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Chen G.

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Everything posted by Chen G.

  1. I remember that time when all three major franchises - Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars - all had entries coming out. Of the three, Star Wars was by far the least talked-about. I don't remember growing up with a lot of Star Wars references around: I knew the "I am your father!" bit and some of Williams' tunes, but that was literally it. To this day, none of my friends had ever seen a single Star Wars film of any kind.
  2. No, I live near Tel Aviv... Star Wars just isn't a very big deal here. Never has been.
  3. I didn't see a frame of any Star Wars film (and don't recall Star Wars being talked about or referenced much) until my late 20s, out of curiosity around the time of The Force Awakens' release. Actually, that's not entirely true. I did see The Phantom Menace around the time of its release, but I remembered very little of it: a handfull of shots, names and moments, most of them conflated with moments from The Fifth Element which I also saw around that time. What I'm getting at is, I saw them without any sense of nostaglia, and its always weird as an adult to watch kids films that you didn't see in your childhood.
  4. I think we read way too much into Kurtz' role here. He was ultimately not calling any of the shots creativelly. He was there to oversee issues of budget and schedule.
  5. Now, if a series tells one continuous narrative, you'd expect the handling of the story to also be the same throughout. The change of style between Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back was utterly shocking to me at the time: it felt like a movie from a completely different series, only with a few actors from the previous film, playing parts that go by the same names, a few returning props/sets and that's it. It felt completely different, in a way that was alien to the previous film.
  6. @bollemanneke’s point is correct, though: the trilogy as a trilogy is very poorly thought-out: the entries change completely in tone and style, the trajectory of the plot completely changes a few times, etc…
  7. No, she isn't. Until around 2003 Padme was going to survive the prequel trilogy.
  8. Interesting. I actually thought Ford was the one phoning it in the most. His character is really odd in this film. More than a bit, yes. Its really a short film of about 32 minutes - Episode 5.5, if you'd like - attached to a 90 minute feature about the defeat of the Empire. When last I looked, it works better than I used to give it credit for, but if it were a little bit shorter and if we cut back to the Empire a bit during the course of it, it would have been a lot better. Not in the 1980s. Actually, in the script when Old Ben talks to Luke earlier in the film, he goes on for long paragraphs about how Leia was raised and how Owen Lars was actually his brother and all manner of weird things. In fact, it wasn't until around 2003, when he started really getting into Revenge of the Sith, that Lucas decided that Padme wouldn't survive the events of the prequel trilogy. You know, I have a little theory. I think Lucas had spent his entire filmmaking career in the shadow of Francis Ford Coppola: There's a lot of Coppola in the character of Han Solo, for instance. But, more to the point: Coppola makes a "Hollywood movie" (The Godfather), Lucas makes one (Star Wars). Coppola makes a sequel, Lucas makes sequels Coppola's films are about family, and Lucas gradually reshapes his films to be about that, as well. Coppola attempts to reshape our view of the original film with flashback sequences in the sequel, Lucas makes prequels to do the same thing. Coppola has gangsters in his film, Lucas makes Jabba a gangster Now, in 1979 Coppola makes an incredible masterwork about the Vietnam War (a project Lucas himself was briefly attached to earlier on), and so in 1983 Lucas gives us the Carebear-Vietkong and gives Luke the same dilemma that Coppola gives to Willard: do you kill Kurtz only to become Kurtz? And this clearly stuck with Lucas because the Gungan "sacred place" looks an awful lot like Kurtz' compound, and when Lucas was developing the sequel trilogy, he (very ignorantly) described the reclusive old Luke as a "Colonel Kurtz type."
  9. Actually, according to Wagner it acts as a "glorification of Brünhilde" and a "hymn to fallen heroes." Honestly, one could just as well chosen the end of Walküre for this thread. Its probably the greatest of the Ring entries. But then, there's Tristan...
  10. It was somewhat hyperbolic statement, but it gets the message across. Is the Illiad a happy story? What about Lear? Walküre? Faust? No, they're all filled with misery and pain, because that's literally dramatic. Drama is literally about watching characters face adversity.
  11. I'm really not sure what you mean. There are plenty of composites (what you call "optical effects") in 2001. Kubrick estimates that around 50% of the film was composited in some way or another. The individual camera elements in both films are either real models or things fabricated on the animation stand: a fair bit of 2001 is actually animated.
  12. That’s not right, surely. Kubrick did try to have as much of 2001 done in-camera as possible, but the net result according to Kubrick himself is that around 50% of the film does involve some-kind of compositing. That it looks better is the combination of having a Uber-pedantic director, a lengthier production schedule and bigger budget than Star Wars, as well as being shot on a larger format (70mm and large-format still photography as opposed to 35mm and Vistavision).
  13. You need to adjust to inflation: In today’s dollars, Star Wars cost around $80 million. It was comparatively low budget, but it wasn’t somekind of shoestring-budget indie.
  14. Much of the Stargate sequence has lost much of its luster, and while the spaceships do look great, in some shots the way they move you can really tell it’s a still image being juxtaposed on an animation stand: it just doesn’t always have the sense of depth or the freedom of motion of later films.
  15. 1. Of course I’m looking at it from today’s eyes; to do anything else would be disingenuous of me. 2. That’s a big statement you make there. I do know even people in the production thought many of the aliens (mostly the Greedo-type ones) looked cheap. Anyway, my main preference for Empire is not the budget: it’s the tone and feel of the movie.
  16. Oh, I got the two mixed up: Star Wars was $11 million, Empire was $33. But my point still stands. Star Wars does sometimes feel cramped in its $11 million drawer: the cheapness of Vader's suit, the cheapness of much of the Cantina sequence, etc...
  17. I’ve only seen a fan restoration once so as to compare the two, and I do agree there are a few shots where the Special Edition makes the film feel a bit “bigger”: the alternate shot of the Sandcrawler is much better than the one in the original film and gives a sense of scale otherwise absent from it. But the basic mood of the film is still much more jolly and upbeat (in a B-movie kind of way) than it’s sequel.
  18. Yeah, it’s more the novelty than then anything else. Not that I mean to sound too flippant: the film definitely has its own charms: it’s a more personal film in the sense that it’s imbued with autobiographical flourishes, it’s a movie that has a “meta” level to it insofar as it’s constantly referencing other films and works of fiction. It’s also a “New Hollywood” movie in the sense of its commentary on the Vietnam War (something absent from Empire and hamfisted into Jedi). But it’s also much more the B-movie. True, it’s an unpresumptuous B-movie, but still a B. The Empire Strikee Back has more of the feeling of an A-picture. Even people working on the film felt it was all getting much more earnest. And the biggest budget also helps: I mean, what Lucas did on $11 million was pretty astonishing, but there are definitely spots where you feel the limits of time and money bearing on the film in a way that you don’t in Empire. And the miss-en-scene of the original film I often find uninspired compared to its sequel: it’s a film whose success hinges more on the script than on anything Lucas does with his camera.
  19. Oh, there's a whole bunch of people who think its better; particularly other filmmakers, it seems. Off the top of my head, Peter Jackson also says that Empire hadn't "matched that first experience of seeing Star Wars." Not only do I not agree, I think the leap between the two films is consistently understated. Not only do I think Empire is better, I think its an order-of-magnitude better.
  20. One hopes. You naturally want Part Two to be better than Part One.
  21. The Empire Strikes Back had a much bigger budget than the original film. My worries for Dune is that it should be the inverse of that.
  22. I hope this doesn't affect the way Part Two is to be budgeted.
  23. The character of the theme is one of a love theme. Its not a heroic theme. Its used for the heroics of either one of the couple, but its still a love theme.
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