1. Notification emails are working properly again. Please check your email spam folder and if you see any emails from the Cantina there, make sure to mark them as "Not Spam". This will help a lot to whitelist the emails and to stop them going to spam.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. IMPORTANT! To be able to create new threads and rate posts, you need to have at least 30 posts in The Cantina.
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Before posting a new thread, check the list with similar threads that will appear when you start typing the thread's title.
    Dismiss Notice

The Sequel Trilogy has an Identity Crisis

Discussion in 'General Sequel Trilogy Discussion' started by DarthSnow, Aug 20, 2020.

  1. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2015
    Posts:
    1,823
    Likes Received:
    5,712
    Trophy Points:
    15,567
    Credits:
    7,272
    Ratings:
    +8,328 / 34 / -13
    Back in January of 2018, @oldbert asked me how I thought TROS was going to go in terms of main plot elements.
    I outlined the basic form according to the chiastic structure, the uncertainty parameters that would muddy it from being a perfect form of chiastic narrative ending, and then stated that due to the fact that IX was going to be a round robin and didn't have any direct obligations remaining, all cards were off the table, but I noted the one that occured to me as the most obvious to me, but that doesn't mean they would go that route (ergo, "for all I know").
    And even if that wasn't the option, the purely chiastic form that I noted at the time would be that they null out the discrepancy between each other by killing each other. It's either that or sitting down for a spot of tea, and I didn't think that was very likely.

    What I'm saying here is, I get a decent amount of flack for the whole parallelism focus that I bring into explaining Star Wars quite often, but it's been really on beat for most of the time, and as you can see above, there really just wasn't a lot of options and none of them really involved Ben not dying since Vader did.

    That's just how it was going to roll. The only question really up in the air was whether Rey was going to die, and I said around the same time that I can't see how they would get away with killing both because American audiences don't like big epic adventures to end with the protagonist and antagonist both dead, especially when the antagonist is more like a parallel protagonist than a straight antagonist. So I was extremely delighted that they figured out a way to pull off killing both and leaving the protagonist alive - that was a clever work around to solving the chiastic narrative.

    Anyway, yeah...
    I disagree. There's no identity crises.
    If someone wants to think Star Wars is direclty about Skywalkers and only Skywalkers, then they can, but they're missing the forest for the trees.
    The Saga is directly revolved around the Skywalkers, absolutely, but it's not about them.

    It's about cyclical social inheritances, and whether one is ever truly free from inherited debts, or if by attempting to be free one simply perpetuates the cycle along further.

    That's why everyone in the films does what they do, and why the films have the narratives that they do.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Great Post Great Post x 1
  2. eeprom

    eeprom Prince of Bebers

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2016
    Posts:
    2,092
    Likes Received:
    5,216
    Trophy Points:
    14,517
    Credits:
    5,235
    Ratings:
    +7,944 / 33 / -9
    All in all, the sequel trilogy ended up being the story of Rey Skywalker. So her journey is still very much in compliance with the saga.

    I see Kylo as little more than her dark counterpart. He’s what she could become if she faltered on her path. Just as she’s what he could have been had he persisted on his path. As Rey struggles to reject the dark he represents, he struggles to reject the light she represents. It’s a wonderful push/pull dynamic, but the focus makes far more sense cast on her. She’s the hero of the tale.

    I wish there had been a bit more in regard to how the OT3 responded to Ben’s dropout too though. Did the folks who were willing to risk life and limb (literally) for one another back in the day, really just instantly give up on their own family? Seems so, but that’s one of the core conceits of the story I suppose. You just have to roll with it if you want to play along.
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Great Post Great Post x 1
  3. DarthSnow

    DarthSnow Master of Coin
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2016
    Posts:
    2,844
    Likes Received:
    44,770
    Trophy Points:
    169,977
    Credits:
    13,805
    Ratings:
    +51,031 / 8 / -3
    Essentially what I was saying.

    While there was plenty that overlapped between Rey and Ben's stories, there was plenty that didn't. Some of it worked for me, some of it didn't.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  4. oldbert

    oldbert Guardian of Coffee Breaks

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2016
    Posts:
    979
    Likes Received:
    27,333
    Trophy Points:
    151,067
    Credits:
    7,539
    Ratings:
    +29,186 / 8 / -1
    Well done @Jayson, your suggestions back in 2018 were quite accurate xD

    I think, for a lot of fans out there, it could have been a little bit more of Bens journey or more about anything else, depending on everyones special head Canon and taste.
    It is what it is and looking back, it's quite obvious that they wanted to build a story around a "heroines journey".
    That's ok. John Williams did what he could do to create some pretty cool themes for Rey and I could rewatch Luke's comeback on Crait again and again.
    Te ultimate "Jedi" way. Protecting his Sister and Rey without need to really fight or kill, echoing his sacrifice to save his father without fighting in ROTJ. This is the Way.
    Like Voldemort in HP, the ultimate Hater that can't let go kills himself by a backlash of his own negative energy.
    The hero(s) just have to be strong enough to find a way to return it to the sender.
     
    • Like Like x 4
  5. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2015
    Posts:
    1,823
    Likes Received:
    5,712
    Trophy Points:
    15,567
    Credits:
    7,272
    Ratings:
    +8,328 / 34 / -13
    I think you're perhaps misunderstanding what I was writing there.
    I wasn't saying that the story is about the Skywalkers.
    I was saying that the story isn't about the Skywalkers. It revolves around them, but it's not about them.
    That is to say that they are involved, and they are repeatedly half of the provocation of the story, but the story isn't about them.
    The other half of the story is provoked by Palpatine.

    That is, the story revolves around Skywalkers and Palpatine, but that's not what the story is about.

    It wouldn't work to focus on Ben. As I noted in my first post, the parallelism of the chiastic narrative structure wouldn't allow for focusing on Ben and making a Ben leaning story. It would be like asking why the original trilogy wasn't more leaning upon Vader. It can't because that's not the position of the narrative at that time.

    The story which leans more on Ben is the silent prologue of Ben before the Sequel Trilogy, just as Vader's focused story is the prologue that is the Prequels.

    In this respect, Ben has far more focus than Vader ever did. This sequel trilogy had to tell the story of two characters at once, rather than one protagonist. Our antagonist was hauling the chiastic responses to Anakin the whole way through, and as such had to be much more in focus than if he were purely just an antagonist.

    So I wasn't saying that Ben should have been given more focus because the saga revolves around the Skywalkers.
    I was saying that Ben shouldn't have been given more focus because the saga isn't about the Skywalkers.

    It's about cyclical social inheritances, and whether one is ever truly free from inherited debts, or if by attempting to be free one simply perpetuates the cycle along further.
    That means that this trilogy had to answer the inheritances of the narratives of both Anakin and Luke simultaneously and discuss the impact of both the Skywalker and Palpatine legacies, and whether the definition of good and bad is one defined by inheritance or choice.

    It had to answer to the cycle, and to do that, it could not be more focused on Ben. To do so would throw off the ability to balance out the chiastic narrative responses.

    It would also throw off the reason Rey, whether anyone realized it back at TFA or not, just had to be a Palpatine who chose not to be bad. If it had been leaned more about Ben doing good, then with Luke doing good, Anakin being redeemed, and Ben turning to good, the thrust would be that good is an inheritance, not a choice. It would effectively undermine Luke and Vader's choices to show just the Skywalkers doing good. There needed to be a focus on a Palpatine choosing to be good, because then it means that Ben choosing to turn back at the end, Vader doing the same, and Luke choosing to be good in the OT has meaning because it wasn't a given that they would do so just because they were Skywalkers - they had choice. That had to be shown.
    And to do that the story has to focus heavily on Rey with Ben as a support because...that's kind of the whole point. It's not about Skywalkers.

    It's about choosing to do good, even if you're destined from evil. And just because you come from a noble inheritance doesn't mean you are free either - you have to choose, just like everyone else.

    By the way, for what it's worth, Ben has way more character growth than Rey - he's just on the screen less. But by far he has the more powerful and dramatic growth of the two, and he has more energetic emotional growth nearly every time he's on the screen, whereas a lot of time Rey's on the screen there's other things going on than just her character growth.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    #25 Jayson, Aug 27, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2020
    • Like Like x 3
    • Great Post Great Post x 1
  6. DarthSnow

    DarthSnow Master of Coin
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2016
    Posts:
    2,844
    Likes Received:
    44,770
    Trophy Points:
    169,977
    Credits:
    13,805
    Ratings:
    +51,031 / 8 / -3
    I do agree, and maybe that's why it just felt off to me -- he's growing more but we are seeing less of him. So much of his story felt like it was happening in the background, while there seemed to be more focus on Rey but overall she grows less. Even though there are other important things to the story happening around her.

    TLJ embraced Ben's story the most, and I'm suddenly starting to wonder if thats why I am drawn to that film more than the others in this trilogy. I think that film did the absolute best job of splicing together Rey and Ben's stories in the most believable and natural way.
     
    #26 DarthSnow, Aug 28, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2020
    • Like Like x 4
  7. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2015
    Posts:
    1,823
    Likes Received:
    5,712
    Trophy Points:
    15,567
    Credits:
    7,272
    Ratings:
    +8,328 / 34 / -13
    That's just the way it had to be done, though.
    You can't have Ben running around carrying the trite components of the plot, showing us porgs.
    That doesn't work. That's Rey's task.

    Rey grows just as much as any hero has typically done in this saga, but Ben is a new addition. When it was Luke' story, Vader hardly moved in growth ever. We did not spend much time with him, nor did we witness a complex growth arc in him. When it was Anakin's story, we hardly saw Palpatine grow. We saw him rise to power, sure, but as a psyche, we hardly saw anything happen that was formative to his growth - mainly one critical moment yet again involving lightening because the man has a fetish he doesn't learn from.

    Suddenly we have Ben, who's Rey's PalpVader, and it's only a bit odd because Rey is Kylo-Ben's Obi-Wan of Anakin.
    So you're trying to shove the PT Anakin/Obi story into the OT's Luke/Vader story.
    From Rey's perspective, it's Luke/Vader. From Kylo's perspective, it's Anakin/Obi.

    That is what makes it difficult to wrap the mind around. Because we're not used to the antagonist also being treated as the protagonist relative to which part of the story is currently being told, which amplifies the antagonist to a much higher degree than we're accustomed to dealing with in stories (especially movies).

    But, like I said, regardless how rich his story is, how violent (which in part is delivered as a sensation by having his growth be a lot as often as possible when he's on the screen), or how much we like him or not, Ben can't be on the screen as much as Rey, and Rey can't be on as little as Ben.

    We just can't have a camera tracking and following every nuance of Ben's journey. Rey isn't violent, or conflicted enough to create intrigue with less screen time. It's like attempting to make Luke on as little as Vader. Only Vader has that clout. He has that intrigue enough to pull off being absent for so much of the film and still pack such an emotional punch when moments happen.

    Ben has that. It's why there are fans swooning all over Ben pictures and drawing adoration art. The narrative tease.
    Rey can't be that. She could never be that. For the same reason that Luke could never be that. Nor Anakin.
    The character who says, "But I was going into tosche station to pick up some power converters!", "I don't like sand. It's coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere.", or "(GASP!) I feel something! *fern touches fingers*"... That's not the person who can do what Ben was doing and be that part of the story.

    Following Ben more closely would immediately make him weaker, and the story weaker. He's a psychotic badass with a deep connection to our hero and comes with a deeply conflicted wound that needs mending. Like Jaws a bit, the more you show off Ben, the less bite he has, and the more he turns into a whiny little b****.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Great Post Great Post x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  8. Kraven Head

    Kraven Head Rebelscum

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2018
    Posts:
    220
    Likes Received:
    274
    Trophy Points:
    967
    Credits:
    669
    Ratings:
    +462 / 14 / -5
    IMO, the major problem with the ST is it was a victim of the franchise's success.
    If I living under a rock for 30-40 years then suddenly saw the ST...heck its a pretty good set of movies.

    Knowing what came before, the expectations, and the possibilities of what could have been, divided the fans and ultimately doomed it for some.

    Cheers, KH
     
    • Like Like x 3
  9. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rebel Official

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2019
    Posts:
    858
    Likes Received:
    1,330
    Trophy Points:
    5,592
    Credits:
    1,536
    Ratings:
    +2,141 / 105 / -33
    This entire thread is ironically premised on a diminished view of Ben's role in the ST, since Rian Johnson and multiple Lucasfilm employees have previously stated that he and Rey both serve as the protagonists of the trilogy.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
  10. DarthSnow

    DarthSnow Master of Coin
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2016
    Posts:
    2,844
    Likes Received:
    44,770
    Trophy Points:
    169,977
    Credits:
    13,805
    Ratings:
    +51,031 / 8 / -3
    Frankly, they can say whatever they want. Maybe they wanted both to be protagonists, but I'm still not sure they pulled it off. It just felt to me that concept didn't really come through on film. TLJ maybe being the exception of that for the ST.

    Or maybe I'm just cranky about where things ended up with Ben and Rey, I dunno.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  11. eeprom

    eeprom Prince of Bebers

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2016
    Posts:
    2,092
    Likes Received:
    5,216
    Trophy Points:
    14,517
    Credits:
    5,235
    Ratings:
    +7,944 / 33 / -9
    The quote I had read was this: "Rey and Kylo are almost two halves of our protagonist. It’s not like Kylo is our Vader. In the original trilogy, Vader is the father - he’s the one you’re afraid of and who you want the approval of. Whereas Kylo represents anger and rebellion, the sometimes healthy - and sometimes not - desire to disconnect from the parents." Source

    That isn’t necessarily saying that there are literally two equally valued protagonists. Just that together, they work as two extreme facets of the same metaphorical protagonist. Rey represents one aspect of burgeoning adulthood, while Kylo represents another. It’s still Rey’s story though, told from her perspective.
     
    • Wise Wise x 3
    • Like Like x 1
  12. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rebel Official

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2019
    Posts:
    858
    Likes Received:
    1,330
    Trophy Points:
    5,592
    Credits:
    1,536
    Ratings:
    +2,141 / 105 / -33
    Rey and Ben were first set up as co-protagonists in The Force Awakens, but nobody commented on it at the time because of all of the focus being on Ben killing his father.

    If you go back and watch TFA with an eye towards archetyping and mythology, though, the setup is absolutely there.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Funny Funny x 1
  13. eeprom

    eeprom Prince of Bebers

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2016
    Posts:
    2,092
    Likes Received:
    5,216
    Trophy Points:
    14,517
    Credits:
    5,235
    Ratings:
    +7,944 / 33 / -9
    Kylo certainly has his own personal journey within the story that culminates in self-actualization. But if we’re talking archetypal, the Kylo presented in TFA is a rather textbook foil character: someone who contrasts with another character, usually the protagonist, to highlight qualities of the other character. That's not to say that's all he is, but that's the unmistakable template being used.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  14. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rebel Official

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2019
    Posts:
    858
    Likes Received:
    1,330
    Trophy Points:
    5,592
    Credits:
    1,536
    Ratings:
    +2,141 / 105 / -33
    I have a different read on the situation.

    Archetypically, Ben and Rey are reincarnations of Anakin and Luke, respectively, and their paths through the "hero's journey" almost identically mirror those two characters, especially when it comes to the second part of Anakin's "hero's journey" as depicted in the Original Trilogy, because the struggle back to the light that Anakin goes through is exactly what we see Ben go through.
     
    • Like Like x 5
    • Funny Funny x 1
  15. eeprom

    eeprom Prince of Bebers

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2016
    Posts:
    2,092
    Likes Received:
    5,216
    Trophy Points:
    14,517
    Credits:
    5,235
    Ratings:
    +7,944 / 33 / -9
    I think that’s a perfectly legitimate read. Ben was pretty clearly modeled after Anakin’s arc throughout George’s completed saga. And since Anakin’s PT journey was modeled after Luke’s OT arc, the character retains those elements we attribute to a hero’s development. Heck, if you ask George who his epic is ultimately about, he’ll say “Anakin” even though the OT story is definitely told from Luke’s perspective and is punctuated by his personal triumph.

    So, applying the same logic, you could also make the argument that Anakin and Luke are ‘co-protagonists’ of the OT. While somewhat true (from a certain point of view), I wouldn’t say is totally accurate. In the immediate, Anakin is a component of Luke’s journey. In the distant, Luke is a component of Anakin’s journey. In the ST though, we don’t have that drastic differential in perspective. Ben functions mostly as a component of Rey’s journey in my observation. His arc serves to further promote hers. But that’s just how I see it. What do I know?

    Fun conversation!
     
    • Like Like x 3
  16. DigificWriter

    DigificWriter Rebel Official

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2019
    Posts:
    858
    Likes Received:
    1,330
    Trophy Points:
    5,592
    Credits:
    1,536
    Ratings:
    +2,141 / 105 / -33
    In the OT, we don't see the same 'equality of focus' placed on Anakin and Luke; Anakin is ultimately the one who hands Luke and the Rebellion their victory (temporary though it might've been) over the Emperor, but for most of the trilogy the story is focused almost entirely on Luke.

    With the Sequel Trilogy, however, there's a direct through-line of 'focal equality' on Ben and Rey from TFA all the way to TRoS, and the two work in concert to drive the story forward across all 3 films.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
  17. oldbert

    oldbert Guardian of Coffee Breaks

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2016
    Posts:
    979
    Likes Received:
    27,333
    Trophy Points:
    151,067
    Credits:
    7,539
    Ratings:
    +29,186 / 8 / -1
    .. that is it for me and - maybe I am "old style" - but the beginning and the end of TROS was one or two parsecs too fast for me.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  18. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2015
    Posts:
    1,823
    Likes Received:
    5,712
    Trophy Points:
    15,567
    Credits:
    7,272
    Ratings:
    +8,328 / 34 / -13
    I have a hunch about that, and I started a project a while back, but my more pressing writing work has shoved it to the side.

    But I can say that from a preliminary position, the ST is different than the OT and PT in one very crucial way, and TROS is far more removed than TFA and TLJ by a long shot.

    This will seem silly, but it does actually implicitly make a huge difference.

    The OT and PT both have a sequence of shots repeatedly that I've come to call the "macro-to-micro establishing sequence". There's no real term for this thing (I checked - no one I know in the industry knew what to call it and mostly said you wouldn't call it anything, or maybe call it a montage if you wanted to call it something...admitting there may be a term, but it's not standard), so I just made one up.

    The ST, I think, doesn't do this M&M establishing sequence nearly as often. I haven't counted - that's the part of the project that I didn't finish, but my sense is that TFA does it a bit (because I recall a few such cases - especially towards the beginning of the film), TLJ does it a bit more (because I recall it having quite a few), and TROS almost has none - or has them, but they're a blended mess...I'll explain.

    As an example of what I'm talking about. The most common, by far, is the "Ship > Planet > Landing" sequence.
    They always move left to right, or right to left as a set of shots that span typically 3, but sometimes 4 shots or more depending on variables in the narrative (there may be a conversation shoved in the middle of the Ship > Planet portion (most common) for example.

    This is almost always followed as: "Ship > Planet > Landing > External Debark > Internal Entrance"
    And comes in two flavors:
    "Ship > Planet > Landing > External Debark > Establishing Shot > Main scene > exit scene with Internal Entrance"
    or
    "Ship > Planet > Landing > Skip External Debark or include it but only in passing > Internal Establishing Shot > Internal Main sequence"

    Even when we go underwater in TPM, the sequence is maintained.
    Jump into the water, follow the people as if they are ships, see the city in big grand view, watch the swimmers from the side move closer, move left to right, swimmers land on a landing pad, people walk left to right through the external to internal entrance, establishing shot of internal, main scene of entrance.

    We're introduced to Tatooine in the same pattern, but instead a crashed ship instead of a landing ship.
    We open ESB in the same way. Ship > Drones fire out > Planet > explosive landing on planet > Probe > Han main introduction scene.

    Even when we're on a planet already, it's everywhere. Going to Mos Eisley?
    Car > Cliff top > view of Mos Eisley as a whole > entrance of driving into Mos Eisley > guards main introduction scene.

    And notice that we maintain a left to right bias the entire way through this until the main scene with the guards. Travel left to right in car. Stand on the cliff that's to our left. Look at Mos Eisley with the character to the left of the screen and Eisley on the right. Enter Eisley left to right.

    It's even in space. We don't just jump straight into a Star Destroyer or the Death Star very much. We almost always see a Star Destroyer externally before we jump inside, and when we jump inside, there's usually a tracking shot establishing the space of the area inside before we get down to the brass tax of the scene.

    Biggest, bigger, smaller, smallest. Always moved in that level of priority.

    Furthermore, with ESB as one of the few exceptions where this doesn't hold as often as the rest, these sequences are consecutively connected.
    That is, our events are linear and directly baton handed between each other.
    Vader boards ship > Leia gives R2 plans > Droids leave ship > land on Tatooine > get moved to Luke > Luke moves to Obi > Luke and Obi move to Mos Eisley > Leave Tatooine > Land on Death Star > find Leia > leave Death Star > Land on Yavin 4 > Death Star approaches Yavin 4 > fight on Death Star > Ceremony on Yavin 4.

    And all of it is stitched together with these macro-to-micro establishing sequences. It's very linear and easily traceable in the mind. You could almost trace it physically in the air directionally - I'm certain most of us have a directional sense of relationship between the above listed events. We may differ from each other on that directional pattern that we draw with our finger in the air regarding what is where in relationship to what, but I'm almost certain that we all have our own understanding of the directional relationship of all of the events.

    The net result is that even though these sequences are often very short (we're talking in the span of 5 to 10 seconds on average), the sense of it is slow.
    You feel like you know where you are, and have a sense of spacial context at all times. You almost never feel lurched over out of context, and if you do - it's probably for a purposeful sensation of making you feel that way because of the scene context, and it feels that way noticeably because it's uncommon for the series (OT and PT).

    When we get into the ST, this pattern drops pretty heavily, off the radar.
    Try tracing the pattern of directional relationships between events in TFA. You can probably eventually do so, more or less, but it'll probably be a bit sketchy.
    Try doing so with TLJ - I'm betting it'll be a bit easier and feel a bit more like the old Star Wars in directional tracing.
    Now...try doing so with TROS.

    I'm betting you just shoved your mental finger in a blender and ended up pointing with your arms crossed around each other.
    That's because TROS jump cuts a lot, and it jump cuts into new locations without ever showing us the larger context before we get to the micro context. And when it does, they are disjointed from each other - you don't go smoothly from one M&M to another M&M very often.
    Though the film starts with a macro context of showing ships flying towards a destroyer over a planet, we don't actually get the full sequence.
    We just jump straight to Kylo swinging death blows like a mad man.

    That's visually confusing, actually, because we were shown a destroyer and ships flying towards it, but we're not going to be in the destroyer where the ships are heading. We're skipping past it and we're skipping past landing on the planet, skipping past getting to where we're going, and jumping straight into burny-burny-cut-cut time with your neighborhood dark sider, Kylo Ren.

    The next sequence of going to Palpsy does it well and in the full pattern, so that was nice.
    However, to end it, we're almost at 5 seconds of black and then just jumped into hyperspace .... somewhere and then shoved into the Falcon.
    We get a bit of a macro-to-micro sequence, sort of, when they head to the spy - but keep in mind we're out of context of where we are in relationship to where we were with Kylo.
    You can't draw a line anymore already.

    And right in the middle of the exit sequence chase, we're jump cut over to Rey chilling out in the middle of a forest on planet....um...something...somewhere.
    Then we're interrupted with a flashback sequence, which itself is purposefully disjointed and confusing, then the Falcon returns, but we didn't watch it return.
    At no point did we get to this place by a standard Macro-to-Micro establishing sequence.

    We're...somewhere. No clue in what relationship to anything else that we've seen before it. We're two levels of disconnected directionally already and we're only 13 or so minutes into the film.

    From here, it just picks up and gets more and more film in a blender. There are moments that help a bit and go back to the standard, like we leave the rebel base and head to where the knife is using Macro-to-Micro establishing sequences, but they are intercut with an opposite direction of motion of Macro-to-Micro of Kylo landing on a destroyer, but it's out of context - we don't know from where directionally he's coming so it's sort of just injected.

    And that's kind of how this thing goes. You get the M&M sequences, but they are out of context, non-linear in relation to each other, and we jump cut a lot more than pretty much any Star Wars film before hand.

    That makes it seem even more blurred and rushed than it already is - and it has a fast pace to begin with.

    Now, on one hand this makes me proud because I like seeing Star Wars once again push the envelope on speed, because ANH was a whirlwind for folks when it first came out and received quite a bit of flack for being a film in a blender at first.
    But what made it digestible over time was that it was directionally tangented, and it had these Macro-to-Micro transitions that allowed the audience to keep contextual understanding even if the film's cutting pace was fast for the time.

    The cutting pace of TROS is fast, and the directional context is low because there's not a strong reliance upon the Macro-to-Micro sequences to make up for the fast cutting. That makes it seem even more discombobulated and whiplashed than it would otherwise.

    So that sense you're getting at the beginning and the end - well...that's where a lot of the M&M sequences are being dropped. There's more of them in the middle (though, they're still kind of wonkily thrown around without much relation to each other conveyed)

    If I get time (which, I don't know that I will), I still want to finish the project of tracing all of the sequences out across the films.
    For now, I'll just say that when you rewatch the old films, keep an eye out for this and you'll be amazed how constant and repetitively it's used.
    Even when it's not a Macro-to-Micro sequence, we're almost always firstly shown a far shot before we jump into a scene's meat and potatoes. Lucas is huge on the establishing shot and uses it heavily, and almost never does without it. Hell, when a director he's hired doesn't use them (ESB) where he wants them, he creates them using SFX sequences to keep it in play.

    Anyway, I've rambled enough.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    #38 Jayson, Sep 4, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2020
    • Great Post Great Post x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  19. oldbert

    oldbert Guardian of Coffee Breaks

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2016
    Posts:
    979
    Likes Received:
    27,333
    Trophy Points:
    151,067
    Credits:
    7,539
    Ratings:
    +29,186 / 8 / -1
    I like your kind of "logical mapping" a lot.
    It was not that clear for me how translate my feelings in the way you did here, but yes.
    This ritual visualizing the spacial context in the SW universe has rhythm of its own that feels comfortable for me.

    It's like going to "the planet of venecia" via ferry boat. First you get a good overview, the whole scenery in front of you. If you want to get an even better 3D impression you will stop at one of the smaller islands
    and climb up one of the towers if you can.
    When you finally reach the inner city you already feel a little less confused within alll the narrow pathways because you have a rough idea, a simplified 3D model in your mind.
    That is enough to ensure your mind, that you "know where you are". Not exactly, but enough to feel "saver" in the chaos.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  20. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2015
    Posts:
    1,823
    Likes Received:
    5,712
    Trophy Points:
    15,567
    Credits:
    7,272
    Ratings:
    +8,328 / 34 / -13
    Absolutely.
    This isn't a thing in all of Lucas' films (e.g. American Graffiti and THX don't have it, and it's not a constant presence in Willow - though a bit), so my belief is that Lucas did this with Star Wars because it's made with kids in mind (I don't agree with the "for kids" annotation), or better said, to capture that sense of being a kid, and one of the things about kids is (generally speaking) they take this kind of information in wherever they go. As we age, we take it for granted and just kind of blow right by it, but kids take in the Macro-to-Micro detail of going places - especially new places - much more. So in a film where everything is alien and odd - especially in 1977 - I think it makes solid sense to pace it out this way and have a very hand-held tour guide of the universe as you move through the story.

    Some old films do similar approaches, and by old, I'm referring to the 1930's, but they weren't as graceful or advanced. They were usually still shots laid back to back, and only with major plot point moves - which is the same in Star Wars for the most part - but they had far fewer plot point moves...I'll explain.

    Because that's another thing that Lucas did that I think was rather interesting that follows the older style of filmmaking that the newer ones don't really do as much.
    Older films, again, stretching back to the 30's swashbucklers and some of the 50's Epics move a bit like plays in that environment changes only happen with major plot points. In a play this is mostly purely a logistical tradition to reduce the amount of scenery backdrop costs, and because it kind of built up a language, early films followed suit - especially since doing so on a film also saved money.

    Lucas seems to have done pretty much the same - definitely with the OT, and still quite a bit with the PT. We don't see the story hop around willy nilly with environments in old Lucasian Star Wars. It doesn't take it for granted that you can switch to anywhere. It holds out for primary plot points and then switches principle environments. Lucas just one-up's the technique because he typically, wherever possible, finds a way to make it seem organic - for example in the TPM we make a principle environment shift to Tatooine, but it's buried in the organic excuse of an escape from the previous environment.
    We didn't hop to Tatooine before that and show little Ani chilling around doing his thing, then back to Obi, Qui, and Pad et. al., back and forth until they meet.

    He could have. From a film language perspective, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that - that's a very common approach to get your lead interest pulled in early when you're not going to have a bunch of the cast meet them for a while (this was somewhat done with ESB, for example), but Lucas is a patient story teller and is willing to just let it roll and wait for the environment to organically shift over before jumping to that new environment (for better or worse).

    And I think that makes a big difference, and couples right in with this Macro-to-Micro logic.
    Lucas is extremely capable of carousel parallel story telling (e.g. American Graffiti essentially put that style on the map), but I think it says a lot about Lucas as a story teller to note that he refrains from doing that with Star Wars entirely. It has parallel storytelling, most notably in ESB and AOTC (the middle films typically tell a split narrative - just as we see in TLJ), but for the large part, Lucas reigns Star Wars into a very linear travel of the camera following an imaginary narrative baton that passes from one character and environment to the next - almost like a sort of smooth slow dance.

    It's really quite impressive when you break it down and write this way (I'm actually working on a project currently where I'm borrowing this method and it's amazing how much better it makes certain stories feel and move).

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    • Great Post Great Post x 1
Loading...

Share This Page