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Chen G.

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Everything posted by Chen G.

  1. Laura Dern is actually very good in this, performance wise. Its her character keeping her plan a secret for no good reason that's the issue. Benicio Del Toro, who is a great actor, doesn't work here at all. Nor do any of the bad guys outside of Kylo Ren: From Andy Serkis through Domnhall Gleeson to Gwendoline Christie - they're all far too over the top in their wickedness. I didn't find the porgs particularly annoying because they really weren't in the film that much. Although without either them, the caretakers or both - some of the film's excessive length could have been undone. The island subplot channels enough humor through Luke and Rey that it doesn't need these creatures, much less whole scenes of Chewbacca interacting with the porgs (seriously, what the hell?) or sitcom-esque cutaways to the caretakers....
  2. Well, the prequels also had the potential to be much more compelling than they were. Although, given that Return of the Jedi was never a very good concluding film even for just the two films that immediately preceded it, meant that, as a sextet, this series was always going to be front-loaded by the addition of three prequel films. Maybe now with three sequels the overall series will feel more balanced, but I doubt it.
  3. Yeah, but its an understandable change: He wanted to use bagpipes for very lyrical passages, so the highland bagpipes were out of the question. Also, trying to record a highland bagpipes indoors with an orchestra is not an easy feat. Its like how they couldn't record the rhaita with the orchestra in Lord of the Rings. Too effin' loud! I think there's a Highland Bagpipe in "The Battle of Stirling", though. Too loud and drony for Uileann Pipes!
  4. Well, technically they still are bag-pipes; just not Great Highland Bagpipes. And yes, they're a beautiful instrument. Much more lyrical than their highland cousins. That said, their affiliation to Titanic other than "James Cameron loved listening to Braveheart" is a tenuous one.
  5. By "like the tone" I meant that I like that its more serious than the novel. And that film series' annoying comic relief character ends up in a troll's digestive tract! You can give me that kind of character, if that's where they end up. And even if that weren't so, being inconsistent in one's arguments, doesn't render said arguments false. Post-Star-Wars C3PO is annoying. What I think about other film series' doesn't change that.
  6. Yeah. C3PO's "humor" is probably the only thing that doesn't work for me in Empire Strikes Back. He's really annoying!
  7. Well, there are two "boy" sopranos credited in the Lord of the Rings Symphony release, but I think one of them - Loris Sikora - is a girl. I also seem to recall seeing footage from performances of either the symphony or the live to-projection concerts where two such soloists were used for the different boy soloist parts: a boy, and a girl. That's of course besides the adult soprano.
  8. No thank you! I like how little there is of C3PO in here: He is the most annoying character from the first trilogy. What little there is of him here is still too much.
  9. Yeah, in a lot of shots he looked weird: his cheeks were too round and big. I actually turned to my friends and said that Yoda clearly had facial plastic surgery.
  10. Films aren't just measured by how well they're made. Its also a matter of how inherently dramatic or undramatic the material is. The Middle Earth films have much more emotional heft to them, and that matters more than the occasional flaw.
  11. Oh, its the best Star Wars film, and by a mile. But that it remains the least commercially successful is telling.
  12. Because it's not really a trilogy. It's one long film split three ways. That's why they feel so uniform in quality. Not following the book isn't a problem at all. What makes Lord of the Rings so excellent is th audacity of the filmmakers to make bold changes to the source material to fit the cinematic format. There are of course flaws: the excessive fake-out deaths are one. But on the whole, it's about as close to perfect as you can want.
  13. While it's not particularly grim and perilous in the way a lot of modern blockbusters sometimes feel, it is much darker and more serious than either two Star Wars films. In that sense, it's not purely escapist and as a result viewers in 1980 found it less digestible.
  14. To this day, Empire Strikes Back remains the least lucrative of the franchise, because 80s audience had little taste for cinema that was anything other than purely escapist in genre films. Much of why Return of the Jedi is the way that it is, is due to the producers trying to return to the formula of the original Star Wars.
  15. The Lord of the Rings Symphony uses a girl and a boy soprano. As far as I know, Grace performed all the soprano parts in both The Desolation of Smaug and The Battle of the Five Armies, but she's not a little girl. It's the amazing purity of her voice that leads people into thinking she's a boy soprano. She was featured in The Return of the King concert I attended in Prague. What a great voice! Although Into the West sits WAY too low in her voice. Her parts in The Hobbit were written with her voice in mind, of course. The Hobbit didn't use a boy soprano at all, which is fine because it leaves something exclusively to The Lord of the Rings. In fact, Battle of the Five Armies will go down as the only film in the series not to feature a boy choir at all!
  16. Fair. Shore's MO is always to use the first film to establish the main thematic through-line, use the second film to expand the catalog with new themes, and use the third film as the culmination of the whole work. And yes, each film certainly has its own identity. When I mentioned The Desolation of Smaug I was thinking more about the more ominous feel of the music and the texture: just from the opening bars you know you're in for something very different. Williams doesn't do that, and if he did - the third film would have been more suitable for that treatment than the second one.
  17. That's what sets me apart, not just from you but from most around here: I'm a fan of film, first. As such, I'm a fan of film music first and foremost as music for a film, and so the film mix is a major factor in my enjoyment of the score, because the point of leitmotivic music in an operatic rf filmic setting is that the music plays against the visuals and become associated with certain onscreen moments, which it just didn't in The Force Awakens, for me.
  18. I'm actually not a fan of comparing to Shore because again, he writes his Middle Earth scores in a different way to Williams. For Shore, those pieces are part of a bigger whole. For Williams, they are separate but interconnected pieces. And yes, you're absolutely right about The Two Towers, which is to say nothing of The Desolation of Smaug which is completely different to An Unexpected Journey (in a very, very good way).
  19. Yes! Although, as with Anakin's, I think its the "youthful" quality of the theme more than anything else.
  20. I wouldn't worry about Jackson's career any more than I would Disney's box office numbers. Will he be making a 2-Billion film any time soon? No, but that's okay. As said, it all depends on marketing and reviews.
  21. Yes, that's a valid interpertation. Although while the timeline is one of direct continuity, the style of the film is wholly different, and as a result the film doesn't at all feel like a direct thematic and tonal continuation of The Force Awakens which, to my mind more than the chronological continuity, would require a score that does feel different. Williams had a much shorter period of time between these two films than any other two Star Wars features, and to my mind, that is the cause for the similarity. If you choose to frame it as Williams choosing to treat this as an extension of his previous score because it takes place immediately thereafter - I think that's a sound way of contextualizing it. Although the influence of previous Star Wars entries which is also heavily felt here, is not explained through this argument. Yes. To my mind, the biggest flaws of The Force Awakens are the film mix, and the fact that its much too insistent on Rey's theme. Here, that doesn't happen with any of the new themes because of the none-linear structure of the film, and the mix is way better. So in that sense, I like it better. I also really like the new themes. However, The Force Awakens again has more new themes to fall back on. It doesn't abuse past themes in the way this does.
  22. Yeah, I wouldn't worry too much about Disney's grosses. But I do think its less than what they were hoping for.
  23. Generally, this kind of seeing the piece through rose-tinted glasses fades over time. Right now, its the best thing since sliced bread, but given time I'm sure people will have realized that while it is a good score (In many ways, I like this more than The Force Awakens), it is far from top-tier Williams, both in Star Wars mould and otherwise.
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