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Neal Stephenson on Star Wars in the NYT

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the best-of-all-worlds dept.

Star Wars Prequels 679

SnapShot writes "Neal Stephenson has an editorial in the New York Times about the difference between the old Star Wars and the new Star Wars, and the difference between geeking out and vegging out. Oh, and computer scientists and engineers are the Jedi of the U.S." From the article: "Likewise, many have been underwhelmed by the performance of Hayden Christensen, who plays Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. Only if you've seen the "Clone Wars" cartoons will you understand that Anakin is a seriously damaged veteran, a poster child for post-traumatic stress disorder. But since none of that background is actually supplied by the Episode III script, Mr. Christensen has been given an impossible acting task. He's trying to swim in air."

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#1 posted (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12843603)

#1 postered

Difference between old and new Star Wars (5, Funny)

artemis67 (93453) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843606)

Old one didn't suck.

Re:Difference between old and new Star Wars (5, Funny)

HAKdragon (193605) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843683)

That reminds me of a conversation my Calculus professor (a true geek who constantly makes references to Star Wars, Star Trek and the ocassional BTTF) had with one the students during class.

Student: I got to see Episode 1 in HD the other night.
Professor: That's cool. Did it still suck?

Truth (5, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843607)

Scientists and technologists have the same uneasy status in our society as the Jedi in the Galactic Republic. They are scorned by the cultural left and the cultural right, and young people avoid science and math classes in hordes.

This quote from the article in particular resonated with me. We (scientists) have long been running an uneasy gauntlet between those that want us represent their theological, political or personal beliefs while trying to find truth where it is and for what it represents. Granted, these issues always arise within each one of us, but our training is to make hypothesis and then test them against what resources we can bring to bear. There are those that are not interested in truth and will twist facts and even scientists themselves to represent their perception or will which has always been part of the fascination I had with many of the original stories and sociological background behind the idea of the Jedi. (Disclaimer: The last Star Wars movie I thought was any good was "Empire Strikes Back").

The danger of course in not accepting rigorous scientific study of available facts leads us to confusion and obfuscation of truth which leads to jeopardy of person and country. Unfortunately, we have in the last few years gone quite far down this road through decisions made based upon data twisted to represent a prior beliefs rather than letting the data speak and then drawing conclusions from those data.

There has of course always been a fascination by many folks with power and "shiny things", but if we are to proceed beyond vanity and self obsessed cultivation of what others find attractive or desirable to find truth, we need to cultivate new generations of people interested in seeking the scientific and mathematical explanations of the universe.

Re:Truth (4, Insightful)

rsborg (111459) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843737)

There has of course always been a fascination by many folks with power and "shiny things", but if we are to proceed beyond vanity and self obsessed cultivation of what others find attractive or desirable to find truth, we need to cultivate new generations of people interested in seeking the scientific and mathematical explanations of the universe.

Blame the media [mediamatters.org] . Seriously, we scientists, engineers and mathematicians should hold the media to task for its blatant disregard for truth and justice. When you look at the news and see a bunch of what is essentially staged, opinionated garbage, you figure you might as well watch your favorite fictional show instead, since that's also staged and maybe opinionated, but at least it isn't neccessarily garbage. Remove the fake news and people will start to get interested in things that matter again.

Re:Truth (0, Flamebait)

rovingeyes (575063) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843770)

Remove the fake news and people will start to get interested in things that matter again

Should read like this:

Remove religion and people will start to get interested in things that matter again

Re:Truth (4, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843852)

That's a flamebait. While it would seem that religion and science have been knuckleheads, religion is not the main reason, it is merely one of the tools.

While I'm an agnost myself, it is ridiculous when people blame things on religion - removing religion has nothing to do with making people interested in anything.

You either are interested or you are not, with or without religion. If you had said social constructs or culture, I would have agreed, but blaming religion squarely is crazy.

It's not as simple as remove "foo" and people will do "bar". Or something.

Re:Truth (-1, Offtopic)

rovingeyes (575063) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843901)

removing religion has nothing to do with making people interested in anything This is definitely going offtopic and I don't give a shit, but you definitely sir are not aware of current situation. When the congress is educating people stupid things like - "AIDS can spread through tears", it is mainly fueled by right or wrong religious frame of mind. Science tells you that AIDS cannot be spread through tears but that is not what our govt wants to hear and tell people. This is not the only example. There are tons of others where people are ready to shove science for that "imaginary friend for adults"

Mod parent up. (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843905)

It's why the Russians were so kick ass. No religion allowed. The cultural flourished under the Bolsheviks!

Re:Truth (1)

DeusExMalex (776652) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843866)

but what if i'm perfectly happy watching the daily show with jon stewart?

Jon Stewart (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843928)

If your frontal lobes (sarcasm center) are functioning correctly, The Daily Show is not at all inconsistent with reality. To get the humor, you need to know something about what's real, already. Even if you're not up on the news at the moment, you can tell from the dance what's in the middle, where the facts are.

Re:Truth (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843765)

Bless you. I have no mod points, and you've already capped out anyway, so I shall simply bestow upon your post my highest accolade:

I wish I had written that.

KFG

Jedi FP (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12843608)

"The post is strong with first."

Re:Jedi FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12843673)

You were supposed to be the chosen one!

Re:Jedi FP (1, Insightful)

djplurvert (737910) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843699)

Oh cmon moderators, the parent is funny, Cause it's gonna be so important to stay serious on a topic like this. hmmmmm.

Re:Jedi FP (1, Funny)

MisanthropicProgram (763655) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843877)

The moderators are controlled by the Emperor and the Darkside. Do not lose faith, though! There will come someone who will bring balance back to the moderation system!

Re:Jedi FP (1)

temojen (678985) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843974)

Background: For centuries there have been thousands of Jedi, but only 2 Sith at a time.

Prophecy: There will come a chosen one who will return balance to the force.

Jedi (in unison): Yay!

Palpatine: heh heh heh

Later...

Yoda & Obi-wan Kenobi: D'Oh!



Sorry for the spoiler for anyone who's been living under a rock for the past quarter century.

Not happy with teh doom and gloom. (1, Interesting)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843612)

It's sad to see Stephenson become a doom-and-gloom guy. I mean, his early work was incredible. Most of the people I know who have read Snow Crash have always wanted, someday, to become a Deliverator.

Unfortunately, as bright as he is, he seems to have gotten this ugly little short-term political edge that has suddenly given me a nervous tic. Science fiction authors always have been futurists, but normally they're quite the idealists. This new generation of more hardcore dystopians is, well, depressing... They don't seem to realise that the pendulum swings, and right now we're in an ultra-Nixon era.

The slow, painful degredation of America that he sees is partially true. Unfortunately. But he's looking at the wrong things - this crass capitalism, the powerful and elite and supposed drivers of our economy and lives, and the people that are trying to look like them despite being too young who will eventually be good drones. That's the Baby Boomers of his generation, and their yuppie followers. The flipside of the coin has content. The flipside of the coin is the people who have grown up inundated with information and are slowly coming to the point where they are able to condense it. The best people of my generation, 'gen Y' aren't empowered yet. They're the ones doing community building projects, watching over teens in crisis, helping deranged children get over what they can, building a little bit here and there of themselves, trying out new things still. And while they may be completely disenfranchised at the moment, they're the people who both have my respect and will eventually come into the knowledge that they need some recognition and power to get what they need done done.

It's just a matter of time, as far as I can tell. Stephenson seems to have gotten caught up in the fact that the 'two Americas' crap is everywhere, and media is slowly getting crushed into Cheetos branded baby food. On the surface. But under that is the subcurrent of people slowly coming to their own.

He's right about the new Star Wars sucking, though. You need to have watched all this other stuff for it to be even mildly interesting, and I didn't so I wasn't really. The first movie was made to be a standalone, and the sixth (this one) was made to be a tie-in... There's nothing WRONG with that, as far as I'm concerned - Stephenson seems to forget that meetings with Powerpoints mean nothing but blanket summary to 90% of the people in them, and that last 10% that's really interested will go find out the information they need offline... I saw Revenge and decided it might be worth the effort of seeing the cartoons, but probably not, so I shrugged and went back to playing Galaxies. Suck me in one way, if you can't another, I guess.

And Snow crash isn't this way? (4, Informative)

Ieshan (409693) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843707)

Wait. You read Snow Crash and you say that isn't apocalyptic? [or at least, as you say, Dystopian?].

Society in Snow Crash is totally different and essentially collapsed in comparison to present day.

Stephenson has always been like this, for the most part.

Re:And Snow crash isn't this way? (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843726)

Well, it's just different, not apocalyptic nor utopian - it's just different.

Besides, at the end of Snow Crash, he saves the world and gets the girl, what more do you really want?!

Re:And Snow crash isn't this way? (1)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843782)

Meh. It's still stable enough in comparison to a large number of things. Nowhere near as bad as the future in the 'Parable of Talents' series, most of Ellison's work, or a number of others I could name.

Re:Not happy with teh doom and gloom. (5, Interesting)

stlhawkeye (868951) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843791)

Unfortunately, as bright as he is, he seems to have gotten this ugly little short-term political edge that has suddenly given me a nervous tic. Science fiction authors always have been futurists, but normally they're quite the idealists. This new generation of more hardcore dystopians is, well, depressing... They don't seem to realise that the pendulum swings, and right now we're in an ultra-Nixon era.

Nixon gave America a number of valuable reforms that liberal in both the contemporary political sense and the Enlightenment sense. Nixon ran a fiscally-responsible government with a balanced budget. The Nixon era gave us the Environmental Protection Agency. Nixon ended America's ineffectual meddling in another nation's internal matters. Nixon honorably served his nation on active duty in the Navy. Nixon instituted a number of critical reforms to American monetary policy that lengthed the natural cycles in capitalism of boom and lowered the bust cycles. We used to have recessions every 3-5 years. Now they happen ever 8-10, and rarely last more than a quarter or two. Nixon cracked down on organized crime, proposed legislation to mandate gas savings for America to control oil prices, normalized relations with China, created NOAA, the DEA, SALT 1, and signed the space shuttle program into law.

How is that like the current administration, which has spent irresponsibly and frivilously, started a war it doesn't know how to end, lowered air quality standards, done nothing about the oil situation, thumbed its nose at North Korea, and the man in charge was never on active duty.

Now, I can give you a list of a half-dozen things that Nixon did that were terrible, but this knee-jerk impulse to liken All Things Bush to Dick Nixon is misguided. Nixon was actually a decent president by a number of reasonably measures. George Bush is not, by almost any measure. In most ways, his administration has been mediocre, but even conservatives have trouble justifying some of the goofball stuff our president cooks up.

Re:Not happy with teh doom and gloom. (0)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843838)

I said "Ultra-Nixon" and was speaking more along the lines of politically culturalized lockdown and disinformation.

Not to malign Nixon, but he was a crook and dictatorial. Anyone who manages to become President SHOULD be able to manage an array of good things. Look at Bush - he's convinced the world that when you piss off America, they get crazy enough to RE-ELECT someone like him.

Re:Not happy with teh doom and gloom. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12843831)

Most of the people I know who have read Snow Crash have always wanted, someday, to become a Deliverator.

As Ned Beatty could tell you, it is much better to be the Deliverator than the Lost Canoer.

Re:Not happy with teh doom and gloom. (1)

soupdevil (587476) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843871)

Apparently you haven't read Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, which is full of optimism and enthusiasm for knowledge, without being naive about the ugly side of what happens when culture and technology collide. The trilogy is perhaps the best stuff I've ever read. Stephenson has really hit his stride, and I can't wait to see what he writes next (not counting editorials in the NYT).

Re:Not happy with teh doom and gloom. (1)

HardCase (14757) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843935)

To me, the Baroque Cycle was about as entertaining as tossing a thesaurus and a dictionary in a blender. On the other hand, The Big U was a masterpiece of efficiency and a pretty damn good story, too!

-h-

Re:Not happy with teh doom and gloom. (1)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843952)

Stopped at Cryptonomicon. 1200 pages to get to the end and.... ugh. As far as I can tell, science fiction authors tend to go up and up until they start writing a series and depending on that, then they write a few good books in the series and eventually are producing nothing but the 7th book of drivel following the first three of good stuff. Rooting for him, but still pissed about his main characters having the brilliant idea of melting a vault full of diamonds and gold into slag. Gold tends to be heavy, and go DOOOOWN, thank you.

Re:Not happy with teh doom and gloom. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12843918)

Morbo congratulates our gargantuan cyborg president, may death come swiftly to his enemies.

Re:Not happy with teh doom and gloom. (1)

pinopino (747071) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843936)

Stephenson has always been about politics and doom-and-gloom. Try "Interface" and "The Cobweb" (written under the nom de plume Stephen Bury, both political/sci-fi thrillers (Interface is one of my favorite NS books- a modern Manchurian Candidate). Or "Zodiac". Or "The Big U." It's all in there. In fact, I would go as far as saying that most great scifi/fantasy always has some political/historical overtones. As to your hope in Gen-Y, well I would hope that too. But don't estimate the power of self centeredness and the need for instant gratification. If you want your faith shaken, try teaching HS or college for a bit....

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12843623)

Mr. Christensen has been given an impossible acting task. He's trying to swim in air.
What's so hard about that? Birds do it all the time.

Re:Huh? (1)

Badgerman (19207) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843661)

I more reccomend throwing yourself at the ground and missing. Or in the case of these films, it's probably more throwing yourself at the plot and missing.

Re:Huh? (1)

rovingeyes (575063) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843667)

Makes me wonder may be just may be he is not a good actor if he "cannot act to fly"

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12843801)

*He thinks birds swim sarge*

Impossible? (3, Informative)

Rrrrob (884676) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843626)

Impossible, maybe. But consdering Hayden Christensen never portrayed Anakin as anything but a piece of cardboard, I doubt he's without fault.

Re:Impossible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12843676)

With lines like:

I don't like sand. It's course, and rough, and it gets everywhere., it isn't that shocking.

Re:Impossible? (1)

Rrrrob (884676) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843813)

Dont get me wrong. Lucas' writing is a big player in the nearly unbearable Star Wars 1-3, but even in scenes with no dialogue, where the actor is forced to convey deep and somtimes primal emotion, Hayden fails in almost every outing. Neil's right that expecting an actor, no matter what caliber, to try to act around the overwhelming glut of extra media of the universe of Star Wars is ridiculous. Even good actors can act around poor dialogue though with exemplary performances during the silent moments.

Re:Impossible? (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843933)

Don't forget the awful direction. Perhaps Hayden's best work ended up on the cutting room floor.

Re:Impossible? (2, Interesting)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843960)

Hayden IS a good actor. But no actor can deliver what the director has no inclination to request. Hayden and all the others couldn't find the character, couldn't become the person, because George wouldn't give them a clue. As Stephenson says, the books give a lot of missing background, explaining why Anakin is as twitchy and unpredictible as he is. But NO ONE TOLD HAYDEN. Especially Lucas, who had no hand in the writing of Clone Wars or the novels. Lucas had an outline of the plot, not the characters.

One other point which occured to me recently is this: Lucas was intentionally making the characters as detached from time, emotion, and recognizable conversation patterns as possible to maintaing the timelessness of the story, making it impossible to date the production. He wants this story shown in a hundred years, unchanged, a Grim's fairy tale for the ages.

Re:Impossible? (2, Funny)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843773)

He is the second best Anakin Skywalker ever ... OK that's not saying much as that little kid was so annoying that most people had hoped he would come across the wrong end of a light sabre a few times

Re:Impossible? (1)

JohnTheFisherman (225485) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843900)

http://imdb.com/title/tt0264796/ [imdb.com]

He was good in 'Life as a House.' He still plays a whiny teenage punk, but his acting and dialogue actually have depth. Natalie Portman (don't say it! ;)) is also great in everything that I've seen outside of Episodes I-III. I think it's 100% Lucas here.

regfree link (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12843660)

Re:regfree link (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843783)

Thank you.

The Real Difference (5, Interesting)

Ieshan (409693) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843666)

The real difference is character development.

In 4,5, and 6, Darth Vader was primarily the "bad guy". Sure, he had character, but it was primarily as the foil to the symbolic "light side" of the force that ran as an undercurrent in the rebellion / Luke's story.

By adding 1,2, and 3, Vader really becomes the central figure in the story, but he isn't given adequate plot time in 4 and 5. It's as if the writer of a tragedy changed focus in Acts 4 and 5, and then resumed Darth's story with his "return to the good side" in ep. 6. Darth and Obiwan (aside from the droids) are the only characters present in all 6 films, and Obiwan is only a ghost in 5 and 6. Darth is the only living character to speak in the 6 films, and this makes him central to the story, whether or not you like it.

And I don't like it. The story was good as Good vs. Evil rather than a "Look at how Power Can Corrupt the Good". Darth's story in 1-3, to me, totally shifts the focus of the films. That's why they can't actually be watched in their numerical order. Watching them that way totally screws with your perceptions of Darth in 4-6, and makes the plot seem convoluted and non sequitur. I mean, why should the films switch focus onto Padame's children when Darth Vader, the focus of the first three films, is still alive, kicking, and doing things in the Star Wars universe?

Re:The Real Difference (1)

timtwobuck (833954) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843741)

I've never realized this, but you're right. I watched them in order, without ep3, but you definetly hit the nail on the head.

If I had mod points, I would have...

Re:The Real Difference (1)

pHZero (790342) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843745)

Maybe because Padme's children also happen to be Darth Vader's childer? The Star Wars movies were actually designed to follow around C3PO and R2D2, they are supposed to be your narrators if you look at some interviews with Lucas.

Re:The Real Difference (1)

jumbledInTheHead (837677) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843749)

They make you think Luke is the one. However, the suprise is that Anakin turns out to be the one all along, he just took a very windy path to get there.

Re:The Real Difference (1)

sg3000 (87992) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843832)

> In 4,5, and 6, Darth Vader was primarily the "bad guy". Sure, he
> had character, but it was primarily as the foil to the symbolic
> "light side" of the force that ran as an undercurrent in the
> rebellion / Luke's story.

> The story was good as Good vs. Evil rather than a "Look at
> how Power Can Corrupt the Good".

Uh-huh. And the fact that Episode VI ended with Vader going from evil to good? The fact that Vader was the focus of those scenes with the Emperor? Episodes IV-VI were about Anakin/Vader, but it wasn't obvious until Episodes I-III came out.

> makes the plot seem convoluted and non sequitur.

Actually Episodes I-III make the plot to Episodes IV-VI make more sense.

Why did Luke suddenly think that Vader could be turned in Episode VI? Vader stood for everything that was evil to him, and yet in Episode VI, he works to save him.

Episode III provides the answer. Luke (and Leia) had Padme's personality more than than they had Anakin's. Although apparently whininess is carried on the Y chromosome and is dominant. So just as Padme told Obi-Wan that there was still good in Anakin, Luke knew the same. In a way, Luke redeems Padme because he proves she was right.

Why did Palpatine want Luke at all? As we learned from Episodes I-III, there can only be two Sith: a master and apprentice. And Vader was not as strong after Episode III -- it's clear that Vader in the suit would have been no match against a hypothetical Anakin pre-lava-bath. And Palpatine wanted a strong apprentice he could control.

More plot holes -- Why did Vader torture Han, Leia, and Chewie? Why did Obi-Wan allow himself to die in Episode IV? Episodes I-III all explain this.

So without those movies, the plots of Episodes IV-VI were pretty convoluted. With all six movies together, the plot is complete.

Re:The Real Difference (5, Funny)

cyngus (753668) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843839)

Because, miss the true point of the story, you do. Bringing balance to the force, this story is about. Anakin and Luke, but elements of this process are. Focus on the light side of the force, the films do. When the light side Anakin, leaves, focus of the story does he lose. Luke, then, the hopes of balance rest with, and so focus does he gain.

Re:The Real Difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12843963)

I don't know whats scarier: that someone took the time to write that, or that I took the time to read it, and it made sense to me.

Re:The Real Difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12843932)

The real difference is character development.

I think the real difference was in the storyline and lack of suprises.

When you look at episodes 1-3 the only thing that was really a suprise was that Quai Gon was the one to teach Yoda/Obi Wan the dissapearing trick.

When you look at 4-6 you have Star Wars, which wasn't big on suprises because it had to stand on it's own. In episode 5, you have Han being frozen/possibly killed and Vader as Lukes father. In episode 6, you have Vaders turn, finding out that Leia is Luke's sister.

Bah Scientists aren't the Jedi's of our Society! (1, Funny)

Evil W1zard (832703) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843668)

The people in this article are, "Two Star Wars fans are in a critical condition in hospital after apparently trying to make light sabres by filling fluorescent light tubes with petrol. A man, aged 20, and a girl of 17 are believed to have been filming a mock duel when they poured fuel into two glass tubes and lit it. The pair were rushed to hospital after one of the devices exploded in woodland at Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire." Granted they need practice but they are trying and soon the Force will be strong in them.

Neal Stephenson?!! Two pages?!! (4, Funny)

stand (126023) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843670)

Gees! It must of killed him to be limited to so few words.

Re:Neal Stephenson?!! Two pages?!! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12843714)

Yeah, but he dealt with it by just making the ending really sudden and abrupt.

Re:Neal Stephenson?!! Two pages?!! (3, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843748)

Gees! It must of killed him to be limited to so few words.

Perhaps this is just the first of a three part Editorial Cycle.

Actually, I'd like to see him do a regular column in a serious outlet (Washington Post or something). He's as articulate and encyclopedic (and more lyrical) in his own way George Will, and his take on things, given his sense of cultural history (seen through the lens of technology) is really interesting. Like, or not, some of his conclusions or predictions, you just can't stop reading anything he writes. I've never put down one of his chapters without doing more history and language homework in the following hour than I did during my entire stay in high school.

Re:Neal Stephenson?!! Two pages?!! (2, Interesting)

TrippTDF (513419) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843841)

This piece seems to be heavily edited, if you ask me. His conclusions about geeks at the end hint at having more to back it up than was presented.

Re:Neal Stephenson?!! Two pages?!! (1)

bgardella (132855) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843884)

I believe George Lucas was his editor.

Re:Neal Stephenson?!! Two pages?!! (1)

kin_korn_karn (466864) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843958)

You think that's bad, David Foster Wallace got the assignment first and exploded 10 minutes into it.

Clone Wars (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12843671)

Clone Wars [imdb.com] is worth a watch. Volume 1 is on DVD, with volume 2 hopefully coming soon.

article text (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12843687)

IN the spring of 1977, some friends and I made a 40-mile pilgrimage to the biggest and fanciest movie theater in Iowa so we could watch a new science fiction movie called "Star Wars." Expecting long lines, we got there early, and found the place deserted.

As we sat on the sidewalk waiting for the box office to open, others like us drifted in from the towns, farms and colleges of central Iowa and queued up behind. When the curtain in front of the big Cinerama screen finally parted, the fanfare sounded and the famous opening crawl appeared against a backdrop of stars, there were still some empty seats. "Star Wars" wasn't famous yet. The only people who had heard about it were what are now called geeks.

Twenty-eight years later, the vast corpus of "Star Wars" movies, novels, games and merchandise still has much to say about geeks - and also about a society that loves them, hates them and depends upon them.

In the opening sequence of the new Star Wars movie, "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith," two Jedi knights fight their way through an enemy starship to rescue a hostage. Ever since I saw the movie, I have been annoying friends with a trivia question: "Who is the enemy? What organization owns this vessel?"

We ought to know. In 1977, we all knew who owned the Death Star (the Empire) and who owned the Millennium Falcon (Han Solo). But when I ask my question about the new film, everyone reacts in the same way: with a sudden intake of breath and a sideways dart of the eyes, followed by lengthy cogitation. Some confess that they have no idea. Others think out loud for a while, developing and rejecting various theories. Only a few have come up with the right answer.

One hyperverbal friend was able to spit it out because he had read and memorized the opening crawl. Another, a hard-core science fiction fan, had been boning up on supplemental materials: "Clone Wars," an animated TV series consisting of "epic adventures that bridge the story arc between 'Episode II: Attack of the Clones' and 'Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.' "

If you have watched these cartoons - or if you've enjoyed some of the half-dozen "Clone Wars" novels, flipped through the graphic novels, read the short stories or played the video game - you will know that the battle cruiser in question is owned by the New Droid Army of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, which is backed by the Trade Federation, a commercial guild that is peeved about taxation of trade routes.

And that is not the only aspect of "Episode III" that you will see in a different light. If you watch the movie without doing the prep work, General Grievous - who is supposed to be one of the most formidable bad guys in the entire "Star Wars" cycle - will seem like something that just fell out of a Happy Meal.

Likewise, many have been underwhelmed by the performance of Hayden Christensen, who plays Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. Only if you've seen the "Clone Wars" cartoons will you understand that Anakin is a seriously damaged veteran, a poster child for post-traumatic stress disorder. But since none of that background is actually supplied by the Episode III script, Mr. Christensen has been given an impossible acting task. He's trying to swim in air.

In sum, very little of the new film makes sense, taken as a freestanding narrative. What's interesting about this is how little it matters. Millions of people are happily spending their money to watch a movie they don't understand. What gives?

Modern English has given us two terms we need to explain this phenomenon: "geeking out" and "vegging out." To geek out on something means to immerse yourself in its details to an extent that is distinctly abnormal - and to have a good time doing it. To veg out, by contrast, means to enter a passive state and allow sounds and images to wash over you without troubling yourself too much about what it all means.

In corporate-speak, there is a related term used when someone has committed the faux pas of geeking out during a meeting. "Let's take this offline," someone will suggest, when the PowerPoint slides grow dark with words. Literally, it means, "I look forward to geeking out on this topic - later." But really it's a polite synonym for "shut up already!"

The first "Star Wars" movie 28 years ago was distinguished by healthy interplay between veg and geek scenes. In the climactic sequence, where rebel fighters attacked the Death Star, we repeatedly cut away from the dogfights and strafing runs - the purest kind of vegging-out material - to hushed command bunkers where people stood around pondering computer displays, geeking out on the strategic progress of the battle.

All such content - as well as the long, beautiful, uncluttered shots of desert, sky, jungle and mountain that filled the early episodes - was banished in the first of the prequels ("Episode I: The Phantom Menace," 1999). In the 16 years that separated it from the initial trilogy, a new universe of ancillary media had come into existence. These had made it possible to take the geek material offline so that the movies could consist of pure, uncut veg-out content, steeped in day-care-center ambience. These newer films don't even pretend to tell the whole story; they are akin to PowerPoint presentations that summarize the main bullet points from a much more comprehensive body of work developed by and for a geek subculture.

"Concentrate on the moment. Feel, don't think. Trust your instincts," says a Jedi to the young Anakin in Episode I, immediately before a pod race in which Anakin is likely to get killed. It is distinctly odd counsel coming from a member of the Jedi order, the geekiest people in the universe: they have beards and ponytails, they dress in army blankets, they are expert fighter pilots, they build their own laser swords from scratch.

And (as is made clear in the "Clone Wars" novels) the masses and the elites both claim to admire them, but actually fear and loathe them because they hate being dependent upon their powers.

Anakin wins that race by repairing his crippled racer in an ecstasy of switch-flipping that looks about as intuitive as starting up a nuclear submarine. Clearly the boy is destined to be adopted into the Jedi order, where he will develop his geek talents - not by studying calculus but by meditating a lot and learning to trust his feelings. I lap this stuff up along with millions, maybe billions, of others. Why? Because every single one of us is as dependent on science and technology - and, by extension, on the geeks who make it work - as a patient in intensive care. Yet we much prefer to think otherwise.

Scientists and technologists have the same uneasy status in our society as the Jedi in the Galactic Republic. They are scorned by the cultural left and the cultural right, and young people avoid science and math classes in hordes. The tedious particulars of keeping ourselves alive, comfortable and free are being taken offline to countries where people are happy to sweat the details, as long as we have some foreign exchange left to send their way. Nothing is more seductive than to think that we, like the Jedi, could be masters of the most advanced technologies while living simple lives: to have a geek standard of living and spend our copious leisure time vegging out.

If the "Star Wars" movies are remembered a century from now, it'll be because they are such exact parables for this state of affairs. Young people in other countries will watch them in classrooms as an answer to the question: Whatever became of that big rich country that used to buy the stuff we make? The answer: It went the way of the old Republic.

Reading comprehension skills (4, Insightful)

sg3000 (87992) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843694)

In the opening sequence of the new Star Wars movie, "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith," two Jedi knights fight their way through an enemy starship to rescue a hostage. Ever since I saw the movie, I have been annoying friends with a trivia question: "Who is the enemy? What organization owns this vessel?" ...when I ask my question about the new film, everyone reacts in the same way: with a sudden intake of breath and a sideways dart of the eyes, followed by lengthy cogitation.

*sigh*

Maybe your friends think you're an idiot.

If you had read the crawler in the beginning of the movie, you would have read:

War! The Republic is crumbling under attacks by the ruthless Sith Lord, Count Dooku. There are heroes on both sides. Evil is everywhere.

In a stunning move, the fiendish droid leader, General Grievous, has swept into the Republic capital and kidnapped Chancellor Palpatine, leader of the Galactic Senate.

As the Separatist Droid Army attempts to flee the besieged capital with their valuable hostage, two Jedi Knights lead a desperate mission to rescue the captive Chancellor....


So, the enemy is Count Dooku. The ship is owned by the Separatists. The ship has the Chancellor on it. He was "kidnapped" by General Grievous. No viewing of the Clone Wars DVD was required to understand this.

This guy's point is that the old movies had "geek" sequences that told the story, but he claims the movies have no story, just "veg out" sequences. But he's wrong. Someone with at least rudimentary reading comprehension skills would have figured it out.

Maybe the fact that he saw Episodes IV-VI a million times is the reason why he understands the plot. Since he was seeing Episode III for the first time (and obviously not paying attention), that could be why he didn't understand. Has nothing to do with the quality of the movies.

As someone with an embarrassingly-encyclopedic knowledge of the movies*, I'd say Episodes I-III are as good as (and maybe better) than Episodes IV-VI.

This guy is in a long line of people who must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the new Star Wars movies are not as good as the original trilogy. (The rest of the line will be posting in this story about how George Lucas ruined their childhood, etc).

Re:Reading comprehension skills (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12843798)

Doh, in the version I, uh, downloaded, there was Russian scroll so I never actually read it...that clears up a lot!

Re:Reading comprehension skills (1)

thiophene (216836) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843843)

As someone with an embarrassingly-encyclopedic knowledge of the movies*, I'd say Episodes I-III are as good as (and maybe better) than Episodes IV-VI. You know, if you reference a footnote, you should probably put it in your post somewhere.

Re:Reading comprehension skills (1)

thiophene (216836) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843876)

And I guess if I post a snarky comment to slashdot, I should probably preview my posts. I'm going back to my hiding spot now.

Re:Reading comprehension skills (1)

sg3000 (87992) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843890)

>>As someone with an embarrassingly-encyclopedic knowledge
>>of the movies*, I'd say Episodes I-III are as good as (and
>>maybe better) than Episodes IV-VI.

> You know, if you reference a footnote, you should probably
> put it in your post somewhere.

heh.

I was going to put that some could peer through my slashdot posting history for proof, but then I thought it would best to not call too much attention to it. After that, I forgot to delete the asterisk before hitting "submit"

Re:Reading comprehension skills (1)

thiophene (216836) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843938)

Heh, it seems we have something in common then.

Looking down on you (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843899)

As someone with an embarrassingly-encyclopedic knowledge of the movies*, I'd say Episodes I-III are as good as (and maybe better) than Episodes IV-VI.

Well, sure, anyone in your position would say that, to hide the embarassment.

If you had encyclopedic knowledge of the originals, you were a huge nerd, but at least other nerds respected and feared you.
But with the prequels... even the nerds look down on you! ;-)

Re:Looking down on you (1)

sg3000 (87992) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843948)

> If you had encyclopedic knowledge of the originals, you were a
> huge nerd, but at least other nerds respected and feared you.
> But with the prequels... even the nerds look down on you! ;-)

A nerd's nerd?

nerd^2?

meta-nerd?

Re:Reading comprehension skills (2, Insightful)

Uncle_Al (115529) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843926)

You Sir have sadly less reading skills than Neal Stephenson.

He asks this as a trivia question. This means he knows the answer and likes to annoy his friends.

I would guess that misunderstanding of yours is responsible for the rest of your comment.

Did you actually read the article? (You rant about stuff the author does not even write...)

Re:Reading comprehension skills (1)

KamaDragon (819925) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843988)

You seem to be pretty angry. Be mindful of your feelings, they betray you.

War veteran? (2, Interesting)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843706)

seriously damaged veteran, a poster child for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Hmmm letme see. Anakin eats some worms AND HE LIKES IT! He says, humorously: "But master, you've always told me to feed from the force".

In his freeing the Nova warriors from the machines, the only traumatic experience was the loss of his already cybernetic hand. And then he built himself a new one! Oh, and this wasn't just a simple battle, it was the last test of a Jedi.

So tell me, what part of "post traumatic stress" did he experience? No, he was just a warrior who was constantly tempted to the dark side by the Sith. Remember how he killed that Sith in the jungle, by using his anger?

So will anyone explain me how the heck is he a "poor veteran suffering from PTSD"? No, the traumatic experience was the loss of his mother, and he NEVER recovered from it.

Oh yeah, the script still sucked. I'm sure he'd been given a much better chance to perform with a better story.

the ending... (2, Funny)

tapia (125876) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843711)

It was a great editorial, but the ending kind of left me hanging.

Re:the ending... (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843911)


ROTFL! Someone mod parent up, please!

You owe me a coffee! :-)

Vador is a poor actor anyway (0, Redundant)

timeToy (643583) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843720)

"Mr. Christensen has been given an impossible acting task. He's trying to swim in air" Especially hard when you don't even know hoe to swim in water

Re:Vador is a poor actor anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12843759)

Or spell "how"

Re:Vador is a poor actor anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12843895)

Or 'Vader'.

Re:Vador is a poor actor anyway (1)

timeToy (643583) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843915)

ok I'll get a dvorak keyboard

Besides lack of Anakin backstory... (4, Funny)

Jtheletter (686279) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843727)

It didn't help that Hayden and Natalie apparently practiced their scenes together by first using broomsticks to represent the other character. At least that's the only plausible explanation I could deduce when watching the two perform scenes together in Ep III. In other (non SW) films they seem to emote just fine, Ms. Portman especially, but for some reason - bad coaching, bad script, bad directing, all of the above? - they just didn't seem to connect at all in the new Star Wars.

Here's a fun game to play the next time you watch the film: in every scene with just Padme and Anakin, add the word 'Broomstick' to the end of each line they say to one another, it makes the acting more believable!

e.g. Anakin to Padme: "I will never let you die... broomstick." (Variations like 'Mr./Ms. Broomstick', 'my sweet broomstick', or 'you lovely 2-by-4' add depth and drama!)

npn&p,cihg == old and busted! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12843902)

Purple-haired moonbabes [shadolibrary.org] in silver spandex, doing calesthenics in 1/6 g!!!!!


That might even beat Carrie Fischer in a gold bikini, frozen in carbonite!
excuse me, I need some personal time, I'll be in the mensroom...

Bullshit (3, Insightful)

ifwm (687373) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843730)

"you understand that Anakin is a seriously damaged veteran, a poster child for post-traumatic stress disorder. But since none of that background is actually supplied by the Episode III script, Mr. Christensen has been given an impossible acting task"

I work with "seriously damaged veterrans" every day, many of them the same age as Anakin is supposed to be. I can say with certainty, the background isn't required.

If he was damaged, it would be obvious in him like it is in most of my kids. But Christensen can't ACT. That's the bigger problem.

Re:Bullshit (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843842)

I work with "seriously damaged veterrans" every day, many of them the same age as Anakin is supposed to be. I can say with certainty, the background isn't required.

If he was damaged, it would be obvious in him like it is in most of my kids. But Christensen can't ACT. That's the bigger problem.

I don't think that was intended to be a slight on your actual veterans.

I think it was more intended to point out that nothing on screen conveys that in terms of plot elements. (Or, as you say, acting. :-P)

Sometimes the movie-going populace just needs to have a few of the details pointed out to them.

Clone Wars (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12843733)

Several of my co-workers didn't understand some of the events in ROTS. I had to tell them of the Clone Wars cartoons and how it set things up for Ep 3. The cartoons were very cool, but why GL would create a script that sort of needs the viewer to have seen them beforehand (and most movie-goers haven't) is kind of silly.

You mean this isn't obvious? (2, Insightful)

Millennium (2451) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843925)

The cartoons were very cool, but why GL would create a script that sort of needs the viewer to have seen them beforehand (and most movie-goers haven't) is kind of silly.

To make people rush out and buy the cartoons, of course. The added profits from the shorts of the DVDs will be truly impressive.

One of the biggest differences is context (4, Insightful)

sootman (158191) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843757)

In the 1970s/1980s, there was nothing else like Star Wars. It was like nothing that had come before. No previous movie had such effects. No other movie had been so successful, had been such a phenomenon. No other movie had so much merchandise or spawned so many cool toys. Movies that grossed a hundred million dollars did not come out every day. [dsiegel.com] (By the way, I keep seeing comments in Slashdot that say "If those movies defined your childhood, you're a LOSER!" but they don't understand--I started kindergarten in 1977 and finished sixth grade in 1984. The Star Wars movies were released from 1977 to 1983. *Everyone* like Star Wars. It was always there. Everyone had the costumes and action figures. It didn't define my childhood, but it was a big part of it, and I've got a lot of happy memories playing with Star Wars toys, alone and with friends.)

Fast-forward a couple decades. We're totally saturated in big movies. We have several hundred-million-dollar-plus movies every summer and a never-ending series of fast-food tie-ins. George has shown us the way and *everything* is merchandised to the hilt. The world that the new Star Wars movies play in is very different from the world that the first movies played it. It's *not* just that we're all 20 years older now.

Re:One of the biggest differences is context (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843887)

Quick note: If you look at the linked page, you'll see there were 17 $100M movies in the 1970s, 44 in the 80s, and 51 in just the first half of the 1990s. Yes, part of that has to do with rising ticket prices, but that's not the whole story.

Re:One of the biggest differences is context (1)

alop (67204) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843919)

"George has shown us the way and *everything* is merchandised to the hilt."

Remember that "Spaceballs" made that point a while ago. Yogurt was in merchandising, the whole movie was a play on that "Spaceballs, the toilet seat" and more recently "Spaceballs: the DVD Menu"

"Clone Wars" cartoons were required viewing. (2, Informative)

vertinox (846076) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843778)

If I didn't happen to crash at a friends houes after clubbing the week before and he showed us Clone Wars on his Tivo, I woulnd't have had the slightest clue what was happening in Episode 3. There was so much backstory, I think anyone who hasn't watched it will be left in the dark about a lot of things. My friend stated to me they should have made the cartoon into a live action movie and made it Episode 2, which I somewhat agree or least Episode 2.5 as a full length movie.

Why we watched it (3, Interesting)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843780)

Millions of people are happily spending their money to watch a movie they don't understand. What gives?

It's basically the same scenario as with the Matrix trilogy (well almost). Everyone just wanted to know how it ended exactly, if for no other reason than closure. Even though 90% of the people knew ultimately where the story was headed, everyone still wanted the little details.

Otherwise, the author of the article is right in that the newer movies really don't do a good job of explaining what's going on. The part about Anakin having mental problems from post traumatic stress disorder would have explained his character a lot better. Personally, I still think Hayden Christensen was a poor choice to play the part and would've ruined it anyhow, but they really could've given us a lot more.

Additionally, General Grievous just sort of popped into existance. Assuming that I would know all about him from the various other publications is a mistake. Thinking back on it, it really made the movie seem a little off.

While the hardcore fans of Star Wars will have read all the books, seen the cartoons, and read about other lore and history on the internet, there're a lot of us out there who haven't. Some of us saw the movie just for the sake of seeing it. And in the end, I guess the box office take is good enough to justify producing movies in that fashion.

Bad acting (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843794)

Hayden Christensen is a terrible actor. Ignoring script and storyline issues he isn't able to convey much emotion through the screen. One easy test of good acting: are you able to forget the actor is anyone but the character they are portraying? In this case I saw the actor more than the character. I'm completely shocked that he was able to get this role. I'd be surprised if he got it any other way than knowing someone big on the inside. He simply isn't able to pretend to be someone else.

Better actors may disagree... (2, Interesting)

nathan s (719490) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843898)

..but with a tiny bit of [university] acting experience as my guide, I think that what you aim at as an actor is "becoming" the person, not pretending to be them.

And that, I think, is Hayden's problem in this movie. Seems more like he's pretending to be Vader than he is becoming Vader.

Acting Issues (1)

keonne (864396) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843806)

Or Hayden Christensen is just a terrible actor, and a serious screw up by Lucas and co. The worst teen actor award is now between that kid that plays Harry Potter and Hayden Christensen. Both are like watching a plank of wood.

Geek Groupies? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12843863)

Neal Stephenson seems to have some absurd geek-worship complex. While it is nice and ego-tickling at times, don't let it get to your head.

Just because writing computer programs is probably more intellectually demanding than collecting garbage or farming does not make us more essential to society. I hope that everyone reading this can easily see that the truth is the other way around. Although we do improve the efficiency of society, we are not so entrenched and important that modern civilization could not exist without us.

We don't have superpowers either, which is another common suggestion of Stephenson. Sure, the uninitiated look at what we do as mysterious and amazing. But look at a backhoe in operation. It is just as amazing how the operator in the cab can move a large and powerful piece of machinery with such precision. The difference is that our abilities are less familiar to people, so they seem somehow more amazing. If you get the chance, look into a chemical processing plant and you will see mechanisms and processes that are much more amazing still, but are just hidden from most people.

I don't read Stephenson's novels any more. It's just masturbation. That's not the way the world works.

In the new one the Jedi are terrorists (4, Interesting)

gabor_nagy (891993) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843879)

Here's my summary of revenge of the Sith:

1. Anakin wants to be a good Jedi, but he keeps dreaming about his girlfriend's (Padme) death.
2. Anakin talks to Joda asking for help. Joda tells him he shouldn't worry because that's bad and he should accept the faith of Padme.
3. Anaking doesn't like that answer. (Why should he?) The Jedi answer pretty much sounds like a big "screw you". Of course he's gonna worry about Padme. I would.
4. The Emperor tells him he may or may not be able to save Padme, but he should at least try. However, trying goes against the Jedi dogma.
5. Anakin decides that the Jedi dogma is not correct, and joins the "dark" side. (Note: Dark doesn't mean evil. It means having an open mind and exploring both sides of the "force".)
6. The Jedi can't tolerate people that don't follow their religion, thus the emperor is forced to have this religious group killed.
7. Even though Anakin saved Obi-wan's life, Obi-wan is too blinded by his Jedi religion, and trys to kill Anakin. Trying to kill someone that saved your life is pretty low and evil in my book.
8. Anakin gets his arms and legs cut off, and his girlfriend dies. That makes him pretty pissed. (I'd be pretty pissed, too.)
9. Obi-wan doesn't even get a finger cut off, and he kidnaps Anakin's kids.
-- The End -

Re:In the new one the Jedi are terrorists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12843976)

nice try troll

Next person to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12843907)

Next person to post an article where I have to register to RTFA gets it...

Why should I tell you who I am to read your news? (1)

capicu (880524) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843920)

Unti somebody tells me of a good reason to hand over details to a news site JUST to get access to the articles, I for one will be abstaining. Don't these people understand that the success of a site like slashdot is that you can type "slashdot.org[ENTER]" and within seconds be seeing the main latest headlines? The login process should be an optional extra step that I choose to take in order to get more from the site, not an intrusive details gathering technique. I suppose I'm meant to believe that the tick in the no-spam-please-box means something more than putting my details into a queuing system so I won't be able to trace back to who gave them away when they are later sold on.

This article needs the Chewbacca defense.... (3, Insightful)

CompressedAir (682597) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843921)

Boy, does he take a turn into left field at the end there.

You know, I went to a pretty good school (Georgia Tech) and studied first engineering and then atmospheric science. There were people lining up to take science, engineering, and math classes... so much so that if you registered late, good luck getting into your required courses that semester.

Going back to high school, I checked my yearbook and about 40% of the students were going to college to study science of engineering. (I found it more interesting that 10% were going into law enforcement... but I digress.)

Why do people keep saying that "boys and girls run away from science and math?" I just don't see it. Kids younger than 12 are all about science, and based on my graduating class quite a few end up there at the end of high school. Sure, kids check out when they are teenagers, but who the hell doesn't? My personal opinion is that if you never skipped a class in high school, your priorities were a bit out of whack.

Is there any factual basis for Mr. Stephenson's claim? Or is the constant harping about "the young generation avoiding math" just more baby boomer bitching?

The Difference is the Fans (5, Insightful)

grimharvest (724023) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843962)

In the original trilogy, people were so happy there was a Star Wars that they were happy to overlook any and all flaws in the dialogue, storyline, plot elemenets, etc. They didn't mind that the Ewoks could defeat an elite stormtrooper legion, that an enormous Imperial fleet could simply go missing at the ROTJ, that Luke could become a full Jedi Knight in just a few years time. They didn't mind any of it, because the 70s and 80s were the time of action movies where Charles Bronson and Clint Eastwood were major stars, followed by the Governator, Van Damme, etc. And all they had to do was either shoot people or beat the shit out of them. Rambo, Dirty Harry, Rocky, the Terminator, take your pick. But times changed in the 90s. Moviegoers became a lot more critical, demanded more from filmmakers. Particularly once the internet came to be widely used, everybody and their brother became armchair film critics. Everybody suddenly was an expert on filmmaking, writing, acting, producing (especially Slashdotters)though most had no clue what it all entailed. Movie audiences steadily got spoiled over time by some truly great epics until finally, these days, very few if any movies are good enough anymore. Thus the complaints about the plot holes in the Prequels, questions regarding the acting, the dialogue, etc. All things that could have come up while critiquing the OT, but which didn't for one reason. Because once upon a time, people went to a movie and simply enjoyed it for what it was. They didn't spend the entire time ripping it to pieces and then running home to post on their lame websites every flaw that they perceived and how they themselves could have done it better people. Think about people. You're spoiled to the point where you are unlikely to ever enjoy many movies in the future. Any movie you can think of, I can find someone on the internet who will be happy to rip it to shreds. Because it deserves it? No, because people just like to bitch and whine. It doesn't matter what the topic is, and it's what keeps internet forum from becoming totally deserted.

He's trying to swim in air (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12843971)

He's trying to swim in air Use the force.

Good article, but... (0, Redundant)

kakos (610660) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843977)

The ending felt kind of flat.

Old vs New (2, Insightful)

Spez (566714) | more than 9 years ago | (#12843980)

In the old ones, it was a story of Good versus Evil. We were following Young Skywalker is his understanding that the world that surrounds him will be consumed by evil if he doesn't do something to sop it. There's even great punches (ex: Leia and Luke ARE BROTHERS AND SISTERS!) It was a great story.

The new ones, well.. they change the focus. Its about power. Its about corruption. Its about the difference in democracy (the republic) and the empire. How can good visions become evil. And also, it spoils any punch that could exist in the old movies. How could you watch the 6 movies from beginning to start? There would be no "I'm your father" punch? How could there be a "You have a sister" punch? What about the focus? I think anybody not knowing about star wars and watching the whole thing from start to the end would be utterly confused and think its just badly made.
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