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Coming December 15th: The Last Jedi

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Well I hope it's better than that pile of tosh The Force Awakens. God that was an awful film; it is hard to imagine how one could do a virtual scene for scene remake of the first Star Wars film, which it basically was, but then cock it up anyway.

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I didn't mind The Force Awakens but you have to remind yourself that Star Wars is for 12 year old's, to critique a Star Wars film you are not in touch with your inner 12 year old anymore. If I was 12 I would have loved it, now that I am 45 I could criticize it but that is not what Star Wars is all about in the first place. 

I really enjoyed Rogue One as the battle scene was awesome, I got into the characters, blind guy was very cool, Darth Vader's scene in the end was great with the Death Star Plans slipping away. Lea's brief scene was touching and I walked out of that one with a huge smile, I am looking forward to this next one as the new owners of the franchise seem to be getting it better with each new film.

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Waiting anxiously. in the meantime, may the force be with us.

 

João Alfredo

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47 minutes ago, Matthew Kane said:

I didn't mind The Force Awakens but you have to remind yourself that Star Wars is for 12 year old's, to critique a Star Wars film you are not in touch with your inner 12 year old anymore. If I was 12 I would have loved it, now that I am 45 I could criticize it but that is not what Star Wars is all about in the first place. 

Not really. If you watch The Force Awakens closely, and look at what they were saying about it when it was in production too, it's notable for being essentially a remake of the first movie, to the extent that it even uses many of the same shots, and you could either be cruel and suggest this indicates that JJ Abrams has no originality of creativity, which is partly true if you look at his film career, or you could say it was because it was a deliberate attempt to create the impression that we were watching something which equaled the original Star Wars films in terms of cinematography and scope, but either way, it was quite obviously intended to to tap into the psyche of the older audiences who had a place in their hearts for the original films.

Not forgetting of course, it was also the constant promo mantra from JJ Abrams that they were 'taking it back to old school film-making with more practical effects', which is actually nonsense since the original films used loads of CGI, and so does The Force Awakens, but even so, he said that repeatedly because that is the perception and often a prejudice of people who saw the first Star Wars film in 1977, so he was preaching to the converted with those comments. Do 12 year-olds moan about too much CGI? Nope, it's largely older people who complain about that stuff being in movies too much, not that it's a valid complaint in many cases, but it is nevertheless one which is made.

From this you can see that far from being a new Star Wars film for a new generation, it was clearly made and marketed with the express intention that people who loved the first films and saw them when they were kids - many of whom slagged off the prequels - would be able to 'finally see a film which recaptured their youth', as if that is even possible lol. But that is what they were going for. If that were not so, they would not have felt the need to shoehorn all of the old cast into it for nostalgia reasons, most of whom were there merely to tick a box, as evidenced by Harrison Ford and his performance which could not have been more phoned in if it tried. Well, that and the fact Mark Hamill's character, who was supposedly the entire point of the entire inexplicable quest of the film, was a blink and you'd miss it cameo where he never even had a single line of dialogue, and whose significance was going to be nothing but confusing to anyone who did not know the old films backwards. So certainly not designed with 12 year-olds in mind, nor indeed was the relationship of Han Solo and Leia anything which would appeal to a 12 year-old either. At least the moving toy catalogues that were the prequel movies did genuinely try to appeal to 12 year-olds with all of the gadgets and spaceships, the filmmakers did get that aspect right with those movies, even if the political aspects of them and the lengthy focus on love story too, was a mistake in that regard.

I'm not one who doesn't appreciate that films made to appeal to kids are not necessarily going to impress adults, nor are they intended to, but that absolutely was not the intent of The Force Awakens. Yet even if that were not so, it's not as if it can't be done and please both camps anyway, the Pirates of the Caribbean films have quite aptly demonstrated that you can indeed make films which have a decent yet fun storyline and which appeal to a wide age-range, from little kids to adults, so it's all the more puzzling when one considers that both film franchises are Disney that such a p*ss poor script and some appallingly bad casting managed to get the nod of approval. From the rotten casting to the rotten acting, preposterous plot holes and reliance on numerous deus ex machina plot devices, The Force Awakens was a total train wreck of a movie; even a 12 year-old couldn't fail to miss that.

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8 minutes ago, Chock said:

The Force Awakens was a total train wreck of a movie; even a 12 year-old couldn't fail to miss that.

Whoa there...  I am a huge Star Wars fine, i have the original trilogy on pretty much every format they have been released on, i remember watching the original trilogy in the Cinema with my parents it was an all day viewing.  I think that you are being a little unfair, you are right, the Force Awakens is a remake of A New Hope, is that a bad thing??  It was a vast improvement on the George Lucas prequel trilogy, The Phantom Menace was the real Train Wreck, a horrid ponderous mess of a film, they may well as named it 'Star Wars The Motion Picture' (hehe...get the reference?)  The Star Wars films have always been 'Chock' (pun intended) full of "plot holes" and "Deus Ex machina" plot devices, even as a child i couldn't understand how Luke learned how to be a Jedi in an afternoon in Empire and then was immediately tasked with killing the two most powerful force users in the universe.

Maybe it was an appeal to people like me who have very fond memories of the original films, either way, i much prefer the way Disney has gone with Star Wars as apposed to the 'new' Star Trek universe which i think is utterly terrible.

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54 minutes ago, Chock said:

Not really....

From the man himself :cool:

https://www.polygon.com/2017/4/13/15288998/george-lucas-star-wars-celebration

I actually agree with him. I have done my fair share of criticizing films but I stay away from doing that with Star Wars or Star Trek and a few others that I loved when I was a kid. Adults can ruin things and you don't always have to be that way, you can let go on some occasion. 

My Dad didn't care for Star Wars in 1977, but he didn't dare tell me his views on it

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1 hour ago, WotanUK said:

Whoa there...  I am a huge Star Wars fan

Oh me too, but that doesn't mean I'll be an apologist for anything which they slap that name on if I think it isn't decent and I hope the new film is better in that regard.

Unfortunately we are stuck with the characters they have already cast in certain roles, and that's bad news, especially with Daisy Ridley, who it is quite evident from The Force Awakens, couldn't act her way out of a damp paper bag, check out some of her expressions in that movie and you will know exactly what I'm talking about. Although to be fair, that may also partially be poor directing to blame too, since it is the director's job to direct the actors in how they perform a scene.

So it beats me why they cast her at all, this is Disney making a film with a three hundred million Dollar budget, it's not like they were short of choices and couldn't afford to pay someone better, especially considering her previous acting credits amount to: An episode of Casualty in which she played someone who was injured; an episode of Silent Witness in which she played a corpse (no, I'm not joking). Playing a corpse is hardly an acting stretch, I think even I could manage that role; and an appearance in Mr Selfridge, i.e three minor appearances in utterly rubbish TV shows; plus doing a V/O in an animated horror film. Given that she's evidently the new central character, this is not a good prospect, there are people who've done V/Os for Shake and Vac adverts with more acting experience and a better ability to emote than her.

I am willing to bet there's been some hasty re-writing gone on to limit her necessity to deliver lines to the kind of minimal requirements reminiscent of her brilliant emotionless performance as a dead body in that TV episode of Silent Witness. If you remove The Force Awakens from her show reel, I bet it would be shorter than Mark Hamill's screen time in The Force Awakens, or if not, it would be a pretty close call.

1 hour ago, Matthew Kane said:

Well true, but let's not forget that whilst George Lucas directed the first Star Wars film, he did not direct, nor produce The Empire Strikes Back (that was directed by Irvin Kershner and produced by Gary Kurtz) and it is the Star Wars movie which most people would say is the best of the original three (although I prefer the first film myself), nor did Lucas direct or produce The Return of the Jedi either (that was directed by Richard Marquand and produced by Howard Kazanjian).

But Lucas absolutely did direct all three of the almost universally critically slammed prequel trilogy movies, so he's having a go at the critics there mainly because of that, not because the critics are misunderstanding who the films are aimed at. This means 75 percent of his directorial contribution to the major Star Wars movies were ones which got critically panned by almost everyone, not merely some film critics, many Star Wars fans hated those movies too. And some of that I absolutely will apologise for on behalf of one or two of the actors, especially poor Hayden Christensen, who like a lot of the other actors in that prequel trilogy, had to try and sell some appallingly bad dialogue to us and ended up getting the blame for having tried to do so. 

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46 minutes ago, Chock said:

But Lucas absolutely did direct all three of the almost universally critically slammed prequel trilogy movies, so he's having a go at the critics there mainly because of that, not because the critics are misunderstanding who the films are aimed at. This means 75 percent of his directorial contribution to the major Star Wars movies were ones which got critically panned by almost everyone, not merely some film critics, many Star Wars fans hated those movies too.

But it was his to do what he wanted with, the ultimate freedom to make films without oversight from others. The next generation that were kids during the prequel films did connect with them, and that was what it is all about.

 

In my adult view, the best film he ever made was American Graffiti, So many adults connect with that film for so many reasons, it reminds us of our carefree youth. His other stuff was absolutely for kids, and when I was a kid Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark (writer, co-director, editor) were the best films ever made.

As an adult my view is that Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars film ever made, but when I was a kid Star Wars, then Return of the Jedi were better in my view back then. I now have a different way of thinking.

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Luke must be a major pussy. He has one student go bad so he runs off and becomes a hermit!

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Obviously part of what makes the original Star Wars film the kind of bottled lightning which it is unfortunately hard to recapture, is that it was very innovative in so many ways. But it's important to remember that it was not the script which made it so, that could not be simpler if it tried, it is essentially a fairy tale, i.e. a young boy dreams of adventure but cannot escape his dull existence until fate lends a hand and takes him on a quest to rescue a princess from the monster which has captured her, where he finds his true destiny, that's it. If that isn't a fairy tale, I dunno what is.

The spaceships and the light sabres and the androids could easily have been just ships, swords and dwarves or some such, but that is not to say they were not inventive, however, it was the technology which in many cases was invented just for that film and which brought that to the screen which made it special; it wan't the usual cheaply done unconvincing back projection and poorly made models of all the space fantasy films of that type which had gone before, there was a great deal of craft and ingenuity in how things were created. In 1977, which is a time when a pocket calculator was a thing we all marveled at, we simply had not seen that done for that kind of fantasy movie. Nor was it often the case that such great filming locations were selected for what was at the time not necessarily guaranteed to be a success and would more typically for that kind of movie, have had some not very convincing studio sets knocked up on the cheap rather than flying everyone out to the Tunisian desert to film things at really quite impressive sets. It's this which George Lucas truly deserves credit for in insisting that what most people thought was just another throw away fantasy movie could be so much more than that.

He can make as many cinematic turkeys as he likes as far as I'm concerned and I'll still say he is one of the best filmmakers ever for having had both the vision and the drive to make that happen.

It's worth remembering too that most of the main cast members at the time thought they were just making another slightly dodgy space opera, and so when they were offered the choice of either a flat fee for their wages, or the option of a percentage of the box office takings, all of them chose to take flat fee rather than gambling on what they did not know was going to be such a massive hit, I bet a few of em kicked themselves over that one.

But that's the difficulty of the new films, back in 1975-6 when they had a script which says: 'Luke jumps into his speeder and rushes off across the desert', that was a real problem for the production designers to solve, which they did in some very inventive ways to the extent that it still looks great even today. Now of course it'd be a quick CGI job and no problem at all, but because we all have seen those effects now and are not surprised by them, there isn't the wow factor which there was when seeing that stuff on a cinema screen in 1977, and there never can be. I should imagine it would have been like being at Kittyhawk on December 17th in 1903 when people saw the Wright Flyer take to the air, it would have been amazing, whereas nowadays most people don't even look up when an airliner goes over (and yes I know, all us lot who frequent Avsim still do lol).

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Years ago I used to work on film sets and on one film we had a few cool people on set, one being Gus Van Sant and the other was David Cronenberg....However, on this set was a guy who played one of the Stormtroopers in the original Star Wars Film and everyone thought he was the coolest thing ever, Everyone had hundreds of questions for him. It was kind of like you could ask Gus Van Sant anything but people were like, "how many times did you get killed in Star Wars??? How hot was the suit??? How long did it take to get in and out of it??? how comfortable was it??? etc etc etc"

Yes Gus Van Sant won an oscar but Stormtrooper guy was so much more interesting. And from what I recall he didn't get paid at all, and neither did the guy that played Darth Vader for the original one, I think he was just glad to be apart of it.

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5 minutes ago, Matthew Kane said:

And from what I recall he didn't get paid at all

Yup, but I bet they've dined out on it for years lol

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1.-2. Interchangeable - A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back

I was too young to have seen ANH in a theater, but I vividly remember seeing ESB and flying my (Kenner) X-Wing up and down the stairs all day and night. Star Wars on TV was an *EVENT* that rivaled Wizard of Oz night back in the day. Nostalgia rings true on these, regardless of anything else. (ANH wins on nostalgia, ESB wins on storytelling)

3. Rogue One

The tie-in to ANH was the first truly successful prequel in the Star Wars series, and it was refreshing to take that story in with such interest, knowing how the next part of the story was going to pan out. As others have mentioned, the last five minutes... the last five minutes...

4. The Force Awakens

Yes, it's nearly a direct rehash of ANH, but everybody loves a remix. Remember the first simulator you ever flew and how it captured your imagination? Pretend you haven't flown in years and Force Awakens is the simulator 5 generations later. It does the same thing, but looks better, sounds better, and is just a bit more saavy. I loved it. Very familiar but just as engrossing.

4. Return of the Jedi

Lucas starts writing for the younger kids (Ewoks), ruining a stellar chance to bring what was such a great, dark sequel (Empire) forward into a spectacular finale.

5-6-7. All of the prequels.

They really could have made all of that one single movie. Convoluted, contrived, and didn't do nearly enough justice to the underhanded storyline and deceptions of Palpatine which could have made the movies stand out. I was disappointed.

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6 hours ago, Matthew Kane said:

I didn't mind The Force Awakens but you have to remind yourself that Star Wars is for 12 year old's, to critique a Star Wars film you are not in touch with your inner 12 year old anymore. If I was 12 I would have loved it, now that I am 45 I could criticize it but that is not what Star Wars is all about in the first place. 

I really enjoyed Rogue One as the battle scene was awesome, I got into the characters, blind guy was very cool, Darth Vader's scene in the end was great with the Death Star Plans slipping away. Lea's brief scene was touching and I walked out of that one with a huge smile, I am looking forward to this next one as the new owners of the franchise seem to be getting it better with each new film.

When I flew from Phoenix to London, I pulled up Rouge One on my touchscreen video and watched it to kill time during the flight.  I thought it was the best of all the Star Wars movies, more adult, and it fit in to the franchise very well.  I liked the movie so much that I watched it again on the way home in late June.

The new trailer looks interesting, very dark in tone, will the Jedi's win?

John

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