Author Topic: How Star Wars was saved in the edit  (Read 4324 times)  

Online Anarchist

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How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« on: February 09, 2018, 10:12:52 AM »
An 18-minute video that highlights the value of editing:


<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFMyMxMYDNk" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFMyMxMYDNk</a>


Films differ from books, of course. But the principles of storytelling are consistent.


Side note about George Lucas...



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Offline Jim Johnson

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2018, 10:27:34 AM »
A good example of why creators should surround themselves with talented people for specific tasks. For writers, cover artist, editor and/or proofreader, layout, etc. Be the visionary you are and write your story, but if you can't do it all yourself, hire help.

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2018, 10:34:31 AM »
A good example of why creators should surround themselves with talented people for specific tasks. For writers, cover artist, editor and/or proofreader, layout, etc. Be the visionary you are and write your story, but if you can't do it all yourself, hire help.

Absolutely. For me, it also underlines the importance of revision. I know some folks here don't revise, but boy oh boy do I need to.  :-[

Offline Pikko

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2018, 10:47:06 AM »
I don't have time to watch it, but if you Google Marcia Lucas, it's a pretty fascinating read on how her influence is what made Star Wars what it is.

It also explains why the prequels SUCKED SO HARD. lol
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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2018, 11:20:03 AM »
Films are always saved or lost in the editing room. In video, everyone else makes the pieces, but a film editor is the person who takes all those pieces and turns them into a story. I used to follow Ron Moore's Battlestar Galactica podcasts, where he showed just how much a story could change in the editing room. They regularly slid scenes around, including into other episodes, in order to get the pacing and impact that they wanted.

The story of Star Wars in the editing room happens with each and every film.
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Offline jlstovall4

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2018, 03:46:06 PM »
Very good. Thanks so much for sharing. As a huge Star Wars fan, filmmaker, and author, I'm blown away by this video.

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Offline Kal241

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2018, 04:27:21 PM »
Stories are like bushes: you have to carefully trim and treat them to make them look good and keep them healthy. Too much is as bad as too little, or none at all. You have to be good enough at it in order to know what will still keep the story/bush alive while making it attractive, so you'll probably have invariably harmed a few of them before you get that good.

Interestingly enough, very few people thought Star Wars would ever succeed. Another case of a story that got panned by others for "having no legs," and ended up growing legs so big and strong that it kicked them in the face and broke their jaws. With success.
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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2018, 05:41:48 PM »
Neat! I'll have to show my mum this.

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2018, 02:23:04 AM »
Interestingly enough, very few people thought Star Wars would ever succeed. Another case of a story that got panned by others for "having no legs," and ended up growing legs so big and strong that it kicked them in the face and broke their jaws. With success.
My guess is the people saying that didn't like or watch science fiction and probably dismissed it based on genre. Anyone sitting in the theater through the Star Wars intro who even passably liked science fiction would know this movie was special. At the time that movie came out in theaters, there was nothing approaching it in special effects. We had 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Trek: TOS. So when the huge battle destroyer flew overhead and the bass was so loud it shook the seats -- that was a jaw dropping OMG moment and it never let up throughout the entire film. That movie was so awesome my mom asked if I wanted to see it again! That's not her genre and even she was awed by it. We're so used to special effects now, but at this moment in time, this was a huge breakthrough. There's a reason people watched it 27+ times in the theater and can quote it almost verbatim. Eegadz, I'm showing my age. :P

Of course, that assumes they saw it post edits... :P Edits are a wonderful thing!

Offline Lauren P.

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2018, 03:15:38 AM »
Thank you for this. A fascinating view of the importance of structure, characterisation, pacing, editing, and details, all of which can be applied to writing. 

For my part, I find it essential to revise my work several times before publishing it. The difference between my first draft and the final version is enormous. Sure, revisions take time but I enjoy the polishing and the results.

Offline DIAMONDSINTHESKY

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2018, 03:25:06 AM »
I worked on a film where they shot it in two parts (for various reasons that aren't relevant here) and then they lost one of the actors for the second part, so had to completely re-write the script (My job) so that every piece of footage could work with a new actors brought in for the second shoot. So we had to take the whole thing apart and re-write it around the footage that we had. A total nightmare. I was involved in the edit as well to make sure it worked. Fun times.

Offline ibizwiz

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2018, 07:50:44 AM »
Wow! Thanks, Anarchist!

I always assumed I was "rewriting"; now I see I was editing all along!  Jeez, if only I can find some way to get 6 cents a word for all those sections I moved around, and the two I pushed out to the next book!

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2018, 08:21:46 AM »
Thanks for the link  :)
This is fantastic both as fan history and as story/editing instructional.
It also explains the travesty of the prequels. He divorced Marcia in 1983, right after Return of the Jedi and 16 years before the first appalling slap in the face to fandom (Phantom Menace), and tackled the prequels without what was, apparently, her rather brilliant incite.
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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2018, 09:09:47 AM »
I've actually run across this before a while back, but this is a timely reminder because I have a friend who has a friend (who's uncle's cousin's... :P) who is writing a screenplay and the script is doing exactly what Lucas did at the start--flip, flip, flip, flip. I've got to send him this link.

Offline kw3000

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2018, 10:42:31 AM »
If only Marcia Lucas had been around for 'The Last Jedi'.

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2018, 04:09:12 PM »
If only Marcia Lucas had been around for 'The Last Jedi'.

Or the prequels.

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2018, 05:34:28 PM »

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2018, 06:08:50 PM »
I worked on a film where they shot it in two parts (for various reasons that aren't relevant here) and then they lost one of the actors for the second part, so had to completely re-write the script (My job) so that every piece of footage could work with a new actors brought in for the second shoot. So we had to take the whole thing apart and re-write it around the footage that we had. A total nightmare. I was involved in the edit as well to make sure it worked. Fun times.

OMG!  That could have been hell!  Depends on how much footage you had and if they had the ending footage. I would imagine with a two part the rule is "Always shoot enough and DO GET THE ENDING FIRST." 

That way you at least have a chance of pulling off a rewrite like that if you had to.

Thanks for sharing.  Interesting.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2018, 06:41:02 PM by Picky Android »

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2018, 09:16:26 PM »
Thanks for posting that, Anarchist.  :)

For anyone who's interested in this topic, I recommend The Secret History of Star Wars.  Fascinating stuff. 
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Offline Jena H

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2018, 05:35:42 AM »
Thanks for posting that, Anarchist.  :)

For anyone who's interested in this topic, I recommend The Secret History of Star Wars.  Fascinating stuff.

**Warning:  OT content**  This book has great reviews, and relatively decent ranking at the moment (i.e., not in the millions, probably since there has been a Star Wars movie out recently).  But I wonder what people on this board would think if someone posted that cover here, looking for feedback.  Since, you know, covers can make or break a book, and all.   ::)  8)   

**I now return you to the topic of Star Wars and the edit process.  And even though I haven't read all the books or watched all the videos/articles posted here, I have to wonder:  isn't what happened with Star Wars a relatively common thing in the movie business?  I've heard of lots of films that go through test screenings and get changed or re-shot to fix this or that or some other thing.  Or did Star Wars really get changed so drastically, more so than most other films??
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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2018, 06:19:40 AM »
Or the prequels.

I wonder if even the best editor could've saved the prequels from Hayden Christensen.  ;D

Great post. This movie had a profound effect on me when I first saw it in June 1977. Like many, I had never seen anything like it.

Quote
There's a reason people watched it 27+ times in the theater and can quote it almost verbatim.

Yep, I was one of those.  :-[

     
 

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2018, 07:55:01 AM »
I wonder if even the best editor could've saved the prequels from Hayden Christensen.  ;D
 
lol yep. That'd be a tall order for even the brilliant editorial crew of the original.
Combined with the appalling story-telling in the prequels, it would be impossible. Anakin was a self-absorbed jerk from the start and had gone full psychopath WAY before he fully "turned to the darkside". Slaughters an entire village and Padme soothes him with "Aw, it's ok Anakin. I know you only slaughtered them because you were feeling angsty. You just need some lovin'. A little sexy time will keep those nasty ol' corpses from hurting your feelings." Of course, then he slaughters a daycare of kids and Padme and Obi-wan are still imploring him to not "go to the darkside". That ship had long sailed and made port... disembarked, canvassed the neighborhood, found a nice little 3-2 split-level, and put a down payment on it.
 The entire prequel trilogy was not only bad but morally confused as h#@!
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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2018, 10:08:32 AM »
An 18-minute video that highlights the value of editing:


<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFMyMxMYDNk" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFMyMxMYDNk</a>


Films differ from books, of course. But the principles of storytelling are consistent.


Side note about George Lucas...




Thanks for sharing, this is a great learning experience.

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2018, 10:57:52 AM »
I wonder if even the best editor could've saved the prequels from Hayden Christensen.  ;D

Great post. This movie had a profound effect on me when I first saw it in June 1977. Like many, I had never seen anything like it.

Yep, I was one of those.  :-[

   

He's the reason I won't ever watch the prequels again. Shudder

I saw the original in the theater in '77. There was nothing to compare it to. When I took my grandson and his friend to see TFA, he said, "is this what it felt like to see Star Wars when it first came out?" So many generations that didn't have that experience.

 one more comment. Treadwell?!?


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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2018, 11:32:07 AM »
Hadn't seen that before. Great stuff! Thanks for sharing it.

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Offline P.J. Post

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #25 on: February 11, 2018, 04:56:09 PM »
Films differ from books, of course. But the principles of storytelling are consistent.

Thanks for the post. I watch a lot of screenplay and movie analysis, because of exactly what you said - the principles of storytelling are consistent. This one did a nice job of explaining how pacing and emotional engagement can be dramatically affected by how we present information.

For me, it also underlines the importance of revision.

I totally agree. Personally, I believe ALL books would be vastly improved by...   :-X

If only Marcia Lucas had been around for 'The Last Jedi'.

Or the prequels.

I loved-ish the prequels; but with the inclusion of politics, they became slightly more 'serious' SF (slower), as opposed to the pirate/western adventure in space that the originals were. And, yeah...Jar Jar...but I thought the adventure they had was great, the battles and saber duels were pretty awesome too, especially Maul's. I think it was both visually compelling and served the story by furthering character and tension. And pod racing? Come on, that was pretty cool, even if the announcers nearly wrecked it. We got Trantor Coruscant, and Anakin's arc - that was pretty neato.

But editing wasn't the downfall of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, they simply ignored basic storytelling in favor of...no idea...money? The movies were well edited and looked beautiful, lens flares and all, but they didn't develop their characters, or even maintain consistency from canon or film to film. Characters did what the plot/screenplay/director said they should, not what we had been led to believe they would have, or even what seemed logical. And Rey was wasted as a completely one-dimensional Mary Sue, an idea Johnson cemented into canon by making her parents callous nobodies. She just 'knows' this stuff. Who needs Luke [expletive]ing Skywalker when we have Rey? (Spoiler, she kicks his ass.)

The last two movies failed horribly at the writing stage. Why did anyone think it was a good idea to redo 4? Why did anyone think it was a good idea to abandon everything developed in TFA or the previous 6 movies in favor of the subversion of expectation? I mean, the First Order? Starkiller Base? Darth Luke? Hoth? Um...I mean Crait - look it's salt...not snow, really...we even put a line of dialogue in to avoid any confusion, cuz that's what people do on new planets - taste the dirt, um snow...uh...salt.

These movies are pathetically lazy...but they sure look good.  ::)

lol yep. That'd be a tall order for even the brilliant editorial crew of the original.
Combined with the appalling story-telling in the prequels, it would be impossible. Anakin was a self-absorbed jerk from the start and had gone full psychopath WAY before he fully "turned to the darkside". Slaughters an entire village and Padme soothes him with "Aw, it's ok Anakin. I know you only slaughtered them because you were feeling angsty. You just need some lovin'. A little sexy time will keep those nasty ol' corpses from hurting your feelings." Of course, then he slaughters a daycare of kids and Padme and Obi-wan are still imploring him to not "go to the darkside". That ship had long sailed and made port... disembarked, canvassed the neighborhood, found a nice little 3-2 split-level, and put a down payment on it.

The entire prequel trilogy was not only bad but morally confused as h#@!

The moral ambiguity was deliberate.

Amidala was In LoveTM, and made excuses for Anakin all along, even to herself. Sure, it was an incredibly toxic and unhealthy relationship, but that was the impetus for all of the darkness that followed. Ultimately, Anakin murdered the young-lings and declared his loyalty to the Emperor to save Amidala. And she wasn't much better. When she lost Anakin, she bailed on not only the people of Naboo and the fledgling resistance that was so dependent upon her, but she bailed on her kids! That's super selfish, destructive and way [expletive]ed up - but great story.

There's movie parts of the prequels I could definitely have done without, Vader's 'No' scene, for example, The Jarster...medi...midio...clorine...whatever, just...ugh. But the story beats were mostly well done-ish, even if they weren't what the fans expected.

As for these last two [crap]-shows...the television Clone Wars series showed them how to do it right - really right. Such a great series. The whole thing is a head-scratcher. So much wasted potential.

Um...sorry...sort of turned into a rant there.  :)

Thanks again for the post, Anarchist.

eta: And both of these directors know how to make movies, which is why it's so disappointing: Looper rocked and I really like most JJ Abrams movies. Super 8 and Star Trek were both a lot of fun.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2018, 09:02:08 PM by P.J. Post »

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #26 on: February 11, 2018, 08:57:00 PM »
Um...sorry...sort of turned into a rant there.  :)


Good rant.   ;D
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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #27 on: February 11, 2018, 09:12:12 PM »
I still remember almost shedding a tear when hearing the 'But you're the chosen one!' and then the camera pans to Anakin who is waving his burned off appendages like some wriggle worm. I literally went from almost crying to uncontrolled giggling. I don't think it was bad acting so much as bad script writing in the prequels. I think they were trying to be too many things--funny, serious, political, showing a person diving into darkness--and failed at doing any one of those things well.

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #28 on: February 11, 2018, 10:20:20 PM »
I still remember almost shedding a tear when hearing the 'But you're the chosen one!' and then the camera pans to Anakin who is waving his burned off appendages like some wriggle worm. I literally went from almost crying to uncontrolled giggling. I don't think it was bad acting so much as bad script writing in the prequels. I think they were trying to be too many things--funny, serious, political, showing a person diving into darkness--and failed at doing any one of those things well.

Agreed. Missed opportunities all around.

I still think the unused plotline where Jar Jar was actually Palpatine's master, pretending to be an idiot but secretly controlling it all, would've been the shocker that film needed.

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2018, 12:36:53 AM »
Thanks for the post. I watch a lot of screenplay and movie analysis, because of exactly what you said - the principles of storytelling are consistent. This one did a nice job of explaining how pacing and emotional engagement can be dramatically affected by how we present information.

I totally agree. Personally, I believe ALL books would be vastly improved by...   :-X

I loved-ish the prequels; but with the inclusion of politics, they became slightly more 'serious' SF (slower), as opposed to the pirate/western adventure in space that the originals were. And, yeah...Jar Jar...but I thought the adventure they had was great, the battles and saber duels were pretty awesome too, especially Maul's. I think it was both visually compelling and served the story by furthering character and tension. And pod racing? Come on, that was pretty cool, even if the announcers nearly wrecked it. We got Trantor Coruscant, and Anakin's arc - that was pretty neato.

But editing wasn't the downfall of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, they simply ignored basic storytelling in favor of...no idea...money? The movies were well edited and looked beautiful, lens flares and all, but they didn't develop their characters, or even maintain consistency from canon or film to film. Characters did what the plot/screenplay/director said they should, not what we had been led to believe they would have, or even what seemed logical. And Rey was wasted as a completely one-dimensional Mary Sue, an idea Johnson cemented into canon by making her parents callous nobodies. She just 'knows' this stuff. Who needs Luke [expletive]ing Skywalker when we have Rey? (Spoiler, she kicks his ass.)

The last two movies failed horribly at the writing stage. Why did anyone think it was a good idea to redo 4? Why did anyone think it was a good idea to abandon everything developed in TFA or the previous 6 movies in favor of the subversion of expectation? I mean, the First Order? Starkiller Base? Darth Luke? Hoth? Um...I mean Crait - look it's salt...not snow, really...we even put a line of dialogue in to avoid any confusion, cuz that's what people do on new planets - taste the dirt, um snow...uh...salt.

These movies are pathetically lazy...but they sure look good.  ::)

The moral ambiguity was deliberate.

Amidala was In LoveTM, and made excuses for Anakin all along, even to herself. Sure, it was an incredibly toxic and unhealthy relationship, but that was the impetus for all of the darkness that followed. Ultimately, Anakin murdered the young-lings and declared his loyalty to the Emperor to save Amidala. And she wasn't much better. When she lost Anakin, she bailed on not only the people of Naboo and the fledgling resistance that was so dependent upon her, but she bailed on her kids! That's super selfish, destructive and way [expletive]ed up - but great story.

There's movie parts of the prequels I could definitely have done without, Vader's 'No' scene, for example, The Jarster...medi...midio...clorine...whatever, just...ugh. But the story beats were mostly well done-ish, even if they weren't what the fans expected.

As for these last two [crap]-shows...the television Clone Wars series showed them how to do it right - really right. Such a great series. The whole thing is a head-scratcher. So much wasted potential.

Um...sorry...sort of turned into a rant there.  :)

Thanks again for the post, Anarchist.

eta: And both of these directors know how to make movies, which is why it's so disappointing: Looper rocked and I really like most JJ Abrams movies. Super 8 and Star Trek were both a lot of fun.

I quite enjoyed your rant. Well said. I completely agree.  8)

Ken Ward

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #30 on: February 12, 2018, 05:14:00 AM »
Again, somewhat off-topic, but I think Disney's owning the SW franchise is going to either kill and/or dilute it.  Disney certainly knows how to milk a franchise for all the $$$ it's worth, but what does that do to quality?

I admit I'm not a huge fan and haven't seen all the movies....  the last one I saw was The Force Awakens, with the FMC Rey.  When I left the theatre and thought about it I realized the movie was pretty much a re-do of Episode IV (A New Hope).  Same characters (types), same basic plot, same adorable droids for comic relief.  I assume the newest movie is better.....
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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #31 on: February 12, 2018, 06:31:27 AM »
I never saw Star Wars on the big screen as a kid, I had to wait until the re-issues when I was in my mid-twenties. I don't recall the big destroyer making much of an effect (maybe the bass wasn't cranked up enough) but, ohhh, GIANT HAN SOLO! Be still my heart.

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Offline kw3000

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #32 on: February 12, 2018, 12:23:56 PM »
Again, somewhat off-topic, but I think Disney's owning the SW franchise is going to either kill and/or dilute it.

Yep, you're right about that.

Quote
I assume the newest movie is better.....

 :-X

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #33 on: February 12, 2018, 01:26:43 PM »
The Last Jedi has its problems but it is not on the same level as the prequels in terms of failed execution. Not even close.

Somewhat off-topic, but as the resident sequel defender, I have to step up to bat for my home girl Rey.

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #34 on: February 12, 2018, 01:46:54 PM »
Not to get way off topic, but The Last Jedi is probably my second favorite Star Wars film after Empire, and it's the first movie that I came out of really excited and inspired and blown away by since I was a teenager.  I think it is brilliant.
 

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #35 on: February 12, 2018, 03:14:42 PM »
Not to get way off topic, but The Last Jedi is probably my second favorite Star Wars film after Empire, and it's the first movie that I came out of really excited and inspired and blown away by since I was a teenager.  I think it is brilliant.

Hi, it's been a while, hope everything's going great!   :)

I think we're already 'way off' here....what was it that excited you so much?

Offline P.J. Post

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #36 on: February 12, 2018, 03:18:01 PM »
The Last Jedi has its problems but it is not on the same level as the prequels in terms of failed execution. Not even close.

Somewhat off-topic, but as the resident sequel defender, I have to step up to bat for my home girl Rey.

I obviously disagree about the prequels, but what is it about Rey that you're connecting with?

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #37 on: February 12, 2018, 04:46:47 PM »
Excellent, OP.

One of the many advantages we indie authors have over the traditionally published must surely be our ability to continue to make changes to the story after it's published. And another good reason why (insightful) reviewers are important to us.

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #38 on: February 13, 2018, 02:39:47 AM »

But editing wasn't the downfall of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, they simply ignored basic storytelling in favor of...no idea...money? The movies were well edited and looked beautiful, lens flares and all, but they didn't develop their characters, or even maintain consistency from canon or film to film. Characters did what the plot/screenplay/director said they should, not what we had been led to believe they would have, or even what seemed logical. And Rey was wasted as a completely one-dimensional Mary Sue, an idea Johnson cemented into canon by making her parents callous nobodies. She just 'knows' this stuff. Who needs Luke [expletive]ing Skywalker when we have Rey? (Spoiler, she kicks his ass.)

The last two movies failed horribly at the writing stage. Why did anyone think it was a good idea to redo 4? Why did anyone think it was a good idea to abandon everything developed in TFA or the previous 6 movies in favor of the subversion of expectation? I mean, the First Order? Starkiller Base? Darth Luke? Hoth? Um...I mean Crait - look it's salt...not snow, really...we even put a line of dialogue in to avoid any confusion, cuz that's what people do on new planets - taste the dirt, um snow...uh...salt.

These movies are pathetically lazy...but they sure look good.  ::)

eta: And both of these directors know how to make movies, which is why it's so disappointing: Looper rocked and I really like most JJ Abrams movies. Super 8 and Star Trek were both a lot of fun.

I politely, but forcefully, disagree with all of the above  :P

(Thanks for the video!)

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #39 on: February 13, 2018, 05:31:30 AM »
I never saw Star Wars on the big screen as a kid, I had to wait until the re-issues when I was in my mid-twenties. I don't recall the big destroyer making much of an effect (maybe the bass wasn't cranked up enough) but, ohhh, GIANT HAN SOLO! Be still my heart.

I have a life-size Han Solo cutout right in front of me.


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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #40 on: February 13, 2018, 01:38:38 PM »
Thanks for the post. I watch a lot of screenplay and movie analysis, because of exactly what you said - the principles of storytelling are consistent. This one did a nice job of explaining how pacing and emotional engagement can be dramatically affected by how we present information.

I totally agree. Personally, I believe ALL books would be vastly improved by...   :-X

I loved-ish the prequels; but with the inclusion of politics, they became slightly more 'serious' SF (slower), as opposed to the pirate/western adventure in space that the originals were. And, yeah...Jar Jar...but I thought the adventure they had was great, the battles and saber duels were pretty awesome too, especially Maul's. I think it was both visually compelling and served the story by furthering character and tension. And pod racing? Come on, that was pretty cool, even if the announcers nearly wrecked it. We got Trantor Coruscant, and Anakin's arc - that was pretty neato.

But editing wasn't the downfall of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, they simply ignored basic storytelling in favor of...no idea...money? The movies were well edited and looked beautiful, lens flares and all, but they didn't develop their characters, or even maintain consistency from canon or film to film. Characters did what the plot/screenplay/director said they should, not what we had been led to believe they would have, or even what seemed logical. And Rey was wasted as a completely one-dimensional Mary Sue, an idea Johnson cemented into canon by making her parents callous nobodies. She just 'knows' this stuff. Who needs Luke [expletive]ing Skywalker when we have Rey? (Spoiler, she kicks his ass.)

The last two movies failed horribly at the writing stage. Why did anyone think it was a good idea to redo 4? Why did anyone think it was a good idea to abandon everything developed in TFA or the previous 6 movies in favor of the subversion of expectation? I mean, the First Order? Starkiller Base? Darth Luke? Hoth? Um...I mean Crait - look it's salt...not snow, really...we even put a line of dialogue in to avoid any confusion, cuz that's what people do on new planets - taste the dirt, um snow...uh...salt.

These movies are pathetically lazy...but they sure look good.  ::)

The moral ambiguity was deliberate.

Amidala was In LoveTM, and made excuses for Anakin all along, even to herself. Sure, it was an incredibly toxic and unhealthy relationship, but that was the impetus for all of the darkness that followed. Ultimately, Anakin murdered the young-lings and declared his loyalty to the Emperor to save Amidala. And she wasn't much better. When she lost Anakin, she bailed on not only the people of Naboo and the fledgling resistance that was so dependent upon her, but she bailed on her kids! That's super selfish, destructive and way [expletive]ed up - but great story.

There's movie parts of the prequels I could definitely have done without, Vader's 'No' scene, for example, The Jarster...medi...midio...clorine...whatever, just...ugh. But the story beats were mostly well done-ish, even if they weren't what the fans expected.

As for these last two [crap]-shows...the television Clone Wars series showed them how to do it right - really right. Such a great series. The whole thing is a head-scratcher. So much wasted potential.

Um...sorry...sort of turned into a rant there.  :)

Thanks again for the post, Anarchist.

eta: And both of these directors know how to make movies, which is why it's so disappointing: Looper rocked and I really like most JJ Abrams movies. Super 8 and Star Trek were both a lot of fun.

Except that TFA and TLJ are some of the best reviewed and highest grossing films of the franchise. Indeed, of all time.

It is perfectly okay if they are not your cup of tea. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

But you should be aware that even though it seems cool to hate on things these days, if you didn't like TFA and TLJ, you are very much in the minority. It is a VERY vocal minority, but make no mistake, the vast majority of people who saw these movies has very positive feelings about them.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/markhughes/2017/12/29/almost-everything-everybody-is-saying-about-star-wars-the-last-jedi-is-wrong/#48bde4a039b5

Personally, I think TLJ was my favorite of the series. It's not perfect, but none of them are. It is the first Star Wars movie that ever really included anything worth talking about after you left the theater. (Not that it stopped me or any of my Star Wars geek friends!) But honestly, we've all seen the hero's journey done a bunch of times. I think the way TLJ challenged that was borderline brilliant. Of course, it couldn't exist without the originals. And tearing down the structure we've all come to love was bound to rile up some fans that had a different idea of where the movie should go. But on the whole, I am so glad we got to see this take on it, rather than just another retread.

I have to say, the preview for Solo isn't really doing anything for me. I'm much more interested in where Star Wars is going than where it's been. But I guess we'll see.  :)

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #41 on: February 13, 2018, 02:31:16 PM »
I obviously disagree about the prequels, but what is it about Rey that you're connecting with?

I think she's a likable, smart, good person who is both an excellent role model for young women and a character I'm interested to see explored. I find the way that her abandonment issues are written is extremely true to life: they're not always outwardly visible, but they drive a good part of everything she does, and they can destroy her when they're forced too close to the surface. She's loyal to her friends, open to changing her beliefs when confronted with new information (see: her relationship with Kylo in TLJ), and holds fast to her convictions, but also has a ruthless kind of efficiency when it comes to getting what she wants that she's never thought to question because it was born of her lifestyle as a scavenger (see: her first meditation with Luke).

I don't think her arc is perfectly executed, and I do wish we'd see a larger failure beat from the flaws we've seen her demonstrate -- though I would argue that the entire point of the last act of TLJ was Rey did fail to turn Kylo, and that's part of why the Resistance got as destroyed as it did, so it's not like we've never seen her naive worldview never have any consequences. But while I don't think she's perfectly executed, she is still my second favorite new Star Wars character, I've thoroughly enjoyed every scene she's in, and her entire dynamic with Kylo and Luke was the best thing about TLJ (apart from the lightspeed ram.)

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #42 on: February 13, 2018, 03:47:34 PM »
I think she's a likable, smart, good person who is both an excellent role model for young women and a character I'm interested to see explored. I find the way that her abandonment issues are written is extremely true to life: they're not always outwardly visible, but they drive a good part of everything she does, and they can destroy her when they're forced too close to the surface. She's loyal to her friends, open to changing her beliefs when confronted with new information (see: her relationship with Kylo in TLJ), and holds fast to her convictions, but also has a ruthless kind of efficiency when it comes to getting what she wants that she's never thought to question because it was born of her lifestyle as a scavenger (see: her first meditation with Luke).

I don't think her arc is perfectly executed, and I do wish we'd see a larger failure beat from the flaws we've seen her demonstrate -- though I would argue that the entire point of the last act of TLJ was Rey did fail to turn Kylo, and that's part of why the Resistance got as destroyed as it did, so it's not like we've never seen her naive worldview never have any consequences. But while I don't think she's perfectly executed, she is still my second favorite new Star Wars character, I've thoroughly enjoyed every scene she's in, and her entire dynamic with Kylo and Luke was the best thing about TLJ (apart from the lightspeed ram.)
+1 to all of this!

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #43 on: February 13, 2018, 05:23:21 PM »
I have to say, the preview for Solo isn't really doing anything for me. I'm much more interested in where Star Wars is going than where it's been. But I guess we'll see.  :)

Have to disagree there. Han Solo is the only one of the "OT main squad" that hasn't had an origin hinted at or shown, until now. His story has never been fully told; we've seen the middle, and the end, but not where it began. We see Luke's origin in the OT/PT, Leia's in PT/Rogue One, and Chewie's origin is hinted at in Episode III. Where Han came from is a total enigma. It had an explanation in the old EU, but that is no longer canon. Han is such a great character, really, and a key component of the franchise. He deserves to have his story come full circle, in the way the others did.
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Offline kw3000

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #44 on: February 13, 2018, 06:24:55 PM »
He deserves to have his story come full circle, in the way the others did.

I would've liked Luke's story to have gone differently. I didn't like the way Rian Johnson chose to wrap up his main arc.

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #45 on: February 13, 2018, 08:25:25 PM »
But you should be aware that even though it seems cool to hate on things these days, if you didn't like TFA and TLJ, you are very much in the minority. It is a VERY vocal minority, but make no mistake, the vast majority of people who saw these movies has very positive feelings about them.

The audience liked-it score for TLJ is 48% on Rotten Tomatoes.



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« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 07:34:19 AM by Becca Mills »

Offline P.J. Post

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #46 on: February 13, 2018, 09:28:33 PM »
 :D

*Deep breath*

I think she's a likable, smart, good person who is both an excellent role model for young women and a character I'm interested to see explored. I find the way that her abandonment issues are written is extremely true to life: they're not always outwardly visible, but they drive a good part of everything she does, and they can destroy her when they're forced too close to the surface. She's loyal to her friends, open to changing her beliefs when confronted with new information (see: her relationship with Kylo in TLJ), and holds fast to her convictions, but also has a ruthless kind of efficiency when it comes to getting what she wants that she's never thought to question because it was born of her lifestyle as a scavenger (see: her first meditation with Luke).

I don't think her arc is perfectly executed, and I do wish we'd see a larger failure beat from the flaws we've seen her demonstrate -- though I would argue that the entire point of the last act of TLJ was Rey did fail to turn Kylo, and that's part of why the Resistance got as destroyed as it did, so it's not like we've never seen her naive worldview never have any consequences. But while I don't think she's perfectly executed, she is still my second favorite new Star Wars character, I've thoroughly enjoyed every scene she's in, and her entire dynamic with Kylo and Luke was the best thing about TLJ (apart from the lightspeed ram.)

Thanks for the reply. I agree with a lot of what you said, sort of - maybe I should say I want to, a lot. I'm a big Rey fan, too - remember when she repels down that cable in the bowels of the Star Destroyer? And slides down the sand dune to her speeder...and then...and then she cruises past all of the crashed spaceships from the Battle of Jakku? Oh, man...and that's why TFA/TLJ frustrates me so much.

Promises were made!

Luke had friends, many had already gone to the academy, including his best friend, Wedge; besides wanting to go himself and being impatient, he had hobbies like racing his T16 and hunting womp rats; he even built models, he knew about droids and moisture farming and the Empire...and then he was full of whiny, self-centered teenage angst and frustration, in part, because he believed his parents to be dead and he was stuck on a nowhere planet with no future, when he dreamed of adventure. He had too much of his father in him to be a framer...

Rey is completely one-dimensional, defined by her abandonment issues, but even then, just sort of. She's an engineering savant for...reasons? She's tough and totally self-sufficient, again, for reasons. But she has no friends, no hopes or dreams, no nothing, just longing for her parents. After two movies she's still right where she began. She was coming to terms with her abandonment by the end of TFA, and then TLJ did a reset and then promptly ignored it. By the end of TLJ, Rey hasn't changed at all, learned anything or overcome anything. Luke never even trained her. She's magically the strongest Force user in the universe, because...screenplay? She has next to no arc...and she could and should have been amazing, out-Luking Luke.  :(

Compare her "arc" to what Luke went through between Hope and Empire.   ::)

Ultimately, she's a questionable role-model because she doesn't earn anything, there are no sacrifices - everything is given to her, as if it is expected.

Except that TFA and TLJ are some of the best reviewed and highest grossing films of the franchise. Indeed, of all time.

It is perfectly okay if they are not your cup of tea. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

1. Who said it wasn't my cup of tea? It's Star Wars...duh.  ;D
(It just turns out Rian's a [crappy] film maker, but he hired a great cinematographer and special effects team. Yay, he gets a whole series to himself...)
2. My issues are not all opinion, most of my frustrations are objective story failings - which, since this is a writers forum, we can learn from.

Quote
But you should be aware that even though it seems cool to hate on things these days, if you didn't like TFA and TLJ, you are very much in the minority. It is a VERY vocal minority, but make no mistake, the vast majority of people who saw these movies has very positive feelings about them.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/markhughes/2017/12/29/almost-everything-everybody-is-saying-about-star-wars-the-last-jedi-is-wrong/#48bde4a039b5

I'm not hating; like many fans (a pretty big minority), I'm greatly disappointed that Johnson refused to get with the program. He was making the second movie in a trilogy, not a stand alone. It is the second movie's responsibility to build on the character and plot threads established in the first movie (Act 2), not ignore them in favor of whatever he thought was a better idea. If he wanted to do his own thing, he shouldn't have taken the gig. Forget the OT, canon and the longtime fans, he gave the finger to JJ Abrams and his mystery boxes and all of the set up from TFA. Call it subversion if you want, I call it crappy storytelling.

Poe went from the best pilot and warrior in the resistance to an idiotic, emotional hot head who can't accept the chain of command or orders, even from Leah.
Finn went...just nowhere...backwards? He had no arc...until the very end, when he finally had a real character moment...learning that there were some things worth dying for....wait...nope, that didn't work out. Never mind.
Poor Chewie was relegated to a meme, had to hang out with the Porgs.
Admiral Ackbar...cya. What was that?...It's a what?  Can't hear you. Buh-bye.
Hux went from Nazi bad*ss general, second only to Snoke himself, to a prattling and bumbling fool.
Luke...Jesus Christ...what a train wreck. If you're going to take Luke to the Dark Side - and sorry, but canon clearly establishes that killing young-lings is a Dark Side move - then you've got to earn that [crap]. You can't just toss it out there, like, oh yeah, so that happened, and expect fans to accept it.

If Rian was directing the Wizard of Oz, right after the 'Follow the Yellow Brick Road' song, Dorothy would take off cross country and never mention the yellow brick road again, or the wizard for that matter. She'd kill the Wicked Witch of the West with her newfound Ruby Slipper Magic, and everyone would love her the mostest and make her Princess for life, and she'd never go back to Kansas, because it's in CGI-less black and white. [expletive] Home.

Story is built, brick by brick, deed by deed, establishing character and motivation, and we, the audience, understand where everything stands, because the characters behave consistently with who they are, as defined by past events, and within the guidelines of the universe as shown. Subversion is a cool way of taking the audience in unexpected directions, but unless someone is being wished into the cornfield, the subversion can't simply undo the story's history, well, not without being lazy crap writing - which is my belief, in case there was any doubt.  ;)

And Box-office has nothing to do with how good a movie is or isn't.

Grown Ups 2: $247 million
Ex Machina: $36 million

If this movie wasn't stamped with Star WarsTM, it would have tanked because there's no story, no characterization, no arcs and no meaningful feelz - just super cool action and effects, which is not story.

Two issues that demonstrate what I'm talking about.

1. Holdo's light speed ram. Super cool, like one of the most amazing things I've seen in a movie in a long time - freaking beautiful - but, it makes no sense within the Star Wars universe. Why didn't she set the autopilot, or send a droid? Why didn't Poe do this with his x-wing in the first scene? And I know this is wicked cool, but it totally undermines the Death Star stuff, like the whole freaking OT...just sayin'. It destroys universe continuity. Now that I think about it...what happened to the Star Destroyer's shields? Oh right, they're like Zaphod's sunglasses, plot sensitive.
2. Snoke. It doesn't matter how much you loved the throne-room scene, or how cool Snoke's death was, or how cool Bella and Edward's Skype romance is, TFA built Snoke up to be a mysterious super villain that we expected to survive and threaten our heroes until the end of the last movie - because that's how story works, Rian. But like so many threads and subplots and themes, he was just thrown away, he doesn't matter, not who he is, not where he came from, not how he became the most powerful Force user in the...oh wait, that's Rey, never mind.

That's not subversion, and it has nothing to do with fan expectations, it's just not how story works - it's how confusion works. I winced all of the way through this movie.

And I'm not even going to go on about Darth Luke anymore, if we can't watch the OT and agree on who and what Luke Skywalker is and ISN'T, then the OT is as irrelevant as Johnson wants us to believe - kill our past, if necessary. Yay! Old heroes suck.  :)

Quote
Personally, I think TLJ was my favorite of the series. It's not perfect, but none of them are. It is the first Star Wars movie that ever really included anything worth talking about after you left the theater. (Not that it stopped me or any of my Star Wars geek friends!) But honestly, we've all seen the hero's journey done a bunch of times. I think the way TLJ challenged that was borderline brilliant. Of course, it couldn't exist without the originals. And tearing down the structure we've all come to love was bound to rile up some fans that had a different idea of where the movie should go. But on the whole, I am so glad we got to see this take on it, rather than just another retread.

I'm glad you loved it, I really am. I thought it was fun and okay the first go 'round, even with my frustrations.

But I think there's a [crap]-ton of room between a retread and whatever TLJ was. Go watch the Clone Wars animated series - no retreads there, and lots of subversion while remaining true to the universe. One of the show's big themes was how the Jedi philosophy was unhealthy and self-destructive. Ahsoka's arc was really well done. They even have an ongoing theme that explores the individuality and feelz of the clones. Star Wars fans, it's on Netflix, do yourself a favor. It starts slow, but finds its legs near the end of season one. Asajj Ventress has a great arc too, so dark, especially for Disney.

Quote
I have to say, the preview for Solo isn't really doing anything for me. I'm much more interested in where Star Wars is going than where it's been. But I guess we'll see.  :)

Like all of these movies so far, I hope for the best, but expect a clumsy and insulting money grab.  :(

I would've liked Luke's story to have gone differently. I didn't like the way Rian Johnson chose to wrap up his main arc.

Totally agree. Rian had THREE huge opportunities for on screen HISTORY.

1. Luke's reaction to Han's death, but he cuts away for no reason without allowing us to grieve with Luke, no reaction, just [expletive] it.
2. Luke's death. After 40 years, fans deserved a hero's send off, [expletive] subversion. Luke doesn't get a do over - and it doesn't matter what the next movie does, this was Luke's moment. Han's death was completely unearned and JJ totally fumbled the whole thing emotionally. And it's Rey that comforts Leah and tells her that Luke's death was all just totally okie-dokey?
3. Luke taking Anakin's, Darth Vader's, his father's, his own light saber - a weapon with history and meaning and import. Nah, [expletive] it - off the cliff it goes - cuz that's funny and that's what this moment is all about after nearly 40 years - a [expletive]ing joke.

Maybe Rian's just not that good of a writer and he was petrified to actually risk going there? Doesn't matter now.

___

To bring this back around to our books and writing craft - do not write books like this, they will fail - badly. Books actually require some minimal amount of continuity and character consistency to keep from confusing readers into a DNF.

Craft Issues with TLJ:

1. The tone was way off and inconsistent and just plain old weird.
2. The humor was inappropriate, off-putting and way too meta - "can you hear me?" Really? A nearly ten year old cell phone commercial joke? This is Star Wars, right? Did Disney buy Sprint or something when I wasn't looking?
3. The pacing sucked, from act to act, scene to scene, even during scenes. Why did Kylo have any trouble dispatching the Elite Praetorian Guard? But more importantly, why did they even fight him in the first place since he just took over?
4. The drama was manufactured and illogical and pretty stupid. If Holdo had just explained what the plan was to Poe (and like, everyone else, so they could prep the ships and load supplies and be, like, you know - ready when the time came), we would have saved 30 minutes of stupid. I have no issue with a Canto Bight sub-plot, just earn it. And how did Finn and Rose just take a FTL ship unseen and return...unseen? Why didn't everyone just hop in these ships and escape?
5. The characters had no consistency and changed as the plot dictated, you know, or didn't change at all.
6. The character and plot threads that were established as important, crucial even, were randomly discarded, demonstrating that, in the end, nothing really mattered and nothing could be trusted.
7. The science was, Jesus...I know we give FTL a pass, but canon ball trajectory isn't a thing in space, it's a thing in pirate movies. A little research goes a long way.
8. Plot holes are something to avoid, not collect like Easter eggs - no pun intended.
9. Easter eggs are something to avoid unless they make sense. "Rebel...scum!" Why would Finn say that? Just...ugh. :(   **
10. I'm getting tired of having to turn my brain off to watch movies anymore. It's possible to make fun, original and compelling movies, I know, I've seen them - Wonder Woman, anyone?

**"Chrome dome" was the dumbest line ever, it's a pejorative for bald FFS, not literally a chrome, dome-shaped helmet. How is that an insult? How does it even make sense? I think this line encapsulates everything wrong with this movie.

___

It was pretty, but then, that's how Disney Princesses roll.  8)
« Last Edit: February 13, 2018, 10:58:40 PM by P.J. Post »

Offline wittyblather

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #47 on: February 13, 2018, 11:11:02 PM »
I think it's a bit misleading to say that there is an actual objectivity when it comes to storytelling and storytelling decisions. Yes, there are common mechanics to stories. Genre tales like Star Wars especially cling to established mechanics. However, these are not objective in the same way that rules in math and science are. Otherwise, all stories that do things 'right' would be massively successful, and any story that did something 'wrong' would languish. Stories have made decisions outside of traditional narrative rules, and they've still worked. So I disagree that any objective lesson can be learned from TLJ other than that a huge number of people can see the exact same movie, and some will think it's an insult to cinema while others will think it's the best in the series.

I'm baffled when I hear people discuss Rey's arc in particular because there are so many points I just don't agree on. I typically agree on where people say Poe's and Finn's arcs are flawed, and I do also agree with specific instances of where Rey's arc is, but the sweeping comments like her being one-dimensional or overskilled...I'm sorry, I do not see it, not even a little bit. There's a character in Disney's Rebels that's (I think) a Mandalorian warrior-princess with a one-of-a-kind Lightsaber and a fully trained loadout of bounty hunter skills at age 16. I think THAT character is overskilled. I've defended Rey dozens of times online, and I don't want to get too much into it here where it's off-topic, but I honestly don't know how I can perceive her as a compelling, lifelike character while others perceive her as a cardboard cutout. There has to be some kind of disconnect here in how we perceive the source material, but hell if I know what it is.

(Also re: Rotten Tomatoes audience score...selection bias and brigading are both things to consider when looking at an unmoderated online poll. Most casual reviews I've heard from non-hardcore audiences have been positive, with a few criticisms. Which is in itself anecdotal evidence, I know, but I can only offer what I know to be true. This is far from the reaction the prequels elicit, which is near universal disdain.)
« Last Edit: February 13, 2018, 11:14:46 PM by wittyblather »

Offline kw3000

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #48 on: February 14, 2018, 04:16:00 AM »
Interesting takes here. A lot to learn from a storytelling perspective.

My issues with the Disney Star Wars films are as follows... it's about to get real nerdy up in here:

I believe the main characters from the original trilogy were only included in these new films as a cynical money grab on Disney's part. Okay, fine, those three established characters were never going to be the focus of these new movies, but you also didn't have to bring them back only to tarnish their legacy.

The way Leia, Han and Luke are portrayed is not consistent with the characters original trilogy fans have known for 35+ years. But I think Disney/Lucasfilm excuses those choices away or sees them as an afterthought because really these new films are about establishing a new set of characters to root for, and that's totally fine. It's to be expected of course. It's great to get new characters and tell new stories. But don't then toss the iconic characters we grew up on into the mix and write them in a way that is inconsistent with who they were and where their arcs had left them at the end of the original trilogy.

It would have been better to have these new films without the original trilogy characters included at all, but again, Disney wouldn't do that because: money. So, of course there are going to be older, original trilogy fans that will feel a bit betrayed, lured to these new films after decades with the promise of seeing their favorite characters in action once again only to be met with versions of their heroes that are nearly unrecognizable from the characters they've known and loved since the '80s.

Original Trilogy Luke Skywalker would not try to murder a child out of fear that he's turning to the dark side, and certainly not his own nephew. Han Solo's progression through the OT left him as less a scoundrel and more a hero of the rebellion and so there's no way he'd have returned to being a selfish smuggling space pirate as portrayed in TFA. Leia, in my opinion, wasn't given enough to do and should have been an even more commanding presence.

The poor storytelling with Luke's character is what gets me the most though. And really, with some tweaks TLJ could have been far less divisive. For instance, we get Chekhov's X-Wing early in the film. We see Luke's ship sitting there at the bottom of the bay and yet it's never brought back into the story later. What a missed opportunity.

Instead of Luke force projecting himself to Crait to face Kylo Ren, we could have had a scene with he and Yoda standing on the shore and this time Luke, knowing that Leia et al are in trouble, raises the X-Wing from the sea, sets it on land successfully. That would've been a great call back to where he'd failed to do so in Empire in Yoda's presence. Then he and R2 could fly together to Crait, engage in few space battles along the way, fighting through TIE fighters and the like to get to his friends in peril. What a thrill that would've been for OT fans.

Then Luke could be there, on Crait, in person. We could have witnessed him in all his Jedi Master glory stopping laser bolts flying toward him and holding them mid-flight, similar to what we saw Ren do in TFA only to an even greater extent.

Then we could have witnessed Luke literally pulling those giant walkers down to the ground with his Vader-level command of the force, crushing their metal bodies with mere waves of his hands as everyone looks on in awe. Then we could have had a real lightsaber battle between he and Ren.

And, with a call back to A New Hope, as Rey looks on he could have a knowing smile and allow Ren to strike him down, passing the torch and going out in a much more cohesive, emotionally satisfying way. What a climax that would've been. People would've been cheering in their seats that entire scene. Luke gets to go out on a high, and the audience gets to experience something they'd waited decades to see. Everyone wins.

Instead, Johnson sent Luke out with a whimper with barely a battle with Ren at all and with him fading away from doing Skype yoga on a distant rock. It's like Johnson chose to ignore the original trilogy version of Luke altogether. Fine. But then don't include Luke in the new films if that's what you're going to do because old OT fans are bound to call you out. In a popcorn movie like this, why go out of your way to pull back from full-on audience pleasing?

Subverting audience expectations and approaching things from a deconstructionist standpoint is fine for more nuanced cinematic fare, but this is Star Wars. Come on. Get over yourself.

This isn't Citizen Kane. This is Star Wars. It's space fantasy. It's cotton candy. It's potato chips. Chocolate cake. Give the people what they want, it's not long division. This is easy, chicken salad, over-the-plate, audience-pleasing stuff.

Challenge audiences with an original work, save the brussel sprouts for something that isn't a beloved, well-worn favorite sweater in the form of a big schmaltzy space opera epic.

It's about spectacle and grandeur, not subversive cleverness. Star Wars in the original trilogy was always earnest and swashbuckling. It was the embodiment of John Williams' score. It isn't hard to give the fans the meat and potatoes they're looking for ('these aren't the meat and potatoes you're looking for' - lol).  Just like it isn't surprising to see a raft of negative opinion spring forth when you don't.  ;)
« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 04:19:15 AM by kw3000 »

Ken Ward

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #49 on: February 14, 2018, 07:17:08 AM »
(Also re: Rotten Tomatoes audience score...selection bias and brigading are both things to consider when looking at an unmoderated online poll. Most casual reviews I've heard from non-hardcore audiences have been positive, with a few criticisms. Which is in itself anecdotal evidence, I know, but I can only offer what I know to be true. This is far from the reaction the prequels elicit, which is near universal disdain.)

Exactly. There have been numerous online campaigns that were perfectly open about their intent to sabotage TLJ's review scores.
When I talked about the vast majority liking the movie, I wasn't just taking a shot in the dark, or judging by the applause it got both times I saw it opening weekend. Movie companies do exit polls. It was not just my opinion. There are hard numbers to back me up:

http://deadline.com/2017/12/star-wars-the-last-jedi-rotten-tomatoes-metacritic-imdb-users-cinemascore-posttrak-1202228837/

"Last Jedi earned an 89% overall positive score and a five-star rating from moviegoers. That's in the wheelhouse of what Force Awakens earned (90% overall positive/ 4 1/2 stars) and Rogue One (91% positive, 4 1/2 stars). These are scientific, statistically accumulated audience exit polls that studios can take to the bank, and which they rely upon to deconstruct various elements of a film's opening."

Nothing dubious about that. :)

Once again, everyone is entitled to their opinion about the movies. (And let's be clear that they are opinions.) But the fact remains that the vast majority (which is what I'd consider 89-90%) of people are digging these new movies.

The reason I mentioned it being cool to hate stuff was not meant as a personal attack on anyone in here. I was thinking more about the fact that if you looked at the articles written in the weeks after the opening of TLJ, you would have thought the movie was an abject failure, universally hated by fans. The complaints of the minority were amplified to a deafening level. Why? Because it gets clicks. It's cooler to hate stuff than it is to love it. Which says a lot about the state of the internet, and us in general.

Personally, I'd rather geek out on my own stuff than explain to people why they are wrong for liking something.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 07:33:16 AM by Steve Voelker »

Offline Becca Mills

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #50 on: February 14, 2018, 07:37:43 AM »
A provocatory topic, I know, but let's keep it civil. Having to utter the words "quit talking about Star Wars" would kill my soul.

Offline WHDean

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #51 on: February 14, 2018, 10:02:35 AM »
"These are scientific, statistically accumulated audience exit polls that studios can take to the bank, and which they rely upon to deconstruct various elements of a film's opening."

That statement embodies the sort of scientific illiteracy one would expect from a gossip columnist. Exit polls are inherently unreliable because they're "convenience samples" (as opposed to random samples) and the participants are polled in a public place by representatives of the filmmakers--hardly a recipe for accurate results. 

Second, without concrete evidence, the claim that Rotten Tomatoes' score misrepresents the audience's opinions because the rankings were manipulated is a circular argument. All we know from the anti-TLJ campaigners is that they disliked the movie and that they want others who disliked the movie to register their dislike. That does not entail they were effective. And if they were effective, where's the misrepresentation?

The same goes for claims about individuals manipulating the rankings. Wanting to do it and succeeding are two different things. And for all we know, these people were pro-TLJ campaigners who invented the stories to discredit the low audience score. Besides, how do we know pro-TLJ campaigners are not also manipulating the ranks with up-voting bots? We don't. 

Third, I can understand you defending the film's storytelling the way others here have criticized its storytelling. But you haven't. Instead, you've responded by trying to marginalize critics of the movie with claims about vast majorities who loved it and clickbait conspiracies against it. This confuses me. If this is such a great film, why can't you defend it against the criticisms made here?

Come to that, why can't anyone defend this film? I've noticed a distinct difference between the reviews of fans and critics of the film. Fans never say much about the film beyond that it's wonderfully wonderful (and, sometimes, that anyone who doesn't like it is a bad person). Critics, on the other hand, have pointed to plot holes, nonsensical subplots, inconsistent and weak characters, inexplicable twists, inconsistencies with the lore, and other just plain cringe-inducing scenes.

Of course, I can't speak to TLJ because I had no interest in seeing it after watching TFA, which, apart from the visuals, was one of the worst movies I've seen. In fact, I find the strange reaction to these movies more interesting than the films themselves.   

   

Offline WHDean

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #52 on: February 14, 2018, 12:28:23 PM »
To bring this thread halfway back on topic, consider the difference between the MCs in the original Star Wars and the The Force Awakens. The original (thanks to the editors, apparently) started with the classic hero's journey. Luke, the naive but goodhearted farm boy, gets a double-barreled motivation to go on an intergalactic quest: he wants to save the princess and avenge his kin. He only survives by the help of super-clever friends, the first tentative stirrings of a power within him brought out by his mentor, and a whole lot of luck.

Contrast this with Rey. Why does a lonely scavenger join up to fight on the losing side of an intergalactic war? Based solely on the minor change in her demeanor, which is the only clue we get, it's because she found intergalactic war slightly more exciting than scavenging in the desert. But who knows? We don't get any reason. She just goes along with some strangers. Weirder still, she seemed less disturbed by her life being turned upside down than she was at the low price she got for the junk she collected--at least, she showed more emotion then.

And how does she survive? Well, not with the help of anyone. Quite the reverse. She survives to meet her mentor, Luke, on pure omni-competence. She can fly anything, fix anything, kill anything, and she's better at everything than everyone else. She even saves everyone else--including Han and Chewy, who are apparently both bumbling idiots now. Later on she shows the skills of a Jedi grandmaster without having trained or even observed these skills before when she mind-controlled a stormtrooper. How did she have that much power without even realizing it? Or did she just get it? Who knows, who cares? 

Anyway, we sympathize with Luke and get drawn in hoping he'll reach his goal. What's the appeal of Rey? We can't sympathize with her because she's super-human and has no apparent goals at all. We have to identify with her through the same wish-fulfilment conferred by the Mary Sue in fanfic. 


Offline kw3000

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #53 on: February 14, 2018, 01:28:53 PM »
That statement embodies the sort of scientific illiteracy one would expect from a gossip columnist. Exit polls are inherently unreliable because they're "convenience samples" (as opposed to random samples) and the participants are polled in a public place by representatives of the filmmakers--hardly a recipe for accurate results.

Not to mention that I've watched, read and listened to reviews of TLJ where the reviewer has said when they first left the theater they were excited and had enjoyed the film, because: STAR WARS!!!1!

...only to come to dislike the movie upon further reflection. I was the same, if you'd handed me a CinemaScore card upon exiting I would have given the movie a good grade, but in the days the followed, the more I thought about it the more I was bothered with the storytelling and recognized the problems.

Also, it should be noted, there are plenty of bad films out there with good CinemaScores, so that's not exactly a scientific fence post one can hang their hat on. And whether or not Rotten Tomatoes is capable of being manipulated by a few bad apples or brigading is a matter of where you stand on the movie it seems. For their part, RT says their system cannot be gamed that way, but of course they have a financial incentive to defend their platform. Who knows? I doubt very much the number that anywhere near 90% of Star Wars fans loved TLJ, I haven't seen the SW fan community this divided perhaps ever. And many of the hardcores I follow in social media vehemently disliked this movie. I don't think it's just a very vocal tiny contingent, I think there's a lot more dismay over this film than its defenders realize - at least among the original trilogy hardcores anyway.

But really, all of that is beside the point of the storytelling in 'The Last Jedi' which I think is quite poor. As writers I suppose our curse is we cannot consume stories in any form without pulling apart plots and characters, recognizing quality of craft, chastising the bad, while also imagining what we'd do differently. I'm the same with TLJ. I see areas where the story in that film fell down and opportunities for audience-pleasing moments that were missed and as a storyteller myself I shake my head and wonder what they were thinking.

Ken Ward

Offline wittyblather

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #54 on: February 14, 2018, 02:58:15 PM »
Have you considered that TLJ fans don't like getting into longform discussions of what they enjoyed about the film with its detractors because they know whatever they say will be undercut, disqualified, or otherwise dismissed by the person they're arguing against?

I have plenty I liked about TLJ. So much so I could probably write multiple thousands of words about the specific things I enjoyed. But I know I'm not going to convince someone who hates the film, and I have other writing to do.

Offline kw3000

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #55 on: February 14, 2018, 04:16:23 PM »
Have you considered that TLJ fans don't like getting into longform discussions of what they enjoyed about the film with its detractors because they know whatever they say will be undercut, disqualified, or otherwise dismissed by the person they're arguing against?

Well, that's a two-way street, isn't it? Really, it's just storytellers sharing their opinions on what they like/dislike about a given story, it doesn't have to be anything more serious than that. And of course, we can always agree to disagree.  :)

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #56 on: February 14, 2018, 04:47:30 PM »
Ho hum.  If I recall correctly (going way back to the first page of this thread) the Original Post was about the first Star Wars movie, which came out back in 1977.   Just a reminder....
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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #57 on: February 14, 2018, 05:58:24 PM »
That statement embodies the sort of scientific illiteracy one would expect from a gossip columnist. Exit polls are inherently unreliable because they're "convenience samples" (as opposed to random samples) and the participants are polled in a public place by representatives of the filmmakers--hardly a recipe for accurate results. 

Right, but it's got to be a more reliable gauge than the RT audience score...?

Any argument you make against exit polling accuracy is tenfold worse for how RT's data is collected.

Especially in a case where the RT number seems odd and there is a vocal contingent claiming that they manipulated it by means that seem entirely plausible.

Simplest answer seems to me that there's some truth to it. <shrug>

(I thought the movie was middling--mildly entertaining, sporadically interesting, but a mess in both story and execution, so I have little bias pulling me to spin in either direction.)
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Offline P.J. Post

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #58 on: February 14, 2018, 09:14:08 PM »
Ho hum.  If I recall correctly (going way back to the first page of this thread) the Original Post was about the first Star Wars movie, which came out back in 1977.   Just a reminder....

The OP was about restructuring a movie to improve pacing and exposition and emotional engagement and the overall story experience. Although we're discussing the writing aspect of the current movies, for books, this is what editing looks like. I think discussing the overall SW film universe makes sense because it's just like writing a long series. If we were to write a trilogy, readers would have a reasonable expectation that the characters would remain reasonably consistent and act accordingly, that the expectations we (as authors) created, would in fact, have reasonable relevance to the story and its resolution. The Last Jedi seems like a text book example for that discussion, especially when juxtaposed against A New Hope.

Offline kw3000

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #59 on: February 14, 2018, 09:24:37 PM »
The OP was about restructuring a movie to improve pacing and exposition and emotional engagement and the overall story experience. Although we're discussing the writing aspect of the current movies, for books, this is what editing looks like. I think discussing the overall SW film universe makes sense because it's just like writing a long series. If we were to write a trilogy, readers would have a reasonable expectation that the characters would remain reasonably consistent and act accordingly, that the expectations we (as authors) created, would in fact, have reasonable relevance to the story and its resolution. The Last Jedi seems like a text book example for that discussion, especially when juxtaposed against A New Hope.

That's my feeling on it as well. Especially relevant for writing in series.

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Offline Jena H

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #60 on: February 15, 2018, 05:05:44 AM »
The OP was about restructuring a movie to improve pacing and exposition and emotional engagement and the overall story experience. Although we're discussing the writing aspect of the current movies, for books, this is what editing looks like. I think discussing the overall SW film universe makes sense because it's just like writing a long series. If we were to write a trilogy, readers would have a reasonable expectation that the characters would remain reasonably consistent and act accordingly, that the expectations we (as authors) created, would in fact, have reasonable relevance to the story and its resolution. The Last Jedi seems like a text book example for that discussion, especially when juxtaposed against A New Hope.

Fair enough, but....   much of this conversation seems to me more specific to the movies (and the reaction to it by fan groups or critics) than to the specific writing.  But I'll bow out now.
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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #61 on: February 15, 2018, 05:48:56 AM »
Have you considered that TLJ fans don't like getting into longform discussions of what they enjoyed about the film with its detractors because they know whatever they say will be undercut, disqualified, or otherwise dismissed by the person they're arguing against?

I have plenty I liked about TLJ. So much so I could probably write multiple thousands of words about the specific things I enjoyed. But I know I'm not going to convince someone who hates the film, and I have other writing to do.

Thank you.

This is why I haven't chimed in to "defend" the storytelling or craft. It doesn't need defending. I liked it. The end.
And I am allowed to like it, just like people are allowed to not like it. I didn't want to do a point by point takedown about how I think some of the opinions expressed in this thread are way off base. Or how it doesn't even seem like some people watched the same movie I did. Because I know that people who have already made up their minds about it aren't going to be swayed by that. They care about my opinion about as much as I care about theirs. Which is to say, not at all.
My only point was that more people like the movie than not. Which I backed up. With facts. Which were summarily dismissed. And if facts don't matter, what shot does my opinion have?
You can keep disliking the movie. I never once tried to say you couldn't.
The majority of us will keep liking the movie.
But this "debate" where anything you don't agree with is immediate invalidated is not a game I'm going to play.
So have fun with that.

On a separate, more storytelling related note:
I am extremely curious to see where they go with the next movie. They obviously set this whole trilogy up for Leia to be a pivotal character. With the sad and unexpected passing of Carrie Fisher, what happens now? They've said they won't recast, or bring her in digitally, and she only filmed up to TLJ. Writing the next installment without her has to be a pretty daunting task. I can't imagine how they will pull it off in a way that feels satisfying.

Offline WHDean

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #62 on: February 15, 2018, 09:56:26 AM »
But really, all of that is beside the point of the storytelling in 'The Last Jedi' which I think is quite poor. As writers I suppose our curse is we cannot consume stories in any form without pulling apart plots and characters, recognizing quality of craft, chastising the bad, while also imagining what we'd do differently. I'm the same with TLJ. I see areas where the story in that film fell down and opportunities for audience-pleasing moments that were missed and as a storyteller myself I shake my head and wonder what they were thinking.

The odd thing is that lovers and haters of the original trilogy liked and disliked it for the same reason: It was a by-the-numbers space opera with all the epic tropes that could be packed into it. In other words, they all agreed on the storytelling. Lovers and haters of TLJ don't even seem to have watched the same movie. Some of the positive reviews by top critics scarcely make any sense. It's all just weird.

Have you considered that TLJ fans don't like getting into longform discussions of what they enjoyed about the film with its detractors because they know whatever they say will be undercut, disqualified, or otherwise dismissed by the person they're arguing against?

I have plenty I liked about TLJ. So much so I could probably write multiple thousands of words about the specific things I enjoyed. But I know I'm not going to convince someone who hates the film, and I have other writing to do.

I don't expect you to provide a thousand-word defence of the movie. I was talking to the poster (and more than few other fans) who have all the time in the world for thousand-word attacks on critics of the film as a tiny minority of haters who've targeted the film to generate traffic, but no time for defences of the film itself. No one challenges any of the criticism, they attack the critics. I find that bizarre.

Right, but it's got to be a more reliable gauge than the RT audience score...?

Any argument you make against exit polling accuracy is tenfold worse for how RT's data is collected.

Especially in a case where the RT number seems odd and there is a vocal contingent claiming that they manipulated it by means that seem entirely plausible.

Simplest answer seems to me that there's some truth to it. <shrug>

(I thought the movie was middling--mildly entertaining, sporadically interesting, but a mess in both story and execution, so I have little bias pulling me to spin in either direction.)

My point was that none of the measures (including RT) are reliable or consistent enough to claim with any confidence that the "vast majority" loved the film.

 

Offline Becca Mills

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #63 on: February 15, 2018, 10:56:38 AM »
I'll share a few of the things I particularly liked about TLJ. Going in no particular order ... the humor elements worked really well for me. The long build-up to the "yo mama" joke at the beginning? I loved that ... seriously, good stuff. Luke milking that ... um ... manatee/walrus/cow ... thing? That is my kind of humor. :D I thought a number of scenes were visually stunning. I really like Kylo Ren as a villain because I have no idea which way he's going to go, which was never the case with Vader in the original trilogy. Perhaps the end result won't be a clear victory for either light or dark, but something more mixed and interesting? That'd be neat. I liked the elements of TLJ that seemed to hint at a more complex vision of the dark side and its role -- not just as about fear, rage, hatred, but as something negative but nevertheless fundamental and necessary to life. Hardly a new spec fic trope, but one of my faves. I hope the next film does go in that direction. The diversity of the characters pleases me. Loved the addition of Rose to the ensemble. I thought most of the performances were very good. Mark Hamill's acting seemed hugely improved to me. Acting was, IMO, one of the weak points in the '70s-'80s films. I liked the somewhat baggy, episodic plot (though I do think it led to some plot holes). A lot of Hollywood storytelling is rigidly arc-y in a way sort of annoys me. This felt looser and less predictable, which I appreciated. The Porgs were adorable, yes, but there was blessedly little reliance on cutesie/goofy creatures. I liked that the Fathiers were powerful and dignified instead of cutsie. I love that Rey turns out to be a nobody; great undercutting of the "hidden savior son of the dead king" trope. I hope they stick with that. I can see the yawning discrepancy Hamill pointed out between the '70s-'80s Luke and TLJ Luke -- that "his" Luke would never consider killing Ben Solo because he's someone who believes in the good in people and never lets go of hope. I think that's probably right, and I can see why that inconsistency upsets people. But when it comes down to it, I like the Luke who *would* do what he did because I like dark, troubling heroes. Just a personal preference. And Hamill really sold it, IMO, despite not liking it. I suppose, in general, TLJ pushes past some of what I find frustratingly formulaic/simplistic when I rewatch the '70s-'80s films as an adult, fond as I am of them. The inconsistencies with prior world-building don't really bother me. I'm happy to see long-lasting properties like Star Wars, Star Trek, Batman, Sherlock Holmes, etc. as rich patches of forest floor that blossom in different and sometimes competing ways as time passes and the larger cultures in which they're embedded change their identity, priorities, and values. I find that kind of culturally reflective slippage sort of cool, actually. FWIW.

ETA: And a nod to the Benecio del Toro character, the self-serving, amoral figure who *doesn't* turn out to have a heart of gold hidden beneath his apparent cynicism, thank you very much. Yasss. :)
« Last Edit: February 15, 2018, 11:03:16 AM by Becca Mills »

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #64 on: February 15, 2018, 11:09:23 AM »
Not to mention that I've watched, read and listened to reviews of TLJ where the reviewer has said when they first left the theater they were excited and had enjoyed the film, because: STAR WARS!!!1!



I really didn't want to get into this discussion because y'all seem so knowledgeable and I've just enjoyed the movies (for the most part) since the beginning.

But, what you said, quoted above, is how I feel about the series. Or as my daughter once said about the prequels, "Bad acting, bad dialogue, but what the heck, it's Star Wars."

But even with that, I have to say I knew there was something wrong with TLJ without knowing exactly what it was the whole time I was watching it. There were parts I enjoyed and parts where my eyes glazed over. It took me a while to come to, "What the heck, it's Star Wars." And by a while, I mean well after I left the theater.

So, I'm one of those fans that isn't going to miss an installment because it's Star Wars and I got hooked back in 1977. But even I wasn't thrilled by TLJ.





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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #65 on: February 15, 2018, 01:50:52 PM »
The Porgs were adorable, yes, but there was blessedly little reliance on cutesie/goofy creatures.

I don't see why anyone likes those things. They're the new Ewoks. Cuter and less annoying, sure, but new Ewoks nevertheless.

The fact that the Vupltex (crystal foxes) seem to have no fans besides me, no merchandise, etc is a crime.

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #66 on: February 15, 2018, 01:59:10 PM »
I don't see why anyone likes those things. They're the new Ewoks. Cuter and less annoying, sure, but new Ewoks nevertheless.

The fact that the Vupltex (crystal foxes) seem to have no fans besides me, no merchandise, etc is a crime.

Oh, yeah, they were cool! :)

The Porgs just weren't in it much (unlike the Ewoks). And I liked the jokes about eating them.

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #67 on: February 15, 2018, 02:23:10 PM »
Oh, yeah, they were cool! :)

The Porgs just weren't in it much (unlike the Ewoks). And I liked the jokes about eating them.

I enjoyed the porgs as well--I found them to be one of the least intrusive "cutesy" elements inserted into the various SW movies/shows.

I thought the joke would have been better (and more in character for Chewie) if he had gone on to take a big chomp into his dinner. :D

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #68 on: February 15, 2018, 02:29:57 PM »
My point was that none of the measures (including RT) are reliable or consistent enough to claim with any confidence that the "vast majority" loved the film.

Fair enough. Disney has a ton of money riding on each of these films. They do extensive testing. They have shown little fear of retooling them when things aren't pleasing audiences.

The fact that TLJ went through that process without much (reported) tinkering makes me think the numbers were solid. That doesn't seem likely if the 50% RT number is anywhere close to reality. And so, I think other number is probably closer to reality--so a decent majority if perhaps not vast enjoyed (not loved) it.

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #69 on: February 15, 2018, 03:13:53 PM »
They care about my opinion about as much as I care about theirs. Which is to say, not at all.

This seems a bit harsh. I love talking about story and I like hearing other perspectives because it helps me get better as a writer and a storyteller. I learn, even from opinions I might disagree with. I don't care too much about what percentage of people liked/disliked whichever Star Wars movie, really it's immaterial.

I just enjoy breaking down the stories within the saga itself and examining what works and what doesn't when writing a series and exchanging ideas regarding the craft. I learn from discussion of story, character arcs, all of that. And I change my opinion all the time if I think someone else has a better read on something. If I get defensive then I feel like I'm being non-productive, so I try to avoid that kind of thing, especially when we're talking about something that in the grand scheme is generally just silly escapism. Sharing ideas with an open mind is a much better use of what little time I've got on this rock, so I don't like to think of talking about movies and stories like 'The Last Jedi' as a debate, more a conversation where opinions will inevitably differ and I think that's okay, actually it's welcome because how boring would life be if we all agreed? I usually learn more from folks who're giving me a perspective I'd never encountered before.  :)

I'll share a few of the things I particularly liked about TLJ. Going in no particular order ... the humor elements worked really well for me. The long build-up to the "yo mama" joke at the beginning? I loved that ... seriously, good stuff. Luke milking that ... um ... manatee/walrus/cow ... thing? That is my kind of humor. :D I thought a number of scenes were visually stunning. I really like Kylo Ren as a villain because I have no idea which way he's going to go, which was never the case with Vader in the original trilogy. Perhaps the end result won't be a clear victory for either light or dark, but something more mixed and interesting? That'd be neat. I liked the elements of TLJ that seemed to hint at a more complex vision of the dark side and its role -- not just as about fear, rage, hatred, but as something negative but nevertheless fundamental and necessary to life. Hardly a new spec fic trope, but one of my faves. I hope the next film does go in that direction. The diversity of the characters pleases me. Loved the addition of Rose to the ensemble. I thought most of the performances were very good. Mark Hamill's acting seemed hugely improved to me. Acting was, IMO, one of the weak points in the '70s-'80s films. I liked the somewhat baggy, episodic plot (though I do think it led to some plot holes). A lot of Hollywood storytelling is rigidly arc-y in a way sort of annoys me. This felt looser and less predictable, which I appreciated. The Porgs were adorable, yes, but there was blessedly little reliance on cutesie/goofy creatures. I liked that the Fathiers were powerful and dignified instead of cutsie. I love that Rey turns out to be a nobody; great undercutting of the "hidden savior son of the dead king" trope. I hope they stick with that. I can see the yawning discrepancy Hamill pointed out between the '70s-'80s Luke and TLJ Luke -- that "his" Luke would never consider killing Ben Solo because he's someone who believes in the good in people and never lets go of hope. I think that's probably right, and I can see why that inconsistency upsets people. But when it comes down to it, I like the Luke who *would* do what he did because I like dark, troubling heroes. Just a personal preference. And Hamill really sold it, IMO, despite not liking it. I suppose, in general, TLJ pushes past some of what I find frustratingly formulaic/simplistic when I rewatch the '70s-'80s films as an adult, fond as I am of them. The inconsistencies with prior world-building don't really bother me. I'm happy to see long-lasting properties like Star Wars, Star Trek, Batman, Sherlock Holmes, etc. as rich patches of forest floor that blossom in different and sometimes competing ways as time passes and the larger cultures in which they're embedded change their identity, priorities, and values. I find that kind of culturally reflective slippage sort of cool, actually. FWIW.

ETA: And a nod to the Benecio del Toro character, the self-serving, amoral figure who *doesn't* turn out to have a heart of gold hidden beneath his apparent cynicism, thank you very much. Yasss. :)

Everything you've just said is wrong.

lol...I kid, I kid.  8)

It's so interesting to hear that you liked the humor. I didn't really like the whole 'call waiting' thing at the beginning, it felt like something too 'our world' and not really Star Warsy - if that makes any sense. I do admit I laughed when I saw Luke milking that weird walrus thing, but after thinking about the movie I thought, 'what the heck was that, Rian Johnson'? lol He definitely has a unique take on things, I'll give him that.

It's funny, as much as I have a problem with different aspects of TLJ's plot, I loved the porgs! And my wife was absolutely beside herself with those things. She did a little mini "awww" every time they showed up on-screen. I was surprised as anyone that I really enjoyed the porgs, I didn't think I would, especially since I wasn't really a fan of the ewoks. Disney should greenlight the Porg Cinematic Universe...could you imagine? :)

Visually, you're right, the film is jaw-droppingly beautiful. I was really blown away by the look of the movie. I agree about the diversity of the characters too, always good to see, and I liked Kylo Ren in this as much as I did in the Force Awakens. Matter of fact, I like most of the new characters, though I wish Finn had been given more to do. Rose too for that matter. I wasn't really a fan of their trip to the casino planet. Didn't really like her last second intervention of Finn's heroic act either. Her line about saving the ones we love was kinda cheesy, but I guess, it is Star Wars we're talking about.

Gosh, that's interesting your take on Rey's parentage. I really disliked that part. I thought it would've been such a great moment if she'd looked into that reflective surface and saw Ewan McGregor's face looking back at her. I'd have jumped out of my seat. Given her roots it makes me wonder why she's so strong with the force with no training. She bested a wounded Kylo in TFA, more than held her own against Imperial guards and even got the better of Luke briefly on the island. It seems a bit odd, but I'd understand it more if she had Kenobi or maybe Darth Plagueis or something in her lineage.

Have to agree as well on Hamill's acting. He did great. Yeah, you definitely hit the nail on what disappointed me about the difference in this Luke and 70s/80s Luke, but I take your point on the darkness within a person and the complexity that can bring. Actually, that's what I like about George R.R. Martin's 'ASOIAF' where you have heroic figures who also have dark, troubling components to their characters. I'm a fan of that too, but I guess I wasn't ready to see that in someone like Luke Skywalker who I've always held up as a kind of straightforward Superman archetype. I suppose the original trilogy does hint at Luke's inner turmoil in episodes V and VI, but it's touched on so briefly and he winds up acting so heroically that I'd never taken those aspects as being core to his character, or perhaps as core to who he is/was.

You raise a good point about franchises changing with the culture and morphing into something else. I hadn't really considered that in all of my 'not muh Luke' disappointment. I'll be interested to see where they go with Episode IX...one thing's for sure, I'm rooting for more porgs in the next one.  :P

The fact that the Vupltex (crystal foxes) seem to have no fans besides me, no merchandise, etc is a crime.

I loved those things too! It's like Star Wars has their own direwolves now. I hope Rey adopts one and names him 'Ghost'. :)

I enjoyed the porgs as well--I found them to be one of the least intrusive "cutesy" elements inserted into the various SW movies/shows.

I thought the joke would have been better (and more in character for Chewie) if he had gone on to take a big chomp into his dinner. :D

I did laugh when I saw Chewie had roasted one of the porgs. I think you're right, it was out of character that he wouldn't have eaten it anyway regardless of the little crying porg looking on, but I guess he's softening with old age. Happens to the best of us.  8)

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Offline P.J. Post

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #70 on: February 15, 2018, 09:47:53 PM »


I loved the Porgs, especially how they just took over the Falcon and started nesting everywhere. I thought they were fun because they were 'in-story' cuteness. (I did not like the fact that Chewie was treated pretty much the same, didn't care for the Ewoks either, just for the record, at least not as Empire defeating warriors.)

As a counterpoint to Becca: I was frustrated by the opening joke scene right away. Although it was funny, like many of the other jokes, they weren't 'in-story' jokes (like, "You came in that thing? You're braver than I thought," or "You're a little short for a Storm Trooper."), it was a current pop-culture/meta reference, which kicked me out of the story. I don't think SW is served by self-parody. This scene, exactly as written, could have been on SNL. I think that demonstrates a problem with tone.

But I also think this is a good example of the disconnect between the film's fans and critics. Fans of the movie seem to have just experienced it without question, or certainly without any 'deeper' questions, while critics were constantly being put-off and could never just settle in. This was me - and it wasn't for a lack of trying. I think this also explains the differing opinions between nerd fans and casual fans. Generally speaking, casual fans just don't care about canon or film continuity or character consistency. They see Daisy Ridley and go, Oh, look, it's Rey! That's as far as they get. Luke says "reach out" and she does - and it's funny. And it was funny, but inappropriate, again, imo.

I was so excited for this movie, but in the opening sequence alone:

1. We're day..days? from the end of the TFA and Hux and Kylo and the fleet should have been with Snoke, (presumably on a planet somewhere) where Kylo was to complete his training, not pursuing the Resistance. That's how TFA ended, so the continuity/timing was off right out of the gate.
2. The 'can you hear me/call waiting' joke was off-putting and close to cringe-worthy. Hux should have blown Poe right out of the sky...er...space, without a second thought - he is ruthlessly evil and confident and competent, or at least he was in the last movie. So this whole scene was a character shift for Hux, which just got worse.
3. The surface canons can't hit Poe, because he's 'too small or fast or whatever', although, just such canons have been used to fight off and destroy X-wing and Y-wing fighters throughout the other movies, routinely. It's why they built them. Remember the trenches on the Death Star? Or the other Death Star? Or all of the other Star Destroyers? So this made no sense.
4. The bombers just show up out of nowhere and are moving ridiculously slow. Why didn't the First Order know they were incoming? They have long-range sensors.
5. And only then, even though the First Order has been pursuing the Resistance for some time, do they launch the Tie fighters.
6. The Tie fighters proceed to decimate the bombers, which explode like dominoes. Super cool looking, but why is this a thing? The WW2 trope is to only take out one bomber, the next one over, not the entire mission.
7. The last surviving bomber then opens the bomb hatch to space - and the lone bombardier doesn't die due to exposure. All they had to do was add a CGI glowing thingy around the opening, but nope, just space.
8. When she does release the bombs...they fall, as if by gravity. And then the bombs explode, reminiscent of a Vietnam bombing run. Again, cool visual, we've seen it on the history channel, but it makes no sense. How hard would it have been to work in "the <spaceship weapon guidance words> are locked onto the Dreadnought"?
9. Poe ignores a direct order by Leah, risking numerous lives and ships, something he would never have done in the last movie, so we have another character personality change. And why would Leah send Poe out alone to 'buy time' for the escape? We've seen, repeatedly, how the Rebels/Resistance run blockades, this isn't it.
10. Apparently the bombers ignored her orders too, so Poe wasn't alone in his insubordination - which, again, makes no sense.
11. The flag ship of the resistance is now running out of fuel, something that has never been mentioned in any of the preceding movies as something to worry about, but, fine, whatever. However, ALL of the ships have run out of fuel at the same time? That's really bad leadership, Leah. Why didn't they fuel up before the left D'Qar? So, is the First Order/Empire tracking all of the ships? Rose and Finn escaped in a ship, it wasn't tracked, or even noticed, so - nope.

And, except for the Rose and Finn thing, we're barely ten minutes in. It was like getting pummeled. I never got settled. Every time I tried, a new stupid or off-putting or cringe-worthy thing happened.

Casual fans saw none of this. Casual fans/SW-can-do-no-wrong fans saw:

A funny opening with Poe being all cool and clever and charming...Hi Poe! *waves*...upstaging Hux, let's all laugh at bumbling Hux, he's so silly...followed by Poe knows best, followed by a crazy space battle and BB8 being all cute while he plays whack-a-mole so that Poe can shoot the last canon standing between the bombers and certain death! And then that bomber sequence! OMG...that Tie fighter took out three ships! Look at the fire and...and, AHHHHHH. It's so amazing. Oh no! They're going to fail...what's going to happen to the fleet if the Dreadnought...no, wait...there's one bomber left...omg, omg, omg...she got the garage door opener...thank god! Can she..will she...she does...the bombs are away! She did it! I bet that necklace is going to be important later...Those bombs exploding over the Dreadnought look so cool! Ut-oh, Kylo is going after the Resistance...on no...Leah?!?!?! Someone warn Leah!!!!  OMG! OMG!! Where's Rey?!?!?!

So, yeah...pretty fun ride.  ;D

Becasue it did look fantastic, amazing even - no sarcasm, I'm being serious.

Some fans are going to love Star Wars, no matter what.
Some fans are going to hate non-OT Star Wars, no matter what.
Some fans are going to be routinely disappointed, no matter how much they hope.
Non-fans seem to universally enjoy these movies, like a lot, even the prequels, because the only people that still talk about the prequels sucking are fans.

As for Darth Luke, like I said, Luke can go full-on Sith, and again, it's not really up for debate - murdering children isn't an oops, or a slip, or something you feel kind of sad about later, it's full-on Dark Side, you can't sneak that by us - as a filmmaker, you have to earn it. Rian barely even tries, which is, imho, super lazy writing. On the other hand, casual fans saw reasonable motivation with logical consequences, following a tragic misunderstanding that explained both Kylo's and Luke's current situations.

Oh, and I'm pretty sure the critter milk was a callback to the blue milk in New Hope. Luke's face was like, "See fans...you even got your goshdarnn blue milk, happy? Does this meet with your expectations?"

I had the same issues with John Carter. Andrew Stanton not only ignored the source material, he disrespected it. His story sucked, as did his re-imagining of the characters and their personalities and motivations, while the actual story was straight forward romantic adventure, and if done well, would have totally entertained a modern audience. I don't know if Disney overestimated Stanton or underestimated the audience. (Trust your readers.)

People liked Suicide Squad too, kind of a lot. And for all of the grumpiness over the DC movies, they make a boat-load of money, so someone is going to see them - all of them.

Perhaps the better question is what is the common theme that allows these movies, to spite their objective failings, to cross-over into mainstream success. The OP was about editing a better story. Is there something going on here, like the other thread about TGwtDT video hinted at? Is it a structural thing, a character thing, a casting thing, marketing or just flashy spectacle. And if it is the latter, how do we bottle that for our books?
« Last Edit: February 15, 2018, 10:19:49 PM by P.J. Post »

Offline Becca Mills

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #71 on: February 15, 2018, 10:21:28 PM »
Everything you've just said is wrong.

lol...I kid, I kid.  8)

It's so interesting to hear that you liked the humor. I didn't really like the whole 'call waiting' thing at the beginning, it felt like something too 'our world' and not really Star Warsy - if that makes any sense. I do admit I laughed when I saw Luke milking that weird walrus thing, but after thinking about the movie I thought, 'what the heck was that, Rian Johnson'? lol He definitely has a unique take on things, I'll give him that.

It's funny, as much as I have a problem with different aspects of TLJ's plot, I loved the porgs! And my wife was absolutely beside herself with those things. She did a little mini "awww" every time they showed up on-screen. I was surprised as anyone that I really enjoyed the porgs, I didn't think I would, especially since I wasn't really a fan of the ewoks. Disney should greenlight the Porg Cinematic Universe...could you imagine? :)

Visually, you're right, the film is jaw-droppingly beautiful. I was really blown away by the look of the movie. I agree about the diversity of the characters too, always good to see, and I liked Kylo Ren in this as much as I did in the Force Awakens. Matter of fact, I like most of the new characters, though I wish Finn had been given more to do. Rose too for that matter. I wasn't really a fan of their trip to the casino planet. Didn't really like her last second intervention of Finn's heroic act either. Her line about saving the ones we love was kinda cheesy, but I guess, it is Star Wars we're talking about.

Gosh, that's interesting your take on Rey's parentage. I really disliked that part. I thought it would've been such a great moment if she'd looked into that reflective surface and saw Ewan McGregor's face looking back at her. I'd have jumped out of my seat. Given her roots it makes me wonder why she's so strong with the force with no training. She bested a wounded Kylo in TFA, more than held her own against Imperial guards and even got the better of Luke briefly on the island. It seems a bit odd, but I'd understand it more if she had Kenobi or maybe Darth Plagueis or something in her lineage.

Have to agree as well on Hamill's acting. He did great. Yeah, you definitely hit the nail on what disappointed me about the difference in this Luke and 70s/80s Luke, but I take your point on the darkness within a person and the complexity that can bring. Actually, that's what I like about George R.R. Martin's 'ASOIAF' where you have heroic figures who also have dark, troubling components to their characters. I'm a fan of that too, but I guess I wasn't ready to see that in someone like Luke Skywalker who I've always held up as a kind of straightforward Superman archetype. I suppose the original trilogy does hint at Luke's inner turmoil in episodes V and VI, but it's touched on so briefly and he winds up acting so heroically that I'd never taken those aspects as being core to his character, or perhaps as core to who he is/was.

You raise a good point about franchises changing with the culture and morphing into something else. I hadn't really considered that in all of my 'not muh Luke' disappointment. I'll be interested to see where they go with Episode IX...one thing's for sure, I'm rooting for more porgs in the next one.  :P

Well, maybe Rey will turn out to have special parentage. We shouldn't assume Kylo Ren was telling her the truth, eh? But yeah, there needs to be some explanation for her being such a natural with the force.

The casino-planet episode was the weakest part, I thought, but it did fit into a larger theme they were pursuing throughout -- failure. The principle characters failed, and failed, and failed. The plot was just a cascading string of fails. Sort of an ingenious structural device.

Maybe the Millennium Falcon is permanently infested with porgs.  ;D

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #72 on: February 15, 2018, 10:35:39 PM »
Well, maybe Rey will turn out to have special parentage. We shouldn't assume Kylo Ren was telling her the truth, eh? But yeah, there needs to be some explanation for her being such a natural with the force.

The casino-planet episode was the weakest part, I thought, but it did fit into a larger theme they were pursuing throughout -- failure. The principle characters failed, and failed, and failed. The plot was just a cascading string of fails. Sort of an ingenious structural device.

Maybe the Millennium Falcon is permanently infested with porgs.  ;D

But failure in Star Wars has been a theme since, always...just like heroes...being heroic...just like the fact that anyone...from anywhere...can become a Jedi.

And for as bad as it sounds...I'm down with permanent infestation. :D

Offline kw3000

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #73 on: February 15, 2018, 11:09:51 PM »
Well, maybe Rey will turn out to have special parentage. We shouldn't assume Kylo Ren was telling her the truth, eh? But yeah, there needs to be some explanation for her being such a natural with the force.

The casino-planet episode was the weakest part, I thought, but it did fit into a larger theme they were pursuing throughout -- failure. The principle characters failed, and failed, and failed. The plot was just a cascading string of fails. Sort of an ingenious structural device.

Maybe the Millennium Falcon is permanently infested with porgs.  ;D

Yeah, you're right it is possible Kylo lied to Rey about her roots. Maybe that will be revealed in Ep. IX, hope so, anyway. I honestly hope we see an infestation of porgs that the characters are constantly having to deal with on top of the main plot. That would be pretty funny.  :)

But failure in Star Wars has been a theme since, always...just like heroes...being heroic...just like the fact that anyone...from anywhere...can become a Jedi.

And for as bad as it sounds...I'm down with permanent infestation. :D


Yes, I agree with this, and you're previous post as well, P.J. which I won't quote because: length, lol - but yes, well said.  8)

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #74 on: February 16, 2018, 08:18:30 AM »
I really didn't want to get into this discussion because y'all seem so knowledgeable and I've just enjoyed the movies (for the most part) since the beginning.

But, what you said, quoted above, is how I feel about the series. Or as my daughter once said about the prequels, "Bad acting, bad dialogue, but what the heck, it's Star Wars."

But even with that, I have to say I knew there was something wrong with TLJ without knowing exactly what it was the whole time I was watching it. There were parts I enjoyed and parts where my eyes glazed over. It took me a while to come to, "What the heck, it's Star Wars." And by a while, I mean well after I left the theater.

So, I'm one of those fans that isn't going to miss an installment because it's Star Wars and I got hooked back in 1977. But even I wasn't thrilled by TLJ.

A friend of mine who's a SW super-fan said something similar. He never mentioned that he'd seen the film; I had to ask him about it, which sort of says it all right there. Anyway, he gave it a lukewarm like. When I brought up some of the criticisms of the film by other super-fans, he gave me the "It's Star Wars!" line and mentioned that he was willing to overlook the negatives because he thought the filmmakers were trying to appeal to a new generation. It's not exactly a ringing endorsement when you have to bring in the franchise's marketing strategy.

Fair enough. Disney has a ton of money riding on each of these films. They do extensive testing. They have shown little fear of retooling them when things aren't pleasing audiences.

The fact that TLJ went through that process without much (reported) tinkering makes me think the numbers were solid. That doesn't seem likely if the 50% RT number is anywhere close to reality. And so, I think other number is probably closer to reality--so a decent majority if perhaps not vast enjoyed (not loved) it.

Lots of focus-grouped Disney movies have flopped. I'm not suggesting TLJ is a flop on the financial front because it has made almost $1.4 billion dollars. Still, it's on track to make over a third less than TFA. Does the decline mean people aren't crazy about the film? Hard to say. But millions of people can come out for a franchise movie and yet be disappointed by it to a greater or lesser extent.

My sense of it is encapsulated in the before and after buzz. About dozen or so people asked me whether I was going to see the film before it came out. None of those people (or anyone else) has asked me whether I've seen it after it came out.


Offline WHDean

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #75 on: February 16, 2018, 08:45:24 AM »
You raise a good point about franchises changing with the culture and morphing into something else. I hadn't really considered that in all of my 'not muh Luke' disappointment.

I've heard this defence of the new SW a few times. But I can get around thinking it's red herring to me. The only change I've seen is from good-if-a-little-cartoonish storytelling to incoherent but still cartoonish storytelling. Where's the cultural change in that?

I can't speak to TLJ, but TFA perfectly fit Homer Simpson's description of the family's latest adventure: "There is no moral to the story. It's just a bunch of stuff that happened."

 

Offline kw3000

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #76 on: February 16, 2018, 09:49:36 AM »
I've heard this defence of the new SW a few times. But I can get around thinking it's red herring to me. The only change I've seen is from good-if-a-little-cartoonish storytelling to incoherent but still cartoonish storytelling. Where's the cultural change in that?

I can't speak to TLJ, but TFA perfectly fit Homer Simpson's description of the family's latest adventure: "There is no moral to the story. It's just a bunch of stuff that happened."

Also a good point.

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Offline P.J. Post

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #77 on: February 16, 2018, 09:53:39 AM »
Yeah, you're right it is possible Kylo lied to Rey about her roots. Maybe that will be revealed in Ep. IX, hope so, anyway.

I'll take an end-around fix if that's what it takes, but movie goers shouldn't have to wait for the next movie to know how they feel about THIS movie. We have to take each movie at face value. The same thing happened with TFA, where many people thought that Rey was a Mary Sue, but her amazing Force powers were most often explained away as - wait for the next movie, we'll find out who her parents are and that will retroactively justify everything. Okay, lame...but I can wait. JJ did spend a lot of screen time and emotion setting this up, so...

So...a promise was made, and then we were betrayed, dismissively at that. Please, do not try this trick in your books, readers are WAY less forgiving.

I get the idea that anyone can become a hero, etc, but in story, we need more, we need justification through the narrative, otherwise they're just making it up as they go along. This is by far the worst SW movie it terms of character and story, for me, while also probably being the best in terms of cinematography and dynamic action sequences. There's an old 80/20 rule: it's only 20% what you actually say, and 80% how you look saying it. I'd say TLJ reinforces this idea.

It's not exactly a ringing endorsement when you have to bring in the franchise's marketing strategy.

My sense of it is encapsulated in the before and after buzz. About dozen or so people asked me whether I was going to see the film before it came out. None of those people (or anyone else) has asked me whether I've seen it after it came out.

This, this, and...

I can't speak to TLJ, but TFA perfectly fit Homer Simpson's description of the family's latest adventure: "There is no moral to the story. It's just a bunch of stuff that happened."

This.

The more I think on it, the more TLJ reminds me of Suicide Squad, just a sequences of events loosely tied together, although, at least Suicide had a boss battle. And the casual fan reaction was really good for it, too. For the first few weeks the RT fan score was in the 80% range, and it's still at 60% now.

Side Note:
The humor that was often used in the movie, and has become endemic in the Marvel Universe is known as Bathos. In this case, it's basically when writers end a dramatic scene with a joke, destroying the emotion. Here's a video essay exploring the idea.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-QhdzQo66o" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-QhdzQo66o</a>


Offline Kal241

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #78 on: February 16, 2018, 09:54:37 AM »
A friend of mine who's a SW super-fan said something similar. He never mentioned that he'd seen the film; I had to ask him about it, which sort of says it all right there. Anyway, he gave it a lukewarm like. When I brought up some of the criticisms of the film by other super-fans, he gave me the "It's Star Wars!" line and mentioned that he was willing to overlook the negatives because he thought the filmmakers were trying to appeal to a new generation. It's not exactly a ringing endorsement when you have to bring in the franchise's marketing strategy.


I was one of those, until TLJ. I grew up with, and love, the OT, put up with the prequels, loved Clone Wars, loved the old EU until the Yhuzaan-Vong thing, and actually loved TFA. But TLJ has actually made me NOT want to see another Star Wars film. One film alone has managed to shatter the enthusiasm I had with the franchise. That's sad for me.

And this happens with books, too. As much I love Jack Reacher, Make Me was the last one in the series I've read, because it killed my enthusiasm as well. Same with Harry Potter; I stopped at Order of the Phoenix, because after that it seemed like everything good was gone from that universe. Again, that's sad. These books were series killers for me.

I honestly hope I never write a book that can be compared to any of those "series killer" title/movies.
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Offline kw3000

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #79 on: February 16, 2018, 11:47:14 AM »
I was one of those, until TLJ. I grew up with, and love, the OT, put up with the prequels, loved Clone Wars, loved the old EU until the Yhuzaan-Vong thing, and actually loved TFA. But TLJ has actually made me NOT want to see another Star Wars film. One film alone has managed to shatter the enthusiasm I had with the franchise. That's sad for me.

And this happens with books, too. As much I love Jack Reacher, Make Me was the last one in the series I've read, because it killed my enthusiasm as well. Same with Harry Potter; I stopped at Order of the Phoenix, because after that it seemed like everything good was gone from that universe. Again, that's sad. These books were series killers for me.

I honestly hope I never write a book that can be compared to any of those "series killer" title/movies.

That's usually why I prefer trilogies over longer series. It's quite hard to sustain a story, maintain all the balances and keep the quality high over a prolonged period. The Skywalker saga probably should've ended at Return of the Jedi, but money talks. You can go down the list and there are so many series that would have been better off being left shorter. Always leave 'em wanting more.

Heck, there are many franchises who couldn't even keep up the quality over three installments to properly round out a trilogy...Jaws, Alien, The Matrix, Superman, Batman, The Terminator, Spiderman all come to mind.

Indiana Jones would've been fine if they'd left it at just the trilogy ending with The Last Crusade...but again, money talks. Here's hoping they don't try and do a third Blade Runner, I love the first two in that franchise and to me, that's enough. Don't wreck the legacy. Then again, given Blade Runner 2049's poor box office showing compared to its budget I guess we won't have to worry about that.

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Offline WHDean

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #80 on: February 16, 2018, 12:32:31 PM »
I get the idea that anyone can become a hero, etc, but in story, we need more, we need justification through the narrative, otherwise they're just making it up as they go along. This is by far the worst SW movie it terms of character and story, for me, while also probably being the best in terms of cinematography and dynamic action sequences. There's an old 80/20 rule: it's only 20% what you actually say, and 80% how you look saying it. I'd say TLJ reinforces this idea.

I can't shake the feeling that the writers of TFA purposely threw out all the epic tropes, but without putting anything in their place. Consider these plot-point changes in Rey's development. All of them are space opera tropes, and they would have made her a relatable hero with a motive:

1. Rey could have been set up as more of a ragamuffin, like young Anakin. She could have realized she had rudimentary force powers, but knew nothing of the force, Jedi, etc. She could have been paired up with a sidekick, probably a cute alien. They would have been "partners" in scavenging, but ultimately Rey would have been the caretaker. This would've went a long way toward humanizing her.

2. When Rey got ripped off by the dealer, she could have used some mind control to get a fair deal. Her partner would then have warned her to be careful, lest "they" (the First Order, whoever) find out about her powers and come to get her (recalling the Jedi coming for Anakin). Rey would say she wasn't afraid of "them," and the sidekick would remind her that they had killed her parents, setting up a later revelation.

3. Her sidekick would get killed when the stormtroopers attacked, giving Rey a motive to join the rebels. Since this would be a Dark Side motive (revenge), it would have added tension to the story and to her eventual encounter with Kylo Ren--would she go over to the Dark Side?

4. Rey's Dark Side motive would have helped rectify Luke's arc. Her motive for going to Luke after being tempted by Kylo would be expressed in a one-liner at the end of TFA: "Show me the Light Side of the Force" or some such.

5. This would have been a second chance for Luke (a go-to trope), who would've exiled himself because he succumbed to a Dark Side temptation when he contemplated killing Kylo. But instead of renouncing the world, the force, and everything else (while leaving behind a map for the world to find him--duh!?), he would've went there to purify himself so he could return to the world. In doing this, he would have learned that it was some Dark Side master (who turns out to be Snoke) who'd clouded his mind (so Snoke could bring Kylo to the Dark Side). This would have also borrowed the no human being is perfect trope to explain Luke's behavior without betraying his younger self. He could've then trained Rey to fight this new and terrible Dark Side.

6. With a few other adjustments, this setup would have opened the door to another love conquers all conclusion, with Kylo falling in love with Rey and, one way or another, defeating Snoke.

I'm not saying this is perfect, but any big-money-level Disney writer intent on preserving the integrity of the franchise would have come up with something like this. The fact that they didn't suggests the kind of revolutionary change that destroys the past without offering anything in its place.



Offline WHDean

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #81 on: February 16, 2018, 12:33:49 PM »
I was one of those, until TLJ. I grew up with, and love, the OT, put up with the prequels, loved Clone Wars, loved the old EU until the Yhuzaan-Vong thing, and actually loved TFA. But TLJ has actually made me NOT want to see another Star Wars film. One film alone has managed to shatter the enthusiasm I had with the franchise. That's sad for me.

This is the sense I get from the criticisms I've read and watched. They're not haters looking for clicks, but hardcore fans who feel betrayed. I mean opportunists aren't the sort of people who start a petition to get a film removed from the canon.

 

Offline valeriec80

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #82 on: February 16, 2018, 01:15:18 PM »
Hi, it's been a while, hope everything's going great!   :)

I think we're already 'way off' here....what was it that excited you so much?

Personally, I've been watching and reading genre stuff basically my whole life about male/male relationships that are dark v light, whether it's Luke/Vader or Sam/Dean or Frodo/Gollum. And I've been writing that dynamic in male/female quasi-romantic/sexual situations, but it's pretty rare to see in mainstream genre fiction. (Maybe more in the thriller genre you see it, like in Silence of the Lambs or even in some slasher flicks, but in a big time space fantasy movie? Really?)

And there it freaking was, right on the big screen, and it made me feel vindicated and electrified and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since. (And yes, I wrote a book pretty much right on the heels of it. It's Crown of Wings and Shadows in my sig.)

Anyway, that really got me going. I was meh about Canto Bight and Poe's storyline, I'll admit. But I recently rewatched Empire, and they're really a lot the same. I mean, Han and Leia, big time fail and it's not even like they learn any lessons or it's tied to character growth. It's just a big bummer because of their busted hyperdrive. But the Luke arc in Empire? It's the same as the Rey arc in TLJ. Rey is Luke, Luke is Yoda/Ben (except, arguably Yoda is less honorable than Luke for not realizing what a colossal screw-up he was and his part in the creation of Vader. Luke has way more honor than Yoda and takes more responsibility. Sure, he has to learn to move beyond that and move to a different kind of honor, which is owning your mistakes and then moving forward and learning from them instead of running, but I respect him waay more) and Vader is Kylo Ren. Like, watch the scene with Luke and Vader after he cuts off his hand? The dialogue is sooo similar.

I think where I get mad, though, is when people argue that Rey is a Mary Sue, when Luke is a Marty Stu. I mean, he can do all the things. In the first movie, he learns the Force well enough in like two lessons to blow up the FREAKING DEATH STAR. And you could argue that was from bullseyeing womprats in Beggar's Canyon or whatever he says, but that's actually another Marty Stu thing. He's naturally Force sensitive, and he's an amazing pilot?? I mean, come on. Is this person meant to be a wish-fulfillment character or what?

Yes, yes he is. And then later, he trains with Yoda for like... what? Two days? Less? He and Han and Leia all blast off from Hoth at the same time, and then he's seeing them in a vision pretty much right off. So, then he tangles with Vader and is amazing with a lightsaber. Never been in a lightsaber fight in his life, but boy can he hold his own against Vader.

Okay, you'll say, but Rey defeated Kylo Ren in TFA, and she'd never been in a lightsaber fight either, and Luke LOSES. Yeah, but Kylo Ren was an emotional wreck after killing his father and had been shot by Chewie's weapon-thing, so he was weakened. So, actually, Luke comes off as more of a Marty Stu, I think. HE BLOWS UP THE DEATH STAR HIS FIRST TIME IN AN X-WING.

Point is, I LIKE Mary Sues. I like Frodo and Bilbo and Harry Potter and Dorothy and every single ever loving one of them and I wish people would stop taking this term that was about inserting yourself into a fanfiction universe and applying it to regular fiction where it does not belong.

Bottom line, people don't like TLJ because it's a big downer, and people don't like downers. But it's supposed to be a downer, because that's what the second movie in a Star Wars trilogy is.

Damn it. I mean that to be short.

*waves* Hi, P.J.
 

Offline Konstantine

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #83 on: February 16, 2018, 06:17:33 PM »
Well, as this guy said:

The only kind of writing is rewriting.

― Ernest Hemingway

Offline DIAMONDSINTHESKY

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #84 on: February 17, 2018, 03:28:53 AM »
Wow. Reading this it went rather south, rather fast.

The prequels - The Red Letter Media videos on Youtube said it all for me. The sequels - TFA, did a good job but way too safe, TLJ, took risks but it seemed all the wrong ones though many of the things that annoyed a whole bunch of people, didn't worry me so much. It was enjoyable, I just thought I would enjoy it a whole lot more.

It would appear from the tone of some of the posts here that for some people this is a subject that is as complex and emotional as American Gun Control.


Online AlecHutson

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #85 on: February 17, 2018, 06:25:33 AM »
I dont want to actually debate the merits of the latest film, but Ill stop by and say I thought it was awful. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and preferences, of course, so if you enjoyed it, great (despite the horrible acting, horrible dialogue, nonsensical plot, ham-handed attempt at subverting tropes, ridiculous plot holes - a bombing run in space? Weaponizing lightspeed - what would be the point of building any large starship if you could pop a hyperdrive on a tiny ship and remote control it to . . . Oh, never mind). But what I will take issue is the contention that the rotten tomato score is wrong and it would naturally be in the 95% fresh range if the trolls were removed - Ive spoken with 50+ friends and more than half really disliked the movie. Theres no way that my friend group is so ridiculously non- representational - plus, the movie simply wasnt very good. :-p

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Offline Luke Everhart

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #86 on: February 17, 2018, 09:10:45 AM »
I enjoyed TFA.
The prequels do not exist in my movie ontology. Period!
TLJ was a mess and a disappointment. It's one thing to have discontinuity with canon in a franchise that spans decades. I think that's inevitable and fine. It's quite another to completely throw out all the set-up and foundation that the immediately prior film in the series established -- in what I think was an act of hubris by the director to stamp it as their own.
BUT, a positive that nobody has mentioned is that TLJ answered a question that I, and surely others, have long been wondering: What sort of magic does Mary Poppins use?
The answer was given to us by Leia in TLJ when she pulled a full Poppins to return to the ship; and, upon reflection, it was quite obvious all along, Mary Poppins uses the Force.
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Offline P.J. Post

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #87 on: February 17, 2018, 10:14:05 AM »
Personally, I've been watching and reading genre stuff basically my whole life about male/male relationships that are dark v light, whether it's Luke/Vader or Sam/Dean or Frodo/Gollum. And I've been writing that dynamic in male/female quasi-romantic/sexual situations, but it's pretty rare to see in mainstream genre fiction. (Maybe more in the thriller genre you see it, like in Silence of the Lambs or even in some slasher flicks, but in a big time space fantasy movie? Really?)

And there it freaking was, right on the big screen, and it made me feel vindicated and electrified and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since. (And yes, I wrote a book pretty much right on the heels of it. It's Crown of Wings and Shadows in my sig.)

Anyway, that really got me going. I was meh about Canto Bight and Poe's storyline, I'll admit. But I recently rewatched Empire, and they're really a lot the same. I mean, Han and Leia, big time fail and it's not even like they learn any lessons or it's tied to character growth. It's just a big bummer because of their busted hyperdrive. But the Luke arc in Empire? It's the same as the Rey arc in TLJ. Rey is Luke, Luke is Yoda/Ben (except, arguably Yoda is less honorable than Luke for not realizing what a colossal screw-up he was and his part in the creation of Vader. Luke has way more honor than Yoda and takes more responsibility. Sure, he has to learn to move beyond that and move to a different kind of honor, which is owning your mistakes and then moving forward and learning from them instead of running, but I respect him waay more) and Vader is Kylo Ren. Like, watch the scene with Luke and Vader after he cuts off his hand? The dialogue is sooo similar.

I think where I get mad, though, is when people argue that Rey is a Mary Sue, when Luke is a Marty Stu. I mean, he can do all the things. In the first movie, he learns the Force well enough in like two lessons to blow up the FREAKING DEATH STAR. And you could argue that was from bullseyeing womprats in Beggar's Canyon or whatever he says, but that's actually another Marty Stu thing. He's naturally Force sensitive, and he's an amazing pilot?? I mean, come on. Is this person meant to be a wish-fulfillment character or what?

Yes, yes he is. And then later, he trains with Yoda for like... what? Two days? Less? He and Han and Leia all blast off from Hoth at the same time, and then he's seeing them in a vision pretty much right off. So, then he tangles with Vader and is amazing with a lightsaber. Never been in a lightsaber fight in his life, but boy can he hold his own against Vader.

Okay, you'll say, but Rey defeated Kylo Ren in TFA, and she'd never been in a lightsaber fight either, and Luke LOSES. Yeah, but Kylo Ren was an emotional wreck after killing his father and had been shot by Chewie's weapon-thing, so he was weakened. So, actually, Luke comes off as more of a Marty Stu, I think. HE BLOWS UP THE DEATH STAR HIS FIRST TIME IN AN X-WING.

Point is, I LIKE Mary Sues. I like Frodo and Bilbo and Harry Potter and Dorothy and every single ever loving one of them and I wish people would stop taking this term that was about inserting yourself into a fanfiction universe and applying it to regular fiction where it does not belong.

Bottom line, people don't like TLJ because it's a big downer, and people don't like downers. But it's supposed to be a downer, because that's what the second movie in a Star Wars trilogy is.

Damn it. I mean that to be short.

I certainly forgive the unintended length, lol  ;)

I think I get what you're saying up top, and yeah, it's nice to see female characters with independent importance and value, going toe to toe with male characters without caveat - in SFF, but as for the second point: I'd say Luke was more plot-lucky than a Gary Stu. He failed over and over, requiring constant saving, first by Obi-Wan, then Obi-wan again and then by Han and then by Obi-wan and then by Han again, and then by Leah and then by everyone, but he helped, although...."they let us escape, they're tracking us". And then Obi-Wan was riding shotgun when Han saved him yet again, just before he made the final shot. But he had to make it for the whole Force thing to make sense and pay off.

But Rey doesn't really ever fail, at anything. At least nothing consequential. So I stand by my Mary Sue moniker, but I'm not happy about it. I think her character would have been a million times better if she earned every ounce of power, one dramatic step at a time - because I'm getting tired of superhero movies (except The Incredibles sequel) - or at least was explained, even if it was only hinted at. And I want her parents to matter because that's the stuff that makes for epic storytelling, generational drama, especially for the Chosen One trope, and this trilogy is definitely anchored in this trope. The original Conan movie did a fantastic job of explaining Conan's fighting ability, in a short, very dramatic introduction of sorts. Wonder Woman had a similar set up, but took a whole movie to finish the development.

My issue with TLJ is storytelling, and to a lesser extent presentation. It looked amazing, and I love the casting and even the new characters - I just don't want them to be empty-headed plot devices/social commentary stand-ins. Not only do we know literally nothing about Holdo, she was presented as an egotistical asshat, and an antagonist to Poe, but yet she was really a knowledgeable and competent leader and hero we should have gotten behind. That's not subversion, that's [crappy] writing. Don't trick and confuse your audience. Framing is a thing, look it up, Rian. Building blocks, just sayin'...

And I didn't see it as a downer, I saw it more like a televisions season where I missed half the episodes, including the first one.

I have the same issues with lots of movies these days, and it's increasingly frustrating - it's so common now for them to go for unearned action and drama, followed by an out of place joke. And I think that's the real issue for me, I hate unearned moments in movies and books. It just takes a little longer to get it right - so why not get it right?   :(

This is the sense I get from the criticisms I've read and watched. They're not haters looking for clicks, but hardcore fans who feel betrayed. I mean opportunists aren't the sort of people who start a petition to get a film removed from the canon.

This, and...

I can't shake the feeling that the writers of TFA purposely threw out all the epic tropes, but without putting anything in their place. Consider these plot-point changes in Rey's development. All of them are space opera tropes, and they would have made her a relatable hero with a motive:

1. Rey could have been set up as more of a ragamuffin, like young Anakin. She could have realized she had rudimentary force powers, but knew nothing of the force, Jedi, etc. She could have been paired up with a sidekick, probably a cute alien. They would have been "partners" in scavenging, but ultimately Rey would have been the caretaker. This would've went a long way toward humanizing her.

2. When Rey got ripped off by the dealer, she could have used some mind control to get a fair deal. Her partner would then have warned her to be careful, lest "they" (the First Order, whoever) find out about her powers and come to get her (recalling the Jedi coming for Anakin). Rey would say she wasn't afraid of "them," and the sidekick would remind her that they had killed her parents, setting up a later revelation.

3. Her sidekick would get killed when the stormtroopers attacked, giving Rey a motive to join the rebels. Since this would be a Dark Side motive (revenge), it would have added tension to the story and to her eventual encounter with Kylo Ren--would she go over to the Dark Side?

4. Rey's Dark Side motive would have helped rectify Luke's arc. Her motive for going to Luke after being tempted by Kylo would be expressed in a one-liner at the end of TFA: "Show me the Light Side of the Force" or some such.

5. This would have been a second chance for Luke (a go-to trope), who would've exiled himself because he succumbed to a Dark Side temptation when he contemplated killing Kylo. But instead of renouncing the world, the force, and everything else (while leaving behind a map for the world to find him--duh!?), he would've went there to purify himself so he could return to the world. In doing this, he would have learned that it was some Dark Side master (who turns out to be Snoke) who'd clouded his mind (so Snoke could bring Kylo to the Dark Side). This would have also borrowed the no human being is perfect trope to explain Luke's behavior without betraying his younger self. He could've then trained Rey to fight this new and terrible Dark Side.

6. With a few other adjustments, this setup would have opened the door to another love conquers all conclusion, with Kylo falling in love with Rey and, one way or another, defeating Snoke.

I'm not saying this is perfect, but any big-money-level Disney writer intent on preserving the integrity of the franchise would have come up with something like this. The fact that they didn't suggests the kind of revolutionary change that destroys the past without offering anything in its place.

This is a way better treatment. I especially like the "Show me the Light Side" idea, assuming she was knee deep and sinking into the Dark Side before, but I wouldn't have gotten there until the end of the second movie. If we followed your set up, I'd have the first movie end with their (Rey and Finn, because I still like that character) escape from Jakku and meeting Han - the new meets the old, and have the last movie of the trilogy end with the death of Luke, as the torch is truly past to the next generation. Alas, Disney thought they needed to ride the OT's coattails. But I'm pretty sure that even the fiercest of fans would have accepted this alternative, far more than Starkiller Base at any rate. These movies are just insulting. It's the same mistake DC is making. Marvel is now 18 movies in. They did the work up front to establish their universe. DC wants to jump right to the super profitable endgame.

BUT, a positive that nobody has mentioned is that TLJ answered a question that I, and surely others, have long been wondering: What sort of magic does Mary Poppins use? The answer was given to us by Leia in TLJ when she pulled a full Poppins to return to the ship; and, upon reflection, it was quite obvious all along, Mary Poppins uses the Force.

I was miffed in the theater, she'd been in space way too long for this (so this was bad editing, imho)...but okay...I'm excited to see Leah use the Force however they want to shoehorn it in...but the execution was...could have been a lot better.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2018, 10:18:24 AM by P.J. Post »

Offline K'Sennia Visitor

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #88 on: February 17, 2018, 12:51:51 PM »

 Her name is spelled Leia.

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Leia

 Sorry if this sounds snarky, but 4 pages of reading it spelled Leah is like 4 hours of nails on a chalkboard.

 So one more time. Her name is Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan.

 Editing is a very good thing.

 Leia is my favorite character. I loved her flying scene.

 I also love the porgs, and I loved the ewoks, too.

 I liked the prequels. I even liked Jar Jar Binks.

 I was meh on The Force Awakens.

 I read all of the spoilers for The Last Jedi before going to see it. On paper I thought it sounded like the worst movie ever, but on screen it all worked, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

 The reason Rey is so powerful is because Kylo is so powerful. "Dark rises and Light to meet it." The force couldn't allow Kylo to be so powerful without creating a light side equal to balance him. So it chose Rey. Why did it choose, Rey? *shrugs* Why not her?

 Rey doesn't need training cos she got a supercharge boost when she went inside of Kylo's mind. She got all of his training and knowledge basically downloaded into her subconscious, and now it just comes out when she needs it.  Plus, she has all of Luke's Jedi books hidden in her ship.

 

 

 

Offline P.J. Post

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #89 on: February 17, 2018, 02:02:27 PM »
Her name is spelled Leia.

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Leia

 Sorry if this sounds snarky, but 4 pages of reading it spelled Leah is like 4 hours of nails on a chalkboard.

 So one more time. Her name is Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan.

 Editing is a very good thing.

Yep, editing is a pretty good thing...but I won't fix my earlier stupid, otherwise it would ruin your post, so thank you, I stand humbly corrected. :)

Quote
Leia is my favorite character. I loved her flying scene.

 I also love the porgs, and I loved the ewoks, too.

 I liked the prequels. I even liked Jar Jar Binks.

 I was meh on The Force Awakens.

 I read all of the spoilers for The Last Jedi before going to see it. On paper I thought it sounded like the worst movie ever, but on screen it all worked, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

 The reason Rey is so powerful is because Kylo is so powerful. "Dark rises and Light to meet it." The force couldn't allow Kylo to be so powerful without creating a light side equal to balance him. So it chose Rey. Why did it choose, Rey? *shrugs* Why not her?

 Rey doesn't need training cos she got a supercharge boost when she went inside of Kylo's mind. She got all of his training and knowledge basically downloaded into her subconscious, and now it just comes out when she needs it.  Plus, she has all of Luke's Jedi books hidden in her ship.

I like all of the different takes on the serieseseses, I think that's part of what makes it so wonderful.  It's creating its own mythos, a legend that every generation keeps alive through rediscovery and sharing and even arguing about it. It's a weird pop-culture paradox, where everyone is right and yet, no one is wrong.

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #90 on: February 17, 2018, 02:05:36 PM »
Crazy

Offline K'Sennia Visitor

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Re: How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« Reply #91 on: February 17, 2018, 02:33:47 PM »
Yep, editing is a pretty good thing...but I won't fix my earlier stupid, otherwise it would ruin your post, so thank you, I stand humbly corrected. :)

I like all of the different takes on the serieseseses, I think that's part of what makes it so wonderful.  It's creating its own mythos, a legend that every generation keeps alive through rediscovery and sharing and even arguing about it. It's a weird pop-culture paradox, where everyone is right and yet, no one is wrong.

  No two people are going to see everything alike. We all have our own minds, experiences, feelings, and expectations. This gives me hope as a writer though because it reminds me I don't need to win over every reader. Some will love my stories, some will hate them, and others will be indifferent. If it's good enough for Star Wars, it's good enough for me!  :P