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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 12 May 2017 at 9:20pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

But -- leaving that movie aside -- and given (if not accepting) that EMPIRE already profoundly changed the nature of the original -- I think that EMPIRE/JEDI was a missed opportunity to make its own decent two-part "stand-alone" film. I'm no great fan of EMPIRE even on its own merits, but JEDI was a huge dip comparatively. If at least JEDI had tried to be a genuine sequel to EMPIRE, a true part-two, up to the same standard, and damn the original movie, I think it likely the two together could have been very good for what they were. (I still wouldn't have thought them "Star Wars" movies, but...)
+++++++++

Having been born when I was, I often wonder what my reaction would have been to the sequels if I'd seen STAR WARS in first run. As it is, I grew up with them as a unit, and have had to train myself to understand the proper context of each film. 

There are days where I think you purist guys are totally nuts for bashing EMPIRE, and are blinded by your initial perception of STAR WARS as a singular entity. Most often, though, I do understand where you're coming from, even if I don't entirely agree. I get what you're saying and why, and am coming more and more to the conclusion that STAR WARS works best as the standalone, perfect movie it was initially presented as.

I find it fascinating that EMPIRE received mixed reviews upon release, but later became regarded as both an all-time classic and the best of the series. I'd attribute that partly to aging fans gravitating toward the more "adult" film, so as to not have to give up their toys. However, as noted, it was my favorite when I was a kid, so it can't just be a thing for aging fanboys, right?

I can totally understand the sense of betrayal from fans who went in expecting more STAR WARS, and instead got EMPIRE's retcons and more soap-opera-ish tone. That stuff still isn't a dealbreaker for me, even though my understanding of story structure and film theory has grown immensely since my youth. I still regard EMPIRE as one of the greatest films ever made, and the best-made of the STAR WARS films, although STAR WARS is unquestionably the best movie experience of the series, with the best story structure. I'm madly in love with EMPIRE's style and subtleties, though. Lucas pretty much wanted to just pump out a STAR WARS sequel on the cheap (SPLINTER OF THE MIND'S EYE was the original sequel plan), but the resulting film fascinates me by how it broke the traditional rules of sequels and defied expectations. Its unusual structure--the good guys lost in what ended up becoming the second act of a trilogy--has been copied and referenced again and again in subsequent franchises.

That all being said, EMPIRE is dependent on the groundwork laid by STAR WARS in order to do what it does, even whilst simultaneously knocking over the applecart. And, of course, JEDI fumbled the ball, which retroactively counts against EMPIRE, since the latter set up story points which weren't satisfactorily resolved.


I suppose I'm what you'd call a STAR WARS moderate. I enjoy all of the films to varying degrees (the Disney films less so than anything else--the story of STAR WARS is very much the story of George Lucas, good and bad, and without him, the new films just don't seem "real" to me), but I understand the viewpoints of people on both extreme ends of the spectrum--the original STAR WARS purists and those who love the multi-film Saga.

And, as noted, I find value in the prequels, even while fully acknowledging their flaws. Perhaps my punishment for defending EMPIRE, JEDI, and the prequels is to now watch everyone drink the Kool-Aid regarding the Disney films, and often feel like a lone dissenter.

By the way, I find the "Jar Jar Abrams" YouTube channel rather hilarious, although I also kinda find myself agreeing with their negative slant on SW news and interviews!



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Steven Myers
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Posted: 12 May 2017 at 9:58pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Funny thing is, in the years after the release of the originals and owning them on VHS and watching them on TV, Empire is the movie I've watched the least. I'd have never guessed it would one day be considered the best of the bunch by anyone.

Though Force Awakens introduced some nice new characters, I think they really dropped the ball with the retread-Empire bad guys with their "even bigger and badder" Death Star. Not only does it seem like fan-fic, there are better stories in the expanded universe, including the Marvel comics!
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 12 May 2017 at 11:30pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Man, I love the old Marvel series!
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 May 2017 at 8:38am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Darn. I just found a post elsewhere using "Jar Jar Abrams," and it's from 2014. I think that predates my first use.

Granted, it's a pretty obvious play on words, so I am not really surprised somebody beat me to it.

(Unfortunately, the way my computer works with the Forum I can only search for thread titles, not content.)

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John Popa
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Posted: 13 May 2017 at 10:54am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Star Wars


----- a monumental gap -----

Return of the Jedi - tried to return some of the bright spirit of the original. I still don't get the Ewok hate and I loved the final space battle.

Empire Strikes Back - I saw this in the theater when it was new (and I was 8.) I hated it then, I hate it more now. A tedious dirge more to impress adults - I'm always amazed at people who hate 'dark and gritty' takes on super hero comics but are fine with this.

The Force Awakens - I liked Rey and Poe Dameron and while the story was painfully derivative and obvious, at least it had a decent clip.

Rogue One - The final battle, which is basically the second half of the movie, redeems an otherwise plodding and boring first half. But it's still better than what comes below.

Attack of the Clones - All I remember is I kind of liked this one more than the others. I really couldn't tell you anything that happened in this movie other than a big light sabre fight.

Revenge of the Sith - I don't remember anything that happened in this movie either, but there's no possible way it's worse than what's below.

The Phantom Menace - Still one of the worst movies I've ever seen.
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Rich Marzullo
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Posted: 13 May 2017 at 11:22am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Hhmmm....

Star Wars
Return of the Jedi (childhood nostalgia plays a part in this, methinks. I believe Jedi was the first film I saw in the series, and it's had a lasting impact)
Empire Strikes Back
The Force Awakens
Rogue One
Revenge of the Sith
The Phantom Menace
Attack of the Clones
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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 13 May 2017 at 2:54pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

That all being said, EMPIRE is dependent on the groundwork laid by STAR WARS in order to do what it does, even whilst simultaneously knocking over the applecart. And, of course, JEDI fumbled the ball, which retroactively counts against EMPIRE, since the latter set up story points which weren't satisfactorily resolved.

Which is one reason I don't buy EMPIRE as a "better" movie than STAR WARS. It is an incomplete film. STAR WARS can stand on its own. EMPIRE cannot. It needs STAR WARS to "start" it and JEDI to finish it. And much as JEDI's flaws count against EMPIRE, both (and all that follows) make STAR WARS a less perfect film.

It's one thing to come up short as a sequel. It's quite another to be detrimental to the best film in franchise.

EMPIRE robs the Rebels of their victory and makes Obi-Wan a liar.

JEDI makes Vader a sympathetic figure and Luke incestuous.

The prequels continue to peel the Vader onion, removing any mystery from the character...mystery that initially made the character that much more interesting. And any new interesting characters were killed. Qui-Gon Jinn, Mace Windu, Darth Maul, Count Dooku...I suppose because they couldn't be running around in the Original Trilogy*. There are also victories celebrated that we know are not really anything to get excited about...

THE FORCE AWAKENS (like EMPIRE) robs our heroes of their apparent victory, this time seen at the end of ROTJ. And...again with a Death Star. If it was good enough for two out of three of the original movies, why not? I know, it's technically not a 'Death Star'...but c'mon...it's a Death Star. Blows up just as well.

This is also not a complete film. As we realize THE LAST JEDI will be the "EMPIRE" of this round. Bleh.

*Similar to the original prequels (a sad designation), every character we don't recognize must die in the newest prequel, ROGUE ONE, as they can't be running around come the time of the Original Trilogy.




Edited by Brian Rhodes on 13 May 2017 at 3:06pm
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Paul Kimball
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Posted: 16 May 2017 at 9:49pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

EMPIRE cannot. It needs STAR WARS to "start" it and JEDI to finish.
+++++++
maybe as an adult but as a child Empire was the 1st star wars movie I saw
and I didn't feel it was incomplete then.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 17 May 2017 at 6:12am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

EMPIRE cannot. It needs STAR WARS to "start" it and JEDI to finish.

+++++++

maybe as an adult but as a child Empire was the 1st star wars movie I saw and I didn't feel it was incomplete then.

••

Here we see The STAR WARS Effect, which has become so pervasive most people no longer even realize it exists, or are aware of a time when it didn't.

STAR WARS was such a ubiquitous social phenomenon that by the time the second film was released it had become part of our race memory! It had crept into every corner of or consciousness, and even a kid seeing THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (one of the lamest titles, like, ever) would go into the theater already steeped in STAR WARS lore.

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Michael Penn
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Posted: 17 May 2017 at 7:36am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

It's too bad we can only go back to the "you-had-to-be-there" trope but... it remains true.

JAWS had been the first recognized blockbuster, but nobody could have predicted that STAR WARS would not only be that but so much more.

STAR WARS in 1977 was not a mere movie -- it was a social phenomenon.

Moviegoers bought out tickets for weeks in advance and often stood in line for hours in the hopes of watching it... just once, that is. But people saw it again and again -- and again! And in that pre-internet time, as much as the contemporary media could be saturated with Star Wars stuff, oh, it damn well was.

I don't know how even a little kid (or perhaps especially a little kid!) could go into EMPIRE "clean," so to speak.


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John Byrne
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Posted: 17 May 2017 at 10:06am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

It becomes harder and harder to shake the cobwebs off the the timeline. To get people to remember that there is a distinct "line in the sand", and in front of the line there was NO STAR WARS. Literally, nothing.

One of my first run-ins online was with a guy who insisted the original film had "always" been subtitled "A New Hope", and nothing I could say could shake him of this certainty. It was a profoundly disturbing moment. There I was, speaking the indisputable truth -- and he was disputing it!

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Doug Centers
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Posted: 17 May 2017 at 10:36am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I impressed on my son, at a young age, that STAR WARS was the title for that first movie. He's got it down now but him convincing his friends of that is another story.
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 17 May 2017 at 12:43pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Star Wars -- the original, the one that started it all, that gave us the characters we loved, the amazing spaceships, the great ideas and it has the most riveting, most satisfying climax of all the films.
Empire Strikes Back -- looks amazing, lovingly crafted, introduces some more classic characters, with a smart script and lets us explore further the Force and its Dark Side. Sadly it is the only Star Wars sequel than it is truly good.
Return of the Jedi -- at least we have the classic characters. More remake than attempt to explore a new story, the special effects are decent, the action well-staged and Jabba and The Emperor sort of make the entry worthwhile. Sort of. The crud about redeeming Vader is unconvincing and the film is somehow uninvolving. 
Phantom Menace -- a disappointment, but I did enjoy the central section on Tatooine. Marooned Jedi having to use their wiles to repair their ship and prevent a war is actually quite a decent story, but it's a shame about the dull bookends on Naboo.
The Force Awakens -- entertaining and annoying in equal measure. Some likeable new actors, a decent opening half hour, but the second half is largely a waste of time by virtue of being so derivative of what has gone before. Some needed emotion got shoved back into the conflict between Rey and Kylo Ren so that their duel actually made you feel something -- yay! -- and it wins bonus points for Luke quivering in the final seconds, but not much of a story really.
Attack of the Clones -- the cloner planet detective mission for Obi-Wan was fairly good, but much of the rest is pretty dire.
Revenge of the Sith -- I found this one awful with a few exceptions. Almost gets good when Windu goes to confront the Emperor, but the lava duel is probably the lowpoint for me of the entire series. Apart from maybe Padmé's death scene and the infamous "Noooooo!" that follows it.
Rogue One -- least memorable characters in the series. Is made under the impression that Star Wars got the war part wrong and that the Death Star blowing up under impossible circumstances was somehow a plot hole. No, here's a plot hole -- Galen purposely builds a flaw into the Death Star, the Rebels discover it, Gran Moff Tarkin is notified that the Rebels have discovered it and are attempting to exploit it and then he chooses to let them instead of jumping to hyperspace. That's a plot hole. Or did Galen's clever plan involve Tarkin's ego allowing the attack to continue? Tarkin's hubris only makes sense if there is NOT a big flaw purposely built into the Death Star. Annoying, boring film.


Edited by Peter Martin on 17 May 2017 at 12:45pm
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 17 May 2017 at 9:20pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Star Wars- In a class all by itself. A film that literally changed the world. And made mine a lot more fun.

Much, much further down the list-

Return of the Jedi- The next Star Wars film I was very, very excited to see. I had the Cracked Magazine poster for Empire up in my room for years, but reading the parodies and the Marvel Super Special adaptation more or less sated my need to see Empire in the theatre. I never went. ROTJ, on the other hand, was nevertheless something I was jazzed about. Seeing it, I realized the truth of Lucas's statement years before that "Star Wars" and the attendant franchise was basically for twelve year olds. ROTJ is the biggest episode of the Muppet Show filmed to that date. Fun, but really Muppetty.

The Empire Strikes Back- I literally can't stay awake for it. I like the parts I'm up for. I like the action on Hoth and the friendship between Han and Luke. I'm pretty sure that at one time or another I've seen every frame of the picture at friends' houses or in comic shops, but staying up straight through it? I'm always out like a light before we get to Bespin.

The Force Awakens- So how is Empire ahead of other films that I can stay awake for? Simply because I still like everyone in it and care about what happens to them. TFA ranks this high on the list mainly because I liked how it looked. I liked seeing Han and Chewie again. I wish they'd kept the excised storyline with Leia and her doomed operative. I didn't hate every minute I spent in the theatre watching it... 

Rogue One- Again, I enjoyed the experience of sitting there watching the story unfold. I liked K-2, the Alan Tudyk robot and its snarky relationship with Jyn Erso. I liked the doomed band of mercs who were going to die to bring us the Death Star Plans. I really did NOT like the protracted final battle and the reveal that Galen sabotaged the stupid thing. Really, Galen? Couldn't just... I dunno... rig it so the thing blows up by itself? You'd need a womp-rat killing Jedi to hit a two-meter-square vent and give yourself the vengeance you seek. Fortunately, we just happened to have one available... 
Technically, the film belongs to a different genre; that of the Wild Bunch or the Dirty Dozen; the ragtag band of misfits all willing to die for a cause greater than themselves, which is odd, because they never thought all that much of themselves until just now... It is not geared for twelve year olds. The Force Awakens can still sort of pretend it is although it misses the mark by a wide margin. Rogue One makes no such pretense and gives us a less sentimental, dirtier-fighting Star Wars, which I don't recall anyone really asking for...

Now we're in Prequel Territory... And I genuinely hated these movies. No, they didn't "rape my childhood." They're simply awful and they take the franchise down with them. I do mourn the films that could have been, but then I wonder if Lucas could have given us those anyway, absent his big "Vader arc." The green screens, the dialogue, they can't even fake being a TV cop show properly... These things are master classes in lousy film-making; A "How-To-Do-Everything-Wrong" in storytelling. Nothing makes a damn bit of sense in relationships or tenor or pacing... 

As I recall, I hated the middle one the least so we'll put Attack of the Clones next... There's some weird fun in seeing Ob-Ewan gallumphing around on that whatever-it-was and the Jedi all get to have a big gladiator arena show... Whatever. Doesn't make up for the weird romance angle.
"Hi, you met me when I was ten. Wanna boogie?"
"Get lost, Junior." 
"But I just came back from killing an entire community of people. Really, there was a little girl with a doll and everything!" 
"Killed people? Okay, that's hot..."

Next, I suppose we have Revenge of the Sith with the big fight we've been long promised turning out not one bit to be like what had been advertised. It's a sideways-scrolling videogame with the contestants on little floating platforms, bobbing up and down as they, I dunno, collect rings or bananas or whatever... There's a moment, a stupid moment of course, where Queen Blubberpuss sobs that she's pregnant and OB-GYN races off to tell his pal, then weirdly spins and asks, "It is his, right?" and I thought the movie was actually going to go somewhere for a minute. It really looks like he thought it might have been his... but no, I think Lucas just thought the line was funny or something... He's wrong of course. Like so much of the dialogue in the prequels, its just awkward, but for a moment there, I thought an actual movie might start happening onscreen... But no. 
This trainwreck also has the terrible "Nooooo" from LittleBitch Vader and the "Everything you've been waiting to see happen all happens in one scene" scene where A.) Mace Windu does something B.) Anakin switches from the Light Side to the Dark and C.) The Emperor gets all wrinkly. Seriously, throw in Sonic the HedgeYoda and that's every story beat the film had in it in one terrible, poorly written scene. 
So, with so much going against it, how could it possibly be above some other film...?

Well, my friends, it's only made possible by the fact that final film is The Phantom Menace, the racist, club-footed interminable drag of a motion picture that signaled the end of anything good coming from the franchise for a decade or more. Seriously, the kids on Saturday Morning TV could act better than, yes, poor poor Jake Lloyd. It's not his fault he can't act and that the rocks in the picture hold the screen better than he does. At least they don't f*ckin' whine all the time. 
I wanted to like this film. It wouldn't allow it. It is so... so... boring. Say what you will about the other prequels (and if you don't, I will) but at least the massacres of the little Sandgirls with their wagons and the mass slaughter of the Younglings are events taking place in the story. Phantom Menace doesn't really have any. There's something resembling a Little Rascals soapbox derby and a bad ninja at the end, but really, no story of any value anywhere in between. Yes, I know, Trade Negotiations and Political Intrigue, but c'mon. Not really. We get exposition thrown in those directions, but no story. This thing just lies there on the screen like week-old calamari and smells about the same.

When it comes to "Top Star Wars" films, there's just the one. Then a couple others I have some affection for, a couple I liked in the theatre but don't care if I ever see again, and then a lot of really awful sludge. 


Edited by Brian Hague on 17 May 2017 at 9:41pm
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John Byrne
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Posted: 18 May 2017 at 9:21am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

I get the same feelings watching the later STAR WARS -- or should that be "Star Wars"? -- movies as I get when I see the Marvel movies. Having been there at the beginning (1977), I have seen all the retcons and phoney-baloney backstory shoveled in and, as with Marvel, seen the fans who came later accepting those changes as fact.

It's like trying to keep myself from clawing my own eyes out when I see an X-Men movie, and take note of all the stuff Chris crammed into the mythos after I left. All of which is "real" to so many fans.

(When it was announced that I would be doing HIDDEN YEARS and using Magneto as a villain, there was much outcry from some corners of X-Fandom. Magneto was a good guy! A freedom fighter! A hero!! Ugh.)

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Greg Kirkman
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The question is, where is the line drawn when it comes to retcons being "right" or "wrong"? It's all largely a matter of perspective and of time and place, isn't it? Are younger viewers who love the prequels and are ambivalent about the originals "wrong"? Are older viewers who love the original film and hate everything else "wrong"? I honestly don't know. It's all in the timing. I think that the Disney films are largely a corporate exercise in merchandising and nostalgia-milking, but the generation before me tends to think that about all of the films except for the original. 

I introduced the movies to a young friend of mine, a year or two back. I made darn sure to go in release order, beginning with STAR WARS. The original film is still his favorite, although he's enjoyed all of the films to varying degrees (including the prequels and the Disney films).

He recently began introducing the films to his new bride. I suggested release order. He started with the prequels. He messaged me, today, and said that he may have "ruined" STAR WARS for his wife, because she doesn't like Anakin as Darth Vader, and felt that ROGUE ONE was a waste of time, because everyone died in the end. 

That's right,: he's showing them to her in chronological order--the prequels, then ROGUE ONE, then the original trilogy, then TFA. She hasn't even seen STAR WARS, yet. in a way, this is largely what Lucas intended when he made the prequels--to invert audience perceptions of the original film(s) by providing new context, and to create a wholly different viewing experience for the generations that would grow up with all six films to watch, rather than two trilogies made decades apart. So, when Vader boards Leia's ship in STAR WARS, it becomes "Oh, hey, Anakin is still stuck in that suit", rather than, "Oooooohhhh, big, scary villain!".

More and more, I've come to the conclusion that pretty much the entire series has coasted on the goodwill and emotional connection created by the original film. Watching four whole movies prior to the original surely provides a very, very different experience, and, I think, arguably diminishes the potential connection and impact that those films would have. 

But..is that "wrong"? It's a strangely fascinating exercise in interactive storytelling, and toying with audience perceptions. I won't say that the continually-evolving "Saga" is better than what the world was initially presented with in 1977, but it does provide a lot of food for thought, in terms of a creator (and now a corporation) revisiting his work, and how that work is perceived differently by each successive generation. It's all a matter of time and place.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 18 May 2017 at 10:36am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

I have this debate with a buddy quite often. He's totally on board for all of Hollywood's exesses. Will Smith as Jim West? No problem. The X-Men mocking "yellow spadex"? Who cares? Batman as a discount Iron Man? Looks great! And most of the audience doesn't know the difference!

But show him a WW1 movie that uses Gypsy Moths for Sopwith Camels and his head will nearly explode. Have a motorcycle that's a year off the vintage, and he will call down the wrath of God on the filmmakers.

"Those things are REAL!" he will exclaim.

"Who cares?" I respond, using his own words. "Most of the audience doesn't know the difference!"

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Michael Penn
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Posted: 18 May 2017 at 10:38am | IP Logged | 18 post reply


 QUOTE:
The question is, where is the line drawn when it comes to retcons being "right" or "wrong"?

My opinion:

A retcon might only be right, if: [1] once the essentials of the original work are established, it is used to restore later iterations, which have broken faith with the original, to comport with those essentials; or [2] it is used to tell further stories that do not break faith with the essentials of the original work.

Otherwise, a retcon is wrong.

I don't believe one had to be old enough to see STAR WARS in 1977 to fairly judge that the sequels and prequels all broke faith with the original movie.

As for what anyone personally loves or doesn't -- there's nothing right or wrong about that. Some people absolutely love retcons that blow up the original, and that's fine. I hate them, and that's fine too. So, while I don't think those retcons are objectively justifiable, ... subjectively? Enjoy!

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John Byrne
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Posted: 18 May 2017 at 10:47am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

There are many, I've found, who don't seem to understand the difference between a retcon and a flashback to something we haven't seen before.

Example: Roger Stern's heart nearly burst when he found out Steve Gerber had retconned Captain America's backstory. What Steve did was presented as a flashback, but it radically altered what we knew about Cap. So, when Rog and I became Cap's protectors, the first thing he did was undo Steve's story.

Now, at that precise moment in time, what Roger wrote might also have been seen as a retcon, since it undid what was now "established", but since it was restoring the proper timeline, it was more of a straightforward flashback. An UNretcon, if you will.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 18 May 2017 at 11:26am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

I don't believe one had to be old enough to see STAR WARS in 1977 to fairly judge that the sequels and prequels all broke faith with.
+++++++

(raises hand)

I can attest to that!


When it comes down to it, we nerds are simply more invested and more discerning than the average moviegoer. Most people only watch this stuff on a "Good movie or bad movie?" level. They just want to be entertained. There are surely a lot of people who say, "Oh, hey--a new STAR WARS movie!", and don't care about who is making it, or why. Just that it's an entertaining romp. 


Once you start getting into the nuances of story construction/characterization/tone--to say nothing of studio politics and creative shakeups--your enjoyment of a given film is bound to be affected. Ignorance is bliss, after all. The price of nerd-knowledge seems to be constantly complaining about things that other people just don't care about!

When applying my years of knowledge and study to the STAR WARS franchise, I get what you guys are saying. STAR WARS is just a wonderful, groundbreaking, all-time-great film, and everything that came after diminished what it accomplished, to varying degrees. HOWEVER, it's very hard to disconnect from my emotional connection to the sequels. Intellectually, I understand the retcons, merchandising, and gear-shifting, but I'm unable to write them off as an affront to the purity of the original film, because i didn't have that experience of STAR WARS as a singular entity.

On he flipside, I can't quite write off the prequels, because I can sip the Kool-Aid and see what Lucas was going for. I may not agree with it, but I admire his audacity and ambition, even if his reach far exceeded his grasp.

Now, though, I'm finally getting a taste of what the old-timers must feel like. The vast majority love the Disney films, but I Don't Get It, and am sort of appalled at how easily fans have embraced the original characters being treated so roughly. Of course, that's made me put my thinking cap on, and I've then thought about how the sequels treated the original film, but I still think it's a bit of a false equivalency.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 18 May 2017 at 12:33pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

...I can sip the Kool-Aid and see what Lucas was going for...

•••

A way to sell more toys?

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Michael Penn
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Posted: 18 May 2017 at 12:55pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply


 QUOTE:
An UNretcon, if you will.

I will! 

The best rule for anybody taking up a franchise or even continuing their own is "first, do no harm." But if you come along later, and harm's been done -- by all means, fix it.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 18 May 2017 at 1:10pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply


...I can sip the Kool-Aid and see what Lucas was going for...

•••

A way to sell more toys?

++++++

There's that, of course, but I was thinking more of the "interactive filmmaking" thing. Completely and deliberately changing the existing story by providing new context. It's not necessarily successful or believable, but I do find the concept interesting, from an editorial/experimental standpoint. Watching the movies in one order vs. another provides completely different experiences, and a viewer's personal history with the series (if any) plays a role in how they perceive that experience. And, now, with the Disney films thrown into the mix, you can watch nearly a half-dozen films in chronological order before you even get to STAR WARS. I get the feeling at ROGUE ONE works better as a sequel to REVENGE OF THE SITH than as a prequel to STAR WARS. 

And then the young Han Solo (or whatever his real name is...sigh...) movie will be thrown into the mix, and then...

It really is like a topsy game of Retcon Jenga, but it has yet to actually collapse. People are still invested in the franchise, despite its turning to grave-robbing (literally, in the case of Peter Cushing) in order to continue.



Edited by Greg Kirkman on 18 May 2017 at 1:10pm
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Brian Hague
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I'd argue that the tower cannot properly collapse as there is nothing of any weight to pull it downwards. It's all make-believe and nonsense and therefore can be embroidered upon indefinitely. We can have another ten Disney films followed by ten more from a "Star Wars Purist" who insists he's there to fix all the retcons and inconsistencies. Leia's memory of her mother's eyes and Anakin's whiny little-baby bitchiness will all be recontextualized and rewritten so that it all flows together like a fine wine... for a few films anyway, when the next guy comes along to undo all the fixes because, perfect or imperfect, George Lucas had a VISION, dammit, and so it all gets made neverwas, until someone else shoehorns in the film that tells us Beru and Owen are still alive and were Palpatine's loyal stooges all along and Luke has been brainwashed since birth to betray us all... 

The tower cannot fall because it's all weightless. Aside from that lightweight piffle of a first film, it was never a well-told story to begin with. Any amount of similar nonsense can be piled on top of it because the franchise has been that way since the beginning. Star Wars doesn't gain gravitas from any of these reworkings. It loses it, becoming more insubstantial every time more is "added."


Edited by Brian Hague on 18 May 2017 at 4:07pm
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Brian Rhodes
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Completely and deliberately changing the existing story by providing new context.

On the other hand, if it ain't broke...

There is very little "wrong" with STAR WARS.  Sure, Lucas has stated he wasn't happy with the effects, whatever. But from a story standpoint, I don't think it was "missing" anything. And, again, the prequels and sequels take away from the original...

Obi-Wan, trusted sage...ends up best case sandbagging, worst case, just lying.

Luke had a crush on his twin sister. Sure, he didn't know...but still. Gross. Seriously, Ben, you didn't have to tell Luke everything, but how about suggesting he pump the brakes on the whole "beautiful princess" thing...?

Vader went from mysterious, sinister bad-ass to a kid who just had questionable mentoring and impulse control issues.

The Force went from an all-binding energy that anyone could tap into if they believed and trained...to microscopic bugs that you have to be born with. OR....made of (?????)

The Rebels went from being smart enough to find an exploit a design flaw in the Death Star to having one being built-in for them.

Yoda, literally on his death-bed in EMPIRE, is jumping around like Bruce Lee on a speedball just 20 years earlier. In Yoda years, that's like a month.

After Order 66, The remaining Jedi go into hiding. They hide Anakin's kids. One of the Jedi and one of the kids both end up on the same planet. The planet on which Anakin was born (this part actually kind of makes sense; probably the last place he would think to look). Hiding from a guy who can sense those strong with the Force. And they don't even bother changing Luke's last name.

On Mustafar, Obi-Wan had the high ground, so there's no way Anakin could win. Even though Obi-Wan himself was in a much worse position years earlier when he made Darth Maul cutlets.

And the Death Star thing is just beaten into the ground. The "That's no moon!" awe is diluted by overexposure. So much so that it's a whole planet by TFA and no one in the movie even seems that impressed. They even joke about how there's always a way to blow one up.

Nicholas Meyer said, "Art thrives on restrictions." His WRATH OF KHAN is evidence of this. JAWS, similarly. And STAR WARS. Probably the most damaging thing that movie did to itself is make a ton of money.

STAR WARS, as a movie, is near-perfection.

Star Wars, as a franchise...a "saga"...is an overblown, convoluted mess. Each entry compounds this...and chisels away at the smart but simple charm and excitement of the original.

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