chosen the write strategy that suited the tone. Space should be wide and such a historical take as Lord of the Rings should be focused. I just wanted to emphasise just how great the Star Wars universe is, that it beats the world of a series of novels that inspired a whole world _genre_
, I have actually seen the reviews you refer to yet I contend my point still stands. If Star Wars were to have all the flaws in shot choice and acting it has now and yet had come out without facing against preconceived notions, the fans would have overlooked them in the same way I came to overlook the pacing of the latter ones. It's hard for me to prove this but if we can assume the Star Wars hardcore fanbase has a very large intersection with the people who read 80's sci fi novels, then I should point out the most loved and iconic of those novels tended to be written like a piece of rubbish. Even now the standard popular sci-fi/fantasy novel is a doorstopper with Words the son of Words from the region of Wordiliath and character interaction that connects more with the ideas of grand stories then it does human dialogue. And these things are beloved, because the point of fantasy and sci-fi is usually not in the individual characters and technique but in the world it creates and the ideas it explores. The Matrix and Equilibrium have gaping flaws, the matrix in presentation and Equilibrium in plot but both are beloved because what they suggest is much grander than mere things like that.
The problem with Anakin wasn't that he was badly acted, with awful dialogue but that Darth frickin' Vader, the ultimate badass came from him. The hurt of the Star Wars community is at a much more fundamental level than technique. Midichlorians is another thing that backs that up. In terms of it's usage in the films, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with it. At it's worst it's a tiny piece of inoffensive technobabble and if technobabble was such a death knell then Star Trek would never ever be mentioned. The reason people objected to it, was as it stood it took this mysterious all powerful force which they pictured and connected with the life-force of the universe and the prime motivator of all things and seemed to attach it to some number. The pain is from the idea being destroyed, not the implementation of the thing.
The second set of things that Plinkett referred to, that weren't just failures of technique, were things like the fact that Jedi wore farmers robes but even that was largely a problem with the placement of the sequels. Can you imagine how much greater uproar there would be if the Jedi wore battle armour? No-one would accept that.
In the end, if the criticism of Star Wars was not about preconceived notions, then the reaction would be disappointment and not rage. It would be like Duke Nukem Forever being the buggy bad mess that it was, and people would have just shook their heads and sighed. But instead people feel the thing they've got in their heads is underattack. That's why Greedo Shot First, that's why there is such complaints about Anakin appearing in his younger form as a ghost. They feel Lucas is trying to snatch away something precious.
As for stories that fail in vision. Well far from it being hard to think of a story, I've got a lot of them right beside me. The problem is vision is a lot more important than technique so things that fail utterly just don't get heard about. Anathem fails in vision, because the idea of mathematical monks and a world outside that has no science feels too unbelievable. Star Trek fails in vision because very few aliens feel distinct and those that do don't feel like they've got an interesting story to them, except for Vulcans and maybe Klingons. The Galatic Patrol
books fail, because it's universe doesn't feel connected etc. The series that succeed in vision are things like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Infernal Engines
, Final Fantasy X
, Blade Runner
is all vision without much else. Most books just lack vision rather than fail, for instance the Discworld world isn't exciting and doesn't draw people in as much the excellent characterisation and well told stories. People don't mind that the first couple of books are full of continuity flaws. Basically the purpose of sci-fi and fantasy is to excite your mind with possibilities beyond what we have right here and now and with a few exceptions every bad sci-fi and fantasy book is bad because the world they create isn't interesting enough. Star Trek is the very pinnacle of created worlds.
I;m sorry I haven't been able to fulfill you greatly with this review but I had 400 words and a definite target audience in mind (Sci-fi/fantasy enthusiasts ) and I hope the review served them well. If I had more maybe I could have served you, but essentially it would be pretty short. No part of Star Wars is worth it for story and character alone, unless you are after a film which you will watch and forget, if you are not interested in seeing a new world with you eyes and mind then Star Wars is not for you. If you want Sci-fi/fantasy but are more focused on arc and technique, may I recommend Star Trek and the Discworld novels to you
2nd Feb 12
2nd Feb 12
Oh yeah you are right I'm not denying it's full of things like that, just that it all falls to the wayside when the world is good. It's like Willing Suspension Of Disbelief
, as long as the imagination is being enriched people will not notice/mind those things, but unfortunately the mentioned preconceived notions smashed it, and then when it was smashed suddenly all the faults become important and sour the experience, I was just saying if you can manage to avoid that (and sadly, because of all the negative hype, you have to be able to shut all that down too and come into it with an open mind) you can get one of the best experiences ever, and when you take the films with the expanded universe as a whole... If I have children they're going to see the prequels first because that will help them avoid all the chat and then they can look forward to that zoning in that comes in the sequels.
I wouldn't say the vision is different between the films, but the focus is and that is another part that I really like. In the prequels you see the scope and excitement of this universe, what a big varied colourful place it is and then that really emphasises the way Luke says in the sequels that he's stuck in some back corner of the universe, away from everywhere. It shows you how much has been destroyed and changed and the story becomes much more sombre and personal. It's like looking at a beautiful landscape and then looking at a flower in that landscape. The flower is enhanced by the landscape because you know where it's placed and the way it fits into a much larger whole and then when you see how beautiful the flower is, it gives you a much more satisfying feel for the landscape and the flower because you realise how detailed and beautiful every little component of that landscape is.
The Lord of the Rings films do something very similar, the third on it's own wouldn't have been so epic if the first and second had contextualised that epicness and established a size and norm in the first and second which then made the third more impressive when that norm was smashed.
Your thing about Tron Legacy is really interesting because TRON has as you say a much greater visual and audio style and with it's idea of ISO's, a very interesting idea which if there had been more focus on would probably have pushed the film into Matrix territory.
But where Tron and the prequels differ, is the visual style of Tron is the whole thing, the visual style is there for you to admire and is the best thing you will take from the film. But there's no sense that the style means anything and they never really gave a sense of a world. Everywhere looks the same and everyone looks the same, so you don't get a sense that it's just the start of something greater. Equally, the fights in Tron are cool battles for cool battles sake. In the prequels it's cool battles for cool battles sake, but in watching them it's also giving you impressions of the power of the Jedi and their struggle against evil, and the hugeness of the worlds. Even in the first, you see the gungans and the seperationists and you realise just how fundamentally different these two sides are. You get the cold emotionlessness of the bad guys and the weight of the gungans wanting their homeworld and you can put that in it's place amongst countless other battles that will define the galaxy. In Tron they're fighting because some guy said they should fight. Worse, because they did those fights in the original.
I don't think Tron could have been Star Wars, if they'd had that diversity it would probably have stopped the visual style from being so cool. What they needed was more time and shots actual focusing on the world behind them. You needed some of the city just being vibrant and a sense that there were stories to be told by people other than the hero, so you need to see the background people and the background world doing stuff, there wasn't enough of that in Tron. If they had done it, it would have probably changed it from a good film into the long lasting franchise they really wanted. The success of Star Wars is that people watch it and say 'I want to write a story on that planet with those people, I want to write a story about those aliens, about a group of clone troopers' I actually think the prequels are better than that than the last films, because you have the Cantina scene, the whole of Mos Eisley but actually not a lot else that really grabs you and does that. Maybe the bit with the Tauntun and the whole planet Hoth too. The other inspirational things, like the Jedi were more fleshed out in the prequels and so the duty of inspiration shifted towards them. I don't know if you've played the Knights of the Old Republic games but they actually end up taking a lot more from the prequels and they're widly thought to be some of the best SW games ever. What the sequels do is give the universe a sense of weight, cohesion and seriousness that would have been lacking without them. They stop the prequels being dismissed as fluff and allow the world to exist that the prequels explore.
I'm actually quite excited about the idea of what they could have done with Tron Legacy
, can you imagine what would have been if they'd managed to create the feeling of 'I want to right a story about the ISO's about the building, about those people in the bar, about that bar owner, about an ordinary person in that city' Wow they could have been some kickass stories if they'd had the opportunity
2nd Feb 12
Again, don't assume that everyone was upset just because the prequels "ruined old Star Wars". One of the most frequently recurring complaints about Episode II, for example, is that the Anakin/Padme romance takes over the plot and is horribly written. This has very little to do with the original trilogy at all. I actually thought Episode III was a decent (if not great) film, regardless of what it had to do with the Originals. After a few years, and watching red letter media, I have come to the conclusion that I was probably giving it too much credit, though again, it still works if you turn your brain off. The problem being that I don't like turning my brain off.
I actually hadn't watched the original Tron before seeing Legacy, and I still have yet to see it in its entirety. I would disagree that the style doesn't give you a sense of a world, because to me, the style is
the world. Everyone should look pretty similar; they're all computer programs with much the same coding. Everywhere should look pretty similar, unless we're putting random yellows and pinks in modern circuitboards. The folks in the bar were mere viruses. The programs fight because they have no free will when manipulated by an AI.
The point I was trying to make is that the prequels don't really slow down enough to connect on an atmospheric level, and they're already impersonal on a story level as well. Showing so many stories, cultures and characters, many of whom are there for no plot-relevant reason just makes the story feel cluttered, and doesn't give us a chance or reason to connect with anything that's going on. Take those large white aliens that made the clone troopers (see? I can't even remember their names). What did they really add to the story? For all intents and purposes, Jango could have cloned himself, and the aliens just unnecessarily complicate the matter. On the other hand, it is a bit more realistic and lends itself well to merchandising, as I said.
Speaking of merchandising, no, I haven't played Ko To R
, though I have played Mass Effect
, which I understand is similar. But as I see it, we were discussing the films and not the secondary material. And I did not feel anything for the gungans or the separatists because I had no idea what either of their motivations were. How are the gungans in a symbiotic relationship with the rest of Naboo? Why should I care about any of them when the only two with speaking roles aren't particularly likable? What are the specifics of the disagreement between the separatists and Naboo? Why does Sidious have power and influence over them? Things like this prevent me from caring as much as you do.
2nd Feb 12
2nd Feb 12
(edited by: ManwiththePlan)
Comparing Middle Earth and the Star Wars universe is comparing apples and oranges. It's okay for you personally to like one over the other, but the creative process in creating both universes is vastly different- and they were created for different reasons. You really like the inclusiveness of the Star Wars U, but it was created to fill in background information for a series that already existed, so things are bound to change and some facts might get disconnected in the process. It was created to continue building on a franchise. Not that it's a bad thing...just...Middle Earth is a lot different since it would have existed with or without fan demand.
3rd Feb 12
3rd Feb 12
(edited by: Tomwithnonumbers)
3rd Feb 12
Fantasy and Sci-Fi are pretty much interchangeable terms when it comes to Space Opera anyway.
4th Feb 12
13th Feb 12
Star Wars is great. But nothing is better than Lord of the Rings.
13th Feb 12
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16th Feb 12
I wholly agree with this review. The original trilogy had it's own fair share of inconsistencies but instead of complaining about them fans just made up their own theories about why things are the way they are, but they don't give the prequels the same luxury.
17th Feb 12
18th Feb 12
I'm really not trying to say the films stand on their own.
This is really the total sum of my theory I guess: 'The goodness of sci-fi and fantasy isn't dependent on the quality of the writing. Instead it's dependent on how much it inspires the people who consume it.'
To back this up, Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, Bladerunner, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Equilibrium, Dune, The Foundation series etc all have well recognised flaws in their composition, however this hasn't really even affected the quality of the end product and certainly hasn't stopped them from being some of the most beloved franchises and properties. So I feel that I have evidence to stand by this
However writing is still there and it has a huge role in assisting. Star Wars fans came into the Phantom Menace wanting something to love, yes I agree. But they wanted _their_ thing to love, the thing they'd already made. And this is the big news flash for the Phantom Menace. It was a kids film. Target audience, kids. The marketing was lined up that way, that had a child protagonist, they had pod races, comic relief, flashy stuff. 'Oh golly' moments. Anakin flew a space ship. There was a focus on a mother/child relation from the perspective of a child. The certificate was PG.
As well as that, it had always intended to be the opposite to the originals. The originals were these small backwater worlds in a universe that had been broken with jedi that had been broken. The prequels were meant to show the other end of that, these big glitzy worlds full of forth-minded people and the jedi at the height of their strength.
What's more, this was set one generation back. So whatever you felt Darth Vader looked like, unless you accurately read the mind of Lucas, you were wrong. Whatever you thought the Jedi at the height of their power looked like, unless again you the read the mind of Lucas, you were wrong. And so you went into it wanted to love it but you had a very very specific picture in mind of what you wanted to love and it wasn't no darn kids film with silly comic characters and badass vader as a child. It was already clear from the originals that the force was at least someone physical in that bloodlines and genetics made a difference to your abilities. It's implied Leia and Luke are force sensitive because of Vader. But because the fans didn't know what that mechanism was, they established what they felt it should be, and they didn't happen to have the same answer Lucas had.
So what happens when you go into the film and it's two hours of telling you you were wrong? You stop forgiving it, it doesn't fulfill the purpose of Sci-fi because it's not expanding your horizons, it's shrinking them. And if it's not good sci-fi then you begin noticing the flaws. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is factually the worst written book I've ever read. At one point it turns out that a whole police station of illegal evil robots existed in the city that no-one had ever found about and the main character goes 'oh' and then they never mention it again. Star Wars is inconsistent but it is nothing like as inconsistent as that but DADOES is a cult classic and it deserves to be, because it offered people something new.
I think you have persuaded me and I will alter my opinion somewhat. If the prequels had been well written, it would have divided the original fanbase. Some people would have loved it and some people would have hated it. In the same way that if you talk to pre-film Tolkien fans the films or a love it/hate it thing and that was for something as small as changing the way a secondary character behaves and removing a tertiary character. That would have happened with the prequels
But the prequels weren't well written so there was no reason for old fans to love it. What I'm saying is that new fans aren't in the same position and they can find the same thing in the films as a whole as the originals did in the first films.
And the truth is, in a way this review is irrelevant, I don't really know what I want to achieve with it, because as you rightly pointed out the franchise is a cash-cow. Which means that millions and millions of people love it enough in it's current form that they pay money time and time again to see more of it. The star wars fanbase is huge, it's just that the people who like the prequels are much much less vocal.
For example, if you asked me to find people who don't like any Star Wars, or who love all the films including the prequels. I can find you loads of people who do. My friends have been talking about completely random things and then ended up watching and rewatching the last 20 minutes of the revenge of the sith. If you asked me to find 1 person who I know in real life who loves the old films and hates the prequels, I don't actually know anyone like that. Presumably it's because of my age and demographic, yet with the internet it's the reverse, I only know people who hate the prequels.
I mean I guess if you only liked 5 then maybe part of the reason I'm communicating this so badly is, you're a bit out of my scope. I guess I'm talking to the people who saw the films and thought 'man it'd be kickass to be a jedi' and breathing Star Wars. The people who play the Old Republic not just based on it's value as a game, but on it's value as Star Wars. If you appreciated the film for being a film, I'm surprised you liked any, but it's pretty cool that you liked the 5th and Star Wars probable isn't for you but there are luckily lots of quality films out there to enjoy as films
18th Feb 12
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5th Apr 12
I have some problems with the prequels especially, but I think you are spot on with your last line, the problem is definitely the telling. If you write a general synopsis of any of the films and it is pretty interesting stuff.(Which is always what George Lucas has been best out, broad strokes ideas) However the telling of that basic story I have some rather big problems with than you do, but to each their own.
5th Apr 12
The prequels started off kinda rocky,I can appreciate the effects,Darth Maul,and Qui-Gon the best character Lucas created,and podracing,but otherwise like A New Hope
the acting,pacing,and telling is hideous. Luckily it doesn't have Alec Guiness deliberately bad performance,and it doesn't have Greedo,who like Boba Fett sucks worse than Jar Jar,and that's an accomplishment. It did have those terrible political scenes though,and felt disjointed. But because of Qui-Gon and all the Shown Their Work
on the the duel I'll give it the edge. A New Hope
just hasn't aged well,I bet it was something way back when,but if it came out new today,it would be rightfully panned.
Unlike the Original Trilogy,Lucas didn't give up the reigns and he tried to ape off of Empire
and he successfully emulated everything Kershener did in fact screw up on,such as the terribly slow pace. I suppose I and IV were too fast,so they went baroque and made the second episode slower,but it just sucks in both cases. Except Empire
had great acting and it all flowed together,Clones
had Obi-Wan encounter plenty Missed Moment Of Awesome
during his arc,while the Anakin/Padme thing was static,and even Shmi's death wasn't believable. Thank goodness he got nominated for Worst Screenplay and Worst Director as the rock bottom. The prequels had to get worse before getting better,and the original trilogy finally got good
But it is the third films of both that are the best. Both Anakin and Luke lack the whininess that consumed the other two parts,the acting was at the peak,Ian Mc Diarmid is at his best in both films,and frankly the contrasts made were too much to ignore. They were fast-paced,and flowed. Of course Jedi
is better since Lucas had help with the writing and didn't direct and putting C-3PO in the limelight.
Too bad they can't all be Jedi
The only comparable bad acting in Lord of the Rings is Frodo,and even then his performance would be like Samuel L Jackson
,good acting,wrong type
5th Apr 12
(edited by: terlwyth)
I watched The Phantom Menace without having seen any of the original Star Wars, and I still thought (and still do think) that it was the worst movie I've ever seen.
5th Oct 13
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26th Nov 13
I agree with him
29th Nov 13
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14th May 14
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