Author Topic: Star Wars: A New Dope  (Read 4819 times)

Star Wars: A New Dope
« on: March 15, 2021, 12:42:19 PM »

Saw that the Rise Of Skywalker thread had reached page 99 so thought best to start a new Star Wars thread.

I've been thinking a lot about the films lately.

2021 marks the year when The Phantom Menace turns 22 years old, the same age Star Wars was when The Phantom Menace was released. It's also been sixteen years since Revenge Of The Sith, the same amount of time between Return Of The Jedi and The Phantom Menace. I'm old enough to have seen Return of the Jedi when it was first released,  and the sixteen year wait for Phantom Menace felt like an eternity.

Spurred on by discovering The George Lucas Talk Show, I recently rewatched the prequel films.

Like most fans of my age, I was hugely disappointed by the prequels and spent 1999-2004 fuming at George Lucas (never quite to the extreme "raped my childhood" levels) and by the time Revenge Of The Sith was released, it became ever apparent that the Star Wars films simply weren't for me any more - It was also around this time that some of my school and college friends started to become parents, making me understand that these films just weren't for me any more.

Much to my surprise, I enjoyed rewatching the prequels way more than expected - Especially The Phantom Menace. It'll never be a good film, but I was pleased to be able to see past all the hype and subsequent disappointment, and watch it for what it is. I was surprised at how quickly the first act moves along.Some of the effects actually look better than Episodes II and III as there was still a reliance on practical effects and real locations. The podrace scene is great. Darth Maul is awesome, even if the fight scenes seem a little "overly choreographed" and John Williams' score still sounds amazing.

I'll come back with further thoughts on the prequels but wanted to start this new thread before I forgot.



Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2021, 02:42:44 PM »
Phantom Menace did feel like the prequel were Lucas had some pretty good ideas in terms of locations/set pieces, I think needed someone else writing/directing but if he'd kept to an Indiana Jones like creative producer role there's enough there to flesh out a better story.

Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2021, 02:46:33 PM »

Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2021, 02:55:02 PM »
Phantom Menace was definitely the best one.

There were a few good ideas for set pieces and stuff, and it did have an interesting visual style. Probably needed a bit of work on the script, story and characters, but as it's a kids film it holds up ok I think. The other 2 are all over the place, particularly with tone. ROTS gets way too dark I think, did we really need a scene where we are told Anakin has just killed a load of kids?

Glebe

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Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2021, 05:01:26 PM »
Rewatched the prequels on Disney+ not long ago. For all their faults - Jar Jar, excessive CGI, silly sequences involving C3PO and the like, there's a lot of good stuff in there. They feel more Star Wars then the sequel trilogy, for sure.

Fry

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Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2021, 06:38:40 PM »
Rewatched the prequels on Disney+ not long ago. For all their faults - Jar Jar, excessive CGI, silly sequences involving C3PO and the like, there's a lot of good stuff in there. They feel more Star Wars then the sequel trilogy, for sure.

Yeah. They're shit. But at least there's something there. An attempt at a new type of story, an attempt at creating new iconic characters and locations. You can easily reference and meme so much stuff from the prequels because they are actually made with a sense of wonder and joy and excitement. Instead of just listlessly checking off a list of references and story beats like in most of the sequels films. Say Jar Jar Binks everyone knows who you're talking about. Give it 5 years and only a handful of nerds will remember BB-8. Who's going out of their way to make a fuckin Captain Phasma meme.[1]

Apart from The Last Jedi which is the only good star wars film other than the original 3. Anyone who disagrees is a big baby with a dirty nappy.
 1. I know memes are in general shit but they are a decent reflection of what has actually taken hold in popular consciousness

Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2021, 06:47:56 PM »
Give it 5 years and only a handful of nerds will remember BB-8. Who's going out of their way to make a fuckin Captain Phasma meme.[1]
 1. I know memes are in general shit but they are a decent reflection of what has actually taken hold in popular consciousness


Scott Aukerman, on The George Lucas Talk Show, said he was at a party and overheard two guys arguing over Star Wars, one defending the prequels and the other in favour of the sequel trilogy. IIRC, Scott thought to himself "Of course the sequels are better", until the prequel guy made pretty much this same point - At least they're memorable. It's a strong case.


For those Cabbers who might not be aware, I highly recommend the Star Wars videos from master editors Auralnauts. Their latest vid retcons a bunch of stuff in Return Of The Jedi so that the sequels make sense: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2zRFPeEDS0


EDIT:

We all know that The Phantom Menace featured racial stereotypes (Nute Gunray, Watto and Jar Jar Binks) but, through listening to Griffin Newman's Blank Check podcast, I learnt that the Jedi character with tiny head and long neck is named Yarael POOF and is of the QUERMIAN species. I mean WTF George?!







« Last Edit: March 15, 2021, 07:54:30 PM by Dusty Substance »

Glebe

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Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2021, 07:58:08 PM »
We all know that The Phantom Menace featured racial stereotypes (Nute Gunray, Watto and Jar Jar Binks)

Duh, yeah, that's a seriously problematic thing that slipped me mind there. Incredibly insensitive stuff from Mr. Lucas.

St_Eddie

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Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2021, 11:13:46 PM »
My favourite Star Wars character is the drug dealer from Episode II.  He’s called Elan Sleazebaggano.  What chance did he have with a name like that?  Him and Gríma Wormtongue from The Lord of the Rings.  Poor fuckers.

Ant Farm Keyboard

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Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2021, 02:20:15 AM »
Phantom Menace did feel like the prequel were Lucas had some pretty good ideas in terms of locations/set pieces, I think needed someone else writing/directing but if he'd kept to an Indiana Jones like creative producer role there's enough there to flesh out a better story.

George Lucas hates directing, or more exactly the dealing with actors thing.
Originally, he wanted to offer The Phantom Menace to Spielberg, Zemeckis and Ron Howard. They all turned the project down, as Star Wars is much more a personal thing to him than Indiana Jones, which was from the start a collaborative thing with Spielberg, Kaufman and Kasdan. Sure, he abandoned some creative control over The Empire Strikes Back, but Lucas spent much more time on set for Return of the Jedi.
That's only when the other guys told him that he was the only one who could direct the prequels that he decided to return to directing. It was mostly from a separate room from where he could see live feed from the cameras.
And we all know how the creative producer role turned out for The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

mothman

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Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2021, 10:20:55 PM »
My favourite Star Wars character is the drug dealer from Episode II.  He’s called Elan Sleazebaggano.  What chance did he have with a name like that?  Him and Gríma Wormtongue from The Lord of the Rings.  Poor fuckers.

On paper, it’s a brilliant exchange that done right could have been hilarious. As filmed - one hesitates to call what Lucas was doing at this point “directing” - it falls totally flat. Maybe even a pay-off later in the film.

While Anakin searches the nightclub for the assassin, Obi-Wan sits down at the counter, and the dealer to his right turns to him
Elan Sleazebaggano: You wanna buy some death-sticks?
Obi-Wan executes the Jedi Mind Trick
Obi-Wan Kenobi: You don't want to sell me death sticks.
Elan Sleazebaggano: Ah, I don't want to sell you death sticks.
Obi-Wan Kenobi: You want to go home and rethink your life.
Elan Sleazebaggano: I want to go home and rethink my life.

St_Eddie

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Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2021, 10:37:38 PM »
It's also so dumb that Lucas named the drugs "death sticks".  Firstly because it suggests that it's the Star Wars equivalent of cigarettes, as opposed to something stronger such as heroin.  Secondly because what kind of drug peddler would sell their drug on the grounds that it'll kill you?  Cigarette companies give their product fancy sounding names such as Lambert and Butler, Mayfair or Windsor.  They don't call them "Early Grave Sticks", because it would be a PR disaster.

mothman

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Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2021, 11:16:28 PM »
Mind you, some of the “legal highs” had some pretty out-there brand names. But your point stands.

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Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2021, 01:52:25 AM »

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2021, 02:14:03 AM »
Bizarrely I also watched the prequels in the last few months. The widespread and accepted disdain for Ep1 set against the objective fact that it’s actually basically fine - “oh shit, maybe these are great movies!”

Full of a novel optimism[1] I put on Ep2, but it was absolutely woeful. Hated everything about it; a hulking tonal disaster and technically inept - how do you have a movie almost 3hrs long and still make it seem like a random scattergun of disparate scenes that also contains edit discontinuities and plot holes so blatant that I clock them (while drinking beer and looking at my phone) sometimes in the same car chase.

Turned it off after 2 hours, was astonished there was more of it. Absolute stinker of a film. Assumed Ep3 is as bad or worse, so that was the end of my rewatch.
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Glebe

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Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2021, 02:34:32 AM »
Clones goes really off the rails with the conveyor belt scene and C3PO filling in for Jar Jar as an annoying comic relief twat.

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Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2021, 03:06:23 AM »
Clones goes really off the rails with the conveyor belt scene and C3PO filling in for Jar Jar as an annoying comic relief twat.

“This is such a drag” is quite possibly the worst line in any of the Star Wars movies.

Blumf

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Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2021, 10:03:29 AM »
Secondly because what kind of drug peddler would sell their drug on the grounds that it'll kill you?  Cigarette companies give their product fancy sounding names such as Lambert and Butler, Mayfair or Windsor.  They don't call them "Early Grave Sticks", because it would be a PR disaster.

Welllll.......

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_(cigarette)

They were crap, apparently. 'Crusty floor sweepings' was a smoker friend's description.

Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2021, 10:59:24 AM »
Yeah. They're shit. But at least there's something there. An attempt at a new type of story, an attempt at creating new iconic characters and locations. You can easily reference and meme so much stuff from the prequels because they are actually made with a sense of wonder and joy and excitement. Instead of just listlessly checking off a list of references and story beats like in most of the sequels films. Say Jar Jar Binks everyone knows who you're talking about. Give it 5 years and only a handful of nerds will remember BB-8. Who's going out of their way to make a fuckin Captain Phasma meme.[1]
 1. I know memes are in general shit but they are a decent reflection of what has actually taken hold in popular consciousness

Its perhaps the most daming aspect of Rise of Skywalker that after a couple of months it was basically forgotten like some modern Will Smith blockbuster, that thread carried on but little actual comment on that film.

Quote
Apart from Rogue One which is the only good star wars film other than the original 3. Anyone who disagrees is a big baby with a dirty nappy.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2021, 12:54:08 PM »
Clones goes really off the rails with the conveyor belt scene and C3PO filling in for Jar Jar as an annoying comic relief twat.

Fucking hell I’d forgotten that entire sequence (and the rotten comic “payoff” in the gladiator coliseum sequence).

Complete dog egg.

Poirots BigGarlickyCorpse

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Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2021, 01:19:35 PM »
George Lucas hates directing, or more exactly the dealing with actors thing.
That makes a lot of sense. Even when I saw episodes II and III for the first time, I was left with the impression that Lucas just expected Hayden Christiansen to know how to play Anakin Skywalker and didn't actually tell him how to play the character.

Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2021, 02:04:01 PM »
Even with the originals Kershner was pretty much brought in to deal with the actors so Lucas wouldnt have to.

kidsick5000

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Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2021, 03:35:11 PM »
2021 marks the year when The Phantom Menace turns 22 years old, the same age Star Wars was when The Phantom Menace was released.

BLOODY HELL!

Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2021, 04:29:09 PM »
The prequels do actually feel "old" to me though, they feel bound up in the generation of blockbusters in the 90's were the latest CGI tool was the main selling point. Fellowship of the Ring being 20 years old now actually feels more "bloody hell" as that felt more like the start of a post CGI or "tamed" CGI era.

TwinPeaks

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Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2021, 04:45:32 PM »
Yeah. They're shit. But at least there's something there. An attempt at a new type of story, an attempt at creating new iconic characters and locations. You can easily reference and meme so much stuff from the prequels because they are actually made with a sense of wonder and joy and excitement. Instead of just listlessly checking off a list of references and story beats like in most of the sequels films. Say Jar Jar Binks everyone knows who you're talking about. Give it 5 years and only a handful of nerds will remember BB-8. Who's going out of their way to make a fuckin Captain Phasma meme.[1]
 1. I know memes are in general shit but they are a decent reflection of what has actually taken hold in popular consciousness
Basically agreed
there's some awesome character designs and planets and things, the trilogy's just this mad thing that could have only come from George Lucas, nothing else like it will ever exist again
and it gave us this series which had me crying laughing
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSCm8yAxBr8

Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #25 on: March 17, 2021, 05:24:33 PM »
Sorry if someone's brought this up already but on Disney+ they've got the insane Utapau chase animatic that Spielberg dicked around with for Revenge Of The Sith and it's hilarious and certainly the funniest thing Spielberg's ever been involved with. It could be on the Blu-ray too, not sure.

Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #26 on: March 17, 2021, 05:42:59 PM »
I probably said this about five minutes after seeing The Force Awakens[1]: One of the major reasons I think the sequel trilogy was bound for ploppiness is that the folk in charge seemed too concerned with it not being like the prequels. Thus we got a setup that barely made sense (because god forbid we have anything resembling political exposition) hyperactive direction (just so long as we don't get any inert dialogue scenes) and quipping galore (to avoid seeming po-faced and because no single character can be the Jar Jar if everyone is).

Kind of ironic for a series in which balance is a key theme.
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Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2021, 05:43:22 PM »
With the sequel trilogy you never really feel like the characters have been on much of a journey. Plus Finn and Poe just got sidelined. I didn't really know who the hell they were by the third film. In The Last Jedi they should've ended with Rey and Kylo Ren joining forces. That would've been a hell of a cliffhanger and shook things up a little for the 3rd movie.

idunnosomename

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Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #28 on: March 17, 2021, 05:51:12 PM »
The prequels do actually feel "old" to me though, they feel bound up in the generation of blockbusters in the 90's were the latest CGI tool was the main selling point. Fellowship of the Ring being 20 years old now actually feels more "bloody hell" as that felt more like the start of a post CGI or "tamed" CGI era.
well Fellowship is a lot like Episode 1 for still using a lot of minature sets with rotoscoped actors manually comped in. The Balrog is also a bit ropey looking now.

Big thing in that was Gollum who was the first fully CG realistic character people actually liked.

Re: Star Wars: A New Dope
« Reply #29 on: March 17, 2021, 05:59:43 PM »
there's some awesome character designs and planets and things, the trilogy's just this mad thing that could have only come from George Lucas, nothing else like it will ever exist again
Jupiter Ascending and Valerian both did the whole visually OTT high camp in space thing[1]. They were both huge flops though, so you're probably right that nothing similar is likely to be made again.

That said, other than Naboo and maybe Coruscant, I don't remember any planets in the prequels that particularly leap out for their visual imagination. There are a couple of desert worlds, a lava one a jungle one etc. Pretty generic stuff overall.
 1. I suppose the Asgard scenes in the first Thor film were a bit like that as well

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