PDA

View Full Version : What happened to Star Wars?



SHOPPING MAUL
02-09-2004, 02:21 PM
I just saw recently the LOTR, RETURN OF THE KING.
I thought it was very good! Having seen all three Lord of The Rings
films, i have to ask this question. Mr. Lucas, how did you fumble the
ball on Star Wars episodes I and II?
I am a big fan of Star Wars and i also collect Star Wars merchandise.
Plus i attended celebration II in INDY, and plan to attend celebration III.
I don't want to be critical, but i feel episode's I & II lacked a good story
line and plot. The one thing episode's I & II had was fantastic special effects.
I was expecting alot more!
I know, maybe trying to be as good as episode's IV, V, & VI was expecting
too much, but geez, look how many years Mr. Lucas had to work on it....

Beast
02-09-2004, 02:25 PM
First, this is in the wrong area.

Secondly, It's called opinion. Some people like the prequels, you should know. And some people hate the LOTR Trilogy. Also, all Peter Jackson did was adapt novels that had been written already. So you can put a lot of the storyline thanks in Tolkien's corner. Not Jackson's. Also, as much hype as there was leading up to the prequels, nothing short of the second coming would have been up to some people's expectations. :)

MTFBWY and HH!!

Jar Jar Binks

Exhaust Port
02-09-2004, 04:23 PM
Well, that's one of the funniest SW related screen names I've seen. Shopping Maul? :D Damn, that's good.

stillakid
02-09-2004, 04:35 PM
I'll concur on the "Shopping Maul" part! :)

As far as the "expectations" comment goes, that is a cop out and an insult to everyone who didn't find much enjoyment in the Prequels. Personally, the "hype," as it was termed, wasn't an issue for me. I'm a big boy and can separate the film from the media storm, which, by the way if you haven't noticed, has pretty much died down now. And guess what? The Prequels still aren't so good. Crazy, huh?

But that's beside the point really. I don't think that anyone was expecting that the Prequel's should necessarily be better in any regards. All most people were looking for was something that was at least on par with the established Saga. On many levels (but mostly story), the Prequels didn't even approach the same ballpark.

Now, as we've done in the past, this idea of "opinion" can be bandied back and forth, and there is no one arguing that we all have a right to "like" or "dislike" whatever we please, but in terms of story, plot and character continuity, the Prequels empirically suffer relative to what "society" defines as "good" literature/storytelling. You can like it, but it still doesn't change the fact that it takes a great deal of apologizing and filling in the blanks in order to make the whole thing work out in some contorted way.

I too would like my 5 minutes in the sun with George to ask him why he made the decisions he did. Maybe Tim Russert can get him to sit down next Sunday as well. :D

Kidhuman
02-09-2004, 04:50 PM
I dunno......... what happened? Did it get lost? Did it go away? I thought SW has been fine. Like JJB says, its an opinion and we all have em.

slick169
02-09-2004, 06:38 PM
Being a long time SW fan I was really looking forward to the prequels. After seeing EP1 I was a little let down. I knew a lot of time would be spent establishing characters, plots, etc; but I didn't think it was done well. I wasn't upset about characters like Jar-Jar because it was a likeable thing for kids and in fact it was the first reaction by the audience to the movie. Parts of the film were plain boring and although the effects were there some of them were lacking. I thought they did a good job animating Yoda and Watto but the big panoramic scenes were really phony looking. Overall I liked the movie because I'm a SW fan but it was lacking. I had tickets for 3 showings. I used the 1st for the midnight showing, the 2nd for a few days later and the 3rd I still have. When I watch it on DVD at home I fall asleep during some parts but maybe thats age.

I thought EP 2 was a lot better but again some of the panoramic scenes really looked CG. I hope CG can do better than this and its just Lucas that isn't using it right. Nemo may be a cartoon but the use of CG was great. Not as much of a letdown as EP 1 but theres only so much you can show in the timeline Lucas allows. I can't understand why he tries to stick to a 2 hour film like the theaters wouldn't accept it. Look at all the films that did great making the features longer. I only went to one midnight showing for it and waited for the DVD to see it again.

I am anxiously awaiting EP 3 and I hope its longer, better and answers all of our questions. Its going to have to be a lot better than the first two to make a smooth transition into ANH.

Its a shame when a fan has to frequent the forums to find creativity in Starwars.

2-1B
02-10-2004, 12:29 AM
I'm just glad Elijah Wood was never in a Star Wars movie. Having never read the Rings novels, I don't know what Tolkien's description of Frodo was . . . but if Frodo was supposed to be an overly feminine guy with big goofy staring eyes and a hammy *sigh* in his face, well then Jackson found the perfect actor.

Hell, I don't know why Wood gets so much praise as an "Actor" portraying Frodo when all he's doing his playing himself in a wig with rubber feet.

I'll take Mark Hammill anyday. :D

Anakin Palpatine
02-10-2004, 04:03 AM
Usually, I will write something corny in my replies, but this is a topic which really eats me up.

First of all, I have grown up watching the classic Trilogy. I am a huge fan who has spent far to much time and money on a series of movies. As of late we all have seen a huge comeback of 80's type merchandise and t.v. shows, that just proves that we all have emotional attachments to the things we grew up with. I feel this is why so many people have such strong emotions for the classic trilogy. Besides the fact that they are timeless classics.

Has anyone ever thought that when we have children or if we ask children in the future, which movies they liked better they might pick the new trilogy over the old? If asked how they rate the movies in order of there favorites, that AOTC or TPM or even E3 will be one of that kids favorite of the 6 movies? To many people expect to much out of the new trilogy in to small of a time span. I think we all wished that A New Hope started as Episode 7, rather then 4, so we could get 3 more movies and Lucas could have had more time to introduce characters slower and had more time to develope Anakin into Vader. Regardless, I am taking what I am getting and I am still a lot more satisfied now then when I though I would never see episodes 1-3.

The one thing I am not clear on with all of this is, I thought Lucas had originally written all 6 movies and tried selling them as a series and that he was only given a chance on of the six. Is this true? Can any of the masters clear this up for me? I was under the impression that a New hope was the chosen movie to be given a chance and if it did well their was an option for two more. If this is true that would explain why Lucas was so hesitant to make the new movies and why they are the lesser of the 6. That's just my opion, I hope I do not offend anyone with it.

JediTricks
02-10-2004, 06:12 PM
IIRC, Lucas originally thought he could cram all 6 films into 1, then looked at what he had and realized the segment we now know as ANH was the one that would make the best stand-alone film.

Darth Kirk
02-10-2004, 11:19 PM
Hello Shopping Maul (dope screen name), I really do not believe anything is wrong with the prequels. In fact, they seem quite good, and it really is great to learn about the etymology behind the greatest villain in cinema.. The simple fact is that film and the social consciousness was in a different place in the 70's, and for anyone to expect to feel exactly like they felt when they first saw ANH, is setting themselves up.. The fact is, today, we are inundated with spectacular cgi-based films. Yet back in the day, there really were not many other films like Star Wars. So we must give PROPS to our man Lucas for ushering in a new era of filmmaking.. An era that brought believable special-effects and storytelling together for the first time.. Yes there were many films that had effects b4 ANH, but ANH was a GREAT cut above the rest. Just my 2 cents.. peace

stillakid
02-11-2004, 12:06 AM
The one thing I am not clear on with all of this is, I thought Lucas had originally written all 6 movies and tried selling them as a series and that he was only given a chance on of the six. Is this true? Can any of the masters clear this up for me? I was under the impression that a New hope was the chosen movie to be given a chance and if it did well their was an option for two more. If this is true that would explain why Lucas was so hesitant to make the new movies and why they are the lesser of the 6. That's just my opion, I hope I do not offend anyone with it.

There are conflicting stories to explain this, depending upon who you ask.

As the lore goes, George sat down and came up with this big space epic (The Adventures of Luke Starkiller). You can get copies of it from the internet. When you read it the first thing you'll notice is how much its "style" mirrors that of TPM: in other words, both are a complete mess lacking in a wide variety of literary conventions, such as a plot that you can actually make out. Anyhow, he shopped this oddball and poorly written story to the various studios who, understandably, all turned him down. (Seriously, if and when you read the early drafts that he wrote himself, you'll agree with the studio's decisions).

I'm not exactly clear on the timeline anymore, but I do believe that as a kind of favor, a guy named Alan Ladd over at Fox agreed to back the project. I don't think that the story was an actual screenplay yet so Lucas sat down to hash one out. It was at this point in the process that he realized that the story was too sprawling for one 2 hour film. It would take about 9 separate films to tell the entire thing. As George put it, he chose to start at episode IV simply because it had the most action and therefore it would hopefully be more marketable to a wide audience.

Of course there was no guarantee that anyone would see it at all, so he had to make it self-contained...meaning no real cliffhangers, etc. (like ESB had.) It's uncertain just how much work he did himself on the screenplay, but at some point, he called in his old friends from American Grafitti (Bill Huyck and Gloria Katz) to help him out. Just as they had done with Grafitti, they took the mishmash of ideas and molded them into an actual plot with clever dialogue and likable characters. George was the visionary...they were the writers. George continued with this formula through 1983 when ROTJ was released.

What happened next is up for debate, but there are "rumors" that as a condition of his divorce from Marcia in the 80s, she would own a portion of the Star Wars franchise if any more were made within the next 10 years or something. With that hanging over his head and coupled with his technological limitations, George put the rest of the saga on a shelf until a later date.

Well, with films like Jurassic Park and Terminator 2, it was becoming clear to Lucas that his private FX house, ILM, was now capable of achieving his "vision" on screen more accurately than ever before. He began making plans to continue the saga with the Prequels. At some point, he approached a prominent screenwriter and director to write Episode I for him. Due to some unexplained prejudice that Lucas has against Hollywood and its unions, Lucas refused to pay the WGA fees so the writer politely declined the offer. Lucas then took it upon himself to write the screenplay to what was arguably one of the most anticipated films of all time. This, coming from a guy who freely admitted to hating to write screenplays. He knows that he's no good at it yet because of some bizarre fit of arrogance, chose to throw caution to the wind and drive the truck himself. The Phantom Menace was the result of all that build up.

While die-hard fans reacted favorably (predictably), the general populace wasn't so forgiving...and it had absolutely nothing to do with expecting "more" or "better." Unfortunately, Episode I was just not a very good film in many respects and only the most "loyal" of Lucas fans stood by the movie. When the DVD arrived, it contained one very interesting and telling element. Lucas admits, on camera, that "you can screw this stuff up." This is not just interesting that he said it at all, but that it was included on the DVD. He KNEW that he messed it all up. He further confirms this indirectly when it is announced that he will be employing the services of a co-writer for Episode II (Jonathan Hales). Unfortunately, it appeared as though Mr. Hales did not have the same amount of leeway that was afforded Huyck, Katz, and Kasdan in the glory days otherwise certain indecipherable story elements in AOTC probably would have been ironed out a bit more.

Full details concerning Episode III are not yet available, but it appears as though there is no additional screenwriter, as was the case with Episode I. It's important to note that Lucas has only written two screenplays solo thus far which have been made into features: THX-1138 and The Phantom Menace. Neither were well received at the time of their release and, despite fan claims to the contrary, it appears as though neither will ever achieve popular acceptance as well made films or well told stories. Every other concept that George has had has been co-written with someone else or written by someone else altogether. With a couple of notable exceptions, like Howard the Duck and Radio Days, the vast majority of Lucas's projects/ideas have been moderately to greatly successful, both critically and financially.

The bottom line is that Lucas is obviously a great visionary. He knows the elements that resonate with an audience and can put them into a context which an audience can enjoy and relate to on some level. What he can't do is paint in the fine details. He's got the broad strokes and does that part well, but if pressed to fill in the blanks himself, he fails. He might be a little too avante gard to follow in his own footsteps.

As far as the last three episodes go (7, 8, 9), it's really anyone's guess. I'm sure that he's pretty tired of Star Wars by now. He's taken quite a beating from both critics and fans alike so there isn't a lot of incentive to carry the torch on through another trilogy. Add that to the fact that he isn't getting any younger and there is even less reason to devote his last years to this one sweeping epic. Besides, one of his primary goals for the Prequels was to push the technology and achieve full digital image acquisition. He has done that for himself. The only thing left is for the distribution system to do a full switch to digital projection, however while he has an amount of control over a film set, distribution is still out of his sphere of influence. That is a battle for another day.

Darth Kirk
02-11-2004, 12:21 AM
[QUOTE=stillakid]There are conflicting stories to explain this, depending upon who you ask...

Stillakid, thanks for that succinct and thorough explanation.

Kidhuman
02-11-2004, 12:27 AM
Yes that was a very good read stillakid. Probably one of your best posts IMO :D

Anakin Palpatine
02-11-2004, 01:06 AM
Thank you master that was the best answere I have ever gotten from a post. You the man!!!

2-1B
02-11-2004, 01:44 AM
I wouldn't use Lucas' line that "you can screw these things up" as a personal admission that that's what he did with TPM. What he admits on the DVD is that he tied up so many different narratives at the end of TPM and it might be too much for the audience. Rick McCallum was right there in his cheerleading skirt to support the Flannelled One, talking about how when people saw the original SW they didn't know what the hell they were looking at. At least, that's how I remember the documentary.

George made the comment in direct relation to the film "More American Grafitti" which he pointed out "made (earned) 10 cents." I would expect better journalistic integrity from you, stillakid. :)

As for the screenwriting, George does admit freely that he hates writing so personally I always wondered what the heck was up with that. :D

I seem to recall an interview in SWI pre-TPM where McCallum states that Lucas was writing the draft for TPM alone and would bring in a co-writer for Episode 2 and beyond. If this is true, then the decision was already made BEFORE TPM came out and received much criticism.

Who knows . . . :crazed:

stillakid
02-11-2004, 10:20 PM
I wouldn't use Lucas' line that "you can screw these things up" as a personal admission that that's what he did with TPM. What he admits on the DVD is that he tied up so many different narratives at the end of TPM and it might be too much for the audience. Rick McCallum was right there in his cheerleading skirt to support the Flannelled One, talking about how when people saw the original SW they didn't know what the hell they were looking at. At least, that's how I remember the documentary.

George made the comment in direct relation to the film "More American Grafitti" which he pointed out "made (earned) 10 cents." I would expect better journalistic integrity from you, stillakid. :)



I'll have to pull it out again, but if I recall correctly he made that comment about Episode I relative to his experience with More American Grafitti. Arguably, he had a large influence over the entire concept of MAG which ultimately wasn't really going to work no matter what. He had the opportunity to "play" with the film style on someone else's dime and also to stick it to Universal for taking the first one away from him. If it failed, it wouldn't really affect him. But the point being, he took a creative chance on MAG and it backfired on him. Now this idea of "failing" is always on a filmmaker's mind during production so he obviously wouldn't have been responding to future critique that was to come. So my point was that it was extremely telling that that comment from him was included on the DVD at all. It was a throw-away moment amongst countless hours of video yet the producers of that piece pulled it out and used it. George undoubtedly gave the final approval, ergo it is an indirect response most likely (and arguably an admission) to the hammering he received after TPM was released and before the DVD were created.

And I just heard today (via a friend via AICN) (I haven't looked it up myself to verify) that George has used another writer to help with Episode III. Again, it is enlightening that this writer (whoever he is) is not WGA. George is clearly p.o.'d at that Guild as well as IATSE and god knows who else which is why he insists on shooting overseas. Why he would foresake his own project at the writing stage because of some grudge is beyond me.

Darth Kirk
02-12-2004, 03:45 AM
Stillakid, it is great to hear how thoroughly, it seems, you have analyzed the 'big picture'. The fact simply remains that we really can not truly know what the motivations are behind the G.L.'s actions, and we probably wont fully ever know.. It is still nice to sit back and read how you pontificate.. Is it also just me when I say that I actually DO enjoy Lucas' writing.. Cuz you know people, although the dialogue may come across as weak, to write the story, screenplay, also involves writing: plot, sub-plots, action sequences and transitions.. I actually enjoy what I have seen in the prequels...

stillakid
02-12-2004, 09:15 AM
Stillakid, it is great to hear how thoroughly, it seems, you have analyzed the 'big picture'. ..


Thank you. :) Really. But to some, it's all just "nitpicking" and we're not supposed to delve so deeply into what occurs "behind the scenes" nor examine the story elements so closely. Instead we are supposed to just "enjoy it for what it is." Being who I am and what I do I find that impossible to do but I am intrigued by those who can. :)

Darth Kirk
02-12-2004, 01:02 PM
No, I wouldn't call what you are doing 'nitpicking', I simply see it as thoroughly analyzing possibilities based on information that is made available to us.. And thats just it, Lucas will release only the information he wants, whether it be on DVDs, interviews, etc.. Then we have the opportunity of looking at his actions and deducing his motivations.. In my opinion, that is where the gray area lies. Anywho, keep on rockin' and remember that two wrongs DO make a right! :crazed: :crazed: :crazed: :crazed: :crazed:

CropDuster
02-20-2004, 10:14 AM
I believe stillakid hit a "bullseye". His thorough explanation of the history of the SW saga is right on the money and would be pretty universal in ending any PT vs. OT debate.
If you like the PT then that's great, you were probably already a SW fan before seeing them, but the fact remains that they could have been made much better if GL had not been so stubborn and taken advantage of the skills of other people in the industry.
Even if you don't like LOTR, I don't see how anyone could argue that it doesn't exhibit more of an "epic" feel to it than the PT. Jus' my opinion.

scruffziller
03-24-2004, 02:54 PM
Boy I fell bad now for..................:cry:. Sorry GL. Maybe that explains his reasons for not wanting to release the original release of the OT.

jjreason
03-27-2004, 12:42 AM
I think WE happened. When I first saw Star Wars, I was 6 years old. Until I was 8 (when ESB came out) there was nothing else that compared. I had over 2 years to collect my toys, read the books, and watch the movie as many times as my dad would take us. There was nothing else to draw my attention away from Star Wars, and nothing could come close to matching it in my eyes.

Cue 1983. ROJ hits, and we're all thrilled. I'm now 11, and my interests are only starting to diversify. 2 years later, Star Wars is a distant memory, and I've moved on to GI Joe toys, Able Team and Mac Bolan books, and the trials and tribulations of young teenaged life.

Then things started happening quickly. I finished school, got married, got a boring job, got a great job, moved across Canada, had a child, watched TONS of great, mature and interesting movies, read lots of interesting books, learned many things. I grew up. All in a Star Wars free environment - as far as "new" Star Wars stuff was concerned. Of course I'd watch the old movies from time to time, but they kind of went on the back burner.

THEN I saw The Phantom Menace.... through my grown up eyes. How could anyone expect it to carry the same significance as Star Wars did for then when they were a child? I know I didn't. I knew I had really high hopes, and I also knew that it would be a big surprise if this movie lived up to the hype - and my hopes (if not expectations). By the time I had digested it, I was very happy with much of the movie (particularly the sound of the pod race, the lightsaber battle, and Qui Gon Jinn), but wondered why some of the dialogue hadn't been looked over a little more carefully, and why they hadn't done a few more takes with little Jake Lloyd to get more out of him in a few spots.

Attack of the Clones suited me a lot better than The Phantom Menace. I think having a daughter old enough to bring to the theatre with me made the biggest difference. Watching her reaction to the onscreen happenings, answering her questions, and seeing her enjoying Star Wars as only a child can went a long way to showing me why those movies meant so much to me as a kid.

We can't go back, we can't un-grow. We can't expect so much knowing what we know now. With any luck EpIII will be written "up" a little, for us. The ones that have made Star Wars what it is - the kids of the 80's. We're grown up now, George. Get some help and write the last one for us.

stillakid
03-27-2004, 01:16 PM
I know that you wrote, "I think," so that's the caveat. ;)

However, I'll continue to disagree with that assertion. The Prequels aren't bad because "we" are now grown-up. That implies that the OT films are bad as well and we only think that they are good because we saw them as children. No. Say what you will about ROTJ, it still holds up as a solid story in line with the previous two films before it. Different in many respects but solid nonetheless. Even to my adult eyes.

jjreason
03-27-2004, 08:42 PM
I know that you wrote, "I think," so that's the caveat. ;)

However, I'll continue to disagree with that assertion. The Prequels aren't bad because "we" are now grown-up. That implies that the OT films are bad as well and we only think that they are good because we saw them as children. No. Say what you will about ROTJ, it still holds up as a solid story in line with the previous two films before it. Different in many respects but solid nonetheless. Even to my adult eyes.

Well, I don't mean to imply the OT is bad. My opinion is that it's fantastic, no matter what age you are. What I'm saying is this: the OT holds a place of reverence with me that no other piece of pop culture ever will. It is the embodiment and distillation of almost everything I found exciting and fun as a kid. SO many of my great memories are Star Wars related.

I simply don't think that ANYTHING, no matter how good or great it may be (Lord of the Rings included) could ever hope to match the OT in my eyes and in my heart. The PT didn't stand a chance - but not because it's not "good". I think it's very good in fact, but it can't compete, and part of the reason is because I've changed.

If I were 5 or 6 all over again, I can't imagine whether or not I'd even care about the new Star Wars movies. There are too many other fantastic things out there competing for kids' attention. The fact of the matter is, I did back then. More than anything - and that's part of the reason why the PT falters in comparison.

2-1B
03-27-2004, 11:10 PM
I knew that was coming. :D

stillakid
03-27-2004, 11:57 PM
Well, I don't mean to imply the OT is bad. My opinion is that it's fantastic, no matter what age you are. What I'm saying is this: the OT holds a place of reverence with me that no other piece of pop culture ever will. It is the embodiment and distillation of almost everything I found exciting and fun as a kid. SO many of my great memories are Star Wars related.

I simply don't think that ANYTHING, no matter how good or great it may be (Lord of the Rings included) could ever hope to match the OT in my eyes and in my heart. The PT didn't stand a chance - but not because it's not "good". I think it's very good in fact, but it can't compete, and part of the reason is because I've changed.

If I were 5 or 6 all over again, I can't imagine whether or not I'd even care about the new Star Wars movies. There are too many other fantastic things out there competing for kids' attention. The fact of the matter is, I did back then. More than anything - and that's part of the reason why the PT falters in comparison.


Well, if you put it that way... ;)