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Subject: Petition site: 4 Rules to Make Star Wars Great Again rss

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As was the case with many "Star Wars" fans, the prequels left me feeling cold. They just didn't have that sense of excitement, life, and pluckiness of the original films. I felt alienated by the CGI and the mere sight of Jar Jar Binks.

I've had some difficulty putting my disappointment into words, but now Portland, Ore., ad agency Sincerely Truman has summed it all up for me in a two-minute video aimed at J.J. Abrams.

Abrams has accepted the major responsibility of carrying "Star Wars" forward. He has a massive legacy to live up to, but he also has to overcome the missteps of the prequel films.

I don't envy him the task, but if anyone is up to it, he is. I sure hope he's paying attention to Sincerely Truman's sweet and simple, "4 Rules to Make Star Wars Great Again" video.

The rules are as follows:
1. The setting is the frontier.
2. The future is old.
3. The Force is mysterious.
4. "Star Wars" isn't cute.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57605337-1/how-j.j-abram...



(Disney owns Star Wars now so good luck with number 4)

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William Boykin
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1). The setting isn't 'the frontier', its "A Galaxy Far Far Away". This isn't Star Trek, where the focus is 'to boldly go where no one has gone before'. This is a Galaxy where star travel is old, old old. As a result, the setting is whatever suits the narrative of the story. The Rebellion era movies were set in the ass ends of space because the story was about a guerrilla insurgency fighting for its life. The prequel movies were set in the core worlds because the story was about the collapse of a decadent Republic into a tyrannical Empire.

What is key is that the setting has to suit the story. Get the story right, the rest will follow.

2). Future is old is correct- and I think that it is contradictory with their point one. As the Galaxy gets older, there aren't frontiers anymore. There are just ghettos where no one really wants to go, except those who want to be ignored.

3). Explaining the Force as midichlorians was really stupid.

4). Star Wars isn't cute? R2D2 and his beeps? Ewoks? Jawas?

Face it buckos- Star Wars has always been cute.

The trick is to keep the cuteness in check, so that it doesn't creep from adorable to downright annoying.

Darilian
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Eric "Shippy McShipperson" Mowrer
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I agree with everything you said (and the 4 rules), except for the CGI comment. I think it wasn't the CGI so much as the newness and cuteness of it (both against the rules).
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Darilian wrote:
*SNIP EVERYTHING*

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ejmowrer wrote:
I agree with everything you said (and the 4 rules), except for the CGI comment. I think it wasn't the CGI so much as the newness and cuteness of it (both against the rules).

CGI hasn't caught up with the 1960s era special effects in 2001 yet.
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Eric "Shippy McShipperson" Mowrer
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sbszine wrote:
ejmowrer wrote:
I agree with everything you said (and the 4 rules), except for the CGI comment. I think it wasn't the CGI so much as the newness and cuteness of it (both against the rules).

CGI hasn't caught up with the 1960s era special effects in 2001 yet.


It's fine. Bad CGI wasn't the issue. Bad direction was the issue.
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Ferdinando Woicickoski
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5 - stop doing movies "for the fans"
one of the many problems with the new triology was the amount of time wasted with continuity porn
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Ferdinand Took wrote:
5 - stop doing movies "for the fans"
one of the many problems with the new triology was the amount of time wasted with continuity porn


If there was any continuity porn in the prequels, it was snuff porn.
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William Boykin
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Ferdinand Took wrote:
5 - stop doing movies "for the fans"
one of the many problems with the new triology was the amount of time wasted with continuity porn


As a general rule, I think that the best thing that a creative person can do is to ignore the fanbase and just make the vision that you want to create.

Darilian
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Xander Fulton
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sbszine wrote:
ejmowrer wrote:
I agree with everything you said (and the 4 rules), except for the CGI comment. I think it wasn't the CGI so much as the newness and cuteness of it (both against the rules).

CGI hasn't caught up with the 1960s era special effects in 2001 yet.


Oh, CGI blew well past the '2001' effects a LONG time ago. The SFX in '2001' were primarily just around ship/space shots, which CGI can do convincingly and easily.

The PROBLEM is that people insist on pushing the limit for what they do with CGI, and continue to bump into things it doesn't do well. And humans/animals are something that a few million years of evolution have us PARTICULARLY tuned to notice anything 'off' about them. Ergo, the "uncanny valley".

I think the prequels jumped the gun a bit, there, in having too much done by CGI that it wasn't quite ready for.
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XanderF wrote:
sbszine wrote:
ejmowrer wrote:
I agree with everything you said (and the 4 rules), except for the CGI comment. I think it wasn't the CGI so much as the newness and cuteness of it (both against the rules).

CGI hasn't caught up with the 1960s era special effects in 2001 yet.


Oh, CGI blew well past the '2001' effects a LONG time ago. The SFX in '2001' were primarily just around ship/space shots, which CGI can do convincingly and easily.

The PROBLEM is that people insist on pushing the limit for what they do with CGI, and continue to bump into things it doesn't do well. And humans/animals are something that a few million years of evolution have us PARTICULARLY tuned to notice anything 'off' about them. Ergo, the "uncanny valley".

I think the prequels jumped the gun a bit, there, in having too much done by CGI that it wasn't quite ready for.


Umm.

No.

You're so wrong on this that that is defies all possible definitions of wrongness.

There is a scene as the PanAm shuttle is coming in to dock with the orbital space station. The camera turns to look from inside the docking bay to look at the shuttle as it comes in for approach, rotating to match the rotation of the station. The camera shows windows from within the station, all around the docking bay.

There is movement of people in those windows. And its not just believable, its so amazingly casual- no big deal, just part of the overall scene.

But yet that one scene, the "Blue Danube Waltz", required almost every animator in the business to work on the stars in the background. Not to mention the sets. The models. All of it.

The reason its amazing is that it looks so ordinary. The effects are just there- part of the story of Dr. Heywood Floyd making a mundane business trip, just instead of New York, its the Moon.

The problem with CGI stuff is that most of Hollywood has yet to learn that the goal of special effects is not to be noticed- that they should be part of the story, not dominate or showcase the story.

An example of CGI done right is the Coen Brother's class, O Brother, Where Art Thou?. This film was nominated for several awards for its amazing cinematography in presenting a dry dustbowl of the rural South in the 1930's. They did this by shooting in digital, and then color matching the entire palette of the film to make what otherwise was green, verdant countryside into dusty, depressing dustbowl country. And they did this so naturally, so easily, you don't even notice that every shot in the film is a 'special effects' shot.

2001 is so far superior to any modern CGI because of the nature of the artistry involved- and it will remain such until people in Hollywood begin to remember that less, many times, really is more.

(Not to jump on you personally, I just really, really hate most modern CGI flicks because the effects, while technically proficient, detract so much from the storylines as to make so many modern movies that rely on them insufferable.

Now get off my lawn.)

Darilian

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William Boykin
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As for what killed the prequels..

In my opinion, it wasn't Jar Jar, or Midichlorians (though that was dumb), or the CGI or any of that.

The problem was the casting. Specifically for young Annakin.

He was just too young.

Ruined the entire premise of the series.

After all, what are the prequels about? The fall of Annakin and the rise of Vader. That meant that when you first see Annakin, you have to see a piece of Vader in his personality from the very start. But when you cast Annakin at 8-10 years old, that's impossible.

THEN, there is the fact that it made the entire romance with Amidala insanely stupid. The age difference was just too great for Amidala to see Annikin in a romantic light, and it made the efforts to force it in the second film really contrived. (Not to mention the INCREDIBLY bad dialogue- "I'm TORTURED by the kiss you never should have given me!!!" BLEAH).

No, Annikin should have been introduced as being an angry young teenager- angry at his life, Tatooine, what's happened to his mother, all of that. Then, introduce Qui-Jon who tells him that he's special, and then remove that support at the end of the first film. This makes the evolution of Annikin into a gifted, but 'spoiled' young Jedi MUCH more believable- because you've seen the darkness inherent in Annikin up front.

Anyway, that's my $.02 on why the prequels were basically flawed from the start. Listening to fans after the failure of the first film didn't help much either- Episodes 2 and 3 are almost utterly unwatchable, mostly due to the crap that Lucas threw in as he tried to woo back fans.

Darilian
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XanderF wrote:
Oh, CGI blew well past the '2001' effects a LONG time ago. The SFX in '2001' were primarily just around ship/space shots, which CGI can do convincingly and easily.

Give me an example. I haven't seen any convincing spaceship CGI yet.
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As a Trekkie I can only say: Fair is fair, now it's your turn to suffer...
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Rule 1) No Jar Jar Binks
Rule 2) No Jar Jar Binks
Rule 3) No Jar Jar Binks
Rule 4) There is no rule 4).
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Darilian wrote:
No, Annikin should have been introduced as being an angry young teenager- angry at his life, Tatooine, what's happened to his mother, all of that. Then, introduce Qui-Jon who tells him that he's special, and then remove that support at the end of the first film. This makes the evolution of Annikin into a gifted, but 'spoiled' young Jedi MUCH more believable- because you've seen the darkness inherent in Annikin up front.

Darilian


This would have worked really well.
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I will try to be prepared to accept whatever new Star Wars movies I get.

But I'm also trying to prepare myself for them to be kids movies. It seems for a long time now Star Wars has been produced as a product aimed primarily at kids. Now that Disney owns it, it will probably seal that forever.

My kids watch the Disney Channel, and there have been a lot of short promotional things featuring real-life kids in Jedi costumes talking about Star Wars. If there isn't already, I'm sure we're going to see a lot of Star Wars characters walking around Disneyland, alongside Mickey Mouse and the Disney Princesses.

I can accept that. Let the kids enjoy the franchise. I loved it as a kid myself.

I just hope the movies will do what the best kids movies do - include a lot for adults to enjoy too.


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Darilian wrote:
Ferdinand Took wrote:
5 - stop doing movies "for the fans"
one of the many problems with the new triology was the amount of time wasted with continuity porn

As a general rule, I think that the best thing that a creative person can do is to ignore the fanbase and just make the vision that you want to create.

Some might argue that that's exactly what Lucas did.

The problem with the prequels, I think, is that Lucas decided that the freedom of CGI meant that he could basically make stuff up as he went along, which was a huge mistake. A big story needs discipline and good writing, and Star Wars I-III doesn't have either; there's just too much stuff that doesn't make sense, and it's distracting. And of course a lot of the dialogue is just flat-out terrible.

Another big problem is not so much the casting of little Annakin as the casting of older Annakin. Older Annakin should have been charismatic but flawed; Hayden Christensen's Annakin was a petulant, unlikable creep. If it were high school, Amidala's friends would have been constantly dragging her into the bathroom and pleading with her to get out of that relationship.

As if that weren't enough, Lucas's direction also had some kind of ADHD problem—you never knew where you were supposed to be looking on the screen. Even in important character-focused scenes you would have little buzzing robots in the background, BERP-A-DERP-DERP, DON'T MIND ME FOLKS, JUST FLYIN' THROUGH! WOOHOO!

People always harp on Jar-Jar and the midichlorians, and I guess those things would bug me too if there wasn't the ALSO EVERYTHING.
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If you want to indulge in some George Lucas-hating this is a good place to start:

The People vs. George Lucas
2009 NR 1hr 32m

Building a balanced but spirited case without taking sides, filmmaker Alexandre O. Philippe sets up the decades-old conflict between Star Wars creator George Lucas and his legions of passionate fans in this "participatory documentary."


http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/70134627
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What would be cool is if they split the franchise into two parallel paths - and also made Star Wars for adults. Star Wars has been called the myth of our time, and it would be great to see that explored on a grown up level.

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#1 - Sorta. There are undoubtedly unexplored areas in the galaxy, but most of the locations should feel very lived in. In fact, one of the themes you could use for new movies would be a need for a "new frontier."

#2 & 3 - Yes.

#4 - There is room for a little cute and a laugh, but there is no need for "comic relief."
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Online petitions make me chuckle.
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cscottk wrote:
Online petitions make me chuckle.


It's not a petition. It's an open letter to JJ.
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