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Were "fan expectations" the problem?

Discussion in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' started by Jaxxon, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. eeprom

    eeprom Force Sensitive

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    Hmm, I like your post, but I definitely can’t get on board with that statement.

    Yes, writing, directing, acting, editing, cinematography, etc. are expressions of artistic endeavor and open to interpretation. But they’re also practical skills. Skills that require craft and discipline and can absolutely be gauged with respect to level of proficiency. There absolutely is poor writing. There absolutely is poor directing. Those are fair assessments of technical prowess with respect to what’s delivered as a piece of work.

    What’s subjective is how the audience reacts to it. Like with any art, something that’s poorly constructed can still be greatly appreciated. Oppositely, something that’s expertly well-constructed can be totally dismissed. People like what they like. Whether it’s emotional or technical or whatever motivation, everyone has a unique perspective and bring that to their experiences. That can’t ever be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ - ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. It just is.

    The rest of your post I’m totally down with. Concepts like ‘decorum’ and ‘mutual respect’ are difficult principles to adopt in a culture increasingly defined by faceless/nameless, disembodied social interactions. People are interfacing with a screen, not a person. When you objectify people, it’s easy to talk AT them instead of TO them. If the members of this forum (regardless of stance) were in a physical room together, I have a hard time believing it would be the same degree of exchange.
    Kind of my outlook. Like LOTR, for example. Now I’m not really the biggest fan of those movies, but I respect the hell out of how ambitiously produced they were: all together. It wasn’t an immaculate work that magically fell in place as planned. There was a ton of tweaking and rejiggering along the way, but the trilogy plays out as a consistent, contiguous story with each installment retaining a distinct personality.

    That’s the approach I’d have preferred going into the ST. I know DIS had pressure from stock holders for a return on that $4B investment ASAP and that strategy wasn’t totally realistic though. Such is life.
    Which is on my laundry list of gripes about the PT. This was the origin story Lucas had been itching to tell since 1974, but each script for each episode went down to the wire each time having to be ironed out during shooting? Life happens. Priorities change. I get it. But, man, what a sadly wasted opportunity.
     
    #501 eeprom, Dec 12, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
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  2. cawatrooper

    cawatrooper Jedi General

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    I think that's part of the problem, too.

    As fan expecting the Snap, it really kinda ended up being almost a "best case scenario". You're right that there really weren't that many surprising deaths (maybe Peter Parker?), so by having almost all the "main" heroes survive was almost more relieving than losing everyone else was tragic.

    Whereas, at least a more casual moviegoer would still be surprised the Snap happened at all.
     
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  3. Use the Falchion

    Use the Falchion Force Sensitive

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    Marvel titles their movies after major comic book events. No Marvel fan or MCU fan who did a little bit of research was shocked by this. None of my friends - who don't even read comics - were shocked by this. My sister, who barely pays attention to MCU movies - wasn't shocked by the snap. And like you said, Marvel has "conditioned" us to not expect deaths, ergo it wasn't surprising that it happened. The snap wasn't a twist.


    They had 6 previous movies to pull from. If they knew since the beginning that 1) This trilogy would be the last in the Skywalker Saga 2) Palpatine was coming back, they should have factored that in since the beginning. And that definitely goes for Palps.

    Iron Man is far more complex character than Luke Skywalker has been. Iconic, to most people no. But complex, absolutely.
    Civil War doesn't tell viewers whether Tony or Steve is right. It simply shows the consequences behind their actions and that both are emotionally compromised when they made them. TLJ on the other hand, simply states "The Military Industrial Complex is bad," without giving us time to think about it. And I've seen more essays, think pieces, and analyses on Infinity War and Endgame and the symbolism and meaning behind them than I have for pretty much any of the Disney Era Star Wars movies. Maybe TLJ, but take out the reviews, critiques, and slams, I haven't watched or read too many.

    I don't want it to all feel the same, but I want consistency that I don't feel right now. TFA to TLJ only feel partially consistent. And TROS - if it's answering the questions asked in TFA - might make the jump even more jarring. I want to feel confident in Lucasfilm and their storytelling, and I can't. I feel confident in JJ and his ability to make fun and awesome movies with fun and awesome characters. But that doesn't mean that TROS will be that, and that worries me. I feel confident in Filoni and Favreau's vision for The Mandalorian. But that doesn't mean Cassian Andor's show will be any good. I feel confident in Resistance to be a solid Star Wars animated show. But Lucasfilm has had too much drama and internal inconsistency for me to feel confident in them as a whole.

    Thank You!

    And that's fair. I was shocked at who was dusted, but not the snap itself. And then you think about what Endgame is on a meta-level and it makes all the sense in the world. Because they planned it and seeded the idea.


    EDIT: @cawatrooper to answer your questions, at least for the Captain America trilogy, Infinity War, and Endgame the adapted stuff worked out so well because the writers and directors looked at the big moments in the comics behind their movies and asked "what emotion does this evoke, and how can we translate that to our medium?" They didn't want a one-to-one adaptation. Others (like Whedon or Spider-Man's director (Jon Watts?)) simply try to capture the spirit of the character and bring it to a new age.
    As for Star Wars, I think they've tried that with Thrawn and a looser version with Kylo Ren (and Rey who is basically Ania Solo...which means they could have made Finn more like Jao Assam...). Whether or not it was successful, YMMV. But whole stories adapted...yeah...I'm not sure fans would really want that...
     
    #503 Use the Falchion, Dec 12, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
  4. KeithF1138

    KeithF1138 Force Sensitive

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    It wasnt that they werent surprising it was that we knew that they wouldnt stay dead. We knew more Spiderman movies were on the way, we knew that more Black Panther movies were on the way, we knew more Dr. Strange movies were on the way.
     
  5. eeprom

    eeprom Force Sensitive

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    I think a distinction needs to be made here between whether it was intended as a twist and whether it actually works as a twist.

    The structure of the film sets up an immediate antagonism between the Thor and Thanos characters. Out of all the Avengers, Thor is the only one with the specific motivation to actually ‘avenge’ something. That he’d heroically swoop in at the last second to foil the villain’s diabolical plot, is exactly what’s expected. Not just of MCU movies, but of conventional storytelling in general.

    That he fails, and what then results because of it, is clearly meant as a twist. That doesn’t mean it’s effective as a twist. That’s up to the individual. But that’s how the story itself treats it.
     
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  6. RoyleRancor

    RoyleRancor Jedi General

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    No Marvel fan or MCU fan....but that's not who these movies are ultimately made for. As we saw with Solo, if you make a movie inside this franchise SPECIFICALLY for the SW fan, it won't do too hot. Same with Marvel; it's why they reach for broad appeal. Yes the people who read Infinity Gauntlet knew the inevitable outcome, but among those who hadn't (which is MOST movie goers) it was a surprise. The knowledge of some isn't a deterrent to something being a twist. If I read a spoiler for TROS and learn of a twist it doesn't mean they don't have any twists. Bucky being the Winter Soldier is a twist...not if you read enough of the source material but it's still a twist to 75% of the audience.

    Each trilogy is of it's own. Or at least it should be. The PT more or less stands on it's own, as does the OT. Does the ST? IMO less than the others but that's largely on TFA. But it's part of the saga so we can let it slide some. And to say they haven't pulled from the previous 6 movies is a bit disingenuous IMO. TLJ didn't go for cheap pops of showing two miscreants from the Cantina or a name drop of General Syndulla. It borrowed language and themes from the last six films in an effort to bring this story to a head. And TFA definitely pulls from the OT.

    You are right, Iron Man as a character has been more complex than Luke Skywalker...until TLJ. Ironically enough the movie that made Iron Man complex is also one of the least liked MCU movies. Iron Man 3. This officially where we are getting into gross oversimplifications that will make things difficult to discuss. If you genuinely think that's all TLJ said, then IDK what else to say man.
    --- Double Post Merged, Dec 12, 2019, Original Post Date: Dec 12, 2019 ---
    Has that approach ever worked outside of LOTR? I mean, the LOTR people couldn't even do it a second time for The Hobbit
     
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  7. Use the Falchion

    Use the Falchion Force Sensitive

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    Fair point. TFA is one of my favorites, and was great for the franchise, but terrible for the trilogy IMO. It brought in new characters but retold old ideas (which was brilliant because we could then focus on the new characters, but it also limited where the story could go).


    TLJ Luke and Endgame Tony go through the same exact arc. They're both completing the Hero's Journey. But Tony had layers while Luke was simply...static. For Tony we got to see what he had to lose if he went on the mission. Luke...not so much. And I'm saying this as a person who loves Luke MORE than Tony.
    (However if it's any consolation I hate IM3 as well. That being said, that was a case where fan expectations (and marketing!) WERE the problem.*)

    I don't, and I've never said it was the only thing in TLJ, but in TLJ for most of the themes we're not given tools to think on the themes, just what we should think. And it's poorly utilized with the characters chosen in this specific case IMO.
    The theme about failure is good**, but it doesn't really present us with alternatives. Luke, even in his failure, tried to do something he considered bold. His giving up was an act of heroism in his own mind. Ergo, none of the main characters - even in their failure - give up. This is a great message, but it doesn't show times when giving up is the right thing to do. RJ loves his complexity and duality, and that would have been the time to do it.
    Contrast this with Civil War, where Tony and Steve are both shown to be right and wrong. Contrast with Infinity War (and later Endgame) where themes of sacrifice, futurism, and fatherhood come up ("We don't trade lives."). Contrast in Endgame where you have moving on versus moving forward.


    Solo had more than just that going against it. Timing, lack of marketing, controversy (for both the movie and still from TLJ). Rogue One was specifically for Star Wars fans (no one else would care about how the Rebels got the plans to the Death Star) and it did great.

    Marvel admittedly has more leeway due to the sheer amount of characters it can draw from. Because 10 years ago I don't think a superhero movie with a 99% black cast that's a commentary on Black versus African with themes of colonization would be considered "broad appeal." But now for Star Wars, Marvel, and DC their niche stuff has been doing very well: The Mandalorian is a massive hit (much more than their "broad appeal" Resistance (which I also like)), the MCU makes movies of all sizes, shapes, and characters, and DC's streaming service seems to be very solid. Harley Quinn from what I've seen is a blast. Heck it's partially why streaming services are such a big thing now, because you don't HAVE to reach for broad appeal. Just get what you, the individual, want.

    I still haven't read that comic and I knew of the Snap. But it was a Chekhov's Gun sort of situation. That being said, you've made a solid argument, so I'll concede to you here...and reframe it as a quality of the twist! (What a twist, eh ;)) Bucky being Winter Soldier? Not a good twist but necessary to the story. Bucky killing Tony's parents? Good twist that was seeded in the previous movie, foreshadowed throughout the current one, and had last effects on the characters.
    Luke being Vader's son? Great twist as it was earlier foreshadowed in the movie and had lasting effects on the characters. Leia being Luke's twin? Decent twist, but foreshadowed in ESB so acceptable (and had last effects on the characters). Rey going from "who is she" to "she's no one" to "she's actually X***!" Not a good twist. It feels like someone had a plan, then some one else took it in a different direction, and now they're doing a course correction; it also may not have lasting effects on the characters...unless that's the point. But that looks inconsistent to me. Granted, I'm more than willing to change that view if TROS pulls the twist off well and makes everything make sense retroactively. But AS IT STANDS, this is how I feel.

    I'm saying for a plot, not fan service. Fan service isn't a problem and can even be beneficial. But before they even started TFA, they had six previous movies to look at and think "how are we going to tie this all together and wrap it up?" As it looks now - combined with RJ's comments about how much freedom he was given - it looks like they didn't ask that question.

    *It's also interesting to think about how Iron Man 3 and Spider-Man: Far From Home take the same ideas and twists, but one is FAR better received than the other. Is it due to the characters each uses? The audiences growing savvy and skeptical, and movies manipulating the meta-awareness to their advantage (as might be the case with the JP and BK leaks)? Or simply the quality of the characters at the time. Food for thought.

    **But not great. I think the core of the theme is - or at least should be - "the lessons we learned from failure are what we should pass on," not failure itself. That Yoda scene made me tear up, but man a little clarity please!

    ***Assuming the leaks are true.
     
  8. Clankershot

    Clankershot Rebel Trooper

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    ( spoiler if not seen the movie) I personally really enjoyed the film. Especially as a fan of the Luke Skywalker centric EU books. It was awesome seeing how powerful he was as a jedi master. My only real complaints are the whole hair brained scheme of breaking into the imperial ship. If only the acting general in place of Leia had told them her plan in the first place. But that was a cool side quest I guess. My. Bigger disappointment was Luke ascending to the force. I really wanted to see him live on as more than a ghost in the next one. But I also guess that makes sense as that's what Yoda did after training Luke.
     
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  9. eeprom

    eeprom Force Sensitive

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    They did “do it” for the Hobbit. How well it was done though is debatable. Morphing a del Toro 2-picture into a Jackson 3-picture probably didn’t help much.

    Superman 1 and 2
    Back to the Future 2 and 3
    The Matrix 2 and 3
    Kill Bill 1 and 2
    Harry Potter 7 and 8
    Avengers 3 and 4

    Not many trilogies to speak of and varying degrees of success, but it’s not exactly unprecedented. It was George’s original plan for the prequels from what I recall (when they were supposed to land in ‘97, ‘99, and ‘01). It all comes down to committing the exorbitant resources up front and whether it would pay off. Disney has some of the deepest pockets out there and Star Wars is one of the safest bets there’s ever been.

    Meh, what happened happened. It’s silly to neg a trilogy that’s not even finished yet. We’ll get started on that next week! :D
     
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  10. RoyleRancor

    RoyleRancor Jedi General

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    I hate to be too crass about that list but it's really 50-50 on that isn't it? haha
     
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  11. eeprom

    eeprom Force Sensitive

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    Fair. As I was writing the list I was thinking "well, hell, I wouldn't be convinced by this . . . . . um, did I mention LOTR?" :D
     
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  12. Iotatheta

    Iotatheta Rebel Trooper

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    LotR And Harry Potter are also odd ones in the list, as they were intended to be as close adaptations to the books as they could. For the most part, their entire stories and plot points were prewritten and just needed adjusted to fit film.

    Compare to Star Wars where..there is technically no source to adapt.

    That said, there do seem to be elements that were planned. Kennedy has said they wanted Palpatine back since the beginning was the biggest, and the end of the Skywalker saga as been said for a while. I’m still inclined to think that, at the minimum, there was a point A and point B, and the journey there was incredibly open, likely having contingencies depending on what was done in Act 2. All speculation based on the comments though, and trying to reconcile the statements. This also can all shift in retrospect. How IX plays out will likely impact how we see 7 and 8 as a whole. Always an interesting element of sagas.

    (For example, if Snoke didn’t die, then they would have IX address him before Palp shows up, but in this instance they can flow a bit easier into Palpatine as the big bad).
     
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  13. eeprom

    eeprom Force Sensitive

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    Wow, that’s awfully dismissive to the level of effort involved in film adaption. Books aren’t movies. Not even close. It’s a totally different process and discipline every bit as challenging as original screenplay. There’s a reason the Academy recognizes it as it’s own category for awards consideration. It’s HARD and if you’re any good at it, you deserve a f**king trophy. Credit where credit is due, man. Those screenplays didn’t just show up gift wrapped ready to go.
    Dude, that gives you MORE opportunity, not less. You’re only confined by your own ability then. You get to ‘blue sky’. To go wherever you want. To let the story decide what it wants to be organically, not boxed in by what someone else had decided for their own reasoning.

    I’m saying: piecing off a trilogy to three different writer/directors in a relay race instead of deliberate collaboration, doesn’t check the common sense box for me. If you want multiple cooks, cool, but they should be in the same kitchen at the same time. Work that recipe from soup to nuts before you ever film a frame.

    If it has to be tweaked along the way, terrific, that’s how movies are made. But you know what the beginning, the middle, and the end are and know everyone’s on board working on the same thing toward a common goal. The medley approach, where each chapter is written by a different author in a take-one-and-pass-it-down strategy, just doesn't make much sense to me here.
    Sure. Pablo pretty much stated as much. There was a plan. It was written in pencil though. Meaning: it was flexible and could be molded whichever direction came naturally from one step to the next. It was only as definite as it needed to be. That makes perfect sense.

    The assertion that one of the most successful producers in Hollywood history was handed a multi-billion dollar franchise and didn’t bother to commission a road map, is the dumbest thing imaginable to me. It’s just a ridiculous premise. That’s not the same thing as having a single fleshed out story told in three parts though.
    I’d love it if after TROS closes (or years from now), I look at it in respect to the previous two (or eight) and say “Ah hah! I get it now! It’s all one story. This is how it had to be told.” I’m optimistic for that, but have my doubts.
     
  14. Iotatheta

    Iotatheta Rebel Trooper

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    not meant to be dismissive at all. It is a challenge. My point was that the actual overall storyline was already done. Yes, they have to figure out what would work, what wouldnt, what’s necessary, and how to bring it to film. It’s an immense challenge Even just with matching a backdrop, and then everything else as well. I meant it more in comparison Star Wars and other stuff that is written first for film.

    In Star Wars and the like, there isn’t an already written story you have to adapt. It does require imagination to make the story. And that’s where it’s different. It’s two vastly different methods and skills. Idk why that came across as dismissive, but wasn’t y intent.

    like I said, I feel there’s more of a plan than others say. I fee we wouldn’t have had 9 separated from Trevorrow if there wasn’t a set enough plan in place. I’m optimistic, just as RotJ and RotS both had some retroactive insights in their respective trilogies (At least, I thought they had some. Been a while). Needless to say, I’m fairly optimistic (and avoiding leaks).
     
  15. KeithF1138

    KeithF1138 Force Sensitive

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    Great new video analysis

     
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  16. DailyPlunge

    DailyPlunge Jedi General

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    For those who are curious, someone did a sample Star Wars fans opinions on The Last Jedi.

     
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  17. FrankC

    FrankC Clone

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    What's so silly about my comment? Of course you can "appease" the group of fans I'm in simply by making a watchable star wars movie! It's not rocket surgery. I enjoyed Solo, rouge one, the mandalorian, etc, etc. I'm not asking for much, I'm not asking for some ground breaking, best movie of all time. I'm just asking for a watchable star wars movie. I'm really not that difficult to please, maybe it's more a case of you are too easily entertained.

    As I pointed out, I'm not a professional storyteller - its definitely not a skill I possess. I can count on 1 hand the amount of movies I've watched where I've consciously sat there and said to myself "I can do a better job than this". I watch movies to be entertained and suprised, I never try and guess the endings because i just want to sit there and LET them tell me the story. JJ and disney had a totally blank slate, they literally could have taken star wars where ever they wanted it to go, they could have told us any story and used any characters. They had a wealth of stories already created for them in the EU and the near infinite amount of fan fiction online. With all this, with all these possibilities...the sequels are what we got. That was it, that was the very best they could come up with!

    Again, I'm not a story teller but I KNOW I could write a better trilogy than the one disney spewed out. I think most of us could. Not only are the overall stories in the new trilogy bad, but it's also the decisions in movies like the last jedi that are just awful. Even tweaking the stories would make them better - imagine how infinitely better the last scene with Luke would have been if he was actually there instead of a force projection?

    I'll happily watch garbage - heck I even like the movie armageddon, but the missed opportunities by disney are staggering! There are so many things they could have done, so many exciting places they could have taken the star wars story - instead we are reduced to a ship being chased through space for 2 hours!! The massive world Lucas created got shrank down to a simple car chase!

    So screw you. This is not about me being arrogant about being a better story teller or me being a fan resistant to change - this is me being angry at Disney for completely blowing their shot at creating a new direction for the Star Wars Saga. This is about Disney totally dropping the ball, not about me being a hard to please fan. All I want is something watchable.
     
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  18. DailyPlunge

    DailyPlunge Jedi General

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    You've written a lot in response, but this really boils down to one thing you said. You claimed that you could come up with a better story than an acclaimed writer/director who made a Star Wars film loved by critics and audiences. You made this claim simply because you didn't like the film. This is your opinion about a subjective medium. I hated The Shape of Water. Does that mean I could have told a better story than Guillermo del Toro? Of course not, it would be a silly thing to say.
    This is a reasonable response. :rolleyes:
     
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  19. Iotatheta

    Iotatheta Rebel Trooper

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    I’m sorry, but, honestly...how would this have been better? Give Kylo the situation of actually killing Luke?
     
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  20. KeithF1138

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    Really imagine how it would have played out. Had the exact same occurred, but with physical Luke. It would have been 100% ridiculous. It would have presented a Luke that was invincible. So then you have to ask yourself why would the First Order ever took any hold in the galaxy. The New Republic wouldnt even need any sort of defense forces if they had 1 guy who could take down anyone. Not to mention since he was so incredibly powerful now he would have taken out the leadership of the First Order right then and there and trilogy would essentially be over.
     
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