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Star Wars: the definitive analysis

Maister

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Ok, there are some really important questions that require the world's best and brightest minds' attention, but as they are occupied and as I don't have a clue what those questions might be, I will have to resort to the Throbbing Brain instead to answer the following:
1. Is the Star Wars series (or franchise for the more cynical souls out there) the greatest achievement in cinematic history? Or does Jar Jar negate all claims to that title?
2. Why does the original 1977 title film still resonate today (I'm particularly interested in what folks have to say who were too young to remember seeing it in '77)
3. Is the storyline thread winding through the series more classic Greek drama or kiddie matinee cliff hanger?
4. Who will be bold enough to step forward and predict the storyline for Episode 3 (and you'll have to do better than saying 'Anakin turns to the Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader')
 

Wannaplan?

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Maister said:
4. Who will be bold enough to step forward and predict the storyline for Episode 3 (and you'll have to do better than saying 'Anakin turns to the Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader')

Go to: http://boards.theforce.net/board.asp?brd=10331

 

boiker

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Maister said:
Ok, there are some really important questions that require the world's best and brightest minds' attention, but as they are occupied and as I don't have a clue what those questions might be, I will have to resort to the Throbbing Brain instead to answer the following:
1. Is the Star Wars series (or franchise for the more cynical souls out there) the greatest achievement in cinematic history? Or does Jar Jar negate all claims to that title?
2. Why does the original 1977 title film still resonate today (I'm particularly interested in what folks have to say who were too young to remember seeing it in '77)
3. Is the storyline thread winding through the series more classic Greek drama or kiddie matinee cliff hanger?
4. Who will be bold enough to step forward and predict the storyline for Episode 3 (and you'll have to do better than saying 'Anakin turns to the Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader')

woo hoo Star Wars discussion.

Now that my official star wars club member hat is on....

1. Greatest Achievement? No. Greatest Marketing and Franchise, you bet. The movies capture mass appeal because of the music and the special effects and an ageless plot. You take the music out of star wars and the movie is not as exciting. You take the high-end effects out... and the poor script starts to take the lime-light. Lucas couldn't write himself out of a box, yet he is a special effects genius with an awesome team of specialists. Kids are easily wowed by his simple story of a young, naive boy destined for greater things and the evil, in-human looking darth vader. The toys were a perfect fit to the action in the movie. Toys were a major hit with the Planet of the Apes a few years earlier.

2. It still resonates today because seeing the movie has become a right of passage, it's become our heritage...to an extent. I wanted to make sure my son got to watch the star wars movies because I remember being young 2 for Empire and 5 for Jedi and being in awe. Sure enough, he loves star wars. He even plays with my 20 year old action figures.

3. Greek drama. Which.. is the kiddie matinee. A good-hearted protagonist, an evil, often mis-guided, antagonist, and other supporting characters.. like the maverick, and the supporting female lead.

Example. Pokemon movies. I often watch these (gotta collect them all!!!) with my son. There's the protagonist who like Luke skywalker is good-hearted, naive, and is sometimes bullheaded. There's his female, like Leia, companion who is supportive, helpful, and has more spunk than we originally expect. There's his male companion, Like Han, who plays by his own rules but learns to value honor and respect a great cause. The antagonist varies, but is like Vader. He was once a good person, grew strong and became wildly intelligent, successful, or other. His quest of dominance and strength drove him to the brink of insanity where he became evil for the sake of self-fulfillment. Only after a near disaster occurs, he realizes the error in his direction and takes action to amend his relationship with the protagonist and eliminate what symbolizes all that is evil. It's a timeless and often repeated story line.

4. So much has to occur in the 3rd installment that I don't know how it will be under 3 hours. 1. Luke and Leia will be born in the first 1/4 of the movie. Padme will disappear with Leia, but not before Annikan learns that his son was born. She will send Luke to Tatoonie to live with Annikan's relatives. Annikan will continue to fight in the clone wars with Obi Wan. Count Duku will turn on the rebel planets and with the emerior will use the clone army to destroy any revolutions. Annikan will nearly die and be resuscitated by the Jedi...becoming mostly machine...he will succumb the the Emperor. The jedi will disband and spread amongst the galaxy.. most will be killed. The Empire will take complete control of the senate and govern with an iron fist. Leia will grow up princess of Alderron and Luke will grow up on Tatoonie dreaming of a more exciting life. Annikan, now Darth Vader, will receive the Emperors blessing to begin his pursuit of his son............
 

Wannaplan?

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boiker said:
So much has to occur in the 3rd installment that I don't know how it will be under 3 hours. 1. Luke and Leia will be born in the first 1/4 of the movie. Padme will disappear with Leia, but not before Annikan learns that his son was born. She will send Luke to Tatoonie to live with Annikan's relatives. Annikan will continue to fight in the clone wars with Obi Wan. Count Duku will turn on the rebel planets and with the emerior will use the clone army to destroy any revolutions. Annikan will nearly die and be resuscitated by the Jedi...becoming mostly machine...he will succumb the the Emperor. The jedi will disband and spread amongst the galaxy.. most will be killed. The Empire will take complete control of the senate and govern with an iron fist. Leia will grow up princess of Alderron and Luke will grow up on Tatoonie dreaming of a more exciting life. Annikan, now Darth Vader, will receive the Emperors blessing to begin his pursuit of his son............

Actually, according to the online rumor mill link I posted above, Luke & Leia are born near the end of Ep3. Anakin nearly kills Padme prior to going into labor. But by the time they are born, Anakin's business with the Jedi will become a moot point, as he is already done with the Clone War and has broader concerns with attaining more power from Sidious/Palpatine. The Jedi will not disband - they will be slaughtered during the Clone War.
 
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boiker said:
He even plays with my 20 year old action figures.
no hon, they're dolls. :D

I can understand how the first couple of movies captured people's imaginations - but it seems to me that from Return of the Jedi and on, it has been more of the kiddie matinee fodder.

And the Jar Jar Binks concept was utter crap.
 

michaelskis

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I think that a better question would will a movie set (not a trilogy because it is 6 movies) come along that will have a similar impact on social culture. Lord of the Rings came along, but people are not walking around looking like a hobbit, that I know of anyhow. Someone in the US says [raspy hollow voice] Luke, I am your father [/raspy hollow voice] people know exactly what you are talking about. More so, I believe that the original Star Wars provided a new level of cinematography and special effects. It was far beyond it’s time in the way that the used a combination of sets, props and even basic computers and machines. It provided a new pinnacle of using available resources. I also am sure that there are hundreds of thousands to even millions who when the final movie (#3) is out on DVD, they will rent or buy all six, invite their friends over, to watch them in order as the story line goes. Even though a 28 year reverse gap between episode 3 and 4, the cinematography will still run at a close balance of perfection.

But that is just how I feel!
 

Repo Man

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I think that the Lord of The Rings has eclipsed Star Wars as the greatest achievement in cinema. The special effects rival Lucas' effects in EP1 and 2, and there is actually a decent storyline attached to it.

The film still resonates today because when people who are now in their late 20s through 40s were kids at the time of the star wars movies and they contained everything that kids like - monsters/creatures, heroes, plot twists (man I was shocked when I saw Empire and found out that Darth Vader was lukes father), fighting with different weapons and all kinds of cool vehicles. For most of us, Star Wars is the first non-cartoon movie that we fell in love with. It was aimed towards kids and adults.
 

Maister

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Repo Man said:
I think that the Lord of The Rings has eclipsed Star Wars as the greatest achievement in cinema. The special effects rival Lucas' effects in EP1 and 2, and there is actually a decent storyline attached to it.
LOTR....probably worthy of a thread or ten unto itself, but I seem to be getting some kind of a consensus here that Lucas was maybe not an 'A' category writer, whereas Tolkien might fit that profile. I remember an interview on the 'Fellowship' extended CD. They were talking to the publisher of the LOTR books and he said "one simply did not edit the Oxford English professor, J.R.R. Tolkien". I get the impression that the storylines for Star wars could have been more of a collaborative effort...."say George, wouldn't it be really cool if at this point the good guy and the bad guy square off in a light sabre battle then we could cut some shots to the teddy bears whooping up on the imperial stormtroopers..."

Concerning special effects, it should be noted that Kubrick had already done many of the space effects in 2001Space Odyssey some 9 years before Lucas did.....but there IS something in the chemistry of coolness that lucas hit on with those bad looking TIE-fighters and X-Wing craft, not to mention all the laser blasts.
 

SGB

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Downtown said:
And the Jar Jar Binks concept was utter crap.

[ot]In my opinion, the introduction of the JJB character is when the Star Wars empire (pardon the pun) "jumped the shark."[/ot]
 

boiker

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Wanigas? said:
Actually, according to the online rumor mill link I posted above, Luke & Leia are born near the end of Ep3. Anakin nearly kills Padme prior to going into labor. But by the time they are born, Anakin's business with the Jedi will become a moot point, as he is already done with the Clone War and has broader concerns with attaining more power from Sidious/Palpatine. The Jedi will not disband - they will be slaughtered during the Clone War.

I agree with the rumour points.

I haven't checked out any fan boards in a long, long while. My spolers were speculation that Mrs. B and I formulated after watching Ep 2.

There is always the books between the movies that answer lots of question and give better insight into the characters. I read Shadows of the Empire which occurs between Ep 5 and Ep 6. it explained TONS about the bounty hunters, the demise of the base on Hoth, the establishment of the base on the moon of Endor, Luke's new cocky and confident style, etc..
 

Dan

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Slightly off-topic, there's a fantastic essay on the (conservative-leaning) Daily Standard Web site, which offers a convincing argument as to why the Empire is good. Some excerpts ...

Scores of thousands of planets are represented in the Galactic Senate, and as we first encounter it, it is sclerotic and ineffectual. The Republic has grown over many millennia to the point where there are so many factions and disparate interests, that it is simply too big to be governable. Even the Republic's staunchest supporters recognize this failing: In "The Phantom Menace," Queen Amidala admits, "It is clear to me now that the Republic no longer functions."
...
Make no mistake, as emperor, Palpatine is a dictator--but a relatively benign one, like Pinochet. It's a dictatorship people can do business with. They collect taxes and patrol the skies. They try to stop organized crime (in the form of the smuggling rings run by the Hutts). The Empire has virtually no effect on the daily life of the average, law-abiding citizen.
...
But the most compelling evidence that the Empire isn't evil comes in "The Empire Strikes Back" when Darth Vader is battling Luke Skywalker. After an exhausting fight, Vader is poised to finish Luke off, but he stays his hand. He tries to convert Luke to the Dark Side with this simple plea: "There is no escape. Don't make me destroy you. . . . Join me, and I will complete your training. With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy." It is here we find the real controlling impulse for the Dark Side and the Empire. The Empire doesn't want slaves or destruction or "evil." It wants order.
 

mendelman

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Dan said:
Slightly off-topic, there's a fantastic essay on the (conservative-leaning) Daily Standard Web site, which offers a convincing argument as to why the Empire is good. Some excerpts ...

Ummmm.....that excerpt is interesting. B-) It's great that they waste ink on theorizing about the viability of a fictional civilization. hey, order is all great and everything. That's what contemporary zoning tries to accomplish, and hasn't that turned out great. |-) Now let me waste a little time of my own on a fictional civilization: The reason the rebels don't want the emperor and empire is that it takes the decision making from the representatives of the citizenry and put it in the hands of a very, very fallible individual. Yeah, maybe the Republic is too huge and bloated to actually do anything, but at least there was a cool collection of aliens invovled in the decision making.

And think of the beautiful bearucratic maze one would have to navigate to get a simple entry inspection in order to unload your small shipment of spice. Such extensive red tape would be amazing!!! ;-)

Back to the toipic at hand: I would have trouble predicting the storyline for Ep3, because whenever I try to conjure up Ep2 as a guide for predicting, all I can remeber is that stuuuuuupid, poorly created CGI scene when Anakin and Padme/Amadala play with that damn fruit - how utterly idiotic - after that my mind goes numb.

Oh....and Lucas sucks as a writer.
 

NHPlanner

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My inner child will always see the Star Wars movies as the best of all time....even though my adult mind tells me they're not.

This thread does have me geeked up in anticipation for both Episode 3 and the Sept. release of the original trilogy on DVD (finally).
 

otterpop

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I started to lose interest when the Empire got their ass kicked by a bunch of tree-hugging, snarly-teethed teddy bears (Ewoks).

Light sabers are pretty cool, but I always think about how Harrison Ford handled a sword-wielding foe in another movie. Just whip out your pistol and blast the guy.
 

Achernar

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Dan said:
Slightly off-topic, there's a fantastic essay on the (conservative-leaning) Daily Standard Web site, which offers a convincing argument as to why the Empire is good.
I raised the same point a Star Wars-loving friend of mine a long time ago - what are the rebels fighting for anyway? I realized that Lucas didn't want to get into all the politics on screen, that we could just assume that there was something bad they did. And who can blame him? Episode 1 finally did show lots of politics and people hated that. (I'm not defending Lucas in general, mind you.)

That article is right about the Old Republic being bad, but everyone who's thought about it knows that! That's what makes the Emperor so evil; he's cloaked in doing good. My own theory is that Luke, not Anakin, is actually the Chosen One, the bringer of balance. Both the Old Republic with its Jedi Knights and the Empire with its Sith Lords are unbalanced. Luke brings balance to the Force while the Rebellion brings balance to the government. I wish that this could somehow be revealed in Episode 3, but I can't imagine how, unless Luke is born with C.O. on his forehead.

What I like least about the article is that he insists that he won't consider the Extended Universe; he'll only consider what's actually on screen. He dismisses speculation that the Empire might actually have done something evil that we just don't see to merit its bad reputation. Then he uses speculation to excuse the destruction of Alderaan: "it would be reasonable to suspect that Alderaan is a front for Rebel activity or at least home to many more spies and insurgents like Leia"
 
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A) The Star TREK writers handbook says something like "Great stories are always about people" and Star Wars passes that test. It is the same reason that Hitchcock movies stand the test of time so well. So, Star Wars is Greek drama because Greek drama is also about human suffering and the kinds of agony that "build character". :-D The whole "I am your father, Luke" -- hey, it smacks of Greek drama to me (Edipus, for example). But Greek drama is also what Soap Operas are about. Humans are always struggling to come to terms with how to remain humane when life kicks absolute sh*t out of them.

B) The whole light saber thing that otterpop points out: it makes me think of some principles from Cthulhu Mythos stories. It has been too long since I read them or ran the game based upon them but I am thinking of the bit about how you could travel into different worlds if you were in a really old, great forest and some of the dream travels that occured. In essence, something had to be around for a few hundred years on this plane of existence to become "real" in these other realms. I think there is some actual principle of human psychology being described by that fictional rule for imaginary magic. I mean, if we weren't still ruled by a subconscious something that glorifies weapons of old, why on earth would you go with light sabers? You see this kind of thing in movies all the time, like Kill Bill (to name just one). But how often do you hear of an actual criminal case involving sword play??? Yet it still captures our imaginations and we project it into an imaginary high tech future civilization.
 

otterpop

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Michele Zone said:
A) I mean, if we weren't still ruled by a subconscious something that glorifies weapons of old, why on earth would you go with light sabers? You see this kind of thing in movies all the time, like Kill Bill (to name just one). But how often do you hear of an actual criminal case involving sword play??? Yet it still captures our imaginations and we project it into an imaginary high tech future civilization.

Good points. I think swordplay is the ultimate in battle. I love movies with sword-fighting. It is personal, dangerous, face-to-face, artistic, athletic, and scary. Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone in "Robin Hood", Flynn in "Captain Blood." Tyrone Power in "The Mark of Zorro." Exciting stuff. A lot of the modern movie with sword-fighting appeal to me less. 19th century Europeans fighting like they have studied Oriental martial arts doesn't sit well with me.

While I think the light saber is a silly sort of weapon for star travellers to use, i do love the battles.
 

NHPlanner

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otterpop said:
Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone in "Robin Hood", Flynn in "Captain Blood." Tyrone Power in "The Mark of Zorro."

Wesley and Inigo Montoya in "The Princess Bride" ;-)
 

ludes98

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otterpop said:
"The Mark of Zorro." Exciting stuff. A lot of the modern movie with sword-fighting appeal to me less. 19th century Europeans fighting like they have studied Oriental martial arts doesn't sit well with me.

What about George Hamilton in "Zorro the Gay Blade?" 8-! ;-)
 

boiker

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Wanigas? said:
From Ep2, can you tell me who Sifo-Dyas is?

I rationalize that it was Palpatine. He is pitting the republic against the seperatists....playing friend and secret enemy to both sides in order to fully establish the Imperial Empire. He placed the order for the clones in order to give the republic the means to launch a full scale attack on Dooku's seperatists. He is also in cohoots with Dooku to make him the #2 sith. Both sides are unaware that this megalomanic is working to destroy them.

/star wars dork hat off.
 

biscuit

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NHPlanner said:
Wesley and Inigo Montoya in "The Princess Bride" ;-)
"Why are you smiling?"
"Because I too am not left handed."

and who can forget..
"You seem a decent fellow, I hate to kill you... "
"You seem a decent fellow, I hate to die."
 

NHPlanner

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biscuit said:
"Why are you smiling?"
"Because I too am not left handed."

and who can forget..
"You seem a decent fellow, I hate to kill you... "
"You seem a decent fellow, I hate to die."

[continuing the hijack]

Inigo: "Hello there, slow going?"
Wesley: "Look,I dont mean to be rude, but this is not as easy as it looks."


And my favorite line of the movie:

"There's a shortage of perfect breasts in this world, it'd be a pity to damage yours."
[/hijack]
 

Maister

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Achernar said:
My own theory is that Luke, not Anakin, is actually the Chosen One, the bringer of balance. Both the Old Republic with its Jedi Knights and the Empire with its Sith Lords are unbalanced. Luke brings balance to the Force while the Rebellion brings balance to the government. I wish that this could somehow be revealed in Episode 3, but I can't imagine how, unless Luke is born with C.O. on his forehead.

What I like least about the article is that he insists that he won't consider the Extended Universe; he'll only consider what's actually on screen. He dismisses speculation that the Empire might actually have done something evil that we just don't see to merit its bad reputation. Then he uses speculation to excuse the destruction of Alderaan: "it would be reasonable to suspect that Alderaan is a front for Rebel activity or at least home to many more spies and insurgents like Leia"
Early on I thought Luke was the Chosen One, but after mulling this one over for some time I think Anakin deserves the title. Here's why: Luke, Obi Wan, Yoda - they always represent the Light Side of the Force. They represent a constant value that does not change. Anakin, however, is the one who was a stalwart Darksider. It is only when he makes the conscious choice to switch to Light Side and kill the Sith lord does balance get restored.
 

boiker

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Maister said:
Early on I thought Luke was the Chosen One, but after mulling this one over for some time I think Anakin deserves the title. Here's why: Luke, Obi Wan, Yoda - they always represent the Light Side of the Force. They represent a constant value that does not change. Anakin, however, is the one who was a stalwart Darksider. It is only when he makes the conscious choice to switch to Light Side and kill the Sith lord does balance get restored.

or....the balance of the force for many years was swung heavily towards the light side. The prophecies told of a chosen one that will bring balance to the force. This does not mean that annikan was desitned to be good. He could have been destined to be evil and balance the force in that way. ok.. now I absolutley have to dig the my Star Wars VHS box set out and the Ep1, Ep2 dvds!!
 

Maister

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michaelskis said:
I think that a better question would will a movie set (not a trilogy because it is 6 movies) come along that will have a similar impact on social culture. Lord of the Rings came along, but people are not walking around looking like a hobbit, that I know of anyhow.
In some ways it's harder to gauge the ultimate impact Star Wars will have on our culture as compared to LOTR. After all, Star Wars is still happening. Tolkiens books were published 50 years ago and the Movies were finished last year (Tolkien himself, the old Luddite, would have been mortified to see his tale converted to celluloid). True, we don't see as many folks 'walking around and looking like a hobbit' (although there is a nasty rumor afloat that Zoning Goddess is in fact part hobbit ;-) ) as we see folks dressed up like Obi Wan or Darth, but LOTR influences are felt more deeply in the higher circles of our culture (literary/academic).
 
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Maister said:
...but LOTR influences are felt more deeply in the higher circles of our culture (literary/academic).
LOTR has been copied for years. Just about every major demon in recent literary history is some pale shadow of the awesome description of the balrog. And it doesn't have to be in "higher circles". Someone here please give me the name of the D&D bad guy that was such a blatant rip off of the balrog. I know some folks here can name it. (Class 9 devil?? I don't think that is quite right.)
 

Gedunker

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Maister said:
<snip> (Tolkien himself, the old Luddite, would have been mortified to see his tale converted to celluloid). <snip>

Don't be dissin' Luddites, Maister. I have a certain affinity for them in this technological age. Why, every full moon I have an uncontrollable urge to stack standing stones upon one another. ;-)

I actually had a 300-level english course in college on The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings and we read extensively about Tolkien. He did not, in fact, ever wish to see it animated in any way. Paraphrasing here, he said that his image of a hobbit or an yrrch, or any of the host of creatures he imagined, would be what he had written but Tolkien acknowledged that the image would be different for each reader, and he much prefered it that way. Just my 0.02.
 
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