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Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker (Post-Release Discussion)
(03-09-2020, 06:15 PM)schwartz Wrote: Bitching about a lack of realism in movies is tiresome, but also using "of course they are unrealistic, they're movies!" as a cop out can also be cheap and lazy.

A movie does not have to conform to the laws of reality to be effective.  It does have to conform to its own rules, however.  TROS is terrible at this.

Absolutely.  I usually use that reasoning when people get overly critical over logical bullshit.  As if they've never watched a fucking movie before.

Because movies themselves have their own rules--because you wouldn't have a movie if they had to follow the chaos-filled rules of the real world.
"Why did she do it?"
"Why are you the fucking Police?"

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(03-09-2020, 07:12 PM)Bucho Wrote:  but the bridge of contrivances TLJ bolted together to transport him between TFA and TLJ feels like a mechanical solution to the problem posed by TFA rather than an organic one. 

what do you consider to be the bridge of contrivances from Tommy Lee Jones?
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(03-09-2020, 06:15 PM)schwartz Wrote: A movie does not have to conform to the laws of reality to be effective.  It does have to conform to its own rules, however.  TROS is terrible at this.

This is what I was trying to say. As per usual, you said it better and with more precision.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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(03-09-2020, 04:48 PM)engineer Wrote: Any film can be made with intelligence.  Modern mass-audience Hollywood rarely cares enough to bother anymore, though.  I agree, MichaelM!  I love fantastical films.  70s and 80s sci-fi, action/adventure and/or comedies (not a selection of genres necessarily known for "realism") make up most of my all-time favorites.  Especially well-plotted ones with a fully realized sense of narrative and character.  With some exceptions, screenwriting now sure isn't what screenwriting used to be.

I also really liked THE IRON GIANT.  Brad Bird can write.

Yeah. He should have written and directed Episode IX - IRRC, the only thing that stopped them getting him for VII was his commitment to Tomorrowland. Or they could have got Michael Arndt back. Or literally any accomplished screenwriter who had written at least one good film that's not a rehash papering over its myriad cracks with dollops of iconic designs and beloved characters other people created. 

My understanding is that Lucasfilm asked Rian Johnson as VIII was entering post-production, but that he turned it down, wanting a rest. I'd like to visit that parallel universe and see that masterpiece... but I wonder if in that universe Johnson had to step away because of 'creative differences' around February 2018.
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probably! (in regards to the probability of johnson stepping away from making episode 9 from eventual 'creative differences')

johnson got in that creamy sweet spot of Disney's hubris! and they let him make last jedi pretty freely! hahahahah. I kinda get the impression that Johnson backed off from taking on another one for reasons beyond the exhausting time committment. I think he was very aware of the risks when it came to returning for the '3rd trilogy entry' where the game changes even in the best of circumstances (ROTJ).

I've been listening to a Mission Impossible podcast lately and they had an interview with Bird. He talked about how much he appreciated the chance to be a part of putting his stamp on a Mission Impossible movie. I don't get the impression that Bird was too keen on compromising his sensibilities to make a star war. Considering his experiences at Disney during the 80s, I think he would've been hesitant to have to deliver something that had so many established cooks in the kitchen.

I don't think Tomorrowland was the only thing stopping him.

And as I said elsewhere... Bird is fully capable of delivering a story that feels phoned in/repetitive. INCREDIBLES 2 was still a lot of fun to watch because it's made by such pros... but I basically forget it exists outside of a couple of sequences.
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Yeah, Bird would not have been a foolproof guarantor of a better future for the series. Still, it's interesting to consider the various might-have-beens with the different folks who were approached to head up (in one capacity or another) a disney war and at some point along the line quite rightfully recognized "unpleasable, highly-vocal fanbase" plus "clueless, formula-slave overbearing management" for the Scylla-and-Charybdis that it was.
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I find it delightfully ironic that I only ever see the line "I'll never change your mind so I'm not even going to keep trying" defeatist attitude from the people who hate the TLJ Luke characterization, while the defenders of the movies depressed given up version of Luke are passionately ready to debate and fight for their side any time anywhere!

What a WONDERFUL irony!!!
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I’m rarely out to change minds!

I’m out to push both positions to take each point to their potential conclusions and find out more about each other!

At most, I’ll want to correct (or be corrected on) a certain detail that is used to support or argue against a POV, but the actual POV is something I generally consider to be a constant.
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I am a boring guy
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(03-09-2020, 09:23 PM)freeman Wrote: I find it delightfully ironic that I only ever see the line "I'll never change your mind so I'm not even going to keep trying" defeatist attitude from the people who hate the TLJ Luke characterization, while the defenders of the movies depressed given up version of Luke are passionately ready to debate and fight for their side any time anywhere!

Er, wouldn't that be because Episode 9 came out, which renders the whole thing moot and pointless anyway?  Regardless, this falls under rule x of Life, the Universe and Everything: “We can't win against obsession. They care, we don't. They win.”
There are weapons in my hands, my hands are weapons.
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(03-09-2020, 09:23 PM)freeman Wrote: I find it delightfully ironic that I only ever see the line "I'll never change your mind so I'm not even going to keep trying" defeatist attitude from the people who hate the TLJ Luke characterization, while the defenders of the movies depressed given up version of Luke are passionately ready to debate and fight for their side any time anywhere!

What a WONDERFUL irony!!!

I've never been trying to change anybody's mind, so I can't very well stop something I was never doing!  I have simply been trying to convey why certain things in THE LAST JEDI don't work for me.

I've also never told people who love that movie that they're wrong or "don't understand" or subtly implied that they're stupid, nor do I try to pick apart their every opinion.

And the fact that I keep engaging on this topic is kind not defeatist.  I just acknowledge that the people who love what was done with Luke are not going to be receptive to the feelings of those who weren't.  We can still talk about it, though.
If we can dream it, then we can do it.
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Pfffft. So "understanding".

WEAK!
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TLJ?

Best Luke ever.
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but you enjoyed risewalker!

how can I trust you!!???

I TRUSTED YOU!!!!
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I like the sequel trilogy!!!

But I do rank Risewalker at #6, the very bottom of the list.

Cause the prequels don’t exist.
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what are these amazing prequels you just mentioned???
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Some interesting ideas.
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So I just realized that Vader goes "ARRRRRRGGGGGH FUUUUUUCK!" when Luke cuts his hand off at the end of Return of the Jedi. But as we know from the prequels and as we see with our eye holes in Jedi he's just got a bunch of sparking wires and robot stuff for a wrist.

So was Vader the "Why was I programmed to feel pain?!" Robot from the Simpsons?!
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Remember when Luke is having his robot hand poked at in the end of JEDI by the medic droid and he goes “oww!!”?
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Oh my God!

They ARE programmed to feel pain! Intentionally! I guess you'd have to have feeling and sensation for a hand to work right...
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Darth also says "AAARRRH!!" when Luke gets him in the arm in EMPIRE on the Cloud City catwalk.
The Force connects all things.  Even lightsabers, bodies and pain, it seems.

And then there's Creepio, who is basically the greatest thing ever. "ALLLL I FEEEL IS PAAAIN!!"



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Pain is a useful sensation! It's the body's way of telling you to knock it the fuck off!
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My Yoda Star Wars lesson would be the virtues of pain.  He would just hit me with that stick of his over and over again.





Let's be honest this would be my Yoda lesson...
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(03-09-2020, 08:02 PM)Nooj Wrote:
(03-09-2020, 07:12 PM)Bucho Wrote:  but the bridge of contrivances TLJ bolted together to transport him between TFA and TLJ feels like a mechanical solution to the problem posed by TFA rather than an organic one. 

what do you consider to be the bridge of contrivances from Tommy Lee Jones?

The main gear crunch is the oddly hacky"It was all just a big sitcom-esque misunderstanding" solution to the "How do I set Kylo and Luke at odds without either of them really being a bad guy?" problem. Kylo's not really wrong because he legit thought his unca was gonna slice him. Luke's not really wrong because being driven to slice his neph was out of his conscious control. It's a frustratingly unsophisticated and inorganic have-spacecake-and-eat-it storytelling beat out of a Saturday morning cartoon or a comic book, not a grand mythical saga, and the hand of the author is nakedly, distractingly shown during those lore exposition flashback scenes.

I mean, in some ways it's cute that some commentators excitedly compared the device to Rashomon. In other ways comparing that device to Rashomon is a galaxy-sized shitting upon of Rashomon.

The weird thing about TLJ is how impressively well developed some of the ideas are, while others feel like they needed another draft, and in TLJ that's one of the two* aspects of the Rey/Luke/Kylo thing that feels as undercooked as Finn and Poe's storylines do in more general terms.


* The second, as everyone knows, is the dramatic redundancy which springs from Rian falling into the same fanboyish trap JJ did with Han in TFA - having his boyhood idol essentially repeat a beat of the hero's more youthful OT arc rather than confronting the hero with a newly revealed, middle-aged flaw to overcome, as happens sometimes in classical mythical storytelling. 

Rian does start off down a very promising track by introducing the idea that Luke had become blinded by hubris, but that notion is wasted in the aforementioned ham-fistedly expositional flashback sequences, leaving behind a Luke who essentially repeats the quitter's sulk he fell into after busting his gut to try to solve his sunken X-wing problem on Dagobah, only in (not) solving his "Snoke got my nephew" problem Luke doesn't even get the bust a gut beat. This time he quits before he even gets started, something we never see as part of his character in the OT.
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YOU HATED THE FRESH PRINCE SEGMENTS?!?!?!?!!

How am I supposed to go to bed knowing you hated those bits?! Since you've already referenced Roshomon, I was forced to adapt to another popular use of the "different stories" story mechanic!
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Sorry, I thought you'd already gone to bed. I would have waited if I knew you were still up.
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You and your oddly specific criticisms perplex and vex me!
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On the question of pain, I'm aware that some of the "old" EU stuff made it pretty explicit that Palpatine wanted Vader's appendages and suit to be constantly causing him pain and discomfort. Just because he's an asshole!

(03-10-2020, 05:06 AM)Bucho Wrote: Rian does start off down a very promising track by introducing the idea that Luke had become blinded by hubris, but that notion is wasted in the aforementioned ham-fistedly expositional flashback sequences, leaving behind a Luke who essentially repeats the quitter's sulk he fell into after busting his gut to try to solve his sunken X-wing problem on Dagobah, only in (not) solving his "Snoke got my nephew" problem Luke doesn't even get the bust a gut beat. This time he quits before he even gets started, something we never see as part of his character in the OT.

I think my issue with the "blinded by hubris" idea is that we not only do not see that in the Sequels outside of very briefly in the flashbacks (where the idea isn't communicated), we certainly don't see that character progression in the Original Trilogy, either. It's like there was another trilogy's worth of character development in between that we missed, where we would have seen Luke get a bit too full of himself and complacent. And because some of his downfall hinges on that, it seems very odd that we're not exposed at all to that version of Luke in a meaningful way.
If we can dream it, then we can do it.
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the sitcom criticism interests me, because I know what you mean

the ending of THE MIST is one that makes me a laugh a bunch because it ends up coming off like a misfortune borne of bad timing and then proceeding to go whole hog on kicking a man in the balls repeatedly while he’s down. THAT felt like a sitcom to me.

but the last jedi’s scene doesn’t strike me as sitcom-ish, and I think it’s because it’s done with a sense of hindsight with Hamill’s great voiceover in which he tells the story twice. Not only are you getting LORE from a very personal place, you’re getting two versions that tracks with where Luke is at the moment. He omits certain details at first because he’s not ready to come clean to Rey. And when he’s at his lowest point, he opens up.

I also don’t find it to be learning the same lesson he learned in the past. Because the stakes and priorities of youth on the rise are very different from that of elder establishment. Luke’s journeys are decades apart (unlike Tony Stark or Jeff Winger learning the value of team/family every few episodes). The fact that he’s not the main character also helps.

As per Belloq’s comment, would I have liked to have seen those years of hubris leading to Ben Solo’s turn? Of course! But that was clearly not in the cards by the nature of forwakens wanting to get to the fireworks factory immediately. And since Luke is not the main character, there’s only so much time to devote to such a downfall. So instead, Johnson relies on Hamill providing a more elaborate version of Obi-Wan’s telling Luke about his father in the original film. And Hamill’s performance gave me all the context I needed.

To me, the hubris (which isn’t the same hubris young Luke had in the original trilogy) is a big part of Luke’s knee jerk backsliding into impulsive behavior. It was a galactic scale misunderstanding, yes. But I think it also struck a nice balance of Luke fucking up but in a relatable way.

I also think characters like King Arthur and Beowulf succumb to their tragic flaws repeatedly.

Thank you bucho, for a fine explanation of your problems with the flashback. I appreciate it
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(03-10-2020, 02:36 AM)engineer Wrote: Darth also says "AAARRRH!!" when Luke gets him in the arm in EMPIRE on the Cloud City catwalk.
The Force connects all things.  Even lightsabers, bodies and pain, it seems.

And then there's Creepio, who is basically the greatest thing ever.  "ALLLL I FEEEL IS PAAAIN!!"




Creepio is life.
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(03-10-2020, 12:13 PM)Nooj Wrote: the sitcom criticism interests me, because I know what you mean

the ending of THE MIST is one that makes me a laugh a bunch because it ends up coming off like a misfortune borne of bad timing and then proceeding to go whole hog on kicking a man in the balls repeatedly while he’s down. THAT felt like a sitcom to me.

but the last jedi’s scene doesn’t strike me as sitcom-ish, and I think it’s because it’s done with a sense of hindsight with Hamill’s great voiceover in which he tells the story twice. Not only are you getting LORE from a very personal place, you’re getting two versions that tracks with where Luke is at the moment. He omits certain details at first because he’s not ready to come clean to Rey.  And when he’s at his lowest point, he opens up.

I also don’t find it to be learning the same lesson he learned in the past. Because the stakes and priorities of youth on the rise are very different from that of elder establishment.  Luke’s journeys are decades apart (unlike Tony Stark or Jeff Winger learning the value of team/family every few episodes). The fact that he’s not the main character also helps.

As per Belloq’s comment, would I have liked to have seen those years of hubris leading to Ben Solo’s turn?  Of course!  But that was clearly not in the cards by the nature of forwakens wanting to get to the fireworks factory immediately.  And since Luke is not the main character, there’s only so much time to devote to such a downfall. So instead, Johnson relies on Hamill providing a more elaborate version of Obi-Wan’s telling Luke about his father in the original film.  And Hamill’s performance gave me all the context I needed.

To me, the hubris (which isn’t the same hubris young Luke had in the original trilogy) is a big part of Luke’s knee jerk backsliding into impulsive behavior. It was a galactic scale misunderstanding, yes.  But I think it also struck a nice balance of Luke fucking up but in a relatable way.

I also think characters like King Arthur and Beowulf succumb to their tragic flaws repeatedly.

Thank you bucho, for a fine explanation of your problems with the flashback.  I appreciate it

I appreciate YOU!

For me that device (Char A story paints themselves as innocent, Char B story paints Char A as evil, Char A retells story admitting they weren't as squeaky clean as they first claimed but they also weren't pure evil) was immediately familiar not just from sitcoms and cartoons with a heavy morality tale bent, but also from the way interviews often play out in TV production line police procedurals. Hamill does literally awesome work trying to sell it in TLJ, but it's not enough to elevate that part of the story above the feeling that it's a fairly unsinspired, stock bit of cinema overall. And to be clear, I'm not saying misunderstanding as a plot device can't work for "legit" storytelling - Romeo and Juliet does pretty darn well for itself for example - just that the way it plays in TLJ feels more stock than inspired for me.

As for the hubris, I brought that up as a credit to Rian. That's a newly revealed Luke flaw which doesn't feel lifted from the OT (in which his central flaw was not success-driven hubris but the brash impatience of inexperience) and which feels like a completely natural development for someone who's achieved as much success as Luke has. Unfortunately it's relegated to a piece of tell-don't-show exposited lore rather than playing as a dramatized character revelation, and is replaced with a fanfic-esque approximation an OT Luke flaw - a tendency to quit and sulk when his efforts are thwarted - except without even the vital "efforts" bit. 

And that hubris thing kind of segues into Beowulf (the version which has endured for centuries, not the failed, forgotten, Hollywoodized version), who ...

[Warning: There's a lot of talking out of my arse from here on out (more than usual for me I mean) because I haven't studied any of this classical myth malarkey since high school and I wasn't even that good at it back then.]

... is kind of characterized by hubris, at least later in life, although he seems like a different kind of deal to me than Arthur or Luke, since Beowulf doesn't suffer repeatedly. In his youth and middle age Beowulf's hubris inspires the bravery which makes him an unstoppable force, allowing him to compile an undefeated record and bringing Beowulf and the people for whom he is responsible huge success. While Luke loses over and over throughout ANH and ESB, and again in the nether-era between ROTJ and TFA, in Beowulf's entire life he really only takes a single loss, and it kills him. And even then, his loss is the result of him taking responsibility for a challenge rather than hiding from it.

As for King Arthur, I bring him up somewhat mischievously, since there are so many different versions that if Disney brought the rights they'd have to go full Disney and de-canonize 98% of them, but also because rather than coming across as repetitive his character is so altered in middle age he may as well be a different person. In his youth he's a fearless, rampaging warrior and in his later years generally an impotent, driveless monarch. His challenges and flaws (and responses to the bad stuff which happens as a result of those flaws) in each phase of life are distinct and non-repetitive, reflecting the human experience of someone who has grown up and taken the throne (the throne representing adult responsibility) but who finds the challenges of the throne, aka adulthood, quite distinct from those of his youth. 

And I guess that last thing points to one of the core issues for me. While those classic myths kind of reflect the experience of the journey from youth to adulthood and beyond, the repetitions in Luke's fall from grace seem more to reflect the experience of the modern manchild - someone who never grew up into manhood to take adult responsibility. If I remember rightly, Hercules doesn't abdicate responsibility when he messes up baaaad, he works his butt off to make things right. Arthur, even as his personal life becomes a soap opera of complications, doesn't abandon the throne, he maintains his position even as he learns that he lacks the ability to wield his power effectively against the tyranny of betrayal, so the flaw which leads to his downfall is not one which was present in his youth.

Like you say, the stakes and priorities of youth on the rise are very different from that of elder establishment, but Luke's regression to angsty youth when he feels he can no longer carry the burden of adulthood is key to why the story doesn't work for so many. Yoda and Obi-wan also "insta-quit" when they realized they couldn't win, but they didn't act like sulky, embittered adolescents about it. That's why I say it's not that Luke failed that effs TLJ up for so many, it was the combination of the "insta-quit" with the juvenile manner of his reaction. 

The conundrum for me and my good friend Rian then is that if we want to keep the wild-eyed Lunatic Luke we love from TLJ, but if we also want him not to read as regressive and juvenile, we kind of need him to be more Colonel Kurtzian - a man so driven by an obsession to defeat evil that it messes with his ethics ... except that the idea that Luke had gone rogue and was waging a more brutal war of his own is an even greater betrayal of the iconic and symbolic "Wars not make one great" tossing aside of the lightsaber than anything Rian did. Rian's idea to go for something resembling Arthurian impotence definitely makes more sense - Luke having sunk so deep into the pacifist ideal that helped him defeat Palpatine and save his father that his outright rejection of conflict had rendered him effectively impotent, except that playing Luke so wild-eyed and emo in that case has him come across as regressive and juvenile, while playing an uberpacifist Luke as a level-headed "adult" would have him read as too close to Yoda and Obi-wan.

This is why all the best people feel like the optimal note to play for the character after receiving the hospital pass from JJ is something where Luke is kind of a Doc Brown, but a haunted Doc Brown who is the way he is because of a great failure. One where Luke still suffers from lunacy following his defeat by Snoke and the loss of Kylo, but rather than the Colonel Kurtz type exile apparently favoured by Lucas, or the juvenile quitter angst of the TLJ exile, his exile is a failed, feverish search for some appropriately pacifist solution. This would require no more runtime and would be no more loretastic than what TLJ presents and would be a more elegant characterization in terms of both the OT and mythical storytelling traditions.

Or something.

[Image: giphy.gif?cid=ecf05e479bd8ee4411c5417348...=giphy.gif]
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I think this is my favorite take yet on the film, appropriately smuggled inside a toy review:

http://www.oafe.net/yo/sw9bsjan.php
"I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on Earth."--Steve McQueen
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hahahahaha

what shade
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I'm not an expert on Hollywood scheduling, but would it have been so fucking bad for Lucasfilm to let Abrams have another year? Surely a better film and bigger profits in 2020 (and beyond) is better for Disney than a rushed film released in 2019?

Like, there are a lot of fundamentally godawful creative decisions in TROS that polishing wouldn't help, but there's a lot of stuff - the breakneck pace, the lack of sense, the cursory nature of so many of its climaxes - that would have benefited if they'd had a few more months to script it and another year to shoot it.
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