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The Cinerama theater in Seattle, WA, (which was one of the original Cinerama movie houses, and was purchased and given a state-of-the-art makeover by Paul Allen -- yes, the Microsoft Paul Allen) is screening "Attack of the Clones" with a digital projector, and a great sound system. After seeing the movie, I just wished it had been artistically worthy of the latest technology...
Sd-come on-it's a Star Wars movie-I thought it was great. Personally I think there isn't much between most of the movies-both Phantom amnd Jedi have annoying sequences but ....
Part of the problem is the high esteem the original movie is held,it's really a touch stone for several generations but it's not the greatest movie ever made.
I thought Clones was much better than most of the critics made out and these were the people who raved about Gladiator,Clones isn't trying to be any more than it is,it's escapism.................oh and yeah the sound is awesome,as are the effects.
I will agree that Star Wars I & II could have been better. Lucas should have hired an outside director and spent his time just on technical issues. Lucas seems to direct the actors so they fit into the special effects, instead of pushing for good acting scenes, and then tailoring the special effects to fit the actors.
I also agree with Ben that it is just a fun movie and not meant to be Citizen Kane II. I remember similar bad reviews of The Matrix. The makers of The Matrix were lovers of kung fu movies and action hero sci-fi comic books. They wanted to bring the feel of those comic books to the big screen using real actors instead of the usual animation. Some reviewers who trashed the film were looking for some "deeper meaning".
Back then I got a chuckle reading a couple bad reviews of The Matrix, where the reviewer actually said it felt like a comic book thinking their comment was not a compliment; when of course it meant the filmakers succeeded.
Yes but I stand by my main point Sugarbrie-where is the great acting or scripts in any of the Star Wars movies?
The impact of the first movie couldn't be repeated but I would argue the newer ones are only viewed inferior because of crazy expectations and the frankly bonkers notion that some how the movies were classics outwith their field-they weren't....
I too was also rather disappointed with Episode II. I didn't mind the acting so much as I did the editing. It started out well, then became kind of hoaky. They did not develope Anikan as a character very well. Those life-altering events that shaped him into Vader were thrown together. The scene where his mother dies...please! Oh, your here now. I can finally die...last breath. Pretty weak Mr. Lucas. The sense of realism in wasn't there, but thats what I like in movies. Just my opinion.
I live in Los Angeles, and a lot of those digital theaters are popping up all over. I guess you gotta have them here since this is Tinseltown. Anyway, a friend of mine went to see Episode II at one of these theaters last weekend, and guess what? The movie crashed! Just like a computer. He said the big screen became pixelated and they needed to reboot. I guess it's better than a print getting fried and melting in front of you. Ever see that happen? It's the coolset.
Just saw this movie this past saturday courtsey of Samsung and Texas Instruments. We had very good seats, in the center of left and right and just below center of top and bottom. the picture was a touch foggy compared to real life. The sound was a bit shouty, vague in the center and little loud for me. The plot had some ridiculous flaws. Oh by the way I LOVED it! The action almost never stopped. Best picture and sound I've ever experienced at a movie.
Was the scene you mention any less corny and unbelievable than Vaders death scene in ROTJ?-- it suits the plot development as did Vader's sudden escape from the dark side,maybe the series should have ended with the Emperor tossing Luke down that galatic plug hole and left everybody on a downer but with a believeable ending.
And of course the events that change him into Vader are still to be discovered-see my later comment
Nothings changed in any of the Star Wars series except everybody who views them has got older and a strange notion that plot,dialogue,character development and believability(lol) are suddenly crucial in these movies.
Lucas has the burden of dragging these storylines to a conclusion everybody knows,he's beaten before he starts.
As a special effects and fun movie this is great entertainment.
Also Yoda rocked!
Who played him and where was his character development,you may well ask?
Damn you George Lucas,we've grown up and we want realism.....
Yoda is a developed character. We know him and understand him. Frank Oz brought him to life. Yoda was a muppet up until the current film.
The Jedi played by Samuel T. Jackson for example is just a prop. Even Jar Jar Binks has more going for him than poor Jackson's character. Natalie Portman's character is unknown also. She is Luke and Leia's mom; other than that she has no soul.
Don' get me wrong, I like the films. But as I said before, simply putting the actors and characters before the special effects would have made a world of difference. This is not hard. It just requires a real film director.
Saying Star Wars II is a kids film and we grew up is a cop out. "Babe" is a kids film with real characters (human and animal), that adults can all identify with and love. It can be done.
Harrison Ford was GOOD in the early films, which were full of whimsy and great humor and humanity. Attack of the Clones is self-indulgent crap, technology for technology's sake alone, which has no sense of storytelling, takes itself too seriously, is sterile and lifeless and humorless, and, frankly, unimaginative. When it comes to an imaginative vision of the future, I think the Fifth Element walks all over what Lucas has done lately. Oh, and is Natalie Portman a real actress?
Isn't Euan McGregor GOOD?
Come on guys get real,was Obi Wan Kenobi a developed character?
Were the Ewoks a toy franchaise?
Every single Star Wars movie has similar problems to varying degrees,you develop the storyline some slaughter it for being self-indulgent,try to keep the fun in and there is no development?
Make your minds up,I agree with some of the criticisms but you could easily dismiss the original as a hotch potch of Saturday morning serials,pseudo-religious fairy tales,Westens and WW2 dog fights....be serious,there is some character development-if you want to slaughter Lucas for carrying the series on then fine,christ this is the genre where Tom Hanks wins the oscar for turning up every year and Gladiator is seen as a great "serious" movie.
Star Wars 2 is fun,I think it was entertaining,the story and characters were as good imho as the previous movies and yes there was just as much padding-I wasn't expecting much more than I got.
I didn't manage to see the film in a digital theater but agree with Sugarbrie and Drubin about its artistic merits and with their specific criticisms. To this, I would add the following.
The earlier movies (IV-VI) reworked many elements from other films into a compelling science fiction adventure. From westerns there was the starkly drawn dichotomy between good and evil. Darth Vader in particular personified evil. The Emperor wasn't bad either. Darth Mal (I) didn't cut it nor do the other Dark Side figures in I and II. Irvin Kerschner, who thankfully directed "The Empire Strikes Back" in place of Lucas, did a great job on creating an ominous tone in that film to capitalize on the good/evil theme. Again, missing here.
Politics. There is unexploited potential for byzantine political machinations given that the Republic is being destroyed from within. While this might require some greater clarity about how the Republic functions, it could produce a much more gripping story that viewers felt more invested in (see previous point). Also, a more clearly defined set of questions about what is going on, who is aligned with whom, etc., would help set the stage for III. Doesn't Lucas watch old political films--or read the newspaper? I was very disappointed in I on this same point--though at least II is less of a rehash of IV-VI.
Final thoughts. It would seem the central issue in I and II should be the relationship between Obi-wan and Anakin. His turn to the Dark Side is the starting point for IV-VI. And Anakin later kills Obi-Wan (IV). Yet, their relationship is reduced to that of a rebellious teenager and overbearing father. And the dialogue for the "poignant" love story. . . .
Jb-depends what you want to see personaly you've confused me with your argument-you say the simplistic Western take for good and evil works for the first three movies( and you should note that the only dichotimy is within Anakin)-ok but now you seem to expect some big political complex plot for the new movies-er how come?
I thought Darth Maul was an excellent bad guy- Christopher Lee does okay but again you are competing with an iconic figure in Darth Vader.
And anyway isn't Vader meant to be the personification of evil?-you'd hardly expect anyone else to be as powerful and that is the whole tone of these new movies,it all leads up to Vader....
As regards Anakin's development there is a much more complex struggle going on here (and much more than you simplisticly state again depends what you want to see..) than any of the previous movies and again you contradict yourself-simplistic is good for the first 3 movies but not here.
Again the full story hasn't been told between Vader and Kenobi-again the known ending is getting in the way.
Finally I think part of the problem is indeed the fact that Star Wars was 25 years ago,it was a special but very simple movie-plot wise there's been nothing interesting in the movies since Vader was revealed as Luke's father.
Times have changed,Lucas was never going to live up to the expectation these movies were going to have,people seem to have gotten hyper-critical over these movies too forgetting that all the previous movies short comings.
The dialogue in these movies has always been duff as Ford himself said to Lucas "George you can write this s*&^ but you sure can't say it"........
Note the actors getting most of the praise are all the British actors, not the Americans. Roger Ebert has commented on this. The British school of acting is to work from the outside in. The British actors are able to invent and force a persona on a character they are going to play. The American school works from the inside out. Since Lucas has not given the characters much of a soul or motivation, the American actors are totally lost; there is no character to develop; where as the British actors know basically what there character is (bad, good, evil, naive, strong, weak, etc), so they just invent a character.
This is one of the reasons why the producers of the Harry Potter movie insisted on having an entire cast of British and British trained actors.
Really with all due respect what tosh,that's such a wild generalisation it's not true,the main difference is that Lucas has went for experienced British actors for specific older parts,to a large extent he's went for unknowns for the younger parts who are mainly American it's hardly fair to compare McGregor with the young guy who plays Anakin,who does a decent job but not much more I admit.
Logically actually this makes sense since McGregor has got to try to become Sir Alec Guiness,he needs a bit of weight there and obviously he's went mainly for lesser known actors for the younger parts so not to detract from the characters-also Anakin has only got to get the black suit on later,not become Jimmy Stewart.
As for your Harry Potter analogy that's off too since the author Ms Rowling (she's Scottish)only allowed the book to be filmed if they stayed true to the story which is set in England and for British actors to play the part,since she is one of the UK's richest women-she didn't need the cash from the movie-quite simply if the studio didn't agree the movie would never have been made.
She certainly didn't want her movie Americanised but that wasn't to do with the quality of American actors rather she wanted the movie to stay very close to the book,most authors even the extremely rich ones do not usually fight to keep their vision uncompromised.
I agree to some extent that historically(British actors had the stage tradition a lot of Americans didn't) that may have been the case but surely nowadays the acting coaching,experience etc. must be closer....
Ben, I am just passing on Roger Ebert's comments from the Sun Times. Roger comments have no relation at all as to why Lucas chose which actors. It had to do with why in Roger's opinion it seemed that the British schooled actors faired very well as far as their performance in the picture; while the American schooled actors generally came across flat.
To repeat: The american school teaches actors to feel like the character feels inside; and to try to become them and project that out. Not given much to feel inside to project out by the script and the direction, they all generally seemed flat and wooden.
Ben--I perhaps should have organized my thoughts somewhat differently and take some of your points. I grant that Darth Vader has to be the strongest of the Dark Side characters. What I was trying to get at is that "The Empire Strikes Back" has a nice and fairly consistent feel to it that is lacking in the recent efforts (and "Return" as well). I thought a more consistent feel, better foreshadowing, etc., would have contributed to the film and placed it more effectively as part of sequence building to Anakin's transformation we all know is coming. I think this would have made the movie more compelling for me. I concede your point about Anakin's internal conflict but for me the poor writing and acting detracted from it.
I do think, however, that the more complex background should make I and II somewhat different from the other films. Those films were set up with good vs. evil and the rebel alliance was small and focused on narrow goals (hence relatively few central characters). We knew the Empire was evil and didn't have to know how it got there or that way. And that was enough. Since I and II deal with a polity about to enter a civil war, I think a few more details about what is going on would be helpful. And could help improve the story. The trade war in I was not well treated. I am not saying that these things should simply make the plot more complex or detract from the Anakin story. But to create a greater sense of the workings of the Republic and the political intrigue that is going on would help the story and contribute to the consistent feel (of impending crisis?) I felt was missing. A shot of chaos in the Senate, groups of Senators arguing some point in the background, more references to other recent crises, a few references to the Republic's governance arrangements, etc., could suffice. The earlier films were very busy with all sorts of aliens and activity in the background. I and II have less of that, but their place could have been used to partially flesh out the larger background against which the central story is being told--with the aim of supporting rather than detract from the main plot. As someone else pointed out, these and the dialogue problems could be addressed by an outside director.
While I think these films require a different touch than IV-VI, there are precedents in literature and film that could be drawn on for these--as Lucas drew effectively on other precedents previously.
Mostly, I was disappointed because I wanted to be much more entertained than I was. I doubt I will ever watch I or II again but will probably return to I, II, and the opening part of III many times in the future. I was all the more disappointed because I felt these problems could and should have been overcome given the effort that went into them.
Sugarbrie I would be a fool to argue with Ebert so here goes... I think his comments have a validity but are wrong in that clearly the Britsh actors are much more experienced than their young American counterparts,he's simply not comparing like with like in relation to this movie........
JB-that's a good post,you have certainly highlighted area's that would have added weight to the storyline and if deftly handled perhaps wouldn't have made the movies too overblown or indulgent.
Lucas I would agree hasn't developed his film-making during the new movies , I suspect he thought about the type of stuff you mention but decided to go down the centre line,rightly or wrongly.
It's a game of opinions I was entertained during Clones and I would watch it again,as is clear from my numerious posts,a saga in itself,that my expectations were not that high possibly because I do not see the first 3 or 2 movies as classics just highly enjoyable fun movies and now I must go before the Dark Side forces me into any more posts on this subject.........................
I liked the film as I said before. It was about as I thought it would be.
I guess the best example of what Roger Ebert was talking about is Samuel T. Jackson (an experience American actor). I can think a dozens of movies where he brings interesting characters to life including the recent "Changing Lanes" and "The Caveman's Valentine". In this movie he is just a prop reciting lines to advance the plot. He was given nothing by Lucas to work with, so he looks lost in the film. I don't think those older British actors were given any more material to work with than Jackson, but their different experience and training enabled them to just "wing-it" or make it up better.
I am back to the wishing that a creative and inventive director was hired who could have filled in the blanks. I think it is no accident that the best of the Star Wars films is "Empire", where an outside director was hired and then "Return". Lucas directed the first movie, but that was at a time when he was an active working director and todays computer special effects were in their beginnings. I think "Phantom" was the first film he directed since Star Wars (a 12 year lay off). Since he originally had no plans to finish the saga, he was basically retired from directing.
On the technical side of the business I think Lucas is a total genius; and is one of the fathers of computer effects along with Douglas Trumbell (2001, Close Encounters).
Sugarbie..the Dark Side it will not let me stop....I think you are 110% right about SLJ's part but if you compare to to Christopher Lee's part which being a baddie gives him more to get his teeth into (pun intended Hammer fans)then I'm not so sure there is much between the performances both of which are excusible due to their lack of time on screen/development-my argument being that Laurence Olivier himself could have done nothing with the Windu part.......your other points are very valid but perhaps more emphasis should be put on the actual screenplay rather than the direction-this discussion has certainly made me want to watch the likes of Empire again to see if the acting/dialogue/direction is that much better...it's been a long long time since I've seen it