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Is the PT really all that bad?

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

  1. Jayson

    Jayson Rebel Official

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    I think it's a bit much to expect audiences to expect films of the same series to not feel like the previous films to them just because it's a different kind of story.
    Telling a different kind of story doesn't inherently require changing how the film feels in identity to an audience.

    Lucas didn't have to change everything as much, but he did. And he did so for very specific purposes. That was his choice. He wasn't stuck with it by consequence of not having Han, Leia, and Luke. He's been rather open that he specifically chose not to make the films aesthetically like the previous ones.

    That said, I disagree that they didn't feel like the old films. They felt very much like the older Star Wars films, try as Lucas might to deviate - his hand is still his hand.
    The main difference in how they feel is that the older films were actually tighter and were far less relaxed.
    There is a lot of slower shots, as well as more dead space in the prequels, and the dialogue is far less punchy than the original series' dialogue.

    That makes sense. This time around, Lucas had the freedom to go about things his way rather than having to sacrifice for deadlines he was running drastically over, and further still, he didn't have to rely on anyone else for approval this time around, so he didn't have to give anything up that he didn't want to in the edit, nor did he have to rely on anyone else for the script writing. It's just "Written by: George Lucas", and he is very open about his dialogue not being that great, and being very wooden. He usually hired people to punch up his dialogue and make the films more nuanced, but he really wanted to finally just make his own film entirely as he intended without adjustment this time around.

    That will absolutely change everything about how the film feels. If the last time you made films for the series, the pressure was at maximum, budgets were running over, time was far past ran out, technical capability was always behind the curve and scrambling to keep up, arguments were constant about how the film should feel, runtimes were wildly out of control and not permitted to exceed standards, edits were being made down to the last minute, and union fights and lawsuits were constantly having to be fought at every turn, and this time around the environment was one of near wish-fulfillment with no pressures bearing down upon the production in one thousand megaton impending doom ... the output is going to be felt, because the latter film will feel more relaxed, more exploratory, have less pushed upon it to tighten the belt, trim the fat, and bring it in.

    I don't think these are bad films; I like them.
    But I do think that it's a bit off to think that audiences shouldn't have been expecting the experiential identity of Star Wars to remain consistent with new film additions.

    They did. They do. And they always will. That's why there's people who are hired to do nothing but work on content consistency in large films from an established franchise of films. Whether they fail or not is a different matter, but there's tons of money spent on aligning new additions to previous iterations.

    The big thing that I see as Lucas kind of missing the mark on was communicating this shift to the audience in the marketing plan.

    The ST made it part of their marketing plan when TFA was coming; they made sure to plug the implication of things returning to the original style more than doing a new style, or revisiting the PT style.

    Lucas didn't talk about the style in his marketing for the PT. It wasn't there as a message. Nothing spoke about implying of a different sensation; in fact, it did just the opposite. Most of the marketing centered around communicating the idea of experiencing Star Wars 'once again' or 'like before' ... not 'like never before'.

    That's going to set up the audience, who already has a bias of expectation for a film series to perpetuate its own identity in experiential sensation, to feel jarred when they walk in and get delivered something that jumps a bit to the left of how the first iterations felt.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  2. IlhamKamaruddin

    IlhamKamaruddin Rebelscum

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    After the 20th anniversary of The Phantom Menace, I decided to watch through the whole prequels after quite some time and really wanted to take in all of it as much as I can.

    One thing I have to emphasise is that these films does not deserve the hate it was given. I find the hatred to be very immature and childish, especially with the fact that fans personally targeted individuals which is not good. Though, I am very grateful love for the Prequels has grown dramatically since release and was thrilled after watching all three films.

    I have to say this : I love Star Wars. The films are no way perfect but this is the story to be told and I love the story being told throughout the Prequels. It's different from what has come before ( or after ) and it expanded the horizons on the Star Wars universe. I totally agree that these films needed help here and there but they are great films.

    Though they may still be in the lower halves in many of our 'most favourite SW films ranking', I truly believe they are not bad at all and are great films of their own.

    Thanks George and co. for these films and I truly hope to see more content to be explored near this timeline.
     
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  3. Kato Sai

    Kato Sai Clone Commander

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    I have been rewatching the Prequels and frankly they have worn well. In particular TPM, which for the 20th Anniversary I bought digitally. I was impressed by Qui-Gon, who has so mich compassion, while Kenobi is wuite bigoted, “why do I have s feeling we’ve picked up another pathetic lifeform.” I enjoyed the Gungans, even Jar Jar Binks (sacrilege I know lol). I feel Binks was best in his Naboo scenes, on Tatooine he’s excessively obnoxious; perhaps its because the “sun isa doin murder to my skin.”

    I rewatched AOTC and found Anakin was less melodramatic then I remember. While his Tuskancide (slaughter of the Tuskans) is a sentient crime against the Geneva Convention; however, because Ani slaughtered the Tuskans, the area around Mthe Lars Family Farm became safe for his son Luke Skywalker, becsuse no Sand People would settle in an area of known for a massacre of Tuskans. Then there is argument that Anakin acted in justice cause/just war because Sand People slaughter innocent farmers and took Shimi, tortured her and possibly did otther things to her. Ani made the whole area safer, and according to the Jed’aii Way, he brought Bendu/balance. Not saying I agree with his Tuskancide, I happen to find Sand People intriguing and enjoyed learning their lore at the Camp in the Dune Sea (KOTOR). But I think the fact this act of Anakin is so complex and controversial proves Episode II is not just an action extravaganza.
     
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  4. JediHoss

    JediHoss Clone

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    They are all great movies I am a older fan in my 40's I will never understand for the life of me the criticism of these movies
     
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  5. Sierra217

    Sierra217 Clone Commander

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    I only have two criticisms, one is that Anakin should have been older (like 12 or 13) in TPM and the other is that Anakin and Palpatine's relationship was barely shown until RotS (not counting TCW). I've never agreed with what the bandwagon haters always throw around.
     
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  6. Angelman

    Angelman Jedi General

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    Personally, I find the PT to be flawed only in it's execution (and there quite a lot so). There are certainly plots and story points in OT films that I like less than others, and certain segments that are not to my taste, but that is true with all SW films, really. Overall, I enjoy the story, scope, and conflicts of the OT series. So no, the OT, IMHO, is far from "all bad".
     
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  7. Meister Yoda

    Meister Yoda Your Little Green Friend

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    Did you mean PT?
     
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  8. Angelman

    Angelman Jedi General

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    I did! Don't know what happened there but I blame it on my phone ;-) 'Cause it is, of course, unthinkable that I made any mistakes! *cough*
     
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  9. Andrew Waples

    Andrew Waples Jedi General

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    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Jayson

    Jayson Rebel Official

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    For me, the execution does have issues in a few spots, but they're all spots that are easily retro-fixed since it's all CGI quality that's the issue in execution for me.

    The actual issue I have with the PT is the dialogue. It's absolute expositional soap opera garbage dialogue.
    The plots are great, the actors are anywhere from fine to great.
    The dialogue, however, is just crap.

    Star Wars has always had pretty wooden dialogue and campy lines, but the PT just cranks it to 11 and never stops.
    No one feels anything they don't say, and whole scenes are just conversations about what people are feeling...I don't mean that in the normal sense where characters sit around and talk about how they feel to each other by not directly saying what they feel but instead talking about other things in ways that communicate how they feel.

    Here's an example of this...
    Bruce and Rachel in Batman Begins. Now, I'm not saying this is stellar dialogue the likes of which the world should bow to. That's a bit aside from the point.
    It's good dialogue in that the characters are talking about what they're not talking about (their feelings; betrayed, relieved, happy, longing, trapped, and upset) by talking about other things that convey that message through how they talk about those subjects.


    Conversely...


    Smack on the nose...
    punch-in-the-nose.jpg

    It's weaker to say, "I feel _____", "I hate ____", or "I <insert feeling>" on the nose so often and just vomit (exposition) character emotions in the dialogue directly everywhere in the script.
    It's fine now and then, but not constantly. That's basically just a TV soap opera and a very dry one.

    They could have said a number of other options and communicated exactly the same thing, but instead, the dialogue just wrote the most surface layer of information available...which makes reading the character's behaviors boring because there's nothing to interpret in their body language since the dialogue and body language are exactly one-to-one.

    And that's the major issue for me with the PT - just the dialogue.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  11. Keri Ford

    Keri Ford Clone Commander

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    Good post, and this is one of the reasons I like the PT so much, they feel very personal and they are quirky as hell. The Marvel movies are pretty well made action sci fi, they're fun, they fit into audience expectations where the Prequels do not. The Prequels feel b grade and pulpy a throw back to the sci fi of the 50s, the love put into their design work is where they excel, also they are among the most "fabulous" modern movies, Guardians have some of that, in TPM they dive underwater to find "the hidden underwater Kingdom of the Gungans" they take a submarine journey through the centre of the earth and we see giant antediluvian sea monsters. Not to mention Obi wan riding round on a giant lizard and the games where they are attacked by fabul;ous monsters and feels very Edgar Rice Burroughs. The pod race is made up of a huge variety of alien creatures, it's slightly hokey but thoroughly fabulous.

    As for the CGI they just couldn't have been made without it, I like it more that the fake rubber masks of the OT, Lucas was using cgi to do something fantastical, like with puppets it doesn't matter if you can see the strings, it is used to achieve something fantastical and it does, the idea that for cgi to be good it has to be indistinguishable from reality grates with me, cgi should be used to do fantastic things.

    Where so many movies feel predictable aesthetically and action wise the Prequels feel incredibly personal and quirky, one man's personal vision, I wish more movies were made in the spirit they were made, but the combination of big budget and personal is a rare one.
     
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  12. Jayson

    Jayson Rebel Official

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    Quite so.
    One thing I always admired about Lucas was that, as a film maker, he was a very personal artist - akin to Kubrick in that way.

    The interesting thing about Lucas and the prequels is that he went way out on a limb, but it's rather interesting because really - every movie Lucas personally made was way out on a limb. They were all passion projects.

    THX is still my favorite Lucas film. To me, it's the most Lucas of all of his commercial films; more conceptual poetry through film than a straight forward movie.

    In some ways, I really wish he hadn't done Star Wars, and hadn't gotten obsessed with building a production and effects empire.
    Because I will always wonder what marvels of art...truly and purely "high art" stuff...I could have seen had he stuck to his original desires, which he has now returned to - except now he's bitter and old, so he has no intention of sharing his creations with the public from this point forward. He's just going to make his artsy films and share them with close friends and that's it.

    Personally, I think he had it in him to give Kubrick a solid run for his money.

    Instead, because of a want to have independence so that he could do what he wanted and wanted better film making tools that no one was making and didn't want to wait for someone to get around to it, he went an entirely different route and ironically ended up rarely getting to do what he had wanted to back when he started.

    In this respect, I truly admire the PT - for what he was doing with them.
    They are the Captain Blood of Star Wars, and it's a marvelous accomplishment.
    Let's not forget that even today the prequels are a staple of VFX. They shattered the limitations wide open; whipping out the first fully digital character as a principle character in a film, and the giant swash of CGI was simply unheard of.

    It looks wrong in so many minute ways, but honestly, no one would have gotten better without the PT tackling it head on and taking that dive.
    ALL of the issues that the VFX team encountered in the PT are still relevant issues today, and most of the issues were learned as a result of the PT.
    (Plus, there's some simply amazing joys of creativity - my favorite is that all of the waterfalls are salt being poured over a matte because back then...yeah, there was no water particle engine like we have today)

    That all said - I still cringe watching the PT because they will always feel like 90% "there". They come off, to me, as almost being what Lucas wanted, but just coming up slightly short for a few minor issues.

    CGI is just almost there, but it's not the look - it's the physics that throws me. It's like rag dolls and it jars a lot for me. Things don't move right.
    This is somewhat minor; I can cope with it.

    But the dialogue...ooph. It's so old and wooden, and none of the actors in the modern era know how to deliver that style of 80 year old vintage dialogue...especially not Samuel L. Jackson.

    And the music, which in itself is great music (don't jump on me for this)...the music doesn't help the dialogue. The old Errol Flynn films, and the like, didn't often run music at the same time as dialogue (mostly do to difficulty), so running PT homage vintage dialogue styles with modern score mixing comes off a tad odd.
    I find myself unsure where I'm at in the film in feel quite often.

    It would be well served with more silence on the score track, oddly enough.

    I've mentioned it elsewhere, but one of these days I really do want to reskin the PT in late 30's/early 40's film and sound aesthetic.
    I think if this is done (and done well), the PT will LEAP off the screen in a whole new way that just clicks.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  13. Darth Wardawg

    Darth Wardawg Rebel Official

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    Honestly I quite enjoyed them at the time. Then for a while thought they were crap (except Sith which I always REALLY enjoyed). I watched the entire saga after TLJ came out (about a year ago) and I was shocked at how much I enjoyed the PT. I think there was way too much expectation for them. They were never going to be like the OT, especially A New Hope. That film changed the way films are made, released, marketed. It was a once in a lifetime type phenomenon.

    The only thing I'd change is make Anakin 18 in TPM. I'd also have the Neimoidians speak an alien language and use subtitles for them. Otherwise I think the film is quite good. ATOC has some issues but I also love that film. The story is excellent. I love seeing Palpatine at the end watching the Clone Troopers set to the music of the imperial march. Part of what made me like the film is that I read the novelization right before rewatching all of the films last year.

    I do think the problem is that, for these films, George had no one to push back against him and force him to make them better. He was surrounded by "yes men" at that point and I think it shows in the execution. But the world building, the story of the fall of the Jedi and the fall of Anakin Skywalker is fantastic.
     
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