1. Due to the increased amount of spam bots on the forum, we are strengthening our defenses. You may experience a CAPTCHA challenge from time to time.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. 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
  3. IMPORTANT! To be able to create new threads and rate posts, you need to have at least 30 posts in The Cantina.
    Dismiss Notice
  4. 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 Sprinting of Skywalker (the pace of TROS)

Discussion in 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' started by Jayson, Dec 8, 2020.

  1. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2015
    Posts:
    1,959
    Likes Received:
    5,997
    Trophy Points:
    15,567
    Credits:
    7,706
    Ratings:
    +8,728 / 35 / -13
    This topic comes up a lot in other threads, and I've talked about it a few times here and there, but I think it's time that it deserves its own discussion.

    1. First, I'm not singling anyone out. You may have written them yourself. I simply selected these posts because I don't want to come off like I'm making a scarecrow to discuss. It's better if I can just take folks' words directly than to paraphrase and get something wrong about what they wrote.
    2. Second, before we begin... I do not see anything wrong with folks not enjoying TROS' pace, or seeing it as a train wreck because of the pacing.
      That is a matter of subjective taste and no one should be told they are wrong for disliking a film's pace.

      If it doesn't work, then it doesn't work.

    Clearly, TROS was hard for a decent number of people to hang in there with its pace - even for those who enjoyed it.

    Now I'm going to make an apologetic argument for the appreciation of its breakneck pace.

    THE CRITICISMS (this is not a bad word)
    First, let's survey some of the comments about it.

    These are just some, but it's a pretty common point made.
    Some feel better after repeat viewings. Others do not.

    And again, THIS IS TOTALLY OK!
    I'm not here to tell anyone they should like things or not.


    AN APOLGETIC RESPONSE (why I like the pace)

    I've mentioned before that the breakneck speed was something that I was smiling about when I first watched it in the theater because Star Wars was founded on the principle of speed.

    And not just speed, but absolutely breakneck speed.

    "There’s no breather in the picture. ... It’s enjoyable on its own terms, but it’s exhausting, too: like taking a pack of kids to the circus."
    - New Yorker (1977)​

    The thing is that this breakneck speed wasn't just a consequence of anything.
    It was a specific targeted cinematic goal Lucas was chasing after.

    It helps to keep in mind that Luas saw Star Wars as an experimental film.
    It was trying lots of things that were not typical fare for films at each point of any one of the films he made.

    One of those attributes of experimentation was pace.

    Here's Lucas discussing the topic back on Return of the Jedi.

    Each movie moves a little bit faster. Each one has been taken to the brink; it’s as fast as you can make it and still be able to tell a comprehensible story. Jedi is almost incomprehensible in certain areas. ... It’s natural to the way I feel about things. I’ve always been extremely interested in the cinematic side of motion pictures, and one of the key elements of cinema is editorial pace, just storytelling pace. I have constantly been experimenting with trying to get the story told as quickly as possible while adding in as many entertainment values as one can possibly have, to express an idea as swiftly as possible. It’s a form of minimalism.
    - George Lucas (Rinzler, J.W.. The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi)​


    Faster. Taken to the brink. Almost incomprehensible in certain areas. Get the story told as quickly as possible while adding in as many entertainment values as one can possibly have.

    I can't think of a better summary of Rise of Skywalker than that.

    It causes it to be a problem in digestion, but I find that fantastic!
    If some can't watch it because it was too much, then it did its job!

    One of my only complaints with the Sequel Trilogy was that they didn't really attend to much of the ART of filming a Star Wars film in the STYLE of Lucas. I don't mean they didn't copy it. I mean that they didn't try to do their version OF Lucas' artistic goals set out in Star Wars.

    One of them, for example, was that you pile in all of this fantasy but then you shoot it like it's a documentary.

    "THX was a totally two-dimensional drawn-on, surreal style, with very eccentric graphics and framing—but it also had that documentary quality, which I achieved mainly through the lighting. In this film I’m going to use a documentary frame but with theatrical lighting.
    ...
    I’m trying to make a film that looks very real, with a nitty-gritty feel, which is hard to do in a film that is essentially a fantasy. Photographically, I’m working on a filtered look, nostalgic, a looking-back quality. I’m using a lighting style that is very dramatic, in the style of Greg Toland, using strong shadows. Framing-wise, I’m going to try for a semi-documentary, loose frame that will give it a nervous “now” quality, a sense of being captured, which will look real but at the same time be slightly fantastic. Binding all those things together will create, hopefully, a fantasy-documentary look.

    ...
    [The acting is] more improvisational and linked to the style I use in directing, which is to have more than one camera and lead back away from the people, so that the actors essentially play the scenes themselves. The cameras are onlookers, and you aren’t right in there. People aren’t acting to cameras, people are acting to each other."

    - George Lucas (Rinzler, J.W.. The Making of Star Wars)​

    This was dominantly not done at all in the Sequel Trilogy, and it's a little sad to see it fall by the wayside as that was a huge part of the soul of Star Wars and what made it FEEL like Star Wars experientially.

    The Sequel Trilogy still narratively pulled off a lot of the same ambitions in art that Lucas did, but it didn't really do much towards the cinematic ambitions in art that Lucas planted into Star Wars.

    Rian Johnson got really close in exploring Lucas' artistic ideals, mostly focusing on the "frame as a painting" aspects of the work.

    But there was a massive absence of overall attendance to Lucas' more technical and esoteric cinematic endeavors.

    And THAT is why I smiled at TROS just rocketing off the rails at speeds too fast for its own good, and flooded with so many story points that it was busting at the belt line.

    Because THAT was actually TECHNICALLY Star Wars.

    I know it doesn't work for a lot of folks. It doesn't have to. It only has to be an experiment.

    An experiment that is one tipping point away from absolute failure (literal failure...not 'you didn't like it' failure...as in, blows a hole in the boat and sinks the money out through it failure).
    Anytime it's not that, it's not being true to the spirit Star Wars was created with.

    And I was very pleased to see at least ONE technical aspect of Star Wars' cinematic approach being fully embraced thoroughly since no other technical aspects were going to be.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    #1 Jayson, Dec 8, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2020
    • Like Like x 6
    • Great Post Great Post x 4
    • Informative Informative x 2
    • Cool Cool x 1
  2. NinjaRen

    NinjaRen Supreme Leader

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2015
    Posts:
    4,597
    Likes Received:
    101,030
    Trophy Points:
    171,517
    Credits:
    55,637
    Ratings:
    +109,260 / 161 / -32
    IMO not one single Lucas' Star Wars movie was really fast paced. They were rather slow actually (okay, an exception would be ROTS). Two movies of the ST are truly fast, while TLJ is as slow as a snail.

    While I like the pacing of TFA (slow, fast, slow, fast), I dislike the pacing of TROS (faster, faster, too fast). TROS is actually the fasted paced movie I've ever watched.

    From the very first scene on, the movie confuses you with a pace that refuses to slow down and take some time with its characters or locations. The characters are thrown around from one location to the other, forced to chase an unnecessary MacGuffin, only to push the action forward.

    It even feels faster because of TLJ. While nothing really happened in TLJ, it happened way too much stuff in TROS.

    Alot of people think the Han/Ben scene is the best moment in the movie. Why? Because that very scene gave you room to breathe. Otherwise the movie has no real breathing room. The characters aren't given moments to simply react to and process important events. It doesn't feel impactful.
     
    • Great Post Great Post x 5
    • Like Like x 4
  3. RockyRoadHux

    RockyRoadHux Ginger General

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2015
    Posts:
    2,006
    Likes Received:
    71,552
    Trophy Points:
    171,227
    Credits:
    42,387
    Ratings:
    +74,947 / 15 / -4
    What are those many entertainment values you speak of? Can you name a few?
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Wise Wise x 1
  4. Flyboy

    Flyboy Force Attuned

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2017
    Posts:
    699
    Likes Received:
    8,685
    Trophy Points:
    17,617
    Credits:
    8,031
    Ratings:
    +9,621 / 13 / -1
    I think it's pretty important to take everything into context though. I agree that the OT doesn't feel fast, and compared to what we see nowadays it can certainly feel slow at times, and that's the thing. Movies in general but especially blockbusters have gotten so much faster over the past 40 years. Looking at Star Wars through 1977 eyes and 2020 eyes, it's a completely different experience. Star Wars WAS incredibly fast for 1977, for a lot of people it was too fast.

    But now that everything moves at a pace that leaves the OT in the dust, here we have TROS which manages to blow by all of those films. The question then becomes, is it too fast? Has it exceeded the limit for how fast a film can be while still being able to tell a meaningful and satisfying story? It's easy for me right now to say yes, but the truth is, I'm almost certain the real answer is no. As harrowing as it may sound to say now, perhaps in 20-30 years people will look back at TROS and see it as a "slow" film. There's a pattern, there's a trend, movies have been getting steadily faster for decades, and there's no reason to think that it's going to stop. If anything, TROS was the first film to take that next leap, other franchises and studios will probably follow in the coming years and it'll be up to us to adjust our eyes and brains to this new, lightning quick pace.
     
    • Like Like x 6
  5. NinjaRen

    NinjaRen Supreme Leader

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2015
    Posts:
    4,597
    Likes Received:
    101,030
    Trophy Points:
    171,517
    Credits:
    55,637
    Ratings:
    +109,260 / 161 / -32
    If you look at the TV series trend, then I have to disagree. The new direction seems to be slow overarching plot structured storytelling. Movies try to put in as much content as TV series, only to appeal to the new audience. But a movie is limited by its runtime. So, they get faster and faster.
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Wise Wise x 2
  6. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2015
    Posts:
    1,959
    Likes Received:
    5,997
    Trophy Points:
    15,567
    Credits:
    7,706
    Ratings:
    +8,728 / 35 / -13
    More or less what Flyboy wrote is worth noting.

    TV shows don't matter.

    What matters is the films. We're talking film. Not TV shows. The two are siblings but very different in almost every aspect of the art.

    Star Wars in 1977 was indeed fast. There are very few walk and watch scenes in the film, most notably just the famous sunsets scene.
    More importantly, you may not think of it as fast, but Lucas did. He started out with much more story that he was trying to fit into that film, and I'm not talking about the first three drafts of the film.
    I mean what he took into production with him. He started out with a heck of a lot more story in that film and kept tossing and tossing, cramming everything into tighter and tighter spaces, combining scenes together one after another, always pushing against the clock - pushing as much as he could possibly fit in there.

    Of course the first one doesn't feel fast. It's his first attempt at the challenge.
    It was fast compared to most films of the era, and that is incredibly easy to observe. Just watch other films from 1968 to 1977.
    Duel was considered racy. Jaws was an intense pace.
    Close Encounters of a Third Kind wouldn't even get made today - its pace would be its death. Even if not by audiences, and likely by audiences, by studios who would never sign off on such a slow paced long running film anymore (Spielberg could probably still do it, though...but not someone at the level he was in 1977).

    Most any movie back then had this really long walk and watch style of scene in it. There was almost nothing going on in the shots. There were usually quite a few and they weren't establishing shots. They were also typically medium to far shots on cranes and/or panning. They weren't typically close up and/or frantic.

    It's why I actually enjoy films from this period.

    Just look at Silver Streak. This is a 1976 thriller on rails film (quite literally) and effectively created the entire modern rules for transportation thrillers.
    Rather said, it's the pivotal shift from the older transportation thrillers and the next era which would lead us to today's transportation thrillers.
    This film is a thriller.
    Yes, it's a comedy thriller, but it's a thriller. "By train, by plane, by the edge of your seat." was its tag line on posters.

    What made it fast was that it markedly lacked the Walk and Watch shot.
    It's still slow though by today's standards. It takes a solid half to two thirds of the film to get up to the point that is tense enough to keep up with today's pacing.

    Go watch the French Connection. That's a straight crime thriller, and you have the walk and watch open the film with about 2 minutes of it.
    Just a guy going through his day with some curious behavior, and a lot of the camera frame being so wide that you're looking at the world around him just as much or more then looking at him - his actions aren't all that important per say for most of that 2 minutes. It's more the observation of the world and what it contains in observation that's being shown. A sort of tour by lens.

    And yes, it's the opening sequence so we can argue that it's the opening sequence which establishes the world and setting for the entire film so of course such is there - it's an establishing sequence.
    True, we could say that. I don't tend to agree with that view because, while technically accurate, it ignores that - as Star Wars pointed out rather bluntly - you don't have to open with an establishing sequence. You can just jump straight into the action and move.

    And that's the difference. We're watching one of the premiere action thrillers, cited repeatedly today as one of the great films, makes all of the critic's lists, and it opens with a walk and watch.

    And it opens with a walk and watch because it interrupts it. It give the audience what they are used to - a walk and watch, and then did something they aren't used to - added violence to the walk and watch.
    Walk and watches from this era are almost universally void of stress and tension. They're just a "walk in the park" break in the film. That's it. No one delivers dramatic details during them, no one gets hit by cars out of no where during them, no one gets mugged, robed, or killed during them.

    It's just walking and watching. In 1975, people were still settling into the theater when that walk and talk abruptly ended in a man being shot.
    They weren't prepared for that to happen.
    That didn't happen. That wasn't the language. That was like blurting out "MARRY ME!" on the first date in the middle of the other person talking about the weather.

    And it was only provocative because the editorial pace was slow at that time.
    Something I dearly, dearly miss quite honestly.

    Everything about the film moves slowly. Even the chasing after people is slow.
    16:45 into the film and it pans a near 90 degrees over the course of 18 seconds. 18 seconds. To pan the camera.
    For no narrative reason at all. It's entirely just for editorial pacing reasons. There's no narrative function, action, or dialogue taking place during those 18 seconds of film.
    They could have just shown the Ratner's sign, then our protagonists sitting in their car, and then the Ratner's sign again and cut at least 10 and possibly 12 seconds off of that scene. We sure as heck wouldn't do that today. Smack in the middle of an action thrust of the narrative, toss in a nearly 20 second city tour by panning camera.

    Star Wars didn't. And that's the point. It didn't. Every single scene was tight and to the point. Everything showed you only exactly what it had to and nothing more.
    It didn't idle anywhere in it. It moved its butt. If it was giving you a slow shot, it was giving you it for one reason - it was a narrative requirement.
    And they were few and far between in that film. By the time we get to Return of the Jedi, there's effectively no walk and watch shots anywhere to be found. Every scene in it is driven by a narrative delivery of dialogue or action. We don't just watch the world in ROTJ. We did a couple times in ANH, true, but only slightly and mostly in the first 40 minutes. You have the droids wandering the desert, the twin suns - which is the most notable, and then you have Mos Eisley which has a bit of walk and watch peppered into it.

    That's about it. ESB cut even more out, and by ROTJ it's just not a thing included anymore.

    Now, you talk about TV shows being slow, and while before I dismissed it for the topic, I actually have to disagree.
    When Mando took time to do two slow beat episodes in the first season, everyone took note. It ripped into awareness.
    TV isn't slow in shot nor edited with a slow paced set of action - especially not adventure shows.

    The plots are, certainty. But that's not the editorial pace.
    Twelve Monkeys, a science fiction TV show adventure with a massive pile of philosophy and drama piled into it, wasn't slow paced in each episode.
    It has down moments, but it was nothing like The Queen's Gambit or Maniac - both of which revisit an older style of film language of the 60's and 70's (respectively) using a limited series format.

    Limited series streaming is where the real radical shake up's are happening. It's like this wide open playground right now.
    You can move at nearly any pace you want - slow or fast - take your pick. And you have a definite end point that's not caught off guard and racing to finish before being cancelled, nor is it drawing on and on without end - just rambling on an endless storyline.

    It's very purposefully telling one definite story. It's a miniseries of the old days. Roots.
    But today, they get to do nearly whatever they want and they are very cool. Personally I think they're better than either TV or Film.
    I'd almost rather have a 7 part limited series than a trilogy of films at this point.

    But on TV? No. No one's moving the shots and editing slowly all over the place.
    TV series are actually going through a crises right now where long running shows are getting cut right and left. No one wants them anymore.
    They want 30 episodes, not 80 to 200 episodes.

    They don't even really want 50 episodes, and even at 30 agreements, a ton are getting cut off only one to two seasons in because the new metric game of streaming's version of "money ball" is to let the show run until it hits a net return greater than the first tipping point where its costs will go up (which means you could still make money on it by growing the audience, the traditional approach) and then dump it for another one that your algorithms show folks who watch that show are likely to also watch.

    It's a series production version of click-baiting. That's a reality right now.

    So I don't agree that TV is slower. If anything it's getting suffocated to move it, move it, move it.
    You've got 10 episodes to get your story and you better get something meaningful out and sort of softly wrapped up because you really might not be back at all.
    And even if you are, you've maybe got 20 more episodes - if you're lucky you've got 40 more - tops. And be suspicious of that final season. Things go wrong in the final three seasons in the business politics a lot.

    They move slower than a film does in terms of plot, but I wouldn't say they move slower than TV once moved in editorial pace - respective to each genre.

    But in comparison to TV shows, it's not much of a comparison. They just aren't the same medium.

    So yeah, Star Wars was very much fast. It may not be fast to you, and it may never have been fast to you, but are you someone of that era?
    Or were you just after that era?
    Were you pre-Star Wars, or post-Star Wars media culture?

    Because it's Star Wars that notably changed the editorial pace and gave us the theatrical rollercoaster ride culture.

    The last 15 minutes of Star Wars are some of the finest editorial pacing in all of cinema. There are few films even today that have accomplished such tension and pressure in their finale as Star Wars accomplished.
    --- Double Post Merged, Dec 9, 2020, Original Post Date: Dec 9, 2020 ---
    Personally I would just point to the whole film.
    However, you're asking so the received implication is that you didn't really enjoy it, so don't find it entertaining.

    I can't tell you what's entertaining for you.

    That said, that's not exactly what Lucas means by that phrasing.
    Elsewhere he talks about such decision making and the point that he makes with "entertainment values" isn't the same thing as your question is referring to...not exactly.

    Another term is "titillating", another, "spectacle", and another, "sell out moments".
    They're the moments that make a lot of the critics roll their eyes and groan, call it romp and audience pleasing cinema pornography, and the like.

    It's anything that basically makes the dopamine in a brain jump, makes the pupils dilate.
    It's the cinematic equivalent of a trapeze artist without a net, or a bear on a bicycle.

    It's what caused Star Wars to get called a side-show attraction by some critics back in '77, and it's what caused them to slam it as boring audience pandering in '83.

    It's moving the throne room to the Death Star instead of a lava pit so the Emperor is on board the soon-to-be-exploding base and so is Luke. Time clock. Trapeze artist without a net.

    It's also a bunch of cute cuddly teddy bear looking creatures fighting the Empire. Silly, cute, slight peril. Bear on a bicycle.

    It's a city in the clouds. It's light sabers. It's Darth Vader being Luke's dad. It's Leia being Luke's sister. Ben being killed. It's a snowy planet. A jungle planet. Speeder bikes roaring through in new technology pushing stereo sound that pushed new theater standards for audio control and regulation. Aliens everywhere in a bar, but not up until then. It's space ships moving like airplane dog fights for the first time. It's robots that seem impossibly accomplished. It's a rolling prologue, and one that doesn't shake all over the screen and look like crap. It's the opening sequence being a starship battle in space from an angle no one has ever seen before. Luke facing his fears. It's Han coming back to save Luke. Luke in black. Leia in a bikini. Leia choking Jabba to death. Leia taking over her own rescue. Carbonite freezing. It's a really white hallway that looks like something out of 2001 Space Odyssey being blasted into and a villain dressed entirely in black head to toe standing over dead bodies.

    One side of Lucas is very much a circus showman, and he absolutely does a lot for the purposes of stimulation.
    That's one of his constant topics through all of the making of books, actually. It's just that - stimulating content.

    "Faster. More intense." - George Lucas' repeated instructions on pretty much every Star Wars film.

    By that measure, TROS is full of such content. It's almost every scene that something is being shoved forward that is new in some way, or just tense, action, exciting, or humorous.
    In a Star Wars film....
    You haven't seen a floating Jedi with rocks before. Nor a battle on the remains of the Death Star in the open ocean.
    Never seen a Jedi fly up that high before in a flipping jump.
    Never seen that horse thing. Never seen people running on the outside of a Star Destroyer before. Never seen an bad-guy officer shoot another officer before. Never seen a bad guy be a traitor before. Never seen 3PO getting hacked before - or indeed any robot getting hacked before. Never seen a ship pour exhaust smoke out like pollution before. Never seen anything like that throne room before. Never seen the bad guys and good guys team up together and fight together at the same time before, because the only time before the bad guy decided to help while the good guy was beaten down on the floor. Never seen a light saber fight through force time before - heck - cinema as a whole hasn't ever seen a sword battle across two different scenes that are cutting back and forth with each other before. Never seen a hovering iceberg before. Never seen hyperspace skipping before. Never seen a festival like that before. ... and the list just keeps going.

    It's full of narrative tensions and sparkles as well. Lando showing up, all of the people showing up to the battle, everything going on between Rey and Kylo - which is most of the film - so...most of the film's narrative.

    There's so much in TROS.
    That doesn't mean you have to find it entertaining. That's up to what's entertaining to you.

    Marvel packed the Avengers movies full of entertainment values and they do absolutely nothing for me.
    That doesn't mean they aren't full of entertainment values.

    It means that entertainment values aren't exchangeable between all people.
    Some people find bears on bicycles boring. Others just find the entire circus as a whole to be a complete garbage show and waist of time.
    Meanwhile others love the whole experience.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    #6 Jayson, Dec 9, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2020
    • Like Like x 5
    • Great Post Great Post x 1
    • Cool Cool x 1
  7. Veronica

    Veronica Rebel General

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2020
    Posts:
    309
    Likes Received:
    631
    Trophy Points:
    3,797
    Credits:
    1,100
    Ratings:
    +808 / 29 / -13
    The criticisms outlined above by various posters are quite valid and they make good points. I especially respect the fact many thought that the film could have had a longer run time to give some scenes times to 'breathe'.
    As opposed to 'I couldn't follow the plot'. And there's no nitpicking over things that don't matter.


    Personally, I didn't mind the rushed pace because I am so used to going to films and constantly checking my watch wondering when they will get to the point. Rarely am I able to go into a film and feel some excitement and a deep emotional pull. And 2. my enjoyment of TROS was due to primarily the growth and character work of the cast. Especially Rey and Ren. So the rushed plot and yes, some of the contrivances (which seem to be a staple in Hollywood films) didn't bother. I liked TRoS and I think it's only one of 3 films I can remember having seen double digit times in theatres.
     
    • Like Like x 5
  8. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2015
    Posts:
    1,959
    Likes Received:
    5,997
    Trophy Points:
    15,567
    Credits:
    7,706
    Ratings:
    +8,728 / 35 / -13
    Here's just a little follow up.

    Star Wars put the 3 second shot length for action and adventure films on the board. It also put the 1000 cuts per hour on the board.
    There were extremely few films hitting these marks before Star Wars. I could only find one, actually. A short promotional film by Ford from 1958 called Band Wagon, and it's not actually 1000 cuts per hour because it's a short film that's only 8 minutes long (the 1000 cuts per hour is a calculated result).



    Here's what Star Wars looks like against the averages.
    The total amount of films involved here is 11,000 films of all kinds.

    The results follow the same found by other studies.
    See http://people.psych.cornell.edu/~jec7/pubs/cutting&candanProj15.pdf for a full detailed run through of shot lengths.

    Seconds are the Y axis, years on the X axis.
    ASL Averages.png

    I supplied all forms of averages to help reduce doubts as averages can tend to cause questions of ambiguity.
    Mode is "most common", Mean is what you're commonly used to as "average", and Median is the middle number between the smallest and largest numbers of the data.

    Then I took those three values and pulled their Mean (average) as the "aggregate mean".
    So basically, the yellow line is the line you can follow for a basic understanding of the "ballpark", while I would suggest following the blue dash if you wanted to know what you would most commonly experience when you go to the theater.

    The three dots in 1980 are three films from 1977. James Bond's Spy Who Loved Me, A Bridge Too Far, and Star Wars.
    These were the top selling action/adventure films of that year.

    Star Wars comes in at an absolute neck breaking (for the era) 3.2 seconds per shot average.
    Further, it's raking that 3.2 in at just over 1000 cuts per hour.

    It's a blazing speed of imagery.

    The closest to it is nearly a full second longer per shot average, and comes in at 950 cuts per minutes (Bond).

    So how does Rise of Skywalker fair?
    Interestingly enough, it's about the same as the original Star Wars. Around 3.4 shots per second at around 1000 cuts per hour.
    The biggest difference is that it's about 17 minutes longer than A New Hope.

    So what's the difference? Why does it feel rushed?
    Camera method, and tangents.

    Star Wars tells pretty much one tangent almost the entire film. It's a baton film.
    We only slightly step into the Empire's side to inform us of exactly what we need to press a threat onto our good guys.
    And that's about it. We don't really spend much time in their world.

    Everything is all on how the situation reaches Luke, drags him out of his world, and shoves him into a grand adventure.

    Meanwhile Rise of Skywalker cranks it up a notch because we're following multiple characters constantly (there's more characters on the screen more often than ANH) and we're paying attention to at least three primary plot tangents going on - Political, Kylo, and Rey.

    So that speed just comes out at far higher rates.

    You know what runs at a blazing speed but doesn't exactly feel like it's blazing fast? Fury Road.
    It comes in at 2.1 ASL!

    And yet it comes off like it's slower than that. That's down to the way those shots are lined up in a smooth linking between them - much like the original Star Wars film.
    Meanwhile Borne is nearly incomprehensible because of it's wild jump-cutting - to say nothing of Transformers wild mess.

    TROS "fakes" the rush by packing more in the same metrics the original film had.

    And that is one heck of an interesting way to go about it (intentional or not).

    Cheers,
    Jayson

    Data sources:
    http://www.cinemetrics.lv/
    http://www.douglaskokes.cz/pdz/
    http://people.psych.cornell.edu/~jec7/pubs/cutting&candanProj15.pdf
     
    • Informative Informative x 3
    • Great Post Great Post x 1
  9. RoyleRancor

    RoyleRancor Car'a'Carn

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2016
    Posts:
    5,793
    Likes Received:
    34,643
    Trophy Points:
    159,917
    Credits:
    25,704
    Ratings:
    +43,283 / 189 / -99
    The pace wouldn't be such an issue if what they were doing/saying felt like it had any weight or value behind it but it moves so fast and so much is just jibberjabber filler only meant to progress a fetch quest the actual important stuff isn't given significant time to be important.

    The most egregious example off the top of my head is Chewie's death.
    Even if Star Wars never takes much time for deaths (it doesn't), this is a good guy killing another good guy even if by accident.
    This is a unique beast. Yet the movie moves so fast we blaze right by everything that should be stewed upon. We're told almost immediately Chewie is fine. We immediately get another cute fetch quest so we don't have to think about how Chewie is alive even though the heroes don't and it's really a non topic.

    The reason this is what comes to mind is, the big twist of the movie is Rey Palpatine. And how will Rey handle this. Now her Palpitine brand Midichlorians caused her to kill Chewie....and we never take any time to see how or why this is such a problem. We just kind of move on, find out Chewie is alive and keep moving on. The pace robs the characters of growth. They just bounce around doing things because obviously things need done.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Wise Wise x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  10. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2015
    Posts:
    1,959
    Likes Received:
    5,997
    Trophy Points:
    15,567
    Credits:
    7,706
    Ratings:
    +8,728 / 35 / -13
    I think that's the critical point: "everything that should be stewed upon"

    That's tricky dice, isn't it?
    As far as I've really seen, Star Wars has always run to its own beat as to "what should be stewed upon" in funky ways.
    In ROTJ, for example, Han and Luke practically become paper plate versions of themselves - in fact, that was the film that provoked Fisher to go into writing; because it irritated her how side-lined Leia was in that film, and how different her entire character was from the previous films.

    It's all through the franchise, though.
    The wrong thing is focused on, the wrong pace is used, the wrong "stewing" point.

    And I think it's good that it challenged it like that.
    It's pretty much like Ben of ANH.

    Bam. Dead. NO! "Run Luke!" Oh...not dead. Kind of?
    It's maybe one breath between moments as to whether Ben's out of the film for the rest of the show or not.

    Luke himself only takes a mere moment to consider this loss (which is a weird loss for him to care about in the first place - dude only just met the guy), and Leia gets just "NO!" and a zoom in for losing her entire planet.

    By the standards of that day, yeah...that was insanely fast and some critics actually nailed it for cutting the thunder out from its own legs by its pacing; leaving virtually no time for emotional weight to be felt.

    That's pretty much the same that we have in TROS. The emotional weight that you get isn't sadness, or terror. It's exhilaration and energy. Overwhelming energy.
    GO! GO! GO! GO! GO!

    I think the perfect icon to represent TROS as a whole is the lightspeed skipping scene.
    That's basically the entire film's ethos in one sequence.

    Hopping scenes rapidly, threats come and go fast, pensive terror lasts about as long as a roller coaster drop, odd moments are dropped from showing to conserve time (e.g. Falcon bursting into flames), and when it's over you're somewhat left wondering, "...What was that?"
    Like you just stepped off of a moving train.

    I know that is a problem. Hell, I enjoy slow films. As I mentioned, I personally love the 60's and 70's for their typical slow paces, and my favorite genre of film is from the 70's and runs very slow - the philosophical psychological science fiction thriller (soylent green, planet of the apes, logan's run, westword, altered states, etc...).

    But for Star Wars, I find this pattern just wonderful.
    Strap that audience to a rocket sled and turn on the cinematic blender to maximum!

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    • Like Like x 4
  11. RoyleRancor

    RoyleRancor Car'a'Carn

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2016
    Posts:
    5,793
    Likes Received:
    34,643
    Trophy Points:
    159,917
    Credits:
    25,704
    Ratings:
    +43,283 / 189 / -99
    The problem with TROS is that nothing is given a moment.
    It's not the wrong things are or aren't. It's just that nothing is. The next thing just happens.
    It's a theme in JJ Abrams' movies with his lack of decision making for stories. If the story moves on, you don't have to answer things.

    The only time the movie slows is with Ben Solo and Rey at the end but by then everything has been so frenetic, it's almost meaningless.
    We aren't even given a clear reason why Kylo Ren returns to Ben Solo.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Great Post Great Post x 1
    • Wise Wise x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  12. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2015
    Posts:
    1,959
    Likes Received:
    5,997
    Trophy Points:
    15,567
    Credits:
    7,706
    Ratings:
    +8,728 / 35 / -13
    In my opinion, you shouldn't be given a clear reason why.

    We weren't given a clear reason why Ben decided to let himself die once he saw that Luke was watching.
    The reason we got was a sly look and that was about it.

    Everything else is inference.

    And yeah, there are not down moments before Rey and Ben at the end, and that's good.

    If there was any fault I would lay upon TROS for pacing it's that I think it needed to crank that pacing up and up and up and up as the film progressed like ANH did.
    As it stands, it has essentially the same pace the entire way through until the end where it lets off the throttle just a bit - kind of a reverse of A New Hope.

    So I would say start at the pace it started at, but pick it up as time moves on. Dial it down to 2 second cutting average by the end.
    Really get that in there.

    It's tricky to say that, though, because it's trying to do a throne room and throne room square offs are going to run slower by default than space ship battles (ROTJ vs ANH).

    But still, I would like to see that - a TROS with a shot length shape like a star destroyer.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    • Like Like x 3
  13. RoyleRancor

    RoyleRancor Car'a'Carn

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2016
    Posts:
    5,793
    Likes Received:
    34,643
    Trophy Points:
    159,917
    Credits:
    25,704
    Ratings:
    +43,283 / 189 / -99
    I think you do considering it's the closest thing you have to a character arc in the film. Ben Solo is the only character with any agency in it. Rey is all but robbed of hers by decisions JJ made.

    We are pretty obviously just not going to agree on this.

    I don't care that it's like the things Lucas did if it's detrimental to the story, which to me, it 1000% is.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  14. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2015
    Posts:
    1,959
    Likes Received:
    5,997
    Trophy Points:
    15,567
    Credits:
    7,706
    Ratings:
    +8,728 / 35 / -13
    As a follow up there @RoyleRancor I will say that I think the problem that TROS actually had was that there was never a question about the ultimate outcome of the film before anyone saw the film.

    You knew the good guys would win regardless, and you knew that everyone of the good guys would make it out alive.

    The only question really was how exactly Rey and Kylo's relationship would resolve.
    The idea of Rey dying being an option was something that only existed as a possibility in the mind for a brief bit at the end right before she's brought back to life.

    Which leaves the only real constant question through the entire film being whether or not Kylo would flip to good, and that question was answered with 45 minutes remaining on the clock.

    It's a similar problem that you read in the minutes transcripts of the meetings on ROTJ. Kasdan and Marquand both battling with Lucas about the fact that there's no real threat felt in the film at any point in their opinions.
    They constantly toiled to force one in and tweak it to get it there - and it just makes it in the door by pushing the Luke/Vader resolve to the very end - dialing it subtly over the film with little lines one by one dropped here and there.

    I would have pushed Kylo's moment back and probably just removed the whole bit with his Dad entirely.
    We should have been sitting there in the throne room with a fully lethal Kylo wondering constantly if he was going to flip right up to when he does just in the nick of time.

    Because it didn't. Because it blew that with almost an hour remaining in the film, it answered everything of big weight before the film was even close to over, and we didn't have any question about Rey dying until just over 30 minutes later.

    So there was a solid 30 minutes of, "Well...OK, we're just riding the rest of the film out I guess." And when we did get the surprise question of Rey's survival it was answered in 2 minutes (which isn't a big deal) and with 8 minutes left in the film.

    Really, out of the remaining 45 minutes, there's only about 2 minutes of any dilemma to vex over. The rest is exhilarating action.

    I don't see this as a pacing issue, however.
    I see it as a timeline issue. The pacing could be exactly the same, but change where Ben solves his moral choice.
    As a second to that, rather than plucking the thread of whether Rey will turn bad or not (which...come on...none of us bought that for a second)...pluck the string of whether she's going to die or not because she sees and senses her death - and you can wrap that up into the "bad Rey" tangent - which way is she going to die? Does Bad Rey mean Good Rey is going to die, or does she mean Rey Rey is going to die?

    If both those were running the entire film in like fashion that Luke plucked his doubt tangent in ROTJ, then I think the film would have been stronger for it.

    I don't think it has anything to do with the editorial pace, however. Just the narrative timeline choices for the two main threats (one of which wasn't even conveyed until the near end).

    That would be my criticism. Overall, however, I don't think it's huge.
    It's more, to me, that it could have been made tighter - but hindsight is always 2020 and vastly different from how things look during production.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    • Like Like x 4
  15. Iotatheta

    Iotatheta Rebelscum

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2018
    Posts:
    128
    Likes Received:
    369
    Trophy Points:
    1,752
    Credits:
    586
    Ratings:
    +442 / 3 / -0
    I’ll add that, to me, the pace also felt like a drawback. I get that was Lucas’s goal with the OT, but these guys aren’t Lucas, so maybe they shouldn’t try to be? In fact, this may have been an issue with JJ’s films. It feels like he made films to try and catch what he felt when he saw the OT, tried to do what Lucas did.

    yes the OT feels slower now comparatively, and it probably felt faster then. Maybe TROS’s pace felt fine to you, and I’m sure others, but for some of us, it was just too jumpy.

    Star Wars has become much deeper than Lucas started with over time, and various character moments that sometimes need the room to breathe. We get snippets of moments, but not much, imo. It’s why I love the slowing down the ending has, and the pause on the Death Star 2 between Rey and Ren’s duel and then the momebt of Han and Ben. We get to see some deeper moments of the character.

    i think the consequence bit of adventure films is a little..rough. Like most hero films, we generally assume the hero will survive, which makes the times where they don’t survive hit harder. Like, Infinity War and Endgame, it was assumed one between Cap or Stark would die. Widow came at a shock. Most others were..pretty safe. So for me, i didn’t need the question of “will they win? Will they survive?” Of course they will. Ben’s turning point was fine for me, and his and Rey’s death moments struck for me, because I was so hoping he’d live.

    but the lack of threat could also be a consequence of the Lucas style. Sometimes you need those slower moments to properly set up a threat.

    in the end...different strokes for different folks. What hits the Star Wars notes for one may not for another. Too fast, too slow, too this or that.
     
    • Like Like x 4
    • Great Post Great Post x 1
  16. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2015
    Posts:
    1,959
    Likes Received:
    5,997
    Trophy Points:
    15,567
    Credits:
    7,706
    Ratings:
    +8,728 / 35 / -13
    This is the only part I disagree with here.
    Succeed or fail, I think the greatness of Star Wars as art lies in the mammoth challenge to attempt Lucas' ideals of the craft.

    If anything, to me, Abrams and Johnson didn't go far enough in trying to achieve Lucas' ideals.

    What they mostly leaned into was Lucas' ethos of experimentation. Trying what scares you to try.
    All of the creators seem to have done this.

    And that I think is at the least a great legacy for Lucas to leave behind as that, above all other ideals, was his true passion in the art.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Great Post Great Post x 1
    • Cool Cool x 1
  17. Apprentice of the Wills

    Apprentice of the Wills Rebel Commander

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2018
    Posts:
    189
    Likes Received:
    471
    Trophy Points:
    2,807
    Credits:
    956
    Ratings:
    +604 / 1 / -2
    Since I was included in the quotes in the first post, I guess I'll respond. I get what you are saying about pacing. I didn't read this entire thread so I can't say whether this has been addressed or not, but stories are meant to have varied pace like a Jazz composition to help move through the ebbs and flows of the narrative. Going high pace for the entire film is just as challenging to pull off as going slow for the entire film. Going slow for the sake of going slow or fast for the sake of going fast without the story motivating that pace often takes the audience out of the story and can confuse them. This can be used for comedic effect but that is still a conscious choice motivated by the story.

    Variation makes the slow moments or the fast moments meaningful. Some of my favorite moments from the original trilogy are those "slow" character moments of the films: Luke looking out at the twin suns, Obi-wan telling Luke stories about the Jedi in his hut and on the Millenium Falcon, Leia and Luke finally getting a chance to mourn their losses together after escaping the Death Star, Luke's conversations and lessons with Yoda, C3P0 tells the Star Wars story to the Ewok camp, Leia and Luke's conversation in the trees when she talks about her mother and he admits he has to leave, Luke and his father have their final moment together as the Death Star crumbles around them, and Luke finally setting his father free on the funeral pyre. The action scenes are fun and iconic, and they are integral to Star Wars, but these quiet moments when we get to see the humanity of our characters are essential, too. Letting them think, letting them feel, and letting them struggle with their inner turmoil are essential to the story.

    Here is the excerpt you used from my earlier post.

    My quote that you used was not a criticism of the opening, rather it was an examination of how such an in medias res opening can create that conflict, tone, energy, and tension without wasted exposition at the beginning. This kind of opening creates the tantalizing potential for Kylo/Ben, Rey, Poe, Finn, and Leia to have those character moments to feel, to think, to doubt, and to grow in front of us. Even if Rey and Ben are the only two getting those moments, they have room to really explore the inner turmoil of these central characters whose internal conflict is as important as the external conflict around them. Letting the existing scenes breathe could have added to that and breaking up the action with quiet moments of reflection or recognition with an "ally" could have added chances for the audience to feel the weight of what has happened and what the heroes are up against. Some of those scenes exist in the film but they are cut in such a way that we don't get to linger for a beat on those important moments before we are whisked away on another action sequence. Rey got to have that in TFA in her early scenes when we discovered who she is, learned her desires and motivations, and saw her see the results of her choice when Han echoes Obi-wan's revelation about the Force on the Falcon. For the first viewing, the break-kneck pace worked when constant stimulation pumps audiences full of that rollercoaster ride experience, but after the first viewing, and on repeat viewings, those character moments are missed and the story feels hollow and the characters feel like characters, not like sentient beings.
     
    • Like Like x 4
    • Great Post Great Post x 2
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  18. KeithF1138

    KeithF1138 Force Sensitive

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2017
    Posts:
    1,226
    Likes Received:
    3,224
    Trophy Points:
    11,167
    Credits:
    3,902
    Ratings:
    +4,407 / 50 / -22
    Pace was a bit exhausting on the 1st viewing and limited how much I enjoyed TROS at 1st. I still enjoyed it a great deal. Next day saw it again and that all went away. Now the pace is appreciated. My biggest issues with ANH and TPM is each has a portion of the films where the pace is far to slow. Often now if we put on one of those at night I fall asleep once the droids end up on Tatooine and once TPM gets to Coruscant.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  19. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2015
    Posts:
    1,959
    Likes Received:
    5,997
    Trophy Points:
    15,567
    Credits:
    7,706
    Ratings:
    +8,728 / 35 / -13
    Very well written.
    I feel we do get the down-beat character moments for our characters - mostly notably Ben and Rey.
    The others get smaller ones as well.

    They aren't twin sunset shot sequences taking 40 seconds, but they are there.
    Several are also pushed into dialogue, so it's not a silent moment.

    But there are considerable numbers of downbeats. The critical difference is that they are interspliced into the film between breakneck moves from the get-go.

    The tempo of ANH was different than that. It busts through the door, kicks your teeth around, and then drops for about 30 minutes to a very slow pace.
    It also very conscientiously moves from light to dark as the film progresses.

    So both the speed and the lighting tighten as the film moves.
    It's a pure masterpiece of filmmaking, really.

    There's no way I expect any films out for Star Wars now, or coming, to reach that level of foresight and editorial mastery.
    Those subtle brush strokes are what make Lucas one of the masters of cinema.

    I would have preferred if TROS would have followed suit and kicked our teeth in at the opening, and then dropped to a lull for 20 to 30 minutes and then started picking up speed over time and roaring the speed by the end to a blur.

    BUT...they were never going to.
    This is more like ROTJ, and ROTJ didn't do that. It couldn't, nor would Lucas have done that with the third entry. He already explored that idea, and if there's one constant with Lucas it's that if he's explored some principle idea in a certain way already, he's quite unlikely to explore it the same way again.

    ROTJ has slow moments, but it's more like TROS - that is, intermixed.
    We don't go from slow to fast like ANH in ROTJ. We just go.
    We have pit-stops along the way with little downbeats.

    TROS does the same thing, really.
    I think the biggest difference in this respect between TROS and ROTJ is that the downbeats in ROTJ are all on the same topic and Lucas (and Marquand was very interested in the idea as well) is very good at thematic poetics in imagery and lighting. He's almost unparalleled really.

    Imagine Roland Emmerich making ROTJ. He's a da*n good director. Stargate and ID4 were well crafted bodies of work on the whole.
    In many ways he's rather similar to Marquand, but the thing is he doesn't have an eye for the thematic poetics in imagery and lighting.
    Not like Lucas does.

    Lucas can convey a whole concept in just imagery and lighting - a whole thought line or shift in character perspective.
    That's what allowed him to get away with so many things that normally writing 101 would slap your hand and tell you that you can't do - which was why Lawrence Kasdan was constantly arguing with Lucas. To a writer, the things Lucas sets out to do just look like suicide. They shouldn't work.
    But Lucas can see it from the editor's point of view with the images and lighting already put together - the whole sequence idea...before and as he writes it.

    He knows that a u-turn in character motivation without precedent can be pulled off because of how he'll stich the shots together, how he'll shoot it, and how he'll light it.

    That's no easy task - even for the great filmmakers.
    Make the Joker do a u-turn and help Batman out with only about 2 minutes of screen time to earn the move.

    Even Nolan would struggle to pull that off, yet it's exactly the kind of thing that Lucas can do seemingly with ease (even though, apparently it does actually tear him up inside with nerves and fear).

    And I think that's the misstep here in TROS.
    The pacing is great, it really is.

    But the way that pacing is used...well, it's just shy of hitting the mark that you probably need to be able to pull that kind of trick off. I don't think that's easy, either. The amount of people I think could pull that off who are still alive are...about 3 - Lucas, Howard, Wright.

    Everybody else is, to quote Slim Shady, "Just imitating".

    And I don't think that should stop folks from trying.
    Go for it! Please! Do!

    I don't need perfect movies. I just need to see people try to push themselves to the edge of their art.

    TROS could have employed its downbeats in a different way, it also could have narrowed down the narrative tangents so there weren't so many to focus on with the downbeats and thus centralize the topic of the downbeats - which would make them more of an impression upon the mind, it could have repositioned some of the narrative moments into different spots to draw out key narrative thrusts longer, and it could have played with the lighting more than it did and make a moving painting in articulated concepts over the arc of the film.

    But it didn't. And all of those are, in reality, pretty tall orders given everything that goes into a production - let alone this one. And even without production as a consideration, they're just tall orders. Again - it's the kind of ilk of Tarkovsky and Harold Lloyd stirred together into the perfect mix....which is really hard.

    So even though it's not perfect, the pacing made me smile.
    It made me smile because I saw someone giving it a swing and doing alright. It opened the idea back up within the epic framework, and I look forward to someone one-upping TROS on its pacing control in an epic in the future - to create a breakneck race with a point - that endeavor of minimalism.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    #19 Jayson, Dec 18, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2020
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  20. NinjaRen

    NinjaRen Supreme Leader

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2015
    Posts:
    4,597
    Likes Received:
    101,030
    Trophy Points:
    171,517
    Credits:
    55,637
    Ratings:
    +109,260 / 161 / -32
    I have to quote Hellogreedo and I think it's very fitting for this thread:

    Hellogreedo quote:
    "[...] When I think of The Rise Of Skywalker I just kinda think of a generic summer blockbuster... It didn't try to challenge the boat, didn't try to challenge its audience in any way. It didn't try to do much of anything new or interesting or compelling or memorable."

    and now the most important part for the topic of this thread:
    "[...] The Rise of Skywalker just felt like a bunch of tired ideas that maybe tried to please everyone, but in attempting to do so it created fast food. I mean maybe it tasted good while you were shoveling it into your face, but you're gonna be hungry an hour later and you should probably take a vitamin."

    I think the term "fast food" is perfect to describe the pacing of this movie. Yeah, eating fast food is fun, but in the end I always prefer to sit down and enjoy my meal with the right amount of time.


    The video:
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Great Post Great Post x 2
    • Wise Wise x 1
Loading...

Share This Page