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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. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    Well, yeah.
    Every basic student knows that (not intending to be rude there).

    That's why TROS is even interesting. It's challenging the pace of the beat in a pretty interesting way.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  2. RoyleRancor

    RoyleRancor Car'a'Carn

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    I think the fact that you have to say it's why it's even interesting shows how shallow of a film it is (even compared to other star wars) and I don't think it's challenging. It's just annoying.
     
  3. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    I don't think it's a shallow film.

    Of course, I also think that's highly subjective and I'm likely to take in a lot more than most - keep in mind, I love abstract cinema, so what someone might see as pretty pictures, I'm seeing entirely differently.

    That said, even by regular narrative standards...nah...it's not really that shallow of a film.
    A shallow film doesn't have anything to say. TROS does. It wraps itself around a central theme and beats the drum on it through the narrative.

    Mute is a film (just talking about with @Angelman in fact) that is fairly shallow. It doesn't really say anything.
    Probably the most shallow film on record is Ghost Busters. There's a film about nothing. It doesn't say anything, there's no real theme, it's not about anyone in it, there's no character growth arcs in it, it's not strictly a comedy, nor really just science fiction - it's just...a film. A bunch of guys start their business and struggle to make ends meet while saving New York form a serious pest infestation issue.

    But it doesn't matter.
    Really, how much something is deep or shallow doesn't actually matter. LOADS of films are shallow and do just fine. Scores of very deep films have died in flames.

    Being shallow isn't a death nail to films by any stretch - the vast majority of films aren't that deep.
    But again, that said, TROS isn't really that shallow. It's monotonal, I'll give it that, but then again, if it had been any more dimensional it would have been a right literally unintelligible mess, and I don't mean unfavorably a mess, I mean a proper right disaster that is unwatchable and just noise on a screen.

    I also don't think that because I take interest in its editorial pacing it follows that the film is shallow.
    I have an eccentric view of film where attributes of a film are interesting to me that fly right the heck over most heads because who the heck cares about that kind of crap?
    No one cares about framing, lighting, shot blocking, movement, etc... or the visual language of film, and even among those who do, very few care about the metastory of cinema within the context of cinematography, editing, and writing.

    I might be the only one who sees TROS and thinks of Flight of the Navigator, The Last Star Fighter, The Never Ending Story, and Logan's Run whirling all together in a blender, and not because of just a narrative concept, but for cinematographic relationships.

    The pacing isn't the interesting thing about TROS. That's not why people love this film who do. If anything, I'd say people who love this film, are more likely to love it in spite of the pacing.

    On repeat watch, some actually begin to enjoy the pace, but I don't think that's why they're liking the film.
    Actually, pacing's never been a thing people much talk about with films, really.
    With the voluminous amounts of hate towards the PT, most were complaining about things in the films. Almost no one was talking about pacing issues.
    And then there's me. Pointing out the PT's uncanny slow hand that purposefully walks the garden path through an adventure at complete odds with the high-octane action shoved into it.

    It's challenging, not as a viewer.
    As an art. It's a challenge to make a film that moves this way and contains all of everything it set out to encompass.
    To make a film that can work with this kind of pacing for this kind of narrative with these elements is a challenge, and whether any given person likes it or not, it largely succeeded.

    Fans can think whatever they want to about, but from a business side element, it did its job. That is a really tough swing to pull with all of that, and well done.
    Film is anything but easy to begin with, and doing what they did in this film is near insanity. Just the production innovations alone are worth more than the film itself.
    Even if someone hates this film, it is a film that has kicked off a ripple effect in production workflow and everyone took note and is talking about it.
    Some are hoping not to have to deal with that workflow, because it's scary to change up your habits like that, and others are just itching to give it a swing.

    So yeah, no...it's challenging the pace of the beat in the craft - I don't really care about the idea of that as a consumable.
    Me telling you that it's challenging to watch should never be a good reason to ever like any film anywhere.
    People don't watch films because they're challenging.

    But as someone with a love of film as a craft, I love it when a film challenges the art.

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  4. The Holdo Maneuver

    The Holdo Maneuver Rebel Trooper

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    Citation needed.
     
  5. Louis Tod

    Louis Tod Clone

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    I feel this is as good a subject as any to make my first post on this forum!

    Firstly, Jayson I love reading your eloquent posts on these pictures. It gives me an extra veneer of enjoyment beyond taking in designs, score, sound effects etc.

    However, this very correct appraisal of George Lucas's establishing shots combined with the discussion over his documentary style framing is exactly where I take issue with the ST at large.

    There was something intangible about SW that I knew was intrinsic to George's visual eye but your explanation here makes I easier to define.

    Without it, I just don't get that intangible feeling that Star Wars gave me as a wee lad.

    That's not to say I don't believe these films are still rich with themes of the selfless Vs the selfish, political folly and history always repeating itself that Lucas liked to dig into within the frame of a fun adventure.

    TFA even dabbles with being a parallel to TPM (the most obvious moment being Kylo insisting on taking Rey under his wing, just like Qui-Gon with Anakin. The council says keep him away, Snoke says bring her here.)

    But that visual style is what makes SW SW and it's likely why I love Solo as much as I do and how certain episodes of Mando blow the ST away with their SWness. (Everything about the train heist on to entering Dryden's floating fortress in the former screams Lucas IMO, as does the majority of the latter.)

    So I agree TROS is a well made envelope pushing film in many ways compared to the average release but it falls short of recreating the magic of Lucas's 6 films for me. I believe TFA and TLJ do a better job but still can't match the original films feel.
     
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  6. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    I agree completely, but I also don't hold that against the ST because I've torn apart every frame of Lucas' work (including his old films all the way from his first college film onward), and the man's mind is dizzyingly astonishing!

    The foresight he has for what's coming up and how it juxtaposes what he's already shot and what he's shooting right now is simply unparalleled.
    Seriously.

    He also has an unmatched mastery of keeping narrative threads of thought in mind at the SAME TIME.

    Look at A New Hope, for example.
    He ALWAYS has two stories running in every sequence, and as soon as he has one, he finds a way to turn it into two.

    And EVERY pair of images and stories are either literal opposites or poetic opposites.

    Take the opening.
    Story #1: Droid run away from the fight.
    Story #2: Rebel soldiers run towards the fight.

    Story #1: Stormtroopers blow their way in and attack and a mysterious villain enters (Vader).
    Story #2: A mysterious woman (Leia) tucks the plans in R2 and hides.

    Story #1: Rebel soldiers are escorted and a leader is killed by Vader in inquest.
    Story #2: Stormtroopers hunt for survivors and stun Leia (a leader).

    Story #1: C3PO finds R2, refuses to go out of fear for safety, but jumps in to avoid danger.
    Story #2: The droids jettison and C3PO tells R2 it doesn't look so bad, meanwhile the villains target them to shoot them, but decide not to.

    Story #1: Leia is brought to Vader and Vader drills Leia for information about the plans, she defies him, he accuses her of being a spy, and sends her away.
    Story #2: The officer walks with Vader and warns him that detaining Leia could cause the senate to rule against them, Vader dismisses the officer's concerns and doubles down on his position, and orders a hunt when told of the escape pod.

    Story #1: The droids land together, and...
    Story #2: argue and split up, going separate ways.


    And that last one highlights how exacting Lucas is!
    Even when he gets to a narrative spot where there's ONLY one story to tell, he immediately forces the characters to split up for no other reason than to give your mind TWO stories to follow.

    Look at the droids landing on Tatooine. There's NO reason for them splitting up. ANY producer anywhere on the planet would tell you it's nonsense and a complete waste of money, and scores of writers would tell you that it's narratively contrived and weak because there's NO FRUIT to the tangent of them splitting up!

    Yet, he does. They split up and we follow each one having opposite types of stories - C3PO calls out from a distance wide out in the open, while R2 is captured up close from hiding Jawas.

    Then they get in the crawler and unite.

    It's under 5 minutes that they're apart with NO other stories cutting into it. There's literally no difference in the end if they had stayed together.
    The only reason they are split up is because Lucas KNOWS it's mentally more dramatic and he wants more than one story in your mind going on at all times.

    He does it again in the prison escape. There's a point where the only story that's being focused on is Luke, Han, Chewie, and Leia running around and so? Luke and Leia split off from Han and Chewie, and...? Do they get to different places?
    NOPE!
    They end up arriving pretty much together at the same place with NO DIFFERENCE than if they had just gone together in the first place!
    It was just more exciting to split them up and mirror their stories against each other.

    Even at Luke's homestead, Luke's got a story going on about feeling chained to home and dreaming of going on adventures, paired against R2 literally being restrained while R2 wants to go on his mission to find Ben.

    It's CONSTANT. The whole way through the film!

    He also bookends EVERY sequence with these little codas or "chapter titles" type moments, one linking to the other endlessly (except for one that doesn't exactly link directly, but hey...every film has its bumps!).

    And notice too that every SHOT is an inverse of the other story it's paired against!
    For example, Droids run away while Rebels prepare for battle...The cruiser is top-side shot, the droids run left to right angle, the Rebels run right to left angle, the cruiser is taken from a bottom shot.

    Another? The Rebels are escorted right to left angle, the Rebel officer falls prone left to right angle, the troopers search left to right (starting), Leia is stunned prone right to left (top left angle dominant).

    There's a few areas where it's not as exacting (most notably where Paul Hirsch had more free-reign to edit without supervision), but it's just insane how nearly constant this is when mixed with the rest!

    Those shots and stories COULD have been anything, so this isn't an accident. There's FAR too many perfectly paired up shots and stories to be a happy coincidence. Lucas full well knew in his mind what to shoot and what he was doing while writing.

    And that is IN ... SANE!

    Here, look at this.
    This is every First Image and Last Image of every story tangent in the film (I broke out the Death Star escape extra long for fun...fun-fact, this effect of Lucas works regardless how Macro or Micro you decide to cut down to and do this....which...is mind boggling...it's like a Fractal).
    Star_Wars_Reverse_Storyboard.png
    Here's the full scale image (since it doesn't seem to load full scale here)
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/6zfivsuhrjfk2tk/Star_Wars_Reverse_Storyboard.png?dl=0

    To give you an understanding of what I mean by "It's Fractal"...here's the same idea, but at the highest level possible and it STILL works!
    Star_Wars_Reverse_Storyboard_LongView.png
    Full scale:
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/ka2j1lg0czfqhl6/Star_Wars_Reverse_Storyboard_LongView.png?dl=0


    I've never seen this level of understanding of a film in one person's mind's eye. There's simply no possibility, I think, of anyone else pulling this off like he does.
    The best they can do is give their personal best shot at their understanding of the Lucasian style.
    If you try to nail copying Lucas, you will fail every single time!
    There's simply NO way to match his visual mind. His mind is almost literally is like a walking editing machine. Just go look at Look at Life (his first film) and realize it's a one minute college assignment where they were given camera movements to do, one minute of film, and that's it. Everyone took footage of the hallway - nothing to look at worth any interest. It was just to prove you did the camera operations.

    Meanwhile, this crazy b***urd Lucas grabbed Time magazines, cut out photos, made up a commentary activist narrative, shot them according to the assignment requirements of camera movement, grabbed a razor and hand cut the film together in a series of juxtaposed contrasting sets of images set to music he had to manually track using a reel-to-reel with no sync counter to reference - he was doing it completely by feel...as a college student...as his first film!
    Go watch that film if you haven't seen it with all of this in mind. It's jaw dropping and you just kind of want to quit now if you're into making film at all when you see it.

    So yeah, it's like someone following Beethoven and being asked to make a sequel to Ode to Joy and then saying that you couldn't really get into it because they didn't do what Beethoven really did.
    Well...of COURSE not! THAT was never on the table!

    All that can happen is that they give us THEIR version of the style, and THAT is what I suggest you do! Don't look at it as "This isn't like Lucas!".
    Look at it as "This is their version of the Lucas way of filmmaking", and see it for the celebration of Lucas that it is!
    Both Abrams and Johnson took their swings at their understandings of Lucas' style and it's absolutely fascinating what came out as a result when they were seasoned with Lucas-spice.

    Neither of their ST films are like their other works exactly. They are similar, but then they are remarkably different. And that difference comes from their style taking in Lucas' style and blending them together. It's really fascinating.

    Cheers,
    Jayson

    P.S.
    I'm glad that I've brought you new eyes to your watching of Star Wars. :)
    That's the best that I aim for in film critique - to discuss something which I hope brings a new vantage when watching it again.
     
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  7. Jayson

    Jayson Resident Lucasian

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    You can find article after article on the subject if you look up Brandon's name in correlation to TROS, and Avid worked with them on developing the new workflow they used...and if Avid created a new workflow, it's not going to chuck it into the bin. For one thing, Brandon's stated that she has no interest in going back to post-edit only method. And 1917 did a very similar method as TROS as well, using a rather similar Avid workflow.

    Further, there's a few interesting similarities to the TROS workflow's employment of cloud editing and Avid's post-Covid cloud "edit on demand" product (that more than a few moved to).

    That Brandon was able to set up a mobile unit (which lots of editors have done at least a bit) that was fully functional and didn't find a need to use anything really aside from the mobile unit on set (which most editors hadn't done/felt) is absolutely something every editor took note of.

    The editor world is not big. There's effectively one podcast for the entire industry that everyone's listening to, and they're almost all using one piece of software (with a few outliers using adobe). Everyone knows each other and what the others are doing, and how. They take notes - they talk to the developer of their editing software and make requests and design them in part through the requests and design demands (when we're talking about films of this scale), and the developers take those alterations and put them into future editions (Walter Murch has made quite a number of changes to adobe).

    The future of editing will be less and less isolated in a room and more near-real-time feedback to the production set and influencing how the following shoot will go (both TROS and 1917 did this), and they will either be a mobile unit on site, or a remote access that's fed from and into the production so they can see what the production's doing right now, and the production set can see what the editors are doing right now with what just came over the cloud.

    That TROS was able to do it was definitely noticed. Everyone will go about that in their own way - editors don't just pick up another editor's workflow and run with it; that's like two painters just using the same exact workflows - it doesn't make any sense.

    It would have probably happened eventually. Someone would have cracked that door open at some point, but it was TROS. TROS was in the situation that forced them to do something that convention says is uncertain or not really functional. Just like COVID did to the industry.
    That's how advancement usually comes in the industry. Not because someone wanted to make an advancement, but because they were shoved into a box that pushed them to come up with a radical solution that happened to work out in a better way than their normal approach.

    That's what happened, and if you're looking for a direct citation, I can't give you a paper on that. You just have to look at what the editing world was talking about following TROS, and then you start looking at what Avid did after it, and then you need to look at what films started doing after it.

    I've talked to a few folks that I know, and yeah, it was of interest - especially in the VFX/Production company world. Folks I know working in that realm were really keen on the showing the ability to move to a remote cloud system for editing that allowed higher flexibility with the editing terminal (as VFX is always wanting to push that further to at the director's hip as much as possible).

    That's how ripples work in film. It's not a citation number at the bottom of a paper. It's organically absorbed and reused.


    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  8. Capt_Mange

    Capt_Mange Rebelscum

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    Of course the pace of TROS is at a breakneck pace; they had to introduce Palpatine into the story again of whom there wasn't a hint of in TFA or TLJ and to inject him into a highly convoluted "plot". There was no plan for the trilogy and if the execution of it hadn't been as bad as it was they would've "gotten away" with it.
     
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