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A Closer Look at Star Wars on Film and Off 315

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

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  • by rookworm (822550) <horace7945@@@yahoo...ca> on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @02:33AM (#13930220)
    Don't count on it...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @02:34AM (#13930222)
    ...It's a cash machine.
    • It didn't start that way. The first movie was not only far from a guaranteed success, but they didn't even have merchandising for the Christmas season.
      • by rho (6063)
        Star Wars was lucky, but fun. Empire was good, and fun but in a sad way. Jedi was the beginning of the road to Suckland. Except for the first movie, which was lucky, the more Lucas got involved, the further down the road to Suckland the franchise went.
  • by elronxenu (117773) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @02:35AM (#13930226) Homepage
    As always, any sufficiently insightful deconstruction is indistinguishable from satire.
    • This is definitely serious. Extreme insight and deconstruction went into that article and you have to at least start to see it the author's way.

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

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

        Can there be such a thing as a horrible masterpiece?

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

        Attack of the Clones was the first movie he ever made which was actually worse than Howard the Duck. The first and th
      • by TheoGB (786170) <theo@NosPam.graham-brown.org.uk> on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @04:26AM (#13930494) Homepage
        I think it's a very interesting read and it is serious.

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

        I'm reminded of the defenders of the 2nd and 3rd Matrix movies who seemed convinced that the whole Danté allegory made the films better. Clearly it didn't. The two Matrix sequels are turds, no matter how hard their authors tried to be clever.
      • by Shaper_pmp (825142) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:41AM (#13930824)
        Funny thing, but part of the problem of deconstructionism is that it's almost impossible to distinguish between incidences of it that exhibit "extreme insight" and those that are merely "blithely reading what you want into it regardless of the author's intentions"... or just "furiously intellectually masturbating".

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

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

        Postmodern != Good

        Postmodern != Entertaining

        Postmodern != Coherent

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

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

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

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

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

        Footnotes:

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

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

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

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

          It was in the scene where Palpatine was talking about how Dark Side is a pathway to many abilities. He talked about Darth Plagueis, and how he supposedly learned how to

          • by CheshireCatCO (185193) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @12:12PM (#13932738) Homepage
            "Of course it's always possible that Anakins mother lied and Palpatine made Anakin the old-fashioned way..."

            Then the best explanation for Anakin then is that his father was the post powerful Jedi around. That's right... Yoda nailed Shmi. Although we might imagine that a step-stool might have been required at times.

            Sorry, but I just love watching everyone going looking for mental bleach to remove the mental images. Of course, we can take this joke further, but I'll leave that for everyone to do in the privacy of his or her own mind.
      • This is definitely serious. Extreme insight and deconstruction went into that article and you have to at least start to see it the author's way.

        That one sees what one really, really wants to see?

        Who we are is in what we do, but at some point these deconstructions become much more about the one doing them than what they're interpreting. Sometimes a fucked up edit or transition is just a fucked up edit or transition, and sometimes lame dialogue is just lame dialogue.

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

      I wish Lucas had lost his shirt on them instead of stacking up another couple billion.
      • It's either satire or criticism written by a lovesick puppy with an English degree.

        Yeah, cause it would be a sin to actually think about things that are meant for ordinary people to enjoy. Being an intellectual should be like being a member of an exclusive club. The price of membership is that you have to treat anything outside the weltaunshaung of your academic field as beneath your notice. You must stick together, reading and praising each others' works, becuase if you don't, nobody will.

        For that reaso
        • Yeah, cause it would be a sin to actually think about things that are meant for ordinary people to enjoy.

          Unfortunately, your line of thinking if taken to an extreme invalidates all attempts to 'judge' works. We must all then declare that last Tuesday's episode of Fear Factor is as 'good' a work of art as Michaelangelo's David. This is also a problem with Postmodernist cultural-subjectivity.

          • Unfortunately, your line of thinking if taken to an extreme invalidates all attempts to 'judge' works

            Well, to confess I am extremely suspicious of any critic with a normative agenda. I believe you draw whatever pleasure and insight from something you can. Legitimate roles for critics are deepening appreciation for work on one hand, and the craft on the other, roles which naturally involve some opposition to each other. But I have no patience for critics who set themselves up as arbiters of taste. The p
    • by tverbeek (457094) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @05:10AM (#13930601) Homepage
      Basically, what the commentator is saying (whether he means to or not) is that Star Wars is a classically Bad movie. Plot developments are based on un-credible coincidence. The plotmaster's hand is an actual plot device. Et cetera. Post-modern deconstruction of an art form or genre is all about defying the conventions that make up a Good movie. The only question is whether Lucas is doing it on purpose (in which case it's avant-garde) or not (in which case these are just shortcomings).
      • ... it is obviously just bad writing, that takes itself too seriously, and no 'fingerprint' evidence to the contrary can be seen.

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

        "Jump to light speed!" putt putt putt... not again! great way to save money and max ROI on sets. :-(
  • by flinxmeister (601654) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @02:36AM (#13930231) Homepage
    ...when the author commented that R2 and 3P0 landing on tatooine was a coincidence.

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

    The slate article seems more interested in the academic thought than the actual subject matter. They should at least be related.
    • If my age addled memory serves, there isn't *that* many occupied worlds in the Star Wars galaxy. Considering even less act as navigational "byways" to other worlds (after all, they needed to use it in an emergency between Naboo and Coruscant), and that Tatooine is one of said byways, it isn't that unlikely that it would be a likely dropspot for craft passing through.

      Hell, that would explain the Jawas' propensity to an economic system, whereas would not exist if not for lots of gullible alien species droppin
    • If you had kept reading, you would have read where the author explained why the droids stopping on Tatooine wasn't really a coincidence within the series because of the Force, aka the Thing That Drives Plot. Thus, all the weird coincidences in the movie are instantly papered over with an all purpose plot unifier. The author finds that interesting.
      • by icybee (230126) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:40AM (#13930823) Journal
        Is it possible that the Rebel ship at the beginning of Episode IV was at Tatooine because they were going to contact Obi-Wan? Leia seems to know who he is and that he lives there. Why else would it have come out of hyperspace there instead of Alderaan?

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

          Because the rocky area would be a more likely location for settlements in the desert because of the shelter they provide (technically speaking).
        • Exactly.

          That was her friggin mission for crying out loud. She knew exactly where the ship was and Leia probably instructed the captain to come out of light speed as close to the planet as possible in order to facilitate the escape of the droid she gave the plans to. Hell she probably gave R2 the information he needed to put the escape pod down in the correct region of the planet to find Obi Wan.
          The moment the author of this piece said "What are the odds" I wrote him off completely. Yes ther
    • --I'm not that big of a SW geek, but even I know that there is a reason they ended up back in the same place.--

      The answer:

      FATE
  • by Neo-Rio-101 (700494) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @02:36AM (#13930232)
    So what this guy is saying, is that "The Force" is actually George Lucas, and when they say "The Force be with you", they are basically saying "Pray that Lucas doesn't get you killed in the next scene"

    Now it all makes sense!
  • by bypedd (922626) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @02:39AM (#13930246)
    Cubicle light saber duel, anyone?
    • "why he thinks Star Wars attracts such a huge following"

      I'd say 'used to attract' a huge following, before Ep 1 demonstrated the idol had feet of clay (either that or waa-aa-ay too much access to the big red 'special effects' button. But if that were true LOTR would have sucked and it didn't suck ergo it's not over-use of special effects which destroys a film. Breath in.)
      • I would say LOTR didn't overuse special effects. It's not overuse when you're using as only as much as you need (even if that is a fucking lot). They did as much as they could with models and scenary and camera tricks. Sure, they used a lot of sfx, but there was never a point where it felt like they were grabbing your nuts and saying "Look! It's special effects!".
        • Agreed. What I meant was that something like 70-80% of the LOTR footage was recoloured afterwards and they did all sorts of amazing things with lighting. (I enjoyed the docos on the DVDs as much as or more than the films themselves ;-) If any films could claim to be heavy with special effects it's the LOTR trilogy. Everything was tweaked, tweaked, tweaked until it was just so, but the end effect is such a fantastic blend of real and imaginary that you're completely absorbed. Overuse wasn't the right word -
      • by UncleFluffy (164860) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @05:15AM (#13930618)

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

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

  • by mrgeometry (689087) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @02:41AM (#13930260)
    I love Slate and I read it every day, but this article is not convincing for me. His main point is that George Lucas got all meta about plot; the Force represents Plot; the Emperor represents the author's attempt to control the plot, and Jar Jar represents the inventive whimsy of the characters. Sounds to me like "Moby Dick is actually the Republic of Ireland [pclaunch.com]". Sorry.
  • by nmoog (701216) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @02:44AM (#13930265) Homepage Journal
    Never attribute to post-modernism that which can adequately be explained by stupidity!
  • Star Wars? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grumpygrodyguy (603716) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @02:51AM (#13930283)
    Revenge of the Sith comes out on DVD today, and there's an interesting article on Slate dissecting the now-complete trilogy

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

    The others films are an embarrassment at best.
    • Re:Star Wars? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MoonChildCY (581211) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @03:31AM (#13930382) Homepage
      I apologize beforehand for the rant but...

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

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

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

      And to save you some trouble... Slate's analysis is close to what George Lucas was trying to do in the first place.
      • I liked Episodes IV - VI because I enjoyed watching them, not because someone else thought they were cool. There could be a bit of a nostalgia/childhood infatuation factor here, but I can still watch the old Star Wars trilogy more often then a Disney cartoon.

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

        Why didn't Episode III have the 5th (or 4th, or 1st) highest box office take? Maybe be
      • Re:Star Wars? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by superiority (892798) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @03:46AM (#13930417)
        I'm no movie aficionado, but I think it has just a leeeetle to do with the wooden acting, bad directing, contrived (Forced?) plot and the non-stop (to paraphrase a cousin post) grabbing of one's balls and screaming of, "Look! Special Effects!"
      • Re:Star Wars? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Golias (176380)
        Can anyone give me a precise reason why they think Star Wars I, II or III were horrible movies?

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

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

        3. It was not well made. The co
        • Re:Star Wars? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ForumTroll (900233)
          I couldn't agree more with all of your points. I just watched III (for the first and last time) with some friends and by about half way through the movie we just couldn't wait for it to end. The plot has so many holes in it and the dialogue is atrocious at best. The scenes with Anakin and Padme are quite possibly the worst written scenes in motion picture history. I'm amazed that they had a concept with so much potential and ended up making a movie with such an utterly horrific dialogue. Some of the ac

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


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

        Well you know what? If they did truly suck, people wouldn't go like crazy to watch them (don't forget, Epis
      • by dzfoo (772245) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @07:05AM (#13930879)
        >> Can anyone give me a precise reason why they think Star Wars I, II or III were horrible movies?

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

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

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

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

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

        What does annoy me
      • Re:Star Wars? (Score:2, Interesting)

        You cleary have either 0 artistic taste (and probably keep wondering why those annoying butt-heads in Mystery Science Theater keep ruining good movies by talking during them) or are simply, hopelessly, desperately in denial. That's OK. I was once as you are now.

        I found out about the new movies when I was in middle school. Back in 1995. I had heard rumors, but that was when I found out they were going to be made for sure. I can still remember the day I found out, how excited I was, trying to figure out
        • why not just go watch Wing Commander again? Or wait, you might not be able to tell that movie sucked too.

          Wing Commander is one of the few movies that made me physically ill afterwards and vow never to watch another video game movie again.
      • Re:Star Wars? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by cabazorro (601004) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @09:46AM (#13931439) Homepage Journal
        Here's why:
        Like all artistic endeavours, whenever you do something great eventually the artist faces the excruitiating disjuntive: I created something great, should I keep producing more versions of it or try something different?

        By following the latter you risk to turn your creation into something trivial, trite, obfuscated, mundane and unimaginative; killing the unique quality of the original. Examples are a-plenty:
        The Simpsons.
        Rocky.
        Jaws.
        Alien.
        Mad Max.
        and of course: Star Wars.

        Star Wars could have been a mystic sci-fi like Blade Runner or Brazil but instead became
        a regurgitated product that pops out of nowhere every holiday season..Like the Chia Pet!
        That's why I know hate Star Wars.
      • What makes the movies bad? Moments that are "Cringe-worthy" - yelling "Yippee!" for example. There were no moments in the original trilogy that made me cringe, wince, or want to hide beneath my seat in embarassment (yes, I know all the arugments about seeing those movies with the rose-colored glasses of childhood, etc.). Also, the computer effects were too "perfect" compared to the models of the original which, ironically, looked more "real". The original trilogy had likeable characters, which were sadl
  • by dirtsurfer (595452) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @02:55AM (#13930292) Journal
    The Force is the ultimate plot device, and it's such an obvious plot device that even the characters themselves realize that their actions are being controlled by this plot device, so it becomes a post-modern plot device.

    Cue fanfare and applause.
  • by cloudkj (685320) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @02:56AM (#13930296)
    When someone says avant-garde, Jar Jar Binks is definitely not the first thing that comes to mind....
  • Fan Films (Score:3, Informative)

    by ianmalcm (591345) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @03:05AM (#13930322)
    Star Wars is probably the best example of IT nerds meeting film geeks, and that pairing continues with all the fan films. Projects like http://www.impstherelentless.com/ [impstherelentless.com] bring the best of garage coders, animators, and home movie people together. And everyone wants to document their Star Wars fandom, from http://www.starwoids.com/ [starwoids.com] to http://www.starwait.com/ [starwait.com] to the most recent project, http://www.lininguptv.com/ [lininguptv.com].
  • by soul_hk (607396) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @03:10AM (#13930336)
    Jar-Jar and the prequels "needed" to happen so that Toys'R'Us could squeeze that bit more Star Wars junk on the shelves.

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

  • by actor_au (562694) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @03:16AM (#13930349) Homepage
    Okay, its only the first two movies of the new trilogy, as I got burned out by the time I hit 11 pages and just needed to sleep.

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

    Anyway here it is [kyhm.com] its as if Frank Herbert wrote them and George Lucas didn't suck enough to ruin them.
  • by Dirtside (91468) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @03:37AM (#13930400) Journal
    I was talking to a friend about Episode III. He pointed out, his words, "It was the best of Star Wars, it was the worst of Star Wars." You'd have an incredibly great moment followed immediately by something soul-crushingly stupid. The POV shot of Vader's mask coming down over his face; Vader's first breaths. Chilling.

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

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

      Every movie since Star War's Empire Strikes Back has sucked because George didn't have his film editor, Marcia Griffin. They divorced in 1983, but were already in the process before that....hence Return of the Jedi sucked.
    • They were running something on cable on Halloween night, about the making of the 'Star Wars' original trilogy. I used to be a big SW fan, so I watched it. Most telling moment was when Harrison "Han Solo" Ford said something to the effect of "Lucas didn't understand the acting process. For him, it was like, 'There it is [on the script]. You don't need to figure out the character. Just do it.' But acting isn't about just 'doing' the lines. Han Solo was a new character for me, and in order for me to mak

    • Lucas lacks timing. Honestly, the Padme angle should have been a precursor to the fight with Obi Wan, to fuel his anger even more so he didn't care about anything he previously cared for anymore. Enough so that he would strike down his former mentor.

      It could have been as simple as having Obi Wan saying he thinks she's dead after checking her (heat of the moment, not able to find a pulse whatever). Anakan can lose it, make bottles rattle and have his "NOoooo" moment. Then, he's in a proper state of mind
  • What is this? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bo'Bob'O (95398) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @03:39AM (#13930403)
    He's not impressing people with no interest in the arts. He's sure not fooling anyone who even casually takes this seriously. I guess is supposed to be a joke on both Star Wars fans and students of literature, but where is the Monty python foot next to the submission?
    • If this is satire, or even humour, it fails. It doesn't push the boundry at all. This is someone's bad impression of a lit major saying Lucas is very smart.

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

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

      Wait! Wait! Don't leave. Here's my impression of a male math major doing laundry and finding a bra in the wash!
  • Sorry, I found the first SW interesting and engaging back in 1977, despite being silly. The rest of the SW movies were progressively sillier, and less interesting. With Sith, I kept looking at my watch I was so bored.

    The Lord of the Rings, now there's a real plot.
  • Does anyone have an idea when there will be a box set of the second (or first, whatever) trilogy? I just want to have one box, like I have the one box of the original trilogy.
  • Let's be honest, George. The first one was a hit so you thought a sequel was in order. That was surprisingly good because someone else directed it, but since then you've been flogging a dead horse.

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

  • by earthbound kid (859282) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:00AM (#13930732) Homepage
    It looks like the slashdot audience is getting really hung up on the whole, "Is the Slate piece a satire or not?" thing. The thing is, as I commented before, "'satire' and 'non-satire' is a binary distinction that post-modernism transgresses proactively."

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

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

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

      "Postmodernism" is a reaction to or evolution of "modernism". So your statement

      The thing is, as I commented before, "'satire' and 'non-satire' is a binary distinction that post-modernism transgresses proactively."

      makes no sense.

      So, that could be satire, but what is it satirical about?

      What I mean, is that the author both is and isn't kidding. Also, I'm both kidding and not kidding when I say "transgresses binary distinctions."

      No. That wo

  • Remakes, anyone? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zenmojodaddy (754377) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:13AM (#13930762)
    Now that we have all six films, we know that the main thrust of the story is Anakin Skywalker's fall and eventual redemption. The main story is good. The execution is patchy, to say the least. You can imagine Lucas sitting on a big pile of money at his ranch thinking "Now what this dark, tragic story really needs is an annoying rasta guppy fishman..'

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

    Just as long as Han shoots first, natch.
  • by nagora (177841) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @06:31AM (#13930800)
    The title sequence is a big clue, folks.

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

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

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

    TWW

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

      If you want to take that approach, FireFly and Buffy did a better job, with less money.
      • Sure, it might be just like the old serials. But why did he limit himself to making a bad copy of them ...

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

        If you want to take that approach, FireFly a

  • It's fantastic. I supervised Episode II and III and so I was working closely with George and he is just amazing - his creativity, his vision and his ability to see the project in its completion. He knows what exactly what the film should look like so his direction is very clear and his decisions are always the right ones. They are what make the film beautiful. So it's a pleasure.
    Or, in other words, I don't want to get fired!
  • Show a postmodernist a Rorschach ink blot, and he sees an existential and reflexive dialectic between order and chaos. Show the same blot to a wino, and he sees a beer can.
  • "All it takes is an idea. I know some people who, as children were watching the Star Wars trilogy and fantasising about being able to drive around in a hovercraft or using a lightsaber as a weapon. They have grown up to became scientists or technology professionals, but did not let go of those "wouldn't it be cool if we could beam holograms or fly at warp speeds" kind of ideas. They have devoted their grown-up lives to trying to scientifically realise fantastical ideas. Many of them have found solutions. It
  • intellectual?? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by akhomerun (893103)
    as the avant-garde, intellectual sort of film that Lucas keeps saying it is.

    jar-jar binks is most definatly not intellectual, and he wasted half the time in the first two prequel star wars movies. so i guess maybe you could argue that episode III was intellectual, but I and II vaporized my brain.
  • This isn't interesting any longer. It's over and done with - a DVD release is hardly a blip on the radar seeing as how it's been available for months via download.

    Star Wars (six movies) was a critical failure - and not just with the movie critics, but also with the fans. It is the fans that say "Greedo shot first." Lucas says no and thereby ruins something fans liked from the first. From this no one recovers because it's not your masturbation fantasy that interests Lucas but only his own instead. In fact, i
  • "As an audience, we grapple with not just the intricate clockwork of a complex and interwoven narrative, but, in postmodern fashion, with the fundamental mechanics of storytelling itself."

    That isn't postmodernism as postmodernism would be some sort of comment on the hallowed standards of modernist storytelling. The author here tries to tell us that "The Force" is Lucas' comment on the progression of plot ("The Force is... a metaphor for... the demands of narrative. The Force is the power of plot.") Uh, no
  • by hey! (33014) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @01:49PM (#13933648) Homepage Journal
    The problem with these kinds of analyses is not that they are debasement of criticism, as some have suggested. It's that they create complex and appealing explanations where simpler ones fit better.

    While you can frame Lucas' triumphs and missteps in a kind of Dionysian/Apollonian dichotomy as the author does, I think the more economical explanation is this: Lucas is hampered by having too much money.

    For this analysis, it is more useful to consider the films in release order, not narrative order.

    Episode IV barely got made; Lucas had no idea whether his whole vision would ever come to fruition -- probably he doubted it. He also had limited budget; within that budget, his effects had to be as convincing as he could manage, and it probably wouldn't be wise to let people dwell on them (or the novice actors' performance) too much. Struggling against these limitations, he ended up trying to squeeze a barrel full of plot squashed into a thimble of time. The result is that the Episode IV unrolls at a pace that may never have been matched before or since, at least in a movie that had any narrative cohesiveness. The only reason it can be followed at all is that it's cobbled together out of familiar old stuff out of the common cultural attic. The result was a freshness and exhiliration that none of the subsequent movies could match.

    Episode V is widely regarded as the most satisfying of the series. The actors have hit their stride (helped along by a new director), the most onerous of the limitations have been lifted, but Lucas is not yet an all powerful, infinitely financed auter yet. The movie runs along at a slower but still brisk pace as Lucas the writer fills out the story from his Joseph Campbell crib sheet. Overall the best balanced of the entire series.

    Episode VI is remarkable for being the first unremarkable film in the series. The cast has hit it stride, but Lucas the movie maker and story teller is starting to fall apart. Like the once athlete who starts to succumb to middle age, he's succumbing to middle aged spread and is plodding perceptibly. He now has power; limitless resoruces and self-indulgence are starting to take their toll. But he still has a compelling story to finish, and he manages to make it over the finish line. In retrospect our disillusionment with this film is perhaps tinged by our over optimistic expectations.

    Episode I-II should be one film. That they are split into two is a sign of Lucas' complete independence, not only from financial constraint, but its accompanying artistic constraint. He made two movies out of one movie's worth of plot, for no other reason than he had a notion to. Add this to the limitless distraction iof digital effects on an unlimited budget, and these films do the unthinkable for fans of Episode IV: they drag on, and on. We're given plenty of time to ponder the imponderables as "WTF is the Trade Federation" or "How could Annakin go from ten years old to twenty without Padme going from twenty to thirty?"

    Episode III: Lucas return to mediocrity. There is story to tell; Episode I-II has to be bridged to Episode IV, and he only has one movie to do it in. So his tendency to ramble is reined in, which is a very good thing. He also has an interesting philosophical point to make, one that's familiar to thoughtful readers of Tolkien and CS Lewis, about the costs of trying to impose your personal narrative on the people around you and the inability to accept the impermanence of life. But the movie, while entertaining, is unsatisfying because it wants to be profound but fails. Lucas can't shoehorn a archetypal myth like the quest or rebirth into a script that will do what he needs to do in this movie. What he has to work with is collection of loose ends that he must tie up in a way that makes his point. What he needs to achieve his ambitions in this episode are the powers of a dramatist, which he lacks.

    In politics, power is the instrument. But power also corrupts. In art the struggle for freedo
  • 2 Points. . . (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @09:18PM (#13937505)
    1. Anakin could not have become Vader.

    Anakin was a loving, good-intentioned person with a conscience. The film's attempts to drive him to the Dark Side were staged and pushy and contrived and ultimately ridiculous. --You can frustrate a person and make him/her angry, but to become Vader, you have to scramble a person as a child. Anakin was already well past the point of such vulnerability; he had seen and learned love and friendship during his formative years. --His love and selfless good deeds were rewarded with the gratitude and returned love from solid, respectful friends, and thus his belief system and internal compass about how the world can and should be would have been set and anchored deeply. It would have taken a LOT more than a sly Palpatine whispering shit at him to screw up a 20-something year-old Anakin. Heck, even the flying junk-dealer from his childhood spoke of little Anakin with pride. --There are fatherless kids out there in the real world who would do anything for the kind of affection Anakin was shown in Phantom Menace. If you want to create a Vader, you have to start kicking him as a baby and never let up. Anakin should have been the second coming. Vader? No chance.

    2. I DID however like the illustration of how a republic can easily turn into a fascist state. We all can take a lesson from that and pack our bags and move to Canada, France or New Zealand. . .

    So Lucas gets half marks for insight. Politically, he's got a clue, but otherwise he's still learning. Evil is a tough problem.


    -FL

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