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This is why I say that the PT is full of great ideas and concepts, but George failed at executing them clearly.

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This is why I say that the PT is full of great ideas and concepts, but George failed at executing them clearly.

Even as a prequel fan I've said this but this one here is one that could have changed alot in the movies. I mean alot fans, eventhough most do like Qui Gon, have felt that having him central to TPM took time away from Obi Wan. However if this was a key plot point then I think most people wouldn't have that problem because the idea that Qui Gon was the only one who could properly train Anakin is pretty cool.

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I've always been in the Obi-Wan should have been the anchor, not Qui-Gon camp. I think there's still ways Lucas could have made it work. I've always thought that Lucas is a very first-draft kind of guy. He has a thematic goal/idea, and he goes with the first way to execute it. And usually, first ideas lack nuance and depth... you know, like the PT.

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If you remember years ago that tape came out of Lucas and Spielberg basically talking to Kasdan, with Kasdan taking notes, for ideas on Indiana Jones. The transcript was pretty amazing. Pretty much every single big thing that happened in any of the first 3 movies was mentioned in that tape.

 

If Lucas just flat wanted to make the best movies he would have hired some accomplished, professional writer and sat in a room with him and just talked about what he wanted for hours. Then let that writer take that info and write a script. Then take that script and hand it an accomplished, professional director.

 

I think George himself even knows this. I remember an interview with him where he said he just wanted to do it himself. Simple as that. He compared it to doing home improvements. Said if you hire a carpenter you may get a more perfect house but you get a certain satisfaction doing it yourself.

 

Now you can make an argument that he owed the fans, the people who made him a billionaire, the very best movies that could possibly be made. Maybe you'd be right making that argument. Thats not what he did. He wanted to do it himself.

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I have a copy of that transcript if you want it. Despite it being full of a lot of casual racism, and all of them thinking it was cool for Indy to have banged Marion for the first time when she was 13, it's really inspiring and full of gold. But yeah-- perfect example of what George should do. He's a great EP. He pushes experimental filmmaking, has big ideas and concepts, and can manage huge productions. He should not be writing or directing.

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I read it years ago.

 

You get the sense sometimes that when it comes to Star Wars that George just has so many ideas. This whole Qui Gon as the only guy who could train Anakin thing is an example. I don't think hes lying to Filoni, Im sure at some point before making TPM this was an idea he had. But for whatever reason by the time he wrote it the idea didn't really make it to the script in any meaningful way. When he wrote it midichlorians were on his mind. If he had written the script a year later or a year sooner we may have gotten some other idea that went to the forefront of his mind.

 

When you look at him as a writer/director the guy did write and direct Star Wars, so its not like he is inept. I know someone will point out that so and so edited it or bounced these other ideas around or whatever but film making is always a collaborative process and thats always going to happen. The difference between 1977 and 1999 is that in 99 George has NO ONE to answer to. He could just do whatever fit his fancy at the time. Whereas in 77 he was answerable to the movie going public. With the PT sometimes you will hear George say stuff like "well I know people may not like this but thats how it goes." He couldn't have that attitude in 77, he had to make the movie that combined the story he believed in withs omething he thought could be commercially viable. In the PT the movies were guaranteed to make money. He had literally no one to answer to.

 

When you combine some of these things like writing and directing aren't his strengths, he had no one to answer and that whats interesting to him seems to change from time to time you get left with movies that aren't what they could have potentially been. You get movies with some stuff in the background that should be at the forefront and vice versa.

 

Having said all that I still love the prequels, despite all their flaws.

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Willard Hyuck and Gloria Katz wrote ANH as we know it. You can find all the older drafts Lucas wrote in the 70s, and while there are cool ideas in most of them, they are overall really bad. They actually read a lot like the PT.

 

Willard and Gloria were the writers Lucas had help him write American Graffiti. They did an uncredited draft of ANH (and the novelization also credited to Lucas was written by Alan Dean Foster) for a future picture deal with Lucasfilm (they later wrote Temple of Doom). They are the ones that gave it life.

 

But yes, you are 100% correct. Lucas was so bitter about the studio system that he never wanted another note again, so he made his production team nothing but yes-men. Ask Gary Kurtz what challenging Lucas will get you. If George Lucas took a laxative, Rick McCallum would have to find a new place to live. That guy was the worst.

 

The proof is there between Indy and the OT. If Lucas writes the basic story and gives to a legit screenwriter to craft, it is ALWAYS better.

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Well, to defend Lucas, his goal the whole time was to re-create the Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers 1930s-40s serial experience with Star Wars, and seen that way, his write ups seem a lot like those throwback films. Writing back then was a lot different and the PT story lines were not that far off from that style of writing. In the end, it was HIS creation and his to do with as he pleased. PT are bad films, but good Star Wars world building. If CGI was back then where it is now, it would have gone a long way to make the PT films a lot better. Probably as good if not better than the ST, especially the JJ Abrams films. I'm not gonna debate how good or bad the ST is (looking at you ST defenders), I'm just saying that the PT writing is not THAT bad by comparison to the ST writing. At least the PT had a story to tell: EG the origin of Darth Vader and the rise of the Emperor and Empire. The ST is completely superfluous and unnecessary by comparison, in retrospect.

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The issue with the PT has nothing to do with the special effects. Its that long stretches are kinda boring. Look at TPM there are huge stretches, like half the movie, where the main characters are in essentially no danger. There is no sense of action around every corner, danger around every bend. No sense that something bad can happen to the characters at any moment. I think this is the basic, fundamental issue with those movies. Especially TPM and even the first half of AOTC.

 

This is something JJ understood and he does a great job in TFA of keeping that feel up. He attempts to in TROS but it doesn't work as well because it feels force. Its like "the good guys are somewhere and the bad guys somehow find out where and show up!" Rather than that feel of being chased, seemingly getting away but then immediately you are in worse danger than you were before.

 

People bring up alot of valid issues with the PT but the basic one is just too long of stretches with no fighting or in some ways even the threat of fighting. Look at TPM, you ahve over an hour where there is maybe 30 seconds of fighting between Qui Gon and Maul on Tatooine.

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See, now you are getting into film editing. I am talking about the writing itself. But yeah, I totally agree that there are dead spots in TPM (the worst of the lot if you ask me), but the same can be said about TLJ with Space Vegas. JJ might have things going on, but you have to conceded, especially in TROS, they make little sense. People are just doing stuff, with little explanation. JJ has to be the worst writer to make it as big as he has, of all time.

 

As for the FX, we've had threads, recently even, where people (me included) complain about the FX of the PT. Especially in AOTC, they simply aren't holding up. The FX are at a point that they literally take me out of the story. If the PT had effects at the same level of the ST, I think I could forgive a lot more about the PT.

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"Space Vegas" has a chase scene where those horse like creatures stomp their way through town, destroying the casinos. It has BB-8 shooting the coins at the security. And the whole while they are on Canto Bight the entire Resistance is on the verge of being over taken and destroyed. Im not saying its the most thrilling segment of the saga but its not like Tatooine in TPM. Plus its not nearly as long a stretch. The whole time on Canto Bight is about 2 segments roughly 6 minutes each in length. If you took the time between when they get to Tatooine and then when the leave Coruscant for Naboo at the end its gotta be an hour of the movie.

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Like I said, doesn't make sense for the film. No need for Space Vegas when the rebellion is fighting for its very survival. Poor writing.

 

I knowe TLJ is your fav, but it is not mine. Point I am making is PT being the worst, and the ST being the best is not an absolute truth. I'd take bad Lucas over "good JJ" or "good RJ", any day.

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I dont think I said the ST is the best, Id say the OT is.

 

To say its poor writing is just to misunderstand the whole purpose of it. It serves so many purposes in the story. First just the obvious of showing the "haves" in a series that mostly focuses on the "have nots". The whole point of sending them on some hail mary kind of mission that normally works not only in Star Wars but in all movies of this type and then have the mission not only fail but also have this mission be what leads to Holdos plan, which was working, get revealed. Then this mission is really what cements Finn into the Resistance fold. Prior to this all he cared about was Rey. Plus it introduces "broom boy."

 

Were there other ways to do some of these things? Sure. But like I said the whole time on Canto Bight is only 2 segments. Its actually a pretty efficient way of getting alot of different things accomplished.

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Oh my. Here we go. The tired "well if you didn't like TLJ, you just didn't get the high brow writing" argument. As I said in my first post, I'm not debating about the failures of the ST. It sucks...to me. IF you like it, fine. I'm out of this discussion.

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So you arent going to get into a debate about the ST eventhough you are the one who brought it up by talking about Canto Bight and TLJ in multiple posts? Gotcha. Makes sense.

 

"im not going to get into a discussion about the ST, Im just going to bring it up and bring it into the current discussion which wasn't about the ST at all."

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Don't worry there is nothing anyone could possibly say on this messageboard that would be insulting to me. My point was simply this: The topic being discussed that you chimed in on had nothing to do with the ST. I don't think anyone else had even brought it up. You brought it up and brought it into the discussion, not me, not anyone else. You can't just say "im not going to discuss the merits of the ST" and then discuss the merit of the ST. That makes no sense. If you didn't want to discuss it, then don't bring it up. Simple.

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The issue with the PT has nothing to do with the special effects. Its that long stretches are kinda boring. Look at TPM there are huge stretches, like half the movie, where the main characters are in essentially no danger. There is no sense of action around every corner, danger around every bend. No sense that something bad can happen to the characters at any moment. I think this is the basic, fundamental issue with those movies. Especially TPM and even the first half of AOTC.

 

...

 

Look at TPM, you ahve over an hour where there is maybe 30 seconds of fighting between Qui Gon and Maul on Tatooine.

What's funny is that the first 20 minutes of the movie is Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon basically on the run, then there's a half hour of down time, then the podracing which lasts what feels like forever.

 

Compare that to ANH, which after the opening siege of the blockade runner, goes over an hour before you get Luke, Han, and Leia running around the Death Star.

 

That said though, you're still right. There's no feeling of urgency or danger in the PT-- but it's not because of lack of action, it's because there's no heart or personality. We don't give a crap about the characters.

 

Luke is basically a whiney teenager, and yet, his sense of wonder and discovering he has a destiny sucks us in. Anakin is a fatherless slave that has to leave his mother, but we never give a damn because from go he's shown as overly-capable. His one key weakness, his temper, was displayed in one scene that was cut from the movie.

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It doesnt need to be action, but the threat of action. The thought that something can happen. Maul being on their tail in TPM just don't work the same way that the Empire searching for them in ANH does. The site of Owen and Beru burning to death is somehow more effective than Maul sending out some droids. LOL. The whole stuff in Mos Eisley, its not like its action packed but there is a tension to part of it. From them being questione dwhen they arrive at the space port, to the bartender pointing them out inside the cantina. It just works. Plus Leia being captured, her planet being blown up and Vader going inw tih that torture droid all adds a sense that tehy had better get there to rescue here, rather than Sio Bibble basically telling us in hologram form that people are dying. Then Obi Wan says its all part of a trap anyway, so really are the people dying?

 

TPM is a movie where small, small changes could have made it much much better. It doesnt need an overhaul, just some tweaks. Have Maul bring more with him to Tatooine. Have some minion of Maul find them and then have to be dealt with. Add the to action during their escape, like have a larger fight on the ground and then ahve them have to escape in space.

 

I also think the Jedi being so competent and the droids so weak doesnt help. The battle droids are no threat when the Jedi are there.

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It doesnt need to be action, but the threat of action. The thought that something can happen. Maul being on their tail in TPM just don't work the same way that the Empire searching for them in ANH does. The site of Owen and Beru burning to death is somehow more effective than Maul sending out some droids. LOL. The whole stuff in Mos Eisley, its not like its action packed but there is a tension to part of it. From them being questione dwhen they arrive at the space port, to the bartender pointing them out inside the cantina. It just works. Plus Leia being captured, her planet being blown up and Vader going inw tih that torture droid all adds a sense that tehy had better get there to rescue here, rather than Sio Bibble basically telling us in hologram form that people are dying. Then Obi Wan says its all part of a trap anyway, so really are the people dying?

 

But the threat of action only exists if you care about the characters. It has nothing to do with plot. Maul looking for the Jedi on Tattooine, and the Stormtroopers looking for the droids are functionally the same thing. During both of those cases Anakin and Luke are both hearing the call to destiny.

 

In Luke's case, he's never in direct danger, he's actually away from it. But when Owen and Beru are killed (off screen no less) it personalized the threat, and we feel for Luke. It also magically frees up his conflict in the first act of destiny vs duty. Now he can accept the call to greater things.

 

Anakin is taken from his mom, expresses wooden emotion over it, and then, as you say, ducks when Qui-Gon and Maul fight for 30 seconds.

 

There's no contest. Imagine if Anakin had a staring at the sunset type moment, where you actually FELT his conflict, and Schmi decides not let some strange old dude leave with her kid, and then, when it seems like the choice has been made, Maul kills Schmi. Bonus points if Jake Lloyd could act.

 

Point is, it comes back to giving a crap about the characters. You give a damn when the writing makes them sympathetic and likeable. No amount of action or implied threats matter if you don't care.

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To say its poor writing is just to misunderstand the whole purpose of it. It serves so many purposes in the story. First just the obvious of showing the "haves" in a series that mostly focuses on the "have nots". The whole point of sending them on some hail mary kind of mission that normally works not only in Star Wars but in all movies of this type and then have the mission not only fail but also have this mission be what leads to Holdos plan, which was working, get revealed. Then this mission is really what cements Finn into the Resistance fold. Prior to this all he cared about was Rey. Plus it introduces "broom boy."

 

Were there other ways to do some of these things? Sure. But like I said the whole time on Canto Bight is only 2 segments. Its actually a pretty efficient way of getting alot of different things accomplished.

The thing is,the Canto Blight segment sucked. Even if it did make sense to the themes of the "haves" and "have nots'. It doesn't matter that it made sense it was still one of the lamest segments in the whole ST. And broom boy was awful. It was nauseatingly cheesy, as the point was quite obviously made before broom boy came into it. Not needed.

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I love that last shot of him and the whole ending sequence really. I mean kids inspired by Luke Skywalker playing with action figures and then one going outside and pretending he has a lightsaber? I thought it was awesome.

 

The stuff at the casino is not my favorite stuff but I've never gotten the dislike some people have. I think some of the stuff with BB-8 is pretty darn funny. I love the music during the chase through the city. And I really do love the kids, especially the looks on their faces when they find out Rose and Finn and Resistance. They remind me of kids in like an old Xmas movie when they see something that makes them think Santa is real.

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I think it's just the pacing of it, it slows the film down. I get what it set out to achieve and as you said, it's only a short scene in the grand scheme of things - but when a short scene feels like it has gone on forever and people are bored, then it hasn't really worked.

 

Though if you watch the deleted / extended scene you start to appreciate what we got a little more - it was nearly a lot worse.

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