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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 15 April 2017 at 6:08am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Greg>>Here's hoping we don't just get a retread of EMPIRE. <<

I did wince a bit when they showed walkers in the trailer, and a bunch of ships flying toward it.

OTOH, walkers are standard SW stuff at this point.

As long as that pic of Daisy Ridley carrying Hamill around was just a joke...
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John Byrne
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Posted: 15 April 2017 at 12:58pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I have so little interest in this that it is actually creating a black hole that is sucking away my interest in other stuff!!
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Thom Price
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Posted: 15 April 2017 at 5:22pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Short of me no longer being alive, there is a zero percent chance that I won't be seeing this on opening weekend.
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Patrick Mallon
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Posted: 16 April 2017 at 1:35pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Here's hoping we don't just get a retread of EMPIRE. 

********

Based on the rumors I've heard, it has story lines similar to EMPIRE...
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 16 April 2017 at 9:41pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

As I have noted, my emotional connection with this current iteration of the franchise is tenuous. I was happy with the films we had, good and bad. I didn't need or want more. Now, we're poised to get more STAR WARS films until the end of time. I haven't bought TFA or ROGUE ONE on disc, and have no desire for the books or other ancillaries. I'm still willing to check the films out as they come along, though.

I really do think this film is gonna be the one to determine whether or not the movies will try to expand the series beyond merely coasting on nostalgia. Diff'rent strokes and all, but it still sorta boggles my mind how so many fans have so eagerly accepted the Rebellion's victory being pointless, Luke Skywalker being turned into an exiled failure, and Han Solo being murdered by his own son. There's no accounting for taste, of course, but that feels like a bigger slap in the face to me than anything in the prequels could ever be.

I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of this boils down to the huge case of STAR WARS blue-balls that the prequels gave so many fans. The promise of something even superficially closer to the original trilogy--including a pseudo-remake of the original film--seems to have been enough to make a lot of aging fans feel like they're reliving their childhood. Which was the great promise that the prequels failed to deliver on, for so many fans.

Question is, how long can that last? Can the series really keep retreading plot points and repainting Stormtroopers and X-Wings forever? 

With Abrams out of the director's chair, I'm willing to see where things go, but I also can't help but remember that STAR WARS has a poor track-record when it comes to trying ideas beyond mere retreads of the original films. 

These may be official products, but they're only ever gonna be expensive fanfilms, to me. Good, bad, or "meh", I'll take them on a case-by-case basis. Neither of the first two Disney films have felt "real" to me. Maybe that's because I've simply outgrown the material (unlikely!), or because I can sense the absense of some undefinable element. 

My personal pet theory is that the original STAR WARS is such a perfect film (and had such a staggering impact) that fans are happy for anything which even comes close to approximating and/or referencing that film. While I would not call ROGUE ONE a bad film by any means, I do think that its major appeal comes from the direct tie-in to the original film, and not the new characters and story points. It's both a strength and a weakness. Fanwank and nostalgia can be satisfying, but they can't sustain film after film after film.

It's already a built-in fan-conceit that THE LAST JEDI will mirror the fan-favorite (and much fanwanked-over) EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Whether or not that will actually happen remains to be seen. But, that potential reality may prove all too tempting to Disney suits who have already proven that they're willing to go for the easy marks. 

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Richard Stevens
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Posted: 16 April 2017 at 10:54pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I'm in if for no other reason than the obligatory Lando appearance
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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 17 April 2017 at 7:55am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Comparison and breakdown of the TFA teaser with the TLJ teaser. I wonder if any other movie teasers use a similar approach? Or will, now that this has been shown to be Effective Advertising? Honestly, I'd never given Teaser Trailer structure two seconds thought before now...

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David Spurlock
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Posted: 17 April 2017 at 11:21am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Annnd the lack of originality continues...

http://yakfaceforums.com/main/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/TLJ _awing.jpeg

I guess no one realized there are still other letters of the alphabet that haven't been used?
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 17 April 2017 at 1:35pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

As an aside, I found ROGUE ONE's U-Wing fighter to be an incredibly boring kitbash of the X- and Y-Wing designs. Heck, none of the vehicles in these first two Disney films have done anything for me. They're all either variations on designs we already know (AT-ATs with removable cargo sections! A new Star Destroyer! McQuarrie concept art-ish X-Wings!), or unmemorable, boxy-looking transports. 

About the only interesting vehicle choices they're made are the Falcon's new radar dish (a clever nod to the original Falcon design, but it doesn't look as good as the round dish), and the use of Blue Squadron X-Wings (which is a reference to the original X-Wing color scheme, which ended up being changed to red for ease of bluescreen filming). Of course, both of these elements are a wee bit fannish.

Even prior to the Disney buyout, it seemed like ancillary products were falling back on unused/deleted concepts and production art from the original trilogy. There's some value to be had in that (Why let a good design go to waste?), but it seems pretty darn pervasive, at this point, with the constant callbacks and wink-winks to fans who are savvy about the behind-the-scenes aspects of the original films.
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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 17 April 2017 at 3:15pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Greg>>My personal pet theory is that the original STAR WARS is such a perfect film (and had such a staggering impact) that fans are happy for anything which even comes close to approximating and/or referencing that film. While I would not call ROGUE ONE a bad film by any means, I do think that its major appeal comes from the direct tie-in to the original film, and not the new characters and story points. It's both a strength and a weakness. Fanwank and nostalgia can be satisfying, but they can't sustain film after film after film.<<

I was thinking about this, and I look at it from the other end. I have been generally quite satisfied with Non ep-4 SW, and feel ANH is more like the one fantastic song that overshadows an otherwise good album.

It's a lot (dare I say, unreasonable?) to expect to catch lightning in a bottle every time out like ANH to the point I'm not inclined to try.

Being as objective as I can, I'd say the SW Universe/continuity is far less messed up than Trek or the MCU or DC, etc.

If you don't like any of it, that's of course perfectly fine--hard to get more subjective than what you like. Personally, I've been plenty happy with a fair number of SW properties beyond the films.  Sure there's crap in there too, but what doesn't that happen to after a while?

As time wears on, I expect this will happen to SW too, but I kinda cringed the other day when someone on my FB feed proudly announced they had now watched "all" of Star Trek, except TOS. 
=8O
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Jeremy Simington
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Posted: 17 April 2017 at 4:14pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

GREG KIRKMAN: Diff'rent strokes and all, but it still sorta boggles my mind how so many fans have so eagerly accepted the Rebellion's victory being pointless, Luke Skywalker being turned into an exiled failure, and Han Solo being murdered by his own son. There's no accounting for taste, of course, but that feels like a bigger slap in the face to me than anything in the prequels could ever be.

No truer words.  Someone explain to me why this couldn't have worked:

The Rebellion's victory resulted in an unprecedented time of peace & prosperity for most of the galaxy. However, the galaxy is a big place and there are still lots of bad guys hatching plots of varying sizes and threats, including remnants of the Empire. Our heroes are older and wiser and face challenges of their own.

It's possible to have drama and excitement without turning everything into a bleak pit of despair, but it takes imagination & effort.
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 17 April 2017 at 5:33pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

" ...Heck, none of the vehicles in these first two Disney films have done anything for me...."

...

I dunno ,I kinda liked the TIE Striker. But yeah the rest weren't very impressive.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 17 April 2017 at 5:57pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

I was thinking about this, and I look at it from the other end. I have been generally quite satisfied with Non ep-4 SW, and feel ANH is more like the one fantastic song that overshadows an otherwise good album.

It's a lot (dare I say, unreasonable?) to expect to catch lightning in a bottle every time out like ANH to the point I'm not inclined to try.

+++++++

This is a good way to look at it, I think.

I've had to turn my thinking cap around regarding STAR WARS more than once. I think the generational aspect of it it plays a large role in one's point of view regarding the series as a whole. For some of the old-timers, it's one great film...then everything that came after. For others, it's the original trilogy...then everything that came after. For the youngest, it's all STAR WARS.

I hate being the guy to keep coming in and picking apart the Disney films, but I'm just voicing aloud my personal process of trying to come to terms with everything, good and bad. Interesting discussion is a side-benefit of this little "therapy" of mine. I grew up with the original trilogy as an extant unit, and so turning my thinking cap around and examining STAR WARS as a one-shot film proved both illuminating and rather deflating, since it lessened my opinions of EMPIRE and JEDI.

The prequels were my personal opportunity to sort-of-simulate the experience of seeing the original films when they were first released. I mean, NEW STAR WARS--and in the theater! It was a very exciting time, despite the inevitable disappointment. That being said, I've found myself standing up more and more for the prequels, in part because I'm really tired of the vitriol directed at Lucas for making his films the way he wanted to. One reason I can't quite get behind the Disney films is because of that "THIS is how it was supposed to be, Lucas!" undercurrent. 

...as if making expensive fanfilms which completely demolish my beloved original trilogy somehow validates all the criticism aimed at Lucas and the prequels. That hits a little too close to home, since it makes me think of what's happened to the comic industry, with fans-turned pro pumping out fannish drivel, whilst simultaneously dumping on--and profiting from--the work of geniuses like Kirby and Ditko.

As I have noted, I prefer Lucas' flawed-yet-interesting prequels to Disney's well-executed-yet-hollow films. Diff'rent strokes!
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 17 April 2017 at 8:04pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

I'm not certain that Rogue One and The Force Awakens are bad movies, in and of themselves. I am certain that the prequels are.

Whatever grand ideas may have been circulating in Lucas' mind regarding political gamesmanship, the nature of power, the call of duty, the itchiness of sand, and whatever else, those films are f*cking painful to sit through. The acting is not good, ranging to terrible in some cases. The dialogue is stilted. The action is poorly done. The green-screen nature of the effects is palpable. And Jar-Jar is intolerable.

Rogue One has an ending that drags on interminably and characters that do not resonate as we might otherwise hope they might. It also darkens the Rebellion to an unnecessary degree, making the good guys bad guys and giving us no one to really root for. All detriments, no question, but the film itself plays out its story fairly well, with no massacres of Sand People, side-scrolling action sequences, or nonsense of standing six feet away and claiming the high ground.

The Force Awakens has a lame villain, uninspiring character arcs, and runs forty minutes longer than it should. It also owes nearly everything to nostalgia which is weak, but it does play those notes well enough for the film to be enjoyable. Much of the material onscreen still works, such as the appearance of Han and Chewie and much of the humor. I'm not certain the prequels had humor. They're often laughably bad, but that's not the same thing as humor. The prequels are written badly, acted badly, shot badly, and play badly on the screen. The Force Awakens and Rogue One are lacking, but they are not scream-in-your-face stupid as the prequels are. 

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 17 April 2017 at 9:27pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

As I have noted, they have exactly opposite problems. The prequels have some interesting ideas, but weak execution. The Disney films have solid execution, but weak and unoriginal ideas.

As you note, Brian, the Disney films are not necessarily bad in and of themselves, but, by virtue of my lifelong love for STAR WARS, I can't help but look at them from a "big picture" point of view, rather than a "fun, disposable popcorn movie" point of view. As pieces of entertainment, I would by no means characterize either Disney film as "bad". Looking at them as STAR WARS films, it's a murker pond to cross. 

The prequels made some questionable choices in fleshing out the backstory of the original trilogy, but still adhered well enough to the Father Vader/"Saga" storyline that began with EMPIRE. The Disney films have turned my childhood heroes into losers. The latter is worse than the former, in my judgment. Mileage may vary, void where prohibited.
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David Spurlock
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Posted: 18 April 2017 at 9:22am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

From the 2 SW films from Disneyso far, I've not seen a lot to convince me that the franchise is in more capable hands than GL's. There is nothing redeeming, IMO, about TFA. I can't even stand to watch it on cable any longer. It's THAT bad to me. It's a glaring slap in the face of everything that came before. And as far as RO goes, it's not as bad, but I didn't see any need to flesh out what was already explained in the opening crawl of ANH. It even goes as far as lessening ANH by forcing the word HOPE down everyone's throats throughout the whole movie. So, I'm reluctant about TLJ redeeming this new trilogy just because it is already so flagrantly flawed from the beginning.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 18 April 2017 at 9:26am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

The prequels were my personal opportunity to sort-of-simulate the experience of seeing the original films when they were first released.

Hmmm............ not really.

Thing is -- and I appreciate you are saying "sort-of" here -- STAR WARS has so saturated the cultural environment that it is impossible to appreciate what it was like when it simply was not there.

When walking into the theater was not a case of "Here's a new version of something familiar, but a version I have not seen before." Instead it was something nobody had seen before.

I don't want to keep harping on this, really I don't, but "you kids today" cannot escape the STAR WARS mythos as it has come to be. You, Greg, for instance, have never lived in a world where Darth was NOT Luke's father. And that's a BIG shadow cast over everything, prequels, sequels, originals, spin-offs. It's something that completely changed the original film, and the original story.

Ya just cain't git away frum it!!!

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Brian Hague
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Posted: 18 April 2017 at 9:27am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Greg, rather than losers, they could be viewed as individuals caught up in events beyond their control, which I believe in a theme that runs throughout the series. I don't applaud the choices made by any means, but they do consciously echo elements of the originals and even the prequels. Were Yoda and Obi-Wan losers for fleeing the Empire? Was Qui-Gon a loser for dying at the hands of an adherent to the Sith? Was Padme a loser for dying for love?*

Someone once said that the key to a happy ending is knowing when to end the story. Since ending this story doesn't make anyone any money, throwing everyone back into the mix and keeping the pot stirred was a given from the get-go of the Disney deal. I'm not crazy about any of it either, but man alive, those prequels suck. Are there good ideas in there somewhere? Maybe. But there are definitely an ungodly number of bad ones, badly presented.

* Okay, that last one I'm going to give a big "hell, yes!"


Edited by Brian Hague on 18 April 2017 at 9:30am
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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 18 April 2017 at 10:04am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

JB>>Thing is -- and I appreciate you are saying "sort-of" here -- STAR WARS has so saturated the cultural environment that it is impossible to appreciate what it was like when it simply was not there.<<

Have to agree. I think I can tell the difference, because Star Trek was always "there" in my world. I was too young to have seen it in its original run. It was deeply influential for me, but it never didn't exist in my world.

Star Wars, on the other hand, came into the world like a thunderbolt. I was 12. and the exact target audience. I remember seeing it for the first time the month it came out. I don't recall ever seeing a commercial or a trailer for it, I just remember the big ad in the movie section of the local paper. At first, the Hype about it was purely word-of-mouth from friends or their family. No Internet Buzz Machine existed to whip up anticipation. Just suddenly, BAM. The Coolest Thing Ever.

I still remember people trying to explain what they liked about it, and getting many of the names wrong, because no one knew how they were spelled. I recall a lot of "Hans Olo," "Obi-one" and "Dark Beta." I've mentioned a social studies teacher of mine talking about the concept of "Force One" in the movie. Now that I think of it, perhaps he conflated "Obi-One" and "The Force?"

Call it "Force One" today, and people would instantly be able to tell you hadn't seen it. Like Steve Allen referring to to MASH on an awards show as "Our Old Friends at The Four-Thousand and Seventy-Seventh MASH."

My first exposure to "extra" Star Wars was actually Splinter Of The Mind's Eye a year later, probably during the second run?  I've never really read the comics. Whether it's nostalgia, or just the hired-gun chops of Alan Dean Foster, or both--the entirely non-canonical Splinter is still my favorite SW novel.

Hard to think of a thing since that has just jumped into the world like Larry Skywalker and that Weird Bear. <-recent John Oliver reference, sorry.
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David Spurlock
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Posted: 18 April 2017 at 10:25am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

I get where you're coming from JB, but I'm in agreement with Greg and I lived through the SW growth into what it is now. I was 11-12 when I first saw the commercials on t.v. and was instantly captivated by what my friends and I saw. I get your point on the retconning of everything with TESB, but I have never seen it that way. I always believed that from the end of ANH (yeah, I remember it being just "Star Wars" and still refer to it that way...) that Darth Vader and the Empire had to come back because of the cliffhanger with Vader spinning off into the void. When I first saw ESB, I wanted to believe that Vader, being the villain he was, was lying to Luke about being his father up until I saw ROTJ when it was confirmed and that's where I felt the trilogy had gone astray. That's when I started thinking that everything had changed because of the forced lie that Vader and Anakin were the same person and I also started feeling like Lucas was now pandering to the hugely successful toy market he had created with the walking teddy bears called ewoks.

So, I was never a fan of the prequels, but I could see what they were trying to do. No, they weren't great by any means and they definitely didn't come close to catching the same magic that the OT managed to, but I could at least admire the effort. Lucas had his own faults with the prequels, especially with AOTC. IMO, his biggest sin with it was trying too hard to give fans what he thought they wanted with the origins of the Stormtroopers and Boba Fett and turning C-3PO into a walking joke.

I can not say the same for these new SW films. I don't feel any commitment to these new films aside from the paycheck that Disney is looking in return for their investment.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 18 April 2017 at 10:40am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Hmmm............ not really.

Thing is -- and I appreciate you are saying "sort-of" here -- STAR WARS has so saturated the cultural environment that it is impossible to appreciate what it was like when it simply was not there.

+++++++

Yep. By "sort-of-simulate", I mean that the prequels were the only way for me to come close to the experience had by those who saw the original trilogy at the time: seeing a new STAR WARS film in the theater every three years, with all of the hype, discussion, and anticipation in-between. Of course, there's simply no way to have had an experience like it without actually having been there in 1977.


Intellectually and contextually, I understand the impact STAR WARS had, and try to impart that to my younger friends and acquaintances. But, that's not the same as being there. I can never have that experience, and it's one of my great regrets, as a nerd.


Now, if almost seems like older fans are trying to recapture that original experience with Disney's Sequel Trilogy, whilst passing it on to the next generation. It's very much become a multi-generational franchise, on several levels.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 18 April 2017 at 10:47am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Greg, rather than losers, they could be viewed as individuals caught up in events beyond their control, which I believe in a theme that runs throughout the series. I don't applaud the choices made by any means, but they do consciously echo elements of the originals and even the prequels. Were Yoda and Obi-Wan losers for fleeing the Empire? Was Qui-Gon a loser for dying at the hands of an adherent to the Sith? Was Padme a loser for dying for love?*
++++++++

This is something I've been struggling with, ever since TFA came out. On the one hand, it could be seen as a rather shameless and uninspired rip-off of the original STAR WARS. On the other hand, it could be seen as retelling the original story for a new generation, and purposefully echoing/homaging the original film much in the same way that the six prior films deliberately echoed each other.

Thing is, Lucas intentionally structured the original and prequel trilogies to mirror each other, and to feature the loosely-similar stories of Luke and Anakin Skywalker. It was a deliberate thematic choice, rather than a sign of lazy storytelling. So, is Disney's sequel trilogy just using that precedent of structural echoes as a conceit/trope of the ongoing series, or merely as an excuse to be lazy and simply riff on what's come before? I'm not entirely sure there's an easy or correct answer to that question.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 18 April 2017 at 11:00am | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Someone once said that the key to a happy ending is knowing when to end the story. Since ending this story doesn't make anyone any money, throwing everyone back into the mix and keeping the pot stirred was a given from the get-go of the Disney deal. I'm not crazy about any of it either, but man alive, those prequels suck. Are there good ideas in there somewhere? Maybe. But there are definitely an ungodly number of bad ones, badly presented.
++++++++

I would like to think that have a pretty good handle on "good" movies vs. bad" movies, and yet I can't quite bring myself to define the prequels as "bad". Flawed, yes. But..something keeps bringing me back to them. Perhaps it's just the promise of what could have been, had the execution been better. Perhaps it's just the familiarity and comfort with them that time has brought. Perhaps I didn't go in with the rock-solid expectations that a lot of hardcore fans had, and was more willing to accept what Lucas had to offer, even if it didn't match what had been cooking in my imagination, prior to their release.

On paper, I should be more open to the Disney films and their more original trilogy-ish vibe, and less so to the prequels. But that's not how it is, and I accept the fact that I'm standing alone against the masses, here. 
I may not agree with every decision George Lucas has made, but I still respect the man and his work. I can't help but think that the prequels would have been better-received if the expectations hadn't been so staggeringly high, and if the basic plotline hadn't already been known, 20 years in advance. 

And, really, the prequels just highlight a basic flaw/charm of the original STAR WARS--they're copying (intentionally or not) the breezy, cheesy, stilted style of the 1930s serials which Lucas loved as a kid. These films were never intended to be high art. THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK comes closest to that, in terms of the level of craft and polish put to it. But, the original STAR WARS carries buckets of charm--and charming flaws--which made it transcend its pulp-schlock roots.
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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 18 April 2017 at 11:13am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

But it still sorta boggles my mind how so many fans have so eagerly accepted the Rebellion's victory being pointless, Luke Skywalker being turned into an exiled failure, and Han Solo being murdered by his own son.

This acceptance has to start with ESB, where we're first shown the pointlessness of a Rebel victory. Luke's father was Vader (instead of having been murdered by him), Yoda withheld information from Luke and Obi-Wan flat out LIED to him.

And then, by ROTJ,  the princess Luke was crushing on - really, really hard - and got kissed by - more than once - was his sister.
And the baddest M-F in the galaxy was really a conflicted, tired old egg-head.

And the prequels took the Vader-as-sympathetic figure and ran with it. For Three. Friggin'. Movies.

Oh, by the way, that all-penetrating, all-binding energy of the universe that we're all part of and can all tap into? No. That's just bugs. You have to be born with the bugs or you can't do the Force thing. But if you have the bugs, you can apparently create a baby Jesus-style.

Now that the hot-incest deal from the OT has been digested, we're ready for a 9 year-old boy to hit on a 14-year old girl. Which eventually works!

Yoda, who's only 20 years younger than when he died of old age at 900(!) is Jackie Channing all over the room.

And the whole "high ground" thing. If we hadn't just seen Obi-Wan cut Darth Maul in half from an astoundingly worse strategic position just two movies ago, it might have carried some weight.

If these things can be accepted by the fans, I don't think what has followed in the Disney films would be all that tough.

Being as objective as I can, I'd say the SW Universe/continuity is far less messed up than Trek or the MCU or DC, etc.

Take another look at the MCU*, I think they've done a solid job maintaining a coherent history/continuity over 9 years, 14 films and 6 television series. Star Wars history started getting wonky with the second movie produced.

*Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel Studios. Not the Fox X-Men debacle. Or Fantastic Four. Or even Spider-Man prior to CIVIL WAR.



Edited by Brian Rhodes on 18 April 2017 at 11:15am
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Greg Kirkman
Byrne Robotics Member
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Joined: 12 May 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 13479
Posted: 18 April 2017 at 11:23am | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel Studios. Not the Fox X-Men debacle. Or Fantastic Four. Or even Spider-Man prior to CIVIL WAR. 
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Yeah, no kidding. The X-Men movies have become needlessly convoluted, and Spider-Man has been rebooted twice within five years. Yikes.
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