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JediCole
09-27-2001, 03:59 PM
Every time I watch Episode I, the prevailing question that still bothers me profoundly is not, "why Jar Jar?", but rather, what are we (the audience) supposed to think about the Pod Race sequence? Bear with me while I explore my meaning.
During the course of the Pod Race, with the exception of Ben Quadineros (who's pod fails), (presumably) Odie Mandrel (who's pod fails due to Pit Droid troubles), Sebulba (who is knocked out of the race), and Anakin (who wins), EVERY SINGLE pod racer DIES! Or is at least knocked out of the race. The bonus footage for the DVD seems to bear this out as well.
So, in the end we are to walk away from that sequence seeing Pod Racing as not so much a race as a demolition derby of doom. There hardly seems to be any point in betting on the races as only one may ultimately cross the finish line. I guess what I am getting at is that the one thing sorely lacking in that sequence was even a single other pod except Anakins shown finishing the race. Rather than the shot of Sebulba in medium close up cursing his loss, we should have seen him further back with a couple of stragglers coming in at second and third.
And one sidebar note, when Watto is seen at the end of the race, he claims that he lost everything. Correct me if I'm wrong kids, but wasn't he entitled to all of Anakin's winnings less the cost of the parts Qui-Gon needed? Since local boy Anakin was almost certainly at least a 20:1 shot (if not a gazillion:1 shot), he should have paid of quite handsomely. And if Sebulba "always wins", wouldn't he just be a 1:1 shot? Why bet heavily on the sure winner. The pay-off could not have been that substantial.
Any thoughts, class?

Lobito
09-27-2001, 04:12 PM
Maybe the price money he got from Anakin's win, was not enough to pay from other bets he made??? Thats an interesting point, but u have to analize it further.

Other than that i think the podrace was very very cool.:D

Utinni
09-27-2001, 08:52 PM
it must be really hard for podracers to get huge fan bases and lucrative endorsement deals if they have a three race lifespan...:p

stillakid
09-28-2001, 01:06 AM
I've mentioned before that the entire reason for the podrace got lost in the Rube Goldberg plot layout. Assuming first that we are treated to the podrace because GL is so into auto racing, we can move on to the story purpose which at first seems to have been to prove that Anakin is a super human. That is he is the only human who can do it presumably because he has a gazillion Midichlorians swimming around in his bloodstream. Somewhere, that point gets lost and is never really reinforced after the race to remind us that that was supposed to be the whole point. Instead, GL used the race as part of the ridiculously complicated scheme to get the heroes off the planet. Because of the silly and simplistic way that it was introduced, there was never any real drama because any dope could see that Anakin would win in the end. So, that kind of answers the title of the post. We are supposed to believe that Anakin is Jedi material because he can fly a podracer. Pretty profound, huh?

And you're right about all the odds stuff. Just one of many gaping holes in this poorly thought out story. What a let down. Definitely not up to snuff with the rest of the trilogy.

And to all those out there who still think that we're just whining for the heck of it, I'd love to hear somebody rationalize away Jedicole's excellent observations. Too bad GL isn't checking out the internet boards anymore. I understand that he thinks that it's all just whining too.

GNT
09-28-2001, 02:48 AM
Originally posted by JediCole
I guess what I am getting at is that the one thing sorely lacking in that sequence was even a single other pod except Anakins shown finishing the race. Rather than the shot of Sebulba in medium close up cursing his loss, we should have seen him further back with a couple of stragglers coming in at second and third.

Gasgano finished 3rd,according to what I heard :)

bigbarada
09-28-2001, 09:28 AM
Pretty, pretty eye candy; that's what we're supposed to get from the podrace. It has little bearing on the actual story except to complete the prerequisite of at least two major action sequences per movie.

Let's see how they all stack up:

TPM: Podrace, Final Naboo Battle/Jedi Duel
ANH: Death Star Escape, Attack on the Death Star
ESB: Hoth Battle, Escape from Bespin/Luke Vader Duel
ROTJ: Skiff Battle, Final Big-Shebang Battle/Luke Vader Duel

I still like it nonetheless, cuz it's just cool to watch.

JEDIpartner
09-28-2001, 11:09 AM
I came away with a pretty nifty video game for my PC! That was pretty much it.

It was a fun and rather pointless sequence... funny how I was thinking this just last night!!!

Oh, well... what are you gonna do?

JediTricks
09-28-2001, 11:37 AM
Cole and stillakid, great points. I think the initial point was to "show something new" and to point to the "he was already a great pilot" line of Obi-Wan's in ANH, but ultimately came off as an eye-candy detour meant to kill some time.

I've also wondered about that Watto comment, my only guess is that he bet more than he had at that time, but I find that REALLY unlikely.

It's really a waste of time IMO, it's everything that Lucas used to rail against (f/x that are more important than the story instead of being used as a tool to further the story).

El Chuxter
09-28-2001, 02:35 PM
I think I read somewhere that Watto had bet on Sebulba. Hey, wait--he still would've gotten his share of Ani's winnings! What goes on here? Did Qui-Gon screw Watto out of his share and the money he got from selling Ani's pod to Sebulba?

As for who placed what (other than Ani), it's impossible to tell. Every source seems to dispute every other source. My favorite is Ratts Tyrell--according to Incredible Locations, if he didn't die in his crash, rescuers wouldn't go after him in the Krayyt dragon cave. But in the actual film, we see him on a stretcher just after the podrace!

bigbarada
09-28-2001, 02:36 PM
GL is like a kid who has just been handed a box of new toys when it comes to this CG technology. He's just playing around and seeing what he can do, regardless of if it fits into the context of the story or not.

As for Lucas' quirky sense of humor, that's always been there. In the original cut of ANH there were many sequences on the Death Star when Han, Luke and Leia would run up on a group of Stromtroopers or Imperial Officers and simply hide their weapons behind their backs and start staring at the ceiling, whistling. The troops would just walk by without noticing a thing. However, when the studio saw the rough cut and was clearly NOT IMPRESSED with anything in the film, GL was forced to recut it and make it less goofy. As time went on the studio became more and more antsy about GL's competence and threatened to take the film from him, salvage what they could and rush it to theaters; in an attempt to get some kind of return on their investment.

I think this lack of pressure on GL has made him lazy.

Even Lucas knows that the CG creatures aren't totally convincing. When Frank Oz tried to talk GL into making Yoda CG, GL said that he preferred a puppet, "It looks more organic this way" was his reasoning.

GNT
09-29-2001, 02:06 AM
Originally posted by bigbarada
Even Lucas knows that the CG creatures aren't totally convincing. When Frank Oz tried to talk GL into making Yoda CG, GL said that he preferred a puppet, "It looks more organic this way" was his reasoning.

Wish he could be like that for some things in Episode 1!


Oh, well... what are you gonna do?

Hunt you down and make you watch the scene over and over again until you die of boredom :rolleyes: :D

bigbarada
09-29-2001, 02:14 AM
I've seen too many kids who are totally enamoured with the Podrace to think it totally worthless.

How many action sequences from the OT were worthless and contrived? (Endor Speeder Bike chase springs to mind)

BTW, stillakid, not to sound like a bufoon (damn, too late); but who is Rube Goldberg? The name sounds familiar but I just can't place it.

stillakid
09-29-2001, 10:47 AM
Oh, sorry. Here is a small piece from his official biography available at http://www.rubegoldberg.com:


Through his 'inventions', Rube Goldberg discovered harder ways to achieve easy results. His cartoons were as he said, symbols of man's capacity for exerting maximum effort to accomplish minimal results. Rube believed that there are two ways to do things, the simple and the hard way, and that a surprisingly number of people preferred doing things the hard way.

For a lot more on him and the concept, visit the website at
http://www.rubegoldberg.com


Essentially what I've been getting at is that GL had simple concepts to get across to his audience (ie, Anakin was strong with the Force, how to get the heroes off Tatooine, how to retake Naboo, etc) and instead of finding the path of least resistance and highest plausibility, he chose to concoct elaborate "Rube Goldberg-like" schemes which required many clunky and implausible steps to get there. Most people get to read scripts and books well after they've been through a lengthy editing and rewriting process, but I've been fortunate (?) to read many things while they exist in a first or second draft. TPM comes off as classic early draft writing. So many of his ideas are just fine (ie, Pod Race) but with just a little nip and tuck here and there to the story structure, we'd all be praising the film as a worthy continuation of the series instead of wringing our hands in frustration at how poorly it was done.

JediTricks
09-29-2001, 01:27 PM
Originally posted by bigbarada
I've seen too many kids who are totally enamoured with the Podrace to think it totally worthless.I've seen too many kids who are totally enamoured with Britney Spears, 8 years ago it was Mortal Kombat, 35 years ago it was Tang, 45 years ago it was the Hoola-hoop (not that I actually saw the latter 2). Kids like lots of flash and often less substance. Kids seem to like picking their noses too, but that doesn't mean it's a worthwhile pasttime. ;)

bigbarada
09-29-2001, 02:11 PM
Thanks, stillakid! I do remember his name in reference to Tom and Jerry and some Warner Bros. cartoons. These used his notion of extremely complex machines performing rudimentary tasks. (Kind of like computers and the internet to perform the task of simply talking to a person)

You ever play that old board game Mouse Trap? It could be considered a Rube Goldberg theme, I think.

THE Slayer
09-29-2001, 09:31 PM
It also shows you never to bet against a jedi, they're ruthless.

Maybe watto meant he "lost everything" on a deeper level. Maybe he really cared for anakin, and was sad to have to let him go. Maybe his heart ached a terrible ache. Anakin was 'everything' to the lonely blue winged troyblahdarin. Maybe thats what he really meant, GL just wanted to show us that watto was the only character with heart and feelings and..
has everyone else stopped reading this yet?

JediTricks
09-30-2001, 12:25 PM
Originally posted by THE Slayer
has everyone else stopped reading this yet? I have! :D

ThomasLane
10-01-2001, 09:09 PM
Yeouch! You guys are ruthless! Who ever said a scene in a movie had to have a point? Am I the only person who liked the podrace scene? I don't have a clue what the point of the whole lightsaber battle was either, other than to dispatch a couple of main characters, but I thought it was great too. These movies are supposed to be fun. Why ruin it for yourself by overanalyzing it? What's the point of any movie? ENTERTAINMENT

stillakid
10-01-2001, 09:34 PM
Originally posted by ThomasLane
Yeouch! You guys are ruthless! Who ever said a scene in a movie had to have a point? Am I the only person who liked the podrace scene? I don't have a clue what the point of the whole lightsaber battle was either, other than to dispatch a couple of main characters, but I thought it was great too. These movies are supposed to be fun. Why ruin it for yourself by overanalyzing it? What's the point of any movie? ENTERTAINMENT

Hmm, at first I was incredulous that these words were actually meant to be serious. I'm not even sure where to start with this one. "Who ever said that a scene in a movie had to have a point?" You can't be serious. Really.

It's really pointless to continue. As a screenwriter, I may just redirect my efforts toward "pointless" mindnumbing fodder for gents like this. Where's Pauly Shore when you need him?

What's the "smiley" for shaking my head in disbelief?

ThomasLane
10-02-2001, 09:17 AM
You mean you don't like Pauly Shore? ;)

Seriously though, sure, there were lots of stupid things about Ep.1, but my kids loved it. It was dumb, but it was fun. Amazingly enough, my 3 year old did not turn to me after the pod race scene and say "this film lacks a sense of direction" or "which monster finished third daddy?".

As for a movie having a point, I always though movies were supposed to be a diversion. You guys can rip on it all you want (I enjoy reading the posts), but as for me, I had a wonderful time with my family when I saw it.

Gotta go. I'm off for my third helping of "Zoolander" now...

THE Slayer
10-02-2001, 06:29 PM
Stillakid. Your scripts have a sense of direction?

I think you're going about that all wrong. :)

stillakid
10-02-2001, 09:13 PM
Apparently so.

Sure, I too subscribe to the notion that movies are first and foremost meant to be diversionary entertainment. If you're out to make a serious point you ought to give up and make a documentary. The sure fire way to keep me away from a movie is to tell me that it's an "important film."

However, most quality entertainment has a point to it. Not to belabor the point, but in a movie every word should mean something. Every location should help tell the story. Every character is a point of view. Every scene needs to lead us to the next one. Every sequence propels the story forward. Each act has a beginning, middle, and end that keeps us interested. In a perfect world, everything that you see and hear should contribute to telling the story that ultimately entertains you.

Sure, as a second-grader, I thought Star Wars was great. Not because of all that mythical stuff but because the Stormtroopers were cool and the spaceships and the aliens...and wow...it was amazing. To a little kid, even the pod race is cool. Does that mean that it has a point just because it's cool? Of course not. My 6 year old enjoys the pod race in the same way that I do. It's fun to watch, but even better to be a part of it. So we play RACER on the computer. There's no story there, just good clean fun. That's okay for a video game. That's the point. But it's not okay for a movie. We plunk down 7 bucks to see a good story well told. If GL is content with stringing together video game fodder in the guise of feature film, then so be it. But to be so ingenious as to insist that the older fans won't get it and that it's all really for kids is ridiculous. ANH, ESB, and ROTJ were all kid AND adult fare. He knew that as well as anybody. Why would he suddenly decide to just make the SW universe into something that kids would enjoy on their superficial level?

The original intent of the pod race got lost because GL isn't that great of a writer. What we're left with is the lead-in for a video game.

Sith Worm
10-02-2001, 10:14 PM
Troche, I have one thing to say Pod Racing is very fast, very dangrerous. And I am the only human that can do it!

stillakid
10-02-2001, 10:15 PM
I demand a Midichlorian count!

GNT
10-03-2001, 12:28 AM
Originally posted by Sith Worm
Troche, I have one thing to say Pod Racing is very fast, very dangrerous. And I am the only human that can do it!

So Sith Worm your the only human who can fly a pod racer? I thought Anakin was a human too?

We come away from the pod race with him showing his strong with the force and that his the only human who can do it :)

stillakid
10-03-2001, 01:20 AM
Originally posted by GNT


We come away from the pod race with him showing his strong with the force and that his the only human who can do it :)[/COLOR]


Maybe so, but we learned that already in the long drawn out and boring dinner sequence just prior. So what's the point of watching a pod race where we already know who is going to win and why?

If GL wanted that to be the reason for the pod race, we should have SEEN the pod race FIRST, and then it would have been just peachy for somebody to say, "oh, Ani won because he's the only human that can do it" to which Qui Gon surmises "Hmm, he must be strong with the Force and must be trained!"

You see how just a slight rewrite makes this all work out? Where was Kasdan when GL needed him?

GNT
10-03-2001, 02:27 AM
Originally posted by stillakid
You see how just a slight rewrite makes this all work out? Where was Kasdan when GL needed him?

Having a cigarette at that point in time and didn't want to move :)

Lobito
10-03-2001, 03:34 PM
Hmmm...whats the point in watching the race if we already knew who was going to win?? That is like saying...whats the point of watching EI and EPIII if in the end we already knew what happened to Anakin and OB1...As BB stated in an earlier post, the point of the race was to have an action scene in the movie, maybe some of us already knew Anakin was going to win, but who knows??? Remember ESB, in that movie Han, Luke, C3PO, etc... got his ***** kicked big time. In the end we will watch EP II and EPIII and will be here 5 yrs from now arguing about some other stuff, and thats the good thing about it, "Diversity of opinions".

Have fun guys!!:D

ThomasLane
10-03-2001, 04:13 PM
Now that I think about it, I don't think the pod race was so much to prove that Anakin was strong in the force (because I don't really think it proved anything other than that he is a good driver). I think it was devised to get Anakin into the story. The Jedi and the Naboo crew were stuck on Tatooine, too stupid/loserish to find a way to get home. Anakin comes up with an idea to get them home: use my pod, bet on the race, I win, you go home. Anakin saves the day.

I thought it was much better done and less contrived than the "Anakin saves the day" scene at the end of the movie.

I have to agree about the dinner table scene. Stooopid. The best thing about it was Jar Jar (that's how bad it was). With all its faults, I still liked the movie, and I always will.

JediCole
10-03-2001, 05:44 PM
Originally posted by ThomasLane
Now that I think about it, I don't think the pod race was so much to prove that Anakin was strong in the force (because I don't really think it proved anything other than that he is a good driver). I think it was devised to get Anakin into the story. The Jedi and the Naboo crew were stuck on Tatooine, too stupid/loserish to find a way to get home. Anakin comes up with an idea to get them home: use my pod, bet on the race, I win, you go home. Anakin saves the day.



Good point, ThomasLane. It also shows that Anakin has hung around Watto long enought to know how to cut shady deals that pit the middle against both ends. Pretty sneaky sis

JediCole
10-03-2001, 05:56 PM
It appears that I have been too long away from this thread and it has moved in directions other than the original spirit of the post. This is a good thing however, it shows that I sparked some thoughts in the readers. Please do not misunderstand. I love the Pod Race in and of itself. My point is rather, what is the point of Pod Racing in general if almost no one finishes the race? Is it meant to be some kind of Wacky Races meets demolition derby? I am pleased to hear that one of my favorite of the "tekno muppets", Ratts Tyrell, appears to have survived his seemingly deadly crash. As a self-styled King of Justification, I am forced to put forward the possibility that each pod is protected (or at least the driver) by a force field or shields of some kind. This would increase the survival rate and let someone make a career out of Pod Racing.

stillakid
10-03-2001, 05:57 PM
Originally posted by Lobito
Hmmm...whats the point in watching the race if we already knew who was going to win?? That is like saying...whats the point of watching EI and EPIII if in the end we already knew what happened to Anakin and OB1...


Therein lies the problem of starting the story in the middle. So, sure, we already know the ultimate outcome is that the Empire is defeated. But that shouldn't preclude the storyteller from making the "prelude" as interesting as possible. To cop out and just lay out the events with no sense of mystery or danger makes for a really bad entertainment experience. We know the broad strokes but the magic is in the details. That's true for any story.

bigbarada
10-03-2001, 09:23 PM
I'll use Saving Private Ryan as an example. Anyone who reads their US history knows that D-Day was the turning point victory for the American forces in WW2. However, when the movie lays out the events in the opening sequence, you get a glimpse of just how impossible that goal seemed to attain. The way the American forces seem to achieve the impossible makes the scene intense. At no time did the American victory during that invasion seem obvious or even possible. That's what good drama is about, taking a bit of story we all know the ending to and making it dramatic nonetheless.
Unfortunately, Anakin's winning the podrace was too obvious before the race even started. Too much was depending on it. (Although wouldn't it have been cool if Anakin lost and Qui-Gonn was forced to use a little of the dark side in order to save face in front of the Queen and, ultimately, the Jedi Council?) There have been portions of every SW story that I have been less than happy with, however I still manage to enjoy every movie.

ThomasLane
10-04-2001, 09:00 AM
Originally posted by bigbarada
Unfortunately, Anakin's winning the podrace was too obvious before the race even started. Too much was depending on it. (Although wouldn't it have been cool if Anakin lost and Qui-Gonn was forced to use a little of the dark side in order to save face in front of the Queen and, ultimately, the Jedi Council?) There have been portions of every SW story that I have been less than happy with, however I still manage to enjoy every movie.

That would have been cool, though I wouldn't want my kids to believe that it's ok to be bad in order to get out of a sticky situation. I would have liked to have seen some of Anakin's "dark side" come out in the pod race. He could have stuffed someone into a wall or had hidden weapons in his pod.

stillakid
10-04-2001, 10:07 AM
Originally posted by ThomasLane


That would have been cool, though I wouldn't want my kids to believe that it's ok to be bad in order to get out of a sticky situation. I would have liked to have seen some of Anakin's "dark side" come out in the pod race. He could have stuffed someone into a wall or had hidden weapons in his pod.


It would have been nice to see ANY use of the Force by Anakin. Instead, he magically fixes his spark plugs by moving that plug thing back and forth in the cockpit. He proved that he's a better McGuyver than future Jedi Knight. The only "proof" (and I use that word delicately) is in Obi Wan's Midichlorian counter. Other than that, Ani is just another "golly-gee-whiz" kid.

GNT
10-04-2001, 11:24 AM
Originally posted by stillakid
. He proved that he's a better McGuyver than future Jedi Knight

Woo you've gone to far, nobobody is better than McGuyver!

master jedi
10-04-2001, 01:27 PM
Originally posted by GNT

Woo you've gone to far, nobobody is better than McGuyver!

Yeah, nobody is better than McGuyver. I think there should be a McGuyver rank here at the SSG forums.

stillakid
10-04-2001, 01:33 PM
If you can figure out how to hack into the code with nothing more than your mouse, a paperclip, two rolls of Charmin, and a Wankel Rotary Engine then you deserve to be McGuyvered.

Rollo Tomassi
10-05-2001, 10:08 AM
I think Qui Gon using "Dark Side" in order to get back to Coruscant back to would have been the worst "deux es machina" in the history of cinema. You think Jar Jar gets a lot of negativity? THAT would have ruined the film for just about everybody. I think at just the right moment they should have closed in on Anikin's determined little face and let a bit of the "Force Theme Music" lilt through the score, maybe even a little Qui Gon voice over "Feel. Don't think". Aha!! you think.. He's using the force to fly better, kind of like his kid in the Death Star Trench...and then he pulls ahead of Sebulba and wins the race. Then everyone would KNOW he used the force to win, even if he didn't know...Hmmmmmmm...Phantom Edit 1.2??

stillakid
10-05-2001, 10:57 AM
That's certainly on the right track. It wouldn't have hurt John Williams at all to weave a bit of Luke's theme into Anakin's exploits somewhere.

I'll stand by my "phantom edit" where Obi Wan (NOT Qui Gon...he's out of the story altogether) wanders into town. He manages to get there as the racers are being introduced. He (and us, because the story is being told to us through the characters) of course at this point have absolutely no clue who anyone is, especially Anakin (that is unless you were paying attention to the poster outside the theater :rolleyes: ).

Introducing the kid and the podrace at this point in the story does two things:

a) we have absolutely no reason to suspect that Anakin will win this race and

b) the race hasn't become part of that Rube Goldbergian scheme to get the heroes off the planet so it is only about showing off Anakin's "Force" ability.

Whalla! No need for endless discussion around the dinner table about it AND no need for a stupid Midichlorian counter to prove to everyone that Ani is strong with the Force. Obi Wan (not Qui Gon) can maintain continuity with the rest of the epic when he tells Luke that his father was already an excellent pilot but he was amazed out how strongly the Force was with him.

That gets GL's pet project Pod Race into the story, maintains continuity, quickens a death inviting pace of the existing Tatooine sequence, and rids us of those nasty Midi's.

There are a couple other opportunities for subtle, yet effective, ways to show Obi Wan that Anakin "has the Force" that neither interfere with the elements GL introduced or slow the story down.