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A Closer Look at Star Wars on Film and Off

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the revenge-of-the-marketdroids dept.

Movies 315

mclove writes "Revenge of the Sith comes out on DVD today, and there's an interesting article on Slate dissecting the now-complete trilogy as the avant-garde, intellectual sort of film that Lucas keeps saying it is."` Relatedly inkslinger77 writes "ILM model maker, Brian Gernand, speaks about what it is like to work with George Lucas and why he thinks Star Wars attracts such a huge following, particularly among the IT community. He also gives some information about the technology that is used behind the scenes. "

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=O (-1, Troll)

urinetrouble (809485) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930215)

FOIST REPLY

"The Now Complete Trilogy" (4, Insightful)

rookworm (822550) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930220)

Don't count on it...

Re:"The Now Complete Trilogy" (5, Funny)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930390)

and there's an interesting article on Slate dissecting the now-complete trilogy as the avant-garde, intellectual sort of film that Lucas keeps saying it is.

First Movie: "Yipeeeeeee!"
Second Movie: "I hate sand."
Third Movie: "Noooooooooooo!"

That's no trilogy... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930222)

...It's a cash machine.

Re:That's no trilogy... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930308)

Cash Machine: Dispenses Cash.
Cash Cow: Generates Income.

Re:That's no trilogy... (1)

kiddailey (165202) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930346)


Well... technically speaking, it does dispense a lot of cash right into George Lucass's walllet.

Re:That's no trilogy... (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930387)

It didn't start that way. The first movie was not only far from a guaranteed success, but they didn't even have merchandising for the Christmas season.

Re:That's no trilogy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930546)

That's true, but people wouldn't go to see these movies unless they liked them in some way. People like to tell themselves they don't like them because they're so kitch, but then they go to see them anyway.

Re:That's no trilogy... (5, Insightful)

crimperman (225941) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930582)

That's true, but people wouldn't go to see these movies unless they liked them in some way. People like to tell themselves they don't like them because they're so kitch, but then they go to see them anyway.

A little paradoxical don't you think? How can you go and see a film because you like it when you haven't seen it yet?

I - like many others I suspect - went to see Phantom Menace on the basis that it was the frst new Star Wars film for a couple of decades. I went to see Attack of the Clones in the hope that it would be better than Phantom - it was but not much. I went to see Revenge of the Sith because I had seen all the others at the cinema and wanted to catch this one on the big screen too.

I think I didn't like them - compared with the original trilogy - because I knew the ending and the whole thing felt like they were shoe horning a story I basically already knew into three long films. The sense of mystery - in not knowing where the story was going - was lost in these films compared with the original one.

As for the trilogy being a cash machine/cow. It is but then it was always going to be and in the end I think we kidded ourselves if - at this stage - we thought it would be a lot more than that.

Re:That's no trilogy... (1)

eraserewind (446891) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930777)

The same reason that people keep watching soap operas. It's not becasue they necessarily enjoy them, it's because having seen part of the story of these characters, they have an emotional need to know the rest of it. George Lucas is an exploiter of that need more than he is a great film maker.

Is it serious or a joke? (5, Funny)

elronxenu (117773) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930226)

As always, any sufficiently insightful deconstruction is indistinguishable from satire.

Re:Is it serious or a joke? (3, Insightful)

ThatWeasel (113982) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930361)

This is definitely serious. Extreme insight and deconstruction went into that article and you have to at least start to see it the author's way.

As for me, the newest three episodes have been horrible but this author definitely casts new light on the whole masterpiece.

Re:Is it serious or a joke? (1, Interesting)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930406)

the newest three episodes have been horrible but this author definitely casts new light on the whole masterpiece.

Can there be such a thing as a horrible masterpiece?

Also, doesn't "masterpiece" imply a great work? Lucas's greatest work (or magnum opus) is, without much room for debate, the original trilogy. His second-best would be the collaboration with Spielberg on the Indian Jones movies.

Attack of the Clones was the first movie he ever made which was actually worse than Howard the Duck. The first and third prequel films at least rose to the level of mediocrity, but little higher than that.

Re:Is it serious or a joke? (4, Insightful)

TheoGB (786170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930494)

I think it's a very interesting read and it is serious.

However it doesn't change the fact that the prequels (and indeed Jedi) aren't particularly good movies, even if they have some good moments in them.

I'm reminded of the defenders of the 2nd and 3rd Matrix movies who seemed convinced that the whole Danté allegory made the films better. Clearly it didn't. The two Matrix sequels are turds, no matter how hard their authors tried to be clever.

Re:Is it serious or a joke? (5, Insightful)

Shaper_pmp (825142) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930824)

Funny thing, but part of the problem of deconstructionism is that it's almost impossible to distinguish between incidences of it that exhibit "extreme insight" and those that are merely "blithely reading what you want into it regardless of the author's intentions"... or just "furiously intellectually masturbating".

I can (hell, we used to do it for fun with our English Literature undergrad friends) construct deconstructionist arguments that shows that half the kids shows on TV as anarcho-capitalist propaganda pieces, or tracts of leftie-pinko-liberal-communist ideology... often in the same program, and often using the same quotes and events.

It's also very, very (really, I can't stress this enough) important to remember that

Postmodern != Good

Postmodern != Entertaining

Postmodern != Coherent

Just because something's "postmodern", it doesn't mean it's "worthy", interesting or any good at all. However, many lit-crit writers seem to make this mysterious assumption.

This essay also uses a common postmodern lit-crit trick of setting up flawed axioms[1], frantically hand-waving to make sure nobody notices the basic problem, then (gasp!) proceeding to show how your flawed, biased axioms inevitably lead to your conclusion.

Finally, when assessing any kind of field as logically flimsy and frequently intellectually self-pollenating as lit-crit, it's important to remember the differences between fields like it and the hard sciences and engineering:

In science, you get points for being Right - producing theories that stand the test of time, and map 1:1 to reality. In Lit-Crit, you get points for being Clever - your position doesn't have to have any kind of basis in reality at all, as long as it's well-argued and persuasive. In fact, there's some evidence that interpretations that do actually map to reality are looked down on, since arguing in favour of those doesn't require much Cleverness.

Oh yes, and you should really read "How to Deconstruct Almost anything [ucl.ac.be] ". I once gave it to a English Lit undergrad girlfriend, and while she didn't like the implications one bit, she really couldn't fault a single argument.

Footnotes:

[1] Examples of flawed (or at least questionable) axioms that underpin the entire article:

The force makes everything in the universe happen - Less some waffle about destiny or "prophesy", there's no evidence that I can remember that the Force makes everything happen according to some predefined plan. This would completely negate free will, which undermines Anakin's entire fall from grace.

The light side of the force is all about feeling and passivity, the dark side is all about conscious control and order - Right, which is why (for example) Obi-Wan is always telling Anakin to reign in his emotions and be more calm and ordered, and the
emperor is trying to get him to lose control and give in to his anger. Both individuals argue for both things, just in different contexts.

"we are led to understand in Sith that it was Palpatine himself who set the entire plot in motion by manipulating the Force toward Anakin's virgin birth." - Now, maybe I haven't watched it enough, but I don't recall this implication anywhere, and it's a pretty important one, which changes the whole epic story. Did I miss something here?

Re:Is it serious or a joke? (2, Interesting)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930420)

I hope it's satire. It's either satire or criticism written by a lovesick puppy with an English degree. Either way, it's not really that founded or interesting. Star Wars' second trilogy reminds me of the 'thousand elephants' of the Last Tycoon.... A good show, but nothing to do with good art.

I wish Lucas had lost his shirt on them instead of stacking up another couple billion.

Re:Is it serious or a joke? (5, Interesting)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930601)

Basically, what the commentator is saying (whether he means to or not) is that Star Wars is a classically Bad movie. Plot developments are based on un-credible coincidence. The plotmaster's hand is an actual plot device. Et cetera. Post-modern deconstruction of an art form or genre is all about defying the conventions that make up a Good movie. The only question is whether Lucas is doing it on purpose (in which case it's avant-garde) or not (in which case these are just shortcomings).

Too tired to mod a starwars thread so... (1)

tod_miller (792541) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930730)

... it is obviously just bad writing, that takes itself too seriously, and no 'fingerprint' evidence to the contrary can be seen.

It is a story, as he says, and not a great one. People just liked the rendering of the universe that seemed like a nice universe.

"Jump to light speed!" putt putt putt... not again! great way to save money and max ROI on sets. :-(

All I want to know... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930229)

All I want to know is if the DVD has the full Mace Windu / Palpatine fight. I heard that there was a lot more to that scene, which was cut due to time concerns. The other alien is supposed to have lasted longer, as well. Kit Fisto, I believe.

Anyone care to enlighten me?

Re:All I want to know... (4, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930773)

Anyone care to enlighten me?

You are too enraptured by the Star Wars mythos. To the Dark Side of the Fandom headed you are!

I stopped reading... (3, Insightful)

flinxmeister (601654) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930231)

...when the author commented that R2 and 3P0 landing on tatooine was a coincidence.

I'm not that big of a SW geek, but even I know that there is a reason they ended up back in the same place.

The slate article seems more interested in the academic thought than the actual subject matter. They should at least be related.

Re:I stopped reading... (1)

shoma-san (739914) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930300)

The idea that the universe is so small that these two droids would end up on the same planet talking to familiar people like Ole Ben and 3P0's creators son is as likely as the life elsewhere in the universe, the big bang, and truth at the Whitehouse.

Re:I stopped reading... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930335)

Well, maybe a little more likely than not...considering they were going to that same planet with the intention of talking to Ole Ben....

That is the understandable part. (3, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930677)

The real questions are ...

Why was Ben there?

If the answer is to look after Luke, then why was Luke there?

If the answer is because that's where his family is, then why put him with his family ... when his family is also related to Darth Vader?

That just sounds stupid.

But not as stupid as having those 'droids drop in on Ben ... with the son of the guy who built them ... and Ben not recognize them or say anything to the kid.

Okay, so maybe putting the kid with Vader's kin wasn't a bad idea. I mean, Kid Vader didn't even bother to save his mommy from a life of slavery. So why expect Adult Vader to drop in and visit the family ... ever. I mean, just one twinge of middle age and the entire scheme is ruined.

Rather ... look at it as Lucas trying to tie the new 3 with the original 3 to give the old fans something to "Hey! I recognize that from when I was a kid!" about and it all makes sense.

Shame Lucas couldn't put together a better plot to tie his marketing gimickry together.

Re:I stopped reading... (0)

Teddy Beartuzzi (727169) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930367)

The problem isn't that they end up there the first time (aka, looking for Ben). The problem is that they end up there the second time (aka, being built by Anakin, etc). The whole tacking on the second trilogy 20 years after the fact just ended up shooting holes in the entire consistency of the Star Wars universe. Decisions were made in the writing and directing that were of the "Hey, wouldn't it be neat to ..." variety, without regard to how they fit into the story as a whole. In essence, he was just making it all up as he went along, and man, does it show.

BTW, that article is self-indulgent tripe.

Re:I stopped reading... (1)

NeuroManson (214835) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930486)

If my age addled memory serves, there isn't *that* many occupied worlds in the Star Wars galaxy. Considering even less act as navigational "byways" to other worlds (after all, they needed to use it in an emergency between Naboo and Coruscant), and that Tatooine is one of said byways, it isn't that unlikely that it would be a likely dropspot for craft passing through.

Hell, that would explain the Jawas' propensity to an economic system, whereas would not exist if not for lots of gullible alien species dropping in with various droids, and hardware, that they could scavenge.

Re:I stopped reading... (2)

earthbound kid (859282) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930696)

If you had kept reading, you would have read where the author explained why the droids stopping on Tatooine wasn't really a coincidence within the series because of the Force, aka the Thing That Drives Plot. Thus, all the weird coincidences in the movie are instantly papered over with an all purpose plot unifier. The author finds that interesting.

Re:I stopped reading... (5, Insightful)

icybee (230126) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930823)

Is it possible that the Rebel ship at the beginning of Episode IV was at Tatooine because they were going to contact Obi-Wan? Leia seems to know who he is and that he lives there. Why else would it have come out of hyperspace there instead of Alderaan?

The droids meeting up with Luke isn't neccessarily a coincidence either. R2D2's memory WASN'T WIPED!!! This is the big revelation at the end of Episode III that changes the way Episode IV is viewed. R2D2 knew he needed to get to Obi-Wan, knew he would live near Luke & knew where Luke lived - why else would he be so insistent on going in that direction?

The Force is Lucas (3, Funny)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930232)

So what this guy is saying, is that "The Force" is actually George Lucas, and when they say "The Force be with you", they are basically saying "Pray that Lucas doesn't get you killed in the next scene"

Now it all makes sense!

Why IT people like Star Wars... (4, Funny)

bypedd (922626) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930246)

Cubicle light saber duel, anyone?

Re:Why IT people like Star Wars... (1)

Spacejock (727523) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930289)

"why he thinks Star Wars attracts such a huge following"

I'd say 'used to attract' a huge following, before Ep 1 demonstrated the idol had feet of clay (either that or waa-aa-ay too much access to the big red 'special effects' button. But if that were true LOTR would have sucked and it didn't suck ergo it's not over-use of special effects which destroys a film. Breath in.)

Re:Why IT people like Star Wars... (1)

Chrax (782154) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930327)

I would say LOTR didn't overuse special effects. It's not overuse when you're using as only as much as you need (even if that is a fucking lot). They did as much as they could with models and scenary and camera tricks. Sure, they used a lot of sfx, but there was never a point where it felt like they were grabbing your nuts and saying "Look! It's special effects!".

Re:Why IT people like Star Wars... (2, Insightful)

Spacejock (727523) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930631)

Agreed. What I meant was that something like 70-80% of the LOTR footage was recoloured afterwards and they did all sorts of amazing things with lighting. (I enjoyed the docos on the DVDs as much as or more than the films themselves ;-) If any films could claim to be heavy with special effects it's the LOTR trilogy. Everything was tweaked, tweaked, tweaked until it was just so, but the end effect is such a fantastic blend of real and imaginary that you're completely absorbed. Overuse wasn't the right word - 'heavy use of' is more appropriate.

The only thing absorbing about Eps 1 & 2 was the official SW toilet paper. I can't say anything about Ep3 because I haven't seen it and don't plan to.

Re:Why IT people like Star Wars... (4, Funny)

UncleFluffy (164860) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930618)

waa-aa-ay too much access to the big red 'special effects' button.

As a friend of mine put it after watching EP3 : "Industrial Light and Magic: the greatest turd polishers ever."

Re:Why IT people like Star Wars... (1)

gbobeck (926553) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930411)

Cubicle light saber duel, anyone?
Actually, you are not too far from the truth. A light saber would make an almost ideal L.A.R.T.

Movie fantasy leads to real world technology (0, Troll)

ReformedExCon (897248) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930252)

From the article:

And we're not so far away from having lightsabers as weapons. /end quote

O RLY?

Re:Movie fantasy leads to real world technology (1)

mortong (914447) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930321)

Personally, I think Hitchhiker's Guide got it right when applying practical uses for a light saber. I mean, c'mon, who DOESN'T need a bread knife that toasts while it cuts.

Re:Movie fantasy leads to real world technology (1)

spot35 (644375) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930671)

Sir, I do believe you are talking out of your arse. That quote does not exist in the article.

Re:Movie fantasy leads to real world technology (1)

CaptainCarrot (84625) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930932)

The thing about a story that links two articles is that you have to read both of them to RTFA. You won't find the quote in the Slate article, but in the PC World article. It's the last sentence of the second-to-last paragraph.

Re:Movie fantasy leads to real world technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930778)

I have never really understod why the light saber is so good. It's a freaking sword!
They had those in Middle Ages. Allthought it might be something when attached to a shark's head...

Re:Movie fantasy leads to real world technology (2, Insightful)

Allison Geode (598914) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930860)

its so good because its a fancy sword made of light!

but, going a step further and a tad geekier, consider that the blade itself, which can cut through anything except the beam of another saber, is incredibly light-weight. since light itself has no mass, the only weight of the thing is in the handle, so its incredibly easy to do quick shifts of position. add that to the jedi's ability to sense the world in a unique way, and not only is it a sword, its also a shield against incoming projectile attacks.

compare that to the longsword of comparable size (when the saber is extended, anyway) that I bought at the renaissance festival, which weighs (probably) 20 pounds, which i can (awkwardly) lift with one hand but couldn't likely swing with any accuracy or force, and you'll understand why people like the concept of lightsabers so much. :-p

E3 DVD is overhyped. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930255)

I'm sick of all the advertising for that DVD release. Even slashdot is getting in on it.

I was in best buy today (using my best buy bucks; I only go there once a year) to get the CoV collector's edition and the cashier asked why I wasn't buying the new star wars movie. I angrily asked why I'd buy that piece of crap. He didn't reply but also didn't mention it again.

I'm not buying the Slate article (5, Interesting)

mrgeometry (689087) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930260)

I love Slate and I read it every day, but this article is not convincing for me. His main point is that George Lucas got all meta about plot; the Force represents Plot; the Emperor represents the author's attempt to control the plot, and Jar Jar represents the inventive whimsy of the characters. Sounds to me like "Moby Dick is actually the Republic of Ireland [pclaunch.com] ". Sorry.

Re:I'm not buying the Slate article (3, Insightful)

Spacejock (727523) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930339)

Jar Jar represents the inventive whimsy of the characters.

Heh. Jar Jar represents the desire to sell a shitload of action figures to young kids via fast food outlets. If ever a character was invented purely to suck another age group into the maw of the Merchandise Machine...

Still, lesson learnt eh? Thy characters may be good or evil, funny, sick, demented or violent, but thou shalt never again employ irritating characters.

Re:I'm not buying the Slate article (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930372)

I think it's much more likely the Force represents a religion, and the Emperor a dictator like Hitler (both in how he seeks and gains power, and how he wish to kill a group of people based on their religion). This came especially clear to me when I watched Episode III and as he aggressively shouted out his message to the senate after killing Mace Windu. Actually, his clever use of people's fear of terror from his enemies to have them give him more absolute power and reasons for military action reminds me of others too...

Re:I'm not buying the Slate article (1)

jdbo (35629) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930480)

Please try reading the article again tomorrow, once you've gotten some sleep and your sense of humor is active again. this is one of the funniest damn things I've read in a long time.

postmodern art film? (5, Funny)

nmoog (701216) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930265)

Never attribute to post-modernism that which can adequately be explained by stupidity!

Re:postmodern art film? (1)

CaptainCarrot (84625) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930943)

You mean there's a difference?

Okay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930279)

Two questions: 1. Who decided that "WIZARD!" would be a good ejactulation to express excitement or happiness? 2. Why were those kids in episode 1 hired? Why didn't they use kids who can act?

Re:Okay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930297)

Well, it starts with an 'L' and ends with an 'S'. Yep. You guessed it! Some lame ass.

Star Wars? (3, Insightful)

grumpygrodyguy (603716) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930283)

Revenge of the Sith comes out on DVD today, and there's an interesting article on Slate dissecting the now-complete trilogy

All I can say is that I'm very grateful to have episodes IV, V, and VI in their original untouched format. IMO they are the only films deserving to be called the 'Star Wars Trilogy'.

The others films are an embarrassment at best.

Re:Star Wars? (1)

wombert (858309) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930314)

episodes IV, V, and VI in their original untouched format.

Oooh, is that VHS, LD, or bootleg? ;)

(And kudos for not posting that AC!)

Re:Star Wars? (4, Insightful)

MoonChildCY (581211) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930382)

I apologize beforehand for the rant but...

What do you people have against Star Wars? Most people here think Star Wars (IV, V, VI) is cool because all the older geeks they live up to thought it was cool. Now everyone that watched the newer episodes (or even heard about them) and their grandmothers think they suck. Well you know what? If they did truly suck, people wouldn't go like crazy to watch them (don't forget, Episode I is 5th on the All Time Box Office for the USA) all.

Can anyone give me a precise reason why they think Star Wars I, II or III were horrible movies? Was it Jar Jar? If yes, how would you do it to make it suck less, stick to the original story and ensure IV, V and VI don't have to change? Remember, you still need a gullible character that can be trusted by the Jedis, loyal, possible elected to be a representative in the Senate at a future time and easily manipulated in the future. Any character you make like that (even making Harrison Ford play the character, since so many love him) would still make you hate him. It is the exact purpose of the character. And it is also the ingredient the movie needs to evolve.

The movie as a whole is truly amazing, and if people cannot tolerate a movie that provides them with the foundation of their "greatest movie of all time", then maybe they should reconsider their opinions. It is indeed a work of art. People should watch "The power of myth" [amazon.com] with Joseph Campbell and George Lucas (filmed in '88) to understand what George Lucas was actually trying to do with Star Wars. If you got it wrong the first time, don't blame the director/author. Blame someone else.

And to save you some trouble... Slate's analysis is close to what George Lucas was trying to do in the first place.

Re:Star Wars? (2)

wombert (858309) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930409)

I liked Episodes IV - VI because I enjoyed watching them, not because someone else thought they were cool. There could be a bit of a nostalgia/childhood infatuation factor here, but I can still watch the old Star Wars trilogy more often then a Disney cartoon.

Why was Episode I the 5th highest all time box office winner? Because people liked the original trilogy a lot and their fascination with it lasted a good 20 years.

Why didn't Episode III have the 5th (or 4th, or 1st) highest box office take? Maybe because Episode I didn't live up to expectations, and it didn't rekindle the fascination with the series. (If anything, it rekindled it in anticipation of the Episode I release, only to have it fade away on the disappointment after seeing the film.)

Re:Star Wars? (4, Insightful)

superiority (892798) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930417)

I'm no movie aficionado, but I think it has just a leeeetle to do with the wooden acting, bad directing, contrived (Forced?) plot and the non-stop (to paraphrase a cousin post) grabbing of one's balls and screaming of, "Look! Special Effects!"

Re:Star Wars? (0, Flamebait)

Chasuk (62477) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930426)

I think ALL of the Star Wars movies suck, and not just episodes I, II and III. I have a lot against the films, mostly that they are responsible for turning what was (on the verge of turning into) a mature genre into infantile shit. SF, as a genre, has never recovered.

No, I'm not trolling. I've despised the films since I saw the first one in 1977. I've watched them all (on opening night!) desperately hoping that at least one of them would turn out not to be complete drek, but my hope was in vain.

Re:Star Wars? (1)

VegeBrain (135543) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930791)

I'm with you on this: I think all the Star Wars films are stupid. To read this corny postmodernist take (calling all six movies "a text"? Give me a break!) with all it's pretentious prose about how the plot is actually some kind of commentary on the mechanics of plot is just dressing a pig up a prom dress: no matter how hard you try, all you have is a pig in a prom dress. When I was younger I mildly liked the first 3 movies, but now regard all 6 movies as mindless claptrap. And as long as I'm setting up myself to be pelted by rotten vegetables, I think the Lord Of The Rings trilogy is a bunch of pretentious garbage, both the books and the movies.

Re:Star Wars? (2, Interesting)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930434)

Can anyone give me a precise reason why they think Star Wars I, II or III were horrible movies?

1. It was badly written. The dialog was really awful at every turn.

2. It was poorly directed. These three films sported some of the very best acting talents in motion pictures today. Most of the major players have proven to be outstanding performers in other movies, yet you would never even think they could act at all if the Star Wars prequels were the only place you saw them.

3. It was not well made. The composition of shots, with a few exceptions, was completely dreadful, especially in the scenes in Attack of the Clones, in which the GCI backgrounds were so baroque and ugly, one could hardly notice that there were actors somewhere in the shot as well.

4. George Lucas didn't really base his original Star Wars story on anything Campbell wrote... he just said so after the fact. Star Wars was a simple homage to the Saturday Morning Matinee, and he never should have been ashamed of that fact.

5. Everything Joseph Campbell wrote was pretty much bullshit anyway.

Re:Star Wars? (3, Insightful)

ForumTroll (900233) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930551)

I couldn't agree more with all of your points. I just watched III (for the first and last time) with some friends and by about half way through the movie we just couldn't wait for it to end. The plot has so many holes in it and the dialogue is atrocious at best. The scenes with Anakin and Padme are quite possibly the worst written scenes in motion picture history. I'm amazed that they had a concept with so much potential and ended up making a movie with such an utterly horrific dialogue. Some of the acting throughout the file was also just horrible. This is honestly one of the worst movies I've seen in a long time.

Perhaps the most laughable part of the movie was how utterly easy it was to pull Anakin to the dark side. They really should have spread this out more effectively through episode I and II to make it at least slightly more believable.

Palpatine: Learn to embrace the dark side of the force.
Anakin: No.
Palpatine: Do it.
Anakin: Ok.

It doesn't get much worse than this.....

Re:Star Wars? (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930541)


Can anyone give me a precise reason why they think Star Wars I, II or III were horrible movies?


Terrible terrible acting. When your best actor isn't even real and exists only inside a computer (Yoda) you know you've hired shitty actors. The dialogue in 1-3 was complete dreck. The storyline was terrible. The only thing 1-3 had going for it was the action scenes, and that wasn't enough to hold it up.

Well you know what? If they did truly suck, people wouldn't go like crazy to watch them (don't forget, Episode I is 5th on the All Time Box Office for the USA) all.

You must live in a different country than I do where people don't like utter crap.

Re:Star Wars? (1)

Shano (179535) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930684)

I think there's something more fundamental than just bad acting. Christopher Lee has a long history of making otherwise shitty movies entertaining, and it was still awful. Probably doesn't help that he was killed off near the start.

You can't really blame the bad dialogue on the actors, though, just their delivery of it (which didn't generally help, either).

Want a precise reason? Have a precise reason. (5, Interesting)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930879)

>> Can anyone give me a precise reason why they think Star Wars I, II or III were horrible movies?

Because they sucked. How much more precise can I be? You want me to list scene/chapter/verse? Why isn't the perception of overall suckiness enough for me to say that it was a horrible experience to watch the new "trilogy"?

When The Matrix sequels came out, I had a hard time arguing with at least one fan-boy at the office who kept telling me that if I didn't like them it was most likely because I just "didn't get them". As if there was some secret deeper meaning behind them of which only an enlighted selected few were aware. As if I am not smart enough or rational enough to be able to form a valid opinion on something by sheer perception and experience.

I liked the LotR movies a lot, but I accept the fact that there are people who found them slow, boring, and too distant from the original work to qualify as Tolkienesque. I can certainly see why, but more importantly, I respect their opinion.

Now respect mine (and all those others who have a negative view of SW movies): I believe that Episodes I, II, and III were horrible. I believe that Episode II was (slightly) better than the first, and that Episode III was still even better than the previous two, but in my eyes that still means that Lucas finally reached mere mediocrity from the depth of incompetency and horridness. On the other side of the token, I believe that the original Star Wars (what you would call Episode IV) was the best of the series, with a very good follow up in The Empire Strikes Back (that's Episode V for you kiddies). I don't really care much for Return Of The Jedi (Episode VI if you're not following).

            -dZ.

Re:Star Wars? (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930948)

I don't especially have anything against the star wars movies but I think that there are probably around a million and one other films which are more entertaining, have better plots, are better acted, and are far better films. Seriously if I had a choice of a star wars film ( any of them - the originals included ) or any other film the other film would have to be pretty generally crappy for me to choose star wars, maybe one of the later Matrix films and I have might have trouble deciding.

What does annoy me is the constant whining on about how great, ground breaking, amazingly uniquely concieved star wars is when clearly it's none of those things. Honestly, rather than investing so much time in your love for star wars go out and watch some other films or read some real sci fi books.

Re:Star Wars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930401)

Thanks, we now understand you are indeed a Star Wars zealot. :-)
Personally, I let the person to define the Star Wars trilogy to be Lucas.
I'm glad to have the DVD's to understand how he wished the movies to be, in excelllent quality too.

And no, if Greedo and Solo shoots at the same time (as in the DVD), I don't consider it ruining Solo's character. After all, his consistent acting in like the rest of all movies shows very well what kind of person he is, if you'd ever doubt it. It's simple to see what he tried to illustrate -- that Greedo was a trained mercenary and not someone sitting like a dumbass at a table, and the evil one here. That doesn't make Solo less of a "bad boy" or skilled, especially since he's not the guy getting killed.

I think it's more about fearing change of their childhood memories that's raising some sort of mental block to all those SW geeks. I doubt any single change to better illustrate his intentions with SW would be considered "good" by you.

Summary of the article (5, Funny)

dirtsurfer (595452) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930292)

The Force is the ultimate plot device, and it's such an obvious plot device that even the characters themselves realize that their actions are being controlled by this plot device, so it becomes a post-modern plot device.

Cue fanfare and applause.

Re:Summary of the article (1)

monkaduck (902823) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930317)

And black turtlenecks and sunglasses.

Re:Summary of the article (1)

cyclomedia (882859) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930859)

plus:

dark side of force is making your own plot
light side of force is following the plot

Intellectual film eh (3, Funny)

cloudkj (685320) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930296)

When someone says avant-garde, Jar Jar Binks is definitely not the first thing that comes to mind....

Avant-garde? Intellectual?! (1, Funny)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930305)

the avant-garde, intellectual sort of film that Lucas keeps saying it is.

Darth Vader: Nooooooooooooooo!!

Fan Films (2, Informative)

ianmalcm (591345) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930322)

Star Wars is probably the best example of IT nerds meeting film geeks, and that pairing continues with all the fan films. Projects like http://www.impstherelentless.com/ [impstherelentless.com] bring the best of garage coders, animators, and home movie people together. And everyone wants to document their Star Wars fandom, from http://www.starwoids.com/ [starwoids.com] to http://www.starwait.com/ [starwait.com] to the most recent project, http://www.lininguptv.com/ [lininguptv.com] .

Re:Fan Films (2, Informative)

grimJester (890090) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930385)

Although it's not a Star Wars fan film, Star Wreck [starwreck.com] is a good example of IT nerds meeting film geeks.

It "needed" to happen (4, Insightful)

soul_hk (607396) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930336)

Jar-Jar and the prequels "needed" to happen so that Toys'R'Us could squeeze that bit more Star Wars junk on the shelves.

This article is a load of rubbish, unless of course if it is satire, in which case it is great.
That's a big "if" ladies and gentlemen.

It's all about the money. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930775)

Plot devices used to string plot holes together so that action figures can do their CGI dances.

Sell movies.
Sell games.
Sell action figures.
Sell Sell Sell.

A re-write of the new Trilogy. (2, Interesting)

actor_au (562694) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930349)

Okay, its only the first two movies of the new trilogy, as I got burned out by the time I hit 11 pages and just needed to sleep.

Basically if Lucas had wanted them to be artistic and not just popcorn it wouldn't have been difficult, he had a good story, just a poor execution, except for the end of the second movie and the end of the third movie, that bloody rocked.

Anyway here it is [kyhm.com] its as if Frank Herbert wrote them and George Lucas didn't suck enough to ruin them.

Could have been worse (1)

ChePibe (882378) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930396)

Hey, they could have come up with some nonsense about how the trilogy was really just pro-Nazi propaganda [kuro5hin.org] . I guess George gets things relatively easy.

A friend of mine had a good insight... (4, Insightful)

Dirtside (91468) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930400)

I was talking to a friend about Episode III. He pointed out, his words, "It was the best of Star Wars, it was the worst of Star Wars." You'd have an incredibly great moment followed immediately by something soul-crushingly stupid. The POV shot of Vader's mask coming down over his face; Vader's first breaths. Chilling.

Followed by Vader whining about where Padme is, and then, of course... "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Lucas is great at molding basic story material, but he can't write dialogue or characters to save his life. He should have stuck to producing, which is what he's really good at.

Re:A friend of mine had a good insight... (1)

TK2216UKG (733566) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930683)

"Followed by Vader whining about where Padme is, and then, of course... "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!""

Yes, you're absolutely right of course. It would have been much more credible for the character not to have given a damn about his wife because at that point he's wearing a mask and cloak.

What is this? (4, Insightful)

Bo'Bob'O (95398) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930403)

He's not impressing people with no interest in the arts. He's sure not fooling anyone who even casually takes this seriously. I guess is supposed to be a joke on both Star Wars fans and students of literature, but where is the Monty python foot next to the submission?

Satire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930432)

Quit treating this article like it's NOT a satire! Come on, you guys almost make me register a nickname here...

Re:Satire (1)

earthbound kid (859282) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930708)

"Satire" and "non-satire" is a binary distinction that post-modernism transgresses proactively.

Re:Satire (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930876)

Shut up, please.

The two categories are both (and nothing but) commentary.

You have to push it to be a joke. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930858)

If this is satire, or even humour, it fails. It doesn't push the boundry at all. This is someone's bad impression of a lit major saying Lucas is very smart.

Yeah, I bet that has them rolling in the aisles.

Now I will do my impression of a political science major buying name-brand cereal at the local co-op.

Wait! Wait! Don't leave. Here's my impression of a male math major doing laundry and finding a bra in the wash!

Boooring (1)

blitz487 (606553) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930415)

Sorry, I found the first SW interesting and engaging back in 1977, despite being silly. The rest of the SW movies were progressively sillier, and less interesting. With Sith, I kept looking at my watch I was so bored.

The Lord of the Rings, now there's a real plot.

Re:Boooring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930945)

LOTR? Plot?

LOTR is at best a travelogue of the New Zealand countryside with some makeup and fx thrown in. Boring, stupid (WTF is the power of the ring anyhow? Commands all men and turns them invisible?), and racist.

Maybe the books are better. I never read them. As stand alone movies they are awfull. All nine hours can be summed up as little bit of plot development followed by long streches of mindnumbing nothingness.

Postmodernism != muck (1)

concreationist (760560) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930422)

As an audience, we grapple with not just the intricate clockwork of a complex and interwoven narrative, but, in postmodern fashion, with the fundamental mechanics of storytelling itself.
Sorry, but blaming postmodernism can never excuse a poorly written script. I think the truth is these last three movies just don't bother trying to tell a convincing story - not out of some postmodern zeal for focusing on rushing the plot, but out of sheer laziness and utter disregard for the audience's intelligence. "Icky, icky goo!"

drunken proffessor (1)

kate.woodcroft (917831) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930479)

From that single observation of self reflexivity he leaps to: 'the greatest post-modern art film ever'? It's a little nuts. He's got a point about the circular self-referencing but it's too caught up in the cult movie context to he hailed as an art film and there's no evidence of Lucas's touting of the film as a postmodern masterpiece either (has anyone else heard this?). I think it's a case of a bad teaser. Had a few too many wines while deciding on the catchy headline.

What's in the box George? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930481)

You can polish it up nice and put in a fancy box, rap it in pretty paper, and put a few bits of glint and ribbon around it, but that doesn't change the fact that what you have is a lump of shit in a box.

kiss-kiss (1)

NNland (110498) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930543)

I've never seen someone fellate their boss more than in that interview. It was like watching the whole thing unfold through a bad Scooter Libby novel [newyorker.com] , only without the fiction.

Personally, I find this workflow [uci.edu] * to be a more likely scenario for how the recent Star Wars were made.

* the link is correct, image name includes original site, and posting date of image, for reference.

First trilogy box set - when? (1)

g.a.g (16798) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930594)

Does anyone have an idea when there will be a box set of the second (or first, whatever) trilogy? I just want to have one box, like I have the one box of the original trilogy.

avant-garde? (1)

Tetsugaku-San (717792) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930634)

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! (falls to knees)

Oh, come on... (1)

Zog The Undeniable (632031) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930685)

Let's be honest, George. The first one was a hit so you thought a sequel was in order. That was surprisingly good because someone else directed it, but since then you've been flogging a dead horse.

I'll let you off for Ep. III, because the last 30 seconds are a homage to Ep. IV ;-)

I think the discussion is missing it. (5, Insightful)

earthbound kid (859282) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930732)

It looks like the slashdot audience is getting really hung up on the whole, "Is the Slate piece a satire or not?" thing. The thing is, as I commented before, "'satire' and 'non-satire' is a binary distinction that post-modernism transgresses proactively."

What I mean, is that the author both is and isn't kidding. Also, I'm both kidding and not kidding when I say "transgresses binary distinctions." Here's a helpful analogy: Let's imagine you're writing a horror story. You write, "Start breathing harder. OK. Let your pupils dilate. Shake a little. Cower. Think about other scary stuff. Be worried that something might kill you soon!" How effective would this be as a horror story? The answer is not at damn all. The best way to make someone frightened isn't to say, "be frightened," it's to say a bunch of other stuff that inspires fear in them.

Similarly, the content of the Slate piece isn't the point. The author almost certainly doesn't care whether Star War is "post-modern" or "avant garde." Instead, the author likes challenging his brain, and wants you to enjoy challenging your brain. So, he's given himself a task: come up with a post-modern meta-framing of Star Wars. Now, we the audience are supposed to allow our brains to quiver with joy as we connect the dots and think about whether and how the Force as a meta-explanation for plot coincidences in Star Wars can be called post-modern. The author is almost certainly serious in that this explanation is a valid one for Star Wars. The author is almost certainly joking in suggesting that Star Wars is High Art. The author is both serious and not, and that's the point.

If the author had written, "let your brain light up with activity. Think about connections. Enjoy the tingling of neurons firing," it wouldn't be effective. Instead, we're supposed to accept what the piece gives us without trying to shoe horn it into the category of "joke" or "not a joke." We're supposed to be enjoying how the piece is and isn't a joke, not trying to make it fit what we think about the quality of the Star Wars movies.

You need to work on your satire. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930835)

Satire is supposed to be bitingly funny. Not pathetically shallow.

"Postmodernism" is a reaction to or evolution of "modernism". So your statement
The thing is, as I commented before, "'satire' and 'non-satire' is a binary distinction that post-modernism transgresses proactively."
makes no sense.

So, that could be satire, but what is it satirical about?
What I mean, is that the author both is and isn't kidding. Also, I'm both kidding and not kidding when I say "transgresses binary distinctions."
No. That wouldn't be "kidding". Maybe you're trying to be funny by using those words in that structure, but you aren't saying anything. There's no joke unless it is about people who use phrases such as that (like the author).

But that doesn't work as "satire" because you're not making me laugh at the author's work.
Now, we the audience are supposed to allow our brains to quiver with joy as we connect the dots and think about whether and how the Force as a meta-explanation for plot coincidences in Star Wars can be called post-modern.
Yeah, sure. Kind of like when you're really stoned at 3 am and suddenly that left over burrito in the 'fridge looks appetising and the late night movie looks interesting. But only when you're really stoned and you've been up for 22 hours.

Or like when your brain quivers with joy after too much vodka when you think you can sing.
The author is almost certainly serious in that this explanation is a valid one for Star Wars. The author is almost certainly joking in suggesting that Star Wars is High Art. The author is both serious and not, and that's the point.
Like you can be both stoned and drunk, right? And if the author really thinks that Lucas' poor writing is actual postmodernism, he should really put down the crack pipe.

Stringing together plot holes with plot devices and cardboard characters is nothing more (nor less) than poor writing.
Instead, we're supposed to accept what the piece gives us without trying to shoe horn it into the category of "joke" or "not a joke."
Square peg, square hole. Both named "poor writing". On Lucas' part and the author's.

That article is nothing more than the pseudo-intellectual ramblings that pass for the early morning stoner "insights".

Remakes, anyone? (2, Insightful)

zenmojodaddy (754377) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930762)

Now that we have all six films, we know that the main thrust of the story is Anakin Skywalker's fall and eventual redemption. The main story is good. The execution is patchy, to say the least. You can imagine Lucas sitting on a big pile of money at his ranch thinking "Now what this dark, tragic story really needs is an annoying rasta guppy fishman..'

So, this might be heresy, but I'd like to see a bunch of remakes in twenty years time, where the story isn't made up on the hoof and the budget for hiring writers is slightly higher than cake budget. Imagine Joss Whedon writing the dialogue...

Just as long as Han shoots first, natch.

It's FLASH GORDON with modern effects (3, Interesting)

nagora (177841) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930800)

The title sequence is a big clue, folks.

Lucas wanted to make a set of films which reminded him of the old-time matinee serials. Lots of adventure, light on plot, big on fun. Within that framework I think he succeeded pretty well 100%.

Now, it may well be the case that some of us don't want that, and it pretty well explains such nonsense as Jar-Jar and "going through the core" etc, but it seems obvious to me that it was what George wanted and I suspect he's a happy man when he looks at what he did. And, on the way, he did manage to produce six films about the bad guy, which I think is a great idea.

Chill out and repeat: "It's just Flash Gordon". You'll enjoy the films much more that way.

TWW

The idea is to do it BETTER. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930842)

Sure, it might be just like the old serials. But why did he limit himself to making a bad copy of them ... with incredibly expensive special effects?

If you want to take that approach, FireFly and Buffy did a better job, with less money.

Re:The idea is to do it BETTER. (1)

nagora (177841) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930891)

Sure, it might be just like the old serials. But why did he limit himself to making a bad copy of them ...

You've obviously not watched one of those old serials recently, they really were pretty bad. And: so what? Did Lucas say you had to share his vision? Has he ever really claimed that he was doing anything else? Ep. IV fits the pattern perfectly, so what did people expect in the other films? Doctor Zhivago? Well, alright, Ep. V had a lot of snow, but still...

If you want to take that approach, FireFly and Buffy did a better job, with less money.

I've never heard of Firefly but certainly Buffy was as self-indulgent as Lucas but I don't think that making seven series of repetitious, hack-written, predictable wank is really much better than writing six films of predictable, hack-written, and repetitious low-brow fun. It's a subjective call, although I'd LOVE someone to to explain how Sara Michelle Geller gets work.

Now "The Willow Half Hour" - that's a programme I'd watch! I have a script all worked out here...Oh, Yeah!

TWW

Post-Modern (1)

sparkydevil (261897) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930846)

A poorly-written article about a poorly-written movie.

What's it like to work for and with George Lucas? (1)

donnacha (161610) | more than 8 years ago | (#13930904)

It's fantastic. I supervised Episode II and III and so I was working closely with George and he is just amazing - his creativity, his vision and his ability to see the project in its completion. He knows what exactly what the film should look like so his direction is very clear and his decisions are always the right ones. They are what make the film beautiful. So it's a pleasure.
Or, in other words, I don't want to get fired!

who gives a sith? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13930921)

I mean, really?
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