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Old 05-21-2009, 11:57 PM   #331
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I always wonder what it would've been like if Lucas relented directing again to someone else, like Alfonso Cuaron or Bryan Singer or something.
His direction's not the problem, at least in terms of the visuals--he's a better shotmaker than either of those two guys. What he needs is to give his actors a bit more to work with, and have patience for better line readings from his less experienced was.
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Old 05-22-2009, 12:06 AM   #332
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he's a better shotmaker than either of those two guys..
Singer, hell yeah. Cuaron... mmm, I wouldn't say so.
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Old 05-22-2009, 12:37 AM   #333
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Well, I said shot-maker. Cuaron relies a lot more on movement of the camera, and he doesn't really have the eye for frame composition that Lucas does. Few directors do, Spielberg being one of them. I equate Cuaron to Peter Jackson in many ways, who also would be a poor choice to direct a Star Wars film.

For all of Lucas's faults, his approach with these films has consistently been from the Ford/Kurosawa traditional school, which gives the material a prestige and dignity the genre isn't usually accorded (that some of the dialogue and characters undermine this achievement is an obvious but separate issue). Which is why a shot in Clones like that quick zoom (reminiscent of "guerrilla" war movie style) was so shocking, because it's so rare for Lucas. I'd also point out the cross-cutting of Anakin and Zam Wessell's POV in the bar scene in Clones as being something out of character for Lucas, who rarely put you in that kind of forced perspective.

I will trot out the same images I always do to display the commanding compositional skill of The Bearded One, which not only give the films an epic quality, but convey the emotions of the characters better than the words usually do:

















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Old 05-22-2009, 12:57 AM   #334
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I'm not denying Lucas has a good eye, though you might not have picked the best selection of shots to prove it... I mean, many of those are pretty standard stuff, classic Ford stuff, not that it defeats your point or anything.

But you're underestimating Cuaron's eye as well. If you're judging purely on Y Tu Mama Tambien and Children of Men, maybe you have something. But films like Solo Con Tu Pareja, Prizoner of Azkaban, and even A Little Princess (as much as I absolutely despise that movie) show remarkable composition in static camera set-ups. Granted, he often relies on the supreme talents of one of the finest DPs in the business, but still. To compare him to Jackson in that regard is a total disservice.
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Old 05-22-2009, 04:02 AM   #335
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To be fair to Cuaron, I know that he hasn't relied solely on camera movement, it's just that his two most acclaimed/accomplished films feature it heavily. Azkaban is my favorite Potter film (the only one that has any artistic merit to it, really), so I'm with you there. I haven't seen the other two you mentioned.

And I do think he's a better director than Jackson, at least as far as the visuals are concerned. PJ definitely knows how to get great performances from actors, regardless of their level of talent.

I wasn't trying to point out anything specifically original with those shots, just to show the classic purity of his images. That last one with Anakin and Padme, combined with their laughter in the actual scene itself, sold their romance to me--I don't need any more than that, and no cheesy dialogue can ruin the simplicity of that moment. Personally, though, I do think the shot with Boba and the helmet is one of the best in the entire saga.
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Old 05-22-2009, 04:11 AM   #336
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already some dude complained that the first *** scene was very 'unflattering' to Kate.

I agree that she has a great curvy body, but just shows you that some peeps expect nude people to be 'perfect' - like Halle Berry and all.

Marisa was brave to do that, she has one HECK of a body in The Wrestler, but I hated how those guys dissed her because her face didnt look young. that really p*******************************************************************************************d me off beyond belief.

even thou its part of the movie.
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Old 05-22-2009, 02:16 PM   #337
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To be fair to Cuaron, I know that he hasn't relied solely on camera movement, it's just that his two most acclaimed/accomplished films feature it heavily. Azkaban is my favorite Potter film (the only one that has any artistic merit to it, really), so I'm with you there. I haven't seen the other two you mentioned.
Stay away from A Little Princess. Awful, awful, "children's film". A lot try to defend it by suggesting its a purposeful satire of the genre, but even if that's true, it still doesn't success in many levels. Solo Con Tu Pareja, on the other hand, it magnificent. His first film, and possibly even his very best. Screwball comedy and a sharp satire of Mexican politics and the middle class. Features some of Lubeski's best photography, and a couple complex sequences so magnificently choreographed and imagined, they nearly put Children of Men's best moments to shame without relying on long takes and tracking shots. Definitely check it out. It's available from Criterion too.
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Old 05-22-2009, 05:13 PM   #338
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His direction's not the problem, at least in terms of the visuals--he's a better shotmaker than either of those two guys. What he needs is to give his actors a bit more to work with, and have patience for better line readings from his less experienced was.
Certainly, but the only film in the series with serious dramatic weight is the one he was the least involved in making, Empire, and we know how that turned out. At the very least, have someone in there balance it out. There's a reason why Spielberg directed Raiders and Lucas mainly wrote/produced instead of the other way around.

It's not like the dialogue is any better in Star Wars, but the actors at least say it with conviction enough to sell it as the real this. Plus, when you've got guys like Alec Guiness, Peter Cushing, and James Earl Jones to add some legit thesp status, it's gold.

Then again, listen to some of the original lines in the Hamill/Fisher/Ford audition tapes and compare them to the finished film. They sound like lines straight out of the prequels.
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Old 05-22-2009, 05:17 PM   #339
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LMP, that recommendation I made above goes for you as well. I think you'd really enjoy it.
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Old 05-22-2009, 05:24 PM   #340
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pardon me for interrupting Interference Random Movie Talk


But, I did see

T- Salvation last night

I think I liked it a little better than the Wolverine

about a 7/10

It was fun to watch, but forgettable

- Sam Worthington - brings a lot

won't add much to or hurt Bale


I am not a big McG fan, I expected a lot worse.
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Old 05-22-2009, 05:38 PM   #341
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Certainly, but the only film in the series with serious dramatic weight is the one he was the least involved in making, Empire, and we know how that turned out. At the very least, have someone in there balance it out. There's a reason why Spielberg directed Raiders and Lucas mainly wrote/produced instead of the other way around.
Sorry, but I don't think Empire has more dramatic weight than Sith. And I'm not just talking about the story itself. I think Lucas stepped it up a notch and the tension is palpable. From the scene in the opera with Palps and Anakin to the end of the film, I think it takes on a level of gravitas unseen before in the saga.

And I'm sorry, but Ford, Hamill, and Fisher are just as uneven as their prequel counterparts. Ford has a few funny lines, but he manages to be cool, and that's it. Look at the love scene in the Millenium Falcon in Empire: that scoundrel line, the "I'm sorry, Leia" are weakly acted, only remembered fondly by nostalgia, and certainly not a highlight like the carbon-freezing scene, which works because it's hard-boiled and not trying to be sappy. The less said about Hamill the better, and it amazes me Jake Lloyd got such a hard time by comparison.

The only difference between the OT romance and the Anakin and Padme stuff is that Lucas tried to make the dialogue in the latter too flowery. The acting isn't any worse, and I'd even venture to say that the picnic scene in Clones is better than anything Ford & Fisher did together. You want bad? Look at Leia rescuing Han at the beginning of Jedi, or their high school-level argument on Endor. Just terrible. And I know I'm not in the majority, but the scene right before Anakin leaves for Mustafar in Sith, where he hells her he now has the power to save her, is rather chilling and heartbreaking, played beautifully by Portman and Christiansen (as is the following scene with Padme and Obi-Wan). I just think people had built so much animosity towards the acting and writing by that point, they just can't accept it.
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Old 05-22-2009, 05:47 PM   #342
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I hope I'm getting the events more or less correct (I haven't watched Sith through in a while), but I really love the moment of calm before the storm, when Padme is waiting in front of the window worried, Obi Wan just got fucked up on that other planet, and Anakin has crossed the line to the Dark Side, and it's just a really quiet few moments with a tenuous piece of music/sound design behind it. Probably my favorite part of all the prequel trilogy, if you have any idea at all what I'm trying to refer to.
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Old 05-22-2009, 05:53 PM   #343
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That's actually right before Anakin has gone over the line. He's debating whether or not to follow Mace Windu's orders and stay away from Palapatine as they go to arrest him.

It's definitely one of the high points of the entire saga, and it's pure cinema.
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Old 05-22-2009, 05:57 PM   #344
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That's actually right before Anakin has gone over the line. He's debating whether or not to follow Mace Windu's orders and stay away from Palapatine as they go to arrest him.

It's definitely one of the high points of the entire saga, and it's pure cinema.
Good call, that's exactly what I was referring to. Great moment.
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Old 05-22-2009, 11:39 PM   #345
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LMP, that recommendation I made above goes for you as well. I think you'd really enjoy it.
I'll add it to the NetFlix queue. I'm actually going to try to watch all of Lost this summer and catch up. I know Laz will be proud.

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Sorry, but I don't think Empire has more dramatic weight than Sith. And I'm not just talking about the story itself. I think Lucas stepped it up a notch and the tension is palpable. From the scene in the opera with Palps and Anakin to the end of the film, I think it takes on a level of gravitas unseen before in the saga.

And I'm sorry, but Ford, Hamill, and Fisher are just as uneven as their prequel counterparts. Ford has a few funny lines, but he manages to be cool, and that's it. Look at the love scene in the Millenium Falcon in Empire: that scoundrel line, the "I'm sorry, Leia" are weakly acted, only remembered fondly by nostalgia, and certainly not a highlight like the carbon-freezing scene, which works because it's hard-boiled and not trying to be sappy. The less said about Hamill the better, and it amazes me Jake Lloyd got such a hard time by comparison.

The only difference between the OT romance and the Anakin and Padme stuff is that Lucas tried to make the dialogue in the latter too flowery. The acting isn't any worse, and I'd even venture to say that the picnic scene in Clones is better than anything Ford & Fisher did together. You want bad? Look at Leia rescuing Han at the beginning of Jedi, or their high school-level argument on Endor. Just terrible. And I know I'm not in the majority, but the scene right before Anakin leaves for Mustafar in Sith, where he hells her he now has the power to save her, is rather chilling and heartbreaking, played beautifully by Portman and Christiansen (as is the following scene with Padme and Obi-Wan). I just think people had built so much animosity towards the acting and writing by that point, they just can't accept it.
That's fair, but I still do think Empire is the best overall film of the series. Even in some of its best moments, Sith has moments that take away from it (especially some of Palp's character bits during the opening fight scene with Dooku, the faces/sounds he makes in his fights with Mace and Yoda). Nitpicking, yeah, but I definitely agree that Sith is at least the 3rd-best film in the series, at the very least.

Too bad that the second half of Sith has nearly EVERY moment that most people wanted to see in the series. It should have that weight regardless, you know? I've always felt that there's 2 films worth of incredible story, instead of 3. There are too many dry stretches in the first two films that again seem like Lucas doesn't know what to cut/keep in. Why are those Rebellion scenes left out of Sith, or the series overall? Seriously? I question Lucas' creative decisions and execution, so that's where my problems lie, I guess.

As far as the original trilogy goes, yeah, Hamill's obnoxious in Star Wars, and I do think one of the reasons why it's forgiven is because of his age and fanboy expectations. You're right about Han and Leia phoning it in during Jedi, but comparing the two romances is apples and oranges to me, a subplot vs. the lynch-pin to Anakin's transformation, and I don't buy Padme falling in love with him so easily. He wears his neuroses and instability on his sleeve nearly the entire time... I don't know, with the context of the cut scenes from Clones, it makes more sense, but in the theatrical cut, the progression is kind of there, I just don't buy the motivation.

And I do think Sith will be looked on more favorably over time anyway.

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I hope I'm getting the events more or less correct (I haven't watched Sith through in a while), but I really love the moment of calm before the storm, when Padme is waiting in front of the window worried, Obi Wan just got fucked up on that other planet, and Anakin has crossed the line to the Dark Side, and it's just a really quiet few moments with a tenuous piece of music/sound design behind it. Probably my favorite part of all the prequel trilogy, if you have any idea at all what I'm trying to refer to.
YES! That's probably my favorite as well. I was going to point it out if you hadn't already.

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That's actually right before Anakin has gone over the line. He's debating whether or not to follow Mace Windu's orders and stay away from Palapatine as they go to arrest him.

It's definitely one of the high points of the entire saga, and it's pure cinema.
That and the fucking opera scene... man.
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