Author Topic: Originals vs. Prequels  (Read 4526 times)

Offline Brian

  • Jedi Sentinel
  • *
  • Posts: 11081
    • View Profile
Originals vs. Prequels
« on: March 4, 2004, 03:14 PM »
I know there gets to be a lot of OT vs. PT debate, and this topic has been discussed before, but I was just thinking about this a little bit today.  I too am one of many of you who believe the OT is infinitely better than the PT, although I do enjoy the PT movies for the most part as well (especially looking forward to III).  I'm not a big fan of Phantom Menace, and honestly, if it wasn't Star Wars...I probably wouldn't ever watch it really (I rarely do anyways).  I enjoyed Attack of the Clones a lot when it first came out, and do think it is a good Star Wars movie...its just not quite the same for some reason.  Nostalgia might be a big part of that, but for many of us there is more.  What do you think the Original Trilogy had, that the Prequels are missing (for you personally)?

There are many things that we can point to probably, the "magic" and story being two main ones.  We'll cover a lot of them I'm sure, but I thought I'd bring up something I have been thinking about...characters.  I was thinking today how so many characters from the OT are iconic.  Han, Luke, Leia, Chewie, R2, 3PO, Vader, Yoda, Fett, Lando....these characters are all, for the most part, common knowledge in the world today.  Plus, one thing that might have helped this is that...with the exception of different clothing, they were the same character...age wise, etc.  With the prequels, we have Anakin as a boy, then ten years later (with a different actor), and now leading into Episode III (which will probably be our favorite version of Anakin from the prequels).  It seems that with many of the characters, there is too much jumping around (Maul..Jango...Dooku...Sidious).

Another thing about characters is the fact that in the prequels, many come and go.  We had Darth Maul (who many really liked), but then at the end of the movie, he's gone.  Next we have Jango, then he's gone.  Dooku appears, and by his absence in the OT...he's most likely gone as well.  We'll also have another baddie in Episode III, that I'll leave out of the discussion because of spoilers.  In the OT, you associated "evil" and "bad" with Darth Vader.  The character, the costume, the music, etc.  I think it is hard to build that association with some of the prequel villains, for the main fact that they aren't around long enough too.  Much can be said of the "good guys" too, although I do think they (and Ewan McGregor) have done a nice job with Obi-Wan Kenobi in these movies.

I guess maybe it is unfair to compare them, because in a way...they are different trilogies.  The OT seemed a little clearer-cut "good vs. evil" movie, while the PT becomes more blurred with Anakin's transition, much of the behind the scenes "secretive" stuff (Palpatine), and maybe isn't quite as cut and dry.  Although I enjoy the entire saga, and really look forward to Episode III.....something just isn't the same with these prequel trilogies.  Since I'm an NBA fan, I often use this analogy to my friends who ask me what I think of the movies:  To me it is like Michael Jordan...I was a huge Jordan fan when he was with the Bulls...he was just the greatest to ever play....then when he came back with the Wizards, I followed him again...and still liked him, he was still good (but older), but it just wasn't the same.  Sorry for my extended ramblings, one of our servers is down at work so I don't have much to do right now...and this is just something that I've been thinking about.  I'd be anxious to read any of your opinions/suggestions.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2008, 03:19 PM by Brian »

Offline MisterPL

  • Jedi Padawan
  • *
  • Posts: 732
  • Sarcastic instigator at large.
    • View Profile
Re: Originals vs. Prequels - What is Missing from the PT?
« Reply #1 on: March 4, 2004, 03:41 PM »
Some say the PT lacks humor. Others point to the terrible direction and lousy performances of talented performers.

My biggest gripe is that I just don't care about any of the characters.

Maybe it's because I know how it all ends. There's no suspense, no anticipation. But I can't help feeling that if this story had been written ten years ago, fine tuned by a really good screenwriter, and handed over to a competent director instead of a control freak, this could be a really cool story.

Visual effects don't "wow" audiences like they used to. Expectations are much higher and audiences are generally more sophisticated when it comes to eye candy. (I know my son is.) But a good story with compelling characters can be successful and popular with or without jaw-dropping visuals.

Even though some of the characters are the same in the PT, I care even less about them now:

Obi-Wan: "Certain point of view," my ass. I didn't like him then, I like him even less as an arrogant YOUNG fool.

Yoda: Almost as bad as Obi-Wan. And watching him bounce around like some Mexican jumping bean didn't help his image any.

Anakin: Was I really supposed to like him in Episode I? Or sympathize with him in Episode II? Big surprise; Luke's daddy used to be a whiner, too!

Padme: Yet another hot chick who falls for a jerk. And she's supposed to be smart and mature enough to be ELECTED queen?

All these main characters do NOTHING for me. The only reason I'm looking forward to Episode III at this point is because - like the Special Additions - it'll be fun to se some OT stuph up on the big screen again.
Post sober.

Offline Brian

  • Jedi Sentinel
  • *
  • Posts: 11081
    • View Profile
Re: Originals vs. Prequels - What is Missing from the PT?
« Reply #2 on: March 4, 2004, 03:50 PM »
That's a lot of the same thoughts I have too MisterPL.  I find it hard to "care" about the characters as much.  Also, it seems like I like each movie a little more, mainly because there are a few more recognizable things from the Original Trilogy (a few more in AOTC), and likely even more in Episode III.

I also agree with you about the visual effects.  I am someone who really thinks they are done well, just watching a few seconds of Phantom Menace the other night on Fox...it does (with the shadowing, etc.) actually sometimes look like those battle droids and gungans could really be there.  But, at the same time, it is just too overdone.  Maybe I was just a stupid kid, but I really didn't have any problems with Yoda, Jabba, etc. just being puppets back in the day.  I believed it I guess, and I actually think they still look pretty realistic...at least as much as aliens can.  The story should have been the main focus, and the acting....and the visual effects are secondary and will take care of themselves.  A good example of this is the Lord of the Rings movies.  These were all tremendous films, and had a lot of visual effects (and great ones)...but it wasn't the focal point of the movie because the story and acting was so great.  Great points MisterPL, enjoyed reading them!

SilverZ

  • Guest
Re: Originals vs. Prequels - What is Missing from the PT?
« Reply #3 on: March 4, 2004, 04:48 PM »
Well where to start. I totally agree with you guys. The characters are weak, and they're wrapped up in convoluted political drama that simply isn't interesting to watch, much less care about. There's a few other areas that I think robs the PT of a lot of the charm of the OT:

Clear heroes and villians. Like you guys said, this is the biggest downfall. There is no clear (or compelling) villian that is a threat to the heroes. Palpatine doesn't count. The fact that the Jedi run around TPM and most of AOTC without any sense of danger, doing super-jumps, blocking lasers, defeating hordes of battle droids, and speed-dashing away when things get tough, robs the movies of any tension at all. And, who are you supposed to be rooting for? Anakin? He hasn't shown any signs of being a likeable guy, and you know where he ends up. That leaves Padme and Obi of the main three. Padme is a cardboard political idealist with dull stately opinions. Scratch her. Obi-Wan sits out TPM, and begins to show signs of life in AOTC, finally voicing some opinion on the world around him in the end, but mostly walks along a path he's instructed to be the Jedi Council. Not too interesting or much to root for either. Bah!

Efficient storytelling. I swear the best thing about the OT was its budget, and the people that had to keep ropes on George Lucas to finish the movie on-time and within that really small budget on ANH. It meant that every shot had to count, whether it was dialog or SFX. Every action and event had to move the story forward, simply because they hadn't the time nor the money to futz around with experimentation or questionable dialog without purpose. Both ANH and ESB are lean, concise, and free of pointlessness and sloppy exposition. ROTJ starts to suffer from it. TPM and AOTC are all about it. I personally feel its because there is no one there like Gary Kurtz telling GL that a scene isn't working, or to try harder, or tell him something is a waste of precious money better used on something that tells the story. The PT lacks a strong producer that will speak his mind.

Craftsmanship. Mosnab nailed it, I think. In the OT, whatever effect they used, either puppets, models, stop-motion, you believed what you saw, and everything was in fact special. So many things were innovating about the first movie. The fact that the dogfight at the end of ANH was visualized by editing WW2 dogfight footage, and how that translated into the FX shots in the final film, is still amazing. The fact that AT-ATs were painstakingly filmed one frame at a time to produce something that looks so absolutely real also still amazes. There was a consistent bar of quality and continuity from all involved. It shines of collaboration from the whole group that made a unique series of movies. The PT wreaks of a one-man show, of a singular person that has overall say over all aspects of the production, where it certainly looks like many **visual** aspects didn't come close to what they could have been, because people were too busy making what they thought GL wanted instead of what they really thought was the best **they** could offer. It's not that any of the work in the PT is crappy, but it simply lacks the love and personal investment that showed on screen when the OT rolled.

My big personal beef on that point is with Doug Chiang. I don't know what it was that GL saw in his work, but it's wildly, wildly inappropriate for Star Wars. That's just my opinion. But I think that the Manga-meets-Flash Gordon look he drove really stinks. Boo to him and GL for that mess. Hopefully the new lead swings things back to a SW feel for EIII, like he did with the back end of AOTC.

Offline LandotheScoundrel

  • Jedi Apprentice
  • *
  • Posts: 1951
  • Now with winning smile!
    • View Profile
    • Politis Design
Re: Originals vs. Prequels - What is Missing from the PT?
« Reply #4 on: March 4, 2004, 05:55 PM »
What's missing? Harrison Ford.
-------------------------------------------------
"Why you slimy, double-crossin' no-good swindler!"

www.politisdesign.com

Offline JediMAC

  • Pretty in Pink
  • Retired Staff Member
  • Jedi Sentinel
  • *
  • Posts: 14572
    • View Profile
    • JediDefender
Re: Originals vs. Prequels - What is Missing from the PT?
« Reply #5 on: March 4, 2004, 07:04 PM »
I could yap about this all day, but I think the easier question is:  What's missing from the OT that makes it that much better than the PT?

I'm sure you all know the answer.  C'mon, say it with me now...

Offline MisterPL

  • Jedi Padawan
  • *
  • Posts: 732
  • Sarcastic instigator at large.
    • View Profile
Re: Originals vs. Prequels - What is Missing from the PT?
« Reply #6 on: March 4, 2004, 08:52 PM »
...or more specifically, The Empire Strikes Back.  ::)
Post sober.

Offline Morgbug

  • Old
  • Jedi Guardian
  • *
  • Posts: 16000
  • mmm. pemmican.
    • View Profile
Re: Originals vs. Prequels - What is Missing from the PT?
« Reply #7 on: March 4, 2004, 11:06 PM »
I could yap about this all day, but I think the easier question is:  What's missing from the OT that makes it that much better than the PT?

I'm sure you all know the answer.  C'mon, say it with me now...

Cute adorable creatures that add nothing to the story?  Trust me all you Ewok lovers, Ewoks begat JarJar.  You liked the cute ****, you get more cute ****.  

THis could take forever to write, but the short version is passion and campiness.  When the OT was made, it was meant to harken back to the days of FLash Gordon and Saturday afternoon serials.  It didn't take itself too seriously.  The interplay of humour between Luke, Leia and Han was a fantastic dynamic.  Padme is stiff as a board and I don't mean that in a juvenile sense.  For heaven's sake, she's what, a teenager to early twenties?  Would you date that?  For one night until you found out how hideously boring she was.  Ever been to a party Padme?  oh dear, no, that wouldn't be proper *sniff*.  And there is no humour between the main players.  

Passion?  Hi Anakin meet the mannequin.  Look, we know they hook up, have babies and blah, blah, blah.  We don't need Titanic, thank you very much.  Sorry, the love interest type of scenes from Ep II scarred me deeply.  

Camp?  No, not bloody likely.  GL is so damn serious it's boring.  

Bah, too frustrating.
Minivans: a sign of the apocalypse.

Offline Darby

  • Jedi Knight
  • *
  • Posts: 3372
  • I like big books and I cannot lie
    • View Profile
    • http://darby-harn.blogspot.com/
Re: Originals vs. Prequels - What is Missing from the PT?
« Reply #8 on: March 4, 2004, 11:25 PM »
I think you guys hit it pretty much on the head: character.

There isn't any.  The OT characters were stock archetypes but what made them enjoyable as opposed to their counterparts in the PT is any sense of dimension.  Part of it is the writing, part the direction.  If Lucas had invested half - just half - the energy he spends on effects into making these characters come alive, these films would rival the LOTR trilogy.

Offline inadvertent imitation

  • Jedi Master
  • *
  • Posts: 6361
    • View Profile
    • greatest blog ever written.
Re: Originals vs. Prequels - What is Missing from the PT?
« Reply #9 on: March 5, 2004, 02:10 AM »
Character is the issue here, like everyone's said.

All the characters we loved in the OT aren't yet alive in the PT, save Chewie or 3PO and R2, to an extent. Luke, Leia, and Han aren't around.

And, with all these changing villains, battle droids, different colored Clones, and spaceships, they begin to feel like two-hour toy commercials.
don't you know there ain't no devil, there's just God when he's drunk

Offline Rob L

  • Jedi Initiate
  • *
  • Posts: 247
  • Timelord
    • View Profile
Re: Originals vs. Prequels - What is Missing from the PT?
« Reply #10 on: March 5, 2004, 08:57 AM »
I’m going to go out on limb here and say that the prequels are actually getting worse…and further away (in spirit) from the OT.

For me AOTC is larger of the 2 crimes against the purity of my childhood love. As most have noted, the lack of characters worth caring about is the most serious omission. What is worse, is that GL has in the past said that character and story is of primary importance…so what’s with the PT then, George? Rick? Anyone? But at least with TPM there are some excuses: Anakin IS just a kid, Amidala is stuck in a straight jacket role, and Obi-Wan is only an apprentice. I personally really enjoyed the character of Qui-Gon, and the lightsaber duel at the end is still the best of the series so far. Overall a poor start, with lots of missed opportunities, but still quite fun, and I was enjoying being a kid again.

Then came ATOC… “what a piece of junk” as someone once said. Dialogue and acting were worse, all the “characters” were grown up, so no excuses for the cardboard-cut-out personalities this time. They had “developed” into fully formed stereotypes. No humour or humanity was invested by the actors at all. Did GL have the skill to draw out decent performances even if he tried to do so? Probably not. And the arena battle…I’m sorry but (and this is a hard phrase for me to use) who gives a rat’s a**? In ROTK the battle was exhilarating because I cared about those involved . When someone died I was sad because I’d previously got to “know” them. Hell, I was even worried about the fate of Gamling. Get this, George: SECONDARY, characters worth caring about ;)

So I see no evidence that Episode 3 will be getting more of the OT spirit back.
Palitoy...it ain't yellow :)

Offline MisterPL

  • Jedi Padawan
  • *
  • Posts: 732
  • Sarcastic instigator at large.
    • View Profile
Re: Originals vs. Prequels - What is Missing from the PT?
« Reply #11 on: March 5, 2004, 09:58 AM »
Make room on that limb, Rob, I'm joining you.

You speak of missed opportunities. That is the most frustrating aspect of the PT. Such opportunities are so obvious to us yet Lucas is oblivious to them.

Yes, Anakin was a kid, but not JUST a kid. He was supposed to be "the Chosen One," yet there was no indication he was special beyond a couple lines we were expected to take at face value. I would have expected an effects lover like Lucas to DEMONSTRATE Ani's raw force abilties during the rigged pod race, not only to exhibit his powers but to reveal his penchant for revenge. But no, any reference to Ani as anything but a sweet little boy was left out, including his fight with Greedo.

Padme IS straight-jacketed as Queen, but why as a decoy? Even in Episode I, Lucas had an opportunity to show two sides of the young Queen; the elected official and the inexperienced child. This duality could have lent itself VERY well to Anakin's ultimate sense of betrayal by someone who was always comfortable being duplicitous. It could even justify his decision to ditch his identity as Anakin to become Vader. Will Lucas use that in Episode III? Doubtful.

Obi-Wan is only an apprentice, but Lucas ignored his own story. When Yoda referred to Luke as "reckless," Ben countered with, "So was I, if you remember." Apparently this recklessness manifested itself PRIOR to Episode I because I see no indication of it in the PT. Instead, Lucas painted Qui-Gon - and later Anakin - as the bold one. It would have made more sense for Obi-Wan to continue be the prideful daredevil while his own young apprentice craves order, especially as a former slave who grew up with no freedom of his own.

The real disappointment in character development is Jar Jar. I can accept Binks as the hapless fool in Episode I, but I expected his character to mature a bit in the ten years between Episodes I & II. While that was ILM's goal when recreating him as a regal senator, Lucas poo-pooed the notion saying he looked stoned. He didn't want Jar Jar to change. So it's official; Jar Jar Binks is retarded, a character stunted by his own creator.

And Lucas is doing the same thing to the movie franchise.
Post sober.

Offline CloneF13Y35

  • Jedi Padawan
  • *
  • Posts: 716
  • I think I"m a CLone Now
    • View Profile
Re: Originals vs. Prequels - What is Missing from the PT?
« Reply #12 on: May 6, 2004, 01:50 PM »
Well I'll add my .02 worth.
With TPM I didn't mind a 10 year old kid as anakin but I wondered since nothing special was happening with him, why start at that age? I think that the introduction to Anakin would have been better around the AotC time frame, of this young jedi padawan who shows exceptional skill and ability - so much that masters yoda and windu can't explain his abilities. IMHO tpm is essentially pointless to the over all star wars saga. It had cool parts like the podrace and final lightsaber tri-duel between qgg, obi and maul. But I remember thinking when I first saw it, 'it doesn't seem like "star wars" to me'.  But 16 years of expectations is hard to live up to. I think AotC was much better - story, acting and dialoge (though still not on the level of lotr or matrix) but way better than tpm. But the acting and dialoge in the OT weren't shakspear either. Oh well it's just a movie.  ;)
{{|///////Frank//}[================>
"I think I'm a Clone now"
"No I'm not!"
"Yes - I AM"

Offline Hemish

  • Jedi Apprentice
  • *
  • Posts: 1172
  • Blah
    • View Profile
Re: Originals vs. Prequels - What is Missing from the PT?
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2004, 10:32 PM »
I think the fact that most of the background charachters were puppets guys in suits made them "real" to me in the fact that they were there, they were actually in that space, look at charachter interaction in the cantina versus say when Obiwan first meets Jarjar and where he is looking, his line of sight was completely out of whack.
Also that most of the sets were real , not so much blue screen or green screen or whatever they use these days.
I knew the place in cloud city where Luke and Vader were fighting was real "constructed" not filled in later by computer, Jeff Goldblooms charachter in JP said it best , "just because you can do something doesn't mean you should"
I think thats the case , what were the chances of robots playing American football in outer space watching it in a bar???
That scene really annoyed the crap outta me, i could accept the races both pods and animals but not the football.
Like many have said before there is no-one there i care about.
The problem with America is stupidity I'm not saying there should be a capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself

Offline Mike16

  • Youngling
  • *
  • Posts: 35
  • As you wish...
    • View Profile
    • Imperial Outpost
Re: Originals vs. Prequels - What is Missing from the PT?
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2004, 03:41 PM »
Some great points in this thread. One thing you have to remember is that although the script and a portion of the acting do seem quite rigid and unemotional, the time in which the film is set sometimes means it has to be that way. The OT had a main cast of a young farmboy, a very eager princess, a slackjaw pirate and a host of other original characters. This is because we're seeing the battle against the Empire mainly from the Rebels point of view. This group aren't a galaxy wide force, whereas the Empire are.

Now in the PT, we're seeing the story mainly from the dominant presence in the Galaxy, the Republic. This is by far a more formal and structured system than the Rebel Alliance. So, with the main characters being Jedi and Senators the script and acting will take a more 'serious' note than a group of rag tags from the Alliance in the OT. This, I think, may be reason for why the script and acting can seem less fun than the OT. Hence, we end up not caring for the characters enough.

And lets face it, we all complain about the amount of CGI in the PT, but thats how George wants it and if the OT had been made now it would have been just the same. We should think ourselves lucky IMO that the OT was made when it was because they would be very different films had George had 'better' resources back then. Hes proving that by still changing the OT for the DVD release but if I don't like them, I've still got my old copies. There his films, so let him play all he likes.