Star Wars Universe Discussion Thread

All non-Nolan related film, tv, and streaming discussions.
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Anyone else watching Sith on TNT? Or any of the other films coming up in the next few days?

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Honestly, I think you see from Episodes I to III Lucas finding more and more of a groove again and understanding the language of filmmaking and storytelling in a way that could dazzle and captivate. If he continued that momentum right out of the gate, I'd be very inclined to see a George Lucas led Episodes VII-VIII-IX. But the thing is, I honestly can't imagine his VII getting on the level of what we have now. Most fans I know of rank it as the third best in all of them, it's acclaimed, a huge huge box office success, and Rey, Finn, Poe and Ren clearly had an immediate massive cultural impact that few movies really can.


-Vader

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It probably wouldn't have been better but probably would have been more interesting. It also depends if Lucas would have got help with the writing.

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As much as I love Awakens, Sith is still a more impressive film. Although I won't deny at this stage Abrams was probably a better helmsman for the franchise than Lucas could have been.£

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m4st4 wrote:Wait til they announce the same for Indy.
Well the Indy films have a very clear limit since they don't seem to intend to reboot it. Animated series stuff is where I'd imagine that would go.

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Vader182 wrote:Honestly, I think you see from Episodes I to III Lucas finding more and more of a groove again and understanding the language of filmmaking and storytelling in a way that could dazzle and captivate. If he continued that momentum right out of the gate, I'd be very inclined to see a George Lucas led Episodes VII-VIII-IX. But the thing is, I honestly can't imagine his VII getting on the level of what we have now. Most fans I know of rank it as the third best in all of them, it's acclaimed, a huge huge box office success, and Rey, Finn, Poe and Ren clearly had an immediate massive cultural impact that few movies really can.


-Vader
The thing is, Lucas lost interest in the filmmaking process when he did Star Wars, insofar as principal photography. Lucas has shown a passion and has developed pre- and post-production but it wasn't even his intention to direct the prequels fully. I don't think he's ever got the set-up he wanted - the closest to being ideal for him might have been ROTJ, but he was grappling with his divorce at the time. But I mean, if you look at it, the figures who opposed him on ESB in Kersh and Kurtz are gone, and replaced with the more pliant Marquand and Kazanjian. What doesn't help matters is that Marquand, while not a complete dud of a filmmaker (Eye of the Needle would indicate better than what is offered on ROTJ), doesn't contribute anything that Lucas can't, and he can't help mold the script with Kasdan into something of the previous film's calibre.

For TPM I don't know all the people he solicited but we do know that he wanted David Hare to direct the actors while he "directed" the special effects and synthesised everything - as far as I can recall Hare's reaction was like Spielberg's - it's too big and it's very much George Lucas's thing, and he should be the one to do it. But Hare would have been someone who could have refined the script with the actors in mind, I think. Just as an example. Lucas knows his limitations and what he's not interested in. If anything I think his disinterest in principal photography only grows over the prequel trilogy - hence the dialing back of practical sets progressively, until ROTS where you have things that could have been built but simply aren't.

At the end of the day Lucas did something that hasn't happened before in cinema or since really - he fashioned a mythology that was going to get told one way or another, and it just happened that he was a filmmaker. It's going to be the great American myth, and it's going to endure in formats other than the cinematic one, but those six films are your source material. And across all six films he introduces new concepts and elements to that mythology. And like any mythology, it clunks and contradicts itself and isn't always brilliantly told and is chock full of idiosyncrasies. Of course, it's not a real mythology because it comes from a single author who we know, and it's copyright and all that, but it's a simulated one in the same vein of what Tolkien did.

While I understand Disney's "no Prequel material" edict, I do think there's an unfortunate arrogance and misunderstanding of what you have your hands on when you have something from Lucas in regards to Star Wars and you discard it so utterly. The very nature of Star Wars genuinely makes the concept of something like what The Force Awakens is kinda repugnant, because it fixates on the nature of delivery rather than the nature of story. I think the point where I realised that Star Wars, which ultimately works firstly on concepts for the juvenile consumption, is fundamentally misunderstood, and that "fans" engage with the componentry of the original films without the context of the original films. Is Mos Eisley Cantina fascinating because it exists, or because it co-exists with the Death Star conference room? Is Han Solo a great character just because, or is he great because he's bouncing off a farmboy and a princess? Is the Force a wonderful concept in and of itself, or because it can play tricks on people's minds and send torpedoes down exhaust tubes? This idea that Star Wars was great because it was about the frontier, with rugged characters, and because the Force is kept vague is a product of people trying to deduce why they don't like the prequels and coming up short.

So what you get is a film that replicates a "vibe" and that replicates filmmaking techniques (Disney's propaganda about real sets and real props and everything was extraordinarily successful in diverting from the fact that we knew very little about the feeble story on offer), that provides characters that we can like or hate based largely on excellence of casting more than anything, and that gives us real Star Warsey story beats. It's a great job at pushing all the buttons for Them Out There, but as I say to people when they ask me what I think of it "I don't think it was made for me." And by that I mean I don't think it was made for die hards - I mean, if what draws you to those original films is how it was made and the vibe of them and the gist of them and all that stuff that is in TFA then I think you're closer to really really liking those films than being a die hard. I'm not saying for one second that anyone who doesn't like the prequels isn't a real fan or any nonsense like that but to me I can't find anything TFA taps into beyond the superficial that hits Lucas's level. I will say that for me, the filmmaking itself is almost in a way incidental when it comes to this stuff - TFA is a better film than a lot of other SW films, but that doesn't make it better Star Wars material.

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completely agree Armand

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Armand, your thoughts on Star Wars are always a delight, but it's worth mentioning per your last point that with the exception of some friends online, every single "die hard" I know of places The Force Awakens as third or at worst fourth in their list of Star Wars movies. And these are, for the most part, people who like me played the games, read a ton ton ton of the EU, bought the legos, watched all 6 movies 50,000 times, etc. Hell, every year about 14 of my friends and I get together and watch all 6 Star Wars movies in a row. That's purely anecdotal, but the film culture I'm surrounded by in real life seems to more or less agree with me that The Force Awakens captures Star Wars almost miraculously well for not having anything to do with George Lucas.

And what's more, I think what makes The Force Awakens work so brilliantly is specifically the Kasdany elements that I expected would resonate deeply with you. The Force Awakens can seem like a Star Wars circle jerk, but it's also an almost bitter deconstruction of our heroes, it's like The Empire Strikes Back's deconstruction but on a much bigger extreme. Luke failed and is in hiding, Han failed his children, his army, his wife, and ultimately, he even failed his put on late life role as a smuggler. The movie says "You wanted things back to "normal", well this is Han Solo how we met him only grown into old age, and you know what, it's sad. It's deliberately subverting what fans want while also telling a story that, I will continue to assert, is not nearly as safe as you or others think it is. This is a movie that not only lives or dies by our new characters, but it also basically criticizes our beloved ones.

There's also something to be said of the films style, which is almost like Kurosawa or Spielberg in how the dominant aesthetic choice seems to be the mid-shot rearrangement of compositions, where characters constantly enter the frame and exit before swirling to somebody else. JJ's style has never been so controlled. The effect, of course, is directorially emphasizing the relationships between the characters, underscoring their conflicts, closeness, and need to resolve what's in front of them. It's also kind of smart. The movie's aesthetic, for me, feels "old school" since it's using a technique Kurosawa used on High and Low and Spielberg has used basically since Sugarland Express, but it also feels new, since it takes all that but speeds it up. The shots aren't long, but they somehow manage to do that. The blocking and choreography is highly nuanced.

I dunno I guess I'm just saying a lot of what I think is going on in this movie gets overlooked by people quick to point out the superficial similarities to ANH, or how it has that fake food taste. Since for me it's really the real deal.


-Vader

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<3 you Vader

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