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Philosophical themes in the Star Wars series

Discussion in 'General Movie Discussion' started by Phil J, Feb 16, 2020.

  1. Phil J

    Phil J Guest

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    Through watching the sequel trilogy, I have been able to observe the following:
    • Spiritual rebirth: represented through visual metaphors on Ahch-To with the ocean representing amniotic fluid, the cavern being a womb like space and the sea cow representing a maternal figure.
    • The paradigm shift that Jesus created in Judea: instead of doing what was expected of him when one follower petitioned him to restore the Kingdom of Israel, Jesus instead rejected the old religion and instead worked to replace it with a new religion that allowed all to have access to the divine. As happened with Jesus, Luke's decision did not exactly make him popular.
    • The latter is also referenced by comparable visual metaphors: after Jesus died, the Hebrew temple cracked to mark this transition. Similarly, the tree on Ahch to containing the Jedi texts was struck by lightning when Luke achieved spiritual apotheosis.
    • The tyranny of the influence of the Original Sin: Adam being represented as Sheev Palpatine and her rejection of this and her embrace of the light and the teaching of her mentors Luke and Leia served to free her.
    • Jainism: an old religion characterised by asceticism, an interest in the welfare of all living things, non-violence, a desire to escape the constant cycle of rebirth and death and a monastic tradition which requires detachment from the world outside. Something that current Luke Skywalker exemplifies. Even in his death, he practices his newfound pacifism and rejection of the violence and militarism that typified the previous Jedi order.
    • Daoism: Yin/Yang and how both parts create a whole larger than the sum of those.
    • Nietzsche's Apollonian -Dionysian dichotomy: the warring impulses of order and civilisation and nature and emotion. Apollo is represented by the First Order and how they want to impose a system of government that they feel to be orderly and rational whereas the Resistance is more emotive in its nature and origin.
    • Fate and intervention: George Lucas wanted to introduce the concept of God and he did this through the force, a karmic entity with the potential to manipulate destiny and intervene.
    • Religious war: the fall of Luke's Jedi Order reminds me of the devastating Cathar crusades of medieval France which led to the destruction of this Gnostic sect. Even the name the Knights of Ren conjures the image of a Crusading knightly order with Kylo being someone similar to Simon De Montfort at its head.
    • Deconstructionism and ubermensch: after the revelations in TLJ dismantle everything Rey thought about herself and her understanding of the galaxy, she begins to ask herself "Who do I want to be?" instead of "Who am I?"
    • The notion of history as a cycle: This is typified by the image below. One can easily see how this cycle began and ended in both the end of the Republic and subsequent rise of Empire as well as the fall of the New Republic.
    [​IMG]

    Also, there is the pentaptych of paintings called The Course of Empire:

    The Savage State- self explanatory
    [​IMG]
    The Pastoral State- the good people are at peace with nature and have began to explore how to improve their lives physically. There is a figure appearing to be working on a geometric maths problem and here is a temple indicating some form of spiritual realisation.
    [​IMG]
    Empire- the people of this civilisation have grown prosperous and decadent with ornamentation and self aggrandisement everywhere to be seen.
    [​IMG]
    Destruction- the peace brought about during the height of Empire is shattered by war, the vast resources of Empire having attracted the envy of neighbouring kingdoms. Or perhaps this war is a civil one. Regardless, everything beautiful and noble is destroyed, temples are plundered and people killed indiscriminately. Not a happy time.
    [​IMG]
    Desolation- all is dust and the cycle begins anew.
    [​IMG]



    I would be interested to see your own personal observations.
     
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  2. Anarchist

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    I am just going to be honest . No aggression or sarcasm, just my opinion. Take it as you will, but no bad intent I assure you.
    - It's just a dude on a island.
    - Luke did exactly what was expectedly of him. He tried to create a new Jedi order, and after failing he went into the the island. Check Kyle rising comics, and you will see Luke reproducing the priesthood and the instructions the last arch Bishop aka Yoda gave him. Pass on what you have learned.
    - Luke started screaming when the books where burning, and were done so without his consent. Spiritual Apotheosis ?
    - Luke and after being introduced to the force and started trainings under obi own killed thousands of people of the Death Star. Pascifict ? Who . Luke ? He blew up a fully fledged and full hands on Death Star. He is a mass killer. He had absolutely no problem of killing thousands as long as they are his enemy.
    - "Who do I want to be" pops up, when you are 15 and your dad explains to you he won't be paying your bills for much longer. Nothing special. It happens to thousands of people daily, apart from the rich one. Well it happened to Rey. It was hard for her as it is for all teenage diary writers saying : You don't know me, no one does, which has been uttered by millions of teenagers (one cliche to rule them them all).

    Again, just my opinion. Call me a nihilist if you want, but it's just my opinion.
     
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  3. Phil J

    Phil J Guest

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    Note: The Last Jedi took place 20 years after The Return of The Jedi and as such Luke was able to accumulate knowledge in his wanderings across the galaxy about the errors the previous iteration of the Jedi made, develop and accumulate knowledge of the force through the eyes of other users, observe the legacy of the Galactic Civil War on everyday people and develop his own philosophies and approaches.

    To use real life comparisons, look into organisations like Veterans for Peace.


    Also, would you be the same person 20 years in the future when you have had more time to introspect?

    That may be was the core theme of the Skywalker Saga not fate/destiny and the struggles of the protagonist to overcome this.

    Anakin for example is likely modelled on Paul Atreides of Dune, a man who becomes a messianic figure when he develops the power to foresee and to look into the past. With Anakin's visions, he tries to act to intervene only to find out that the future he saw is fixed and immutable. In a sense, he becomes trapped by them and it is arguably this that sets him on the course to action. A more accurate comparison may be Konrad Curze from the Horus Heresy Primarchs novels. At the end of the eponymous novel, it was revealed that Curze always had a choice and the visions that he saw represented one possibility among many.

    With Luke, it is arguably the confluence of fate that leads to his confrontation with his father. Just like Stand Users in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, it seems that force users are destined to meet. However, Luke is able to overcome the temptations that led Vader on his doomed path with the help of his friends and his own fortitude. And just like the Joestar bloodline, it seems that the defining aspect of the Skywalker bloodline is the struggle against evil.



    And it is also fate that leads Rey to the lightsaber. The Sequel trilogy kind of reminds me in a strange way like parts of Golden Wind. Like Diavolo from JJBA, Kylo Ren is obsessed with the past and the erasure thereof of his own only to be trapped by the past whereas Rey, like Giorno has her eyes firmly forward.


    Texts that Luke planned to burn in the first place. When the Jewish temple was cracked after Christ's death in Christian mythology, that was not a conscious decision by Jesus himself but rather an act of God. In all likelihood this is a form of allegory by the writer for the beginning of the conversion of the Judean people to Christianity.

    Matthew 27:50-51 New International Version (NIV)
    50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

    51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split

    In a similar way, the burning of the last Jedi texts represents a 'death' of another kind as the last vestiges that bound Luke to his old faith died or understanding thereof and the revelation that the divine is not accessed through piety through ritual but through our hearts, a lesson that Luke had seemingly forgotten, hence apotheosis

    The transition of from one religion to another is not entirely easy, especially if you have been an adherent for so many years and it has become a part of who you are. If you are interested, I have attached 2 historical studies documenting the early conversion of 1st century Jews to Christianity and the struggles they had when coming to terms with their new identity and how they were viewed by those around them.

    Also of note, one of the defining features of Jainist monks is the rejection of material possessions and a focus on the spiritual with some Jainist monks even going so far as to reject clothing. Is a life of solitude away from your family members and any material possession that you may have sentimental attachment to uncomfortable? But the Jainist monks and nuns do it anyway. Not because they enjoy it but because of their faith.

    I plan to when the graphic novel is released. Also, on the topic of book recommendations, I would suggest Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi The Legends of Luke Skywalker.
     

    Attached Files:

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  4. Phil J

    Phil J Guest

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    Also, the lightsaber is also symbolic. In the poster for A New Hope, for example it represents a powerful masculine phallic symbol. In the Original series, there are clear references to psychosexual imagery such as:
    • The loss of Luke's lightsaber- effectively 'castrating' him
    • Oedipus complex
    • Luke 'castrates' his father
    • The saarlac pit clearly references the male fear of vagina dentata and consumption- this is also reflected in the trash compactor sequence
    • More benign womb like spaces for example the tauntaun
    • Homosexuality and penile receptivity- you will never see lightsaber duels the same way again
    • Jabba represents a whole load of unpleasant imagery from faecal matter to a giant disembodied penis and the female fear of penetration
    [​IMG]
    Below are excerpts from Sex, Politics, and Religion in Star Wars: An Anthology
    upload_2020-2-17_18-25-35.png

    upload_2020-2-17_18-30-44.png

    upload_2020-2-17_18-38-30.png

    upload_2020-2-17_18-49-22.png
     
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  5. Anarchist

    Anarchist Rebel Trooper

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    I agree that Luke can change, and in fact this is why I can't understand all those who went mad when it did, but I don't consider him a pacifist, and I will explain why. In the comics, he is seen training Ben and in the meantime he has no probs pulling out the light saber and cutting down others. So after DS2, and up until the incident with Ben, he is no where near the notion of pacifism. After that, he rejects everything; violence and pacifism. He absolutely wants nothing.

    So in total, if you examine Luke you get a dude that has no probs killing (sometimes en masse) for a long (real long) period of time, until one day he stops and completely retires from everything. His choice to project (pacifism), has for me to do mostly with the fact that he couldn't bare to kill his nephew, so he didn't want to be in physical proximity.

    To put in another way, he killed up until he retired. After retiring, he chose not to kill in the one case, where murder involved his nephew. I find it hard to classify him as pacifist, but I will reconsider. Perhaps I'am too stiff about it.

    First of all I love Dune, so I'am really glad you brought this up. Paul's intentions and the Golden path are for me a whole different thing due to the totality and clairvoyance of his visions, though as you do point out "A more accurate comparison may be Konrad Curze from the Horus Heresy Primarchs novels", which I haven't read so I can't answer on that. If we get started on Dune, we will need another thread !, but sadly my time is running out, so I will try to be brief, on the issue of Luke and Rey.

    Luke has a very different question to answer than Rey, which stems from two people who are heroes, and never received any medal. Of course the fandom screams for Chewbaccato to get one... but yeah... His parents, and by that I mean the Lars family that brought him up. These people, gave him principles and equipped with the morality and principles that a hard working class family does. They are perhaps the most overlooked part in this Saga, and the main reason Luke is a hero.

    For me, Luke doesn't say : "Who am I?". The foundations of his identity and his moral compass are clear, as provided by hard work, and good up bringing. Obviously and as all adopted children he is curious about the parents he never met. Also, he is as a young man and a Skywalker, so he looks to the stars thus "Who do I want to be?" is there, but on the premise of having a sound moral constitution, that serves him well afterwards; the one his family gave him. Rey on the other hand, is sadly a mess, because she never had a family, so she keeps on asking : "Who am I?" while looking answers for "Who do I want to be?".

    So for me Luke isn't the same with Rey, in their quest, though the chiastic narrative overlord (@Jayson) will kill me for this :) .

    As for Rey in general, I think that the lines used where marketing oriented, and meant to draw in various people and mostly teenagers who are in a difficult period in their lives. I can assure you, that 9/10 of my students (female), sing a Greek song that goes by : Δεν με ξερεις καλα, κανεις δεν με ξερεις -> you don't know me well, nobody does. There is a lot to discuss on this, but again, let's see what the dawn brings and we can expand then.
     
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  6. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    No, you're clear in that regard.
    They aren't the same in psychological motives.
    They're narrative beats follow a similar path, but for rather different character motive reasons.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  7. Phil J

    Phil J Guest

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    You are right. in A New Hope, Luke wistfully stares at the sky dreaming of a way to escape the ennui of his existence. He had his adoptive parental figures who loved and supported him. He has friends in the form of Biggs Darklighter. There were opportunities to leave and achieve ambitions and economic prosperity- to become a cadet for the Empire. There are towns where he can speak to others.

    Rey meanwhile has no such support network. She has no home other than the wrecks that she was abandoned in. There is no escape. The only opportunities there are are the handouts given by Unkar Plutt and even those are miserly. There is a scene with an old woman cleaning some scrap. Rey looks at her sadly, wondering if this will be the rest of her life.
    upload_2020-2-17_21-14-9.png

    To put it in economic terms:
    • Luke: Lower working class
    • Rey: Absolute poverty
    There is also the whole lightsaber as axis mundi (the centre of the world that reaches from the beginning of the world to the end and which everything revolves around and a link between earth and heaven) motif. Especially the case with the lightsaber owned by Anakin, Luke and now Rey and marking them in the same way the star shaped birthmark marks the scions of the Joestar and Brando (before the reset at the end of Stone Ocean) bloodlines in JJBA as being significant in the narrative.

    In the TLJ, it is arguable that the space battles are irrelevant and what matters is the spiritual war between Luke, Palpatine and Vader that matters. At that point, that room becomes a microcosm of a metaphysical war between two diametrically opposed forces, each bent on annihilating the other. It becomes the centre of the universe.

    https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Axis_Mundi

    [​IMG]
     
    #7 Phil J, Feb 17, 2020
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2020
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  8. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    Lucas' inspiration for the Force is summarized in the abstract collage tone poem film, 21-87.
    The subject matter was the issue of importance for his generation when Lucas was a young man.

    If someone wants to understand what Lucas meant symbolically with the Force, then they should check their own ideas at the door and watch 21-87 without trying to make it say what they want it to because of some familiarity, but instead listen to what it says about the values of those who made the film, and those of its time who were impacted by it - like Lucas.



    In discerning meaning, there are two ways.
    1) What something means to the viewer.
    2) What the creators of the art meant.

    If someone intends to claim the latter without acknowledging the former as a bias, then they will need to show a strong physical trail of material evidence.
    If someone, however, intends to claim the former regardless of the latter, then it is valuable for however much the art is worth in meaning in reception.

    This is especially true when attempting psychoanalytical interpretations of art. One of the first questions worth asking is what the artist thinks about psychoanalyzing art, and what it is that we are asserting in our interpretation. Are we saying a symbolism can be found in the art, or are we saying that the art symbolizes something?

    The former is innocent and provokes exploration and meaning. The latter is hazardous and has a much higher risk of misrepresentation of the art.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  9. Anarchist

    Anarchist Rebel Trooper

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    Question : All Skywalkers have flaws, which for me is great and actually makers them interesting. Rey on the other hand, is considered as absolutely flawless. She is impeccable in every little detail. Isn't that a different narrative beat ?
     
  10. Phil J

    Phil J Guest

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    I can recommend you the Youtube channel Quinn's Ideas. It has been the best part of a decade since I last read the original Dune series by Frank Herbert and only remember just some of the many concepts like the Buddhist and Islamic influences, the warning against giving charismatic figures absolute and unquestionable authority. He has a much greater depth of understanding than I and I am constantly learning new things.

    Also, he has reviewed Asomov's Foundation series, A Song of Ice and Fire and numerous others.


    --- Double Post Merged, Feb 18, 2020, Original Post Date: Feb 18, 2020 ---
    The same could be said for Giorno in part 5 of JJBA both in terms of his personality and how the powers of his Stand can be used to suit the needs of the narrative from creating life from inanimate objects to healing and quasi-resurrection (Bucciarati). Just like Giorno, it is arguably the other characters like Narancia, Abaccio, Bucciarati, Mista, Polnareff (now living up to that whole Silver Chariot stand name) and Guido that are the main focus and his role just a catalyst for their development.

    If I were to speculate further, now that they are going with the whole The Force is Female thing, Rey may be an embodiment of the spiritual concept of the Divine Feminine. In ancient civilisations such as the Celts religious explanations for how things came to be had a matrifocal focus with earth goddesses, fertility goddesses and nature goddesses abound.

    Personally, as the Force essentially derives from nature, I see no problem with this if this is the case.

    https://www.bustle.com/p/what-does-...-so-much-more-than-a-new-age-buzzword-2966641
    https://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/2014/12/07/what-sacred-feminine

    In modern neo-paganism, this is often reflected in the triple goddess in her guises:
    • Maiden: innocence, virtuosity, castity, renewal, spring
    • Mother: fecundity, natural cycles
    • Crone: accumulated wisdom, death, decay
    https://www.learnreligions.com/maiden-mother-and-crone-2562881
    https://feminismandreligion.com/2017/01/25/triple-goddesses-in-the-celtic-world-by-judith-shaw/
    https://www.goddess-guide.com/

    upload_2020-2-18_15-58-53.png
     
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  11. Phil J

    Phil J Guest

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    You do have a point there. With my psychoanalysis of the imagery of the Star Wars original trilogy, I would go with the former.

    With the latter, people could extrapolate anything and such extrapolations are often seen through the lens of confirmation bias, schemata (preconceived ideas of how something should be informed by prior experience- the reason why it is so jarring to see your old geography teacher in chinos and a t shirt drinking a glass of Chateauneuf du Pape at the local wine bar) and the observer's ideology.

    Take the Lord of the Rings for example, with the whole Shelob sequence, some even accused JRRT of latent misogyny because of certain psychosexual imagery. Shelob is killed by penetration by Sam after penetrating Frodo and attempting to consume him.

    From what I remember, the orcs are often described as "slant-eyed" and the Uruk-Hai at least refer to the Rohirrim as 'white skins.' In one of his letters, Tolkien described Orcs as "...squat, broad, flat-nosed, sallow-skinned, with wide mouths and slant eyes; in fact degraded and repulsive versions of the (to Europeans) least lovely Mongol-types."'

    Needless to say, this did not go down well with some.

    It is likely that the 'black' was more an externalisation of the evil within them rather than a genuine phobia of the negro race and there is an acknowledgement of the Western biases and cultural sensibilities regarding attractiveness.

    Consider a comparable event- the expansion of the Mongol Empire- from the perspective of those who faced this rapacious and alien civilisation in Europe, would they realistically think- "Look at him, isn't he dishy?" No. They would focus only on the negative aspects of their appearance and tell their friends. Said tales would get distorted and before long, there will be stories of armies of hideous and inhumanly cruel beasts roaming the countryside.
     
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  12. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    That's not a narrative beat.
    A narrative beat is like this:

    Garfield woke up hungry and walked to have breakfast. Jon said Garfield was fat and needed to diet, so he gave Garfield lettuce for breakfast. Garfield slapped Jon with his bowl for insulting his stomach.​

    Each sentence in that sequence is one narrative beat.

    Character attributes aren't typically a narrative beat. For example, I could write the same narrative beat using Charlie Brown.

    Snoopy woke up hungry and walked to have breakfast. Charlie said Snoopy really shouldn't eat steak for breakfast because it sets up for a bad day since he had the best part of the day already. Snoopy slaps Charlie with his steak and walks into his dog house.​

    The narrative beats are effectively the same in these, but the character motivations are different and the articulation of the beats is different.

    ------

    That said, I disagree that Rey hasn't any flaws. She's more physically and magically capable than Luke, but her central flaw is worse than Luke's - until the end of the saga, Rey is terribly uncertain. Luke doubts himself periodically, but he's always certain of what he wants. Once Rey fixates on something, sure, she's nearly unmovable, but for most of the story she stumbles into what she wants. Luke has big dreams and drive right out of the gate in ANH.
    Rey is foundering right out of the gate, and she learns how to discern her ambitions for herself in TLJ, but it's not until TROS, after a round of doubt, that she resolves this rather large flaw and becomes capable of self-determining her own ambitions.

    That, and she spends the first two films bulk of the narrative being incapable of defining herself by her own merits, and only sees her own value based on what others see her value as.

    However, regardless on the agreement of this assessment, even if she were Superwoman, that's not the same thing as a narrative beat.
    My daily narrative beat is the same thing every day, pretty much. Wake up. Drive to work. Work. Drive home. Hang out with family. Go to bed.
    Those are narrative beats. My capability at any one of those things is not a narrative beat.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  13. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    Cool. :)

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  14. Phil J

    Phil J Guest

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    Also, have you seen the film The Master (2012) with Joaquin Phoenix? It is a film about a WWII veteran who stows away on a boat and meets up with a leader of a new religious movement and how he slowly is drawn in by the message and the charisma of this man. The techniques he uses are similar to real cult leaders:
    • Putting a closed system of logic
    • Use of rewards and punishments to modify behaviour
    • Subservience to the group
    • Environment is controlled
    • Unwavering commitment to the leader- to be fair he seems fairly amiable, makes jokes and is willing to directly engage with people personally irrespective of their standing within the cult but there is the serious aspect that he says he has been 'chosen' by a divine presence
    • Cult as substitute for family- the leader is referred to as 'father' and other members are referred to as 'brothers and sisters' creating a sense of familial obligation
    • The use of 'love bombing'- the strategic use of affection to overcome resistance and awkward questions
    • An insular 'us vs them' mentality- the cult leader in the film visualises himself as waging a spiritual war that began millions of years ago
    • Use of confessions or revelation of personal feelings and information to give a sense of trust to the cult leader
    • Mind numbing exercises- repetition, trance like state
    It really annoyed a lot of Scientologists at the time. Mainly because the cult leader was based on Hubbard. Thanks to Joaquin's character, the cult leader is able to cultivate an attractive image. By the end of the film, the cult is not restricted to the leader's manse or his boat but they now own a sizeable office building with nice wooden interiors from which to administrate.

    Do you think the First Order is a pseudo cult? I know the Jedi Order was:
    • Indoctrination of children- children being vulnerable and not having developed the mental acuity to develop analytical or critical thinking skills, also they would be likely to seek substitutes for parental figures in the form of their teachers
    • A logic designed to suppress emotion and critical thinking based on extremes
    • Also, the children were taken away from the family wider society and are required to live only with other members
    • The practice of purification through confession builds trust to with the teacher
    • Hierarchical and elitist structure
    Links of interest:
    If you want to form a cult of your own, I have found the following links:
     
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  15. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    All organizations that are centered around the realization or veneration of a belief which involves an ontological prescription are cults.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  16. Anarchist

    Anarchist Rebel Trooper

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    My view :

    Beat, is an event that places the protagonist before a choice that will alter how he pursues his goal. Each trilogy has a very specific beat, that takes place in the later part of the last movie in each one. Episodes 3,6,9 force the protagonist to choose between light and dark near the end.

    From an narrative perspective one can use that beat to steer the character whenever he wants. Lucas turned Anakin to a Sith, Luke initially gave in to his anger but then switched back, and.... here is the problem.

    Rey would never turn to the dark side. She is regarded as one that has never (but never) shown even the slightest emotion of "dark" nature. She won't get pissed, she is never angry, etc. which are nothing compared to falling to the dark side.

    This instantly castrates the narrator in the worst possible way, because there are no choices for him to consider. More importantly, there is absolutely no meaning to the beat it self, since we all know how this event will play out. This is a like asking what ice cream you want : Chocolate or Chocolate.

    Observe the fundamental difference in Lucas, and how he handled things. This situation occurs with Anakin also, but there was nothing Lucas could do about it, since Episode 3 was a prequel; yeah we knew Anakin would go dark. But still, Lucas showed Anakin struggling, crying and contemplating what to do. Lucas did put the effort in ,and tried to give value to this beat.

    Did you see Rey trying, contemplating, thinking, crying ? Something! Nope, nothing. She is light. When you reached that narrative beat in the cinema, were you anxious waiting for her decision, and how this will change her course ?

    I wasn't, and this is what I'am trying to convey. There was anticipation and heart beating with Luke. I didn't know what he would choose when the event occurred. There wasn't that much of a thrill about Anakin, but still I got carried away by Lucas magic. Rey. I took another zip of Coke, waiting for the inevitable.

    That just me I guess.
     
  17. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    "Filmmakers and playwrights use the term "beat"[​IMG] to describe moments in the screenplay that should evoke particular emotional reactions in the audience. Although derived from musical beats[​IMG], this term is less about timing and much more about pacing — specifically about keeping the audience emotionally engaged throughout the whole story. Narrative beats therefore don't have any specific duration, and can, in fact, be found as often as at every line of dialogue or as rarely as at the key turning points of the plot. In movies, beats tend to be spaced apart regularly; a string of scenes between two beats is known as a "sequence" " - TVTropes (not a dictionary, but that's a pretty good summary)

    Meaning, yes, you are correct, and also, not exclusively.
    What you are thinking of are narrative beats, but that doesn't have anything to do with how believable the character is, or how flawed they are.

    As to Rey.
    I think we'll just disagree.
    For me, "You went straight to the dark side!" was a pretty big moment, and I wrote about it before TROS came out that to me there was a thread of possibility, especially poetically in the chiastic narrative tangent, for Rey to turn to the dark, and Kylo to turn to the light.

    And actually, that effectively did happen, just in a way that was a bit different than I was thinking - which, I noted back then that there was no way what I was saying would be the ideal would happen because this is America (the nation of origin) and no one is going to green light a tragic ending to the saga where Rey turns dark, Kylo turns light, then they both die saving the galaxy together.

    But they did do about as close to that as you can get away with in a country that demands epics to end on some kind of optimism culturally, and that was Rey being Palpatine's daughter and literally therefore predefined as the darkest heritage possible (which she at first gives up in the face of), and Kylo did turn to the light, and they both did die saving the galaxy...just, in tandem rather than together, and Rey was left alive.

    This is actually a hell of a lot more than I thought they would actually do. I knew what would make sense to do from a poetic narrative point of view, especially chiastically, but I didn't think they would be brave enough to go for it...but they were, at least to a certain level. Allowing Rey to live and have each die in tandem and Kylo die by saving Rey was a very clever way around the cultural issue that really prevents you killing them both off and ending on a bitter-sweet note.

    As to Rey never showing any flaws that could lead her to the dark side. I think this is entirely up to the mind of the viewer.
    For me, I saw plenty of flaws in her that would permit her to go to the dark.

    Now, the cynic in me says, "Yeah, right. Rey will never turn to the dark." in exactly the same way that even my kids knew that Luke wasn't ever going to turn to the dark.
    It was never a valid possibility. Haunted by it? Sure. Actually turn to the dark? Nope. Never going to happen.

    That's why they have a love/hate relationship with the PT. They walked in assuming the same thing, but because they were rather a bit young, they kind of forgot that Anakin ends up Vader along the way, so once he started going dark, they were at first a bit stunned, and then they were mad. They hated Anakin for doing what he did and thought he was a very weak person. They don't like the PT as much as the ST, not because of the reasons people usually do. They don't like it as much because Anakin is so mean and does horrible things to people, and hurts Padme while claiming to love her. They don't like that.

    But with the OT...nope. There was never a moment of doubt there, and I can't recall ever having one myself when I was a kid watching it in the early 80's.

    So that's the cynic in me. The part that knows heroes win and big tent hero film stories don't have tragic finales.

    Now, if I push that aside and just look at the character herself of Rey....

    "You went straight to the dark side!"
    She repeatedly wrestled with wanting to join Kylo Ren, she didn't really care about the dark side in that want, but she really struggled with that.
    In TROS, she basically found herself not even being able to resist slipping into the dark side, accidentaly triggering it repeatedly. That's what scares her off and makes her consider running off to "pull an Ach-To Luke", which Luke corrects and staves her off from doing. She had already made the choice. Luke showed up and corrected it. She did that because she didn't see any way to avoid going straight to the dark side like she kept doing in the beginning of TROS.

    I think I saw a different trilogy. I'm not being coy here. I mean that I must have mentally watched a different film than what you were mentally seeing.
    I saw a Rey that was pissed off and angry much more often than Luke ever was.
    She was angry, and ornery right out of the gate. One of the first beats she goes through is the escape from Jakku, and one of the first things she does in that moment is get upset at Finn for grabbing her hand.
    Now, that's not rage, but the orneriness of her attitude is way beyond first film Anakin and Luke.

    Luke was doughy eyed and naive, and Anakin was innocent and uncannily intuitively wise.

    Neither were ornery.

    Now, more to the meat and potatoes of Rey...I don't think I've seen someone who doesn't turn to the dark side have so many angry faces when they're fighting.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    etc... I'm not going to go grab every shot of her being pissed off and angry.

    She's also ridiculously melodramatic with her other emotions. When she gets scared or hopeless, she goes full throttle. Same with being sad, or loving.

    She's very erratic with her emotions, not too terribly different from Kylo in that way. The primary difference is that she doesn't tend to throw physical tantrums with her mood swings like Kylo does. She throws verbal tantrums pretty regularly for a good chunk of the story, though.

    Clearly I don't agree here. I've been watching this thing's narrative weave and how it follows along the chiastic pattern for the narrative beats, and I never saw that expressed anywhere.
    The writers never talked about that. Johnson took Rey to really interesting places. For one thing, we actually saw her existential crises after being told she was a no-body, unlike Luke, whom after his same narrative beat...the story just ends.
    The next time we see Luke he's done with his existential crises and is now stoic and stone cold sober. He still has things to resolve, but we don't watch him go through his existential crises. That happens off screen between the two films.

    Rey? We actually watch it happen, and we watch her work at resolving her crises in the ending of TLJ and find her thread out of it.

    How Luke was mentally able to work his way out of where his head was after Bespin and get himself to where he is in his mind at the beginning of ROTJ...I'll never know.
    But how Rey was mentally able to work her way out of where her head space was after Kylo dropped the bomb on her and her stoic self who saves her friends on Crate...I do know. Because I watched it since it was in the film this time around.

    And TROS, good lord. Abrams said that Johnson gave him so much narrative fuel with TLJ. He was just thrilled with what he had.

    The only restritive frustration I've ever read any of the writers express were Arndt, Trevorrow, and Terrio.
    Arndt said Luke kept getting in the way when he tried to write 7, and it was frustrating to try to keep focus on the actual protagonist with Luke showing up in scenes (his treatment for Lucas is what became TLJ's spinal column).
    Trevorrow said that he just couldn't find the key to getting TROS to work and give Rey a meaningful thrust in the narrative. Part of the problem here was that he was trying to write it without Carrie Fisher, and he couldn't find a way to do that. This stall was why he walked off (without malice) and praised Abrams and Terrio for making a fantastic story that worked.
    Terrior said that writing TROS around the recovered footage of Carrie Fisher was a real challenge that took a lot of effort.

    No one ever said anything about being stalled out by Rey's character and how just flawless she is.

    Kasdan and Marquand literally argued with Lucas about the lack of meaningful threat in ROTJ.
    Lucas stuck to it and said he didn't want that in his film and that was the final answer.

    Now, he was talking about having one of the heroes die, but the reason that Kasdan and Marquand were saying that was because there wasn't any pressure and believable threat to the protagonist in their minds. No chips were on the table to be lost; everything was safe. So they were proposing to at least kill a hero since there wasn't any other real threats to the protagonist to work off of.

    So, I can't agree here at all. Lucas was professionally criticized for lacking exactly what you're saying he always had.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  18. Anarchist

    Anarchist Rebel Trooper

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    @Jayson A quick one on the Rey mostly subject (though it extends to others)- please try and see the different approaches and how they merge into one practical lens.

    Here you can find what I think about Rey : https://thecantina.starwarsnewsnet....y-episode-ix-thread.55102/page-21#post-573046 , that is very close to what you mentioned. This has nothing to do what I felt would happen to Rey, which is what I'am trying to convey.

    For marketing, fiscal, trends and other reasons the ST evolved in a way where characters were driven down certain paths for other reasons. I don't like conspiracy theories nor do I belong in some anti - SWJ club, but I'am a practical dude. When I see "The Force is female" t-shirts and many many other incidents, I get a gut feeling that is telling me something / someone will most likely meddle with the creative process.

    For example, when Ewan keeps on promoting Birds Of Prey as an anti-misogynist movie, then I will go into the theater with strongly formulated preconceptions.

    Thus, I feel :
    - The writer is being castrated or to be more accurate because indeed that's a strong word, the set of available to the narrator choices is reduced
    - Rey won't go dark
    - The choice for the narrative beat has already been made and is rendered useless

    Obviously you could argue , that allowing such notions to interfere with my viewing experience is wrong, and you would be right. Then again, I'am just a dude watching movies, and the ones making them have decided to put these issues in my head.

    To use the same example, the barrage of interviews and the whole anti-misogynist marketing point, was not decided by me, nor did I want it. I just watched an interview, of the protagonist which is logical to do.

    I hope it's more clear now
     
  19. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    Yep.
    Just entirely disagree with pretty much all of that wholesale.

    Sorry.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  20. Phil J

    Phil J Guest

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    To use a quote from the Kingdom Of Heaven from my favourite character, Godfrey of Ibelin : "It was not that they had no right to take you, it was the way they asked." It is not the message itself but the way it is communicated that people seem to take umbrage with. I remember there being a book called Trance Formations which is based on neuro-linguistic programming and the structure of hypnosis.

    There is advice on language and communication that has applications in events like this. For example, if you are going to persuade someone of your point of view, it is advised that you go to their reality first and slowly work your way outwards. For someone to proselytise to you or condescend to you, this will naturally attract some form of psychological resistance.

    Also, negatives are always processed, if you tell someone not to think something they will have to think it in order to understand they are being told not to think it. Instead of saying "don't take offence" as this would effectively prime them to be offended, you would be better off saying "I have something interesting and productive to say".

    Stanley Kubrick famously brought subjects up in the negative in interviews for this specific purpose.



    One of the major issues I have with this whole social climate is that people have forgotten how to engage in productive discussions or actually empathise with people outside of their ideology or group.

    [​IMG]
     
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