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Is the PT really all that bad?

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by rvtv, Jan 25, 2018.

  1. Jedi77-83

    Jedi77-83 Force Sensitive

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    I totally understand why someone would hate the PT politics, but it's actually the reason they still keep me interested and it makes the PT worth it from a macro point of view. I think the execution of the Anakin character fails, along with the Padme/Anakin relationship, so the saving grace for me in the PT is Palpatine and the Politics.

    That is where I think the ST missed the mark (and fans who argue that Snoke didn't need a backstory) because there is no macro story going on. So my point is that the ST could have had the same redeeming value as the PT if he had a political story (Regarding Snoke's power to take over the galaxy, and Leia should have been Supreme Chancellor or atleast involved in a Leadership Position trying to save the Republic). Right now the ST lives and dies on whether fans like Rey/Kylo and the portrayal of Luke in TLJ, and it could have appealed to fans like me who love the politics of the galaxy. If the PT were just the fall of Anakin Skywalker, and the politics/Palpatine were just alluded to like the ST, than the PT wouldn't exist in my canon.
     
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  2. eeprom

    eeprom Force Sensitive

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    The befuddling bit about this is that there IS a macro story there. It just didn’t make the final cut for some reason. The Republic, akin to a post WWI and pre WWII U.S., was war weary and had taken a stance of noninvolvement. There was a predominant isolationist-esque mentality at work. Mostly they didn’t want to get involved in a conflict with the First Order, but a minority voice recognized the necessity for it - hence the covert Resistance.

    Trouble is: none of that is in the actual movie. If the audience didn’t do their homework, then they’d have no reference point for why ANY of this is even occurring. Probably they wanted to avoid the potential pitfall of ‘politics = boring’ and made the stakes as simple as possible. Pity if that’s the case.

    I agree that, for me, the political landscape of the PT era is the most compelling element. I won’t claim it was handled particularly well though. Like everything else, all the pieces are there, they just didn’t come together all that great. To me, the societal/governmental component of Star Wars is inseparable with the interpersonal/character based story. They’re one in the same.

    What I think people are referring to with ‘boring politics” is the time spent seeing the actual legislative process - people sitting around voting or discussing senate measures and such. Maybe I’m wrong.
     
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  3. RoyleRancor

    RoyleRancor Jedi General

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    It's the long expository scenes with little else going on.
    The PT often insists on telling you something rather than SHOWING it.
     
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  4. Kylocity

    Kylocity Rebel Official

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    I bet the Leia scenes from Ep VII and maybe VIII will be used to help to flesh out this new political conflict in Ep IX. I don't blame JJ for not showing it in VII. After all using film time in the service of character development, action and adventure was more important, as he had to reintroduced the franchise to a new audience. Most people going to these films are sucked into them by the character dynamics and basic world building, like aliens and space crafts, rather than by the more complex sociopolitical structures. I'm however sorry that RJ did not expand on it in VIII, weave it in the story of Holdo and Poe somehow... Or tied it in with Rose's critique of the oligarchy in Canto Bite... The adults in the audience I think would have appreciated a short mention of the state of the galaxy or an allusion to the failures of the Republic set after the OT... Hopefully IX will do that.
     
    #324 Kylocity, Apr 6, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2019
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  5. Jedi77-83

    Jedi77-83 Force Sensitive

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    From what I remember, Lucasfilm went OUT of its way to distance itself from the PT in the marketing of Episode 7. I remember the first presentation at SW Celebration 2014 was emphasizing Practical Effects to the point where it was obvious that they were saying the ST was more like the OT. Heck, TFA is just like ANH so you can’t get more obvious than that!

    I think it was another short-sided decision by Disney/Lucasfilm that has come back to hurt the franchise in the long run. It’s too late to really explore any world building in Episode 9 because they are back to square one so they have to re-establish a new plot and the plight of the characters because of the TLJ ending.

    I do agree with many here that politics/Senate scenes/world building doesn’t really work for the masses. I love that stuff cause it gives the movies a real depth and it always mirrors world history (Lucas was a big WW2 buff).

    Getting back to the PT thread, the politics and Palpatine saved the PT for me. I had major problems with the movies from 99-05, but have learned to appreciate that whole macro story and how it jives with 4-6. Sadly, the ST will never have that angle to appease me so the portrayal of TLJ Luke may have essentially doomed the Trilogy for me.
     
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  6. Steven Lewis

    Steven Lewis Clone Commander

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    The sad part is the PT does have a load of practical effects that are seen in the bonus content of the releases on dvd/blu ray. People are so fixated upon the CGI that they are unable to see the value of the other effects in the PT. Not saying that GL didn't go a little overboard but its no way as bad as people make out.
     
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  7. eeprom

    eeprom Force Sensitive

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    I’ll totally agree with that in a general sense. For example: being told through dialogue what rapscallion antics Obie and Annie had been up to before AOTC, in an effort to underscore their relationship, rings pretty hollow. A swing and a miss.

    In some instances though, showing IS telling. Like with the ‘vote of no confidence’ in TPM. Arguably, that’s the most crucial moment in the entire story. That’s Palpatine’s core objective - his entry point into establishing his Empire. It’s the sole reason he conspired to stage that invasion of Naboo. It’s the linchpin for everything that happens afterward. And it’s also fairly dull and didactic if you aren’t up to speed with what’s happening and why . . . and probably even if you are.

    That’s the kind of ‘politics’ I believe people are adverse to in Star Wars. Senatorial meetings addressing a vaulted dais or overly costumed twits lounging in lethargic offices - lobbing stilted prose at each other. That IS boring to watch.
    I’m optimistic for that. There were scenes that were shot (I think) setting up Korr Sella’s visit to Hosnian Prime. I’m sure SOME sort of exposition was dropped in that.
    I kind of do blame him honestly. He could have done both. You don’t need to bust out a PowerPoint presentation and hit us with sleep inducing plot babble. It wouldn’t have taken much. A couple lines of dialogue from a few characters.

    Finn would have had believable knowledge of the First Order. Han or Maz would have had believable knowledge of the New Republic. Poe or Leia would have had believable knowledge of the Resistance. Just sprinkle in some details in their existing interactions that would paint a broader picture of what’s been happening in the last 30 years. That’s all it would take. Little mentions here and there.
    What’s so wonderful about Star Wars is that it’s something that can grow with you. When you’re a kid, you’re entranced by the spectacle of it - the majesty and imagination. When you’re older (hopefully) you clue in to the larger themes designed to encourage mindfulness about society and humanity.

    The role government plays in that has always been vital to that end - instrumental. It’s not totally absent from the ST, but it’s lacking. I just hope the kids growing up with the ST are able to appreciate it 20 years from now the same way George’s story is.
     
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  8. Jayson

    Jayson Rebel Official

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    That's Lucas in a nutshell.
    The reason it shows up more in the PT is that he didn't have anyone editing his style.

    You see the second most use of this in ANH, but it was tempered by his wife and cowriters.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  9. RoyleRancor

    RoyleRancor Jedi General

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    If this stuff wasn't able to connect with general audiences, we wouldn't have endless courtroom dramas on network TV. I think it really came down to the fact it was just...boring. There was nothing to really keep you vested in it. I think it's about the execution. If the vote was THE big scene of politics that'd play out better IMO. But it's just another scene of it. And by that point you kind of start blurring it all.
     
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  10. Jedi77-83

    Jedi77-83 Force Sensitive

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    I have to ask many here who have commented (all good posts), do you really think there are too many political scenes in the PT? I don’t think there is that much where it bogs down the film (unlike the AOTC Anakin/Padme romance scenes) where the movie comes to a grinding halt everytime it cuts to them from Kenobi inspecting the Clones.

    I always found the political scenes (or the exposition alluding to the politics of the galaxy) as short scenes that sort of move the plot along. Yes they are slow but they don’t Last to the point where I’m looking at my watch compared to the Pod Race which is one lap too long.

    Maybe I’m just partial to the politics cause I’m just not a fan of Anakin/Padme (or little Ani in TPM), so anything that moves on from that story usually gets me more interested. I guess my preference is anything with QuiGon, ObiWan, Palpatine, The Jedi Council and the Senate, I’m cool with.
     
  11. Jaxxon

    Jaxxon Force Attuned

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    I think these criticisms are totally valid. I have some thoughts though (I might make a thread about this as a longer essay).

    The things you mention make a lot more sense if you think of the prequels as independent films from an arteur who cares more about his personal passions than the integrity of the franchise.

    Lucas as a creator is passionate about:

    1) childhood nostalgia/sci-fi serial pastiche, 2) Political theory
    3) The advancement of filmmaking technology.
    4) Creating narratives to teach lessons to children

    For better or worse, the prequels make a lot more sense in this framework than they do as consistent parts of a larger franchise.
     
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  12. RoyleRancor

    RoyleRancor Jedi General

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    I think it's everything in conjunction.
    The political scenes would be fine if surrounded by better stuff and same for the Anakin/Padme stuff. But when it's stacked on top of each other it builds up a lack of good will with the audience because you get less and less willing to sit through something the more diminished the payoff is.
     
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  13. Gonk Droid

    Gonk Droid Rebel Trooper

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    @Jaxxon I'm a noob so can't give your post a like but do agree with your summation.

    I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts regarding GL's personal passions and how you believe they influenced the PT. For me the OT and PT are like 'chalk and cheese', it's hard to believe they were created by the same person.
     
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  14. Jedi77-83

    Jedi77-83 Force Sensitive

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    I think the difference between the OT and PT is more about the PT being less collaborative. Would ESB and ROTJ be different if Lucas wrote and directed them just as he did the PT movies? I think that answers your question.

    Lucas is a big ideas person and you can see that in the PT as there is a lot of stuff in there for a diehard SW fan. It’s the execution where it falters, IMO and that because there is no Kasdan, Kirshner, Marquand, Kurtz and Marcia Lucas.

    Ironically the ST suffers the EXACT opposite problems where the movies lack the big ideas, the big arc, the details. But they are executed much better.
     
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  15. Jayson

    Jayson Rebel Official

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    I have regularly cited the issue as not being these kinds of issues at all, but a more dormant issue of style and pacing.

    Most people don't know why a film doesn't work. The issues that most will cite as a problem are only problems when the rest of the core mechanics of a film aren't working. When the core mechanics of a film work for people, they tend to overlook these kinds of issues because they were enjoying themselves.

    The PT is hard for the theater because it uses very slow moving and stale set shot composition, except for some of the CGI space battle shots, and it doesn't have a modern editing style with its pacing or cuts. I'm not referring to the classic Star Wars swipes; that's not an issue. The OT has them all over the place.

    However, the exposition style dialogue is constant and isn't helped by dynamic camera movements in a modern format, nor is the editing used to trim the edges up so that the film moves as a snappy and tight punch of a film.

    The film is purposefully pieced together in a style that is more like a long leisurely stroll in the American southern countryside; for the most part.

    Even the action is action that happens very slowly for the camera, and in many instances, hardly consuming any of the screen space for the action.

    Take one of the most liked scenes: the Darth Maul fight. Folks like this in spite of the camera work; not because of it.
    I'm not highlighting this as a point where the technical side hurts the film exactly; it's just really easy to point this out because this is a scene with lots of intensity and action, but if you just look at the camera blocking and movement, and somehow couldn't see the content IN the shot, you'd likely almost never pick that this is the camera blocking and movement for an action scene.





    Notice in these that the camera does very little. It doesn't cut all over the place and change angles, or give perspective or depth of field shots. It's very flat, and the actors are mostly showcasing the action from the side constantly except for cut in shots that give us facial expressions along the way, but we mostly stick to a medium side shot, and a medium three quarter shot, and the camera is on a track that slowly moves along the track, and slowly pans as the actors run past the camera.
    The actors move rapidly, but the camera doesn't.

    There's also the fact that the camera, during action, cuts to VERY far shots repeatedly. Like this.

    action is tiny in prequels - 1.png action is tiny in prequels - 2.png

    Basically, the whole film is shot like a film version of a stage play, and that was very intentional. Lucas was trying to follow the earlier old silver screen style when the vaudeville stage was still a traffic source between Hollywood. And sometimes you're seat in that theatrical stage is the penny seats.

    This has a big impact on what audiences start bothering to pay attention to.
    If the film were faster paced, tighter shots, more cuts, and used a modern cinematographic language rather than shoving everyone almost dead center of the lens (or other near perfect centers, like top-right's center, etc...), then the eye wouldn't be able to sit back, relax, and start thinking and wondering around about all of these other issues.

    That doesn't mean that everyone would like the films. It means that the amount of response would be different, and likely smaller - especially on the general audience side of things.

    The downside of switching out of the format that it was made, however, would be that the styling of the older silver screen form that was so damn well accomplished in the most idealized way, is that it would absolutely ruin the artistry of what was done.

    You can't actually even really mess with the dialogue too terribly much without messing this up.
    Go watch Captain Blood, the original Scarlet Pimpernel, or Metropolis and you can almost immediately see this point about how not only is the cinematography an homage, but so is the script language.

    For example, here's some stuff from Captain Blood...
    Notice the similar fight scene style of camera blocking.


    Here's a decent example of the script language. Notice the similarity of style (definitely different, but it's not far off).


    And THAT is why I feel there's an issue for many folks. It's what allows them to start to take umbrage with a laundry list of things being wrong.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    #335 Jayson, Apr 7, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2019
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  16. Darth Wardawg

    Darth Wardawg Rebel Official

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    Personally, I bagged on the prequel trilogy for years. But honestly I was wrong (as I've said here numerous times). Part of the problem for me was that I expected the PT to be just like the originals, but that was never going to happen, nor was it fair. No film was ever going to have the cultural impact that the original Star Wars had. And expecting it to have that impact is just unrealistic.

    Once I finally got rid of those expectations, and just watched the films, I really find them enjoyable. I should also mention that I always liked Revenge of the Sith. But now I like all three, even Attack of the Clones, which everyone else seems to really dislike (or almost everyone else).

    I think what also helped me appreciate them more is the fact that a couple of years ago I reread the novelizations. They definitely rounded out the story nicely and helped me appreciate the politics even more (actually I always enjoyed that aspect but again, I'm a little weird).

    The one thing I do love is the aliens. They feel like Star Wars aliens, something that I think is missing from the ST (I'm not trying to bash the ST so I apologize for mentioning it), and I hope they can rectify that in IX.
     
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  17. Jedi77-83

    Jedi77-83 Force Sensitive

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    I remember getting in big argument with my brother and best friend in the spring of 99 about the PT. They were much more hyped than me (they both were EU readers) so they had kept up on the galaxy more then me since 1983.

    I warned them the PT would NEVER resonate the same with them simply cause there was no Han, Luke and Leia. Characters are what draw us to movies and move us on an emotional level and the PT wouldn’t feel the same in that respect.

    Ironically we had that same conversation back in 2012 when the ST was announced with the return of Han, Luke and Leia. I told them the ST would resonate more than the PT but a 60-70 year old Han, Luke and a Leia still won’t be the same as the OT, so beware.

    The only way that SW could have resonated the same as the OT is if Lucas did 7,8,9 in the 80’s/90’s and Ford, Fisher and Hamill were still the main characters and their offspring were secondary characters.

    That is the only Post-1983 SW movies I ever really pined for. I still remember vividly that a friend in my 8th grade history class in 1987 said he read about the 10th anniversary magazine and Lucas said he would not make any post Episode 6 movies. I was crushed as I got in my mind for some reason Lucas was doing the ST in the late 80’s and I would experience it all through high school and how awesome it was going to be!
     
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  18. DeakStarkiller

    DeakStarkiller Rebelscum

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    Three of the greatest films ever made and light years beyond what we're getting now.

    I find the new wave of complaints about "flat angles" hilarious. After 20 years of shaky-cam and virtual cameras, viewers have lost any knowledge of formal composition. Each shot is beautifully composed, Lucas was a master.
     
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  19. Jayson

    Jayson Rebel Official

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    I wouldn't say anything is flat.
    It is employing an older aesthetic style rather intentionally, however, and Lucas is indeed a master at doing that.

    However, that isn't to say that it will always work and translate well.
    When you use such slow and stiff styles, it inherently pushes more weight on the dialogue to engage the audience and one thing about the PT dialogue that it struggles with is that it is very much on the nose dialogue; there's little subtext present.
    This makes the conversations less dynamic than otherwise. For instance, the scene between Hannibal and Clarice in Silence of the Lambs is packed with subtext to the point that almost none of what they are saying is what they are actually doing or meaning by what they are saying.
    Conversely, Anakin and Padme's big scene is essentially full of dialogue that means only what is being said.

    When a character is angry in the PT, they say they're angry. Sad? They say it. They don't say something else and imply their emotions in the subtext.

    When you mix this with the older style camera work and shot composition style, it can become harder for modern audiences to connect with the film.

    We can say that's the audience's fault, and that may be true, but it is kind of the point of a film to connect with an audience in an evocative way that engages them. If it doesn't, then the film may be technically well done, but still feel flat to audiences.

    And most of the modern camera language isn't about shaky cam. It's about a greater dynamic positioning of the objects and subjects within the frame coupled with a higher rate of shot exchange.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  20. CTrent29

    CTrent29 Rebel Official

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    I don't understand that. I never could understand why many fans thought the PT would or should be like the OT. The Prequel Trilogy was telling a completely different story than the Original Trilogy. It's one of the reasons why I enjoyed it so much. It was something different, yet familiar in a way. I never thought the dynamic between Obi-Wan, Anakin and Padme would be the same as the dynamic between Luke, Han and Leia. They were completely different characters that were not only in a different setting or time period, but were part of a completely different story.

    Why expect the Prequel Trilogy to be like or similar to the Original Trilogy, when it was telling a different kind of story?


    I don't understand the Star Wars fandom today. I really don't. If I must be honest, I don't understand pop culture fandom today. Today's fandom seemed to have become really afraid of originality or ambiguity. Especially in stories that are a part of well established franchise. This conservative mind set is going to be the end of our culture, unless it's put in check. And I don't think it will be. Unfortunately.
     
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