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When Did Star Wars Jump the Shark?

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the meesa-think-it-was-jar-jar dept.

Star Wars Prequels 640

stm2 writes "As a long time fan of the stories, I watched as Star Wars transformed from one of the better sci-fi stories told to 'Whedon is my master now.' An article at the TechRepublic blog explores the weakness of the sequel trilogy and states that the Midi-chlorians are the culprit. Was it the Midi-chlorians, Jar Jar Binks, the actors? When did Star Wars jump the shark?. A bonus question: Did George Lucas redeem himself in Episode III?"

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640 comments

In Jedi (4, Insightful)

maciarc (1094767) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455845)

Ewoks. 'nuff said.

Re:In Jedi (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21455891)

The Wookie christmas special didnt help either.

Re:In Jedi (2, Informative)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456151)

Link [starwarsho...pecial.com] for the uninitiated...

Re:In Jedi (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21456191)

> Link for the uninitiated...

s/initiated/tainted

FTFY :)

That is a false thesis (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21455917)

Star Wars was never good. It all sucks. Assuming you are over eight.

Re:In Jedi (4, Insightful)

Psmylie (169236) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456019)

While it may not have jumped the shark quite yet, the Ewoks definitely put it on the ramp. That was the very first time that I was aware (as a kid) of Star Wars being movies designed to sell merchandise.

Jar Jar I can almost forgive, because the concept of putting in a fully computer-rendered photo realistic character IS pretty neat. They just really blew it with this particular one. But, Anakin being barely out of diapers when they found him pretty much blew it for me. And he was still too old to start training?!

Anakin building Threepio and Artoo showing up for no reason (other droids could have been used, why these two?), the painful, "do anything for a cheap laugh" antics of Jar Jar, horrible dialogue... and, of course, the midi-chlorians.. Bah, Episode 1 was so disappointing. Even for what was, supposedly, a movie intended for kids only, it was disappointing.

On the other hand, I cheered up a friend of mine after the movie by suggesting that, just maybe, midi-chlorians weren't the cause of Force-sensitivity, but the result of it. Like, they grow better in those who are Force-sensitive, but have no impact on the Jedi's ability to use the Force.

I like that, but I know it's not what Lucas intended. I'm just glad he didn't explore something like genetic engineering or "juicing" with midi-chlorian injections to make some sort of Super-sith.

Re:In Jedi (5, Funny)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456185)

I like that, but I know it's not what Lucas intended. I'm just glad he didn't explore something like genetic engineering or "juicing" with midi-chlorian injections to make some sort of Super-sith.

Shutupshutupshutup! He might read /.!

Well, no, but still, someone might tell him...

Re:In Jedi (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21456231)

The trouble with Ewoks was that they were just a bad gag - he wanted half a Wookie, so the.. name is ... half... a GAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Merchandising aside... that was just lame, even when you were 11, you knew it was lame.

But in SPITE of that, Jedi still rocked...

I can't think of a single good thing about Episode I.... emmmmmm..... wait wait.....

Obi- Eee - Wan wasn't bad.... emmm.... yeah. That was about it. OHH, Qui Gon's lightsabre cutting through a door with The Tune going on, that was cool too.

But I knew the minute I saw the opening ship shot NOT being a star destroyer going overhead that it was crap.

Nope, even before that...

THE EXACT MOMENT was the opening titles when it went on about some STUPID Trade disputes over tax or something. THE EVIL TRADE FEDERATION!!!?>>>>!>!>!>!>K??????!!!

I mean WTF x 1,000,000,000?>>>>>?????

Then a 2 hour sinking feeling began...

Sorry to disagree. (5, Interesting)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456257)

I was 10 when I watched The Return of the Jedi, and I liked the ewoks. Specially funny was the part when Luke used the Force because C3PO refused to impersonate a deity.

I also loved how the Ewoks managed to defeat the imperial forces with lo tech. That was a big plus for me, and in the end, Luke defeated the dark side and rescued dad.

And what's wrong with selling toys? I loved the Jedi action figures and the little two legged transports.

In my opinion, the movie was perfect. Now let me tell you, it was Ep 1 that jumped the shark. Midichlorians, no father, and let's not forget the new adventures of R2D2 and C3PO!

Ep2 was less awful, but Ep3 really screwed it. Even I could have come up with a better plot! I was hoping to see Anakin's corruption and how he began desiring power and destroying cities all along. Big disappointment.

Too old to start training (4, Funny)

EngrBohn (5364) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456259)

When 800 years old you have reached, a grumpy old muppet you will be. Deter others from training you will attempt. Rely on the old standbys you will.

People, just relax (5, Interesting)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456101)

I have always been a big fan of StarWars. I liked the filmd from the first time I saw them back in 1977 (yes, I'm that old). I liked the original trilogy and I enjoyed very much the new one.

My secret? I just relax and enjoy the ride. I know that this is not MY story, not MY movie but the vision of GL (good or bad). Even today I enjoy reading fairy tales to my son. And inmensly enjoy Pinoccio, Sleeping beaty , etc, and I'm not trying to search the explanation of why the she woke up with the princes kiss... Accpt it: it just happened so.

With the new trilogy I had NO EXPECTATIONS whatsoever. Yes, the episode 1 was sometimes silly whith tehe kid, but I like it. Midiclorians? The force? No diference to me. The could introduce the "infinite Delphian gravity cloack" and I would have accepted it. Jar jar? Silly but OK, as a silly sidekick can be.. The effects where great in my opinion and adeded a lot to the atmosphere.

People bitch as well with any new chapter of a sequel: Harry potter, StarTreck, Lost, you name it. Me? I enjoy the ride . And like them all? I'm I stupid? maybe, but hey, I have double fun.

Re:People, just relax (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456255)

I don't think there's anything bad about looking at our entertainment and saying why it's good or bad. It's no different than looking at a buggy computer program and saying "Next time, maybe we should do Y instead of X."

There is a fine line between being an anal fanboy who gets up tight over minutiae (Star Trek fans come to mind before Star Wars fans).

My opinion is that Star Wars became a joke through the 80's. It was kept alive through whatever merchandising gimmick could be thought up. The prequels certainly didn't help. The countless releases, action figures, etc etc.. There is very little EU content I like in the Star Wars Universe.

I like the OT for what went into it. It was the taking a chance, aiming big and for the era they did a really great job of pushing the envelope, that makes me watch them again when I feel nostalgic.

Re:In Jedi (1, Redundant)

TrevorB (57780) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456195)

The funny thing is that they're never actually called "Ewoks" in the movie. That name didn't show up until the action figurines came out. (Though in all fairness, they likely came out before the movie did)

Re:In Jedi (1)

Tiger4 (840741) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456197)

I never wanted a flamethrower so badly...

And the hosts popping in at the end was just painful. A swear I expected to see Walt Disney show up along with Obi-wan and Anakin.

In "A New Hope". Seriously. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21456207)

The only reason anyone considers the originals to be any good is the fog of nostalgia. "Star Wars" opened to terrible critical reviews and had the same wacky mix of good and terrible acting as "The Phantom Menace". Despite being a better film than its predecessor, "The Empire Strikes Back" was really no better or worse than "Attack of the Clones".

"Star Wars" is a pulp space-opera, fercryinoutloud... the exact same sort of hokey stuff writers were churning out for a penny a word in the 40s... these inflated standards of imagined quality are just typical fanboy nitpicking and bitching enhanced to the nth degree because of the series' iconic status among dorks, spazzes and geeks who grew up immersed in the stuff. Same deal with the "Special Editions" -- objectively, who can blame Lucas for wanting to spruce up those awful-to-mediocre movies, given their visibility?

Just like the original film and its sequels, the prequels were made to appeal to kids -- and just like the original film and its sequels, the marketing blitz that followed will ensure that, whatever your opinion as adults (anecdotally, most adults I knew in the late 70s thought "Star Wars" was dreck), an entire generation of kids will consider these movies classics.

Re:In Jedi (1)

Kythe (4779) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456235)

Ya know, it wasn't Ewoks per se for me, but ROTJ was definitely when the goofy, illusion-breaking "humor" started to wreck things. That "Chewbacca does tarzan" moment is still seared in my memory (and it was such a wonderful moment that it had to be reprised in ROTS).

The thing that I've never understood is how ANH and ESB escaped falling victim to the same thing.

Re:In Jedi (2, Interesting)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456289)

Star Wars jumped the shark halfway through jedi when it turned from a gritty juvenile science fiction/fantasy story into a children's book.

Jar Jar Binks was one of the two decent things about the entire set of three movies (Palpatine being the other). He was the only source of minor character conflict (the only one to get a rise out of a jedi), he was abrasive, he stirred emotions in the audience. The rest of the movies felt flat, emotionless with a lot of special effects. And I put it almost all on the director.

in the 20 years between 4 and 1 (5, Insightful)

themushroom (197365) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455851)

First post!

The trillogy ending where it did in 1983 was just fine. Coming back to it two decades later was jumping the shark.

Re:in the 20 years between 4 and 1 (1)

themushroom (197365) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455885)

I meant SIX and one, of course. And this would have really been the first post had I cheated and not actually said anything original, like what's above this one.

I'll let Vader answer this one. (5, Funny)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455857)

Did George Lucas redeem himself in Episode III?
"NNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooo!!!"

Re:I'll let Vader answer this one. (4, Funny)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455931)

DO NOT WANT!!!

Re:I'll let Vader answer this one. (1)

Demolition (713476) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456239)

How can this be modded off-topic? "Do not want" refers directly to the English translation of the Chinese interpretation of Darth Vader's anguished cry "NooooOOOoOOOoO!!" in Ep. III. See this page [winterson.com] for more info.

Re:I'll let Vader answer this one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21456273)

Correct you are. Want it I do not.

When Han Shot Second. (5, Interesting)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455861)

Jar-Jar and Midi-chorlians were just a symptom of the underlying disease. He only directed one of the first three movies (IV, V, & VI), and in that one, there were people who felt like they could challenge him when the dialogue was crap...Harrison Ford was famous for it, and I doubt very seriously that Alec Guiness would have spouted some of the tripe that came later. Other directors on the other movies made the whole thing more palatable.

Fast forward to the second set (I,II,III) and you see that not only does he feel that he is capable of directing all three movies now (ha!) but no one dares to dispute his character or dialogue choices and unnecesarry plot wankings...Things thrown in just as an excuse for visual effects masturbation. If there had been anyone who felt like they could stand up to him, I can't imagine some of the horrible bad calls (like the dialog of the whole of episode II) would have gone through.

Episode III was by far the best of the new set, but I wouldn't call it great by any stretch. The movie fricking starts with them landing half a fricking starship on a landing strip, rather than, you know, in a giant self-made crater. I know it's sci-fi, but come on. I'd have bought one of them levitating them to the ground using the Force (which doesn't make a ton of sense), but not a fricking crash landing.

In short, the whole mess had potential, but the dialog was terrible, and the actors looked uncomfortable, and there was waaaaaaaay too much "Hey this would look cool!" without a thought to what it meant for the plot.

Re:When Han Shot Second. (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455899)

The movie fricking starts with them landing half a fricking starship on a landing strip, rather than, you know, in a giant self-made crater. I know it's sci-fi, but come on. I'd have bought one of them levitating them to the ground using the Force (which doesn't make a ton of sense), but not a fricking crash landing.
these ships fly around in space, at faster than light travel -- AFTER they've already been shot full of holes. And the "fighters" bank, for crying out loud!

A "starship" being able to have an effective emergency landing is every bit as plausible as the starship in the first place.

Re:When Han Shot Second. (2, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455937)

No. Not "A starship"...HALF a starship, the half without the engines, iirc, which is somehow capable of navigating without the engines, staying in the air without wings, and not hitting the ground at terminal velocity.

I don't buy it. I'm sorry, but they introduce nothing plausible that would justify that, and yea, sure, it's fiction, but even fiction has to be internally consistent.

Re:When Han Shot Second. (2, Informative)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456097)

iirc

You do. HBO (or Showtime) have the movie on heavy rotation at the moment, and if it's at the beginning, I'll stop for a few minutes. Every time I see that sequence, I cringe. He basically glides an unpowered, multi-billion ton brick of metal from orbit to planetside. It's unreal.

Re:When Han Shot Second. (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456135)

Fair enough, that scene does have a few problems. However the ship's repulsor's do have to be taken into account, unless I'm mistaken they would be capable of countering gravity to an extent, enough that the ship's acceleration would be pretty minor, as well as giving it some maneuverability. It is one of those 'suspend your disbelief because this is really cool' scenes though.

Re:When Han Shot Second. (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456253)

I could have bought that if they'd gone into it at all. Brought the emergency generators online to get some power back (because logically the main power generation would have been back near the engines), fire up the repulsors, adjust the anti-gravity, etc...But not just grabbing the stick and swinging her in for a landing on the landing strip, mind you.

I just couldn't buy it. Like the "fighting-on-lava" scene. W. T. F?

Re:When Han Shot Second. (4, Insightful)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456275)

I don't buy it. I'm sorry, but they introduce nothing plausible that would justify that, and yea, sure, it's fiction, but even fiction has to be internally consistent.
That's just it -- it is. Star Wars is a science-fantasy where you can pop across the galaxy in a week. where "repulsors" are so cheap and reliable that no one uses wheels anymore, where the speed of light means nothing, tiny space fighters work just as well in atmosphere (and never need heat shielding), and anything that looks vaugely like a spaceship can land, fly, and do pretty much whatever it wants.

And in this universe, of all things to complain about, you're bitching that a military vessel can't have enough layers of redundancy to limp home after being half destroyed?

The very first time you heard an X-wing "swoosh" should have told you all you need to know about Star Wars: physics takes a back seat to moviemaking, and the crash landing you're complaining about is entirely consistant with that.

Re:When Han Shot Second. (1)

BlueshiftVFX (1158033) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456121)

yes and with the faster then lightspeed the pilots encounter no time dilation what so ever. they are able to travel from planet system to planet system as if on a flat absolute time. but I most of all agree with the parent title, When Han Fired Second. I remeber all excited to see the digitally restored version in the theatre, and then that turd happened what the PhuQ! how can a professional bounty hunter miss from 3 feet away? was it like some kind of ultra inacurate at 3 feet blaster? As a kid I thought Greedo was cool even though he only lived for 30 seconds in the movie, but after seeing the new one he was made to be pathetic. Han also lost his scruffy nerf-herder edge by no longer being the bad ass rebel he was.

Did George Lucas redeem himself in Episode III? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21455863)

A bonus question: Did George Lucas redeem himself in Episode III?

The obvious answer: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Two Words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21455869)

Holiday Special.

Because any further comment would induce vomiting or unstoppable, maniacal laughter, here are two helpful links to the shark jumping incident:

  * http://www.starwarsholidayspecial.com/ [starwarsho...pecial.com]

  * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Star_Wars_Holiday_Special [wikipedia.org]

Re:Two Words... (1)

themushroom (197365) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455901)

Hmm, conceptually there was a shark-jump. But if you stick to the movie series itself, it's later.

Re:Two Words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21455979)

Point taken.

I christen the "Holiday Special" as the "Great Shark Jump Foreshadowing of 1978."

Re:Two Words... (5, Funny)

laird (2705) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456201)

Hmm. For the Star Wars Holiday special to have been "jumping the shark" it has to meet the definition of "jumping the shark" and it has to have taken place after the term "jumping the shark" was in use.

in terms of dates, Fonzie jumped the ahark in September 20, 1977. The Star Wars Holiday Special was broadcast on November 17, 1978. So, technically, it could have been, though the JumpTheShark.com web site claims that the term "jumping the shark" was invented in 1985, in which case the 1978 special couldn't have been "jumping the shark".

In terms of substance, the Star Wars Holiday Special is undoubtedly horrible. But to "jump the shark" a TV show needs to be declining, then attempt an "over the top" stunt in order to try to regain popularity. In 1978 Star Wars was incredibly popular, so the special couldn't have been an attempt to recover declining popularity. And, if you've watched it, there was nothing even remotely "over the top" in the special, just pathetically bad.

So I'd say that, both in terms of dates and substance, the Star Wars Holiday Special wasn't when Star Wars "jumped the shark". It was horrible, certainly, but it was a reverse "jump the shark" in that it was a pathetically bad attempt to capitalize on Star Wars' popularity.

Luckily Lucas was smart enough to prevent it from ever being shown again - it was only broadcast once, and never released on videotape or DVD.

Too much backstory exploration (5, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455883)

In my humble opinion, it was going back and taking the myths and legends which awed us (who the Jedi and Sith had been, how the Empire changed the galaxy) and acting them all out, while giving the prequels few myths and legends of their own to compensate. It made the series feel too much like some self-contained construct, a fantasy world dreamed up in its entirety, with no mysteries that the audience's imaginations could explore. The huge number of links into the "classic" trilogy also destroyed the sense of scale by making it seem like everybody in the series new everybody else. I know about small world networks, but that's not how an epic should feel. So you wound up with something that had all the enormity and mystery of a plastic diorama.

Re:Too much backstory exploration (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456071)

You'd have to go back and see the first three. The jump quite obviously happened in ep 6. Those stupid ewoks almost made me puke back in 83. I couldn't even make the argument that it went downhill from there, all that happened was that the people that could almost act were removed from the story, and you were left with... Episodes 1-3.

As for 3 being a redemption? Don't make me laugh. Just because it was by far the best of the second 3 doesn't mean it was better than ep 4 or 5, probably the best of the lot. One day I'll go back and maybe watch them all in short order, except I'll edit Eps 1 and 2 down to the 20m intro it was meant to be for the 60m ep 3, which should result in 1 watchable 80m movie. I don't know that you can fix ep 6 without reshooting large portions of it, or maybe the whole thing, since the entire premise is a large stinking pile.

Re:Too much backstory exploration (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456079)

For a long time I had a hard time putting my hand on what was wrong at the core of the prequel trilogy. There was obvious stuff like midichlorians and Jar Jar Binks, there was also the ponderous political bits.

To me the attempt at political commentary and Jar Jar Binks are tolerable, if annoying aspects of the prequels, but the midichlorians are the real symptom of the disease. Lucas knew enough about myths to invoke some rather powerful ones in the original trilogy, so clearly he's not all that incompetent, but there's something so ham-fisted about how he tried to "explain" things in the prequels. Whether it was the midichlorians or the Christ-like conception of Anakin, it just came off as shallow rip-offs of both science and mythology, without any real attempt at proper integration.

Worse, none of it really fit all that well with what we saw in the original movies. I was never really convinced throughout the prequels that I was watching the events that lead up to Episode IV. The burden was huge for the prequels because, ultimately, we already knew how they were going to end, so there should have been a lot more effort put into making them captivating stories.

Re:Too much backstory exploration (1)

Trails (629752) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456129)

[quote]So you wound up with something that had all the enormity and mystery of a plastic diorama[/quote]
At least the wookie wasn't bent!

Hasn't Yet (1)

darth_MALL (657218) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455887)

Admittedly Ep I and II were thin but this was redeemed in III. It's still a really good story arc and with the several hundred hours of new story to come in the 2 TV series (not to mention the original animated Clone Wars) I should hopefully hold water for a long time to come. Especially if GL is not in the Directors chair.

computer graphics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21455897)

actors reading a bad script and not even being on a set.. standing in front of a huge blue screen (green screen?) and doing a very bad job of visualizing ouTERSPACE while talking to each other.. or even worse talking to nonexistent computer generated characters. just not any way to pull that off without it being campy as all hell..

also there were a lot of very poor plot decisions and casting calls. george thought he could get away with half-assing it, and he did.. but at the cost of respect and not money.

Re: Casting Disasters (5, Informative)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456249)

I thought casting Hayden Christensen is on this list. The original Vader was played by a fellow who was nearly 6' 7" / 250lbs and a former champion-contender level bodybuilder who has remained committed to his work ever since. The voice was provided by the most iconic voice actor of the last century.

His replacement is about 6' 1" / 190lbs, needed a special effects suit to fake the transformation, and at one point decided "Hollywood no longer interested him" after being handed the role of the decade over some 400 other applicants. (Though IMDB reports he's been involved in a few things since.)

http://www.askmen.com/gossip/hayden-christensen/hayden-christensen-to-quit-acting.html [askmen.com]

sorry, Star Wars != science fiction (1)

seven of five (578993) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455905)

Star Wars explores no scientific principles in a fictional context. Rather, it's space opera - dramatic story with whizzing space ships, bleeping robots, and fuzzy aliens set to a dramatic musical score.

Probably when I was about 20 ... (5, Insightful)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455909)

and realized the original trilogy was never that great after all.

Fucking A (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21456111)

I was 9 when Star Wars came out and I fucking loved that shit. But let's face it, it's a franchise for children.

*gasp* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21456193)

Blasphemer! Get thee behind me!

Midichlorians (4, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455911)

Yeah, midichlorians were a pretty big issue for me. I was more than happy to forgive Lucas' usual faults and excesses, but that one was stupid.

It's been mentioned before, but you also have to remember that he's a shit storyteller. I like to call him the anti-Stephen King: He comes up with some great plots, but when it comes to writing a coherent narrative or three-dimensional characters, he's always been hopeless, and the original trilogy bears that out to a great extent. Most of us were kids at the time and mostly missed all that, we were too busy gawping at the lightsabers and other cool stuff.

As for Episode 3 being some kind of redemption, sorry no. Granted, all the work he put into 1 and 2 reach some neat and satisfying conclusions, but he still managed to deliver a highly-flawed and (as usual) stodgy movie.

Plus, it would have helped if we saw more of Darth Vader than than pathetic and brief scene we get of him in the end. I'm not one for ragging on artists when they don't deliver exactly what the fanboys want, but the "birth" of Darth Vader scene was very weak sauce.

Not the anti-Stephen King, just Stephen King. (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456039)

Who also writes terrible stories with lame plots and card-board characters.

Midichlorians , pfft... (0, Offtopic)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456113)

that was so lame. at least he should have used MP3chlorians! Hmm... now that I think of it, does the Light side of the Force use OGGchlorians instead?

Not Midi-chlorians (4, Insightful)

niceone (992278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455915)

He says it was Midi-chlorians because "Jedi, you see, aren't made, they're born. They're of the blood, nobility, maybe even a master race". So no point fantasising about training yourself to be one - as the author did during the first trilogy.

But I think if you had been paying attention in the first trilogy you might also have come to the conclusion that Jedi are born not made - or was is coincidence that two of the most powerful Jedi just happened to be FATHER and SON!?

Re:Not Midi-chlorians (1)

grub (11606) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456007)


maybe even a master race

The Jedi are German?

Re:Not Midi-chlorians (1)

Serge_Tomiko (1178965) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456271)

Germans, no matter what their political stripe, never referred to themselves as a "master race". Remember, the Germans were fighting the British and French - the people who brutally subjugated every non-white race on the planet as they believed they were inherently inferior and in need of European domination. In contrast, Germany and Japan were fighting against the Anglo-American control of world trade and domination of the world's people.

British propaganda has always been characterized as chutzpa, but none of moreso than the claim that British Empire, that controlled 2/3 of the globe, somehow saved the world from a little country the size of Texas that was bent on world domination due to their belief they were the "master race".

Re:Not Midi-chlorians (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456037)

I disagree. They tried to make it 'science like' which made it harder to suspend disbelief.
"The force is strong with this one" was enough.

People knew that a family may be stronger in the force, and that was all the audience needed.

It also flies in the face of the, 'mystic quality' of the force set up in 4,5,6. So people who enjoyed those movies felt disappointed.

I just watched EP1 with my 10 year old son, and he enjoyed. Three things would have improved it for me:
1) drop the midi-chlorians
2) Tighter editing. They could have chopped 30 minutes off it.
3) In the end, have had Jar-Jar release the spheres on purpose. This wuld have made him wierd because he was an Alien, and not just some bumbling idiot version of the trix rabbit.

There where other little things that I though could be changed, but those were the biggies..and I suppose anakin not accidentally taking off, accidentally getting to the station, accidentally blowing up the station, and the accidentally escaping could have been done better. My son enjoyed it, as did many youngsters, so it was ok.

Re:Not Midi-chlorians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21456147)

Anakin was Yoda's son?

I had no idea ;-)

1977 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21455939)

It had already jumped the shark before the first movie was released, because the talentless hack Lucas pretty much stole everything from real sci-fi novels such as Dune.

He stole the first movie from Hidden Fortress. (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456109)

By Akira Kurosawa. Basically scene for scene, character for character.

At least he stole the first one from the best. Why not every body else steels from Kurosawa e.g. Magnificent Seven, Last Man Standing etc etc. Kurosawa himself stole from Shakespear (Ran is just King Lear in feudal Japan with awesome camera work).

Everything was downhill from there.

The only good movie Lucas ever made was 'American Graffiti'. He couldn't make that film today if he tried.

what it's really about... (4, Insightful)

HeavensFire (1161917) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455945)

people are fickle. it really isn't the plot, characters, acting, writing or special effects that people fall in love with -- its how it made them feel at the time. and when a sequal fails to reproduce those feelings, it automatically becomes "not as good as the original," regardless of the technical aspects. this is something you can see the world over in many different areas of interest. (computer games for example.) i don't believe the first trilogy is any better or worse then the prequel -- just different.

dumb ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21455957)

George is a lucky guy that takes a too quantitative view of the development cycle.
My guess is they were so concentrated on getting every detail correct and trying not to mess up they lost sight of the art and innovation. George does have the business kahones though.

my take on this is:
prequel concept was a dumb idea
making a kids movie was a dumb idea (kids don't even want to see kids movies)
removing the pseudo religious aspect and focusing on Midi-chlorians was a dumb idea
actor choice poor with zero character development for them
no semi-sophisticated humor

let's see an episode7 that shows hans kids and a new race of jedis being trained in a brave new world.

Slow News Day (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21455961)

Ye gods, I know it's a slow news day. But this....

on the front page.....

It's a slashdot of a blog about Star Wars, 8 years after the most recent offensive started, 2 years after it ended.

It's not even a long blog, and it has it's own comment section. Why does this deserve a slashdotting?

Maybe if you ran a banner add over it for the stars wars kitch on ThinkGeek, it might have been excusably evil. But no, you boned that one as well.

And I read it, then I commented...... somebody get me the eye bleach and a shot of common sense.

*sigh*

Re:Slow News Day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21456243)

One of the worse bits about the blog format is that a story never is on the back page. We have thus had a long series of last straws, culminating in each one and hemorrhaging readers to digg.

Jabba the Hut in the original trilogy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21455965)

Jabba the Hut in the original trilogy!

Never jumped the shark... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21455975)

Star Wars never "jumped the shark," it just got annoying real quick-- 30 years later and in most places you can't go a day in "real life" without hearing a Star Wars reference, let alone on the internet.

Star Wars is just the worst type of pollution, plain and simple.

When? (1)

grub (11606) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455977)


When Did Star Wars Jump the Shark?

After Empire Strikes Back. After Lucas' fucked with Greedo and Han. After "This new release on super-mega DVDHD-BluRay-VHS-Beta-Widescreen is my true vision!" was sold to the fans however many times over the years.

Ewoks (4, Funny)

kabdib (81955) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455989)

Easy. Ewoks.

_Return of the Jedi_ ended about five minutes early. After the Rebels blow up the Big Round Thing II, there are a bunch of perfectly good Star Destroyers left in orbit. While the credits are rolling, they fire up their blasters and start toasting Ewoks.

I would pay to see that.

Everything in the SW universe was crap after the first Ewok appeared on screen. That was the moment I realized George Lucas had sold out whatever integrity he had as a story-teller, and that from then on his real customers were the ones collecting cheap tie-in garbage at MacDonald's, Burger King and Toys-R-Us. (The appearance of Jar-Jar merely epoxied shut any hope that Lucas had of redeeming himself. I went to the remaining films only because they were "group morale events" that my employers paid for; I would not have spent my own money going -- and frankly, these events did not do much for anyone's morale, that I could see).

The movies didnt change the audience did (1)

jmyers (208878) | more than 6 years ago | (#21455993)

The kids who grew up on the original trilogy (like me) were too young to care about bad acting and poor scripts. There were cool spaceships and we liked the goofy characters such as c3po. When the second trilogy started we were now older and didn't like goofy characters (jar-jar) and bad acting, i.e. the special effects are no longer enough.

Ep 3 almost redeemed him (2, Interesting)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456003)

Lucas almost redeemed himself. Until the entire dumb Anakin kills Padme sequence -- which by itself was probably survivable -- followed by Vader howling in girlish pain over a murder he knew he was going to commit. Also, it is hard to figure, especially after watching Ep 3, just how stoopid Vader had to be to not blame the Emperor and seek revenge for what was obvious: the Emperor pushed Anakin into killing Padme in order to bring him over to the Dark Side.

Lucas took a painfully simple view of human nature. Anakin would have had to have been dumber than a bag of hammers to not get the hustle that was played on him.

Until you actually see the Emperor toying with Vader in Ep 3, it remains believable that Vader would be willing to be the Emperor's lieutenant. When you see how obvious and clumsy the Emperor's actions were, it just makes Anakin/Vader look even more gullible and childish and simple than he already was portrayed in Ep 1 and Ep 2.

Re:Ep 3 almost redeemed him (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456059)

Yea, that pretty much killed it for me all the way through. I thought Ep1 could have been salvaged by removing JarJar and turning Anakin from a "gee whiz!" 9 year old, to a "gee whiz (sarcasm)" 13 year old...think about it...Every one of his lines delivered exactly the same, but with sarcasm. Mmmm.

Anakin is played so shallowly in every single episode...I don't even blame the actor, because he clearly didn't have much say in it. Give the poor bastard a flaw or something, make him turn for greed or to get the girl, something with real motivation, not this saintly crap which just doesn't fly...

Re:Ep 3 almost redeemed him (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456209)

Even the way Anakin goes to the Dark Side doesn't really work. I know what Lucas was trying to do, it's just another version of the reworked cantina scene from Episode IV where he decided he didn't like Han Solo being ruthless enough to kill Greedo.

Couldn't Anakin simply have fallen for the idea of power itself, without the justification being the saving of Padme? Did he need that kind of a motivation?

Re:Ep 3 almost redeemed him (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456283)

Yea, I'd have been fine with that...Would have made for some excellent drama between him and Padme if he'd turned over time, not just over the course of like 10 minutes. Would have also been cooler for there to be an actual standup fight against the Jedi as well, but since they're near-omnipotent, they'll all have to be simultaneously taken by surprise.

Yea, he basically went through and stripped all the real flaws from his characters, which makes them about as bland and uninteresting as it is possible to be.

How the Emperor kept Vader as an ally (2, Funny)

EngrBohn (5364) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456167)

"The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded."

Star Wars (4, Insightful)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456015)

star wars is fairly cool in other peoples hands (Original trilogy, KOTOR, KOTOR 2, Republic comanda etc..) but when Lucas has direct and unchecked control of it he ruins it because basically he isn't a fan of his own work. That and he gets really bad ideas along with pretty good ideas. When othe rpeople have their hand in it it editorilizes his ideas and the shit gets dropped.

Before:

Lucas: "hey harrison, I want you to shoot after guido shoots at you."

Harrison: "You know what george, fuck you. Han is supposed to be a bad ass with a good side not a boy scout with a furry for a friend."

Now:

Lucas: "I want you to put in a CG rhasta with teeth grindingly bad dialogue"

ILM grunt: "Yes mr. pays my bills and whose opinion my career hinges on"

Holy shit, redeem himself? (1)

CanSpice (300894) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456017)

Episode 3 was the worst of the bunch! I honestly fail to see how anybody could see Lucas redeeming himself with Episode 3. I thought my eyes were going to pop out of my head with all the eye-rolling I was doing through it. Seriously, do people actually think it's good?

Re:Holy shit, redeem himself? (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456205)

Well, I'd say good compared to I and II, but not on any reasonable scale.

The only thing that made 1 worth watching were isolated instances of Jedi whoopass. You could cut the whole rest of the movie, and it wouldn't make any difference.

II...Jesus Christ, II was a disaster. Worst dialog of the whole series, the supposed building of a love interest was horrible...No chemistry AND no dialog? Come on! It was all weak sauce. Even the jedi-whoopass wasn't all that great. The Yoda-ninja scene was amusing, but it didn't add any gravitas to the character.

III...Well, three had better dialog than II, and less Jar Jar than I. Anakin was more bearable as evil, but the crappy dialog that brought him to that point...Sheesh. Wouldn't have taken much more than a pamphlet to bring him back over to the right side, if that's how strong his convictions are. Tons of seriously implausible crap though. The "Sea of Lava" saber fight at the end was pretty much beyond my tolerance...Jedi are flame retardant now? What are they breathing? Anakin can catch fire on the edge of the lava later, but not while standing on a METAL droid that's half submerged in it? I sprained my suspension of disbelief, but even so I still thought it was the best of the 3.

When Lucas started believing his press releases (1)

Hawthorne01 (575586) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456021)

The first three where joint efforts: His wife helped with the editing, two other guys directed the ESB and ROTJ, and Lucas had Larry Kasden to help punch up the scripts.

The last three had none of that. Lucas believed the "Star Wars, c'est moi!", and we ended up with JarJar, midichlorians, and "I have the high ground".

Once Lucas actually started believing that he alone was responsible for the success of Star Wars, it was over.

Star Wars was never good (1)

Soiden (1029534) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456045)

What helped Star Wars to gain so much popularity were just two things: -Incredible special effects by its time. -Darth Vader. I think the story of SW is not very depth, in fact, it is very simple, and actors from before and now were always of average quality [Except of Harrison Ford]. SW is[was] a phenomenon because of special effects, and teh character Darth Vader, with his evil look and voice. I like SW, but it's not THAT good to deserve such analysis, I think.

Fuggin chlamydians (3, Insightful)

Mark_in_Brazil (537925) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456065)

I prefer that name. In addition to making fun of one of the stupidest aspects of the prequel trilogy, it also raises an interesting question: could the whole Darth Vader situation (and with it, the Galactic Empire) have been avoided with a simple dose of penicillin?
In the original trilogy, the Force was magic. There was no need to explain "how it works;" Obi-wan's explanation in ANH of what it is and what it does was sufficient. Nobody has to ask how Merlin's magic or Gandalf's magic works. It's magic, fercryinoutloud! Similarly, there's no need to explain how the Force works. It's the Force fercryinoutloud!
As much as I was looking forward to Episode I, I was totally disappointed by it pretty much from the beginning, and the moment at which I knew it was totally blown and wasn't going to get better was when Qui-gon started blabbing about the chlamydians or whatever. Stupid technobabble worthy of the absolute worst episodes of ST:TNG (gawd... I now wonder: how do tetrions affect chlamydians?), and worse, it reduced what had been magic to a mere blood condition.
Also, as TFA notes, being a great Jedi suddenly stopped being decided by training in the Force and became a mere accident of birth, which is much less appealing to me, as it is to the author of TFA.
Episode III was the least awful of the prequel trilogy, but the world would be better off if the three had never been made. The original trilogy is still great, though. Star Wars (ANH) is still one of my all-time favorite films. I was 8 when it came out, and that was 30 years ago, so you know I'm rapidly approaching 40, but I still feel a childlike sense of wonder when I watch that movie. Even the awful prequel trilogy can't ruin that for me. I just pretend the prequels don't exist. Besides, that way, Darth Vader's revelation to Luke in TESB, and what Luke figures out on Dagobah in ROTJ are actually surprises.
I plan to show my kids the original trilogy. If they end up somehow seeing the crap prequels afterward, that's their problem, but I won't be responsible for it. I'll show them something awesome and let them decide, knowing how Dad doesn't like the prequels, whether they want to watch them or not.

Not very interesting (5, Insightful)

Zelos (1050172) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456075)

Eps 1-3 are dull because they tell the backstory. We already know how it ends, we already know pretty much what happens. So there's no tension and no surprise. They stretch out what made an interesting few paragraphs in the original trilogy to 3 films.

Technique (1)

CleverNickedName (644160) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456081)

Jar-Jar and Midi-chorlians are no worse than Ewoks and handmade lightsabers.

The series jumped the shark when the actors were forced to stand in green rooms for short takes. Emote, damn you! EMOTE!

JTS Moment (2, Funny)

Stavr0 (35032) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456099)

riiight ...
ANAKIN
I want to go.

about ...
QUI-GON
Then, pack your things. We haven't much time.

ANAKIN
Yipee!!

Re:JTS Moment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21456157)

Why did you have to make me relive this? argh.

The rot started with Ep VI (1)

ProteusQ (665382) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456117)

...and IMHO, the franchise never recovered. Episode III has _so_ many flaws; its only redeeming value was that it beat Eps I and II. Well, so did "The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra", and that film had a budget of $100K.

Lucas lives in his own world. He will die believing that the fans underrated his movies and that they'll be considered classics by 2050.

It's a Matter Of Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21456123)

No, I'm not going to go into Lucas needing to support his donut habit. Instead I mean I can't answer "Did George Lucas redeem himself in Episode III?" because after Episode I, I was never going to pay to see any subsequent movies and right now (having recently moved to SF) I don't have cable. Frankly, I think it's kind of sad that people who are not and have no young children went back for another helping after Episode I and even worse - from what I heard of Episode II - that they went back for Episode III.

I think the problem is that we generally think of Star Wars as being better than it actually is. If you replace ESB with a Lucas directed Star Wars movie, suddenly even the original trilogy looks dubious. The original was exciting but also clunky in direction and acting. ROTJ's main selling points are the Vader death and Leia being the sister - what do you get if you take those two out? Singing teddy bears, various creepy looking aliens of little consequence to the movie, and Carrie Fisher in a bikini. Without ESB the original Star Wars would still be a classic popcorn movie, but seen more as a fluke from a mediocre director and writer.

Also, can we please say "Fuck You" to Lucas's revisionist history? It was not and is not "Episode IV: A New Hope", it's the fucking original Star Wars movie.

Presenting a concept vs. beating you over the head (4, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456145)

with it.

Many good movies will often have a concept, or a message, or something for you to think about after the credits roll. However, good movies also let you draw your own conclusions from the film and aren't usually incredibly overt in presenting it. This is what the first starwars trilogy did. You had the concepts of good vs. evil, predestination vs. free will etc, but you weren't constantly beat over the head with those themes. The prequels are more like the Matrix sequels in that the messages are repeated over and over again till you just don't care. Also, hiding behind intentionally confusing and/or terse dialog doesn't make you "profound" it makes you annoying....

simple (1)

benjamin_pont (839499) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456179)

star wars lost its way when it lost its sense of humor and started taking itself too seriously. at the end of the day...it's...just...entertainment

Prequels - too many of them. (1)

OSXCPA (805476) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456189)

Consider how bad the prequels were. Three overlong, dragging, exposition-heavy, leaden-dialogue-laden messes.

Now imagine if they were one film, covering the periods II-III with I only seen a few times in flashbacks to when Anakin first met the Jedi ("We didn't come here to free slaves..."). Leave off 90% of Anakins' lines. Leave the brooding. Leave off the clone sequences, except that the soon-to-be emperor ordered up an army. You have a coup, and a trained Jedi (Anakin) who as he has grown up has had as his central life-issue, "Why did I take up with these self-righteous bastards who are so hooked on my being obedient and 'selfless' that they made me leave my mother rotting in slavery?" Such an individual might be seduced by one such as Palpitane, who promises power to live a life 'of consequence, or conscience...'

They jumped the shark when they planned the prequels as they did.

It jumped way earlier than Episode I... (1)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456199)

STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL. The only reason the original trilogy survived as it did was because Lucas a) did not direct and b) did not write the screenplays for Eps V and VI. And when he DID start to take more control over the property, what did we get? The made-for-TV warning of what was to come... EWOKS: THE BATTLE FOR ENDOR. Ugh.

Tarantino Prequels? (1)

SEGV (1677) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456203)

I was just thinking earlier today, what if Quentin Tarantino had directed the Star Wars prequels? Now that would have been interesting. It's got me genuinely curious what he might have done with the Star Wars universe and its films.

Episode 5 (1)

Rahga (13479) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456221)

The Hidden Fortress angle in Episode 4 revolved around the fact that everybody was either a pawn or appeared to be a pawn, in service of either the empire or the rebellion. In truth, Chewbacca was as close to being the supreme commander of the rebellion's forces and R2D2 was the greatest champion, but rather than build on these angles, Luke was the gifted chosen one, and the focus on the little people were lost, replaced by war scenes featuring literal little people in the form of Ewoks.

It's as if a series of movies about a WWII fighter squadron quickly expanded into a series that focused on a war of words between Hitler and Roosevelt. It just wouldn't make for an entertaining story.

*Jumped* the shark??? (1)

rwyoder (759998) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456241)

Good god the original is THIRTY years old! No one under 30 can even remember a time *before* Star Wars! Not only has it jumped the shark, but the shark has died of old age! I am old enough remember when the original was released, but too old to remember when I still cared about the series.

The interregnum between Jedi and Phantom (1)

vudufixit (581911) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456267)

Eps IV - VI had a sense of fun and derring-do that the prequels could never match. Somehow, it was lost while EP1 gestated in Lucas' brain. It also doesn't hurt that the Rebel Alliance vs. Empire plot unfolded already... the rest was filling in the backstory.

A long time ago in a Galaxy far far away (1)

x1n933k (966581) | more than 6 years ago | (#21456279)

Honestly I've thought a lot about this issue. I've watched all the movies many many times.

To start, the episodes 1, 2 and 3 weren't so unlike the original trilogy. The story was mostly G-rated, with not a lot of blood and violance (although 4,5,6 re-release I noticed the scenes added/updated seemed much more violent than the original) It seemed like the same formula however. We had Jar Jar as our 3PO, Obi-Wan as our Han solo, Anakin was basically Luke and the Universe faced the same situation.

I think most of us Adults forget that these movies were obviously aimed at a different audience, look at the fight scenes, the love scenes the political dialog, all of it isn't complicated--a 6 year old could follow it easily. I feel like these movies were mostly a sell-out. The toys, the backpacks, the snacks, even the characters seemed aimed at Children. Anakin was a 8 year old--perfect to create an idol for 8 years of merchandise purchases.

If we watch the actors, we can see that they're really laying on the Cheese. Ewan McGregor is a good example, I think this was his worst role I've ever seen him in.

I lost my steam on this post, but in all, these movies are exactly what I expected. If I want to enjoy the Star Wars universe I will always be more happy with the Books and few video games (SW: SOTE for N64 comes to mind).

No, Lucas didn't redeem himself on the 3rd I think it was actually a shame, it seemed like he tried to make all his fanboys happy and really didn't do a great job.

[J]
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