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Ask Slashdot: Can Star Wars Episode VII Be Saved? 403

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-find-your-lack-of-faith-quite-understandable-actually dept.
An anonymous reader writes "10 years ago today, in the wake of two disappointing Star Wars prequels, we discussed whether Episode III could salvage itself or the series. Now, as production is underway on Episode VII under the care of Disney, I was wondering the same thing: can it return Star Wars to its former glory? On one hand, many critics of the prequels have gotten what they wanted — George Lucas has a reduced role in the production of Episode VII. Critically, he didn't write the screenplay, which goes a long way toward avoiding the incredibly awkward dialogue of the prequels. On the other hand, they're actively breaking with the expanded universe canon, and the series is now under the stewardship of J.J. Abrams. His treatment of the Star Trek reboot garnered lots of praise and lots of criticism — but his directorial style is arguably more suited to Star Wars anyway. What do you think? What can they do with Episode VII to put the series back on track?"
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Ask Slashdot: Can Star Wars Episode VII Be Saved?

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  • Lens flares (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MouseR (3264) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @04:38PM (#47050335) Homepage

    ...better be absent.

  • You know... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Good Reverend (84440) <.michael. .at. .michris.com.> on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @04:39PM (#47050357) Homepage Journal

    ...it's hardly even started filming yet. Maybe wait until it's released to worry?

    Or better yet, don't worry. Skip it entirely if you can't hold "sequel" and "rose-tinted memories of the originals" in your brain at the same time. No one's ruining your childhood if you just stay home...

  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tsa (15680) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @04:40PM (#47050365) Homepage

    No, it can not return SW to its former glory. That is because the three SW films that came out first have got their cult status over the last 30 years. You can't just 'make' that.

  • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MozeeToby (1163751) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @04:51PM (#47050533)

    Nothing you say is wrong but what you imply is.

    The prequels were fundamentally broken. Episodes 4-6 achieved cult status because they were enjoyable the first time around (not to mention the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th). The prequels released stand alone, not as part of the already established series, would have been laughed out of the theater. It's not rose colored glasses, there is a large and irrefutable quality gap between the original trilogy and the prequels.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @04:57PM (#47050615)

    The movies are all terrible. The only one that is half way decent is the Empire and that because Lucas neither wrote nor directed it. The more this new one completely ignores everything that came before it the better.

    Actually the only good one is Star Wars. Self contained no nonsense good guy versus evil guy. A princess, a farmboy and an adventurer. What more could you want ?

    From the first sequel onwards it all came crashing down. Yeah Empire is more sofisticated than Star Wars but a better film ?
    Nope. And ROTJ will having a good part in it (redemption of Vader) is just anahilated by all the other things (teddy bears waging wars against shock troopers, and the whole crazy part in Jabba the Hutt's palace).

    As for the prequels, lets not even touch the subject. Had JJB and midiclorians not been there APM could have turned out to be an enjoyable movie. But the second and third films are just huge trainwrecks and no amount of fan editing will ever be able to fix them.

  • by gl4ss (559668) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @04:59PM (#47050639) Homepage Journal

    and apparently lucas has nothing to do with this so...

    however. abrams is shit. he is just shit. star trek into darkness is just so shit. in the next star wars, han solo will be making a phone call to alternate(expanded) universe han solo to warn him that jar jar binks is going to screw him over in the _past_. makes sense? well, as much sense as any shit mr abrams puts in his movies.

  • by Jody Bruchon (3404363) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @05:00PM (#47050661)
    Why should we expect anything less for Star Wars? Fuck plot, let's move the camera so much that the audience gets motion sickness! BRIGHT LIGHTS! BIG EXPLOSIONS! VULCANS THAT HAS FEELS!

    The vast majority of Hollywood movies have been shit ever since this thing happened. [slashdot.org] Independent and classic film both seem far superior, especially since they have generally made up for poor access to special effects with creativity in other areas. (Remember when special effects were, well, special?)
  • Re:You know... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thedonger (1317951) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @05:05PM (#47050719)

    It's not even that. Look at that quotes list. Awkward quote #1? Just Jar-Jar being Jar-Jar. That was an appropriate quote for the character and context. Quote #5 was a neutral way to avoid an awkward silence. #7 was Anakin being a 9-year-old boy--yes, 9-year-old boys say awkward stupid shit like this. Quotes #20 and #34 were frighteningly insightful: this is exactly what happened after 9/11.

    Prequel complainers are just full of shit. They cry about movies that are roughly as good as the originals.

    The prequels sucked because they tried to cram foreshadowing into every scene, as if we needed every single event in the prequels to relate to a specific event in the original 3. Then after the second prequel they realized they left so much undone that the third was just two hours of screen wipe-divided vignettes, and right at the end they were like, Oh shit, Anakin only has the one fake hand. So 5 minutes, one ill-constructed fight sequence, and single slashing of a light saber and suddenly he is Darth Vader in all his shiny, black awesomeness. Crap. Crap. Crap.

  • Re:No (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @05:12PM (#47050819)
    I don't understand what everyone is bitching about. Episodes "original" 4 - 6 were campy and fun. Episodes 1 - 3 were pretty good. Anyone who didn't enjoy them as what they were was probably expecting too much. Just watch and enjoy it. Some aliens may be annoying - just like Jar Jar. Some may sound Japanese - like the trade federation. Who cares? Star Wars was never good "cinema". It was entertaining. It isn't literature. It is fun sci-fi. Love it for what it is or don't. But jeez, all the complainers seem to think that 4 - 6 were some sort of offering from god. They weren't.
  • by plover (150551) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @05:16PM (#47050859) Homepage Journal

    The original Star Wars movies were great because we saw them when we were 13 years old, and they were filmed to appeal to 13 year olds. Watch it again now, and if you enjoy it that's likely due to fond memories of watching them as a child, not because they're such great pieces of filmmaking on their own.

    Any remake is doomed if you expect a remake. It's also doomed if you expect to be transformed back into a 13 year old while watching the movie. All Star Wars movies are children's movies, aimed at their eras 13-year-olds. All of us adults who imagined they would be anything different were disappointed.

    If you instead expect a movie that will entertain you, set in or near the original universe (but with modern filmmaking techniques and different characters,) you might put yourself in a position to enjoy it. But you'll probably enjoy it most if you bring your own child to the movie.

  • by JMJimmy (2036122) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @05:40PM (#47051107)

    "Can Star Wars Episode VII Be Saved?" as always with these questions the answer is a resounding: NO.

    gl4ss is 100% correct, Abrams is shit.

    Directing:
    Star Trek? Butchered - how many close ups do you need!?!
    Mission Impossible? Butchered - was there anything remotely "mission imposible-esque" about that movie?
    Super 8? Super Stupid

    Writer:
    Armageddon, Forever Young, Taking Care of Business, Felicity, Alias, Lost, Fringe: Not bad. The TV stuff not so much towards the end of their runs.
    Gone Fishin', Regarding Henry, Joy Ride, Mission Impossible 3, Lost Via Domus, Super 8, Undercovers: Complete SHIT.

    Producer:
    Star Wars, Super 8, Mission Impossible 3/4, Cloverfield, Morning Glory, Joy Ride, Suburbans, Pallbearer: ALL SHIT.

    In terms of movies, his success stems from 3 of his earliest films where he wrote/co-wrote the screenplay. The last of which came out 16 years ago. I have little to no hope for any of the Star Wars movies. What's worse is that this poser is going to be involved in the Half-Life/Portal movies too - another great franchise for him to ruin.

  • by JMJimmy (2036122) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @06:06PM (#47051325)

    Telling a story in a new way has nothing to do with canon. Sticking to canon is about continuity with the stories that have already been told, even if you're putting your on style on how it's told.

    What he did with the Star Trek movies was moronic. I get wanting to reboot things, start telling a new story based on details of a universe - I often enjoy them. The problem with what he did was that it made no sense whatsoever. There were huge gaps in logic, huge plot holes, character logic issues, fundamental misunderstandings of the science/theory behind SCIENCE fiction, etc, etc. I could write a book on everything wrong with those movies without touching on any canon. The worst of it was that he broke what is at the heart of the franchise: that it's a story that attempts to envision what a utopian society might look like. He's not the first to do so in the franchise's history but he was one of the worst offenders. The reality is that you could change the names/uniforms/etc to just about anything and it wouldn't have mattered because other than the name and a few details they had nothing to do with what Star Trek is.

  • Re:No (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @06:34PM (#47051611)

    If you actually want an explanation why they're bad movies, I'd suggest red letter media's star wars reviews.

    Link to the first one:
    http://redlettermedia.com/plinkett/star-wars/star-wars-episode-1-the-phantom-menace/ [redlettermedia.com]

    This "you just liked it cause nostalgia" BS needs to die.

  • by Hussman32 (751772) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @06:52PM (#47051805)
    I like J.J.'s work (minus lens flares), and I'm willing to support it. A nitpick, the definition of 'Star Wars canon' [wikipedia.org] will be argued here,

    My view (and apparently George Lucas' at one time or another) is that the movies are canonical, the rest is fanboy fan fiction. Some of it is very well written fan fiction, and it brings you back to that special place in your head where you enjoyed the Death Star blowing up, but they are still not what Lucas made.

    I agree 1, 2, and 3, were not to the story quality of 4, 5, and 6, and I also agree that J. J. is not George Lucas so even these new ones won't technically be a Lucasfilm, but George signed off on it and he's a consulting producer, so that's canon enough for me. Here's hoping the force is with them.
  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @06:57PM (#47051859) Journal

    But that's largely impossible, as it is clear that Disney intended on having the main heroes from the original trilogy reappear. It would be one thing if you were telling the stories of other characters in the Expanded Universe, but I'd argue even that would be a mistake. If Star Wars is going to be a functioning film franchise again, it has to link directly to the previous films. It can't be simply "it happens in the same universe...", for them to refire the franchise, they need to have major crossover; that means, Han, Luke and Leia, even if only in a more secondary role. Since pretty much every move those three characters make for decades after RotJ is mapped out by the Expanded Universe, I can't see how it could be done, or why one would even try. Once they get the franchise up, then they can make their other "in the same universe" films, but the first film out of the gates has to be a direct sequel to RotJ, and Abrams and the writers cannot bind themselves down like Lucas was to the prequels.

    I'll be blunt, the Expanded Universe fans are only a small subset of the potential ticket and merchandise buyers that Disney needs to convince to spend money. I get that the fans of the Expanded Universe are feeling let down, but they don't have the numbers to make or break the franchise, and Disney isn't going to worry its head off about maybe a few tens of thousands of readers when it wants to go after a billion+ theater-goers, toy buyers and McHappy Meal eaters.

  • by TrekkieGod (627867) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @08:22PM (#47052543) Homepage Journal

    TOS is a product of the culture of the 50s and 60s and was in some important ways hobbled by being so. It was always way too cerebral and libidinous to be a lot of fun...I'm in a theatre for two hours, you need to entertain me, outsmart me and give me something to think about for a long time after.

    Which is it? Do you cerebral and intelligent so that you can have something to think about for a while, or do you want mindless fun?

    There's nothing wrong with mindless fun movies. Sometimes I want to shut my brain off and be entertained by James Bond. But there is a place for cerebral movies. Now, to be honest, none of the Star Trek movies fit that bill, unfortunately. Even the original movies went the action route, they didn't really follow the footsteps of the cerebral star trek episodes. What JJ Abrams did was to turn the action into CGI-fest, which is ok, and turned the mindless action into something that will actively prevent you from suspending disbelief, which is not ok.

    Seriously, if I could have turned my brain off and enjoyed the action, it'd be fine. But he kept jolting me awake with things like "a supernova that threatened to destroy the galaxy". Does he realize how big galaxies are? That stars go supernova and hypernova regularly? Because your average Star Trek viewer does. Or how about the second movie where they stop a volcano eruption with a "cold" fusion device. Where "cold" means it makes the volcano cold and freezes the lava. Which for some reason stops the eruption, because it's about temperature, not pressure, right?

    I can't shut down my brain if the movie keeps saying stupid shit that forces me to analyze what they're saying. If they just had gone the other way and explained less, it'd be an improvement. But then, it would also be nice if they didn't fill it with plot holes. That also forces me to analyze the movie.

    Look, you want to make a Star Trek movie that is pure action, to bring in the non-nerds to the theater? I'd rather have the cerebral Star Trek movie, but I'm actually ok with it, because that's the strategy that every other Star Trek movie took. We just have the ability for better special effects now. But the JJ Abrams movies were horrible. If they didn't have the Star Trek label to them, they would still be fucking horrible movies. I'm not raging against the reboot, I don't care that he rebooted the franchise. I care that he made two really bad movies. If they had handed over the franchise to Uwe Boll, they might have turned out better. Well, at least it couldn't be worse.

    What about Star Wars? Could he make good Star Wars? Probably not, because he has no incentive to. The absolute crap he puts out is generally commercially successful, so that's what's he going to do again. What bothers me is that the best Star Wars stories are not the movies, but they're in the expanded universe. So here they have the opportunity to make Episodes 7,8,9 by making a movie version of the Thrawn trilogy (and yeah, recast the actors as younger people, give the old actors cameos if you want). Instead they go the opposite way and completely break with expanded universe. That doesn't bode well for what JJ wants to do with them.

  • by JMJimmy (2036122) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @10:07PM (#47053201)

    1) The franchise did need a swift kick, just not to the head (it had enough of that with Voyager/TNG movies/Enterprise).

    2) Actually, Star Trek was the most expensive pilot in history and pushed the boundaries by having a black woman, a Russian, an Asian, etc. Those things were unheard of at the time. In the original pilot "Number One" was a female character - she was cut/replaced because she didn't test well with women oddly enough. As to the utopian nature of Star Trek it was intentional. Roddenberry wanted a world that had moved past racism/nationalism/war/social ills. The reason for this was two fold, one was that it allowed them to explore social issues in a non-threatening manner. Two, that the aliens/situations could represent aspects of humanity as they were in the 50s/60s contrasted against a utopian ideal.

    3) The science grounds the story. Even if the science is just theory and in the end is proven to be false, the strength of scifi is that these things that are and might be possible. It's that grounding that inspires and brings scifi above just another special effects mind numbing waste of time. Star Trek is far from perfect in that regard, there's a lot of stuff that's bogus/wrong, but there's also a lot that was based on actual science and some that became reality http://www.nasa.gov/topics/tec... [nasa.gov]

    Give me all the mind blowing special effects you want, so long as common sense/logic/basic intelligence are respected along with a solid story being told. I don't expect the next revelation in film - just something that has more intelligence than Love Guru.

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