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  1. #1

    Could TPM be saved?

    I will go on record stating that I like the story of the Phantom Menace in general. I like the politics, the Trade Federation, the Intro to the Galaxy and the meetings of Obi Wan & Anakin and Qui Gon, etc. I even like Jar Jar Binks if he was toned down a bit. And Keira Knightly, but that is for a different discussion.

    My question is could TPM been saved with same story but better writing? Or is the story just weak in itself? In my opinion the overall story was very good but could use a few tweaks to make it flow better and remain consistent with the OT. As far as story improvements:

    Anakin should have been 11 or 12 not 9. There are very few good 9 year old actors and it frightens me that George that Jake was the best of the lot. Combine that with poor dialogue for the kid and it leads to nothing but groaners. "Yipee" and "Sandstorms are very............very........dangerous". Make the kid a little older and you also would not have the uncomfortable feeling of 14 year old Padme being hit on by a 4th grader.

    Jar Jar Binks could have been an excellent character had he spoken normally. He is a character that suffered from kid humor that GL thought would be funny. It was embarassing. The crazy jump and yell into the lake was painful to watch and unnecessary. Jar Jar's character could have been funny and I think was a victim to poor writing.

    The Taxation issue while interesting to me because I enjoy politics and the like is not explained well in the movie. Cloak of Deception lays it out beautifully and should have had some of that backstory adressed. It took me a few times watching TPM to figure out why the Trade Federation was even blockading Naboo.

    Queen Amidala was too formal. The character needed to be a little more fun. Again, writing.

    Don't get me started on Anakin building C-3PO.

    I would be interested to hear your thoughts on whether the story had potential or if it is just a complete disaster. And what was the cause? Story or writing or both. Or even casting?
    -GO WINGS!!!!!!

    "Be excellent to each other, and....PARTY ON DUDES!!!"

  2. #2
    I started a thread awhile back titled "Should Hayden Christensen have been in TPM?" . . . my motivations for that stemmed first from my love of Hayden's job that he did in AOTC. Still, I know a lot of people didn't like HC in AOTC so I was also posing the question from a technical aspect.

    See, I understand some of the advantages of putting a 10 year gap inbetween movies (clones, Senate, etc.) but since this is "the story of Anakin" I thought maybe it would be helpful to have the same actor play Anakin throughout the whole PT. So in that sense I agree with you that Anakin should have been a bit older. Make him a very young teen, get an actor age 15 or so to play him, and 3 years later when they shoot the next one, the kid will have aged 3 years and could easily play someone age 22 or whatever. Or else just shorten up the 10 year gap to 6 years or something similar if the kid can't pull off a 10 year aging.

    Just look at Daniel Logan, that guy REALLY sprouted in the past few years. Even Jake Lloyd looks WAY older in that reshoot scene from TPM.

  3. #3
    IMO, the real question is SHOULD it be saved?

    A while back (previous forums here, in fact), someone started a thread asking about "how would you do Ep 1 differently". My first reply in that thread was similar to yours Jon, tweaking the movie we got to make it better. (What I didn't know until after I posted was the author wanted an entirely fresh version, so I did that too ). Unfortunately, I only saved the "entirely fresh version" because at the time, those other forums were still available as an archive (I think they still are in some offline format... somewhere).

    However, when I look at that "new" version I did and apply it to AOTC (loosely of course, it was written 2 years before that film), I see the same thing then that I feel now: TPM simply is not all that germane to the Prequel story. Virtually nothing we see in Ep 1 really needs to have been seen at all, certainly not enough to spend 2 hours on. Almost every vital story element (the only 2 I can think of are Palpy's rise to Chancellor & Anakin being found and taken as a padawan) could have been put into AOTC either in the opening crawl or as quick exposition dialogue. In fact, I think a dialogue explanation of how Obi-Wan found Ani and took him in, maybe the 2 of them reminscing for all of 20 seconds of screentime, would have made both movies work better.

    Ultimately, when I look at what is on-screen in TPM storywise, I see a lot of incidental stuff that really seems to have no place in the grand scale of the saga, which makes it expendable from that viewpoint alone regardless of my opinion of the content's quality. When I ask myself "what happens in TPM that AOTC and the other films cannot do without?" I come up blank. What do you come up with when you ask yourself that?



    As for Jake Lloyd, I had seen some of his pre-TPM work and he was a pretty good "deep" child actor. Unfortunately, George is a self-proclaimed bad acting-director and he wrote the character to be early teens then changed it to 9 years old but cast a 7-year-old in the part making the character's dialogue and motivations not really hold up well - so I blame Lucas for the problems with young Ani, not Jake.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    "We named the dog 'Chewbacca'!"
    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  4. #4
    I've always maintained that George was close to making a good movie, but lacked the willingness to have someone else polish it for him as was done for virtually everything else he'd ever written. Really, a couple tweaks here and there and it would have made a perfectly enjoyable film, JT's good point about necessity aside.

    That being said, in light of what we learn (regarding the downfall of the Republic), or what we are supposed to learn, I think that the overall story would have benefitted from a broader view of the discontent amongst the members of the Republic. We are told (not shown) in AOTC that several systems are leaving the Republic, yet we are never ever told why. There is disenchantment with the system that goes unexplained. As JT said, 2 hours was essentially wasted on fairly unimportant information when so much more really should have been shown to the audience. It's not enough to say that the Republic is falling apart (thus the necessity for a big war) without going into depth about why. This absence in the plot (of both TPM and AOTC) is the saga's biggest downfall, I feel. Afterall, it drives virtually everything that happens, both to the galaxy at large and to the characters we get to know and love/hate. Without explaining the catalyst properly, it becomes nearly impossible to find compassion or empathy for anyone or anything that happens onscreen.

    Oh, yeah, and the Jake-thing. If George really wanted a kid that young, I think that Eric Lloyd (no relation) would have been a far far better choice. But what's done is done.

  5. #5
    It could be saved with a little editing, its a great movie and script. Here's a few mental notes I've made...

    1. The Podrace Sequence was tooo long! Theres a great fast-paced opening sequence with Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon figuting the Battle Droids, the move picks up momentum and then hits a wall when the characters get to Tatooine. And thats fine because you have to develop some characters and story in there but the Pod Race was too long in the film. After they get off Tatooine and over to Coruscant the movie is fine.

    2. Anakin probably should have been a little older, but I liked Jake Lloyd just fine. If they took "Yippee!" out that would be fine and make Anakin a little more likable. Anakin also should have showed more talent or skills in the Force. He should be fixing or doing things by himself with the Force because hes supposed to be exceptional at them.

    3. I didnt have a problem with Anakin building C-3PO, but I always imagined C-3PO already assembled and a droid of the Old Republic who eventually meets R2.

    4. Yoda, George what were you thinking? The voice is fine, just fix the bad puppet with the OT Yoda or the Episode II CG Yoda.
    "Maybe I can help you. I am Boba Fett. The ship you seek is nearby." -Boba Fett

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jayspawn
    The Podrace Sequence was tooo long! Theres a great fast-paced opening sequence with Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon figuting the Battle Droids, the move picks up momentum and then hits a wall when the characters get to Tatooine. And thats fine because you have to develop some characters and story in there but the Pod Race was too long in the film. After they get off Tatooine and over to Coruscant the movie is fine.
    I couldn't agree with Jayspawn any more. The movie starts out pretty fast paced, and interesting, then dies on Tatooine. While George needed to slow the movie down, he could have done it better. If the Pod Race had been cut a bit, (and if the acting/writing/directing was better) the movie would have been better.

    I still like the film, but it isn't my favorite. I'd have done it differently, but it is George's brainchild, and his money pays for it. Therefore, we're stuck.
    B.M.D. 2/29-4/22 Remembered, Loved, and Missed -ALWAYS



    Me fail english??? That's un-possible

    Hello......My name is Boba Fett......You killed my father.......Prepare to Die!! -Boba Fett to Mace Windu in Star Wars
    Episode 3 - Return of the Princess Bride

    Still Hatin' the Evil Empire

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Arrogant Arse
    I couldn't agree with Jayspawn any more. The movie starts out pretty fast paced, and interesting, then dies on Tatooine. While George needed to slow the movie down, he could have done it better. If the Pod Race had been cut a bit, (and if the acting/writing/directing was better) the movie would have been better.

    I still like the film, but it isn't my favorite. I'd have done it differently, but it is George's brainchild, and his money pays for it. Therefore, we're stuck.

    I don't know that he needed to slow it down at all...It's just that he didn't really begin it very well. We obviously join a conflict already in progress, but that conflict isn't explained very well at any point. As a result, we're left with the confused feeling of not knowing exactly why we should really care one way or another about the characters. For all we know, the Trade Federation is justified in what it is doing. But it is their "bad guy" look that is leaned on to tell us that they are the bad guys instead of actually informing the audience properly as to why. A significant amount of time could have been utilized up front to better illustrate the lax and corrupt state of the Republic instead of relying on aftermarket study guides to fill in the blanks.

    After that, Tatooine does become a drawn out bore. The only things that needed to happen there were 1) getting the ship fixed, 2) finding Anakin, 3) discovering Anakin's potential. Easily could have been done in a third of the time and still get in the podrace and everything else. That's why studios hire screenwriters and polishers...to clean up messes like this. But I guess that's what being a billionaire independent producer buys you.

  8. #8
    Tatooine seems to be the weakest part of the movie. It seemed to go on and on and on without much action. I think one of the worst moves was minimizing screen time for Darth Maul and basically giving him no dialogue. He was never developed and before you knew it he was split in 2. As I stated previously it was terribly confusing as to why Naboo was being blockaded. In my opinion the movie needed more backstory on the conflict that set up the Naboo blockade and the divide in the Senate and less backstory on Anakin. One of my favorite characters in TPM was Qui Gon but was there ever a need for this character to find Anakin? It appears he was in the movie only to discover Anakin, get killed, and then pass him off to Obi Wan. I thought there was ground work for a better backstory laid out by Obi Wan in Return of the Jedi when he was explaining to Luke "I thought I could train him just as well as Yoda, I was wrong." I always took that to mean that Obi Wan never told Yoda of Anakin or Anakin was denied training and Obi Wan trained him in secret, something along those lines. I think it would have worked better.
    -GO WINGS!!!!!!

    "Be excellent to each other, and....PARTY ON DUDES!!!"

  9. #9
    Personally, I just do not feel like TPM needs/should/has to be saved.. It does what it is intended to do, which is show the beginning of the intro. of Anakin to the Jedi.. I have seen the film a few hundered times and it just grew on me.. Yeah, it seems that there was a lot of discontent with the film, I just ain't one of the ones discontent with it though..
    If you love someone, set them free. - Sting
    You can't find peace, by avoiding life. - Virginia Woolf
    No! Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try! - Yoda

  10. #10
    To me, it's an OK film, but as I've read all these ideas about what could have been done differently, I think that most everyone on these forums could have written a better story flowing with better continuity into the OT. Having Anakin about Luke's age would have been a great idea and been one of the parallels GL always talked about. Having him be slightly younger than Obi-Wan, a good friendship would have been much easier to generate -- not to mention how much easier a romance with padme would be to believe. By Ep II we could have seen Anakin grown up into the great man we were led to believe he was from the OT, making his eventual fall much more tragic than it will be.
    Having an older actor play the part for all 3 movies would make it easier for the audience to grow with the character through each film. Being older would also mean less training -- instead of the 10+ years that lil Ani gets-- so when we see Luke in the same situation in Rotj there is more drama in wondering if he will succumb to follow the same path his father did.
    Anyhow, I've seen lots of other great ideas that would have made for a more interesting movie. I just wish GL have had the care to use accomplished writers & directors in these projects.

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