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  1. #1

    "Luke is a whiner" and other misconceptions of the OT

    One comment that has always bothered me is when people complain about Luke being a "whiner" in ANH. It bothers me because he was SUPPOSED to be a whiner. It's like complaining that Cheerios are shaped like Os. Or that Ferraris are fast Italian cars.

    Point being, it was necessary to show the character as being relatively sheltered, young, and naive. It would be the adventure to come which would instill the confidence and "grownup-ness" that makes his hero's journey complete.

    It's a similar character arc that Han went through in the original version of ANH. It was necessary for him to shoot first to establish his rogue selfishness that is later replaced by a selflessness.

    Without that baseline, the arc, both for Luke and Han, is meaningless. So Luke is supposed to be a naive whiner and Han is supposed to be a selfish rogue in ANH.


    Another non-starter for me is the idea that the acting in the OT is "bad." This is an argument usually only dragged out when someone is trying desperately to defend the Prequels. In all the years that I've heard that argument, I have yet to hear anyone point out any specifics of decidely bad acting in the OT. I've yet to see any specific examples of badly delivered dialogue. While all you have to do is throw a dart at the Prequels and you can easily hit examples of bad acting, the same isn't true for the OT in my experience. It's an allegation that no one has ever bothered to back up as far as memory serves.


    "The lightsaber duel in ANH was bad/boring." This is a comment that can only be spoken if the duel is taken out of context. Sure, comparing it to the other duels throughout the saga, it moves slower and isn't as flashy. But it isn't meant to be. It's two really old guys having their final confrontation. It wasn't about the glitziness of what a Jedi in his prime could accomplish. It was about Old Ben buying the kids some time to get back to the ship and escape with the plans. Could Ben have finished Vader off in that hallway? Maybe. I mean, let's be fair. If Yoda can turn on the superpowers and dance around like a frog on a hotplate for a couple of minutes, then there's no reason to believe that Old Ben couldn't also become a whirling tornado of destruction too. But he wasn't there to destroy Vader. With the benefit of hindsight, we can infer that Ben knew that to destroy the Emperor (the true enemy), that it would take Luke to "save" Anakin who would then destroy Palpatine. Killing Vader in that hallway would've left Luke vulnerable to being seduced or killed by Palpatine himself. Obi knew that Luke couldn't take that guy on, but Luke could save Anakin and Anakin could then destroy Palpatine. Having a flashy lightsaber duel, ala the Prequels, would have been inappropriate and out of context for the story.



    Those are the main "issues" that I read on occasion here and elsewhere.

  2. #2
    i have a few issues with badly delivered dialogue but I have that with any movie. it's usually the inflections in the wrong place or down to technical details like the shot used being the fifty seventh take. the thing with the OT is that the performances are spirited. the cast throw themselves at the dialogue and are animated. which is precisely what's lacking from the prequels. I had an argument about the prequels regading the slow pacing of TPM but then i realised that ANH is a fairly slow paced movie in places too. and ESB could be said to positively drag it's feet pace wise. but when you compare TPM and AOTC to those movies and listen to the delivery of dialogue the prequels certainly win out on yawnsome delivery. in the OT there's a more human like thought process behind the acting. in the prequels it's just actors hitting their mark and saying the words without connecting with them. clearly indicative of the green screen process hampering an actor in his work. while it may be fantastic to have huge CGI backgrounds and money saving to fill in the blanks with CGI elements, relying on those to flesh out a scene is harmful to the performances of the cast. watch any documentary from AOTC and hear the cast comment on how little actual solid set there was for them to become their character within.
    it's all very wel to say use your imagination to an actor but you have to give them something to work with, somewhere to work in. The OT had that and as such the performances are good. had Lucas been a better actors director the performances could have been better still. but even with lucas's non-existant directorial style having the settings brought out performances. they inspired the right moods and emotions.

    Mark Hamill pitched Luke in the right way. he's a dreamer stuck on a dust bowl planet being asked to do a job for his uncle he'd rather not do. he wants freedom to become a pilot. then he suddenly gets thrust into an adventure within a world much larger than anything he's ever experienced and asked to do stuff he believes is beyond his limits. he moans about it. he's underconfident. he doubts his own abilities. as the story progresses he learns he can actually do the stuff he dreamed of and more. that somehow he has a path to follow that's much bigger than anything he dreamed of. his confidence grows and he becomes a man. finally understanding what his path was and what it would lead to. and that is the hero's journey that Lucas set out to create.

    han's blase attitude about killing greedo and his carefree womanising. his daredevil smuggling lifestyle his cockiness, slowly ebb away when he sees Luke and Ben giving their all to save the princess. when he sees the band of few take on the might of the empire. his concern in ESB when Luke doesn't return to echo base shows how much he's been changed by what he's been through. he's found a capacity to care about people and spirit of humanity.

    Ben is as cunning and devious as he is wise. from the first time we see him in ANH it's clear he knows a lot more than he lets on. that he bends the truth to fit the situation and isn't too good at hiding the fact he's doing so. hence Han's initial mistrust of him. as stilla says, the saber duel is a cuple of old men facing off rather than a full on battle. they're sizing each other up, reliving old battles in their minds, Ben is simply antagonising Vader in order to distract him. He uses Vaders pride and ego as a weapon against him rather than use the saber. Ben is warning vader of things to come. he's denting vader's ego. The fight isn't as important as the dialogue. driving the story along.

    most of the saber battles in the prequels are just visual filler. the fights with Dooku and maul are what counts. Grievous is a filler, geonosis arena is a filler. the slaughter of the jedi is important. mace battling palpatine is important in a way though had it been Anakin that battled him and that been the reason vader gave in to the dark side it would have given the emperor a more perverse evilness. to take Anakin as his apprentice after he disfigured him. but nevermind.

    it just shows how untidy the prequels are adding in too many characters and relying on flashy whizz bang stuff rather than actual story. or real character development.

  3. #3
    I think the acting in the OT is just fine. In all fairness, though, I think a good bit of it had to do with casting. Harrison Ford makes a great cynic, and Carrie Fisher was everything Natalie Portman wasn't in the TPM and AOTC (although I thought she did quite well in ROTS).

    I have to give the trophy to Carrie Fisher... her demeanor and tone were spot-on for the regal, yet feisty, Princess.
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  4. #4
    I actually thought Mark Hamill played his part as well, or better, than anyone in the trilogy. As in the prequels, there were moments of cheesy dialogue, but the bottom line is that the actors/actresses in the trilogy made you actually believe they were there. Compare this to the very wooden. . . well, just plain terrible acting sequences between natalie and hayden. I was even disappointed in ewan's acting in most of the first 2 movies; especially since I've seen him play good roles before.
    As far as the lightsaber duels go, I always enjoyed the trilogy duels because it was more of the dialogue exchanges that took place. There was a lot of story development in the dialogues there.
    One of the first things that upset me witn E1 was the absolute focus on copying the same generic super-action-fight sequence that had already become the norm in modern movies, and completely eliminating what might have been a very cool dialogue sequence between QG or OW with Maul.
    This was further degraded with the epic-scale arena battle to see how many lightsabers they could get in one seen. /sigh, oh well.

  5. #5
    Harrison in ANH was quite bad, and everyone chooses to forget this. He was Hobbie bad.
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  6. #6
    I think the more the lightsaber duels resembled the Matrix, the worse they got. I really like the realistic no flipping around battles.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by El Chuxter View Post
    Harrison in ANH was quite bad, and everyone chooses to forget this. He was Hobbie bad.
    It wasn't that he was bad in ANH. In fact, he was quite good in it. It was just that his performance in ESB was so incredibly awesome that it made his performance in ANH (and ROTJ) look bad.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by El Chuxter View Post
    Harrison in ANH was quite bad, and everyone chooses to forget this. He was Hobbie bad.
    Chooses to forget? This is the kind of blanket statement I'm talking about. Please reference specific scenes and dialogue in which Harrison Ford's acting/line delivery was "bad" and please include reasons, and whenever possible, contrasting parallel examples of when Harrison's acting is "good."

    Thanks!

  9. #9
    I think everyone forgets that for the main three (han, luke, leia) that it was practically their first movie. Of course acting isn't going to be the best. By the time Jedi rolled around, Ford was sick of being Han and Fisher was all coked up.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by stillakid View Post
    Chooses to forget? This is the kind of blanket statement I'm talking about. Please reference specific scenes and dialogue in which Harrison Ford's acting/line delivery was "bad" and please include reasons, and whenever possible, contrasting parallel examples of when Harrison's acting is "good."

    Thanks!
    The only scene that really doesn't seem to come off well (okay, actually just the delivery of a line) is where Han says: "Hey, Luke (earnestly, sheepishly, lamely?), 'May the force be with you.'" Although, seeing as that became the signature phrase in 1977, what do I know?

    I thought he did fine, otherwise, although ANH has achieved nearly sui generis status in my brain due to my having been exposed to it so much in my very formative years, so it is tough for me to approach the material objectively.
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