Official Star Wars Thread

bearfan

Ancient Mariner
I agree with LC's lengthy, but nicely written post. I like what Disney is doing with SW (assuming they keep the quality up). People generally deride vertical marketing, but it is generally not done well. I spent the weekend and Disneyworld and how they are adding Star Wars to the parks is really cool .. and this is by far just the start. My feeling is we will end up with cool movies and some nice theme park attractions (and for the kids), some cool toys.

I am okay with the prequels, they all had some cool moments and good parts, but sadly they also had some insanely bad parts ... Lucas was trying to tell a "fall of a democracy" story, which really does not work all that well in Star Wars and he got too fond of the (great) technology he helped introduce into film.

This new movie and the stuff around it is what Star Wars is supposed to be .. a more mythical story that is FUN and deals with more personal relationships rather than a galactic senate. Also helps the JJ got some really good actors and actresses for the new roles, they all really nailed it.
 

Maturin

Sköldpadda
So I just got back. Don't know how to say this, but I honestly thought it was ridiculous.

I sat there, expecting to get tears in my eyes... Instead, my brother and I spent half the film looking at each other in disbelief and chuckling at the sheer absurdities. One ridiculous moment after another, a film carried by lightning fast pacing and unlikely coincidences of a plot. It felt more like a film that deconstructs Star Wars than a continuation of the saga. Perhaps that's what the audience wants, meta-elements to make it realistic rather than fairy tale-y, but it comes off as parodic to me.

Possible similarities to A New Hope is most definitely one of the least problems of the film. It's two completely different types of films. You could say that the overall plot involving the greater politics, the First Order and the Resistance is completely irrelevant. Not unlike Mission Impossible 3, that Abrams also directed - a film that like this one was about one character saving another, while the superweapon was a McGuffin that could have been just about anything that propels the plot forward. But unlike Mission Impossible III, this film is not nearly focused enough on the relationship between the characters for this to work. There's two leads, a bad guy that we're told isn't wholly bad, another guy who is saved, apparently dies, and then comes back, a Han Solo who shows up and does things...

And safe? It's way more different from the OT than the PT ever was. But yes, in other ways it's a modern, Avengers type of film, and that's what I absolutely despise about it. So much action, so much happening, so fast. So much goddamn tongue-in-cheek dialogue! It's Star Wars trying to be hip, while Star Wars has always been the most un-hip things ever, and cool because of it. Sure, I love Firefly, but it's so wrong for this.

Daisy Ridley is certainly an actress that's going to become huge after this (her performance is one of the few truly great parts of the film), and Harrison Ford's performance was great (he really seemed to enjoy himself and his character got a fitting end), but except for that I don't give much for the actors, story or the characters. The music was underwhelming, and the sound mix was horrendous with incredibly loud effects and weak music (could certainly be a local fault).

Oh, and I almost forgot! About those practical effects? There's plenty of CGI in there, not always state of the art-looking such and it sticks out like needles in your eyes because of how awfully it clashes with the all-humans-in-suits stormtroopers and similar old-school stuff. Thumbs down from me.

In the end, an extremely disappointing film even from my rather moderate expectations. I can't even be mad. I'm just in disbelief.

3/10.
 
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Maturin

Sköldpadda
Know what? I admire Lucas for that, I really do. And while I am no huge fan of the prequels, I am glad Lucas got to make the movie he wanted to make. Unfortunately, the movie Lucas wanted to make was not a film that people wanted to love, unlike his first outing, Star Wars, which was a great compromise in terms of budget, technology, and story ideas.

When you're saying people, who do you refer to? Because, last time I checked, the prequels were huge hits with kids at the time. I was one of them, and pretty much all of my friends and schoolmates certainly adored the films. A lot of toys were bought, and is that not sign enough of how much of an impact the films had? There's not even much of a critical consensus to refer to, just look at IMDb. I've said it before, Sith's 7,7 rating is awfully high for a movie that a lot of people seems to hate and few love. You can't explain that in any other way than that there actually is a lot of people out there who genuinely like the film(s).

If you mean to say that the OT was unanimously recieved or even influential on all things it did and the prequels wasn't, I've got news for you. The dialogue and acting were widely panned in both trilogies, and at best seems like charming idiosyncratities - but those idiosyncratities are so vital for the feel of the films!

While the acting in the new film can't be technically faulted, it's completely out of touch stylistically - it doesn't fit as it has none of the quirkiness of the 6. Even when lines are consciously alluding to classic lines like "But I was going into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters!" they're delivered in a standard naturalistic fashion. Timing is completely off, and instead of sounding like genuine expressions that believes in themselves they feel self-consciously corny. And that, Lucas' Star Wars never were. How can you possibly say that it feels like Star Wars? It feels more like a very high production value commercial that's drawing on Star Wars.

The prequels were at least 50% about selling new toys. How is that less business? At least Disney wants to sell me movies. Really good movies.

This is so stupid that I don't even know where to begin. Kids may have a different sense of taste than adults, but they do certainly have taste. It isn't easier to make successful kids movies than other movies. A lot of people try, and fail. And those movies that fail, they doesn't exactly sell a lot of toys to make up for the investment.
 

Maturin

Sköldpadda
I certainly did. LC makes it seem like good movies and toy sales aren't connected. That one just is a cover for the other, while anyone in their right mind would see that the two businesses are one and the same.

As for the business aspect of it, Lucas could easily have done what Disney is doing now, and hadn't he earned the right to do what he wanted with his own money and studio, he would never have been able to take such risks.

Business vs creativity.
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
Oh, and I almost forgot! About those practical effects? There's plenty of CGI in there, not always state of the art-looking such and it sticks out like needles in your eyes because of how awfully it clashes with the all-humans-in-suits stormtroopers and similar old-school stuff. Thumbs down from me.

Nobody ever thought that this movie wasn't going to be filled with CGI. That's just standard for action movies now. The big difference is that it doesn't look like the entire thing was filmed in front of a green screen. There were so many shots in the movie that would've just been impossible given the limitations Lucas set on himself the way he filmed the prequels, it stuck out to me in a big way and felt really refreshing.

Even little things like having people inside the Stormtrooper costumes instead of using animations made the whole thing look more realistic.
 

LooseCannon

Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
When you're saying people, who do you refer to? Because, last time I checked, the prequels were huge hits with kids at the time. I was one of them, and pretty much all of my friends and schoolmates certainly adored the films. A lot of toys were bought, and is that not sign enough of how much of an impact the films had?

Absolutely! They were huge, despite their flaws. I'm certainly not denying the impact on children, and even on people who don't love them; I, myself, saw each of the prequels in theatres multiple times, and I had lots of Star Wars Lego - because the toys were still pretty freakin' cool. I owned Star Wars: Episode I: Racer for N64, and maintain it was one of the best Star Wars games of all time. And I'm quite glad some people really enjoyed them - but the overall attitude was not love. It was not universal acclaim. They are not timeless classics.

Oh, and kids getting Star Wars toys isn't necessarily a factor of how good the movies were. Lots of crappy movies pushed tons of toys. Hell, WWE pushes a huge toy market, and it's the trashiest thing out there. Toy sales don't equal movie acclaim, and we can unhook from that feature. Lucas, himself, has said multiple times how he conned Fox out of the merch rights for Star Wars and how

There's not even much of a critical consensus to refer to, just look at IMDb. I've said it before, Sith's 7,7 rating is awfully high for a movie that a lot of people seems to hate and few love. You can't explain that in any other way than that there actually is a lot of people out there who genuinely like the film(s).

Let's look on Rotten Tomatoes, not just for critic score, but for audience score too.

Episode I: Critics: 56% Audience: 60% IMDb: 6.5/10
Episode II: Critics: 66% Audience: 59% IMDb: 6.7/10
Episode III: Critics: 79% Audience: 65% IMDb: 7.7/10
Episode IV: Critics: 94% Audience: 96% IMDb: 8.7/10
Episode V: Critics: 94% Audience: 97% IMDb: 8.8/10
Episode VI: Critics: 80% Audience: 95% IMDb: 8.4/10
Episode VII: Critics: 95% Audience: 92% IMDb: 8.7/10

Now, I am sure that a large body of people liked Revenge of the Sith. It's my favourite of the prequels, and it's actually a fairly good movie, with a beautiful soundtrack, gorgeous set pieces, and great CG for the time. The intro reveal was one of the best moments of the trilogy for me, a lasting favourite moment in the entire franchise, really. But a 7.7 on IMDb isn't really that notable. Critically it lived up to the lesser of the original three Star Wars movies, but in terms of audience enjoyment it lags by a full 30%.

Maturin, you said "you can't explain that in any other way than...a lot of people out there who genuinely like the film(s)". Firstly, you picked the most critically acclaimed of the three prequels to prove your point, and by sneaking in the (s) you tried to cascade Sith's more mainstream success onto the two previous movies, which, the evidence indicates, were significantly less successful. Episode II was about as beloved as Michael Bay's classic, timeless film Armageddon. Nobody is denying that Armageddon was a fun little summer movie, but nobody is exactly considering it a timeless classic. Meanwhile, Episodes IV-VI were about as loved as movies like The Godfather or The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Similarly, I am not denying that people liked and enjoyed the prequels. The word I used was love. In general, the prequels failed to live up to people's expectations and desires, though in general, people still like them.

If you mean to say that the OT was unanimously recieved or even influential on all things it did and the prequels wasn't, I've got news for you. The dialogue and acting were widely panned in both trilogies, and at best seems like charming idiosyncratities - but those idiosyncratities are so vital for the feel of the films!

Yes, those 94% critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes as an aggregate certainly indicate these movies had wide panning. One of the cast members is famous for making fun of the dialogue and acting, but I do not much see any panning of any other aspects. I don't consider the acting in those movies to be poor, although A New Hope could have been better paced, dialogue-wise, Empire is a bloody delight, with iconic lines and delivery therein. Jedi is a bit more of a mix, but the actors have matured and probably give their best performances. Regardless, the dialogue has never been the majority of the whole, and the review and audience percentages are certainly indicative of this feeling by the average moviegoer.

While the acting in the new film can't be technically faulted, it's completely out of touch stylistically - it doesn't fit as it has none of the quirkiness of the 6. Even when lines are consciously alluding to classic lines like "But I was going into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters!" they're delivered in a standard naturalistic fashion. Timing is completely off, and instead of sounding like genuine expressions that believes in themselves they feel self-consciously corny. And that, Lucas' Star Wars never were. How can you possibly say that it feels like Star Wars? It feels more like a very high production value commercial that's drawing on Star Wars.

JJ Abrams grew up feeling that Star Wars was awesome, not corny, so it makes perfect sense that he would make a movie where the acting, which isn't technically bad (it's actually far and away the best of all the movies in the franchise), is actually quite well done. People who have grown up with Star Wars accept its idioms in ways that classically trained actors like Denis Lawson and Christopher Lee and, of course, Sir Alec Guinness never could. That gives them more of the ability to talk about things like X-Wings, lightsabres, and the Force without sounding skeptical - which you attribute to "quirkiness". What you call "quirky" is Alec Guinness hating himself for having to talk about the Force to make some serious cash, or Harrison Ford not really sure if what he's saying are actually words. Or Mark Hamill's voice actually breaking on camera and Lucas keeping that cut instead of a better, more naturally acted one, to show Luke as a young kid.

This closer connection to the universe lets the actors buy in harder. Just like I did. For me, that helps them make a much greater connection to the fictional world of the movie. I think when you're giving excuses for bad acting as stylistic we're stepping past the realm of realistic critique. The dialogue in the prequels was bad - worse than the dialogue in the originals - and the delivery was even worse. The fact that the dialogue and acting in the new film feels more natural, more alive, more real shouldn't be a negative by any standing. I loved the fresh, alive, real feeling of the new movie, and I loved that it took a new step towards bringing me into the film.

The amazement of Rey when she realizes she's in the Millennium Falcon. The look on Finn's face when he ignites the lightsaber for the first time. The stance of Poe Dameron when he flies in on the X-Wing, the anticipation and arrogance that rolls off him. And the reverence in the voice of Kylo Ren when he addresses Darth Vader's skull. Those are real because they come from actors that know this franchise.

I couldn't find your claim that the timing is off in the new movie to be more ridiculous. The lines are cleverly delivered, rarely rushed as they were in the prequels and Episode IV. The action is fast, but the dialogue is given lots of room to breathe and feel, and to me, comes off as genuine and true. I'm sorry you didn't feel otherwise, but I think you got the movie out of it that you expected to get out of it. If you wanted something like the prequels, you were destined to be disappointed. I, who wanted something with some of the flash and style of the prequels, but better acting choices, got what I wanted, though I think I am still holding a few caveats. I still love this movie the same way I loved the originals, mind you. Not just for nostalgia, but I am so excited to see the new characters grow and change and evolve.

I wonder if you had been alive in 1980 if you'd made the same arguments about Empire. A movie where the story was provided by Lucas, but it was written by Larry Kasdan and directed by Irvin Kershner. That wasn't Lucas's Star Wars, either. It was stylistically different in many ways. The actors were pushed in different directions. The dialogue was improved. It had Lando, which was awesome. While the core stories were more of a Lucas-like core, they were interpreted through two wildly different lenses. Different film angles and different lighting choices and different storytelling methods. Empire was still Star Wars due to the music and editing choices - but was also, very clearly, a different set of eyes on it.

Anyway, I'm pretty much done arguing about this. I'm glad some people like the prequels more than I do, but I think their standing is deservedly lower than the originals and JJ's new film. JJ made his film in the style of the originals, and those are the people who it is destined to please.
 

Black Wizard

Pleb Hunter
Revenge of the Sith would have been so much better with the first of these deleted scenes (first minute):


All the bad dialogue in the final cut is forgotten about now.
 

Srogyy

Ancient Mariner
I saw TFA the second time today. It was a much more positive experience now that I'm starting to accept what it had to be to become a necessary success (for the sake of future films). I'm thinking about sticking to the originals as much as possible here... Still, my biggest issue with the film is that they've made it much too obvious at some points. There are too many 'I see what you did there' moments. In most cases they don't damage the film as a standalone piece, but I wish they had put more thought into developing ideas of how to bring the soul of OT without relying on blatant references like Starkiller Base. Well... I blame the overly nostalgic fanbase, who kept babbling prequels are not 'true Star Wars'. As a result of that, the creators of EVII were terrified of 'not being true Star Wars'... Apart from that, what can I say... Great film. Directing, cinematography and design are top-notch. Acting is also great for the most part, but I think some reviewers tend to overrate it. No Heath Ledger's Joker here. ;)

What's probably the most important is that we get some fantastic new characters. Kylo is currently my favourite SW villain. I can't wait to find out more about Knights of Ren. Rey is great as well, I'm glad she's going to be the central protagonist. Unfortunately, after seeing the film for the second time, I have to confirm that I don't like Finn... The idea was cool, but acting ruined it for me. Boyega is playing a cartoon character. All these constant puns and overacting... It looks pretentious. I don't know who's to blame more - him or J.J. I cringed hard at the scene with Phasma in Starkiller... It would be so much interesting if Finn kept being a serious, worried, shell-shocked warrior, as shown in his early scenes.

I still haven't been listening to the soundtrack enough to judge it, but for now it's a disappointment. It serves the picture very well, but doesn't seem to stand on its own that well. However, it introduces Rey's theme, which I find to be one of the best themes in all 6 films. It's beautiful, so this OST deserves some props for this alone... One more thing - it sounds very different. You can hear the lack of LSO and a different approach to recording/mixing. It sounds quite digital to me.

Now, this is going to sound weird after all my complaints, but I have to say that currently it's my third favourite next to Revenge of the Sith and The Empire Strikes Back. :p I'll probably go and see it again after the New Year.
 

SinisterMinisterX

Illuminatus
Staff member
I like all the callbacks to the first movie. Lucas wanted to create a mythic cycle then screwed the pooch with the prequels. Abrams has set things back on the right track, and all the connections to the first movie give the whole thing that mythical feel it needs.
 

Mosh

Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
I'd say both Lucas and Abrams had successful and unsuccessful attempts. Abrams' problem was that there were just slightly too many and Lucas' problem was that he had callbacks to the originals that were just silly. Big example being the Jedi temple in Clones where they all have the blast shields and floating orbs. Of course, Abrams also has the advantage of being a direct sequel to the OT, so there are a lot of obvious callbacks he can make that are also logical within the story.
 

Liveone

Nomad
Saw it yesterday and didn't like it....
Daisy Ridley was very good as were Han,Chewwie and BB-8.
Also the practical effects and costumes were very well done.
Unfortunately I got bored after about half an hour and whenever Supreme Leader Snoke appeared I almost walked out!
Worst CGI/motion capture ever.
People in the cinema were actually laughing half the time mostly at Finn's Jarjaresque antics.
It's not a comedy ffs....
Don't get me started on Kylo Ren and Captain Phasma. Total pussies!
Anyway enough of my ramblings. If I wanted to watch A New Hope I could have stayed at home and watched the original on DVD.
Disney blew it!
 

Maturin

Sköldpadda
This closer connection to the universe lets the actors buy in harder. Just like I did. For me, that helps them make a much greater connection to the fictional world of the movie. I think when you're giving excuses for bad acting as stylistic we're stepping past the realm of realistic critique. The dialogue in the prequels was bad - worse than the dialogue in the originals - and the delivery was even worse. The fact that the dialogue and acting in the new film feels more natural, more alive, more real shouldn't be a negative by any standing. I loved the fresh, alive, real feeling of the new movie, and I loved that it took a new step towards bringing me into the film.

I didn't say the dialogue felt more real, I said it felt more naturalistic, as in the drama/theatre movement that's basically the standard today. Method acting - as opposed to any other, equally valid acting school.

Criticism of naturalism is commonly that 'you can't make an accurate representation of something as complicated as reality'. I subscribe to that statement, partly. I don't want my fiction to pretend that it's reality. It's consisting of things like plot, structure, characters, narrative etc. (In film, cinematography, acting, etc) Why pretend that all that doesn't exist and try to hide it? I'm not watching Han Solo. I'm watching Harrison Ford playing a character that's called Han Solo, from A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... The disconnect here is vital.

About Star Wars and naturalism?

When the acting gets naturalistic, you're basically watching something half-way like 'the real events behind the myth' rather than a representation of the myth. Now it gets very post modernist meta if you want to dive into it. Suddenly, we are aware of the difference between myth and reality, story and real events, of narrative and narrator within the story itself. Peter Jackson used a technique like this wonderfully in the Hobbit franchise (the story that unfolds on screen is what Bilbo wrote in the book and Frodo reads, not the real events that transpired in the same world as Lord of the Rings, which helps explain the disconnection between the two). The story of Lord of the Rings that the audience sees is what Frodo wrote in the Red Book.

So basically, if J.J. Abrams isn't prepared to run this fully... By which I mean, take away everything that's unrealistic according to the naturalistic movement, rely fully on science and make it a hard work of science fiction that explains the myth of Luke Skywalker... this doesn't work for me. The Force can not be real. It's myth, and as such it's a metaphor to explain something else.

It's like trying to explain the real life events that lead up to the story of Jesus walking on water by actually showing real life Jesus walking on water, 2000 years ago.
 
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