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Chen G.

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Everything posted by Chen G.

  1. It’s technically one of the films that Endgame calls back to the most, actually...
  2. I’ll just put this here: https://narniafans.com/2019/08/interview-with-narnia-conceptual-designer-john-howe/ specifically: Hell yeah, Middle Earth cinematic universe! PUT IT IN MY VEINS!
  3. I love Robert Downey Junior in this role, and I like the film...fine. It has its saving graces beyond Downey’s persona in the forefront, but It definitely should have been much better. For a film shot by one of the industry’s finest cinematographers (John Toll), it looks...just like any other MCU film, and the same could be said of so many of the production’s other departments. The Winter Soldier’s definitely a grittier film, but personally I don’t think Marvel Studios have ever done gritty spectacularly well. I usually prefer their films when they lean more into comedy.
  4. But, in length and scope, roughly equivalent to the Middle Earth hexalogy (and to the Harry Potter octology).
  5. It’s really not. The theme is clearly an offshoot of the Princess’ own theme. If anything, it applies more to her than to Han. As for the “first love them”. When Williams said this of “Across the Stars” he meant that it’s the first love theme in that particular idiom: that of the doomed lovers. Technically, Leia’s Theme is a love theme, too, and that predates Han Solo and the Princess.
  6. I mean, Christensen’s no good in those scenes. But McDiarmid wills his lines off of the page, and he carries the scenes. For me, it works.
  7. There are some nice touches. Just about any scene between Anakin and Palpatine is dynamite.
  8. I don't find the prequel trilogy "brutal". I like the action and the adventure in The Phantom Menace; which - for a film in the action-adventure genre - is saying much. I also like the greek-tragedy aspect of Revenge of the Sith, and I even find some merit in certain aspects of Attack of the Clones, although admittedly not much. Conversly, when I started watching An Unexpected Journey, I've known all of the stock criticisms by heart - that its too long, that a trilogy format is unbeffitting of the story, that its scaled-up to be onpar with The Lord of the Rings. And while the nostalgia of the title music and Sir Ian Holm did soften me a bit, it was until the prologue was in full swing when I got what the filmmakers were going for, and I was with it. The prologue serves a similar function to that of Fellowship: it shows the antagonist (and, by proxy, establishes the stakes) and opens the film on a high note. But in An Unexpected Journey, it serves another purpose: it introduces us to our protagonist. Bilbo, in this retelling, isn't it - he's merely the audience surrogate (and, therefore, his role in the prologue is appropriately that of a narrator). The protagonist, however, is Thorin. Its the equivalent of The Fellowship of the Ring if Isildur was still alive. Superb.
  9. I had the displeasure of reading the screenplay to Attack of the Clones, its even more filled with those annoying instances of name-throwing than the actual movie. Characters constantly mention places and events that we never saw and never will - in ways that don’t really inform the story - as part of a sad attempt to make the world of the films feel more expansive.
  10. I'd actually say there's a lot more genre mumbo-jumbo in Star Wars. There's lots of "world-building" talk about events we've never witnessed in the course of the films, and mentions of places we'll never get the visit. There's a lot of technical talk, especially with regards to those pesky Death Stars. The Lord of the Rings simply tells a story that requires much more explaining. It was, after all, a story written by a university don. But that gives it a sense of scale that Star Wars lacks. Again, I'm perfectly happy with each series being what it is.
  11. That much is true: the films are much lighter, more dynamic, succint, and the plot is allowed to unfold in an almost completely linear manner (little to no use of flashback/flashforward). The Middle Earth films, by comparison, take an already complex narrative, full of a large number of characters, setpieces, story threads and concepts, and compounds that complexity by playing large parts of it out of chronological order. Technically, too, certainly with regards to the entries directed by George Lucas, the filmmaking style of Star Wars is much more plain: not very pushed closeups, not a lot of movement, high-key lighting, no long takes to speak of, no use of slow-motion, etcetra. By comparison, Peter Jackson's camerawork is full of movement, stark closeups, superimposition, slow-motion, POV shots, etcetra. Its much more florid that way. The space setting really serves Star Wars in this regard, too, because each planet is distilled to one archetypal environment: Tatooine is a desert planet; Hoth is an ice planet; Dagobah is a swamp planet, and Curoscant is an urban planet. We never get - nor do we need - a sense of geography of the Galaxy itself, other than there being an "outer rim" over which both the Republic and Empire - we come to learn - can't maintain tight control. By comparison, the viewer of the Middle Earth films needs to get some sense for the geography of Middle Earth, hence the occasional shots of map throughout the films. I would also say some of the characterizations are more complex. The most complex character Star Wars pulled off is Kylo Ren, but he's still the villain of the piece. The Middle Earth films pull off complex characters as deuteragonists and protagonists, such as Thorin and Boromir. The way the story is serialized is more complex, too. With the exception of The Last Jedi, every Star Wars film is set within some time period away from the previous film, and the text crawl is used to reorient the audience. With Middle Earth, each film within each trilogy is technically set immediately after the end of the previous one, with little to no recap. There are certain thematic ideas in Sir Peter's films which are more complex, too. There's a commentary on isolationism throughout all six films, from the Hobbits' "its non of our concern what goes on beyond our borders" to Thranduils "other lands are not my concern" and Treebeard's "This is not our war." Star Wars isn't in the same thematic ballpark. The imagery's and some story beats are more challenging, of course. I forgot how violent the fight with Lurtz really was! and the severed heads catapulted into Minas Tirith, yeesh! The only Star Wars film to play in the same league was Revenge of the Sith. Part of the distinction comes from Star Wars being aimed at a younger demographic. That also effects their popularity, with people being exposed to Star Wars at a younger, more impressionable age.
  12. I’m on two minds of An Unexpected Journey. It’s lighter sensibility is a breath of fresh air for this series and the photography is fantastic. The Extended edition - which is meant for television - is wonderfully leisurely in its pacing. Theatrically, though, it was quite badly paced, and even when it really gets going (when they leave Rivendell) the action ain’t that great: there’s some real issues of geography during the Goblin-town chase. Most importantly, An Unexpected Journey relies most heavily on Lord of the Rings nostalgia in revisiting familiar locations, familiar faces, familiar music and a familiar narrative. The other two films, set in the Wilderland, have a fresh sense of setting, as well as delving into a different narrative and themes. Its the least of the three, methinks, but I still like it.
  13. Yes, but within the context of a "100 best" you need to define whether you're ranking the best science fiction movies, or the best movies which are also sci-fi.
  14. The pole is specifically about trilogies. Not hexalogies and not ennealogies. The irony is that, while the various trilogies and spinoffs of Star Wars don't feed into the original as directly and as easily as The Hobbit does into The Lord of the Rings, they do all carry the same title: "Star Wars". So people are quicker to bind all the Star Wars properties together than they do The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
  15. I like the prequel scores, but - as with the films - Shore's work on these films manages to tug my heartstrings more often.
  16. The older I get, the sillier I find these comparisons. I'm perfectly happy enjoying The Lord of the Rings for what it is, and Star Wars for what it is. While they have many similarities (the influence of the story of The Lord of the Rings on Star Wars runs very deep indeed) they also have many distinctions. Star Wars has the space setting, it has familial ties across both sides of the conflict (an element that admittedly gets soapy if played too often, see Sequel Trilogy, The) and it introduces us to a world under one centralized rule: a good one, in the prequel trilogy; an evil one, in the first trilogy. Personally, I like The Lord of the Rings series much more. It has a greater sense of heft to it. There's not a single moment in Star Wars that touched my heart in a way that's anywhere near that of Sam picking Frodo up. Its just more profound that way. Even moments like the opening of the Hidden Door I find immensly moving to this day. Star Wars very rarely aims to move its audience, and its generally aiming at a younger demographic, anyway. I also find the fact that all six movies were made by the same producer/writer/director and the same core creative team, and that each trilogy was essentially produced as one big movie in three parts, to be more conducive to a sense of an overall arc than the Star Wars approach. The way the films change styles (in terms of direction) between entries like Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back or between The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi is quite jarring, and you also get rather egregious continuity issues like Leia being Luke's sister all of a sudden, which is bollocks.
  17. Duel of the Fates could work for the final confrontation in this film. I'd be wierd after not hearing it for five entries, but it could work.
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