Thread for Star Wars A New Hope podcast

Frakkin TFrakkin T Currently Offline
edited December 2014 in Movies
I can't believe there's no thread for this yet! What did you think about the boys' take on Episode IV? (My apologies if there is already a thread for this)

Comments

  • Frakkin TFrakkin T Currently Offline
    This was a fun podcast; tip of the hat to Andrew Mount. The only thing I disagreed with was the idea that Episode II was the absolute worst. Episode II might be my 4th best of the 6. Portman and Christensen were so bland and passionless in the love scenes that they almost achieve the status of being completely blank slates on which we can project our idea of the perfect love story. I enjoyed Obi-Wan's detective story and the reveal of the Clone Army; it was mysterious and it became a cornerstone of the entire 6 film arc. And lest you forget,you also get Boba Fett's origin story. There's so much more to like in Episode II than in either of the other 2/3 of the prequels. Attack of the Clones really only has one problem and that is the love story. The entire prequel trilogy is 100% dependent on Padme's and Anakin's relationship, and the entire thing is a failure. Portman is bored, Christensen is flailing, and George Lucas is struggling to write dialogue for anything that won't be completely CG. That story is the rotten core of the prequels, and because it takes place mainly in Episode II, it blinds us to the fact that there is a lot of cool stuff in that film.
  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    AOTC for me is the worst because that's when I hit rock bottom as a fan. Like, "Oh my god. I was wrong. This is going nowhere. Lucas has no idea what he's doing." And yeah, the Padme / Anakin stuff was excruciating. Obi-wan's detective plot was the neatest thing about the movie. I personally hated the Boba Fett intro/origin story. Another case of the prequels diminishing a character in the original trilogy. But really, there is almost no wrong answer for "what's the worst prequel movie", except for "Revenge of the Sith", because I think everyone agrees it is "best".

    One thing Jim and I have talked about is turning AOTC into a "silent movie" where all dialog is removed, and you use title cards to re-write the dialog. With some editing and creative writing, the movie could be saved.
  • ArctorArctor The Netherlands
    I liked the podcast but I was kind of disappointed not to see a more critical perspective. Can't really blame you though because you're obviously huge fans but I've seen a breakdown by two dutch dudes that utterly chopped ANH to pieces. Their perspective was without nostalgia and basically laid out it was technically a fairy tale instead of a science fiction. It was really long and intelligently analyzed but the general gist of it was that Star Wars in general is not a lot more than a good vs evil story without any depth. Good always wins anyway and the empire is completely incompetent - the only evil character who's not a total idiot is Darth Vader - so there's no actual tension in the story.
  • Frakkin TFrakkin T Currently Offline
    edited December 2014
    @Arctor‌ that sounds like a fantastic breakdown. I know the guys dismissed it but it really follows the hero's journey laid out in Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces. There's a universality to ANH especially that takes it out of the realm of sf or even fairy tales and it becomes myth. Myth can be a lot of things. You can study it critically and learn something about human nature. If you're an American lad of a certain age, though, you are a believer in the myth. It's very difficult to be objective about a story that you've grown up with.
  • Frakkin TFrakkin T Currently Offline
    edited December 2014
    Campbell was a fascinating guy, and I would recommend that anyone read his stuff if they are interested in storytelling of any kind and why it touches us so deeply at times. Campbell's idea was that a film like Star Wars resonates with so many because it adheres closely to the archetypal Hero's Journey that we all know because it's literally in our DNA as humans. Just in episode 4 you have the first third of the journey:
    1. Call To Adventure (“Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope!,” )
    2. Refusal of the Call (“Look, I can’t get involved. I’ve got work to do. It’s not that I like the Empire; I hate it, but there’s nothing I can do about it right now… It’s all such a long way from here.”)
    3. Supernatural Aid ("These aren't the droids you're looking for")
    4. Crossing the Threshold, or Descent into the Underworld. (“You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy,” )
    5. Belly of the Whale ("That's no moon, that's a space station.")
    (This is not my original thinking. People have been writing about this since before the internet. You'll probably find a dozen articles if you google it.)
  • FreddyFreddy Denton, Texas
    Glad someone else started this thread, since I didn't have a lot to add. I will say one thing in regards to the "everything looks too polished and new" comments. That was very deliberate. The original trilogy represents a somewhat thrashed and dystopian era in the Star Wars universe; whereas the prequels take place in an era of peace and prosperity (albeit the end of that era). A line relating to this is when Obi Wan gives Luke the lightsaber and says "an elegant weapon, for a more civilized age."
  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    Here's the thing, Campbell's ideas have tremendous merit to them. No doubt. And Star Wars does indeed fit the hero's journey thing. What I dismiss it the idea that George Lucas actually sat down and intentionally crafted this universal myth, and that is why it was such an artistic and commercial success. That is the narrative that was established in the 1990's, and Lucas bought it hook line and sinker.

    The prequels are a direct result of that. He made the prequels using a process that he claimed he'd used for the OT -- which, as a side point, if you research some of these claims, it's pretty obvious that Lucas has been bluffing about having the PT mapped out, or even knowing that Darth Vader was Luke's father the whole time, and when he talks about episodes IV-VI being the "middle story", he was totally full of shit about having any idea what would take place in episodes VII-IX -- and ended up with a very sterile, paint by numbers intentional mythmaking that felt flat and lifeless.

    That's what I dismiss. That Lucas sat at Campbell's feet and created Star Wars as a deliberate brainbug for western civilization that would burrow in deep and resonate. Nah. He made an updated version of Flash Gordon, and the country was ready for a romp after post-vietnam naval gazing, and we ate it up.
  • Frakkin TFrakkin T Currently Offline
    I think you're mostly right, but Lucas HAD to have known about Campbell when he was writing the original trilogy, or else it's one hell of a coincidence. At the very least he thought "Hey, someone already sketched out exactly how this story should play out, let me use it as the skeleton of this sci-fi epic I am writing." Did he have the skill or the talent to consciously create something intending it to be a universal myth? Probably not; that gives him way too much credit (Credit which, by the way, has been proven the last 20 years to be nearly completely unfounded.)
  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    Well, why is it impossible? I think you can explain all of A New Hope by watching old Flash Gordon serials and Hidden Fortress. Haha...
  • Frakkin TFrakkin T Currently Offline

    Well, why is it impossible? I think you can explain all of A New Hope by watching old Flash Gordon serials and Hidden Fortress. Haha...

    I can't tell if you are joking or not! I guess if Campbell was correct about the Hero's Journey being something that we all share in the deep subconscious of our minds then Lucas may have written it without knowing about Campbell at all, but then you still have to give Lucas credit for somehow tapping into that subconscious, because it is undeniable how closely Star Wars parallels the Hero's Journey.

  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    Totally not joking. I'm just saying that yes, the "monomyth" is so deeply ingrained, and has been told so many times, that it's sort of hard to tell a coming of age story in a sci-fi or fantasy setting and not hit a lot of it's bases. Found this quote from 2002 from Lucas; "I started reading Joe's books. Before that I hadn't read any of Joe's books.... It was very eerie because in reading The Hero with A Thousand Faces I began to realize that my first draft of Star Wars was following classical motifs." That's seemingly Lucas being pretty honest. He wrote Star Wars (admittedly, a first draft), started reading Campbell, and realized he had subconsciously tapped into this cultural mythmaking. I'm a bit skeptical. As far I can tell from research, Lucas had never met Campbell or attended any of his lectures until after the trilogy was completed. I've heard that Lucas was claiming he was a big influence on SW during it's original 1977 release, but I can't find any quotes to back that up. To me, Lucas and Campbell hooked up in the mid-to-late 80's, it flattered Lucas' ego, it was great exposure for Campbell, and then they (probably quite innocently) began to weave themselves a new myth; Star Wars as a carefully constructed myth that taps deep into the subconscious which is why everyone loves it.

    I realize it's a fine distinction, but I feel an important one. Lucas buying into his own myth led to the disaster that is the prequels, where he learned all the wrong lessons from the first trilogy, invented a way of creating the story that doesn't reflect how he actually went about creating the first three, and the result was the Prequels.

    To me, Lucas is a great idea man, and a great visual storyteller. He works best when he can be free to play to those strengths, and leave the nuts and bolts of character and narrative to people who actually care about those things. Remember, some of Lucas brightest moments came when he collaborated with others (Empire, Raiders), or when he was forced by circumstances to share creative control (A New Hope).
  • Frakkin TFrakkin T Currently Offline
    Interesting. I haven't done the research so I'll defer to yours. It all boils down to how you think of Lucas and what you consider to be his legacy. There's a tendency to go back to that time and mythologize it, make Lucas into this divinely inspired prophet of pop culture, but there are no prophets, only artists, some of whom do one great thing and never reach that height again.
  • WarpFoxWarpFox Nashville, TN
    To me, one of the most easy-to-fuck-up elements of storytelling is getting overly involved in detail and giving too much information. The original trilogy had a lot going for it that gave the viewer a glimpse into the Star Wars universe without it feeling like they absolutely have to understand everything about it in order to give a damn about the story. A lot of stuff is just given to you without explanation (because if you're a resident of this galaxy, it NEEDS no explanation) and it works. We don't need midichlorians to explain The Force, because we already know everything we need to know about it. It's the over-explanation element that really led Lucas to royally fuck shit up, as he views it as a legitimate form of world-building, but it's a sloppy and boring method. The devil is in the details, and in this case, the devil is bad.
  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    Frakkin, 90% of my opinions on Lucas were shaped by The Secret History of Star Wars. Highly recommended reading for a first generation Star Wars fan. http://secrethistoryofstarwars.com/
  • Frakkin TFrakkin T Currently Offline

    Frakkin, 90% of my opinions on Lucas were shaped by The Secret History of Star Wars. Highly recommended reading for a first generation Star Wars fan. http://secrethistoryofstarwars.com/

    I'll have to check it out. Funny, as a Trekkie I have devoured books, articles, comics, cartoons, anything Trek, and loved it. I've never really explored Star Wars aside from the movies themselves and maybe some DVD special features. Thanks for the tip!

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