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Star Wars Prequels Editorial Media Movies

Can Star Wars Episode III Be Saved? 905

Posted by michael
from the nope dept.
mcwop writes "MSNBC is running a commentary asking: 'Can "Star Wars: Episode III" be saved?' It proposes changes such as ripping off Akira Kurosawa, getting the otherwise good actors to emote, and even firing Lucas. It is one year away, but is it too late to save Episode III?"
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Can Star Wars Episode III Be Saved?

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  • Simple answer: no (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Gothmolly (148874) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:46AM (#9204552)
    It can't be saved, because it is exactly what people demand. American culture makes this movie inevitably what it will be. Does this condemn Lucas, or the low standards of the viewing consumer?
  • Does Lucas Know? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Paulrothrock (685079) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:48AM (#9204569) Homepage Journal
    Does Lucas know how people feel? Does he listen to the criticism? Does he realize it is hurting his reputation as a filmmaker? Is that his real neck or did he get implants? Am I asking too many questions???
  • by Moderation abuser (184013) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:48AM (#9204580)
    I.e. to cash in on the success of the original series. It doesn't have to be *good* to do that. It only has to have "Star Wars" in the title.

    It'll serve it's purpose. Unless you are planning not to bother going to see it, which as geeks and nerds, I frankly don't believe.

  • Star warts.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by darkjohnson (640563) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:49AM (#9204599) Homepage
    The script is done..they're filming now...too late this franchise has jumped the shark. I think the working title is Darth and Robin...
  • by xeeno (313431) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:49AM (#9204600) Homepage
    If you save episode 3, you lose the result of finally driving a nail into the star wars franchise.

    Think of it: one good move after at least 3 crappy sequels. Statistically, if you encourage this jackass to keep on making movies 75% will be shit.

    Please. Let it die.

  • by greymond (539980) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:49AM (#9204605) Homepage Journal
    "it is exactly what people demand"
    - only those younger than 10 years old could ever appreciate Jar Jar Binks....I don't think he was demanded at all.

    "American culture makes this movie inevitably what it will be"
    - In that everyone who enjoyed episodes 4-7, hates episodes 1-3? ok, but I don't see how thats "American Culture's" fault....it's more like Lucas's fault for writing and directing 3 shitty movies made for kids(kids=10yrs and younger)
  • Saving Ep. 3 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Skyshadow (508) * on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:51AM (#9204634) Homepage
    The story's pretty much a rehash of what we've all been saying since we were walking out of Episode 1, but it's funny and hard to argue with. This in particular brought a smile to my face:

    When Lucas shows up, knock him out, encase him in a block of frozen carbonite and put him out of the way somewhere until the movie is out in theaters.

    The only problem being, of course, that you shouldn't let him out after Ep. 3 lest he decide to somehow sully my other fond childhood memories, perhaps by stealing my box of photos and defecating in it.

    Anyhow, the article addresses the basic irony of Star Wars: That the guy who created it has also done the most the drive it into the ground, and that success has allowed him to do so more completely than ever. We all knew going in that Lucas can't direct, he can't write dialog, and yet here we go again...

    Personally, I just thank God that this decade has had the LOTR trilogy to call its own. It was what we were hoping the new Star Wars movies would be.

  • by mrtroy (640746) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:51AM (#9204637)
    everyone said that episode I and II were not as good as they had hoped.

    AFTER they went to the theatre to see the movie and bought the DVD and the special DVD with 5 seconds of extra footage.

    Yes, it is too late, because a boycott of episode II after episode I's horrible blunder would have possibly saved the third movie, because they listen to box office sales, not slashdot.

    But if they make a movie that as many people as possible can go to, and sell a lot of tickets, they make a lot of money. And episode I and II made a lot of money.
  • by The Good Reverend (84440) <michael.michris@com> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:52AM (#9204638) Homepage Journal
    Note to everyone not named "George Lucus": Star Wars isn't yours. Yes, I know you're a fan. Yes, I know you grew up with these films. But it's a few pieces of entertainment, and the brainchild of another person.

    I'm sorry you viewed the first films through the rose-tinted glasses of youth, and are unable to view the latest three in the same way. Feel free to bitch and moan about how it's not up to some mythical "standard" you create, but it comes down to it being Lucus' movie, and he can do as he pleases.
  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:53AM (#9204656)
    Ah, but who took the kids to the movie? Who bought them the plastic lightsabers? The Jar-Jar dolls? If, as consumers, we neglect the consequences of our actions, is that not the same as choosing their ill-effects?
  • Re:A bright future (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taiki AT cox DOT net> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:54AM (#9204666)
    what?!

    If you put the original starwars movies under the same microscope, it sucks just as much as eps 1 and 2 did. if you look at the movies with a child's eye, then eps 1 and 2 look daaaamn good.

    Hell, when I was 6 I thought Howard the Duck was a good movie too.
  • Re:no. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eviloverlordx (99809) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:56AM (#9204706)
    The question "Can Episode III be saved?" begs the question of whether it needs to be saved in the first place. People can be amazingly blind to the fact that the first three movies were not stunning pieces of filmmaking in the first place, and that Lucas really hasn't changed the formula for the prequels. Are there things that could have been done better in the prequels? Certainly, but the same could be said for the original trilogy, too. I've seen all five movies multiple times in theaters, and not once have I felt like I wasted my money. I also never felt like I saw a masterpiece, just a series of enjoyable movies.

    Just your friendly, neighborhood Dark Lord of the Sith
  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taiki AT cox DOT net> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:57AM (#9204710)
    Back in the 80's, the only people who could appreciate Ewoks were =10 too.
  • Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TaxSlave (23295) <lockjawNO@SPAMlockjawslair.com> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:57AM (#9204713) Homepage Journal

    I'll go see Episode III for the same reasons I went to see Episodes I and II. It's there. It's more Star Wars. It's a decent enough story, but deep down it's just schlock.

    Face it. Episode IV is just a good schlocky Sci-Fi Fantasy that was both fantastic and familiar.

    I hated the ewoks about as much as I hate Jar-Jar. It was just cutesy, kiddy crap added to appeal to the younger audience. I tried not to let it destroy the fun of having more Star Wars.

    If Episode I was the best Lucas wanted to give us, then that's what I'll take. Episode II was a vast improvement, and I expect Episode III will be good enough for me.

    In the meantime, if I want to watch something with real quality, that isn't schlock, I'll watch LOTR.

  • by Skyshadow (508) * on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:58AM (#9204725) Homepage
    He knows -- I remember reading after Ep. 1 that he sent around a memo acknowledging that they'd hurt the series with that steaming load of crapola and that they needed to do better with Ep. 2.

    Well, Ep. 2 *was* better, but I think it also demonstrated that Lucas doesn't really understand the basis of his problems. He chalked it up to criminally bad ideas like Jar Jar and fixed those, but then went right back to his usual technique of crappy dialog and lousy direction.

    What really needs to happen is at least part of what the article suggests -- the movie needs a talented director (aka, not Lucas). I'm not sure that Lucas' ego will let him do that; he's spent too many years basking in the praise of the original trilogy.

    It won't happen. Frankly, I'm more keyed to see the next Harry Potter movie than Star Wars Ep 3 at this point, and that's a sad, sad thing to say about a new Star Wars movie.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:58AM (#9204731)
    nobody else is stupid enough to be palpatine's tool by suggesting giving palpatine emergency powers
    Any random functionary can fill in this role. In fact, it's a better story if you show how someone who's normally quite sensible can be scared into granting a government ridiculous "emergency powers" due to a nebulous threat. It certainly happens all the time in Real Life.
  • by orion41us (707362) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:58AM (#9204739)
    I was uber disappointed when I saw ep1, and again when I saw ep2.... But watching them several times out side of the theater; they are actually quite good... I think my expectations were set so high for the movies that I never got into them... Although, LOTR did not seam effected by this Phenomenon.
  • by xwinter (632755) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:59AM (#9204760)
    This is a dead on answer in my point of view. To me, the movies were fun, but a definite letdown compared to the original trilogy. Kids loved them, though, and they were movies that the whole family could go see and somewhat enjoy. Thus Mr. Lucas made boatloads of cash, as did everybody involved. Therefore, Lucas is going to write another watered down story that everybody will "love", but it will be rated PG, and will make tons of cash whether we like it or not.
  • by JohnFluxx (413620) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:01PM (#9204776)
    If I remember correctly, in art, even if you buy a masterpiece, you are still not allowed to damage/destroy it.

  • by TwistedGreen (80055) <twistedgreen@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:02PM (#9204791)
    No, it's definitely Lucas. If you look at movies that he's worked on--Indiana Jones, the original and special edition Star Wars--he really seems to have a thing for 'kids movies.' "The Temple of Doom," for example, was a terrible movie and the worst of the three Indiana Jones movies. It was also the one in which Lucas was most involved. He seems to have a penchant for making terrible kids movies, and I think it's just getting worse with age.

    With the original Star Wars trilogy, he was limited by technology... but now, he can throw whatever he wants into a movie to fulfill his 'vision.' If the special edition 'improvements' he added to the original trilogy were really making Star Wars into what he wanted it to be thirty years ago, you can see that trend: adding useless scenes with robot antics, Han stepping on Jabba's tail, and loads of other childish slapstick crap like that. The best he could do thirty years ago with Ewoks.

    In conclusion, any guy who dreams up Jar-Jar Binks is obviously nuts. You can't blame market pressure for a guy who seems to get off on terrible kids movies.
  • by RobertB-DC (622190) * on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:03PM (#9204814) Homepage Journal
    i know i'm gonna get flamed for this but actually, jar-jar is absolutely necessary to the story as it exists: nobody else is stupid enough to be palpatine's tool by suggesting giving palpatine emergency powers. w/out jar-jar, there's no emergency powers and hence, no clone wars. i happen to resent it, but that's the way i think it shakes out.

    I saw that, and realized that there was a reason why Lucas made Jar Jar the Uncle Tom of the SW franchise for a reason after all. But it still boils down to poor writing and a lack of imagination (where "imagination" != "special effects"). If the plot was so transparent that only Jar Jar could fall for it, what of the other thousands of supposedly intelligent members of the Senate?

    A good writer would have found a way to make Palpatine's plot more devious, more plausible... so inescapable that even Padme would have to agree to it. There are plenty of examples to draw on from recent American history, from McCarthyism to the present.

    It didn't take a Jar Jar character in the US Senate when it voted to give Bush the power to wage war -- just incontrovertable "facts" that weren't what they seemed. The Imperial Senate didn't require a fool to lead them astray -- all it would take would have been a well-meaning but fundamentally flawed desire to do right.
  • by EXTomar (78739) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:04PM (#9204826)
    I said this during the poll [slashdot.org] so its slightly appropriate.

    I think the major problem with P1 and P2 is that they are mearly action stories set in a Star Wars setting. Just like any game, just tossing well known characters into well known settings and expect something cool to come out is a recipe for disaster.

    As I mention in my poll post, Yoda is less interesting in P1 & 2. Yoda is an action figure here. In P5, he did not once pick up a lightsaber or show Luke anything about fighting. Instead he guided him as best he could with ideas of what Jedi are based on: The force is everwhere, the force is your ally, the dark side is terrible but not stronger.

    P3 needs some TLC in the themes and ideology department. It is amusing but the most "humanizing" moments of P5 were between Luke and Yoda. In P1 and P2 you get a vague indication that bad people are doing bad things. Why are the things they are doing all that bad? Because the Republic says so? Why are the Sith guys so bad? Because they look mean and chop people in half and do cool choke moves?

    With P1-3 it looks like they are looking for a story to put SFX up on the screen. In P4-6, the SFX grew out of the story. If the movie is all but done in post production there is little that can be done now except ride the lava wave.
  • by Speare (84249) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:05PM (#9204846) Homepage Journal

    The whole Star Wars franchise was always, from day one, supposed to be a pulp "Saturday Matinee" sort of pulp serial.

    It has a campy, heavily derivative space opera story line. It's been pieced together with black and white heroes and villains, both of which make the audience boo and giggle at the same time.

    To fix one is to break the series. Most die-hard Star Wars fans are fans because they were kids when they saw the originals. Hell, many of you weren't even BORN to watch the original in the theaters in 1977. The series hangs together precisely because it is all schlock, and yet we love the characters anyway.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:05PM (#9204848)
    I'm sorry you viewed the first films through the rose-tinted glasses of youth
    Uh...my parents were quite old when the first three came out. They loved them. In fact, an awful lot of adults loved them at the time. So many that the term "blockbuster" was invented to describe Star Wars - people loved the first film so much, they would form queues around an entire city block to try to get in.

    My parents hated 1 and 2. Lots of people who were adults when 4, 5 and 6 came out hated 1 and 2.

    This theory, that 1 and 2 are actually good and some mystical process is making them look bad to people who were children when 4, 5 and 6 came out, is utter nonsense. 1 and 2 are bad films, pure and simple.
  • Re:WTF? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Em Emalb (452530) * <ememalb.gmail@com> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:07PM (#9204868) Homepage Journal
    Exactly.

    It's his story. It seems to me a lot of people around here are damned arrogant.

    "Lucas should step down, he's ruining my childhood."

    Whatever. Last I checked, no one was forcing anyone to go to these movies.

    Let the man do it and if it sucks, well, sorry your childhood was "ruined" by a movie...no one forced you to go to in the first place.
  • by xRelisH (647464) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:08PM (#9204887)
    One interesting thing I've found about people who tend to be tough critics with movies is that they tend to lose out on the "fun".

    By that I mean, what is the loss of actually enjoying a bad movie? What's the gain of hating it? I think I find myself rather lucky to enjoy most movies, even if they suck ( I was even able to stomach the Super Mario Bros Movie ). That way I rarely come out of a theatre feeling ripped off. And just because you enjoyed a bad movie doesn't mean you can't appreciate the good ones as much as everyone else.

    I've come to really appreciate movies like Memento and Shrek.

    So, does anyone care to explain the loss of enjoying a bad movie? I personally enjoyed EPI and EPII, although I didn't think they were the best movies on earth, I didn't come out the theatre with the obligatory "worst movie ever".
  • Kurosawa (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jetkust (596906) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:12PM (#9204934)
    I'm a Kurosawa fan myself. I just want to clear things up. I've been hearing a lot about the origional Star Wars "ripping off" Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress. The article says the entire story was lifted from that movie. Have any of you seen the Hidden Fortress? Sure Lucas was inspired by that movie, but Star Wars is nothing like The Hidden Fortress.

    As far as the article. I agree that Hayden Christensen is terrible as Dart Vadar. As well as most of his other points, especially the typical overuse of cgi effects which made me feel as if i was watching an videogame cut-scene the whole time. But one that he forgot to mention is the unbelievably forgetable characters who populate the script.
  • Re:A bright future (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RobertB-DC (622190) * on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:13PM (#9204946) Homepage Journal
    So, with better special effects available, more money, and existing material as your base - you think they'll really go back to the 70s quality/style?

    I think you've fallen into Lucas' lava pit -- the idea that all possible technology must be leveraged to the breaking point to make a good movie. He was on the cutting edge of special effects in the '70s, and wants to stay on the edge. He seems to think that his technical feats were the reason for the original trilogy's success.

    But special effects are the background. They're the set, the chair the actor leans against. The story is where the movie lives or dies. The success of the "Spider-Man" movie isn't because of the way Peter Parker can swing between buildings in defiance of physics -- if that were the case, then "Daredevil" would have fared equally well.

    I hope that a future director can use the special effects in moderation, use the material as inspiration, and use the money to pay off Lucas. With those out of the way, the story can be told. "See it again... for the first time" will finally be more than a cheezy marketing slogan.
  • Star Wars Bloat (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ridgelift (228977) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:13PM (#9204951)
    Eric Raymond best explains why the Star Wars prequels are failing in his description of computer systems:

    There's a phenomenon we call second-systems syndrome, where you design an early system that does 80 percent of the job. It's fairly lightweight, and you notice all the things you should have done Then you go back for the second system, and often there's a tendency to go overboard to the point where it collapses under its own weight.

    Episode's I and II is all about boring politics and unimaginative character origins. IV and V was all about Luke and Darth and their surrounding characters. If III is to survie, it's got to be more about the Star Wars characters and less about the Star Wars universe.
  • by chopkins1 (321043) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:15PM (#9204977)
    It only needs saving in the eyes of the viewer who hasnt seen it yet.

    It's not your baby to save... it belongs to Lucas. He's fronting the money for the movie... It is his vision, his masterpiece, therefore it is his to destroy or save.

    I'm inclined to believe that in his eyes he is doing the story justice.

    Besides, you're going to go see it anyway. Why whine about it until afterwards?
  • by daBass (56811) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:15PM (#9204980)
    Like the Beatles started an important new trend for popular music, were masters of the genre, and left people in amazement, so too did Star Wars for sci-fi/action movies. When they came out, there was nothing like it and there wasn't anything that quite matched it for a long time as well.

    Look at the Beatles now, while they should be reconized for what they did, most of the music itself hasn't aged well and the few gems that are there don't sparkle any more than current music. And don't get me started on Paul McCartney recent work!

    Similarly, if you look objectively at the "original 3", without thinking of how you were amazed the first time you saw them, they are not that good when it comes to story line either. Just compare the little ape-men to Jar-Jar and his people, the rubish compressor to the droid factory and the whole Luke/Leia relationship to the Amakin and queen Armadillo one....

    The truth is that there is so much out there these days that is as visualy spectecular, we care about a good story line again. In my opinion the new movies aren't any worse than the old ones, they just aren't _better_, and that is what people, without realizing it, are really expecting.

    At the end of the day, they are damn good entertainment if you ask me, and that's what counts.
  • by Sigma 7 (266129) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:16PM (#9204988)
    Although, LOTR did not seam effected by this Phenomenon.
    It was, but not to the scale of Ep1+2. Most of the complaints were from hardcore fans of the books stating that movie was mangled beyond recognition. Also, the LoTR was aimed at people who thought the books were great masterpieces but never read them - ignorance is bliss. For those who read the books, it looks like an abomination since the story behind the movie was changed.

    Star Wars was hit harder because a lot of hard core fans were expecting a lot to come from the movie - and that was the target audience. Appearently, the movie directing used for Episodes 4-6 no longer work as well with creating Episodes 1-3.

    Looking back, Episode 5 isn't as good as it could be, since it had scenes removed that referred to the first episode. One such scene is archived here [netfunny.com], with the others being a bit more difficult to find. (Hmmm... Slashdot seems to filter out the <humour> tags... Oh well.)
  • Re:no. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:16PM (#9204994)
    It was basically a B movie in the seventies if that's saying anything. Not until the 3rd one did it really get any attention and even then it was mainly the unwashed masses
    This is nonsense. The term "blockbuster" was invented to describe the hysteria surrounding the release of the original Star Wars. It was the greatest smash-hit film ever seen.
  • Re:no. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:17PM (#9205009)
    How the ... did this get modded +4 INTERESTING.

    Ya, it should've been modded INSIGHTFUL.

  • Re:no. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Fearless Freep (94727) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:20PM (#9205041)
    My kids have the same reaction to PM and AotC as I did to the first Star Wars so I tend to give Lucas the benefit of having done something right
  • by enjo13 (444114) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:20PM (#9205042) Homepage
    Star Wars extends far beyond Lucas. It's a shared experience that has become a very important part of our collective culture.

    Lucas no more owns Star Wars than our founding fathers own the constitution. They may have wrote it, but it BELONGS to us.

    Lucas owns the COMMERCIAL RIGHTS to Star Wars, I'll give you that. As a result he's the one who gets to build the prequels. However, Star Wars is truly owned by the millions of people whose childhood was impacted by those films. Their culture and identity has been shaped by those, and to lament the destruction of that cultural legacy by the new films is both correct and understandable.
  • Re:no. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nick of NSTime (597712) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:20PM (#9205047)
    Empire Strikes Back was directed by Irvin Kershner and written Leigh Brackett (a master of pulp SF and Ray Bradbury's mentor) and Lawrence Kasdan. Some would argue that it is the best movie sequels ever made.
  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:22PM (#9205072) Homepage Journal
    only those younger than 10 years old could ever appreciate Jar Jar Binks...I don't think he was demanded at all.

    Among young children I think Jar Jar was an enjoyable character and did well in merchandising.

    .it's more like Lucas's fault for writing and directing 3 shitty movies made for kids(kids=10yrs and younger)

    No, it's the fault of aging viewers with unrealistic expectations. Lucas' target is the young viewer. It just so happens a lot of us crusty old buggers are still kids at heart and somewhere between the adult and the kid in us we get confused and angry over unmet expectations.

    As good as 4-7 are reputed to be, I find them continuing to approach campy-ness.

  • by NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) <{ten.tsacmoc} {ta} {relyo.nhoj}> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:23PM (#9205082) Journal
    Maddox said it best.

    One good thing about Matrix Revolutions: (If you're George Lucas) Knowing that you're not the only one who could screw up an "impossible to screw up" trilogy.
  • by WillAtMH (735233) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:24PM (#9205100)
    I have ben a huge fan of the SW movies since I was a kid and saw them i a theater. I followed the universe and looked forward to the new movies.

    The general story form the original 3 movies is rediculously thin. The original Matrix put more plot in that single film than was in ep4, ep5, and ep6 combined. That didnt make them suck... it made them simple and fun.

    In the prequels, he added a story line, political complexities, and actual character development - all of which was completely abscent in the originals. While they may not be "better" in the sense that the style changes made them mode fun to watch, but they are certainly not garbage. They are simply different types of movies. They only get condemned because of peoples memories of how much they loved SW back in the late 70s and early 80s.

    SW has always been made for 12 year olds to love. The new movies accomplish exactly the same thing the originals did... only this time you arent 12.
  • Re:no. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hawkbug (94280) <<moc.elbmif> <ta> <xsp>> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:24PM (#9205103) Homepage
    Exactly - I remember being a kid and seeing the commercials for the original Star Wars on TV, and I harassed my parents everytime they came on TV until they took me to see it at the drive in. That movie strongly appealed to kids, and the first movie was hugely successful. I must have rented it on Video Disc a hundred times after it hit the rental market. It wasn't a great movie, but to a kid, it didn't matter - they had glowing swords and laser guns! What people tend to forget is that Lucas is writing for kids mostly. You have to look at the new movies from a kids point of view to know if they compare to the originals or not.
  • Re:A bright future (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nomadic (141991) <{nomadicworld} {at} {gmail.com}> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:28PM (#9205158) Homepage
    You can tell that Harrison feels like a goon saying that line.

    Maybe he's just acting. I mean, Han Solo would feel like a goon saying that.
  • Re:Lame Jedis (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vidarh (309115) <vidar@hokstad.com> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:36PM (#9205267) Homepage Journal
    Because if they didn't get their asses kicked all the time, there would be plenty of them left at the end of the series, which we already know isn't the case?
  • Re:no. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blinder (153117) <blinder.daveNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:41PM (#9205329) Homepage Journal
    You sir make some excellent points. I mean what part of "would somebody get this walking carpet out of my way" is considered "fine film?"

    Also, another glaring problem with this whole concept is that you can't "fire George Lucas." Um, yeah, he *is* Star Wars, its his, and its that simple.

    Its not like some studio executive can walk in and fire George Lucas... he *is* the studio for crying out loud.

    I think what most people seem to do is, romanticize the OT because it is steaped in tradition and modern folk lore. And because of that people have just become so blind to the reality that Star Wars was always just meant to be a serial in the grand tradition of the 1930's and '40's seriels, and to project anything more than that is just faulty logic and you are simply setting yourself up for disappointment.

    Of course, its the cool thing now days to hate. Because god forbid you actually admit to liking something! Holy shit... you'd just be another fan boy! Can't have that.

    Its the safe move, to bash Episode III, especially a year prior to its release -- because after setting yourself up for a disapointment you can laugh and point "see I told you so!"

    Instead of just enjoying the movie for what it is and not projecting your own tainted expectations based on a "remembered" past experience is a sure way to ensure that you will not like this movie. Instead, just maybe it might be a good idea to sit back, relax, and let your mind go and enjoy.
  • by solarlux (610904) <noplasma.yahoo@com> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:44PM (#9205374)
    One thing I can't help wondering is if many people form a final opinion about the movies that is based on the loud public sentiment. My reaction to Star Wars 1 and 2 is that I loved them. The sci-fi backgrounds and effects were impressive, the action scenes intense, and the storyline was palatable. And I found several scenes to be quite memorable -- to name a few: the Obi-Wan/Darth Maul fight, the Yoda fight, and the huge jedi battle.

    So yeah, I'm committing the unimaginable sin -- I liked Star Wars 1 and 2. Am I a stupid person? My career achievements would speak otherwise. Is my taste inferior? Perhaps, although the only thing I give a damn about is whether or not *I* enjoyed it. Am I unable to recognize poor-acting and plot-holes? No, I was cognizant of it all. Anakan and Amidala were cheesy (although I still love to say "you're making fun of me" in that cheesy tone to my wife to which she replies in an reciprocally cheesy tone: "I'd be much to frightened..."). However, I also juxtapose the shortcomings against the composite package of the movie. And in the case of Star Wars 1 and 2, the positive elements outweighed the negative ones to provide me a viewing experience which surpassed that of most movies.

    And here's my main gripe -- I think there are others like me, who honestly enjoyed the movies when they were sitting in the theatre seats. But then, the popular and intellectually respectable position came to be that you were "absolutely miserable" during the movies. I mean, only a complete idiot could actually enjoy those movies, right?

    All I ask is for you to consider this: at the time of your viewing -- were you enjoying the movie? If you were miserable, fine -- then the movies didn't jive with your refined taste. But if your hatred for the movies didn't develop until you read the comments on three dozen slashdot articles, then consider whether or not you are speaking your own opinions. Be honest enough to admit you enjoy what you enjoy. If you like Enterprise, great. If Farscape and FireFly raised your standards high enough that you can no longer enjoy Star Trek, then that's fine too. If the Matrix 3 plot resolution left a foul taste in your mouth (as it did for me), then live it. Just live your own opinions. I'm sure many critics out there genuinely hated the movies -- but I also believe there are many more who initially did not.
  • Lucas has pretty much dug his own grave when it comes to the SW franchise - I think early on it was his ego demanding "bigger/better/faster/more" which produced some truly good movie moments.

    But then the terms for 'success' shifted from making 'good' films to making 'profitable' films. I think he knew that marketing would have to take a more important role in his decisions for the newer films in order for them to be considered more'successful' than its predecessor. As Ep1 and 2 showed, the marketing Lucas overtook the filmmaker Lucas. It's like he's his own Darth Vader - succumbing to the Dark Side where dollars are king.

    Unfortunately, when you're George Lucas, your ego tells you that anything you decide must be the right thing. How could he go wrong?...he's George Lucas! He did Star Wars! That being the case, I think Ep3 will be the train wreck many of us expect.

    I skipped seeing Ep2 in the theater, and will do the same for 3. I felt with the original trilogy there was a reason to go see these films on the big screen, but now I see more reasons to wait until it's rentable [netflix.com] a few months after being released to DVD.

  • by Ubergrendle (531719) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:50PM (#9205453) Journal
    (cough cough) patriot act (cough cough)
  • by Shalda (560388) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:50PM (#9205456) Homepage Journal
    The real problem is that Lucas doesn't understand a single thing about why Star Wars was successful. It has nothing to do with "Myth" or special effects. They are the backdrop for the real stories: The homoerotic relationships of R2D2/C3PO and Han Solo/Chewbacca as well as the incesutuous Greek love triangle of Luke, Leia and Han. Then there's the drama aspect. While Episode 1 ought to have been Machiavellian art akin to The Godfather, it more closely resembled Days of our Lives.

    Then, there's the cowboy test: If you replace the ships with horses and the blasters with six-shooters and find that you have a good western, then you've made a good piece of Sci-Fi. I don't think I can repeat this enough: Science Fiction is merely a setting, not a story unto itself.

    Lastly, a decent editor could vastly improve Lucas' work. I cite as proof The Phantom Edit which dramatically improves the watchability of Episode 1 by cutting out a lot of the crap. Episode 3 can be saved, but not by Lucas. Like so many aging rock bands, he's lost touch with his audience, lacks the creativeness of his youth, and is too stubborn to admit its time for him to move on.
  • Re:no. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Fouquet (753286) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:54PM (#9205494)
    the fact that the first three movies were not stunning pieces of filmmaking in the first place

    This is certainly true. And I have no complaints about the plot lines/story of Ep I & II. (except maybe Jarjar). My problem with the new episodes is the dialoge. The original episodes were so great because of all of the one liners. No matter how many times I hear 'I've got a bad feeling about this' and 'Look at the size of that thing', they are still hillarious. The dialog in Ep II was more like something out of a cheezy romance novel or a drama movie, and that was why they sucked. Lucas just needs to keep each line to 10 words or less!

  • by reverendG (602408) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:56PM (#9205528) Homepage
    I think that, by looking at the current US govt, it's easy to see that PLENTY of people are stupid enough to give evil power. All the power it wants.

    Let the flames begin.
  • Re:no. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by banzai51 (140396) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @01:00PM (#9205564) Journal
    Totally agree. What people forget today is how different Star Was was. It was the first movie in a long, long time to come out and give everyone good fun and hope. You could unabashidly cheer for this movie and the good guys. It was completely out of left field in the 70s.
  • Re:no. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by (54)T-Dub (642521) * <tpaineNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @01:00PM (#9205568) Journal
    The thing that was great, too me, about the first three movies was the innovative and realistic galaxy that was created. I loved how everything was dirty and ships would break down or get stuck. Han Solo was a smuggler driven by money (in the begining at least) and he fired first at Guedo. Darth Vader and the Emperor were menacing and the music was incredible.

    The prequels were un-inspired vanilla squeaky clean space movies. The characters were flat and Lucas can't direct a movie to save his life. Natalie Portman [imdb.com] was great in Léon, Cold Mountain and Heat. As with most young actors though, she needs a good director to make her shine. Even Samuel L. Jackson's performance was weak. Samuel L. Freaking Jackson for christ's sake. I think it is very telling that they wrapped up shooting the 3rd prequel ahead of schedule ....

    Lucas: "Take 1, Action"
    Actors give half-ass performance
    Lucas: "Cut. That looks good to me."
    Lucas knob polisher: "Yes Heir Lucas, that looked great."
    Lucas: "Ok, that's a wrap."
  • Re:A bright future (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Phiu-x (513322) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @01:03PM (#9205616)
    In the beginning of the story, Han Solo does not believe about the Force but later in the movie when he acually see the Force in action he has no choice but to believe it.But since its so new to him, he still feel like a goon when he says "May the Force be with you" to Luke.
  • by Dr_LHA (30754) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @01:11PM (#9205739) Homepage
    Look at the Beatles now, while they should be reconized for what they did, most of the music itself hasn't aged well and the few gems that are there don't sparkle any more than current music. The "few gems"? I take it non of the moderators of this comment have ever listened to The Beatles then? Its hard to adequately explain how wrong the top poster here is. Sure the early work of the Beatles may be showing its age, but pretty much anything from Help! onwards any band worth its salt would kill to be able to write/perform today. If you had said the Bay City Rollers I might have agreed with your analogy. Like Star Wars they too were very popular with "the kids" in the 70s and in actual fact were commercial (although enjoyable) pap.
  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @01:12PM (#9205757) Homepage
    So don't go. I haven't seen any of the Star Wars movies since #3 or so, which is about when they started to suck.

    The embarassing thing about the whole Star Wars series is that nobody else has done much better space opera. It's been a quarter century, after all. The special effects problems have all been solved. There are franchises out there, in the space opera genre alone, with more potential. David Weber's Honor Harrington series, or the Man-Kzin Wars, to cite two good examples. Yet the industry is bringing back Battlestar Galactica, which, in its day, was generally considered lousy. And turning about four big-budget vampire movies per year.

    Meanwhile, effort should be devoted to insuring that Star Wars III merchandise is biodegradeable, so there's no major disposal problem like last time.

  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @01:18PM (#9205843) Homepage

    Every artist, writer, filmmaker, whatever- has to deal with the fact that once they make their work public, it isn't all theirs anymore. By showing it to others, they've sent it out into the world and given it a life of it's own. At that point, the creator can't control my thoughts about the work, and they can't collect royalties on my recollections. The work becomes, subtly, yours, mine, and everyone who sees it.

    That's why we have public domain- because we recognize that, although the creator should be rewarded for their talents, at a certain point, the co-ownership of everyone takes precedence.

    That's also why you get offended when someone dislikes a movie you love, because they're knocking something that belongs to you. Or, sometimes, when some idiot likes the same movie or song as you do, it can get a little offensive to think that they like it for all the wrong reasons. Not only are you being forced to share ownership, but share it with someone who continuously damages it.

    No, this isn't ownership in a legal sense. I can't sue anyone over this. Still, I can think of a lot of great works that I didn't create that I think of as "mine".

    If Lucas, or any creative-type, can't deal with this fact, he can go ahead creating, but he should stop releasing the creation to the public and allowing others to view it. It's just the nature of the beast.

  • by Cappy Red (576737) <miketoon@NOspam.yahoo.com> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @01:18PM (#9205845)
    Look at the word "own" as it pertains to investors in the stock market. Some yokel buys one share of Finkel Widget. He now owns Finkel Widget -- one share of it. What does this give him the rights to do? Cast one vote in shareholder meetings, and complain in them, and that's about it. He has a different type of ownership than the bruiser that has forty percent of the stock.

    It's like the word "love." People love each other. People also love cars, foods, computers and dancing. Different, but related, concepts under the umbrella of one word.

    So when you experience something, you do take a certain kind of ownership in it. You did not put in money, like our yokel investor, but invested your time instead. Your time, and perhaps your emotions. On something like a movie, or a building you walk by every day on the way to work, this gives you one very small share in the object. You bought your rights to complain, but nobody has to listen.

    (many thanks to Gabe at Penny Arcade for having that wonderful thought on the word "love")

    *honk*
  • Re:no. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slackerboy (73121) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @01:23PM (#9205929)
    Randal: Which did you like better? Jedi or The Empire Strikes Back?
    Dante: Empire.
    Randal: Blasphemy.
    Dante: Empire had the better ending. I mean, Luke gets his hand cut off, finds out Vader's his father. Han gets frozen and taken away by Boba Fett. It ends on such a down note. I mean, that's what life is, a series of down endings. All Jedi had was a bunch of Muppets.

  • by ImpTech (549794) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @01:56PM (#9206411)
    > In the prequels, he added a story line, political complexities, and actual character development - all of which was completely abscent in the originals.

    WTF?! Okay, I'll admit the "Evil Galactic Empire" is not a complicated political concept. But as for the rest... character development? What character development? The fact that Anakin gets older does not constitute character development! And as for story line, other than the political overtones (the ONLY good thing about the prequels), there is no more story in the new trilogy than the old. Heck, I'd argue there's less. I can hardly remember the reasons for all the various action scenes in episodes 1 & 2, particularly 2.

    I don't mind a simple movie as long as its entertaining. The prequels just aren't. And I don't think age has much to do with it.
  • small town effect? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SethJohnson (112166) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @02:07PM (#9206541) Homepage Journal


    I'm not trying to disrespect Columbus, or you. But please try to remember that back then smaller towns didn't get movies until after they had shown in the bigger towns and cities. I'm guessing that by the time it got to Columbus, it had already proven itself in the bigger cities and the hype preceded it in Columbus on TV and in the newspaper. You had seen images of the long lines in the bigger cities, so when Star Wars was released in Columbus, everybody wanted to see what it was all about, and bingo! Long lines!


    The ironic aspect of this is that Luke basically lived in a rural community, also. So Luke was probably also used to not 'getting stuff' until other planets had already gotten it. I grew up in a small town, also, so I'm pretty in-tune with how pre-walmart distribution worked and how you'd see stuff on TV that kids in other places got, but we wouldn't get for another six or more months.
  • come -on-. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @02:24PM (#9206825)
    Growing up I lived and breathed Star Wars. I'd hang upside-down from the jungle gym and try really really hard to get a stick to fly from the ground to my hand like Luke getting his lightsaber when he's hanging upside down in the cave at the beginning of Empire. Obi-Wan Kenobi was the zen master to whom we all aspired. I hated the Ewoks, though, just as I later hated Jar-Jar.

    But I still found things to enjoy in Episode I. Sure, you had midichlorians and other stupid stuff, bad child acting and just bad acting in general from some of the principals. But you also had Darth Freakin' Maul, double-lightsaber and all, dueling about and kicking double Jedi ass (until his ridiculous, not-believable demise). You had Liam Neeson giving a very solid performance as Obi-Wan's mentor.

    And I still found things to enjoy in Episode II. Sure, you had more Jar-Jar "meesa want" and more boring imperial senate nonsense, and more wooden acting from some of the principals. But you also had Jango Fett, and in the end Yoda goes ape-shit on Christopher Lee. Yeah it was ridiculous and half of me wanted to laugh at the scene... but the other half was too busy going "HOLY SH!T LOOK AT YODA GO."

    I don't care if I'm called "Soft" or whatever for actually admitting what most people seem to be too up-tight, too wannabe Goth, too whatever to admit: I LIKE THE STAR WARS MOVIES.

    Get over yourselves. Write your own damn universe of characters and make your own damn movies about them. Leave Lucas alone. Yeah some of it is crap, most of the acting is horrible... but there are some fun things in there and I personally can't wait to see how it all "begins/ends" with Episode III.

    So there. I've said it. Call me a poser, fanboy, whatever. At least I'm not a little whiny arrogant "my sh!t smells better than yours" film critic or one of these ever-popular "I hate everything" kids of today.
  • by catdevnull (531283) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @02:26PM (#9206858)
    George Lucas scored a huge hit with the original 3 movies for several reasons:

    1) He borrowed concepts that worked for others
    2) The story was clear and classic: good vs. evil
    3) The effects were new (not tired)
    4) The film score was bold and complimentary to the action

    All of these are (or at least at the time were) tried and true elements to storytelling that engaged viewers. The controlling narrative was tethered to redemption, justice, and heroic action. It was the rite of storytelling that goes all the way back to the Homeric tradition.

    The new Lucas productions "suck" because he's abandoned those storytelling elements for what I consider "post modern." The characters are no longer good or evil they're somewhere in between. Lucas tries to explain too much and seems to fear that even "The Force" is beyond the ability for viewers to suspend disbelief and just believe in it for the 94 minutes they're in the theatre. (Midichlorians? That's harder to believe, George!) Darth Vader was more fun because he was just evil. We liked him turning back to the good side only because the hero wanted it. We, like Luke, didn't care how he fell, we just wanted to see how it worked out. George's initial decision to start in the middle was the right decision then and the right decision now.

    How do you save episode 3?

    1) Make Anakin evil and don't try to explain why--make us hate him because he's evil not because he's an abused child acting out. The audience should be afraid of the dark side not feel sorry for it. (We're supposed to enjoy seeing him get an asswhoopin' not think "awe, if he'd only had a better home life with a father figure...")

    2) Ditch the Disneyesque fluffy crap. No Jar-Jar or other cutesy crap. You can be funny without making the characters saccharin-laced Care Bears from outer space. George, your kids don't have to laugh and giggle through "Daddy's" movie. They'll get their asses kicked at school.

    3) If you're gonna steal material, steal GOOD material. Don't steal from half-baked postmodern mythological mumbo jumbo you pulled from Joseph Campbell's trash can. Use classic archetypes & don't try to re-invent them--your stories aren't strong enough to support explaining the characters' complexity.
    The audience doesn't care--we just want to see the characters play out the story not the other way around. We know who they are and what they do already, so the Hemingway treatment to every little thought just plain bores us. We want more light saber fights and less pouting moddy James Dean wannabe rebel without a clue b.s.! The most awesome moment was seeing Yoda get it on with Dooky or Dooku or whatever. We know who's good and who's evil--don't overtell the story. The clash was playing out what we ALREADY know.

    The bottomline is that we don't like Anakin--he was a snot-nosed smart-assed child and we're glad to see it when he's partially dismemberedand burned so badly that he's forced to live the rest of his life in a big black helmet that hides that smarmy punk-assed smirk we've all reviled for the first 2 episodes.

    Oh, crap. I started to rant didn't I? Well, so much for intellectualism.
  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @02:28PM (#9206888)
    Look at episode 1.

    They can't be killed by poison gas.
    They can't even be hit by robots shooting at them.
    They won't be stopped by huge steel doors.
    They can even control minds.

    With that much going for each individual Jedi, how is it possible to destroy almost every last one of them?

    That could be a great story. That could be a trilogy by itself.

    Instead, that will be a tiny part of a single movie that will be focused on stupid tricks like lava surfing.
  • Yes, here's how: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nobodyman (90587) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @03:47PM (#9207943) Homepage
    Simple: Destroy the inner circle.

    It's clear that George Lucas is intent on directing, so we can't change that. However, I think the real problem is that the core group of people that he works with are a bunch of ass-kissing yes-men who indulge his every whim.

    For example: Watch some of the behind the scenes clips on the episode 1&2 DVD's. You will not find one single instance of where Rick McCallum (the producer and close friend of lucas) disagrees with George Lucas. I'm no movie expert, but after watching Project Greenlight I realize how important the role of a producer is. The producer strives to balance the artistic wishes of the director with the reality of a production schedule, the target audience, box-office desires, etc. If it works right, you end up with a better movie. For Episode 5, there were 4 producers (not counting lucas) that Lucas had to fight with. For episode 1, there was nobody around to say "George, scenes that involve farting aliens will not appeal to the mainstream audience... or anyone over the age of four."

    Another example: writing. For Empire Strikes Back, Lucas shared writing credits with Lawrence Kasdan. Lawrence Kasdan. For episodes 1,2,3 lucas shares writing credits with... stars wars book authors (ick). If Kasdan were still involved, surely he would say "George, the dialog between padme and anakin makes the dialog in Rocky 4 seem profound."

    At the core, I think Lucas is the same guy he was for the first 3 movies, but this time around he has nobody to ground him in reality or to call him on the stuff that doesnt work.

    just my two cents.
  • Re:no. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by silicon not in the v (669585) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @06:04PM (#9209443) Journal
    It's way too late to save Star Wars, and I think this is one very big reason. People mention Lucas can't direct, and can't write good dialogue. Those are both pretty good points, but here is another significant one. I don't see how the actors could ever do a good performance in this new trilogy because almost every scene is acted in front of a green screen. How are they ever supposed to do any more than recite their lines when they have nothing more than the clothes they are wearing to give them any impression about what's "going on" around them. Even worse than that is that frequently the other characters they are supposed to be interacting with aren't even there because they're going to be computer generated later. AAAND, how are multiple actors in front of a green screen supposed to gel well and have good group dynamics in those scenes when they are each having to imagine what the scene looks like around them. When every actor is "seeing" the scene differently, of course they are going to look awkward.

    Answer to the original question is no, because to save it, they would have to build real sets instead of using CGI all the time, and building sets takes years of prep. CGI shots are great for just animated action, but mixing too much CGI with actors' performances ruins them, as these prequels are a perfect example of.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 20, 2004 @06:28PM (#9209623)
    When we already know what happened?

  • by silicon not in the v (669585) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @06:47PM (#9209775) Journal
    Exactly. The campiness was what made it fun. It's the taking itself too seriously and trying to make it high drama that's killing it.

    Instead of dumb stuff like:
    Amidala: I have to tell you I truly, deeply love you.

    We had:
    Leia: I happen to like nice men.
    Han: I'm nice men.
  • Re:no. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drunkenbatman (464281) <iNO@SPAMdrunkenblog.com> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @06:48PM (#9209779) Homepage
    I didn't mind that they were essentially space operas... that's fine. What the originals had were a sense of fun... rollicking good time. They were cliche'd but entertaining. I don't mind cliches when I'm entertained, I do when I'm watching ep1 & ep2.
  • by LizzyDragon (740435) on Friday May 21, 2004 @12:15AM (#9211741)
    And all this time I thought it was a glorified Industrial Light and Magic ad.
  • by puchatek2 (764685) on Friday May 21, 2004 @09:04AM (#9214007)
    Episode III will fail because it's too much, too soon, and the power-that-be behind the project are driven by anything but good cinematic taste, discipline, and a respect for the legacy of the original story/characters.

    Star Trek went through the same painful experience. When the Next Generation series came out, it was a smash, in part because sufficient time had passed since the original series, and many (although not all) of the stories were fresh, and to a certain degree paid homage to the original series characters and ideals. But then the creators of Trek got greedy, and pushed out Deep Space 9, Voyager, and Enterprise. Each evolution was lamer than the one that preceeded it. The movies suffered a similar fate. And now, Trek is a wreck. It's sad, but it's true. And that's not easy for a die-hard Trekkie to admit.

    I see Star Wars going down the same path. When Episode I came out, it was a big deal, in part because it had been so long since the public had been exposed to Star Wars. Episode II, was less so. And on top of that you have the fact that the overall cinematic quality of these prequels, special effects aside, got flimsier and flimsier with each incarnation. Just like Trek.

    So, whatever is driving Lucas and company to do things the way they do, I don't know. But I doubt anyone will be able to change that. I'm sure lots of Trek fans voiced their opinions, but their please fell on deaf ears. The same is true, or will be true of Star Wars. And like Trek, it's a sad, ending to what was a beautiful, well crafted work of science fiction.

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