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stillakid
03-09-2005, 05:05 PM
I unintentionally stumbled upon a rather well-thought out "essay" concerning the Saga and George here:

http://www.aslan.demon.co.uk/index.htm

I personally find it interesting in that a great deal of what this gentlemen suggests could have (and often has) come from my own pen. If nothing else, it serves as a summary of sorts of a lot of what I've been saying for quite some time. But my hat goes off to Mr. Rilstone for bringing new and deeper insight and meaning to George, the Saga, and what we think about it all...

(These are rather long and are a bit easier to read on his actual website. Links provided.)

stillakid
03-09-2005, 05:06 PM
http://www.aslan.demon.co.uk/mask-of-god.htm



We started singing:

My, my, this here Anakin guy
May be Vader sometime later but right now he's small fry
He left his home and kissed his mummy good bye
Singing "Soon I'm gonna be a Jedi."
"Soon I'm gonna be a Jedi."

Return of the Jedi ends with Luke Skywalker removing Darth Vader's mask and seeing his father face to face for the first time. This scene could stand as a symbol for the whole series.

From Luke's point of view, the unmasking of Vader represents the transformation of the Evil Father back into the Good Father, the Jedi-daddy he always wanted. In terms of the narrative of the trilogy, it represents the defeat of the Empire, as the technocratic superstructure is stripped away to reveal a human being beneath it. From the point of view of the audience, it is the redemption of Anakin Skywalker, the villain of Episodes IV - VI renouncing his evil and revealing himself as the hero of the whole saga.

Some people claim to be disappointed that under the mask, Darth Vader turns out to be 'just an old man'. But that surely is the point. For the story to work, we have to believe that Anakin and Vader are two different people. Anakin was consumed by the Dark Side of the Force: when that happens, says Ben, the good man who was Luke's father ceased to exist. When he turns back to the Light Side, Vader doesn't exist any more; and Anakin is just ordinary—just a fat old man. So the unmasking of Vader also represents the end of the golden age. From now on, all the heroes are going to take off their masks and reveal that underneath, they have feet of clay.

Attack of the Clones constructs a line from this 'Unmasking' scene and extends it out to infinity and beyond. Episode II amounts to an unmasking of the entire setting; a deconstruction of the Star Wars universe.

The 'clones' of the title are Palpatine's cloned army, who will become the Stormtroopers of Episodes IV-VI. It transpires that they are clones of one Janga Fett, the clone-father of Boba Fett. Boba Fett is a mysterious figure in the original trilogy: clearly an important person (even Darth Vader treats him quite politely) but never given an origin or a background. The Stormtroopers, of course, are purely iconic; organs of the Emperor who the heroes can kill without compunction.

In Episodes IV-VI, neither Boba Fett nor any Stormtroopers are ever seen without their helmets on. In Attack of the Clones, we see their faces. Out of costume, Bobba-Jango is under-acted, about as unassuming person as you could imagine, living in an anti-septic bed-sit and wearing a bland prison uniform. There is not a hint of rapport or affection between Jango and his son. The clone warriors are rather pitiful figures in a training camp that recalls the slave-world in THX 1138. They are stated to be 'docile and obedient'; and even when we see them in their armour, you can't quite shake this original image. Two key icons of the original trilogy have been brought down-to-earth with a resounding thud.

This debunking and de-romanticizing happens consistently throughout the movie. The opening 20 minutes of the movie are full of images of falling: from the cloud-capped heights of Coruscant into the seedy under city. In Coruscant the Jedi are addressed as 'your grace'. But once they descend to ground level, they are little more than plain clothes police officers, and not treated with much respect. 'Gang way….Jedi business' says Anakin, to work his way through a crowd. Is this really how legendary knights were treated in the golden age?

When Luke went into a tavern, it was a Wild West saloon, full of aliens who have the death sentence on 12 systems, and a cool Clint Eastward smuggler who wins gunfights without getting out of his chair. The equivalent scene in Attack of the Clones is of a nightclub, with video screens showing sports matches and drug dealers offering 'death sticks' for sale. The Emperor, who spends Return of the Jedi as a dark lord with his face cloaked in shadow, is represented in Attack of the Clones as a lying, scheming politician. When we first met Yoda, he was a mysterious, distant figure who had once instructed Obi-Wan. In Attack of the Clones we catch a glimpse of what that 'instruction' might actually have been like. A wise old man studying at the feet of a holy mystic? Hardly. Yoda has become a friendly, patronizing schoolmaster observing a class of primary school children. Is how heroes were trained in the golden age?

(Of course this scene's primary purpose is to write Lucas out of an inconsistency: Yoda was stated to be Ben's teacher long before Qui-Gon was ever thought of; so we have to show that Yoda trained everybody to stop Alec Guinness being caught up in yet another porkie.)

Even the central psychological plot of the movie is substantially debunked. The process which will culminate in Vader being consumed by the dark side of the Force is here represented as an adolescent sulk, a series of temper tantrums. 'He never lets me do anything. He always criticizes me. It's not fair. Yippee.'

Watching A New Hope, we imagined that the Old Republic which Ben and Darth Vader inhabited would be something more epic, grander and more operatic than Star Wars. (The Old Republic was the republic of legend; no reason to ask why it existed, only to say that it was the Republic.) But the republic which we see is in fact rather banal: skyscrapers and Jedi temples, bickering politicians…finally, seedy nightclubs, coach stations, coffee bars and car chases. Star Wars was a fairy tale: this is just a sci fi movie. Corsuscant: is only New York with flying cars. Mos Eisley might as well have been Shangri La.

Watching Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones we feel nostalgic for a romantic past, 'before the dark times', when everything was clear-cut and simple, before the Force went out of balance. But that romantic past is the age of Luke Skywalker: an age which is nominally located in the future. The golden age of the Old Republic turns out to be a time of cynicism and betrayal; the Dark Times turn out to be, in fact, the heroic age. Does that mean the hoped-for-time of innocence will come after the fall from grace? And that the 'lost past' of Luke's childhood is actually located in the future?

It is perhaps very natural to locate the lost golden age in the future, given that this futuristic sci fi movie is supposed to be happening 'a long time ago.'

stillakid
03-09-2005, 05:08 PM
http://www.aslan.demon.co.uk/daddy.htm


When I was five, Papa knew everything.
When I was twelve, Papa knew a great deal
When I was seventeen, Papa knew nothing
When I was thirty five, I could go to Papa for advice
When I was fifty—ah, if only I could still ask Papa.

Anon.

The Star Wars movies are about growing up. They are also profoundly nostalgic about childhood. This is a paradox which neither George Lucas nor Luke Skywalker is able fully to resolve.

Episodes IV - VI are about the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Episodes I - III, on the other hand, are about Anakin's transition from childhood to adolescence. Luke's rite of passage involves becoming reconciled with his father; Anakin's involves leaving behind his mother and transferring his affections onto Amidala, his first lover.

'Jedi' and 'Father' are almost synonymous terms in the movies. How many times are they together on Luke's lips?

I want to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi, like my father.

I was once a Jedi Knight, the same as your father.

Why wish you become Jedi?
Mostly because of my father, I guess.

You've failed, your highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me.

Due to a terrible script-writing mistake, Anakin Skywalker is literally the son of the Force, having been conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost. He explicitly says that Obi-Wan, the archetypal Jedi is the closest thing he has to a father.

There was a time when Hollywood psychological wounds were all blamed on Mum. James Dean's delinquency is solved the minute his domineering mother gets out of the way; Charles Foster Kane had to acquire a warehouse full of sledges to compensate for the fact that his mother sent him away; and we all know what Norman Bates did with his Mum. But somewhere along the line, the blame shifted to a quasi-mystical figure called Father, and it turned out that nearly all of life's problems could be solved with a quick 'I love you son / I love you too dad'. In some cases—anything with Robin Williams in it—this may have no significance beyond representing the anxieties of middle class men who don't feel that they spend enough time with their offspring. In more pretentious movies, 'Father' is probably a secularised-Christian-Jewish metaphor for God. Marlon Brando slips into the most embarrassingly theological language before sticking baby Superman into the space capsule. 'The son becomes the father and the father becomes the son.' The Star Wars saga is not about the relationship between a father and a son, but between Fathers and Sons.

The first trilogy is about Luke Skywalker and his Dad: the scene which sums up the movie is the unmasking of Vader. Luke has no memory of his mother. The Star Wars galaxy is very much a woman-free zone: apart from Beru, Mon Motha and a handful of slave girls, there are more or less no women in the films. The relationship with Leia seems fraternal long before we know that they are actually siblings.

It's very much a rite-of passage story, about a young man's passage from adolescence into adulthood; about how he becomes an independent human being. Vader, Ben and Uncle Own represent the various ways in which a young man perceives and remembers his father during this growing up process. Uncle Owen is his 'real' father, the one he knows in the real world; and Ben Kenobi and Darth Vader are two competing psychological memories of Dad: a good one and a bad one. On the one hand, we remember Dad as the perfect, all-good, all wise figure from when we were a little child: on the other hand, we perceive him as a terrifying, domineering, punishing figure.

George Lucas admits that Vader's wounding of Luke in The Empire Strikes Back is symbolic castration. We have to be careful with this. When Freud talks about the boys fear of being castrated by his father, he does not literally mean that young men expect their fathers to chop their willies off. 'Castration' represents the fear that Dad will prevent you from being a full man; that he will punish you if you assert your independence, that you have to escape from, or even kill Dad before your manhood is safe. Vader is a 'castrating' figure in this sense: what is finally terrifying about him is not that he blows up planets, but that he wants Luke's identity to be subsumed in his. 'Come with me…We will rule the galaxy as Father and Son. The Son of Skywalker will not become a Jedi. He will join us or die. It is the only way. It is your destiny.' Obi-Wan literally disappeared from Luke's life when he had taught him what he needed to know: the good father knows when it is time to step aside. Luke does not want to remain merely 'the Son of Skywalker', but to become a person in his own right. Ultimately, by taking Vader's mask off, he sees that the person underneath is no longer frightening or dominating. The redeemed Vader has turned from the Bad Father to the Good Father, and like Obi-Wan, he too must step aside and yet Luke become a person in his own right. At the end of the trilogy, Luke has stepped out of Vader's shadow and become a Jedi..

Or has he? It is profoundly questionable whether Luke Skywalker is capable of growing up. We will return to this point..

The second trilogy is about Anakin Skywalker and his Mum. Its emblematic scene is Anakin turning his back on his mother, and going off with Qui-Gon to become a Jedi. Where Luke had no memory of his Mother, Anakin has no knowledge of his Father. Where Owen, Ben and Vader represent Luke's differing perceptions of his Father; Shmi and Amidala represent a young man's changing perception of women in general. Anakin's growth into adulthood is complete when Amidala turns from a symbolic mother to an ordinary woman; which happens to be at the same moment that Anakin buries his actual mother. Again, when Freud talks about the Oedipus complex, he does not mean that all men literally want to commit incest with their mothers; he is simply pointing to the fact that Mother is the first woman of any importance in our lives, and that our eventual wife is to some extent a substitute for her.

The first words which Anakin speaks are to Amidala: 'Are you an angel?. (And hers, to him, are infinitely patronizing: 'Aren't you a funny little boy.') As it happens, she is not an angel, but a Queen, and then, due to the oddities of the Naboo constitution, merely a senator. Angels and Queens are fairly similar to Mothers, existing on a pedestal and totally off the agenda for any kind of romantic involvement. Amidala explicitly puts herself in a quasi-maternal role towards Anakin. When they leave Tatooine for the first time, she puts a poncho around him because he is cold, which is, coincidentally, the same gesture that Leia had used to show her sympathy for Luke after Obi-Wan died. 'To me, you'll always be the little boy I met on Tatooine', she says, mortifyingly, to the teenaged Annie.

Attack of the Clones begins, naturally enough, with Anakin's first mission independently of Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan is 'the nearest thing' which Annie has to father; but the teenaged son is already straining at the leash: he thinks he is in advance of his father, he never feels that he is listened to, he holds me back. It’s not fair. Obi-Wan is in the role of 'bad father' — not the nightmare figure that Vader was for Luke, but just as unwilling to allow him to be a person in his own right. At any rate, that is how Anakin perceives him.

The first mission which this Daedelus sends him off on is to guard Amidala. Following the Oedipal script to the letter, Obi-Wan makes it absolutely clear that Annie is not permitted to love Amidala. We've been told nothing about Jedi taking vows of celibacy up to this point: indeed, the idea of the Force running strong in particular families would seem to speak against it. But mythological fathers prohibit mythological sons from marrying mythological mothers. It's what they do.

Amidala and Annie 'decide' that they cannot fall in love. And in case anyone misses the point, in the very next scene, Annie has a dream-vision about his real, literal mother: the one who he left behind on Tatooine to become a Jedi knight. In Phantom Menace, leaving his real mother (Shmi) entailed acquiring a symbolic one (Amidala); so it makes sense that, having been rejected by the symbolic-mother who he would like to marry, he runs home to the real one.

Cinema audiences cannot, of course, forebear from tittering during the excruciating nightmare scene, because Anakin's wriggling in bed look as if he's, er, how can I put this.... And the audience probably have a point:. The whole sequence is about puberty, sexual awakening and adolescence. Annie is becoming aware of women for the first time. (No wonder he keeps breaking his lightsaber.)

Now it gets weird. The dream-vision occurred on Amidala's home planet, indeed, at one of her favourite childhood haunts. (Picnics and chases through long grass are classic images of 'innocent' childhood.) But the nightmare calls Anakin back to the place of his own childhood, the increasingly repetitive planet Tatooine. And where should he end up but at the Lars homestead from part IV: the place where we first met Luke; where Luke bought 3PO, where Luke set out to meet Ben Kenobi—the absolute point of origin. Annie's search for his mother has taken him back to the womb. Like Luke, he is going to set out on a quest from this place and end up a substantially different person.

In a depressingly perfunctory bit of plot, it turns out that Anakin's mother is dead. Just as Luke shot off in his landspeeder to find Father Ben, and returns to find Owen and Beru's funeral pyre; so Anakin shoots off on a speeder-bike to find Shmi, and returns with her body. Luke stood at almost precisely this spot and announced his intention to 'become a Jedi, like my father.' Anakin, likewise, promises that he will never fail again and become the greatest Jedi in the universe. The death of Shmi is explicitly said to mark his passage to adult-hood: 'My son, my son, my grown up son.'

All the Oedipal themes collide at Shmi's funeral. Luke's father (Anakin) and Luke's father (Owen) are burying Anakin's mother (Shmi) in the presence of Luke's mother (Amidala) who is also Anakin's stand-in mother. Also present is Anakin's stepfather. The scene is interrupted by an emergency phone call from Anakin's next-best-thing-to-a- father, Obi-wan. And it is at this point—when Mother is buried, when Son has declared himself to be an adult, and when Father calls us home—at this moment, Amidala undergoes her final transformation. As long as Shmi was alive, Amidala was an exalted figure with whom love was very definitely off the agenda. Now Shmi is dead, Amidala becomes a resourceful, accessible tomboy figure: able to handle a blaster, perform escapology, and take control of the situation, and eminently available as a lover for Annie. She has, in fact, transformed into Princess Leia, complete with silly hairstyle. They can both start ignoring the various parental authority figures: disobey Obi-Wan's instructions not to come after him, and finally, disobey the Jedi order and fall in love. The death of his mother represents the moment at which Anakin grows up: now, finally, he can be interested in girls.

By now, everybody knows that Luke Skywalker is one of Joseph Campbell's heroes with a thousand faces. For Campbell, 'Hero' is more or less synonymous with 'everyman' or 'self' or possibly 'ego' in a Freudian sense. The journey of the Hero is a metaphor for Everyone's journey through life; or else it is a metaphor for the process by which the Self confronts its inner demons and becomes psychologically whole.

You don't have to buy the Freud-Campbell reading to agree that viewers of the movie are expected to identify pretty strongly with Luke. Some people have pointed out the similarity of the names 'Lucas' and 'Luke' and suggested that he represents the director. Maybe: but it's more important that Luke is our; our avatar in the Star Wars universe, the eyes through which we see the world. We wish that we had a best mate like Han Solo to look out for us, and a wise old father like Obi-Wan to teach us, but we never wanted to be those characters, or thought that we could be. It's not so much that we pretend that we are Luke: we know from the beginning of the movie, that Luke is Us.

But Anakin fits equally clearly into the Hero With a Thousand Faces pattern. He has a mysterious, semi-divine origin; he leaves his home to go on a quest; he receives weapons and teaching from a wise old man; and acquires companions, some of which are extremely annoying. According to Campbell, the quest of the Hero involves descending, metaphorically or literally, into an underworld; and returning with a 'boon' that will save the world. It's a little early to review Episode III but I think that it is a safe bet that the movie will end with Annie falling into a volcano, lava flow or other pit. The whole of the second trilogy might therefore be seen as his passage through the underworld, climaxing with his defeat of the Emperor, which will be conflated with 'bringing balance to the Force.'

Again, I don't think that it is controversial to say that we are meant to be identifying with Anakin throughout the first trilogy, and that our capacity to enjoy the movie depends on the extent to which we can do so. Lucas wanted to direct Phantom Menace at a young audience, and was therefore probably correct to give the movie a very young main character: Anakin's is a role which the average nine-year old can imagine himself into without difficulty. On the whole, when I was watching the film, I was able to project myself into Anakin, since he seemed so much to be fulfilling my fantasies as nine year old Star Wars fan (he gets his own space ship to play with, gets to build his own robot, and then gets taken off to become a Jedi Knight—for real.) I had more of a problem with Attack of the Clones, because I don't think that I ever was quite that kind of uber-teen which Anakin is supposed to represent.

If Annie and Luke are both 'everyman' figures, then it is not a great stretch to say that the two movies, considered psychologically, have only one hero, called Luke-Anakin, or Skywalker, or simply the Hero. Luke and Anakin are ultimately the same person. While watching Episodes I and II I repeatedly forgot that this was supposed to be a film about Darth Vader (the blonde kid is Darth Vader???) and found myself thinking that I was really looking at a younger Luke Skywalker. This is particularly clear when Annie is dressed in flying gear before the Pod race, and when Anakin and Amidala step onto a bridge in the droid foundry and more-or-less quote the beginning of the chasm swing sequence from A New Hope.

If we treat Luke and Anakin as a single character, then Shmi's funeral makes a great deal of symbolic sense. Amidala is literally Luke's mother, and symbolically Anakin's mother. Once we combine Luke and Anakin into a single person, then we can see that Amidala is simply The Hero's Mother. But, of course, Shmi is also the Hero's Mother. As we have seen, once Shmi is buried, Amidala takes on a role very much like Princess Leia; who is (in A New Hope at any rate) Luke's potential lover. Once we combine Luke and Anakin into a single person, then Amidala, Shmi and Leia merge into a classic three headed goddess, the Hero's mother and lover. The meaning of the funeral scene is clearly 'The Hero, Anakin-Luke, buries his mother: the Hero's Mother Amidala-Shmi, is transformed into the Hero's Lover, Amidala-Leia.'


[Chart omitted, see website]


Viewed sequentially, from Episode I - Episode VI, the Star Wars saga is a fairly straightforward 'growing up' or journey- through-life myth. Luke-Anakin, the hero, left his mother behind in Episode I, as a little boy; went off on a quest to recover his true father as a young man in Episode IV; and was reconciled with his Father's ghost in Episode VI. The hero is a child in Episode I, a teenager in Episodes II and III; a young man in Episodes IV and V and an old man in the closing moments of Episode VI: we have experienced his whole life.

But, of course, we don't experience the films sequentially. In terms of our actual experience of the movies, the 'Unmasking of Vader' scene, comes, not at the end of the saga, but slap dab in the middle: it is the fulcrum around which the saga pivots. When Luke takes Vader's mask off, Anakin comes onto the stage for the first time, and our identification shifts from Luke to him. Almost the first view we have of Anakin Skywalker is very last image of the movie.

At the time of Phantom Menace, I argued that Luke, by becoming reconciled with Darth Vader, had regained a kind of childhood innocence, represented by the next trilogy being about the boy Anakin at the time of the old republic. But I now think that it is more complicated than that. Luke's quest is not, in fact, about recovering childhood: it's about growing up: that's what reconciliation with the father means.

And, at the very last minute, Luke blows it.

Compare the Father - Son scene in The Empire Strikes Back with that in Return of the Jedi:

Vader: No. I am your Father.

Luke: No, no, that's not true, that's impossible

Vader: Search your feelings. You know it to be the truth.

Luke: No, no.

Vader: Join me, and together we can rule the galaxy as father and son…come with me. It's the only way.



Vader: Luke, help me take this mask off.

Luke: But you'll die.

Vader: Nothing can stop that now. Just for once let me look on you with my own eyes. Now go my son. Leave me.

Luke. No. You're coming with me. I'll not leave you here. I've got to save you.

Vader: You already have. You were right. You were right about me. Tell your sister; you were right

Luke: Father…I won't leave you.

The evil, child consuming father in Empire Strikes Back says 'Come with me. Join me. Your destiny lies with me.' The redeemed, good father in Return of the Jedi says 'Go, leave me.' In Empire Strikes Back, Luke would sooner die than be 'the Son of Skywalker'; but in Return of the Jedi, he disobeys his father. The very last line spoken by Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars trilogy is 'Father, I won't leave you' and indeed, he takes the dead Vader with him back to Endor. In the victory celebrations, he looks away from Leia and the teddy bears, and at the ghost of his father (or rather, his Fathers: Anakin and Ben are both phantom menaces at the feast.) So at this pivot-point of the two trilogies, Luke holds on to his father. He has failed the test and refused to grow up. So there is nowhere to go, in terms of the psychology of the Hero, but back into childhood. The hero becomes the little fatherless boy, who is going to have to leave his mother, and try, once again to become a Jedi.

The Star Wars films are therefore based on a deeply ambivalent view of psychology. The Hero is trapped in an irresolvable double bind. To grow up, he has to be reconciled with his father: but once he has been reconciled with him, he can't leave him behind; and he is reduced, for ever afterwards, to the role of son. The flawed Hero is, at bottom, a little boy who cannot grow up; the ideal avatar for generations of Star Wars fans.

stillakid
03-09-2005, 05:11 PM
http://www.aslan.demon.co.uk/hero.htm

Diagram: Structure of Star Wars Saga From the Viewers Point of View (Word Doc) (http://www.aslan.demon.co.uk/sw%20diag1.doc)



We are now in a position to try to understand the structure of the Star Wars saga as we actually experience it

Star Wars is, first, a series of movies; secondly, the psychological biography of an Everyman hero; and thirdly a patchwork history of a not very interesting science fiction setting. If we try to read the movies sequentially, from Episode I - VI, we are inclined to foreground the 'historical' narrative. But this Star Wars 'saga', the one which begins with Qui-Gon fighting Trade Federation robots is a wholly imaginary work, one which no-one has ever or will ever see. Only by looking at the movies we actually saw—the saga that began with C3PO shutting down the main reactor—can we discuss the way those movies actually effect us, and begin to understand just how clever George Lucas has been.

Our first experience is a movie called Star Wars which exists independently of the other five movies. Considered alone, Star Wars is a perfectly satisfactory and completed journey of the Hero. At the end of Star Wars, good-father Obi-Wan has stepped out of the way, and exists only as a memory, or a voice, in Luke's mind: what Freud would call the super-ego. In the last moments of the movie, Luke trusts in the Force, and destroys the Death Star. If this isn't 'becoming a Jedi', what is?

Our second experience is of a movie called 'Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back'. It is highly important to our experience of 'The Star Wars Saga' that we initially accept Star Wars as a complete and finished entity, and only subsequently learn that it is 'Episode IV'. Uniquely for a sequel, 'Star Wars 2' extends the saga in both directions: what we thought was a complete entity turns out to extend both forwards and backwards. This is important; because 'Star Wars IV' is a summary of the whole psychological plot (the Hero Grows Up) which also serves as the first chapter of a much more complex saga—which, in effect, tells the same story. We need to have allowed ourselves the innocence of experiencing A New Hope as a fairy tale in order to properly experience the disillusionment of Empire Strikes Back—which says, in effect 'They didn't all live happily ever after. And there was a lot going on before we said once upon a time, too.'

Once we know that Star Wars was actually Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, then we become aware of the existence of Star Wars Episodes I - III. True, when we watched A New Hope and heard Obi-Wan, Uncle Owen, and Darth Vader talking about events in the 'olden days', we had a vague sense of a 'back story'--previous events in the Star Wars universe the existence of which gave the setting some of its mythical power. But once we read the words 'Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back,' those events are 'firmed up' as being possible subjects for movies. We all have our own ideas about what those prequel movies are about. You can't watch Episode IV - VI without having some mental picture, however vague, about what life was like 'before the Dark Times', about what Vader's training by Kenobi might have been like. At two crucial moments, our 'imaginary' prequels re-write themselves in our heads. The first, of course, is when Vader reveals his paternity, and two characters in the prequel trilogy, the good-father and the good-father's-slayer merge into one. The second, and less important, is the revelation that Luke has a sister.

When we see 'Star Wars: Episode I', we are in a sense seeing the movie for the second time. We already know roughly what is going to happen—Palpatine will become Emperor, the Republic will fall, Obi-Wan will acquire an apprentice called Anakin, Anakin will become Vader, Vader will kill all the Jedi knights but himself be maimed, Vader will have twin children called Luke and Leia. We almost certainly have our own preconceptions of what the Old Republic was like, and the film is almost certainly different from those preconceptions. Almost by definition, our reaction to the prequel is to say 'That wasn't how I imagined it' every five minutes. (This is a very different experience from saying, as we might do with a sequel 'that wasn't what I expected' or 'that is a surprise.) As we have seen, this disillusionment is very much built into the structure of the movies, so that we are not merely surprised that the prequels are different from what we expected; we are disappointed that they are more banal and prosaic. (It is a matter of debate how much of the fan-disillusionment that Phantom Menace engendered was an intentional part of the film's emotional structure—the revelation that child-hood as experienced is not the same as child-hood as imagined through the eyes of nostalgia—and how much was just due to it being a genuinely bad movie…) Just as 'dad', the old man we have to deal with on a day to day basis falls short by comparison with the perfect Father we remember from when we were small children; so Hayden Christensen and Jake Lloyd fall short of the Anakin's of our mind…and this is not necessarily the fault of either the actors or the script.

In the same way that A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi are continually pointing backwards to an as-yet-unmade prequel; Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Episode III are continually pointing forwards to the first trilogy. A considerable amount of this 'pointing forward' is intended to re-write the original trilogy and invest it with meaning and significance which it did not have when we originally saw it. In particular, it appears to be intended to re-write the crucial Luke-Vader-Emperor confrontation which makes up most of the meat of Episode VI. In Episode VI, Palpatine mockingly calls Luke Skywalker 'my apprentice'—a line which takes on a great deal more significance once we know that Palpatine is Lord of the Sith, and Vader is his Apprentice. (Indeed, we have already seen one apprentice, Darth Maul being killed and replaced with Anakin; so the possibility that Vader might die and be replaced with Luke seems to be a real one.) I also suspect that Vader's destruction of the Emperor at the climax of the movie is going to be invested with an additional level of meaning. Anakin is the one who would bring balance to the Force, and Palpatine and the Sith are the ones who had put it out of balance; therefore in order for Anakin to fulfill the prophecy, he had to turn to the Dark Side, if only to get close enough to Palpatine to kill him. (But having turned to the Dark Side, of course, he doesn't want to kill his master, so he needs Luke to bring him back. Damn clever, these prophesies.) Something which, when we first saw it, was a family drama about a father and a son, and a political drama about an evil emperor and his servant, is transformed into a world-historical drama. A mythic hero, conceived by the power of the midichlorians, born of the virgin Shmi, wounded by Obi-Wan, descended to the Dark Side, redeemed through the sufferings of his Son, defeats a centuries old evil and brings back the spring, or at any rate, brings balance to the Force. It is important that we have this double experience—first, as a story about a father and a son; and second as a much more cosmic and universal event.

The first time we experience the first trilogy, we experience it from the point of view of Luke, the everyman-hero. Luke is the hero and, until the closing moments of Empire Strikes Back, and still through most of Return of the Jedi, Vader is simply the villain. As we have seen, in the closing moment of Return of the Jedi, Luke appears to fail in his quest, refuses to leave his father behind and thus fails to grow up and become a Jedi. For that reason, we have to go back to his childhood, and make another attempt at growing up. As 'readers', we experience the Quest of the Hero again (leaving home, growing up, becoming a Jedi) but this time, with Anakin as our Avatar.

Much of Anakin's journey, as we have seen, recapitulates Luke. He leaves his family, he learns about the Force from Obi-Wan and Yoda, he is tempted by the Dark Side. But Anakin's quest also fails. In Episode III, he is consumed by the Dark Side; and fights a climactic battle with Obi-Wan. In this climactic battle, the Son is maimed by the Father. While watching this battle we will doubtless recall the confrontation between Vader and Luke in Episode V. In both cases, the Hero is confronting his domineering, 'evil' father, and in both cases the son is wounded.

But Anakin's story does not end with Episode III: it continues into Episodes IV, V and VI. So we have to re-experience those films, this time taking Darth Vader as the hero. Many of the key scenes are different when we re-experience them. We no longer see the confrontation between Vader and Obi-Wan simply as a clash between two more-or-less Jedi peers; but a continuation of the patricidal theme. This is now the third time we have seen the Hero face the Hero's Father; and this time, finally, the Hero's Father knows that he must lose and allow the Son to surpass him. When Vader says … 'I sense something', we wonder whether he is really sensing 'his old master', or is beginning to remember and recognize his son. When he says 'The Force is strong in this one', we wonder if he suspects who This One is. We recognize that the Death Star—even the Empire Itself—are very much an underworld through which the Hero is passing in order to bring balance back to the Force. And the second time we experience Vader's unmasking, we perceive it, not as a final test which Luke fails, but as the final stage in the salvation of Anakin, the Hero. Luke is no longer the Hero who fails to grow up: this time is the agency through which the fallen Hero is redeemed. When we experienced Return of the Jedi, from Luke's viewpoint, then the final moments seem to be a failure, the Hero turning his back on his friends and looking towards his Father. When we experience it from Anakin's viewpoint, we perceive it as a final success. The wounds that the Hero received at the hands of his Father are healed, and our last image is of Anakin: mature, good, in his Jedi robes, and alongside Obi-Wan and Yoda, represent the final salvation of the hero and, presumably, the restoration of balance to the Force, the healing of the world.

Hochsten Heiles Wunder! Erlosung dem Erloser.

We have gone a long journey with the Hero—from Luke, to Anakin, to Vader and back to Anakin again. The cycle, which has been more like a spiral, is completed. Lucas is absolutely correct to rule out making Episodes VII, VIII and IX: there is absolutely nowhere left for the sequels to go.

stillakid
03-09-2005, 05:14 PM
http://www.aslan.demon.co.uk/clonererview.htm


There is a world shortage of opinions about Attack of the Clones.

It seems that the only things that anyone is allowed to say is that:

1: It has bad dialogue

2: It is dominated by CGI special effects

3: It is derivative of other movies, e.g. Fifth Element and Gladiator

4: It is better than Phantom Menace.

Opinion famines seem to attach themselves to this kind of movie. At the time of Star Wars all anyone said was that it had great special effects. At the same time, all you were allowed to say about Doctor Who was that it had bad special effects, and, interestingly, that The Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy was impossible to understand.

When someone says 'Doctor Who has bad special effects' I am inclined to reply 'Well, I don't think the CSO experiment in Underworld worked particularly well, but then the alien dimension in Warriors Gate was very evocative.' To which they reply 'Wobbly sets, wobbly sets, wobbly sets' and walk off: the concept of 'wobbly sets' has expanded to fill their whole consciousness on this point. Silly me to expect words to be used to express actual ideas.

In the case of Phantom Menace, the only viewpoint one heard was that Jar-Jar Binks was very irritating. I have to say I never found him so: I thought he was a relatively amusing character, in same vein as C-3PO, Jabba the Hutt, and all the other comic-relief characters of the first trilogy. After six viewings of Phantom Menace, the only 'racism' I can discern is the Japanese accent of the trade federations representatives.

This separatist review will therefore secede from the army of cloned opinions which is oppressing the galaxy, and try to say a few coherent things about the movie.

1: Dialogue

The dialogue of Attack of the Clones is melodramatic and non-naturalistic. If 'good dialogue' means, say, Tarantino-esque repartee, then Attack of the Clones doesn't have it. On the other hand, there is only one genuinely awful passage, the blazing-fire love scene, in which Anakin and Amidala start talking in a weird, formal language, rather like a badly translated opera libretto. For the rest of the movie, well it didn't sound like bad dialogue to me; it sounded like the way they talk in a Star Wars movie. 'Bad' dialogue has been a feature of the franchise from the moment the Jedi with the public school accent said 'He thought he should have stayed at home and not gotten involved.'

The problem was actually one of unintentional bathos as a result of an inconsistent tone. If we had been asked to believe that the 'Old Republic' was an age of heroes where everyone wore sweeping clothes and talked in arias, then 'If we follow to this to a logical conclusion it will take us to a place where we cannot go and which would destroy our lives' might be a reasonable thing to say. But it is a mistake to have Anakin saying 'If Obi-Wan saw this, he would be very grumpy' in one scene and 'I am haunted by the kiss you should never have given me' in the next.

2: CGI Effects

Computers are still a sufficiently novel idea that we are aware of what they can do. We are therefore inclined to use CGI as a buzzword. We are less impressed by fantasy and spectacle because we now know that it is relatively easy to produce. Most of us know that you can create any kind of virtual world inside a computer: the only limit is your artist's imagination and the amount of time you are prepared to spend rendering it out. There were very few moments where it was obvious to my untrained eye that I was watching computer animation. Some scenes, especially the Jedi council had a quality of unnaturally sharpness which gave me a sense of it 'not being quite real'. (This may have been an artefact of the Leicester Square Odeon's ultra high teach projection system.) CGI creatures occasionally have a specific, slightly mechanical way of walking which distinguishes them from, say, the slight jerkiness of a Ray Haryhausen monster pic. (I particularly noticed this as Yoda walked offstage in the background of the Jedi councils first meeting with Palpatine.)

The film naturally plays to the strengths of the computer animation process. The special effects in Attack of the Clones are not 'better' than those in Return of the Jedi. The spaceships in Return of the Jedi look real; you can't actually improve on that. What the new film can give you is MORE special effects. A computer can give you a hundred or a thousand Stormtroopers, where miniatures and extras can only manage ten. That tends to give us very crowded screens; and to me, a thousand battle robots is less dramatic than a single invincible Death Star. In that sense, the capabilities of the CGI process did rather dictated the contents of the film.

Lucas's imagination has a relatively limited range, and keeps going over and over the same material, trying to do the same kinds of scenes better and better each time a new piece of technology comes along. I have the sense of a man who is forever frustrated that he can't make the pictures which he sees in his head come to life on the screen. When we first saw the bar filled with aliens in Star Wars, it was an awesome and funny concept, even though some of the individual creatures were not particularly well realized. It is understandable that Lucas wants to do it again and again, with aliens that really look alien. But there is a law of diminishing returns – and when we end up in the bar in the Coruscrant under city, we don't say 'Wow, wow…a night club full of aliens!' we say 'Yeah, yeah, yeah: another Cantina scene.'

C: Derivativeness
Duh, it's a Star Wars movie.

Star Wars is basically pastiche; cool bits of other movies translated into sci fi terms and then pasted together—Roman Arena with aliens; Ben Hur with aliens; the Searchers with aliens; the Dam Busters with space ships, some of which are flown by aliens.

It is true that some of the source material for the Coruscant car chase in Attack of the Clones did seem to be Judge Dredd, Blade Runner, Fifth Element; and the assassin-eels looked as if they had wandered in from Alien or Wrath of Kahn. It might be thought a pity if Star Wars is reduced to pastiching post-Star Wars sci fi movies.

I also felt that some of the pastiche was a little too banal, so that the Jedi archive looks too much like a modern public library and the civilian transportation looks too much like the interior of a subway. This implies, to me, a failure of imagination, a failure to see that everything in the Star Wars universe must be, not only bigger, but also more heroic than that in real life.



This is not to say that I don't think that the film was flawed. It was. I think that its flaws were threefold:



A: Plot
The film's plot went nowhere. There was no tension in the Amidala-Anakin romance, because we all knew where it had to end up: but the element of pre-destination wasn't used to generate, say, dramatic irony. But neither was there any great sense that Obi-Wan's wanderings from set piece to set piece were very meaningful, nor that they related to the overall structure of the movie. Just as Phantom Menace very loosely follows the structure of A New Hope, so Attack of the Clones is meant to feel structurally similar to Empire Strikes Back. We jump backwards and forwards between two plots, one full of action (Obi Wan, Han and Leia) and one static and character based (Anakin and Amidala, Luke and Yoda.) But Empire Strikes Back is tightly plotted: not only do we know that the sufferings of Han and Leia are intimately related to what is happening to Luke; but we also recognize continuous thematic echoes between the two storylines. (For example, Han Solo and Luke both have an adventure in a cave which turns out to be quite different from what they were expecting.) Attack of the Clones is really just a tumbling mass of incident. And the end result of all the incident is neither victory nor defeat for the heroes, but the release of two small pieces of plot-information, or the moving of a plot pawn or two. Anakin and Amidala are married. Palpatine is voted special powers by the senate. Er…that's it.

B: Mistaken Belief That Back Story Matters
Does anyone remember Dark Crystal? (Rhetorical question. Don't write in.)

Despite the rather inane plot, it's one of the best-realized cinematic fantasy worlds. The surreal muppetery creates a great sense of Otherness. There are no knights in armour, no castles, or goblins: it is set neither in the world of here-and-now, nor in the over-familiar world of fantasy archetypes. (Granted, once you look at them for more than a minute or so, you realize that all the weird creatures are the familiar archetypes in fancy dress but that didn't remove the initial sense of being far, far away.) It also has great depth, or rather, the illusion of great depth. Wherever you look, there are wall carvings, symbols, strange ceremonies, and unfamiliar flora and fauna. One of the first images is of a Mystic creating a sand painting and destroying it with his tail. We don't know why he does this: we just sort of accept that sand paintings are very Zen, and this is very much the sort of thing these Mystics might do.

Tied in with the movie was a gurt big art book called The World of the Dark Crystal, which I understand now sells for frighteningly high amounts of money on Ebay. Mine isn't for sale. It contains a lot of pre-production art, and some photographs from the movies; all tied together with an elaborated back story about how the Crystal came to be broken in the first place, and lots of data about the goodie Mystics and the evil Skeksis. We learn the names of individual Mystics and Skeksis; we learn that the Mystics aren't really called Mystics at all, but Ur-Ru. We learn that the beings they merge into at the end are called the Ur-Skeks. We even learn what the sand-painting meant (it represented the history of the world of the Dark Crystal.) It was the sort of book that every fantasy geek would be proud to have on his coffee table. I often thought 'I could use this as the basis of an RPG', before adding 'No, I couldn't: background notes about the significance of murals is not a good basis for an interactive scenario.'

It would have been intolerable if all that background detail had appeared in the film. Exposition of Ur-Skek religion and the mystical significance of the number three would have slowed down the plot. But it is that the existence of all that off-screen data contributed to the illusion of reality which made the film so convincing..

I have, to coin a phrase, a bad feeling that Attack of the Clones only existed as a vehicle for its back story. George Lucas had some notes about the political structure of the Galactic Empire and the relationship of the Jedi to the Sith and he jolly well wanted to explain them to the audience. Plot and characters were secondary to that world-building aim.. He'd decided that the Death Star was designed by some people called the Geonosians; and decided to work this into the movie. But 'worked in' means 'stated, alluded to, dangled in front of the viewers nose': It doesn't actually have any purpose or role in the story. Yes, Star Wars aficionados get a certain sort of pleasure from noticing that the representative of the Techno-Union has a breath mask reminiscent of Darth Vader's; but he's only in the story is so that aficionados can notice him. It all feels flung together, like Lucas is trying to retro-fit the old films to his new vision of the setting.

C: Lack of Characters
Lucas's failure to understand what made his original movies tick is immense. Go back and watch the films, particularly the first one, and what strikes you are the chemistry between the five main human characters, with a bit of a comic relief from the metal ones. What makes us go back to Star Wars again and again is the way Han Solo says "No reward is worth this", and Leia says "This is some rescue!" This survives into Empire Strikes Back, about a third of which is about the sexual tension between Han and Leia, and even into the slightly more cardboard Return of the Jedi. Now, granted, Attack of the Clones has a better stab at creating some characters than Phantom Menace: but they never sparkle. They are primarily there to go through the motions of advancing the plot. Anakin is going to rebel against Obi-Wan and go bad; Amidala is going to fall in love with Anakin. There is no group dynamic, only a collection of plot-coupons.

Once upon a time it seemed rather bizarre to imagine that there could be a Star Trek series which didn't feature Sperk, Kock and Bones. Surely, Star Trek was reducible to those three characters? But Mr Roddenbury, having half a brain at least, sat down and said "If I come up with a new set of characters, with some of the same themes and ideas behind them, then people will accept Star Trek: Next Generation as a new version of the same show. And so it proved. Say what you like about Enterprise or Voyager, and I often do, but each version of Star Trek has been based around a set of characters whose interactions are likely to generate amusing narrative situations. Cardassian civil wars come a very poor second.

So why, oh why could not Mr Lucas think along these lines? "I need to think up a set of half a dozen cool characters, he could have said -- quite possibly one of them a bit roguish and one of them a bit mystical -- and get them together in Episode I, and keep them together until Episode III. And I need to make them as much fun to spend time with as the characters I created in Star Wars. And then I need to think up some cool adventures for them to have. Perhaps I'll have them fighting baddies, who we can call, for the sake of argument, "The Sith". And in the background to their adventures, I can leak some data about the Old Republic, and then, as a sub-plot, we can show how Obi Wan's apprentice goes bad and turns evil. He'll be a minor character in the first film, and the main villain in the last one."

But, alas, what Lucas actually did was say "Gosh, everyone is bound to be fascinated to find our who Luke's mother was, and precisely what it was which turned his Dad bad; and won't they just be so thrilled to see a young Obi and a young Darth walking into a bar together. When they see Anakin and Amidala fall in love, they will know that they are witnessing an awesomely important event in galactic history; and that will make the film seem important, and that importance will be enough to carry the film all by itself."

It ain't so, George. It just ain't so.

stillakid
03-09-2005, 05:15 PM
http://www.aslan.demon.co.uk/swquestions.htm



1: Evil Jedi
In Phantom Menace, there are only two Sith: a master, and an Apprentice. Darth Maul gets the chop, leaving, presumably, a vacancy.

In Attack of the Clones, Saruman is an evil Jedi, throwing around Emperor-style bolts of lightening which even Darth Maul showed no signs of doing.

Do we conclude:

1: That Saruman has replaced Maul as Palpatine's apprentice, having turned to the Dark Side at some point in the ten years since Phantom Menace?

2: That there are other societies of evil Jedi apart from the Sith, and Saruman belongs to one of those?

3: That Yoda was mistaken, and there are sometimes three Sith at once?

4: That Yoda's remark at the end of Phantom Menace (that he doesn't know whether Darth Maul was master or apprentice) foreshadows a clever twist: Maul was the master, Palpatine the apprentice, and Saruman was a sort of apprentice in waiting, ready to take on the role when the master died and everyone moved up once?

5: That Lucas is making it up as he goes along?

I always feel that a Doctor Who scriptwriter is not really trying as soon as the expression "evil renegade Time Lord" is mentioned. I feel that "previously un-mentioned tribe of evil Jedi" betrays a similar kind of shorthand laziness.



2: What did the Dark Lord know and when did he know it?
In Empire Strikes Back, Vader knows of the existence of "the Son of Skywalker"; but in Return of the Jedi, he is surprised to learn that he also has a daughter. It is even possible that Obi-Wan does not know of the existence of Leia,: in Empire Strikes Back he does not know of the existence of Yoda's "other".

In A New Hope we are told that Anakin-Vader "wanted Luke to have his lightsabre when he was old enough". We are also told that when Vader left Kenobi, he was still only a learner.

Thus, we require a situation in which --

A: A still-good, still-apprentice Anakin has asked Obi-Wan to pass his lightsabre onto his son, but doesn't know that he has a daughter.

B: Although Luke is fostered with Anakin's stepbrother on his home-planet, and although he is living openly under his real name, and although Vader knows of his son's existence, he never goes after him there.

C: Leia remembers her mother, but Luke has no memory of his

To pull all this together, I think we are going to have to have some enormous hand-wave. I think that Vader is going to lose his memory. Or, perhaps his conversion to the Dark Side will be conceived of as a Jekyl and Hyde transformation, which leaves him perceiving Anakin Skywalker as an entirely separate person. This might even make Kenobi's claim that Anakin's transformation meant that Luke's father was destroyed literally true. I predict that Episode III will go something like this:

1: Amidala gets pregnant. This is kept secret from everyone; no-one outside Naboo even knows they are married.

2: Anakin says goodbye to his pregnant wife, and goes to fight in the Clone Wars with Obi Wan, who for some reason is being referred to as General Kenobi, and "serving" Bail Organa.

3: Anakin sees that the galaxy is collapsing into chaos. He still believes in his "benevolent dictatorship" theory as expressed to Amidala in Attack of the Clones. He states that he wants to help Palpatine bring order to the galaxy. Obi-Wan forbids him. Anakin resigns from the Jedi order, and, still a learner leaves Obi Wan. At this point, of course, he doesn't know that Palpatine moonlights as Darth Sideous.

4: Palpatine, tells him about the power of the Dark Side. He tells him that if he becomes a Sith he will be the greatest Jedi ever, all-powerful, and capable of even stopping people dying. He probably takes him to a high place and breaks out in an allegory. At any rate, Anakin gives way and starts to undergo Jekyl and Hyde transformations, from Anakin to Vader and back again.

5: In his Vader form, he helps Palpatine hunt down the Jedi. But in a lucid moment, he warns Amidala and tells her to hide his child with his mother's husband on Tatooine, where he will be overlooked by Palpatine.

6: Little does he know that he does not just have a son, but twins!

7: Amidala does as she is told. Yoda escorts the new-born boy to Tatooine, stopping off briefly on Dagobah on the way. ("There's something familiar about this place!") But she takes the girl to Alderaan where Baal Organa will protect them.

8: The trade federation trace Amidala to Alderaan. They come to kill her. She gives her child to Baal to take care of. The trade federation assumes that Leia is Baal's kid, and no-one sees any need to disabuse them of this misconception. The trade federation kills Amidala. She recites some bad dialogue, and expires.

9: Palpatine doesn't think to look for Luke on Tatooine as obviously no-one would be stupid enough to hide Vader's son on Vader's home planet. Vader, as long as he is Vader (and not Anakin) doesn't know where is son is. But years later, when he finds out that the name of the young pilot who was strong in the Force turns out to be "Skywalker", the long buried memories of his previous identity start to return.

10: Vader is sent by Palpatine to kill Obi-Wan. There is a big fight. At the last minute, Obi-Wan says something like "By the way, did you know you now have a son?". This makes Vader turn back into Anakin for a second. He hands his lightsaber to Obi-Wan and says "Could you make sure my son gets this", and then jumps into the fiery pit.

12: Obi-Wan, assuming that Vader is dead, goes to Tatooine, partly because it is remote and partly because he gets to be near the Anakin's child. Presumably, it is a few years before he finds out that Vader survived and has acquired a suit of armour and a breath mask.

13: All the other Jedi are killed.

14: Twenty years pass, and Star Wars begins.

I trust that is all perfectly clear.

stillakid
03-09-2005, 05:17 PM
http://www.aslan.demon.co.uk/viewpoint.htm



Lucas has stated that Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones are pretty much the films he envisaged when he started working on the saga back in 1973: it's taken this long for cinema technology to reach the point where he can actually produce them.

This is obviously a fib.

The first trilogy seems to have been made up on the hop. Alec Guinness was originally going to survive Episode IV: check the pre-production sketch of the medal sequence if you don't believe me. Lucas's decision to kill him off seems to have been taken very much at the last minute. It didn't happen because it was part of his Total Vision that Ben should merge with the Force. It happened because he was too good a film maker to have a character wandering about with no real purpose in the storyline. If Obi-Wan had been alive in Episode V, then, presumably, there would have been no Yoda; no training on Dagobah, and the revelation of Darth Vader's identity would have had to pan out differently.

According to the Lucas-sanctioned Annotated Screenplays, Luke's paternity was by no means a fixed element in the original vision. Remarkably, a script for Return of the Jedi was written in which Vader was not Luke's father—he was revealed as having lied in Empire Strikes Back. Lucas even claims that he allowed his collaborator, Leigh Bracket, to work on Empire Strikes Back without telling her the twist ending he had in mind…which is a fascinating definition of 'collaboration'.

When Lucas created Star Wars: A New Hope, he didn't know that Darth was Luke's dad; that Ben Kenobi was a liar or that Luke and Leia were siblings. He certainly didn't know that the final end of the trilogy would involve Darth Vader turning good and killing the Emperor. He briefly entertained the possibility that Luke would die in the final battle! And, if he didn't know any of that, how could he possibly have had the plots of Episodes I - III planned out in his head? Did he really know, in 1972, that Episode II was going to involve a big fight between Yoda and a villain named Dookoo, when, by his own admission, Yoda was the result of a script writers conference in 1980? If he had known in 1977 that Luke was the son of the Chosen One (and that the Force was Out of Balance) don't you think he would have mentioned it?

That said, copies of the early draft of the Star Wars screenplay have long been available, and they do, indeed, have a certain amount in common with Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. Although the storylines are broadly similar to what eventually became Episode IV, some of the background is much more reminiscent of the prequels. They both have a lot of bargain basement mysticism about the nature of the force. Both early drafts refer to the Jedi's enemy being the 'Sith', a term not mentioned on screen until Phantom Menace. The Adventures of the Starkiller contains a fair bit of galactic politics. Perhaps this is what Lucas means when he says that the Prequels are films he had in mind from the beginning; perhaps he is saying that Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones are much closer to his original conception of Star Wars than Star Wars itself was.

If this is so, George Lucas stands revealed as one of a long and illustrious line of artists who has dedicated himself to ruining one of their great works—because they have totally failed to recognize what made it so great.

The draft versions of Star Wars, particularly The Adventures of the Star Killer are fair to middling sci fi fantasy adventures. They would have made decent 70s movies, to file alongside Logan's Run and Zardoz and forget about. Star Killer contains lots of mumbo jumbo and made up politics and a huge weight of backstory. Lucas—then if not now a skilled storyteller—had the sense to surgically remove all that material, and leave nothing but the bare skeleton of the story. Ever since, he has regretted cutting up his baby, and is now engaged in re-instating as much of the lost material as he possibly can. But he has completely failed to realize that it was precisely the 'cutting back' process that made Star Wars such a classic movie.

Star Wars works because almost every extraneous detail has been removed; so that we end up with something almost abstract. We might recognize it as an abstract diagram of the structure of stories even if we had never heard of Joseph Campbell. The word 'archetype' is over-used: it might be better to say that the Star Wars characters (Hero, Villain, Hero's Helper) its settings (Desert, Jungle) its back story and its tropes (Old Republic, Evil Empire, The Force) are vast, broad generalizations. If the backstory were to be sketched in this abstract quality would evaporate. But this is precisely what Lucas's intention seems to be: to turn the Old Republic from an abstract icon of a golden age into a generic city full of squabbling politicians; to turn Obi-Wan from the Hero's Mentor into a movie character; and to turn the Force from a brilliant symbol of religion into a bit of Dungeons and Dragons cod mythology.

Here is the description of the Force from 'Starkiller':

'In another time, long before the Empire, and before the Republic had been formed, a holy man called the Skywalker became aware of a powerful energy field which he believed influenced the destiny of all living creatures...after much study, he was able to know the force, and it communicated with him. He came to see things in a new way. His 'aura' and powers grew very strong. The Skywalker brought a new life to the people of his system, and became one of the founders of the Republic Galactic…As you know, the 'FORCE OF OTHERS' has two halves: Ashla, the good, and Bogan, the paraforce or evil part. Fortunately, Skywalker came to know the good half and was able to resist the paraforce; but he realized that if he taught others the way of the Ashla, some, with less strength, might come to know Bogan, the dark side, and bring un- thinkable suffering to the Universe. For this reason, the Skywalker entrusted the secret of THE FORCE only to his twelve children, and they in turn passed on the knowledge only to their children, who became known as the Jedi Bendu of the Ashla: 'the servants of the force'. For thousands of years, they brought peace and justice to the galaxy. At one time there were several hundred Jedi families, but now there are only two or three.'

Here is the equivalent passage from Star Wars:

'The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living beings. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together. For over a thousand generations, the Jedi were the Guardians of peace and justice in the old republic. Before the dark times, before the empire.'

The improvement is obvious. By saying almost nothing, the second version suggests everything. The first version is a cloth-eared lump movie bollocks, the sort of Mcguffin you could find in any computer game. The re-write is an inspired bit of sci-fi. The Force is all religions and none, a place-holder for Spirituality which can mean anything we want it to. The Ashla is just a Green Lantern power ring. And, brilliantly, 'The Force' defines Religion in Scientific terms. The Ashla is based around hippy sounding 'auras'; the Force on scientific sounding 'energy fields'.

It may be that while Lucas was writing Ben's lines he was thinking 'Well, I'm still talking about the Ashla, here: I'm just providing a summary. We'll cover the details if we do a sequel.' It may be that he was already thinking about Midichlorians, Sith, Jedi Temples, and Chosen Ones Who Will Bring Balance. It is very likely that he thinks that the exposition of the Force in Episodes I and II is simply elaborating the original vision, or articulating ideas which were already implicitly in Episode IV. His intention, with his sequels, and his special editions, and his threatened even more special editions, seems to be to re-write history; to convince us that when Alec Guinness told us about 'The Force', he was really talking about Ewan McGreggor's midichlorians.

The original movie was abstract and non-specific, and therefore it colonized the day dreams of a whole generation of children. It would not be too much to say that it put us in contact with the Deep Structure of Story, a framework on which we could and did hang almost anything we wanted. It is instructive to compare, say, the 1977 Marvel comics 'sequel' to Star Wars with Splinter of the Minds Eye or even the notorious Christmas Special. They are referring to different universes.

The prequel trilogy, on the other hand, is specific and crowded; and therefore, it will colonize the day dreams of no-one at all. We can internalize the simple structure of Star Wars and therefore feel that we are inside it: Attack of the Clones overwhelms us with specific detail. However exhilarated we may be, we are only ever on the outside looking in.

The prequel trilogy is supposed to provide a backstory for the originals. But the original films had their own back story, and it was a good one:

'A young Jedi named Darth Vader who was a pupil of mine before he turned to evil helped the Jedi hunt down and destroy the Jedi knights. He betrayed and murdered your father. Your uncle didn't hold with your fathers ideals; thought he should have stayed at home and not gotten involved. Your father's lightsaber. Your father wanted you to have this when you were old enough, but your uncle wouldn't allow it. He feared you might follow old Obi-Wan on some damn fool idealistic crusade, the same as you father'

Clear, coherent meaningful, and infinitely suggestive. Once upon, on a farm, there were two brothers, Owen and Anakin. One day, Ben the wizard came along, and asked them to become Jedi Knights and fight against the evil empire. Anakin went, but Owen stayed at home. Anakin had a baby son, and he left it with his brother to look after. Anakin was the best star pilot in the galaxy, and a good friend to Ben. He was not, in any sense, the messiah or the saviour of the universe. Ben also had another young apprentice, Darth. Darth was jealous of the master's hotshot new apprentice. He was consumed by the Dark Side of the Force, and murdered Anakin. He betrayed the Jedi to the evil Emperor. The dying Anakin gave his lightsabre to Ben, to pass onto his son. But when Ben goes home, Owen won't accept the lightsabre, and won't even tell the boy how his father died. The boy grows up in ignorance of his father, even though the scar on his forehead is purely metaphorical. And then, one day…

This is rather a good story, and its existence is an important part of the original power of Star Wars. The main purpose of Phantom Menace is to annihilate it: to make us forget we ever even imagined it.

I mourn its passing

stillakid
03-09-2005, 05:21 PM
So there. If you managed to take the time out of your life to read all of that, thank you. I wish I had written it. There's a lot to talk about in there and quite a bit of it is well covered territory.

As ROTS emerges and the discussion inevitably begins, many of the elements brought up here can be referred to easily.

Discuss.... :D

Mr. JabbaJohnL
03-09-2005, 06:24 PM
Congratulations! Someone already said everything you ever could or would. Please leave it alone, it's getting really old. Save your stuff for a forum for people who hate Star Wars; stop putting it on one dedicated to those who love it. Not to make this a personal attack or anything, but seriously, I'm getting tired of it. I know I'm not the only one.

stillakid
03-09-2005, 08:44 PM
:)

Blind devotion hasn't gone out of style, I see.

But really, John. You've got it all wrong. I LOVE Star Wars which is why I'm so hard on anything that pretends to be that which drew most of us here. I'm not going to wave pom-poms at everything that has Star Wars slapped on it as you apparently must.

By the way, did you even bother to read the above fully and take t e time to reflect on it, or is your faith in the saga that weak that you wouldn't dare endanger it by introducing questions?

Slicker
03-09-2005, 10:34 PM
Not a bad article Stilla. From what I could infer the author isn't even against the prequel trilogy he just merely sees the prequels as a completely different set of movies that shouldn't be associated with the originals. He brought up several interesting lines from the Holy Trilogy that Lucas must should and must clear up. The two that come to mind are Luke on Dagobah saying the place looks familiar and Anakin wanting Luke to have his lightsaber when he was old enough.

So, JJL I'm gonna have to say from what I read in this article, although it points out deficiences in the prequels, the author doesn't explicitly state that he hates the movies in fact if I read it correctly he stated several things about the prequels that he actually liked.

stillakid
03-10-2005, 12:20 AM
Thanks for that. And as I brought up in a different thread, the author brings up an interesting idea that ANH and ESB weren't really what George wanted in the first place...that the Prequels are far closer to his original intent than the OT films ever were. A frightening thought, for sure, being that artistically and commercially, the OT films are far superior in just about every respect. But it does teach a lesson in perspective if nothing else.

mabudonicus
03-10-2005, 08:48 AM
WHEW I can't believe I read the whole thing....
Very well put together, to be sure, I would have to agree with most of it...
The authors opinions on the concept of the non-existent backstory in the OT is interesting, and I think it is pretty much bang-on, the PT does have a whole lot of intended "significance", making some scenes totally dependant on the viewers' being so in awe of the simple facts being presented that the fact that NOTHING is happening (or even worse, that what is occuring makes no real sense in the context of the rest of the piece) doesn't matter.... which is hoping for a LOT on the part of GL

ALSO I found the criticism of the non-character-based "outline" for the PT to be quite deserved as well..... The weird sterility of the relationships between the principles (all 3 of em) always bugged me... (this is the main reason I can't stand any Trek other than the first 5 films and the original series, the characters in TNG and beyond always seemed to be components of a rigidly structured,authoritarian "whole", rather than a team of diverse personalities which, despitet their differences, work together to form a functional team of some sort)

Thanks for posting this Stilla

(and Mr.JJL, I,too, love SW so don't look so cross ;))
:beard:

Droid
03-10-2005, 10:19 AM
I thought that was a truly great, well thought out piece. Whether you agree with the author on every point, it sure was thought provoking. I am going to pass it around to some friends that don't visit SirSteve's.

I particularly disagreed with his analysis that Luke was a failure because his last line of dialogue in the trilogy was a grief filled statement that he would not abandon his father. I think the author is inserting some symbolism that no one intended then or now. Though if you were going to buy that line of thinking, the author should have pointed out that Leia redeems Luke at the last minute by pulling him away from the ghosts to rejoin his friends and the living. Whereas, the Mother/Lover the author discussed never had any real impact in the trilogy and it was all about fathers, maybe the feminine had it's great triumph at the end of the movie by pulling the Hero's head out of the clouds and the past.

Stillakid, I know you have long said if the movies continued you think Luke had to turn to the Dark Side and could only be redeemed by Leia. Maybe that tug Leia gave Luke was the symbolic telling of that entire story.

I really don't know why people give stillakid so much grief. I don't see why someone has to love everything that happens in Star Wars in order to be a fan who loves Star Wars. If people don't like his posts, don't read them. I am personally glad that there are those on these threads who want to debate how good things are. I have debated stillakid on various points and I think what frustrates some of us is that you better have your stuff together before you argue with him. I think it aggravates a lot of us when we think he is wrong but the best we can do is tell him we think he is wrong and then accuse him of not liking Star Wars. Kind of like the author wrote about dismissing any argument about Dr. Who by saying "wobbly sets". This wouldn't be a very interesting forum for discussion if the only question was, "What do you love most about everything George Lucas has done?" Don't get me wrong, I think stillakid is wrong sometimes, but why do people take these things personally? (stillakid, I know you don't need me to defend you)

I think the points that really hit home were about how viewers pretty much have to ignore everything Obi-wan says about the past in a New Hope. Lucas addressed on screen in Jedi the "betrayed and murdered your father" business, but so much more of it will probably be left hanging by the prequels - "he wanted you to have this when you were old enough", "afraid you'd follow old Obi-wan on some damn fool idealistic crusade like your father did", "didn't take with your father's ideals, thought he should have stayed here and not gotten involved" "your father was the best starfighter pilot in the galaxy, and a good friend". All of that will probably just not match up with the prequels. We'll see if I'm wrong. And don't get me started (because I've discussed it before) about how Obi-wan's JEDI speech doesn't match with the prequels much at all - "When I first knew him your father was already a great pilot, but I was amazed at how strong the Force with with him. I took it upon myself to train him as a Jedi. I believed that I could train him just as well as Yoda. I was wrong."

The interesting part about the article though was that the author seems to take issue with everything but a New Hope. It ties in well to the other thread about how A New Hope is the least like Star Wars. I think the author doesn't like that Vader was Luke's father because it betrayed the dialogue of a New Hope. I'm guessing the author did not think Luke and Ben's conversation in Jedi fixed things. There are clear disparities in the story of a New Hope and Empire and even more between Empire and Jedi. In Empire Obi-wan does not seem to know of the "other", though some will argue Obi-wan didn't consider a viable option as opposed to him not knowing about Leia, but I think it implies he didn't know. It becomes more interesting to think that Obi-wan, even as a ghost, wouldn't know about Leia until Yoda told him in Empire. I'll be interested to see if Lucas has Obi-wan not know about Leia in Episode III and if for some reason Leia would remember Padme while Luke wouldn't. PLEASE, NO SPOILERS FOLKS, I'M SPECULATING, and enjoying doing it.

On a side note, Vader knows in Jedi Luke has a sister, but does he know it is Leia? I think he does, but it is not made clear in the films.

Also, when Vader died, do you think he was filled with regret and remorse or do you think he died at peace with the fact that he was redeemed?

stillakid
03-10-2005, 12:59 PM
First, thank you for your kind words, Droid. :)


The interesting part about the article though was that the author seems to take issue with everything but a New Hope.

Again, I think it depends on your perspective on this. The author seems to take the same view of critique that I do in that because ANH was the first story out of the gate, it established the continuity that any future projects have to live by. Any change at all would be the fault of those later films, not of A New Hope. So unless there is a technical or continuity flaw self-contained within A New Hope itself to discuss, there is no good reason to penalize ANH for any story or character problems that arise later on.

Others that I've had discussions with argue that because all the films are labeled "Star Wars," they all have to be considered "canon" and all the apparent continuity/character problems have to be explained away or rationalized as being "correct" no matter what. In other words, according to "them," there are no problems at all by virtue of the fact that all the films by definition are Star Wars. I don't agree.



On a side note, Vader knows in Jedi Luke has a sister, but does he know it is Leia? I think he does, but it is not made clear in the films.

Yeah, it's not clear, but I don't think that it really matters. The implication is that if Luke does lose here and the Rebels fail to blow up the Death Star, Vader could eventually find out who the sister is. It's the threat that is the important thing to the story at hand. The details of how such a threat would come to fruition are irrelevant.

Which, by the way, is what our author was explaining seems to be the overriding problem with the Prequels. The OT films set up a fairly specific continuity of events as well as established characters with relatively ambiguous backgrounds. Instead of writing Prequel stories that enhance the established story and characters, George chose to offer a fairly rote plotline which unnecessarily filled in details that weren't necessary...and worse, they detract from and sometimes conflict with the established continuity of the OT.

So to your question, if there were a Post-quel "Infinities" story in which Vader won that battle and did go looking for the sister, it wouldn't have the limitations placed on it that the Prequels do (or should have) except for not suddenly altering, say, Leia's personality or something.


Also, when Vader died, do you think he was filled with regret and remorse or do you think he died at peace with the fact that he was redeemed?

Again, it's conjecture for each viewer because it isn't spelled out, but I personally think it was both. One is bound to have deep regret over past atrocities committed, but at the same time, overwhelming joy for having overcome that kind of inner demon. The nice thing about that scene is that it wasn't overdone with a sappy monologue from Anakin about how sorry he was and all of that. I'm sure he was. But we get the message in a very succinct and moving way through just a few words...."Luke, you were right...you were right about me. Tell your sister, you were right." Less is more. The Prequels are proving to be in direct violition of that idea.

Mr. JabbaJohnL
03-10-2005, 04:44 PM
Yes, I read it. Well, most of it. About 4/5 of it.

Anyway, I think this dude is reading into it WAAAAAAAY too much. I recently re-read the old issue of TIME that came out before TPM was released, and George said that a lot of people were putting themes and things in there that really weren't. For instance, saying that Padmé is Anakin's replacement for a mohter, and he rushes away to find his real one, and all that junk.

I'm glad that you like this guy's writing, but I don't. I realize you have as much right to post your opinion as anyone else, but as I said before, it's getting old . . .

And when you say you love SW, not to be extreme, but that's like someone saying they love their family but hitting them all the time anyway because they did something you disagree with.

Where's JJB when I need him? :ermm:


On a side note, Vader knows in Jedi Luke has a sister, but does he know it is Leia? I think he does, but it is not made clear in the films.

"Your thoughts are with your friends. Your feelings for them are strong . . . especially for sister." This shows that Vader knows that Luke's sister is on Endor with his other friends (Han, Chewie, etc.) so I'll say it's a safe bet that he knows it's Leia.

stillakid
03-10-2005, 11:11 PM
Yes, I read it. Well, most of it. About 4/5 of it.

Anyway, I think this dude is reading into it WAAAAAAAY too much. I recently re-read the old issue of TIME that came out before TPM was released, and George said that a lot of people were putting themes and things in there that really weren't. For instance, saying that Padmé is Anakin's replacement for a mohter, and he rushes away to find his real one, and all that junk.

I'm glad that you like this guy's writing, but I don't. I realize you have as much right to post your opinion as anyone else, but as I said before, it's getting old . . .

And when you say you love SW, not to be extreme, but that's like someone saying they love their family but hitting them all the time anyway because they did something you disagree with.

Where's JJB when I need him? :ermm:

He got tired of actually discussing the film too and decided that he would seek out yes-men to hang with instead. To each his own.


But as far as putting meaning into these things, it is Lucas himself who has pushed the idea that there are mythologies and stuff weaved throughout the saga. You know, all that Flash Gordon and Hero's journey "crap." So it isn't just critics and over-zealous fans artificially injecting meaning into a superficial space-romp. Lucas did it himself...well, with a generous dose of help from Huyck, Katz, and Kasdan in the early years. Maybe Lucas didn't put that level of meaning into the Prequels...it is quite possible that he isn't a good enough writer to pull it off. Though, he does have that doozie, "Looks like a storm is a'comin' Ani." :rolleyes: Yeah, he's deep alright.

But as far as general critique goes, are you proclaiming that the entire Star Wars saga...all 640 minutes of it so far...is 100% perfect? You are 100% happy with every frame? There's nothing at all you could ever raise ire about? If so, you just might have a job waiting for you up at Lucasfilm. ;)



"Your thoughts are with your friends. Your feelings for them are strong . . . especially for sister." This shows that Vader knows that Luke's sister is on Endor with his other friends (Han, Chewie, etc.) so I'll say it's a safe bet that he knows it's Leia.

No, not really. But then again, it's open for conjecture. Talk about reading into something, eh? All Vader was saying was that he could "sense" Luke's feelings (energy rumblings in the Force or something) and he could identify only that those feelings were for his friends. Theoretically Vader might be able to subjectively connect the dots and decide that maybe some of those friends were part of the rebel landing party, but not necessarily. And the sister thing is entirely separate from that. The feelings were general for his friends as well as his sister. Vader had no way of knowing where any of them were. You're reading something into that line of dialogue that just isn't there. Ever hear of the pot calling the kettle black? Or is that too deep for you?

JediTricks
03-11-2005, 06:27 PM
We've been told nothing about Jedi taking vows of celibacy up to this point: indeed, the idea of the Force running strong in particular families would seem to speak against it.Ooh, that's a good point, as is the point surrounding it which I didn't quote.



Again, I don't think that it is controversial to say that we are meant to be identifying with Anakin throughout the first trilogy, and that our capacity to enjoy the movie depends on the extent to which we can do so. Lucas wanted to direct Phantom Menace at a young audience, and was therefore probably correct to give the movie a very young main character: Anakin's is a role which the average nine-year old can imagine himself into without difficulty. On the whole, when I was watching the film, I was able to project myself into Anakin, since he seemed so much to be fulfilling my fantasies as nine year old Star Wars fan (he gets his own space ship to play with, gets to build his own robot, and then gets taken off to become a Jedi Knight—for real.) I still maintain that Lucas dropped the ball when he changed Ani from an early teen to a 9-year-old played by a 7-year-old. Kids don't need someone their own age to identify with, they identify well with late-teens because that seems to be the age which they wish to be "right now", free to do what they want but not a stuffy old adult. The original Star Wars was extremely popular with kids and there's nobody in the film under 18. It's more believable that Ani would be a great racecar driver and pilot if he were a little older: no farmer in the real world lets his 8 year old drive the tractor, but some early teens are indeed given that job, that's a big difference for only a few scant years and I think Lucas went the wrong way.



The Star Wars films are therefore based on a deeply ambivalent view of psychology. The Hero is trapped in an irresolvable double bind. To grow up, he has to be reconciled with his father: but once he has been reconciled with him, he can't leave him behind; and he is reduced, for ever afterwards, to the role of son. The flawed Hero is, at bottom, a little boy who cannot grow up; the ideal avatar for generations of Star Wars fans. I'm not sure this one is fair, Luke tries to save his father and eventually burns his corpse, then acknowledges his father's dead spirit one last time to move forward to the future with his friends, and we see his dead father figures' ghosts happy at the prospect.



Star Wars is... thirdly a patchwork history of a not very interesting science fiction setting. Ouch, damn! I think it IS an interesting sci-fi setting, especially as a cinematic setting (ok, I don't think the prequels are as interesting a setting unfortunately, but they're really a different setting altogether I feel).


The film naturally plays to the strengths of the computer animation process. The special effects in Attack of the Clones are not 'better' than those in Return of the Jedi. The spaceships in Return of the Jedi look real; you can't actually improve on that. What the new film can give you is MORE special effects. A computer can give you a hundred or a thousand Stormtroopers, where miniatures and extras can only manage ten. That tends to give us very crowded screens; and to me, a thousand battle robots is less dramatic than a single invincible Death Star. In that sense, the capabilities of the CGI process did rather dictated the contents of the film. This is an excellent point. I wish Lucas were more willing to rely on practial special effects that were then enhanced by CGI special effects, rather than trying to do it all on the computer.


It is true that some of the source material for the Coruscant car chase in Attack of the Clones did seem to be Judge Dredd, Blade Runner, Fifth Element; and the assassin-eels looked as if they had wandered in from Alien or Wrath of Kahn. It might be thought a pity if Star Wars is reduced to pastiching post-Star Wars sci fi movies.

I also felt that some of the pastiche was a little too banal, so that the Jedi archive looks too much like a modern public library and the civilian transportation looks too much like the interior of a subway. This implies, to me, a failure of imagination, a failure to see that everything in the Star Wars universe must be, not only bigger, but also more heroic than that in real life. I feel very strongly about these 2 points, I'm way into the techy life of the Star Wars universe and the latter point rings true to me, though I wonder if the problem is in the people Lucas chose to bring those things to life in the prequels rather than Lucas' own lack of imagination - looking at McQuarrie's concept art it seems as if he really "got" what Lucas' rather limited words were saying, while conversely it seems looking at the prequels' concept art as if someone is imposing their own vision or borrowing from untapped-to-SW sources and came up with something unrelated to what Lucas' words were saying.

As for the former point, that has bothered me since day 1 of seeing AOTC, we've discussed it a lot, but pointing out that borrowing from films that came after SW is an error on Lucas' part is a solid part of the argument which I've never seen quite expressed that way before (or maybe it has and it's been 3 years so I forgot ;)).

That author also has his comments on AOTC's plot failures down pat, I just wanted to make a quick reference to that as I think about the months of arguments I read in our AOTC forums after May of 2002.


I have, to coin a phrase, a bad feeling that Attack of the Clones only existed as a vehicle for its back story. George Lucas had some notes about the political structure of the Galactic Empire and the relationship of the Jedi to the Sith and he jolly well wanted to explain them to the audience. Plot and characters were secondary to that world-building aim.. He'd decided that the Death Star was designed by some people called the Geonosians; and decided to work this into the movie. But 'worked in' means 'stated, alluded to, dangled in front of the viewers nose': It doesn't actually have any purpose or role in the story. Yes, Star Wars aficionados get a certain sort of pleasure from noticing that the representative of the Techno-Union has a breath mask reminiscent of Darth Vader's; but he's only in the story is so that aficionados can notice him. It all feels flung together, like Lucas is trying to retro-fit the old films to his new vision of the setting. Another interesting arugment which I'm not sure I've seen pointed out before. If this is Lucas' intention, I really hate it because the OT didn't need this meddling before the prequels, Lucas only didn't like a few elements of ANH to begin with yet now he's shuffling everything up - that's not right or neccesary in my eyes, it's a waste of the audience's time and unfair to the already-completed story.


Lucas's failure to understand what made his original movies tick is immense. Go back and watch the films, particularly the first one, and what strikes you are the chemistry between the five main human characters, with a bit of a comic relief from the metal ones.... This survives into Empire Strikes Back, about a third of which is about the sexual tension between Han and Leia, and even into the slightly more cardboard Return of the Jedi.... Now, granted, Attack of the Clones has a better stab at creating some characters than Phantom Menace: but they never sparkle. They are primarily there to go through the motions of advancing the plot.... There is no group dynamic, only a collection of plot-coupons. Awesome point, awesome! This has bothered me since day 1, I remember quite clearly we all discussed this back in the day, but this paragraph is so well-executed that it renders all that discussion moot I think. It also successfully points out the failure that ROTJ has in that department, something which people generally point out only in the smallest manner possible when discussing why that film doesn't work (see, it's an OT-dig folks, it happens! :p). I think this is one of the biggest things that works with ANH and ESB and fails with the rest, those 2 are considered the best films in the saga and the others are generally considered sub-quality, is it possible that this is the secret key which all the rest is rendered insignificant by? Perhaps so.



12: Obi-Wan, assuming that Vader is dead, goes to Tatooine, partly because it is remote and partly because he gets to be near the Anakin's child. Presumably, it is a few years before he finds out that Vader survived and has acquired a suit of armour and a breath mask.

I trust that is all perfectly clear. Nope, I don't buy that Ben thinks Vader is dead between Ep 3 and just-prior-to-Ep 4, not even a little. Why would Ben watch over Luke, why would Ben be in hiding, why wouldn't Ben have made a move sooner, wouldn't Ben have noticed this infamous Darth Vader character in the holonet newsfeeds for years and years?


Lucas's decision to kill him off seems to have been taken very much at the last minute. It didn't happen because it was part of his Total Vision that Ben should merge with the Force. It happened because he was too good a film maker to have a character wandering about with no real purpose in the storyline. I thought Ben was killed because Guiness suggested it as a better way to go since he was so displeased with the character's (counter)development from the preview script he got to the actual shooting script.

Finally, on the last entry in this thread, "Little Orphan Anakin: A Certain Point of View", I would say that the author there really lays down what's wrong so brilliantly. It is a great argument that I really hope someone will think through before just replying "it's only a kids film", as if kids deserve only cheap worthless pap because they're too stupid and nondiscerning to tell the difference between a great movie and a crap movie -- I'm not suggesting that any Star Wars film is this moron-mush by the way, I'm saying that anybody using the argument "it's only a kids film" is suggesting it.

I'll be honest, the comments this author had has inspired me to think more about Star Wars, while reading the items in this thread's original posts I thought up 2 separate new Star Wars topics and posted them even though it's taken me 3 hours just to read up to post #8 (I also have other stuff going on, if you're wondering how it could take anybody 3 hours to digest this stuff)



The two that come to mind are Luke on Dagobah saying the place looks familiar... That's interesting you say that, because while I was reading the thread before I got to your post, I actually started a whole new thread about that very subject and why I feel it explains itself without help: http://forums.sirstevesguide.com/showthread.php?t=26990



On a side note, Vader knows in Jedi Luke has a sister, but does he know it is Leia? I think he does, but it is not made clear in the films.I don't think Vader had any idea, he says "... especially for... sister! So, you have a twin sister!" He plays it as if he didn't know there was a sister at all, not that Luke has just revealed that Leia is his sister. Vader knows who Leia is already, they've met and had words, if he knew it was her at that point he could have made comment about how he tortured her or something, an even more pointed barb to get under Luke's skin.


This shows that Vader knows that Luke's sister is on Endor with his other friends (Han, Chewie, etc.) so I'll say it's a safe bet that he knows it's Leia. I don't think it shows that, Vader doesn't say that Luke's thoughts are on his friends "ON ENDOR", just that the thoughts are on his friends that need saving. If the Death Star 2 survives the battle, everybody in the galaxy will need saving, and Luke probably has friends on other planets still. For all we know, Luke was thinking of Cammie and Tank too (they're crappy friends though ;)).

JediTricks
03-11-2005, 06:29 PM
And when you say you love SW, not to be extreme, but that's like someone saying they love their family but hitting them all the time anyway because they did something you disagree with. Dude, you were already treading on thin ice in this thread by singling stilla out, you didn't have to read or respond to this, but this above comment is pretty much as far as it goes - you've had your negative comment about stilla's personality, that's a PERSONAL attack. What I think is weird is how you equate stilla with a family member of Star Wars when he's just a fan like the rest of us. If anybody is acting like they say they love SW but are beating it all the time it's Lucas, he's the dad. Stilla is just another fan with an opinion, no different from you or SirSteve or JJB, yet his opinon is passionate enough to put in the time and effort to explain his feelings - anybody who hated Star Wars the way you claim wouldn't bother. You need to stick to discussing the context of the thread and not the personalities, or just don't post in this thread at all.

That goes for you too Stilla, that JJB comment was unneccesary. Please don't make the mods start editing or deleting a bunch of posts.

Both of you, there is no more discussion on this, PM me if you want more say but this is IT for the public forum.

2-1B
03-12-2005, 05:26 AM
It is a great argument that I really hope someone will think through before just replying "it's only a kids film", as if kids deserve only cheap worthless pap because they're too stupid and nondiscerning to tell the difference between a great movie and a crap movie

Personally, I do think kids are stupid. Not all of them, but most of them. I could cite examples, such as a recent weekend spent with a friend who has kids and if you were to hear some of their "interpretations" of the films, and I'm talking about the OT now, you would laugh. This is but one of many encounters I've had.

Yes, in general I do think kids are stupid. :)

stillakid
03-12-2005, 10:03 AM
Personally, I do think kids are stupid. Not all of them, but most of them. I could cite examples, such as a recent weekend spent with a friend who has kids and if you were to hear some of their "interpretations" of the films, and I'm talking about the OT now, you would laugh. This is but one of many encounters I've had.

Yes, in general I do think kids are stupid. :)

To an extent, yeah. But the way "kids" are going to both view a movie and then be able to subjectively critique it is vastly different than how an educated adult will. But that doesn't mean they don't know a good story when they see it...or a bad one. The only real difference is in their ability to understand the why's and why not's of their opinion and then the skill to articulate it.

So when I or you were kids, we may have gone to Star Wars and been dazzled at the cool stuff on screen and then gone to school to tell the other kid's how "cool" it was. As an adult, we would see it, then deconstruct it to then be able to tell others a bit more than, "it was cool." But I knew a bad movie back then when I saw it. I may not have been able to fully explain the ins and outs of what the differences were (between it and something like Star Wars) but I knew. When choosing from the DVD shelf at home, my own son (10 years old) is far more likely to pull something like Remember the Titans off the shelf than Episode I. He may not be able to tell any of us exactly why he chooses it over TPM, but he intuitively knows a better story when he sees it. Kids aren't as dumb as Lucas thinks they are...maybe his own kids are, but I don't believe most fall into that category.

scruffziller
03-12-2005, 02:18 PM
Though, he does have that doozie, "Looks like a storm is a'comin' Ani." :rolleyes: Yeah, he's deep alright.


HEE HEE HEE!!!!:D
That gave me belly laughs.........



You are 100% happy with every frame? There's nothing at all you could ever raise ire about? If so, you just might have a job waiting for you up at Lucasfilm. ;)


Whoah that was low................:sur: :D


Watching A New Hope, we imagined that the Old Republic which Ben and Darth Vader inhabited would be something more epic, grander and more operatic than Star Wars. (The Old Republic was the republic of legend; no reason to ask why it existed, only to say that it was the Republic.) But the republic which we see is in fact rather banal: skyscrapers and Jedi temples, bickering politicians…finally, seedy nightclubs, coach stations, coffee bars and car chases. Star Wars was a fairy tale: this is just a sci fi movie. Corsuscant: is only New York with flying cars. Mos Eisley might as well have been Shangri La.


In a nutshell, that paragraph proves my "prequel stories are bunk" theory/law.


George Lucas admits that Vader's wounding of Luke in The Empire Strikes Back is symbolic castration. We have to be careful with this. When Freud talks about the boys fear of being castrated by his father, he does not literally mean that young men expect their fathers to chop their willies off. 'Castration' represents the fear that Dad will prevent you from being a full man; that he will punish you if you assert your independence, that you have to escape from, or even kill Dad before your manhood is safe. Vader is a 'castrating' figure in this sense: what is finally terrifying about him is not that he blows up planets, but that he wants Luke's identity to be subsumed in his. 'Come with me…We will rule the galaxy as Father and Son. The Son of Skywalker will not become a Jedi. He will join us or die. It is the only way. It is your destiny.' Obi-Wan literally disappeared from Luke's life when he had taught him what he needed to know: the good father knows when it is time to step aside. Luke does not want to remain merely 'the Son of Skywalker', but to become a person in his own right. Ultimately, by taking Vader's mask off, he sees that the person underneath is no longer frightening or dominating. The redeemed Vader has turned from the Bad Father to the Good Father, and like Obi-Wan, he too must step aside and yet Luke become a person in his own right. At the end of the trilogy, Luke has stepped out of Vader's shadow and become a Jedi.

Whoah,............ that paragraph hit a nerve with me.:zzz: If any of you are familiar with the info of my life with my father that I have posted on here you will understand why. As well as the part of the Bad father to the good. As I have lived outside of home for about 10 years now, the man I used to call Hitler(my father) really no longer exists now.


The Star Wars films are therefore based on a deeply ambivalent view of psychology. The Hero is trapped in an irresolvable double bind. To grow up, he has to be reconciled with his father: but once he has been reconciled with him, he can't leave him behind; and he is reduced, for ever afterwards, to the role of son. The flawed Hero is, at bottom, a little boy who cannot grow up; the ideal avatar for generations of Star Wars fans.


So is he say that even after we have completed the quest and reconciled that we still will never escape imperfection, thus the legacy of humanity?:Ponder:


There were very few moments where it was obvious to my untrained eye that I was watching computer animation. Some scenes, especially the Jedi council had a quality of unnaturally sharpness which gave me a sense of it 'not being quite real'. (This may have been an artefact of the Leicester Square Odeon's ultra high teach projection system.) CGI creatures occasionally have a specific, slightly mechanical way of walking which distinguishes them from, say, the slight jerkiness of a Ray Haryhausen monster pic. (I particularly noticed this as Yoda walked offstage in the background of the Jedi councils first meeting with Palpatine.)



Ha! That slams GL's snide comment in the ROTJ DVD commentary about fans saying that CGI charachters don't look real. In fact, GL hangs himself in the statement saying "at least if its believable". In which the paragraph says that it is not. Except the Clone Troopers, they had me fooled, and still do.


I have the sense of a man who is forever frustrated that he can't make the pictures which he sees in his head come to life on the screen.

Geez, ain't that the truth.....lol That is blatantly evident of his behavior profile in the Empire of Dreams documentary while filming ANH.

To all you guys, especially Stillakid.:

With the analysis in hand of the prequels showing that there is deep meaning in them as much(if not more) than the OT, did GL stumble onto that through his subconcious if he is a bad writer? Or are we underestimating him?




Others that I've had discussions with argue that because all the films are labeled "Star Wars," they all have to be considered "canon" and all the apparent continuity/character problems have to be explained away or rationalized as being "correct" no matter what. In other words, according to "them," there are no problems at all by virtue of the fact that all the films by definition are Star Wars. I don't agree.

What is the flipside Stilla? What do you suggest we do then? You don't agree? What do you agree on? Without saying that GL should have done it right the first time.:D In other words, where do we go from here if we can't change what is there except maybe add something to fill in the holes?

Turambar
03-12-2005, 05:52 PM
[QUOTE=JediTricks]

I thought Ben was killed because Guiness suggested it as a better way to go since he was so displeased with the character's (counter)development from the preview script he got to the actual shooting script.

QUOTE]

Yeah, everything I'd ever read about Alec Guinness reported that he hated the movie and demanded being killed off as so his role would only be minor in the other 2 films. So, I don't think he's correct on that point.

I also don't like that the author says the only arguments against the prequels were jar jar sucked, and the cgi sucked. Although, I thought it was a great article, and hit on some very deep points about the saga that Lucas himself was probably not aware of, I also think a lot of it had been covered here in the forums several times.

Mr. JabbaJohnL
03-12-2005, 08:08 PM
You're reading something into that line of dialogue that just isn't there. Ever hear of the pot calling the kettle black? Or is that too deep for you?
Speaking of the pot calling the kettle black! I infer that Vader realizes Leia is his daughter because she's Luke's friend of whom he's thinking, that makes me totally stupid. But when you put themes in the movie that just aren't there, you're frickin' brilliant! Please explain how that works, without getting all riled up.

2-1B
03-13-2005, 12:06 AM
To an extent, yeah. But the way "kids" are going to both view a movie and then be able to subjectively critique it is vastly different than how an educated adult will. But that doesn't mean they don't know a good story when they see it...or a bad one. The only real difference is in their ability to understand the why's and why not's of their opinion and then the skill to articulate it.

So when I or you were kids, we may have gone to Star Wars and been dazzled at the cool stuff on screen and then gone to school to tell the other kid's how "cool" it was. As an adult, we would see it, then deconstruct it to then be able to tell others a bit more than, "it was cool." But I knew a bad movie back then when I saw it. I may not have been able to fully explain the ins and outs of what the differences were (between it and something like Star Wars) but I knew. When choosing from the DVD shelf at home, my own son (10 years old) is far more likely to pull something like Remember the Titans off the shelf than Episode I. He may not be able to tell any of us exactly why he chooses it over TPM, but he intuitively knows a better story when he sees it. Kids aren't as dumb as Lucas thinks they are...maybe his own kids are, but I don't believe most fall into that category.

stillakid, if that's the case then I hope your son is taking advanced classes because I assure you that is NOT the norm. :D
I thought of using a similar DVD shelf analogy in my post except I was going to go the opposite way, as in many kids I know of might have Star Wars there alongside tons of other junk like Power Rangers, Spongebob, etc. lol
And yes, I know I'll catch hell for dissing Spongebob. ;)

Anyway, if your boy prefers Remember the Titans to The Phantom Menace, good on him. :)

JediTricks
03-13-2005, 10:00 PM
Personally, I do think kids are stupid. Not all of them, but most of them. I could cite examples, such as a recent weekend spent with a friend who has kids and if you were to hear some of their "interpretations" of the films, and I'm talking about the OT now, you would laugh. This is but one of many encounters I've had.

Yes, in general I do think kids are stupid. :)
I'm sorry to hear you feel that way. I think there's a misconception that just because kids don't yet know how to properly express themselves that they are dumb, kids are easily excited and have an immature sense of humor because they haven't experienced that much, so many things are fresh and new to them. It's my opinion that too many of those who create movies for children feel that kids are mainly little morons whose empty heads and wallets full of allowance make them easy marks, that you don't have to work hard to get their money, so when you feed the kids enough stupid garbage they begin to reflect it and create a downward spiral creating kids who just get dumber and dumber each time until they grow up into dumb adults and create children of their own through more susceptible to the stupidity-spiral process. I think kids generally start brilliant and become stupid through being fed stupidity over and over.


With the analysis in hand of the prequels showing that there is deep meaning in them as much(if not more) than the OT, did GL stumble onto that through his subconcious if he is a bad writer? Or are we underestimating him?It took me 3 passes on this sentence to understand what you mean, but I think I got it. I think we're selling Buck Rogers and its serial ilk short, whether we notice it or not the concepts discussed here ARE in those films, but they didn't need to be analyzed to be delivered, they came from the creative process as-is. I think the difference between Lucas now and then is that now he is overly-analytical of his reasoning and too afraid to bring in someone to cut bad ideas and focus good ones via a partner or a producer or a writer, which leads him to hire only toadying yes-men. I don't think Lucas sat down to write TPM and said to himself "I want to explore the nature of leaving childhood to become a young man through the psychological trials of separation and fear", he just started writing what was there and those were universal concepts within them. In this thread, we are analyzing the sun for its heat and then separately for its light, but the fusion process there creates both because they are intrinsically linked. You may write a story about dragons playing cards and never stop to consider that your story has a universal depth to it spawning from man's fear of the unknown and power to create that very fear, and reflecting upon that fear's ability to be just as meaningless when viewed on a totally different plane.

(lemme guess, that makes no sense to you guys, huh? ;))



But when you put themes in the movie that just aren't there, you're frickin' brilliant!The point is that many of these themes are there, they just didn't need to be artificially placed there to exist. Look at a fairy tale like Jack & the Beanstalk, it is a story about a giant, a cow, magic beans, and a huge beanstalk, but it's also about young man whose innocence gets him into trouble and resourcefulness eventually gets him out of it better than when he started, and it's also about human nature in the face of poverty and unknown and fear and danger, none of which have to be spelled out for those themes to exist and none of which had to be artificially generated when the story was being written.

scruffziller
03-13-2005, 10:19 PM
It took me 3 passes on this sentence to understand what you mean, but I think I got it. I think we're selling Buck Rogers and its serial ilk short, whether we notice it or not the concepts discussed here ARE in those films, but they didn't need to be analyzed to be delivered, they came from the creative process as-is. I think the difference between Lucas now and then is that now he is overly-analytical of his reasoning and too afraid to bring in someone to cut bad ideas and focus good ones via a partner or a producer or a writer, which leads him to hire only toadying yes-men. I don't think Lucas sat down to write TPM and said to himself "I want to explore the nature of leaving childhood to become a young man through the psychological trials of separation and fear", he just started writing what was there and those were universal concepts within them. In this thread, we are analyzing the sun for its heat and then separately for its light, but the fusion process there creates both because they are intrinsically linked. You may write a story about dragons playing cards and never stop to consider that your story has a universal depth to it spawning from man's fear of the unknown and power to create that very fear, and reflecting upon that fear's ability to be just as meaningless when viewed on a totally different plane.

(lemme guess, that makes no sense to you guys, huh? ;))


Yea you got it. I read what I wrote and it seems a little wary but I didn't read it coming out that way when I wrote it.:D I agree with your answer. He stumbled into them.:D

JediTricks
03-13-2005, 11:58 PM
It's like breathing: you don't generally think about it and you didn't have to learn to do it, you just do it, yet it's an integral part of what makes you tick.

Imperial Monarche
03-14-2005, 12:43 AM
:)

Blind devotion hasn't gone out of style, I see.

But really, John. You've got it all wrong. I LOVE Star Wars which is why I'm so hard on anything that pretends to be that which drew most of us here. I'm not going to wave pom-poms at everything that has Star Wars slapped on it as you apparently must.

By the way, did you even bother to read the above fully and take t e time to reflect on it, or is your faith in the saga that weak that you wouldn't dare endanger it by introducing questions?

I took the time to read alot of it, and from what I read, the author has some great points. I liked how he took the typical critizisms of AOTC and talked about why those aren't necessarily good reasons to complain and which are the good reasons to say where AOTC is flawed. I also took it that the author seems to have genuine gripes about the prequals, but he doesn't hate them either. Just somewhat disappointed.

I still stand by my opinion of the PT and OT and that will never change, all posts like that do, where there's some critizism, I just see what people think from different point of views. I like the PT and the OT, but I don't think either of them are perfect, which is just fine with me. They entertain me and I see nothing wrong with the plots in any of the Star Wars films. The thing is, when people complain on these forums or on tv (i.e. critics), they are just talking in the wind because they are just falling on deaf ears of George Lucas. He said something on the 60 Minutes special that really made me think, "Good for you, George." The interviewer was talking about how there's been alot of complaints about the prequals and he replied something to the effect of, if I painted my house white and alot of people disagreed, saying that it should be painted green, it doesn't really matter to me because I wanted it to be white. True, it may have been better if it were painted green, but I still like it for myself better as white, so why should I have to change it just because other people think I'm wrong.

Think about that.

2-1B
03-14-2005, 05:06 AM
I'm sorry to hear you feel that way. I think there's a misconception that just because kids don't yet know how to properly express themselves that they are dumb, kids are easily excited and have an immature sense of humor because they haven't experienced that much, so many things are fresh and new to them. It's my opinion that too many of those who create movies for children feel that kids are mainly little morons whose empty heads and wallets full of allowance make them easy marks, that you don't have to work hard to get their money, so when you feed the kids enough stupid garbage they begin to reflect it and create a downward spiral creating kids who just get dumber and dumber each time until they grow up into dumb adults and create children of their own through more susceptible to the stupidity-spiral process. I think kids generally start brilliant and become stupid through being fed stupidity over and over.

Why are you sorry to hear that I feel that way ? You said that they haven't experienced much, have an immature sense of humor, and don't yet know how to express themselves . . . well to me that reflects being somehwat . . . well, "dumb." :D

Jeez, it's not like I'm faulting kids for being that way. They're kids for crying out loud. And by the way there's a remedy for those traits you mentioned, it's called LEARNING. :)

stillakid
03-14-2005, 01:53 PM
To all you guys, especially Stillakid.:

With the analysis in hand of the prequels showing that there is deep meaning in them as much(if not more) than the OT, did GL stumble onto that through his subconcious if he is a bad writer? Or are we underestimating him?

Hmm. For what it's worth, here's my take on it. I don't believe that I've ever denied or debated whether or not the Prequels are chock full o' meaning or not. They may be. "Meaning," especially in a film, can be a very subjective experience. I like to think that a good filmmaker's first priority is to entertain. He/she may have some meaning that they'd like to inject, but one of the most important "rules" of writing that I've ever heard was that your story can have oodles of meaning, but don't ever let any of your characters know what it is. The moment you start preaching about the "meaning" or the "theme" is the moment the audience turns on you.

That said, I'm sure that Lucas has all kinds of ideas about meaning floating around his head that he'd never come out and admit. And I credit him for it. I don't think any filmmaker worth his salt is going to sit down and tell the audience exactly what they should be getting out of a story. But this is all secondary to the presentation, which is what I think is more important. The first goal, to entertain, can be diminished by a whole host of causes, not the least of which is the lack of skill of the writer. Lucas can't write. It's no mystery. He's admitted it. Which is why his decision to forgo having help on these boggles the mind. We all know that he hates "Hollywood," left the WGA, left the DGA, refuses to hire anyone from those guilds and stays away from IATSE whenever possible. He's letting his own personal feelings get in the way of the process of creating a great story. To me, that is the fundamental issue. It's fun to debate the story, but it doesn't exist in a vaccuum. The politics and everything else going on behind the scenes impacts what we see onscreen.

So are we underestimating Lucas? No, I don't think so. For anyone paying attention and not blinded by Star Wars fanmania, his strengths and weaknesses are evident and the final product is predictable based on the level of involvement he allows. The more I learn about Lucas the man, the more I understand why I'm seeing what I'm seeing onscreen. I don't like it any more or less, but I understand it better and better.


What is the flipside Stilla? What do you suggest we do then? You don't agree? What do you agree on? Without saying that GL should have done it right the first time.:D In other words, where do we go from here if we can't change what is there except maybe add something to fill in the holes?
Pure conjecture on my part, but I suggest that the more "we" complain, the better the product will be that comes out of the factory. The uproar after TPM, I think, resulted in Lucas adding the token writer Hales to the roster. It didn't help much, but arguably, AOTC was a slightly better film than TPM was. Superficially, we heard nary a word about Midichlorians and Jar Jar's screentime was almost nil. Coincidence? Maybe. I like to think that George does listen and then reacts to counteract the criticism. He's a businessman in the end and spending a lot of his own money. Making small changes to quell the criticism is in his best interest.

But yeah, now that ROTS is supposedly here and done and that's all? Complain some more and loudly. He has demonstrated and shown off that he can go back and change history. He has the resources to go back to TPM and AOTC and make them better movies. Now all he needs is the will. Progress never came about from the silence of the discontented masses.



Speaking of the pot calling the kettle black! I infer that Vader realizes Leia is his daughter because she's Luke's friend of whom he's thinking, that makes me totally stupid. But when you put themes in the movie that just aren't there, you're frickin' brilliant! Please explain how that works, without getting all riled up.
I never claimed that I wasn't looking for themes and deeper meaning. You're the one claiming that there isn't anything more there.



Anyway, I think this dude is reading into it WAAAAAAAY too much. I recently re-read the old issue of TIME that came out before TPM was released, and George said that a lot of people were putting themes and things in there that really weren't. For instance, saying that Padmé is Anakin's replacement for a mohter, and he rushes away to find his real one, and all that junk.

So you make that kind of statement above and then proceed to create your own meaning out of simple dialogue here:


"Your thoughts are with your friends. Your feelings for them are strong . . . especially for sister." This shows that Vader knows that Luke's sister is on Endor with his other friends (Han, Chewie, etc.) so I'll say it's a safe bet that he knows it's Leia.

So the end effect is that you condemn the writer of the article, other writers, and me for "finding meaning" in simple scenes and dialogue then proceed to do the same yourself in the same post. So, that's how "that works." It's called hypocrisy, look it up.

And who exactly is all "riled up"? :rolleyes:

stillakid
03-14-2005, 01:55 PM
stillakid, if that's the case then I hope your son is taking advanced classes because I assure you that is NOT the norm. :D
I thought of using a similar DVD shelf analogy in my post except I was going to go the opposite way, as in many kids I know of might have Star Wars there alongside tons of other junk like Power Rangers, Spongebob, etc. lol
And yes, I know I'll catch hell for dissing Spongebob. ;)

Anyway, if your boy prefers Remember the Titans to The Phantom Menace, good on him. :)

Well, I never said that he didn't also watch Spongebob. :D That I don't mind half as much as Pokemon. But at least that's 100 times better than Digimon ever was. Ackkk.

But yeah, perhaps I should have said, amongst his favorite movies to choose from are... :D

stillakid
03-14-2005, 02:08 PM
The interviewer was talking about how there's been alot of complaints about the prequals and he replied something to the effect of, if I painted my house white and alot of people disagreed, saying that it should be painted green, it doesn't really matter to me because I wanted it to be white. True, it may have been better if it were painted green, but I still like it for myself better as white, so why should I have to change it just because other people think I'm wrong.

Think about that.

I did. :D

And here's what I think about that. When it comes to painting houses, there aren't any "rules" per se, but there are...how should I say it...let's call them "stylistic guidelines." IN GENERAL, most people aren't going to really like a house that is painted lime green which has neon rainbow trim and a hot neon pink roof. Unless you're building a fun house or a childcare center I suppose, but for the most part, a residential house is going to have an attractive base color with accent color that doesn't clash.

In the same way, a fictional story also has "rules" to follow. Telling George Lucas that people are complaining is one thing. But George assumes that people are just complaining about random decisions he's making. He's mistaking the "process" (of decision making) with the results of the decision making. That's why his metaphor isn't applicable to the question. He can paint his f'ing house hot pink for all I care, but the moment he drops in an accent color that clashes, we have a discussion about whether he's following the generally accepted rules of good taste or not. He can drop Midichlorians into the saga for all I care, but because they contradict everything that has already been established about the Force, we discuss what the hell is going on.

True, there are no hard and fast "rules" to anything really, but several millenia of storytelling have proven out what constitutes "good" and "bad" ways to go about it. Lucas is hiding out behind a false veil of persecution and fighting back with a rather juvenile "It's mine!" It's sad really. One would think that an artist who is also a businessman would recognize the need to cater to both sensibilities. But I suppose that several billion dollars in your bank account is the cure to caring about quality.

Imperial Monarche
03-14-2005, 04:22 PM
IN GENERAL, most people aren't going to really like a house that is painted lime green which has neon rainbow trim and a hot neon pink roof.

The funny thing about that is in the town I live in, someone has actually painted their residential house like that, minus the pink roof. It's such an eye sore.

stillakid
03-14-2005, 04:34 PM
The funny thing about that is in the town I live in, someone has actually painted their residential house like that, minus the pink roof. It's such an eye sore.


Wow, that was weird. I made up the first two paint colors then at the last minute decided to add the roof. Spooky. :eek:

But y'all understand the point, right? I mean, your "neighbors" in town probably love having their house that color but it doesn't mean that it's any good...at least not according to normal standards of "good" anyway.

JediTricks
03-14-2005, 11:19 PM
Why are you sorry to hear that I feel that way ? Because I find it sad that people think so poorly of the human race, especially someone I've found in the past as open-minded as you. I think your opinion sells kids very short.


You said that they haven't experienced much, have an immature sense of humor, and don't yet know how to express themselves . . . well to me that reflects being somehwat . . . well, "dumb." :D

Jeez, it's not like I'm faulting kids for being that way. They're kids for crying out loud. And by the way there's a remedy for those traits you mentioned, it's called LEARNING. :)I don't agree, I feel that ignorance and stupidity aren't the same thing. Just because someone doesn't know how to express an opinion doesn't mean they can't fathom an appreciation for something. Stupidity is a state of mind where learning stops, "a poor ability to understand or to profit from experience". Here's some dictionary definitions of stupid: Marked by a lack of intelligence or care. Slow to learn or understand; obtuse. Lacking or marked by lack of intellectual acuity. I don't think that defines children at all.


BTW, if you paint your house in garish colors, your neighbors can lobby the city council to get an injunction to get it repainted. It's happened several times in LA and Santa Monica, not just in stupid-rich neighborhoods either. The property values go down or the house garners inappropriate levels of attention or is just to hideous for words - and keep in mind, this is a house which is only made for the 1 family, Star Wars films are made for a general audience. (I'm not advocating forced changes on SW or someone's house, just that Lucas' metaphor wasn't totally apt.)

2-1B
03-15-2005, 03:01 AM
You're right JT, "dumb" was a poor choice of words. My bad.

The past 8 months of my life have left me somewhat jaded and cynical when it comes to humanity. :cry: I don't feel the same optimism as I often did. Anyway that's waaaaaay off topic.

And hey if you want to talk about the Hollywood movie making industry pumping out all of this toxic waste as entertainment, maybe we can call stillakid out on the carpet since he works for these factories ? :crazed:

chewie
03-15-2005, 04:40 AM
George's house painting comment left off an important factor. He is selling this house, not keeping it for himself. If I was selling a house, I would definitely paint it a more popular color to get more buyer interest.

Movies are products to be made and sold. Sequels are supposed to follow in the same vein and give the people that supported the previous film(s) more of what they want, not less. Yes Star Wars is Lucas's baby, but this baby is being sold on an open market. Sometimes the customer is right.

JediTricks
03-16-2005, 01:09 AM
You're right JT, "dumb" was a poor choice of words. My bad.

The past 8 months of my life have left me somewhat jaded and cynical when it comes to humanity. :cry: I don't feel the same optimism as I often did. Anyway that's waaaaaay off topic.It does add a little insight into a change in your personality I've noticed recently though, hopefully things start working out better for you soon.



George's house painting comment left off an important factor. He is selling this house, not keeping it for himself. If I was selling a house, I would definitely paint it a more popular color to get more buyer interest. At the very least, do the best possible work painting it so it is as good as it can be rather than just an exercise in wielding control for its own purpose.

scruffziller
03-17-2005, 12:37 PM
True, there are no hard and fast "rules" to anything really, but several millenia of storytelling have proven out what constitutes "good" and "bad" ways to go about it. Lucas is hiding out behind a false veil of persecution and fighting back with a rather juvenile "It's mine!" It's sad really. One would think that an artist who is also a businessman would recognize the need to cater to both sensibilities. But I suppose that several billion dollars in your bank account is the cure to caring about quality.

Dang Stilla you couldn't have said it better.

But also on that note in accordance to your reply above about explaing the inconsistencies away. Because GL has been been cured of caring, us fans that do care feel the need to step in taking over by writing books, making cartoons, fanmade films etc.. If he is bedridden of the "I DON'T CARE-IT'S MINE !!!!" disease, then we are the orderlies who push him around in his wheelchair. Since we aren't making the official movies, we as fans gotta do what we can in seeing that the understanding of the SW universe is kept intact. Even if we have a Leper Messiah.:D

stillakid
03-17-2005, 11:50 PM
Dang Stilla you couldn't have said it better.

But also on that note in accordance to your reply above about explaing the inconsistencies away. Because GL has been been cured of caring, us fans that do care feel the need to step in taking over by writing books, making cartoons, fanmade films etc.. If he is bedridden of the "I DON'T CARE-IT'S MINE !!!!" disease, then we are the orderlies who push him around in his wheelchair. Since we aren't making the official movies, we as fans gotta do what we can in seeing that the understanding of the SW universe is kept intact. Even if we have a Leper Messiah.:D

Damn that's funny! :D LOL! I love the wheelchair thing.

scruffziller
03-19-2005, 01:35 PM
Damn that's funny! :D LOL! I love the wheelchair thing.

Thanx!:D

But the funniest thing is that I actually believe that of him. I almost can imagine that he is so insanely rich that he can hire people to chew his food(Weird Al ref) and carry him around in a man size baby backpack.:D (Dave Chapelle making fun of Puff Duddy ref) What do you know about George's bank account? Do you think it really is in the billions? Though it seems that he doesn't care about quality because he can afford to, I think he is just lazy about it and slow but sure to respond. Like you were saying before Stilla that changes were made to AOTC that seemed rather specific to what we didn't like about TPM. GL can sell us his movie tickets and toys, but he can't buy our approval and respect. That has to be earned just like everyone else in the world. He can make 10 billion dollars off of a SW film, but if everyone walks out and says "Whoah, that sucked". I think it would make that chunk of change seem awfully small. But that's my opinion.

stillakid
03-19-2005, 05:13 PM
He can make 10 billion dollars off of a SW film, but if everyone walks out and says "Whoah, that sucked". I think it would make that chunk of change seem awfully small. But that's my opinion.

But just like any other failed artist, he can hide behind that facade of non-concern and claim that it's just the "critics" (spoken as if critics were some other species) that don't like it and "obviously" don't get it. It's a juvenile way of thinking. True, you really can't please everybody all the time, but when even one voice speaks out in opposition to your choices, what good does it do to turn your back on the criticism and write it off with nary a glance? Isn't it possible, George, that you are surrounded by yes-men just interested in leaching off your fortune who will say whatever it is you want to hear? Power corrupts. That's what your own f-ing story is about you dumb F***. Not only does he not understand his own f-ing story, he has become that which he claims to have fought against. What a hypocrite he's become.

scruffziller
03-20-2005, 06:59 AM
Power corrupts. That's what your own f-ing story is about you dumb F***. Not only does he not understand his own f-ing story, he has become that which he claims to have fought against. What a hypocrite he's become.

Yea I think that one South Park episode explained it all.

2-1B
03-20-2005, 12:58 PM
Oh good, I'm glad we have South Park to explain these things for us. :rolleyes: Talk about a dog that needed to be put to sleep by Trey and Matt loooooong ago.

George said on 60 Minutes last week that it hurts when people criticize his films but he made the ones he wanted to make (for the most part) so he'll have to live with it.