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The Sprinting of Skywalker (the pace of TROS)

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

  1. RockyRoadHux

    RockyRoadHux Ginger General

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    This made me laugh so hard. Yes, it's like having a Big Mac.

    It didn't try to challenge the boat, didn't try to challenge its audience in any way.
     
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  2. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    Disagree completely, and considering the amount of people that seriously love the moments and journey of Rey and Kylo in this film...yeah, completely disagree that it's empty food.
    People go bananas over the meanings and plot of this film.

    If you want fast food that leaves you hungry, Michael Bay's ready and waiting, and his opinion on that kind of thinking is "there's nothing wrong with shallow fun movies." (paraphrasing).

    I can't agree there.
    At the very least, it clearly challenged quite a lot of folks on editorial pacing.

    Also - I don't need films to challenge me.
    That's not what I look for in a film. Ever.

    I don't think Lawrence of Arabia is a cinematic bath because it challenges me.
    I don't love Cowboys and Aliens because it challenges me.
    Heck, I don't even love Psycho because it challenges me.

    If I want to challenge myself with a film, I'll go watch The Searchers - god that's a horribly painful movie to make it through. It's extremely challenging to get through that film for me.

    I don't eat food because it challenges my ability to eat it.
    I eat it because it tastes good.

    Not everything in the world needs to be a full holiday spread meal.
    I don't need every last drip of energy and blood drained from my body by the end of a film - I don't need, nor want, to be emotionally spent.

    All I want is to either have a fun time, or an intellectually satisfying time.
    That's it. Which, quite honestly, is really hard to come by with every other film trying to be deep, dark, impactful, exhausting, mega-epic-epic-EPIC-EPIC of the ever EPICNESS never ever bigger drama and impact than this EPIC EPICNESS !

    Part of why Star Wars was originally made the way that it was, was as an antithesis to negativity in the arts and culture by delivering a fun and uplifting escapist story.

    And to be honest, this kind of criticism has been leveled at Star Wars since the first critics took to their typewriters in 1977; calling it escapism, comic book fare, and having no meat to itself.
    ESB faired a bit better, but ROTJ got slammed for the same thing all over again.

    And the PT...lord the PT...just walk into any writing group and mention the PT and watch people groan and start ripping it to shreds for its superficial narrative and writing (not that I agree, exactly).

    It has more under the hood if you want to look, because Lucas is anything but simple, but it was designed to be an uplifting saga in its origin. The PT, by consequence of its topic, is inherently deeper, darker, impactful, and exhausting, and I get that if kids grew up on it, they're quite likely to see Star Wars as not an optimistic fun romp, but that's where it started - that's the Star Wars I like, and love.

    It's a fast moving space fantasy romp of a show with an epic fairy tale of allegorical myth thrown down its throat.

    Star Wars is a Mustang with a cross painted on the hood roaring down the street, driven by a Taoist monk.

    There's a message in that image somewhere, and no one's sure what exactly....but it's a fun ride to go on.

    Cheers,
    Jayson

    P.S.
    If you want a deep movie that squarely sets out to tackle tough subjects, watch Kasdan do his own thing entirely unabridged and go watch Grand Canyon. I guarantee it will not be a light romp that will fade shortly after watching it.
     
    #22 Jayson, Dec 21, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2020
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  3. RockyRoadHux

    RockyRoadHux Ginger General

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    The mystery boxes got opened and turns out most of the questions weren’t answered or they were just pointless ‘mysteries’, so yeah, people go bananas because they're not satisfied with the answers given.

    Why always take things to the extreme?

    Challenge doesn't need to be painful. It's about your mindset. Some people are afraid of everything new or of things that force them to get of their comfort-zone.

    In other words- how can I best hide what's really going on in the plot... You just described the perfect mystery box, maybe without even realizing it yourself. The art of storytelling which teases things out, purposefully withholds information, and moves from scene to scene so fast there's no time to realize there might've been little to no point to the scene.
     
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  4. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    I mean that there's a lot of people who love what they think the meaning is.

    I don't have a comfort zone for film.
    I have what I'd rather watch and what I would rather not because it doesn't interest me.

    All I care about is being entertained. I don't need to be shocked all of the time. I'm really not that jaded.

    I don't know, but most likely, whatever it is that you're thinking of as "challenging" for Star Wars would have me wishing I hadn't paid money to see the movie.
    I'm not saying that to be offensive, or suggest that you have poor taste. It's a matter of a difference in taste.

    I probably wouldn't even see it as challenging, either. I'd see it as copping out and playing the easy out card.

    Yes.
    That's been Star Wars since day one. I wasn't describing TROS. I was describing all of Star Wars.

    It's all been a massive abstract fantasy that you plug in the meanings to since day one.
    Look at THX. That's an even bigger mystery box than anything Abrams could ever hope to make.

    Everything Lucas does is a giant mystery box gambit. Every film he's ever made has been a sort of three ring circus act, and he's absolutely not bashful about it at all.
    He's very clear that he's keeping a running tally of spectacle moments as he's making his films.

    Lucas started out in pure cinema. Look at his early work. It's all, at best, very abstract art, and he loves dealing in abstraction as much as possible.
    One of his close pals is David Lynch...

    There's not a more mystery box filmmaker than David Lynch - the man who won't answer what his movies are about other than to say it's about the subconscious - and Lucas wanted him to work on a Star Wars film.

    So yes...I am saying that Star Wars is a mystery box show with magic and fast cars in outer space.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  5. NinjaRen

    NinjaRen Supreme Leader

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    And this is a problem IMO. To be honest, there are maybe 2 or 3 really great Star Wars movies at a max. The remaining movies are entertaining, sure, but if you look at them movie wise, there is lot of bad stuff. But we still love them.

    But I think it's time for SW to change. ANH changed the game back in 1977. I think modern SW should do the same.
     
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  6. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    I probably rewrote this several times with all sorts of tangents, but I deleted everything because really...it just comes down to one thing (and I don't mean this negatively):

    Perhaps you don't like George Lucas' approach to cinema?

    And about changing the game (again, not intending negativity...just rephrasing to see if I have this right)...
    So Star Wars should change the game by being more like other narratives of other films (i.e. less mystery boxish, less campy, and more visceral) and not being one of the few science fantasy epics with a romp and camp allegorical narrative designed around an expression of pseudo abstract cultural art?

    Is it possible that you might just simply want a more Game of Thrones Star Wars?

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    #26 Jayson, Dec 22, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2020
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  7. Use the Falchion

    Use the Falchion Jedi Contrarian

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    @Jayson forgive my little sidetracking, but I'm a little amused. As usual about this movie, we're diametrically opposed, but this time it feels like we're fighting on opposite sides from before! I believe the last time George Lucas came up in a discussion between us, it was about the authorial/creator intent, and whether or not it should play a part in someone else carrying the franchise forward. (I sadly cannot find the thread where it came up however.) I said yes, you said no. And now Lucas pops up again, and we fall on completely opposite sides of the spectrum once again. Granted, the parallels don't do either conversation the justice they deserve, but it still amuses me.
    :D
     
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  8. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    There's a difference in concept.

    I'm not saying that creator intent should be part of what carries the franchise forward. I smile when they do it, but I don't actually think that.
    What I do think, however, is that Lucas is so unique of an approach to filmmaking that it would be a shame to see it die with him, and would ideally like to see the approach institutionalized - regardless of it applying to Star Wars or not.

    But I don't see the creator's intention bearing weight on the value of a film to a recipient, nor that an originator is the final paramount of authority on how the art should move now.

    For example, it wouldn't work well now if Lucasfilm chained Abrams to a desk and said that he must do it exactly like Lucas did it.
    That is the death of art.

    What I celebrate is artists trying to explore another artist, especially one with a unique vision.

    Part of why I love Star Wars and Lucas' approach so much is precisely this. He tried to explore multiple artists and do as they did in his own way.
    The result of which was fascinating.

    You get rich results that would never happen otherwise when artists do this.
    For example, you get TROS.

    And TROS is full of things that Abrams would have never done as a filmmaker otherwise, and equally full of approaches (let alone production methods) that no one was doing (or even is doing).

    Heck, the entire ST is absolutely packed with cinematic marvels and new spins on ideas - not just Star Wars ideas - film ideas.
    The entire relationship between the film, the protagonist, and the antagonist is wondrously new to blockbuster filmmaking.

    Everyone just looks right the heck over that like it's nothing, but it's not.

    And while Abrams had subjectively contextualized space ships before in Star Trek a bit, it was nowhere near the level he started pulling out in TFA - when he took to Star Wars, space ships became characters in his camera lens and their actions were dialogue.
    It's a truly fascinating read on the dog fight.

    Johnson equally twisted himself and pushed to attempt Lucasian concepts you just don't see in Looper and Brick, but you can see in Knives Out - interestingly enough (light as they are there).

    And that's all that's going on in my way of talking here.
    I don't think the franchise should demand adherence to Lucas - that's death.

    I do think they should pride Lucas and encourage artists to explore Lucas' filmmaking ideas.

    So far, almost every filmmaker has done that, but I don't think any has gone nearly far enough except for perhaps Howard - but that's a bit of an easy out there because Howard isn't a new-gen filmmaker. He's from Lucas' era and has grown up in his career with Lucas constantly a part of his artistic circle. If Howard couldn't do Lucas then...well...who the heck could?

    And even Howard has been rather frank that it was absolutely a daunting task to try - he originally didn't even want to try to.
    Same with Abrams, really.

    Everyone walks up to that step and shakes in their boots.
    Everyone fails.
    What really counts is that they gave it a shot and were touched by it. They tried filmmaking in that way, in some small manner at least.

    Of course I would like to see more attempted because I think it would result in artists being truly affected in amazing ways when they blend even more.
    But that doesn't mean I think they should follow a 'wrote of Lucas' like his 6 films are a cinematic Sacred Constitution.

    And I do cheer, as well, when Star Wars heralds a Lucasian approach and resets the bar as a reminder because it keeps it alive just a bit longer.
    It's good when you can see the old flagship flying its colors and pushing others forward.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    #28 Jayson, Dec 31, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2020
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  9. Matt_T

    Matt_T Rebel General

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    @NinjaRen (and HelloGreedo) are right: It's a generic summer blockbuster. Nothing original. Bloated from start to finish with ideas introduced, then tossed aside one scene later for the next *SLAM BANG!* big, empty sequence (that introduces a new idea, concept or character). It's three movies attempted to be boiled down to one, but due to the disjointed, inconsistent nature of the ST, it tries to wrap too much up in one movie. The result is an episode that somewhat jives with VII but has no relation to VIII. No need to beat the dead horse about the need for a clear and consistent storyline for the ST, as that's been done ad nauseam. The truth is it both introduces and disregards so many new ideas -- and at such a whiplash speed -- in what what is supposed to be the final episode in a nine-story arc that it ultimately fails in its execution to not only wrap up the ST to a logical conclusion, but the Skywalker Saga in general.

    I know I'll get a lot of bad marks for this, but sorry, I can't sugarcoat it.
     
    #29 Matt_T, Dec 31, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2020
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  10. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    What are 12 other (summer or winter) block buster films that do this?

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  11. Matt_T

    Matt_T Rebel General

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    Take your pick between any Transformers, Marvel or Fast & Furious movies. They're all the same: Chock full of non-stop action from start to finish with flimsy storylines. I can't watch that stuff. To each his own, course.
     
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  12. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    It's your proposition. I don't have any to pick from.
    You cited two.

    Transformers.
    Please name one "idea introduced, then tossed aside one scene later" in one of the Transformers films.

    Fast & Furious.
    Please name one "idea introduced, then tossed aside one scene later" in one of the Fast & Furious films.

    To be clear, I am not egging you on, or gunning after you - I know that's a common thing on forums and Facebook, so it's easy to be seen as doing that, but I'm not doing that.
    I'm honestly trying to understand what you are seeing because I don't see any relationship in the way that you're suggesting.

    If you mean fast moving films with whiplash scene hopping, yes. I'll grant that.
    I don't recall these films introducing things in one scene and then tossing them out the next.

    I would further argue the point, however, that Fast & Furious is not akin to Transformers.
    Transformers is notoriously visually confusing because there's an overload of particulates flying around on screen with everything in focus all at once, and the camera loves breaking the 180 degree line in the middle of action without a thread of continuity to guide you through the jump, and such jumps happen rapidly during the action.

    Fast & Furious is famous for sweeping crane shots that cover all sides of the action in continuous slides around the action, intercut with close ups and specific vehicular behavioral focus - often with the central object (a car usually) dominantly focused upon in the lens more than the surroundings except where the surroundings become an interactive medium with the focused object.

    If you had said that Fast & Furious could be seen in influence in Solo and TLJ, I would have immediately agreed, but TROS?
    I'm sorry, I'm having a hard time grasping the fit there.

    And further, that Transformers is akin to Fast & Furious is equally puzzling to me.
    I don't tend to favor either, but I've watched them because I study nearly all kinds of films, but they're not really my cup of tea - especially Transformers, but F&F gets a little dull after a bit - but they do have some fascinating cinematography going on in the F&F films, and for action films - especially action films involving cars, you're hard pressed to find many better examples of the genre.

    However, again, I can't think of any of them that involve ideas being introduced that are tossed aside one scene later.

    I'll tell you a film that does do effectively that in spades.
    [​IMG]

    THAT film sets up a pile of critical elements that it introduces for no reason regularly and then does nothing with any of it to bring anything to a resolution, but instead goes completely opposite of the setups' premises, just drops them entirely without explanation, or cuts the wind out of the energy of the setup by taking the stakes away without explanation or pay off.

    But TROS doesn't setup ideas that it then tosses away the next scene.
    It feints repeatedly, absolutely. But a feint is not a thrown out setup.

    In The Searchers the supporting leading man has an entire setup about losing his one-day-bride to another man.
    The film spends a hefty amount of time on this tangent that's introduced about half-way through the film for no needed reason.

    The supporting leading man comes back home right in the middle of his one-day-bride getting married to another man who was around.
    He fights the man, and the man calls off the wedding and says they'll settle the dispute later.

    The never do.

    THAT is an idea being introduced and then tossed away.

    And The Searchers does quite literally create an idea and toss it out in the very next scene.
    At the same time as the supporting leading man coming back in the middle of the wedding, John Wayne's lead character - who has been traveling and adventuring off with the supporting leading man, comes in and is told he must not be there because he has a warrant out for his head.
    He pisses at the idea and squares up with the Texas Ranger - whom he has a long history with from the Civil War and he's told that he must stand trial, but that the Ranger believes he must have had his reasons for killing the man which caused the warrant.

    And then?
    Well, and then a soldier - from out of no where and from no one we have ever met in the film, and without any precedent of understanding why they should care - comes in and says that they found the Native Americans who Wayne's family was killed by and - POP - like that everyone's off to go kill them and we never hear of the trial again.

    Then there's the completely stolen pay-offs. The whole film is Wayne going after one chief who killed his family.
    He catches up to him in the previously mentioned raid with the military, rangers, and posse.
    During the raid on the Native Americans, Wayne dives into the chief's tent to kill him and finds...he's dead. He's just laying there in bed dead.
    He was never shown to be sick. Never shown to be mortally wounded in any clear manner, but he either was mortally wounded previously, or a stray bullet from the raid killed him in his sleep.

    Either way, Wayne doesn't get a final throw down with the villain of his story, and we don't get any explanation as to why or what happened. We don't even get more than about a second or two with Wayne discovering that the chief is dead before we're cut back to the raid outside which is nothing but people on horses aimlessly shooting into blobs of people.

    TROS doesn't do anything like this.
    TROS feints.

    Now, it has several feints that are very short lived, but they are never-the-less feints.
    I'm not saying that feints are good. They are neither good or bad.
    However, doing too many feints can cause audiences to feel cheated.

    It's somewhat like going to a magic show and the magician constantly doing magic tricks that seem amazing and then they immediately turn around and show you that it's nothing more than a dime store gag prop that takes virtually no skill to do.
    It's funny a couple times, and there's nothing wrong with pulling one over on the audience like that inherently, but if they do that constantly through the whole show, then the audience can get tired of it and feel cheated.

    I would say that TROS does seem to have that problem (though I'm still working out why it's such a problem for anyone).
    It pulls multiple feints and that can be problematic for some folks because it can devalue the worth in trusting anything as being of value in the film. Why should you trust that the film values anything when it keeps presenting things as valuable and then takes that valuable assertion back again?
    But, and I'll get back to this later, that's not at all unique to TROS, nor is it a problem inherently at all - it usually takes some quality to be coupled with it to become a problem (and that's what I'm still uncertain of what that is for folks, because it's not just that it has feints...as discussed below).

    But that has nothing to do with editorial pacing.
    You can have the same exact editorial pacing and remove the feints entirely if you wanted to. TROS could have left Chewie dead, and leaving him dead would do nothing to the editorial pacing.

    So I not only don't understand the relationship that you're presenting, nor can I think of an example of any in the films you cited, I further don't think that your issue in general has anything to do with editorial pacing.

    Mad Max: Fury Road has a blazingly fast editorial pace of 2.1 seconds per shot length.
    TROS has one of 3.4.

    Now, if you were to claim that Fury Road is incomprehensible, you'd be in rare fashion.

    On the other hand, Fury Road is chock full of non-stop action from start to finish with a flimsy storyline.
    It has hardly any storyline.

    It's literally "DRIVE AWAY! No...wait...DRIVE BACK!"

    That's the entire storyline, and yet it's also an amazingly well made film that actually has a much shorter shot length than TROS.

    Fury Road also has several feints. Indeed the main plot object itself is one massive feint. The only reason they're driving away is to figure out that they need to go right back to where they started.
    And one of the characters "dies" so many times that it could become comical that he's ever being claimed to be dead. In all reality, I was a bit relieved when he did die - or...at least the film bothered to not circle back to answering if he was really dead or not - we're never shown his body, so...who knows, really.

    So clearly having feints all over the place isn't a downer.

    So what is it?

    Now, having said all of that, I will say that Fury Road is a better edit than TROS - hands down. By leagues better.
    But, it also has a much, much, MUCH smaller story to tell and it uses that to its incredible advantage.

    TROS is a cat of nine tails. Fury Road is an epee.

    That inherently makes TROS have a much faster editorial pace even while having a longer shot length than Fury Road - because it's hopping much more than Fury in more tangents than Fury.

    One of the very big geniuses of the very first Star Wars was that, like Fury Road, it had an incredibly simple story to tell and it kept it simple.
    Get away from the bad guys. Go blow up the Death Star.

    By the PT, however, it was anything but simple with multiple tangents flinging around all over the place.

    Lucas is a marvel at handling that dizzying array with an elegance that is just jaw dropping, and it is very true that the ST struggled to accomplish that same elegance in conveying complex stories, but they didn't do anything close to Transformer's shots and edits, and if the comparison is to F&F's shots and edits - that's not a bad thing. Narratively, sure F&F is a very shallow film, but then again, so is Fury Road. And F&F has some wonderful cinematography that anyone should be proud to be compared against.

    Now...I've really looked at it from a bunch of angles, and I'm just not clear on what the editorial pacing has to do with your point, or what your point has to do with anything being bad inherently at all considering that feints exist in spades in plenty of films that are not being noted negatively like TROS for doing effectively the same things.

    And, again, I don't know what examples you're thinking of in Transformers and F&F.
    I can easily think of them in Fury Road, but it's not a bad thing there, and I can say that abandoned setups are a problem for The Searchers, but I don't see any abandoned setups in TROS.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    #32 Jayson, Dec 31, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2020
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  13. RockyRoadHux

    RockyRoadHux Ginger General

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    Why have to name 12? Naming one should do it.

    Yes, those filmsy storylines...

    This very way of fast paced, immediate pay off and next- one get tired of it fast and made me realize even more that Tros completely fails at having the characters talk to each other and there are ZERO stakes at hand- and it's getting more obvious and worse everytime a new thing gets introduced. I would say that the fast pacing doesn't do the movie any favour when it comes to these two points mentioned.
     
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  14. Matt_T

    Matt_T Rebel General

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    Sorry you spent so much time on that thesis, but I really don't care enough to write a term paper dissecting the gestalt of these movies. I stand by my first post. TROS throws so much at the audience so quickly that I somewhat believe it's done on purpose, so that we never have a chance to question the gaping plot holes and flimsy storyline. ["Hey what just happened ... WAIT! ... It's a new character! A new planet! A Sith dagger! There's Lando! .... Hold on, what was I thinking about?"] You seem to pride yourself on being a connoisseur of fine film making, which confuses me as to why you can't see the obvious flaws that riddle the movie.
     
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  15. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    Don't apologize to me for me writing. I don't dislike discourse on the subject of film, nor do I dislike writing - it was absolutely no loss to me to write the response.
    It's a loss to me that you won't go into details.
    I guess you'll just go along then.
    I can't very well move my view on things without discourse on a matter, and if you won't spend the time to divulge your view of it in nuance, then I can't refine mine by yours.

    The assertion was that blockbuster films with ideas being introduced only to be thrown away in the next scene were piled up in high volume.
    So I asked for a dozen films as examples of films that do this so that I could see a pile of blockbuster films that introduce ideas only to be thrown out the next.
    If there were dozens of films then I would grant that it's a common shtick in films, but so far I'm not seeing that.

    To each their own. I don't think fast-pace is a problem. I don't have a problem with it.

    I don't find the speed of anything to ever be a problem. It's how its done that makes the difference.
    There are plenty of thrillers with whiplash fast editing paces.

    I also, personally, don't believe in the need for characters to talk as a reason for anything. The reason that I don't is because silent movies, and movies with hardly any dialogue in them, can move along through plots engagingly just fine.

    I would say that payoff fatigue is an interesting point worth considering.
    Something like being on a roller coaster ride that has half a dozen big drops instead of one or two, such that by the fourth or so drop the novelty has been reduced.

    That I can wrap my head around, and I can see the sense in that.
    It's not true for my experience, but different people experience roller coasters differently, and at the very least I can say that I do fully understand the notion of overload. That is a digestible problem.

    Speed? Characters needing to talk? Not so much.
    But stimuli overload of quick payoff moments is perfectly understandable.

    I don't know that I care one way or the other about how many payoffs it has, or how quickly it pays off.
    To be honest, I've never once cared about the rate of return in any story - novel or film.

    I used to believe that I didn't care about any return at all, considering how heavily I am slanted towards the visual language, but recently rewatching a few classic films that royally screw up payoffs has shown that I can be shown a film that just doesn't work for me in payoff.

    Granted, so far to date that's a scant few.

    Usually payoff isn't where things go wrong in a film - at least not to me. It's their posture and grandeur of itself where things go wrong.
    I watch quite a range of films. About the only things I'm not all that interested in watching are films with visceral violence, placated sexualization, large negative emotional drama as the focal function of the story (basically the entire Drama genre), and melodrama (hyperbolic concern over issues that are simply not relevant issues - I don't care who destroyed your clothes for prom - more than a few shows on CW).

    I guess I don't care about payoffs because I don't care about people's motives in films almost ever.
    If you asked me, almost every reason anyone has ever done anything in a film is absolutely unrelatable bull to me (keep in mind here, I have a different brain neurologically - Asperger's, so relating to normal social motivations isn't something I have prepacked in me anywhere).

    John Wick, right?
    Loads of people raving all over that film. Dude's mad about a dog.

    We already covered Fury. You could rename that film, "What I imagined when I was 5 and had to go on Sunday drives to nowhere."
    Saving Private Ryan (which I don't enjoy at all). Get dude, dude go home. OK, I don't care if you get dude. It's war. It was a stupid mission.

    Most any setup I've ever seen is about as meaningful to me as the setups in the film Battleship.
    I fully realize people see that film as trite, but I could point out that it has all of the drama points of any more nuanced film.

    I'm not really convinced people actually care about setups and payoffs, to be honest. They think they do, but I'm sorry - I really don't think it's a big thing.

    I think they care about how those setups and payoffs are communicated.
    For example, I think having them right up against each other one after the other like a stack of dominos - so to speak - is something that validly affects your take of the film in a negative way.

    That's understandable. It's basically too much, to fast. It loses weight for you.
    Fair enough. I don't think that's what the setup or payoff is - it's that there's a bunch of them and you find yourself no longer caring what any setup and payoff is because you're overloaded on setup and payoff stimuli and are just done.

    I have the same result with visceral violence. It's thrown around a lot like it's either A) cool, or B) something I should care about, and A) it's just blood...it's not that impressive, and B) I don't care that it's visceral - you're not being provocative Tarantino...you're being boring.

    So I can relate to something just not working for you like that - where it's something you don't have a high tolerance for in the first place, and it's done to a high degree in a film to a point that causes a jaded numbness.

    And it's probably true that there's a sort of typical setup/payoff rate limit that people can cram into their mind and sustain at once.
    I've no idea what that is, but I'd venture to guess that TROS is right at that limit and a bit over it with how split people are on it.

    Maybe that's what @Matt_T is trying to communicate as well. If so, OK, sure. That can make sense.
    Though...I'm still not entirely sure I'd buy that "summer blockbusters" fit into this by definition.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    #35 Jayson, Dec 31, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2020
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  16. Matt_T

    Matt_T Rebel General

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    I guess what I'm trying to say is I value story over all else. Action is great -- I like that too -- but only when it compliments the story. For example, when I see a F&F movie all I see is action scene after action scene. There's very little that makes me care for the characters because those characters are put in impossible situations every 10 minutes and always come out clean on the other side. I've learned not to be concerned for their well being because they've essentially been given super powers. Thus, I don't connect to them on a human level.

    Admittedly, it's a different genre but I watched It's A Wonderful Life the other day (being Christmas and all). And there are no real "action" scenes. And that's fine because the story touches me so deeply. The message that "no man is poor who has friends" is profound. I care about George Bailey because he's written as a good man with flaws and doubts that ultimately demand a reckoning/climax. He intends to make a poor decision that will cost him his very life, but ultimately, in that process, he understands what in life is truly important.

    Anyway, I'm getting off topic here. I'm glad you enjoy TROS but it's simply not my cup 'o tea. Happy New Year!
     
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  17. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    Thanks for the additional dive. :)

    Different movies work in different ways.

    For example, you don't watch a horror movie the same way you watch a drama.
    I don't only watch action movies either.

    I've mentioned it before that my favorite type of film is the Walk and Watch of the 60's and 70's where the films move, by today's standards, very slow and there's just lots of meandering taking place in the air of how the story moves through its story - often with shots that just capture the backdrop as the characters walk around talking at a leisurely pace.

    So don't take me to mean that I only look at action films. Goodness, no.
    If I went by what I watch the most currently, it would be murder mysteries and classics such as Lawrence of Arabia, Monsieur Verdoux, or even Speedy!

    One of my all time favorite films is Captain Blood - a film from 1935, and my favorite version of The Scarlet Pimpernel is from 1934.

    And my favorite science fiction film style is the philosophical science fiction psychological thriller - almost all of which were made during the last couple years of the 60's through to the first couple years of the 80's (Logan's Run, Soylent Green, Altered States...).

    But every type of film plays by its own set of rules and is for a different kind of viewing.
    I would hope someone doesn't watch Bruce Lee movies the same way they watch Schindler's List.

    Does the fact that Enter the Dragon doesn't carry with it some gravitas of drama mean it's a film worth less merit than Schindler's List?
    No. That's silly.

    Dime store pulp fiction is every bit as culturally relevant and engaging as classic literary works.
    I don't read Weird Tales the same way I read Sherlock Holmes the same way that I read To Kill a Mockingbird.

    They're all vastly different ways of telling story's, and they're for vastly different purposes of focus.

    When you watch an action film, such as The Expendables, or Fast & Furious, they aren't stories about whether someone lives or dies.
    That's kind of irrelevant.
    It's also irrelevant what melodrama is taking place. Let's face it, no one stops to talk relationship issues in the middle of bullet fire and cars crashing around everywhere.

    The story in an action film is in the visual language of the film.

    Spaghetti Westerns are no different.
    In fact, I just got done talking to @Angelman about how the Spaghetti Western didn't just die off; it rolled over and evolved into 80's action movies.

    That really, there's not as big of a difference between Predator and High Plains Drifter as it might seem at first sight.

    Elsewhere I said the difference between Action and Drama is that Action uses dialogue to get to Action, and Drama uses Action to get to dialogue.

    Most large scale films are somewhere in between and lean slightly one way or the other.
    Most Star Wars films are action thrillers that lean towards drama, for example.

    They aren't dramas that lean towards action.
    No drama writer would be pleased with any of the Star Wars films being tagged as dramas.
    They are not It's a Wonderful Life (although, no one liked that film until Turner started playing it on TV every year decades after it was in theaters....anyway....), Roma, Her, or Schindler's List.

    They also aren't Fast & Furious and to align them to such is a bit disingenuous to both films.

    TROS has way more plot to sift through and way more concern over that plot than Fast & Furious, and the nature of the types of elements involved in the plots are vastly different scales of ontological values.

    There's no ontological imperatives in Fast & Furious. That's pretty much all Star Wars is, and what TROS is completely wrapped up in.

    While the visual articulation of TROS may be thrown out there like something between a Bond film and Stargate, it's narrative belongs uniquely to Star Wars.
    Yes, you can find other shows and films where people yell epic lines at each other about the fate of the universe and their inner self (all be it...few, and mostly the Dr. Who series), but you'd be hard pressed to find any doing it while the action serves as a metaphor for those universal fate diving inner self imperatives of ontology, and especially not wrapped up in a Bond film mashed up with a Stargate film.

    And to say that Fast & Furious does anything like this is rude to Fast & Furious because they really put a lot of effort into making sure that the main thrust of the main relationship tension in those films is rolled up into the big task at hand and articulated through sequences of car stunts that put the characters in moments that progress their beliefs regarding their relationship with whomever has the issues. They're sort of a giant "guys use cars as analogies for everything in relationships" film...and often about bromance more than about the romance struggles.

    It has its place and it speaks its way.
    People talking is not the end all/be all of film. Otherwise we'd just be listening to radio still.

    I understand that you like drama more, but I suppose I'm a little unsure how that translates to Star Wars since Star Wars isn't really a drama.

    Was it that Star Wars was mostly playing a good balance, and you feel like there's just too much action in general collection in TROS?

    I don't even think there's that much action in it. There's lots of thriller stuff, but not a ton of action.
    Is it just the constant UP and DOWN and etc... of the pressure one after the other with no downbeat?

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    #37 Jayson, Dec 31, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2020
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  18. Darth Chewie

    Darth Chewie Rebel Official

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    On my first viewing of TROS in theatre, I'll admit it was a bit jarring. The pace was frantic, even by Star Wars standards. Or at least I thought the pace was frantic. I just finished watching TROS again after having not watched it in almost 6 months. But this time I watched it with criticism's in mind. The 2 most common, were the pace and the lack of establishing shots or world building.

    I remember watching a video where the the it states that the lack of establishing shots hurt the film. It showed a shot of the Falcon leaving the Resistance base, and it stated that this was like the only take-off/landing shot of ship we got. Not sure which movie he watched, but we get establishing shots of the Falcon and other ships numerous times in the film.

    The movie starts off with a decent establishing shot of Mustafar as two TIE's fly towards their Star Destroyer and the planet. While we don't get an on planet pan towards Kylo, to me that was sufficient to tell the story. We were on Mustafar for good time, not a long time! Lol The Mustafar/Exegol/Falcon opening scenes were blazing. Despite the fact that we get a walk and watch scene with Kylo on Exegol, by the time you get to Rey meditating you realize you haven't taken a breath 10 minutes. Yep we get all that in just 10 minutes, and I Loved it!

    But then once Poe returns to the Resistance base, and the adventure to find the wayfinder begins, the pace really slows down matching closely that of the previous two films. First off, the establishing shot of the Falcon coming out f hyperspace and approaching Pasaana , followed by our hero's viewing and taking in the festival, was fantastic world building that was on par with any other SW movie, IMO. The Pasaana/Find the Ochi's ship plot, which also include the scenes on Ochi's ship before they get to Kijimi took nearly 35 minutes of the film. Yes, we go from arriving, to meeting Lando, to the speeder chase, to Rey vs Kylo, to escaping Pasaana, to Ochi ship in the asteroid field, all before we get to Kijimi in that 35 minutes, but to say we had no world building or establishing shots is ridiculous.

    I also forgot how much I really enjoyed the Kijimi scenes. We get a nice establishing shot of the Falcon approaching the city, and then we get a solid 60 seconds (that's forever in a movie) of Poe sneaking back to Rey and the gang all as we take in what this city is all about as the FO occupies and terrorizes it's citizens. It sets the tone well, and we see what is happening in the galaxy outside of the main adventure. Kijimi for me, may have been one of the most "Star Warsy" feeling locations that we were presented in the ST, and I would have loved to have seen more of it.

    And then obviously once we get through the quickened pace of Rey vs. Kylo on the DSII, JJ slams the breaks on the moment Leia reaches out to Ben. Rey heals him, leaves and we get what was arguably best scene in the entire Saga; Ben and the memory of Han. My mind was blow when that happened, and I still tear up after multiple viewing. Ben's turn in that moment was extremely well executed and even more believable then Vaders turn in ROTJ. The pacing up to that point made that moment jarring in a good way. We were being given steady shots of adrenaline up to that point, then BAM! Time almost seemed to stand still in that moment.

    The rest of the film blazes by in a flurry of activity and action. But by this time we have all the information we need, which JJ took his time telling in the middle act. We get one last "surprise" as we find out Palpatine wants Rey to kill him in anger so she can ascend the throw with his spirit within her, and Bam... next thing you know Rey's burying two lightsabers in the sand and chooses the name Skywalker has her family name. Cue the tears and the credits roll. Love it, love it, loved it. I could not imagine the story being told any other way or any other pace.

    Bravo Jayson on yet another excellent, well thought-out and executed post. You make me see these movies through a different lens most of the time, which makes me appreciate them even more.

    Cheers and Happy New Year! my friend!
     
    #38 Darth Chewie, Jan 4, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
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  19. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    That is the brightest bit of knowledge I could ever hope to hold.
    That is my only endeavor in film - to hope to give a way to see what was seen anew and in it, love more, and from that love, inspiration.

    I'll wear your words on my heart for long to come.

    I think what gives that impression is that there's a very unique Lucasian way of doing establishing shots.
    I've talked it over with folks I know in the industry and no one has a name for it. Most just default to saying, "A sort of establishing montage".

    I've dubbed it the "Establishing Panel Sequence".
    Petnamed Macro-to-Micro, and Micro-to-Macro...or "M&M" for short.

    In Star Wars, it's easiest to notice with the words, "Ship, Planet, People".
    That is, Ship in space flies by. Now we see planet. On the planet, we see the ship. It's coming in for landing. Next we see the ship already landed or landing (depending on budget) and people disembark. Lastly, they move from the ship to their scene. Either the landing area, or they go into a building for a scene.

    That's the easiest, but it's everywhere in the Lucas' Star Wars films - and uniquely just his Star Wars films (you don't see it, for example, in American Graffiti or THX).

    Just watch the Land Speeder zip around Tatooine. Same thing.
    Where are we going? Dialogue says Mos Eisley. Next? Traveling. Next? Cliff shot of Eisley. Next? Arrival into Eisley. Next? People are now the focus, arriving and getting out and heading into their principle scene.

    Travel, destination shown, arrival, people entering the context.

    Departures go the same way, but in reverse. People board, depart, leave the destination, travel.
    Then we cut to either the people in the travel, or to another context depending on story.

    Some get abbreviated. For instance, the Death Star is usually shown by ships around it and sometimes flying towards it, and then we cut straight into it.

    But not the first time we see it. The first time we see it, it follows the same logic.
    Ship: Falcon. "Planet": Death Star.
    Ship travels. Planet. Ship lands via tractor beam on "planet" Death Star. People disembark (with complication).

    And when they leave? Same thing, even though it's accelerated for excitement.

    After that, since we've already been shown the context of the Death Star, Lucas then abbreviates to Death Star establishing shot, cut to inside.

    And that's how he moves through Star Wars.
    Even the PT.
    Gungan City?

    Dive into water. Swim. Now people are like ships. They float through water like ships in space.
    Swim by, City as a whole shown. They arrive on a landing pad none-the-less. And then walk inside and...have their scene.

    Context, context, context. Lucas slashes so much for these.
    The ST kind of got it, but it's not quite as ruthless and strict (but with reason).

    Abrams is much more likely do things more subjectively.
    Take TFA. It kicks off with what starts off as an Establishing Panel Sequence, but it then takes a left turn and doesn't do one...not exactly.
    Planet? Check. Ship - massive ship. Check. Little ships pop out of big ship. Little ships traveling through space. Check. Wait...they're heading the wrong way...oh, that's not our planet. Got it. Ok, so next shot will be planet.
    ...
    No.
    Next shot is inside the ships with the troopers.
    OK, so next shot will be planet.
    ...
    No.
    Next show will be on the planet with a character (BB8) watching the landing.

    Just that right there is a massive difference.

    Johnson goes a little bit more Lucasian about it in TLJ.

    Most of Abrams Establishing Panel Sequences are closer to Lucas' abbreviated Establishing Panel Sequences.

    So even though you are absolutely right @Darth Chewie that we have tons of establishing shots, I can also understand why it might not feel in memory like we do by comparison to Lucas' six Star Wars films which constantly smack the eye with these rather long sequences.
    Today, we just cut these things from shows. TV Shows don't even bother. You just bounce scene to scene with zero contextual sequences.

    Films only partially bother. It's seen as wasted time. We could be shoving plot in there instead.

    But in Lucas' films, that's not how things move. It's a constant pounding of here's you, here's where you are going, here's what it looks like, here's you getting there, now here you are. Or, here you are. Here's where you've been. Here's you going.

    You're always moved around like a kid in a car taking in the world. Even for old films, it's unusual.
    Old ship films would give you a shot of the location from afar, then maybe the arrival - most often just the ship now being there and someone hopping off, and then scene.
    That's at most.

    What Lucas did was dial that up full throttle.
    And it makes rocket speed ANH (for its day) feel far more digestible. Even though you know nothing about this universe, how it works, what the heck anything is in it, or where anything is - heck...what there is to know about where anything is...you still feel like you always know exactly where you are, how you got there, and in relation to everywhere else.

    With Abrams, I know where we are, but I don't really know where we are in relation to anything (in a cinematic mental map). It's a little less straight forward because Abrams is much more able to show us the subjective and dives into that always above anything else. It's not about what we see that he focuses on, but what the characters see. And who it subjectively follows is relative to the emotional impact of the arrival or departure. We get the troopers - who are traveling, which means we should follow them, but then we cut to BB8, because now we're focused on the emotional impact of the troopers landing.
    That's "swiveling the camera" - something Lucas almost never does.

    A whole plot sequence (e.g. get Anakin from Tatooine) is always locked on to the same side bias.
    We don't swivel the camera between two sides of tangents - we don't jump to Anakin witnessing Qui's arrival, for example.
    We stay locked with the foot that walked in the door in the first place.

    But the ST couldn't do that I don't think - well...it could but it would tell far less story, or be up to twice as long per film. And that's because it had to tell an entire story that was relative to the side you're on.
    Kylo is on equal footing as Rey emotionally. We swivel back and forth between the both of them.
    Kylo isn't Rey's challenge, nor does the film take the stance that Rey is Kylo's challenge.
    It takes the position that they are each other's challenge.
    That's much harder to objectify than Vader being Luke's challenge, and Palpatine being Anakin's challenge.

    You can't really objectify that and lock a camera to the foot that walks in the door. You have to swivel the camera and tell two stories almost constantly. The bad guys who aren't really bad, and the good guys who are flawed.

    So I can see how it can feel in memory like there's just not as many as someone is used to in Star Wars. It takes a different kind of spin on Lucas' idea of M&M's and sort of subjectifies it.

    But I can't see another way around it with what they had. Even Johnson had a heck of a time trying to keep an objective lens (which he did), and it really struggles to hang in there at times and somewhat causes a sort of disjointed sense of linearity because it's a bit weird feeling to objectively hop sides from the camera's perspective - you can easily lose sense of both directional and moral bearings of the film's positions.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
    #39 Jayson, Jan 4, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
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  20. RoyleRancor

    RoyleRancor Car'a'Carn

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    This feels related to a lot of the discussion in this thread.
    Hayao Miyazaki and Roger Ebert:

    Eq-atpAXEAAQ7IP.png
     
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