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Star Wars Prequels Movies

An Animated, Open Letter To J.J. Abrams About Star Wars 376

Posted by Soulskill
from the ease-off-the-lens-flare dept.
juliangamble writes "Designer Prescott Harvey has written and animated an open letter to J.J. Abrams about the plans for the next Star Wars movie. He says, 'Like so many people, I've spent most of my recent years wondering why the original Star Wars trilogy was so awesome, and the new movies were so terrible. What are the factors that make Star Wars Star Wars? I took an empirical approach, determining what elements were in the original movies that differed from the prequels. My first major epiphany was that, in the originals, the characters are always outside somewhere very remote. The environment and the wildlife are as much a threat as the empire. All three movies had this bushwacky, exploratory feel. Contrast that with the prequels, where the characters are often in cities, or in the galactic senate. In order for Star Wars to feel like a true adventure, the setting has to be the frontier, and this became my first rule.'"
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An Animated, Open Letter To J.J. Abrams About Star Wars

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 28, 2013 @11:37PM (#44983141)

  • Rule #4 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cervesaebraciator (2352888) on Saturday September 28, 2013 @11:37PM (#44983143)

    Contrast that with the prequels, where the characters are often in cities [...]

    Which brings me to rule #4. Have characters.

  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Saturday September 28, 2013 @11:43PM (#44983171)
    The key seems to be that nobody would say no to Lucas. Yesa sir Jar jar be a good character that peoples will loves. So has JJ Abrams reached that point where he is surrounded by Yes men? Or is there someone who will say, "That sucks." Not necessarily someone who can order him around but simply someone who isn't a simpering fool and has good taste.

    I recently read about LucasArts and all the bizarre choices that were made there. Basically they jumped from whim to whim. Hopefully those people are left by the doorstep by Disney. I suspect that they will weasel their way into the "creative" process and ruin everything anyway.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 28, 2013 @11:50PM (#44983201)

    Yeah, I hated how he brought in decent writing, exciting setpieces, and competent directing. What an asshole. What I really wanted was two hours about an autistic robot learning to cry.

  • tooo complicated (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fermion (181285) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @12:07AM (#44983269) Homepage Journal
    Why was the first Die Hard movie incredible, the second passable, the third tolerable, and the rest awful. It was originality, the desire of Bruce Willis, who had been told he could never be a leading man, but proved himself on Moonlighting, to work hard, and the lack of expectations. With each sequel the stars get greedy, the studio get greedy, and the investors get greedy. It no longer becomes about making a movie but about making everyone rich.

    Star wars is no better or worse than any other story, except that it had the potential to be told over a number of movies.

    Movies are also pressured to maximize the use of technology to tell a story. This can work, but with episodes i,ii,and iii I think the advanced technology worked against the story, and in any future movies will be a fx tour de force, rather than story telling.

  • by 0123456 (636235) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @12:07AM (#44983271)

    I've only seen the first of the 'new' Star Trek movies, but the only thing I noticed him bring in was explosions.

  • Short version (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pwizard2 (920421) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @12:09AM (#44983283)
    Dear JJ Abrams,

    We heard you're making the next Star Wars movie. Please don't fuck it up like George Lucas did with the first two prequels.


    Star Wars fans everywhere
  • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @12:12AM (#44983295)

    The original Star Wars trilogy wasn't great by any objective measure I can think of, it was just a good product of its time with people involved in its production willing to share the characters and stories and build on the world.

    What objective measures of art, or even film specifically, can you think of? If you say, "Amalgamation of movie critic and audience reviews" then I'll say "No, by those measures, the first Star Wars trilogy, and "The Empire Strikes Back" in particular, were great. Check out Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB, or whatever if you like. They compare favorably with Casablanca, what do you want, Citizen Kane*?"

    But I don't think that's what you meant. I believe that you just hoped we'd accept what you'd said, "The original Star Wars trilogy wasn't great by any objective measure," without thinking WTF an "objective measure" might mean in this case.

    *Despite the fact that Citizen Kane is often called something like "best movie ever" and similar, it's actually entertaining -- you should watch it sometime.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 29, 2013 @12:26AM (#44983347)

    Star Wars, when you see it when you're young, looks cool. A later analysis of the text shows that the writing is crap. People that were young when they saw the first films are not anymore, they see the second set of films after having developed a sense of taste, and realize that the writing was crap -- but just the new ones, the original ones that they loved for so many years must be perfect after all!

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @12:29AM (#44983359)

    Are you fucking kidding me? The first one had it's plot holes but it was okay and some stuff only struck you after you walked out of the theater.

    The second one was pathetic for anyone with half a brain during viewing. The beginning started well enough until the attack/secret mission, then it was all swiss cheese. Just for example: the head admiral is building a ship 3x the size of anything they have with next to no crew needed, and Scotty can fly to the shipyard from earth in a couple hours, and get in a construction patrol with no big problem.... but it's super secret? And this same admiral secretly puts Khan's men in missiles as some type of ransome rather than holding onto them himself?

    And a million WTFs!

    It was eyecandy, it was your typical (for the last 10-15 years) epic movie in the vein of Iron Man, etc with Star Trek simply as the setting. Pretty, glitzy, and uninspiring. It sucked to think about.

    It made Avatar seem like a written masterpiece, because in reality man going native was a much older theme than Dances with Wolves and it held up under it's own weight.

    Was the big problem with Star Wars that it didn't have enough action or glitz and glamor? I don't think so.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 29, 2013 @12:41AM (#44983409)

    1. The setting must be gritty. Star Wars needs to happen in the "frontier," and city settings and government intrigue are an anathema. (Apparently no one's ever set foot on the Death Star or Cloud City.)

    Maybe they weren't gritty, but they were alien, unfamiliar, threatening places where anything could happen. The audience didn't know what was in a Death Star or a Cloud City (or space port or ice planet or desert igloo farm or jungle planet or whatever) or what could happen next, and they and the protagonists were uncomfortable.Galactic Senates and the city where Natalie Portman lived were just sci-fi updates of things I see every day. Yawn.

    2. Technology must be old. Shiny things are right out. (Again, apparently neither the Death Star nor Cloud City exist.)

    The idea doesn't have to be true 100% of the time, with no exceptions, to be valid. I thought the steam-punkish original trio was much more visceral. Luke's land-speeder thing looked like beaters from my teenage years that weren't sure to make it to the gas station, except it floated too.

    3. The Force must remain mysterious. Ooh, mystery.

    I agree with the author here too. Unless Lucas can exceed my imagination, which he rarely did in the prequals, then leave it to my imagination. Leaving things to the imagination works in many areas, not just fiction and film.

    the prequel trilogy's technical flawsâ"y'know, the incoherent plot, the stilted dialogue, the terrible directing, the miserable editing, the textbook cinematography. For anyone actually interested in understanding what's wrong with the prequel films, watch the Plinkett reviews of the three movies

    Here I agree with you completely. I enjoy his reviews far more than the prequals!

  • by MisterSquid (231834) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @01:15AM (#44983539)

    1. The setting must be gritty. Star Wars needs to happen in the "frontier," and city settings and government intrigue are an anathema. (Apparently no one's ever set foot on the Death Star or Cloud City.)

    Both the Death Star and the Cloud City seem, to my mind, are outside the usual milieu for Star Wars action and development. The Death Star was hyper-polished and space-age minimalist, unlike the maximally baroque surfaces of the Millennium Falcon or the claptrap hulls of the rebel alliance X-Wings. In a sense, the Death Star was the home of the Other, the mirror world of the Empire that (arguably) was one part of a two-chambered narrative setting that was "A New Hope".

    The Cloud City seemed even more a "respite" from the action of the Star Wars narrative. It was a political and environmental paradise and the Star Wars narrative resumed the moment Calrissian revealed he had purchased the safety and sovereignty of his city by selling Jabba Solo.

    tl;dr: The Death Star and the Cloud City in some ways are exceptions that prove the rule that Star Wars "happens" on the frontier.

  • by aitikin (909209) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @01:44AM (#44983633)
    My biggest plot hole is the damned "transwarp beaming" (especially to Kronos, quite a distance). I mean, seriously, what's the fucking point of a spaceship when I can just beam anything I like across the galaxy!? Oh, they're attacking us, okay let's just beam a torpedo to their home planet and see what happens...
  • by Stormwatch (703920) <> on Sunday September 29, 2013 @01:55AM (#44983659) Homepage

    ST:2009 was the best film by Academy Awards, inflation-adjusted box office, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic, and IMDB.

    Seriously, FUCK everyone who gave that piece of shit a good review. The writing was horrible, chock-full of plot holes and contrived coincidences.

  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @02:10AM (#44983685)

    How hard does it have to be to see this?

    They were all likable and they argued and sniped and competed with each other bitterly while also being friends.

    Meanwhile, the next set of movies had essentially no character conflict at all except Jar Jar.

    Darth Maul vs Qui-Gon

    They fight.. then they sit.
    And they sit.
    And they sit.
    And then they fight and Darth Maul wins.

    We don't learn a thing about either of them.

    meanwhile Jar Jar.. spearfishing Fruit irritates the hell out of the otherwise completely stoic Qui-Gon. "STOP!"

    In fact, some of the only character building banter (such as the whether the welded door will hold or not between Anakin and Kenobi) are CUT from the film-- giving us more scenes of people not saying anything and being pulled up the sides of buildings on magic ropes.

    Give us characters.

    Have those characters say things.

    Give them points of view.

    Have them show ordinary emotions like...
    Romantic Interest
    Enjoyment of food and drink.
    Rude statements they regret.

    Make them believe they are the best and then throw them in with each other and see which ones are best and how they react to finding out they are not quite so good- or that they are good (confident? humble?)

    One of the great things about Admiral Thrawn was that he was brilliant-- he kept figuring out every move the rebels made-- and then he made an error-- a reasonable error but he was so smart he couldn't believe he could make an error. Fantastic! The plot flowed FROM the character's traits. A very strong villain makes the hero's seem even stronger.

    Characters Characters Characters Characters Characters Characters Characters Characters Characters Characters Characters Characters Characters Characters

    It's not about the scenary. Good writing with good characters can take place in a one room set and be fully engaging-- because we care.

    The original 3 insulted each other. Almost constantly. And they also liked each other.
    And the actors found ways to make the characters likable-- that's what actors do.
    But actors need good writing to start with. Then they put little twists on the words or in the way those words or delivered-- the subtext.

  • by dbIII (701233) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @02:41AM (#44983807)

    Yes it is possible

    Um ... no. We're still having trouble with automated docking :)
    However since we're obviously discussing fiction the problem here is that it is inconsistent and a jarring change to the story, not whether it can be brought into the story with a bucketload of offscreen technobabble to excuse it after the credits have rolled.

    It's just as bad as the teleport to Klingon homeworld thing, Klingons being seen as a pushover the first time they fight, starships landing on planets when they never did before - a plot that is full of pretty well nothing but twists on the viewers expectations until they have no fucking idea what the setting is supposed to be, which is a massive weakness because the only reason people are lining up to get tickets is because it is a well know setting.

    Suspending belief is one thing. Having a story that goes in all directions where only the names are the same as what people remember is another and is just a cash grab on brand recognition for what should have been something original (or never made at all). Galaxy Quest is far more consistent even though in that setting all the Trek stuff is fictional.

    Personally I just sat there hoping that Spock would cut the top off somebodies head or Khan would solve crimes - neither actor had anything to work with in Star Trek: The Franchise - vanishing into oblivion.

  • by reboot246 (623534) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @10:23AM (#44985349) Homepage
    Hayden Christensen

    He can't act. He's terrible in any role he plays.
  • by jedidiah (1196) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @10:47AM (#44985479) Homepage

    Put up new-khan next to old-khan and it all doesn't seem that bad really. Much like with STAR WARS, a lot of us have forgotten how genuinely cheesey and flawed the original source material is. In some ways, reboots can be more genuine because they interrupt whatever slow and steady distortion of the source material that may have occured in recent memory.

    Young minds, fresh ideas...

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying. -- Woody Allen