Stars Wars the force continues and continues…….

Posted by Greg Butler On December - 13 - 2015

If anything George Lucas’s space fantasy have taught us, is that the Star Wars saga is a work in constant motion, never quite completed to be one thing but rather morphing in many different ways, sometime dividing the communities in free fall battles in fan forums, youtube or Imdb commentaries.
The shoving match between the revisionists and the purists, the prequel lovers Vs the sequel romantics. Did Greedo really shoot first, did little Anakin Skywalker build C3PO and when did faith in the force turn into a trekkien science babble?
The idea of childhood dreams being assaulted because of some questionable interpretations always seem to me way over the proverbial top. Backlash of fans and critics have resulted in extreme opinionated articles and videos. Online examples as The Phantom Menace edit, whereas as a not very favorable character Jar Jar Binks is severely omitted, or Redletter Media’s hyperbolic (but hysterically amusing) deconstruction review of said prequels.
Is it reasonable to expect more than what was there, just a mercurial entertainment for the sake of a few escapist hours.  Comedians like Pat Oswalt and other unflattering comments from various Hollywood sources, has held up the original trilogy as the holy trinity. But then if one were to research it carefully the divide between fans really began with Return of the Jedi and those cursed Ewoks. Since then, the irregularities and contradictions of all six films been either ignored, not noticed, accepted or dismissed .

“There a really a lot of haters. BUT this is what art is: you release it and let it be judged. Some people don’t like the originals films. This one everyone is going to like, though by force” Actor John Boyega , Star Wars: the force awakens.Timeout Magazine.

Well Mr Boyega that remains to be seen.

A colleague of mine once qouted from the film The Big Chill, ” Sometimes you have to let art flow over you. ..” perhaps that is why there isn’t common ground among fans, art is subjective, who cares if it doesn’t make sense, or maybe our criteria of entertainment is low, fuck do I know. In the meantime despite my misgivings, I do prefer certain certain chapters more than others, so in celebration of awakens, let me and my fellow writer Sean give a quick rundown on the negatives and positives of a
galaxy far far away……..

The Phantom Menace
(What’s Lucas smokin?)
Midi- what?
Casting too many high powered actors with nothing for them to stand out (sorry Terrance Stamp).
The space station blowing up, undermines the original death star explosions as being trivial.

( What went right )
Double edged light saber and fight sequence.
Darth Maul.
Ian Macdiarmid.

Attack of the clones.
(What’s Lucas smokin’?)
The editing as a whole throws too many ideas without a cohesive direction to digest to what we are seeing.
No chemistry between All the actors, the romance being the worst.
Relied more on the cgi than usual.

(What went right )
Casting Christopher lee as Count Dooku
The fight between Jango Fett and Kenobi, something over due from Return of the Jedi.

Revenge of the Sith
(What’s lucas smokin’)
Knocking off Mr lee much to soon.
forcing the plot such as it is, in disposing the Jedi knights in a ham fisted way just to get to the main characters, again the key word is trivilizing.
The editing of the film is choppy and pacing disorganized.

Star Wars
(What’s lucas smokin’?)                                                                                                                                                                                        
Should have edited out the Biggs part during the original run, was fixed later in the revamped version but still unnecessary.

Repeating the threat expositions twice, the Greedo and Jabba scenes, basic 101 screenwriting mistake.

Greedo shooting first at close range, sorry Lucas you can’t turn Solo into John Wayne decades after the fact.

han shot first

 

(what went right)                                                                                                                                                                                       

  Screenplay with a Macguffin and character motivations, the best since The Wizard of Oz.

John Williams’s score.

Costumes and design.

 

The Empire strikes Back

 (What’s Lucas, Kasden and Kershner smokin’?)                                                                                                                                                                          

Not wearing pressure suits during the whale/asteroid scene, or rather the characters not questioning the gravity or air on a floating rock.

Ah Hell, who am I fooling, I luv the flick!

 

Return of the Jedi

(What’s lucas smokin’?)

Resolving the Luke and Leia relationship by making them siblings, creating a uncomfortable vibe affecting the first two films.

Ewoks; enuff said.

The Untapped potential of bounty hunter Fett/ The impressive imperial guards of the emperor, disappearing off the picture.

(what went right)

 

Speederbike chase through forrest.

Before the prequels and special editions, first appearance of Jabba the Hutt.

Again;  Ian Macdiarmid.

 

<b>Star</b> <b>Wars</b>

SEAN

Phantom Menace

Cons

• The stakes are never really felt because no one seems to react like there are any, with the exception of Padme. She’s the only one who acts like she cares.

• If you erased the original trilogy and just had this film, you wouldn’t care for anybody or what is going on. Vice versa, you can erase this film and not lose anything in the original trilogy. Those films gave you a reason to care. Any investment you have in Phantom Menace is not earned by the film itself.

• For being wise, powerful peacekeepers, the Jedi have no qualms with putting a child’s life in danger by bringing him along when they go to fight.

Pros

• It expands the mythology of the universe and how some of the societies work with the introduction of the senate and the Jedi council, even if it doesn’t make the story interesting.

• The action is exciting and the light saber fights are very well choreographed.

• Darth Maul was a threatening villain, even though he had little dialogue and no background. He came off as more of a Sith terminator.

Attack of the Clones

Cons

• The dialogue is very poorly written (Ex. “Sand”), and the stilted acting makes it so much more apparent, especially since most of the actors are actually really good outside of this series.

• There is only one scene where Obi-Wan and Anakin act like friends—the elevator scene in the beginning, which kind of feels forced (refer to previous con)—and what little time they spend in each other’s company during the rest of the film is spent with Obi-Wan putting up with Anakin’s whiny bullshit. If they are such great friends, the film doesn’t do much to support it.

• How in the name of God does Padme fall for Anakin?! Everything he does screams unstable psychopath, and any sane person would’ve taken off running after listening to him rant about how he killed men, women, and children. With how Anakin’, it would’ve made more sense if Luke and Leia were the spawn of rape than forbidden love.

Pros

• The plot of the film is not as isolated at the first one and firmly plants the seeds for what’s to come in the original trilogy by delving into the Republic and the Separatists.

• The action is exciting and the light saber fights are very well choreographed.

• Palpatine’s plan, while convoluted, takes shape here and makes the Emperor all the more sinister because he was able to orchestrate the clones and the civil war from behind the scenes without drawing the attention of the Jedi and getting the Senate to actually back him up.

Revenge of the Sith

Cons

• The opening, while a thrilling action piece, is drawn out and serves only to have Anakin execute Count Dooku and build towards his turn to the dark side. This segment takes up a good twenty minutes or so, but the same goal could’ve been achieved with something more focused and less meandering (Ex. R2’s silly action scene), and more time could’ve been spared to developing other points in the story, like the ending or Anakin’s transformation, which leads to:

• Anakin’s turn, though built up over the past two films, still feels too quick and out of character. If he was the same whiny brat from Attack of the Clones, I would have bought it a little more, but in this film, his angst and psychotic tendencies are toned down quite a bit in favor of desperation for his love of Padme, which I still can’t buy into. It was as though his emotional arc was shown in reverse between Ep. 2 and 3.

• The ending is merely a rapid-fire checklist of things to set up the original trilogy and even contradicts future revelations (Leia remembers her mother, though she could also be referring to her mother on Alderaan). Padme dies, the twins are split up, Obi-Wan goes into hiding, and Darth Vader is born and watches the construction of the Death Star; we are shown “what” happens, but we aren’t really shown “why”. We aren’t really given a chance to digest the somber chain of events, and once again, much of the emotional connection relies on the viewer having already seen the original trilogy. It would’ve earned nothing if the prequels existed on their own.

Pros

• The opera scene. It is a beautifully shot moment, and while it’s meant to serve Anakin’s transition into the dark side, it works far better in adding a new facet to the Star Wars mythology with the introduction of Darth Plagueis and providing more insight into the soon-to-be Emperor. I wouldn’t mind if this bit of knowledge is brought up again in future Star Wars movies.

• The fall of the Jedi and is a grim, haunting moment. The montage of Order 66 is actually one of the most emotional scenes in the entire Star Wars saga as the light side of the Force get blindsided by Palpatine’s puppet-mastery, and Anakin’s march into the Jedi temple is cold, brutal, and extremely effective without showing the carnage, despite how alarming this shift in Anakin is.

• And to cap it all off, Palpatine uses the guise of safety to lure the Senate into siding with him and creating the Empire. It’s a moment that reflects everything going on in the world today, where the fear of terrorism has led to the people giving up certain freedoms in the name of security. As Padme so eloquently puts it, “So this is how liberty dies: with thunderous applause”.

A New Hope

Cons

• Leia seems a little nonplussed after watching her planet blow up.

• And the movie wants you to believe that Obi-Wan deserves more mourning than said planet.

• Wait, so Leia actually did know they were being tracked after they escaped from the Death Star, and they still went to the Rebel base?!

Pros

• Harrison Ford. Enough said.

• Despite the grave events that happen in the film (Luke’s aunt and uncle dying, Alderaan blowing up, Obi-Wan dying) the film maintains a rather consistent fun and light tone and never seems to dip in pacing.

• Though the effects are a little dated, they hold up much better after almost four decades than most CGI in films from the past five years. The practical look works in favor of making you believe in this sci-fi universe.

Empire Strikes Back

Cons

• The time duration of the film is murky at best. Luke’s training is happening at the same time as Millennium Falcon’s run-and-hide scenario, which means that Luke only trained for a few days, a week or two at best. Far too little time for Luke to make the progress he displays before he takes on Vader.

• C3PO’s bickering got a little annoying after a while.

• Parts with the Millennium Falcon running away dragged a little bit in terms of pacing.

Pros

• The Empire Strikes Back earns its title. The stakes are ramped up throughout the course of the film, leading to the powerful crescendo of Luke vs. Darth Vader.

• The story takes the characters into new and even dark places (Luke’s journey into the cave), and while most character arcs in any story have them overcoming their struggles and doubts by the end, here, the main characters don’t end up on top. They suffer for their flaws and desperation and barely make it out alive, showing them and the viewers that this is not just some light-hearted adventure anymore. Shit got real.

• Yoda is equal parts fun and wise and a better mentor than Obi-Wan not just because he was a superior Jedi but because he didn’t have to deliver that much exposition. He got to teach, to guide Luke way more than Obi-Wan ever did, since the latter had to serve as the exposition provider for Episode IV. Yoda does further elaborate on what the Force is, but it’s disguised so wonderfully as pure words of wisdom that you can attribute to real life obstacles.

Return of the Jedi

Cons

• Too much time is focused on how the Ewoks live with their savage cuddliness, and the subplot of C3PO being their deity felt like the movie was trying too hard to regain that light playfulness of Episode IV and became just childish.

• Han doesn’t really feel like Han anymore. I know he’s grown from the first movie, but the moment where he suddenly acts jealous of Luke on Endor just felt out of character.

• The ending was very short and seemed to undercut the enormity of defeating the Emperor and the Death Star by having such a limited perspective of the victory. The Special Edition, in one of the very few improvements, actually showed that what the Rebels did really affected the galaxy.

Pros

• The stories of Luke and Darth Vader reach a grand and heart-breaking finale.

• The final space dogfight outside of the Death Star is pretty awesome and intense.

• Despite knowing very little about the Emperor (prior to the release of the prequels), he comes off as quite threatening by doing very little. Perhaps it mostly because of how Vader interacts with him. Either way, the film sold that the Emperor was indeed the monster in charge.

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