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Old 05-21-2009, 05:52 PM   #321
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How is it flawed from the start? Are you one of those "they should have began with him as a teenager" fanboys? It may have been cooler, but wouldn't have had the impact of showing the whole arc of his journey.

Whatever you want to say about the Anakin aspect, I think Palpatine's rise to power across the three films was plotted pretty brilliantly, even if many were bored by the trade federation stuff in TPM.
Because we know the outcome anyway. There's no real dramatic tension for any character because we know everything that's going to happen. No moment in this series could match any of the major reveals at the end of Empire. It's hard to match, but still, that's the standard.

Granted, Palp's arc was incredible. Easily the best thing about the series. I think that even out of this idea, more could've been expanded about the Jedi, especially the idea of a schism between Qui-Gonn, Dooku and the more old school leaders... the actual rise of the Rebellion... the whole criminal underworld side of things... I just think it's a series of missed opportunities bogged down by exposition.

Yeah, seeing him as a teenager would make a little more sense, but as you said, would not have altered anything significantly. If anything, him being a child gives his relationship with Padme a little more significance.
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Old 05-21-2009, 06:04 PM   #322
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Isn't that the novelty of the "prequel" form itself? That you know what comes afterwards? You can't really single out Star Wars as being particularly flawed because of this. I actually think it makes for a unique viewing experience--you know what he becomes so one feels rather helpless watching him make several major bad decisions. And the whole point of the SW prequels isn't WHAT happens but WHY it happens. Why does Anakin become seduced by the dark side? Why does a democracy give itself over to a dictatorship?

I'm sure there are better ways it could have been done, but had Lucas written digestible love scene dialogue, gotten rid of some of the digital clutter (like random droids/aliens in the background everywhere making stupid noises), and found someone else to do Jar Jar's voice I don't think there would be a lot of complaining about everything else.
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Old 05-21-2009, 06:05 PM   #323
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The decision to cast an 18 year old Natalie Portman as the lead female character was the saving grace of the prequel trilogy. It's the biggest reason why those films are still watchable today.
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Old 05-21-2009, 06:09 PM   #324
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Isn't that the novelty of the "prequel" form itself? That you know what comes afterwards? You can't really single out Star Wars as being particularly flawed because of this. I actually think it makes for a unique viewing experience--you know what he becomes so one feels rather helpless watching him make several major bad decisions. And the whole point of the SW prequels isn't WHAT happens but WHY it happens. Why does Anakin become seduced by the dark side? Why does a democracy give itself over to a dictatorship?

I'm sure there are better ways it could have been done, but had Lucas written digestible love scene dialogue, gotten rid of some of the digital clutter (like random droids/aliens in the background everywhere making stupid noises), and found someone else to do Jar Jar's voice I don't think there would be a lot of complaining about everything else.
Agreed, Laz. The thing I liked most about the prequels was the fact that I knew what was going to happen, but finding out WHY it happened.

The problem with the movies for me, will always be the acting. Natalie Portman and Ewan had to carry those last two movies and even though they did well, especially in Sith, it wasn't enough to make up for a lot of poor dialogue, and a very miscast lead.
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Old 05-21-2009, 06:24 PM   #325
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Isn't that the novelty of the "prequel" form itself? That you know what comes afterwards? You can't really single out Star Wars as being particularly flawed because of this. I actually think it makes for a unique viewing experience--you know what he becomes so one feels rather helpless watching him make several major bad decisions. And the whole point of the SW prequels isn't WHAT happens but WHY it happens. Why does Anakin become seduced by the dark side? Why does a democracy give itself over to a dictatorship?

I'm sure there are better ways it could have been done, but had Lucas written digestible love scene dialogue, gotten rid of some of the digital clutter (like random droids/aliens in the background everywhere making stupid noises), and found someone else to do Jar Jar's voice I don't think there would be a lot of complaining about everything else.
That just boils down to personal taste then. I can dig reboots, because they're trying to jump-start a completely different series, but prequels rarely work for me.

Episode III works on the level that you're describing, but in the end, we have 2 movies worth of set-up with some great action setpieces for 1 film with nearly everything? It seemed like the story this series tried to tell had two points, the birth of Vader and the end of the Republic, and it succeeds to some degrees. Tonally, the first two films were way off, with an insane amount of childish humor peppered into some serious situations. None of which seemed organic to any situation or funny, for that matter. God, pretty much everything Han does on the Death Star in Star Wars is hilarious, but it's played completely straight... either that's a testament to Ford or Lucas, or whoever, but neither of those films had that sort of edge. Maybe some of Anakin and Obi-Wan's dialogue back and forth did, but not really. It never reached that dark territory until Shmi's death in Clones, then it went full force into Sith.

I can appreciate Lucas trying to expand the digital medium into something fresh and exciting, but I think it cost him that suspension of disbelief that is so prevalent in the original series. Take the sail barge sequence in Jedi (which is as muddled of a mess as Menace and Clones), it's a solid action setpiece, nothing too spectacular, but compare it to the green-screen fest of the droid factory in Clones and it's not even close... the amount of "fake" things in the sequence overwhelm everything around it.

The use of digital effects in the cityscapes and surroundings were mesmerizing, but there's only so much an actor can do when he or she is talking to a tennis ball on a string, or running on a treadmill in the middle of some soundstage.
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Old 05-21-2009, 07:07 PM   #326
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And the whole point of the SW prequels isn't WHAT happens but WHY it happens. Why does Anakin become seduced by the dark side? Why does a democracy give itself over to a dictatorship? .
Maybe. But who really gives a shit? I actually don't particularly want to know why Anakin became seduced by the dark side. He was a mysterious character in the OT. There's absolutely nothing interesting or compelling about him in the prequels. Palpy's rise might have been the best plotted thread in the prequels, but does anyone else really care that much about council politics or to listen to irritating Jedi spout on about this and that. Yeah, prequels are good as telling WHY. Too bad it's rarely really worth listening.
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Old 05-21-2009, 07:16 PM   #327
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I can appreciate Lucas trying to expand the digital medium into something fresh and exciting, but I think it cost him that suspension of disbelief that is so prevalent in the original series. Take the sail barge sequence in Jedi (which is as muddled of a mess as Menace and Clones), it's a solid action setpiece, nothing too spectacular, but compare it to the green-screen fest of the droid factory in Clones and it's not even close... the amount of "fake" things in the sequence overwhelm everything around it.
I won't argue about this. Of course, the droid factory scene is possibly the worst scene in the entire prequel trilogy. Completely pointless, like a fucking video game inserted into the film. And it was done during the reshoots, not even part of the original script!

In all fairness though, Salacious Crumb ruins every scene he is in (including the sail barge), and in my opinion is far worse than Jar Jar. Unfortunately the latter was given more screen time, so he affects much more of his respective film. Jar Jar at least was an interesting idea, especially if Lucas had followed through and actually had him mature instead of making him a dupe and slowly phasing him out of the trilogy. Crumb was just a fucking muppet that served no story purpose.

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Maybe. But who really gives a shit? I actually don't particularly want to know why Anakin became seduced by the dark side. He was a mysterious character in the OT. There's absolutely nothing interesting or compelling about him in the prequels. Palpy's rise might have been the best plotted thread in the prequels, but does anyone else really care that much about council politics or to listen to irritating Jedi spout on about this and that. Yeah, prequels are good as telling WHY. Too bad it's rarely really worth listening.
Well, I'm not going to try and claim that he was written superlatively, but I do think there's something compelling about him being a slave who's also a wunderkind at electronics and racing. I think the idea of him being taken away from his mother by the Jedis at his age, and then reunited with her only upon her death is an interesting one, and I also think his later attempts to save Padme from a similar fate backfiring on him is good. But yeah, the execution could have been better.
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Old 05-21-2009, 07:36 PM   #328
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I won't argue about this. Of course, the droid factory scene is possibly the worst scene in the entire prequel trilogy. Completely pointless, like a fucking video game inserted into the film. And it was done during the reshoots, not even part of the original script!

In all fairness though, Salacious Crumb ruins every scene he is in (including the sail barge), and in my opinion is far worse than Jar Jar. Unfortunately the latter was given more screen time, so he affects much more of his respective film. Jar Jar at least was an interesting idea, especially if Lucas had followed through and actually had him mature instead of making him a dupe and slowly phasing him out of the trilogy. Crumb was just a fucking muppet that served no story purpose.
Insane.

I totally agree. How ballsy would it have been to make him some kind of smart-ass instead of Stepin Fetchit? Hell, most of Jabba's Palace were a bunch of fucking muppets, except for the Orion chick that Kirk probably banged before she was on the wrong end of a Rancor meeting. CROSSING THE STREAMS.

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Well, I'm not going to try and claim that he was written superlatively, but I do think there's something compelling about him being a slave who's also a wunderkind at electronics and racing. I think the idea of him being taken away from his mother by the Jedis at his age, and then reunited with her only upon her death is an interesting one, and I also think his later attempts to save Padme from a similar fate backfiring on him is good. But yeah, the execution could have been better.
Interesting ideas, yeah, but the development, or lack thereof, kills it. Every script reads like a first draft, or that no one stepped up to Georgie Boy and said, "Really? Trade disputes? Jar-Jar stepping in a pile of shit? Seriously?"

After hearing about the original plans for Jedi and possible sequel trilogy from Gary Kurtz, I have the feeling that this is the case.
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Old 05-21-2009, 08:17 PM   #329
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Well, he did have a co-writer on Clones (which didn't seem to help much), and supposedly Tom Stoppard did uncredited work on Sith, which only has a couple clunkers (e.g., "Hold me like you did by the lake on Naboo"). They improved slightly as they went along.

James Cameron is guilty of the same thing on Titanic. That screenplay is a piece of shit, and only the actors saved it (except Billy Zane, who was as bad as he was written). It's telling that even though the film tied a record for Oscar noms and wins, it was the first BP winner in like 30 years without a screenplay nom. Everyone knew it sucked.
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:45 PM   #330
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Well, he did have a co-writer on Clones (which didn't seem to help much), and supposedly Tom Stoppard did uncredited work on Sith, which only has a couple clunkers (e.g., "Hold me like you did by the lake on Naboo"). They improved slightly as they went along.

James Cameron is guilty of the same thing on Titanic. That screenplay is a piece of shit, and only the actors saved it (except Billy Zane, who was as bad as he was written). It's telling that even though the film tied a record for Oscar noms and wins, it was the first BP winner in like 30 years without a screenplay nom. Everyone knew it sucked.
And Spielberg helped figure out the Mustafar sequence. Heard about Stoppard, but it seemed more like a polish than a full-on re-write.

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.

Oh fuck Titanic, especially against stuff like L.A. Confidential, Jackie Brown, Boogie Nights, etc...
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Old 05-21-2009, 10:57 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 05-21-2009, 11:06 PM   #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 05-21-2009, 11:37 PM   #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 05-21-2009, 11:57 PM   #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, 03:02 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, 03:11 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, 01:16 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, 04:13 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, 04:17 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, 04:24 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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