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Now that you've seen TFA, rank the Star Wars Films! (AGAIN!)

Rank the Films!

157 replies to this topic

#101
Pong Messiah

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I have now seen all 7 SW movies at least once in the last 30 days.

 

ANH is absolutely a cinematic feat, a milestone, iconic, etc... but it feels like a product of its times, too -- and to me, action/kid and YA movies of the 1970s were incredibly silly affairs. It's a fun, light-hearted romp. I love its designs, and I love how it captured the imaginations of a generation of nerds, but at its core it's a goofy 1970s action flick.

 

ESB is more than ANH in all the good ways: looks better, action is weightier.You really have the feeling something bad could happen to one of the main characters at any time, which is one of the reasons the emotions run deeper and it really expanded on the mythology (in ANH, Obi dies, but he let Vader cut him down).

 

ROTJ is more than ANH in both good and bad ways: it looks even better, has even more action, a great new addition (McDiarmid) to the cast, and an awesome final confrontation between good and evil. But the story is lazy, and it went even further into silliness/absurdity than ANH: e.g. instead of showing us a scene that harks back to older action films (Luke and Leia's swing across the Death Star) we have it told to us (Chewie's "Tarzan" growl as he swings on a vine).

 

TPM is awesome. I'm sorry. I know it's dumb. I know that it is socially unacceptable to admit this, but I like it. Boss Nass 4eva! Too much painfully forced humor, and I could do without Anniekins (it frosts me that he wasn't, say 18-21 when the Jedi came across him), but this is a great popcorn flick.

 

AotC and RotS are... Remember where I just said I'd seen all of the SW films in the last 30 days? Well, I didn't say I saw each movie in one sitting. I just couldn't sit still for these. I paused these movies probably 30 times while I looked for chores to do, messages to respond to, dogs to pet, etc. That said, I thought Dookula was cool, and under the hands of a less inept writer/director, could have made a really great tragic character (a basically good guy falling from grace due to frustration/ego); McDiarmid and McGregor did their best to rise above the garbage lines they were given, as well, so kudos to them.

 

Honestly I think Force Awakens is getting unfairly ripped on as a remake of A New Hope while people are forgetting that ANH was pretty much considered a Hidden Fortress remake, or at least heavily influenced by it to a large degree. I think it's fair for TFA to take and borrow story elements from ANH when that film borrowed as much from Kurosawa as it did.

I think viewers are more sophisticated and have a higher standards today than they did in 1977 (thanks, rising quality of film and Internets). A hardcore fan can tell you 100 ways Starkiller Base differs from the Death Star, but to casual viewers, they see it and say:

Oh, the Death Star, ONLY BIGGER. *face palm*

Then they see the Rebel... er, Resistance War Room, and from there forward can't shake the feeling it is exactly the same movie, even though it's totally not :)


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#102
The Choc

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Honestly, Starkiller base having the same power as the Death Star, to blow up a planet is the main reason people are complaining the movies are too similar. If they had just had another power for the weapon, people wouldn't be complaining.

 

Going into the movie I really believed that the ability to destroy a planet was going to be misinformation by the First Order that they used to force the Resistance into attacking it. Basically could have unfolded like this, would take one or 2 additional quick scenes.

 

1-Spies report to Leia that the base has the power to destroy a planet

 

2-Leia contacts the Republic and says "hey, they can blow up a planet now. We need you to support us more actively. The Republic agrees.

 

That's it. Then when the good guys attack, Poe and his squad go in first. The Republic fleet the arrives. The First Order launches their weapon which is liek some kind of pulse or whatever they destroys any ships in its atmosphere, however Poe and his squad are too low for it to work on them. The Republic fleet is destroyed.

 

Basically it would accomplish the same thing, the Republic no longer really has the ability to help the Resistance because their fleet is destroyed. And it would have been a nice little twist near the end of the movie.

 

 

Having said that, I completely get why they had it destroy a planet. It's difficult to have the Empire destroy a planet and then these guys with some lesser powered weapon. Would make it seem like The First Order was nowhere near the threat the Empire was. It's hard to make a sequel where you lower the stakes in that regard.

 

Plus I really don't care, I love the movie.


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#103
Poe Dameron

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Poe you are looking at it too much from the perspective of having seen how Luke's story played out through the OT.

 

Not at all.  I am looking at it from just having re-watched A New Hope yesterday.  From the moment Luke appears on-screen, the movie is about him.  The main plot thread is always Luke's story.  The plot device of R2-D2's message to Obi-Wan is about Luke's reaction to it.  The cantina scene is Luke falling down the rabbit hole.  When Ben leaves Luke, the main plot thread remains on Luke.  When it's time to destroy the Death Star, Luke is the only main character out there fighting.

 

Of all 7 movies, A New Hope is easily the most focused on a single character's journey.

 

While she did many things, and was the primary character of the first 45 minutes (best part of the movie), Rey quickly saw her role diminish as we pushed towards the exciting conclusion.  It was only after the heroes paid their sacrifice (Han) and the primary immediate crisis was resolved (Starkiller Base was already in self-destruct when Kylo Ren attacked) that she re-assumed primacy in the narrative.

 

The ultimate proof of this was what happened when she split away from Han and Finn.  The main plot did not follow her, it stayed with Han and Finn.  Her role became that of Obi-Wan going to turn off the tractor beam.  Important in its way, but she had joined Kylo Ren as the movie's B-story.

 

 

 

Honestly I think Force Awakens is getting unfairly ripped on as a remake of A New Hope while people are forgetting that ANH was pretty much considered a Hidden Fortress remake, or at least heavily influenced by it to a large degree.

 

I never claimed that A New Hope's structure was a new concept.  Where A New Hope succeeded wildly was in its execution.  It understood exactly what it was trying to do, how each choice in scenes built the characters and story, and where to focus attention at any given moment in order to achieve the cumulative effect.  If The Force Awakens had been executed as well as its predecessor, indeed if The Force Awakens had managed to work as well as it did for the first 45 minutes, a lot of my complaints wouldn't exist.  Starkiller Base would still be stupid, but other recycled bits would be more manageable.


Edited by Poe Dameron, 27 December 2015 - 08:05 PM.


#104
The Choc

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You are totally missing the point. Rey and Ren is the A story. Han, Finn and the rest is the B story.



#105
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When you think about it, Starkiller base and the attack of it are superfluous to the plot.

 

Just follow along, the movie goes exactly the same way until Rey runs out of Maz's palace. Then just like in the movie TFO attacks and takes Rey prisoner. The Resistance attacks and scares TFO off.

 

Rey gets taken to TFO base, but it's just a base, not a super weapon. Finn, Han and Chewie go to rescue her. But guess what, Rey has escaped on her own! They run into each other just like in the movie. Han confronts and is killed by Ren. Finn and Rey run away, but are confronted by Ren in the woods. They fight just like in the movie. Chewie picks up Finn and Rey and they go back to the Resistance base.

 

That could be the whole plot of the movie and is essentially the important part of the movie. Starkiller base exists to provide a huge action sequence (thats not a complaint, X-Wings dogfighting with TIEs is a good thing) and a ticking clock. But its secondary to the more important events in the movie.



#106
Poe Dameron

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You are totally missing the point. Rey and Ren is the A story. Han, Finn and the rest is the B story.

I get your point completely.  But the movie begs to disagree.  The focus is not on Rey and Kylo Ren.  It's just not.  Not in terms of screen time and, Finn not giving a rip aside, not in terms of the stakes involved.  Maybe it should be.  Maybe they should have worked it so that the rescue mission served as the stakes, but that's not the movie we were given.

 

What you are giving us is not a reason why Rey and Kylo Ren were the A story.  You're giving a reason why they should have been.



#107
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You're all wrong.

This is NOT a character drama, so the idea of a main character carrying the drama and action for an entire movie is moot either way. TFA, like every other Star Wars movie, is mythic storytelling.

People like to call Star Wars Campbellian, and it is one of the most obvious references given it's what Lucas told us he was looking at-- but it is more than that. LUKE is a Campbell hero, but the structure of the stories is mythic.

Mythic stories are old-- but ironically (and this is why JJ and Kasdan have excused their own "remaking" of ANH) Star Wars is the modern myth in film, and it has defined this genre.

The "Star Wars" genre is a bombastic adventure story with grand sweeping peril on a truly EPIC level by way of giving us entry points into that story via characters who are very human and grounded... and we watch them get swept up and become great.

Luke was the everyman entry point into the story-- his personal journey was an echo of the spiritual journey of the saga itself.

The new trilogy is no different. Rey is our nobody who becomes somebody (like Luke), Finn is our man of questionable origin made honorable via the adventure (like Han in the OT), Han is our mentor figure that gives truth (like Ben in ANH) and Kylo Ren is the villain who doesn't exist just to be bad, but to operate in direct conflict at every level with our heroes (like Vader).

Epic myth narratives will play favorites, sure-- but they are almost always ensemble stories.
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#108
The Kurgan

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People like to call Star Wars Campbellian, and it is one of the most obvious references given it's what Lucas told us he was looking at-- but it is more than that. LUKE is a Campbell hero, but the structure of the stories is mythic.

Mythic stories are old-- but ironically (and this is why JJ and Kasdan have excused their own "remaking" of ANH) Star Wars is the modern myth in film, and it has defined this genre.


It is for this reason that I rank Star Wars, what later became A New Hope not merely the best film in the franchise, but the perhaps the most important narrative work of the 20th century and the greatest achievement in the history of cinema.

Are other films better as films? Certainly. But what ANH did was to modernize and update the epic romance, the ancient hero's journey and make it fresh and relevant again for a technological age. It is also early among what I would call a meta-mythological narrative. This would be a mythological story that is conscious of itself as being such - Lucas being influenced by Joseph Campbell and all. There were important predacessors - Frank Herbert and J.R.R Tolkien especially, but George Lucas succeeded where they didn't quite hit the mark because not only did he revive (Tolkien) and modernize (Herbert) the archetypal epic mythological narrative, but he also delivered it in an up to date medium - film as opposed to written prose. A New Hope acheived nothing short of defining the psychic aspirations and fears of the entirity of post WWII civilization. It is of no less importance than the stories of the Golden Fleece and the Holy Grail were, and will just as well stand the test of time.

From there, I'd rank them:

ESB
ROTS tie with ROTJ tie with TFA
TPM
and last, and certainly as well least,
AOTC
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#109
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You can pretty much argue that any high-concept action/sci-fi/fantasy film designed to be a summer tentpole is of the "Star Wars" genre. Superhero movies are just the latest iteration.



#110
Carrie Mathison

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1. ESB

2. ANH

3. TFA

4. ROTJ

5. ROTS

6. TPM

7. AOTC

 

This is the correct list.


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#111
Pong Messiah

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never ever trust a cm post that is shorter than 2 paragraphs

 

it just means she is saving up bile for later


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#112
Driver

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But she has a point...

#113
Tex

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I just can't believe she made a point with only four words.
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#114
Driver

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I did the heavy lifting

#115
Carrie Mathison

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I HATE ALL OF YOU


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#116
Pong Messiah

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I HATE ALL OF YOU

More passionate and believable than a cooking Hayden Christensen! A+ work. A+



#117
Carrie Mathison

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Heh.. not bad.

 

Yo dude, so it's been a few weeks: you still put Ep 7 at your #1 slot?



#118
Jacen123

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I HATE ALL OF YOU

More passionate and believable than a cooking Hayden Christensen! A+ work. A+

 

Nah, man.  She could have kept it at four words with "I HATE YOU ALL".  A- at best.  We need to stave off grade inflation.



#119
Carrie Mathison

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Jacen, c'mon I thought we were friends.. :(



#120
Pong Messiah

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Yo dude, so it's been a few weeks: you still put Ep 7 at your #1 slot?

Yeah. I've seen it a few times, and it actually gets even better (it's somehow both faster-paced and a lot more nuanced than it initially seems -- how they do that?). Love it!

 

I totally acknowledge that the first two films were far more culturally important and technically groundbreaking than TFA, and would never question the taste or intelligence of somebody who places the OT above TFA on their list (the Prequels are another story, of course). But I'm not a hugely nostalgic person; as somebody who simply loves film, television, theater, spectacle, etc... this is my favorite: best looking, I really like the new characters, etc. The only area I think TFA can't compete with the OT is in the score.



#121
Carrie Mathison

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Ah good point- that was something I forgot in my review (in the other thread)...

 

one of the biggest things I felt was missing from this episode was the score!  Not a single memorable theme.. wtf?



#122
Pong Messiah

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Not a single memorable theme.

Nope. It's actually a very skillful and effective score, and Rey's Theme is guaranteed to grow on you (you're one of the only people here who will recognize and appreciate the Dvorak "New World" nods, too), but that's the best I can say for it. There is nothing here that just reaches out and force-chokes your heart as in the OT or even "Duel of the Fates."



#123
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Damn. With all the Duel of Fates love the past couple weeks I guess I better dust off my ROTS DVD for the first time in a decade and see/hear what all the fuss is about. I don't remember it standing out.

#124
Pong Messiah

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Damn. With all the Duel of Fates love the past couple weeks I guess I better dust off my ROTS DVD for the first time in a decade and see/hear what all the fuss is about. I don't remember it standing out.

Just watch the final duel in TPM. No matter how you feel about the rest of the movie (and no matter how cheap Obi's win is at the very end), the music and choreography and gradual gray-to-red color switch is freaking awesome.



#125
Poe Dameron

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Nope. It's actually a very skillful and effective score, and Rey's Theme is guaranteed to grow on you (you're one of the only people here who will recognize and appreciate the Dvorak "New World" nods, too), but that's the best I can say for it. There is nothing here that just reaches out and force-chokes your heart as in the OT or even "Duel of the Fates."

 

True enough on all counts. I think I did mention in my review that I don't really remember the music all that much.  Going back to Rey's, it's okay it just didn't penetrate my skull to the point where I'd be able to recognize it like I would so many other Star Wars pieces.  Maybe just give it time.  As somebody else noted, I think that has more to do tighter editing and directing choices.  The Jakku stuff aside, there really weren't all that many moments where the music could take over the movie.

 

That does bring up an uncomfortable question.  How much longer do we get to keep John Williams?  The man's already 83.  Outside of Star Wars and Spielberg movies, he's only composed music for a single film in the last decade (The Book Thief).  And he wasn't available to Spielberg for Bridge of Spies.

 

He's already off of Rogue One.  Do we get to keep him through Episode IX and then have to say goodbye?





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