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Thomas

"The Clone Wars does not add anything to that epic."

Just out of curiosity, do you think the other bits of Star Wars universe-building (novels, comics, games, etc) have added to it?

nikkos

Sweet Jesus, if the movie is even half as boring as your review, you've convinced me to skip it...

Daniel

The animation style is based loosely around Genndy Tartakovsky's animated Cartoon Network series. The difference being that Tartakovsky actually used animation to make his stories lively and dramatic, whereas Lucas fell in love with technology (again) and immediately went CGI--which sucked out all the aforementioned liveliness and drama.

Weird thing about Tartakovsky's series: even though you only get literally a few seconds in the whole series that don't involve fighting, the characters feel more human and believable than anything Eps 1-3 managed. It's all in the subtle facial expressions and stolen moments. Anakin light-heartedly eating bugs while Obi Wan watches in disgust. Action sequences of immense imagination that still manage to convey the protagonists as sympathetic and relatable, rather than post-human cyphers. Why Lucas didn't ask Tartakovsky to continue with his ultra-successful version, I have no idea. Maybe he did, and Tartakovsky didn't agree with Lucas' vision.

sfmike

I loved "Whose idea was it to model all the characters after the puppets in Team America?"

"Star Wars" is disgusting in the way it unwittingly created point-and-shoot computer games (and then embraced them, literally), and taught a whole generation that it was totally cool to be fighter pilots bombing the shit out of peoples (see Iraq/Afghanistan/Yugoslavia). This is not to even mention Reagan and the billions spent on his fantasy "Star Wars" shield and weapons. Lucas has a lot to answer for, and not just bad narrative, bad acting, and shitty animation.

Dan Coyle

Interestingly, Tartakovsky's next project is a comic book miniseries featuring Luke Cage.

Jason Lefkowitz
"Star Wars" is disgusting in the way it unwittingly created point-and-shoot computer games (and then embraced them, literally), and taught a whole generation that it was totally cool to be fighter pilots bombing the shit out of peoples (see Iraq/Afghanistan/Yugoslavia)."

Yes, because little boys never dreamed about being fighter pilots before 1977.

burritoboy

Lance,

I'm unclear about why you're surprised. What Lucas ended up doing was trying to describe an aristocratic state: it literally can't be a democracy (some beings within it have massively greater natural psychic and physical powers - essentially miraculous and given by the gods - than the unbelievably vast majority of citizens). Further, these beings are given these powers partially through inheritance and partially through long expensive training - the definition of an inherited aristocracy (Lucas doesn't even seem to understand his impulse to give the characters feudal titles of nobility). George Lucas has roughly - no - ability to grasp (or experience with) what an aristocratic politics like that might mean. Even worse for him was that he decided to focus on the highest level of politics of an aristocratic state (i.e., precisely where an aristocratic state is the most different from what Lucas is familiar with).

Uncle Merlin

Burritoboy very interesting comment! I never saw ST in that light but now that you bring this to light I see your view point and think you are right.
"Aristocratic state" interesting term.

Boy do I feel stupid not having read "Wealth of Nations" yet!
Must put aside some time for that!

UM

burritoboy

Ok, to rephrase a bit: to sustain our interest over an apparently infinite series of products, what Lucas needs to do is ensure that we take the Empire's political appeal seriously. That is, to get you interested in all these minor political intrigues you need to have an audience really interested specifically in the politics of the situation. For example, in Jacobean theater, this is done through the vehicle of the fall of the Roman Republic (Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Jonson's Sejanus, Shakespeare's Antony, etc). In Japanese samurai film, this is done through the vehicle of the rise or the fall of the Tokugawa shogunate. You're interested in seeing a drama about these events partially because the underlying events themselves are such compelling and important parts of real history that created parts of our current political situations.

Of course, the Star Wars political history is completely fake. You're not really interested in the Empire perse - it doesn't exist. That wouldn't be quite that much a problem if we were merely talking about a single movie or even three movies but the SW product line is now probably north of 100 movies, books, TV shows, etc. Even worse, Lucas apparently has no substantive idea about why the Empire would win out over the previous republic. Billions of people over the course of the movies are making some sort of conscious political decision in a manner they think is at least somewhat rational - and most of them decide that the Empire sounds like a reasonably good idea to them. And Lucas essentially doesn't bother to show us why the republic was worth fighting for, or even if it had any positive benefits whatever (except that Padme is cute). We're essentially given what I consider imbecilic reasons why we shouldn't support the Empire - effectively, that Palpatine is evil. (Well, yeah, he is, but why would anyone else follow him then?....................crickets chirping .............babble babble political intrigue babble babble).

actor212

So it sounds like this movie is a companion to the miniseries that was shown on the Cartoon Network ahead of the release of Episode Three.

That was a palatable story, even if it was as disjointed as this sounds, because it came at you in ten minute bites. Some stuff happens "off camera" but reference is made to it and then you move on.

This movie sounds like it's the "off camera" bit to those cartoons.

One quibble:

The only reason Luke is tempted to give in to the Dark Side is the same reason he doesn't give in. Owen taught him to put other people's feelings and needs ahead of his own.

Interpretive, at best. Remember, when Luke has Vader on the floor, lightsabre at the ready, and hears Palpatine's voice, his first instinct is to look at his artificial hand and flex it.

That's why he doesn't go over: Obi Wan's words from Ep V "He's more machine than man".

Indeed, one could make the claim that Luke is a secodnary character in Star Wars, that if you watch the movies one thru six in order, it is Anakin that is the ultimate hero, who must pass through hell in order to save himself, but also his son. That Anakin Skywalker saves Luke from the dark side is practically biblical.

SwissToni

interesting thoughts on Owen and Annakin, but I've long since stopped wondering what Lucas is doing to the Star Wars universe. He laughably insists on maintaining the pretence that he's had it all mapped out from the beginning, even when clearly he's been winging it since the first film. I know the expectation was so high that he was always bound to disappoint with the prequels, but have you ever seen a clearer argument for leaving the hell alone? I know Portman and McGregor can act, so why the hell do they look so bad in these films? Answer: George Lucas. Which is the best acted of the Star Wars films? ESB - directed by Irving Kerhsner, who encouraged his cast to improvise. It's always been about the effects for Lucas.

I wish he'd stayed the hell away from Indiana Jones too. Crystal Skull's alien plot and the big FX finish have his fingerprints all over it.....

Thoughtful post though and I enjoyed reading it (even if I shan't be troubling the box office for clone wars tickets!)

ST

actor212

Crystal Skull's alien plot and the big FX finish have his fingerprints all over it.....

I disagree. That's vintage Spielberg. See "A.I.".

SwissToni

Maybe, but I think that Spielberg has a subtlety that Lucas entirely lacks (even if sometimes he smothers things in sentiment). The other IJ films had a "mcguffin", a mystical plot thread, but generally it was underplayed. Spielberg also prides himself on the old school stunts they use and the general absence of CGI, as when Karen Allen disappears into a doorway in Cairo with a saucepan, closely followed by a bad guy. *CLANG* bad guy falls out of the doorway stunned, and we see nothing. It's the whole 1930s serial thing, and SS loved it. You only have to look at the prequels and the special editions to know that, as soon as the technology allowed it, Lucas was going to tinker to his hearts content. Over tinker, in fact. In CS, the mcguffin is writ large from the very beginning, and the whole film suffers as a result, and don't even get me started on the crappy overreliance on CGI. The CGI ants are supposed to be the sequel to the snakes, bugs and rats of the earlier films, but they fall short precisely because they are fake and not actually there. I point the finger at Lucas for much of this. Yes, he's not the only one to blame, but as I recall, Lucas was pushing for aliens earlier in the IJ series and took a lot of convincing that the Holy Grail was the way to go. This time around, I think he got his way, and I think the film suffers terribly as a result. CJ is certainly more watchable than any of the prequels, but it's a terrible disappointment.

Somewhere along the line, Lucas has forgotten about what made his earlier films interesting and has got lost in the technology and in his own mythology.

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