Star Wars - Behind the Scenes Special - Page 5 at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > And Now, For Something Completely Different... > Awake In The Dark

Awake In The Dark
What you're watching these days on the Big Screen and the Small Screen.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old September 28th, 2004, 03:18 PM   #61
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 1,929
I'm surprised that excerpt was online-only, those having been some of the most interesting responses from Lucas in a while. Though, I take issue with his stance that the viewing order of the films should be ab initio (I through VI), a sequence that is not only thematically disruptive, but nonsensical from the perspective of the premature third-person omniscience it affords the viewer, as Lucas himself points out. The order should be IV through VI, and I through III should be left as an exercise to the viewer.
__________________
All the best,
Robert K S

Search DVinfo.net for quick answers | The best in the business: DVinfo.net sponsors
Robert Knecht Schmidt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 28th, 2004, 03:58 PM   #62
Trustee
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1,564
hi robert, i subscribe to EW so i can access all the contents that are in the printed magazine ONLINE so i don't have to retype that excerpt for all of you =)!

as for viewing order i think it would be logical to say that Vader's statement in Empire will STILL be a surprise along with every step of Star Wars journey simply because if you have never seen star wars and you started with episode i it can only get better and better and not worse! =). think about it if you never saw empire before you still dunno what luke will do or react and you still didnt know whether or not vader will do. destroy luke or invite him. i think that still rocks.
__________________
bow wow wow
Yi Fong Yu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 28th, 2004, 05:23 PM   #63
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mays Landing, NJ
Posts: 11,542
Only problem is, if I had started with episode one then I would have given up and never bothered to see the original....
Boyd Ostroff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 28th, 2004, 05:32 PM   #64
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Blacksburg Virginia
Posts: 50
"Only problem is, if I had started with episode one then I would have given up and never bothered to see the original...."
I hear ya brother!
Brack Craver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 28th, 2004, 06:04 PM   #65
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 356
a sequence that is not only thematically disruptive

How is it thematically disruptive?
Joshua Starnes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 28th, 2004, 06:13 PM   #66
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 1,929
In a way identical to the thematic disruption you'd incur in reordering the chapters of the Iliad or the Odyssey. The themes of STAR WARS's two cycles are, respectively, fall and redemption, but the story of the fall is only appurtenant to that of the redemption. (By way of analogy, if you were Christian, who would you teach your child about first and assign principal importance to: Christ or Adam?)
__________________
All the best,
Robert K S

Search DVinfo.net for quick answers | The best in the business: DVinfo.net sponsors
Robert Knecht Schmidt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 29th, 2004, 10:23 AM   #67
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 356
In a way identical to the thematic disruption you'd incur in reordering the chapters of the Iliad or the Odyssey. The themes of STAR WARS's two cycles are, respectively, fall and redemption, but the story of the fall is only appurtenant to that of the redemption. (By way of analogy, if you were Christian, who would you teach your child about first and assign principal importance to: Christ or Adam?)

I can see where you're coming from, but I disagree. For instance, in answer to your hypothetical question, I would start my child first with Adam, so that he would know and understand the antecedents of the situation when he got to Christ, which would increase his importance, not diminish it. I don't think there is a relation between which is first, and which is principally important.

Similarly with the Prequals, while the action of the OT is more important, the fact that it comes at the end doesn't diminish that, but in fact increases it, as the climax to the whole six part story comes at the end. And, by seeing Anakin's fall and where he came from, more drama is added to Darth Vader right from the start instead of at the end of Empire (which is where, in the OT, he stops being 1-Dimensional, if charasmatic, villain and becomes a full-fledged character), and many scenes (including the end of Empire) become powered by dramatic irony.

Watching IV-VI first would be like starting in the middle of the book and reading to the end, then going back and reading the beginning. Much of the stuff that happens in those first three chapters loses its point and impact if you have done so. However, if you start at I and work your way through, without knowing what's coming, those early chapters will have much more impact.
Joshua Starnes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 29th, 2004, 01:56 PM   #68
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 1,929
"Watching IV-VI first would be like starting in the middle of the book and reading to the end, then going back and reading the beginning."

Then why did Lucas decide, when he was carving up his grand story, to make the second trilogy first? (Ignoring the fact, for the sake of argument, that at the time he made the first STAR WARS, his ideas for sequels were actually very vague, e.g., Ben Kenobi wasn't supposed to die and become a spirit guide until shooting had almost begun, and Darth Vader as Luke's father wasn't definitively planned until The Empire Strikes Back began to be fleshed out.)

I'll take the liberty of preempting two possible answers, or rather excuses, made by Lucas himself in interviews.

He knew, or rather believed, that because of its darker theme, the Episodes I-III cycle wouldn't have been the most commercially successful film to start with.

Nonsense. People love a well-made tragedy. Shakespeare was successful with ten of them. Lucas himself had just come off work on one of the most successful films of the 1970s, and certainly the most tragic--The Godfather--though, I'll grant you that such a story was probably easier for audiences to grasp than a science fiction epic in the 1970s, and it helped that the film was based on a bestselling novel. A fall can be as satisfying a story as a rise or a redemption (what is supremely satisfying in all cases is to see the immanent justice of life do its work on characters in either case--that's the secret of myth!), and as well, I'd like to point out that most of the acclaimed films of the 1970s were tragedies--Love Story, Rosemary's Baby, Annie Hall, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Godfather Part II, The Deer Hunter. Heck, the decade was a tragedy.

He didn't yet have the technology to make Episodes I-III.

Eh. He would have made do with the state of the art, just as he had with Episodes IV-VI, and no shame in that. A decade from now, most of the effects and creatures in the prequels will seem as laughably unrealistic to sophiticated audiences of the future as those Buster Crabbe Flash Gordon spaceships-on-wires-with-roman-candle-exhaust seem to us today. Indeed, they prequel films may have turned better had they not been an overly effects-reliant afterthought.
__________________
All the best,
Robert K S

Search DVinfo.net for quick answers | The best in the business: DVinfo.net sponsors
Robert Knecht Schmidt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 29th, 2004, 05:29 PM   #69
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 356
Then why did Lucas decide, when he was carving up his grand story, to make the second trilogy first? (Ignoring the fact, for the sake of argument, that at the time he made the first STAR WARS, his ideas for sequels were actually very vague, e.g., Ben Kenobi wasn't supposed to die and become a spirit guide until shooting had almost begun, and Darth Vader as Luke's father wasn't definitively planned until The Empire Strikes Back began to be fleshed out.)

According to my research, and Lucas' comments on the DVD commentaries (which you can choose to believe or not believe I suppose - however, his original draft in which all three films were one 200 page script - which predates the 50 page published treatment which he submitted to Universal and which covers ANH only - while never published, does exist and is available for viewing at the Lucasfilm Archives) he actually did know that Darth Vader was going to be Luke's father at the time he was making the first Star Wars (though he seems to have been of two minds on whether Leia was Luke's sister right up until writing Jedi, when he had to decide one way or another). But that is neither here nor there.

Although on a related note, while there were lots of writings about the original trilogy, and some writings about the prequel trilogy, there were no writings about a sequel trilogy at all until the story development phase of Empire, and most of those writings are by Gary Kurtz. Their not very good. Kurtz also laid out some ideas for the PT that weren't very good either.

The reason that he choose to do IV-VI first was because that was the story he thought of first, and the stories of the prequels were just his back story. At the time he started, he put the Episode IV title on more as a tweak, a joke, than anything else, without expecting to ever tell the story of Episode I-III (much as Rob Zemekis and Bob Gale stuck the cliffhanger ending on at the end of Back to the Future without ever intending to do a sequel). Lucas has said many times that he never really intended to make the prequels (by the time he got to the end of Jedi, anyway), that he went back and forth on it for years, but finally gave in because he felt that he owed it to the fans, who had been asking him for it for years.

IV-VI was really the meat of the story, and farily well drawn out in it's broad details from the start. The prequels were backstory, part of the work he did to figure out who was who and why they were where they were and were doing what they were doing. But IV-VI was the story. Fair enough. You could watch IV-VI without ever watching the prequels and have a complete viewing experience, as that's the way they were written.

However, if you do choose to watch the PT, then I think it should be watched first, because that is the way that it was written, to be watched first. It works primarily as a set up for the OT, building up the situation and generally adding what has become the second half of the story. That is the PT's primary goal and I think it succeeds at that.

Nonsense. People love a well-made tragedy. Shakespeare was successful with ten of them.

Maybe, but it wasn't an accident that Shakespeare wrote more comedies than tragedies either. However, what Lucas really said was that the Prequels weren't that commercial. And he's right - all three films are set up for the story that comes after and they don't have an ending. Unless he was going to do all six movies at once, it wouldn't have worked.

However, on your point, if Star Wars had been done as a tragedy, it would not have been as successful as it had been, and may not have been successful at all. One of the real things that it had going for it, and what made it so successful, was the sheer joy that it effused and that, as much as the incredible visuals, is what kept people coming back time and time again. That is half of what made Star Wars what it was. That is also what made Empire work, because it went against that.

Indeed, they prequel films may have turned better had they not been an overly effects-reliant afterthought.

Probably not. The prequels would probably have been more or less the same in terms of story and character, just with a little less eye candy. There wouldn't have been a pod race, or a Coruscant (not as a city planet anyway - it would have to have been closer to McQuarrie's original drawings of it) and the start of the Clone Wars would have been smaller. But the story would have been the same. While the Prequels have more effects the original's, Lucas and his colleagues have spent about the same amount of time working on them.

Whatever problems the prequels have, the amount of effects aren't the cause of them - (though they are a convenient scapegoat) and if the films had less effects and they were all done mechanically and optically, the films would still be more or less the same. Many of the things in the film that people don't like (the Gungans, the age of Anakin, the style of Acting and Dialogue) are concious choices on Lucas' part (be they good or bad) and not the results of not thinking about them because he was thinking about effects and visuals instead (though he will be the first to admit that he is a visual director, and that he tells his stories through visuals, not dialogue). He did thought about the story he wanted to tell and how he wanted to tell it and why, and he made his decisions. You may not like them, or their results (that's the results of any artistic endeavour), but their not the result of accidents, or lack of thought or care.
Joshua Starnes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 29th, 2004, 07:03 PM   #70
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 1,929
"The reason that he choose to do IV-VI first was because that was the story he thought of first, and the stories of the prequels were just his back story."

This is, of course, the correct answer, and my point.
__________________
All the best,
Robert K S

Search DVinfo.net for quick answers | The best in the business: DVinfo.net sponsors
Robert Knecht Schmidt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2004, 10:10 AM   #71
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 356
Yes, but

Now that he has done the prequels, they've moved beyond just backstory and into the realm of more fully fleshed out stories that introduce the character and situation of Anakin in a fully fleshed out manner, and watching I-VI will give the viewer this perspective, without robbing any drama from the second half and, in fact, adding drama to the second half (as any good first half of a story should do).

Just because IV-VI were thought up first and made first, doesn't mean that they should be watched first. In fact, watching the films that way robs the prequels of their dramatic power and turns them into just backstory.

However, watching them I-VI allows the prequels to do their real job, which is add dramatic tension to the second half.

I understand your point, but I think that it is irrelevant as far as the order in which the movies should be watched.
Joshua Starnes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 30th, 2004, 04:59 PM   #72
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Posts: 1,929
"the character and situation of Anakin in a fully fleshed out manner"

Fleshed out with a set of contradictions and irrelevant ironies. How can anyone who watches the prequels first tolerate Ben's lectures to Luke about his father's real identity, which fabricate and obfuscate even more than the gentle lies fed him by his foster family? Lines like these seem either amnesiac or mendacious in the context of the hexology watched in sequence:

"That's what your uncle told you. He didn't hold with your father's ideals. Thought he should have stayed here and not gotten involved. ... He feared you might follow old Obi-Wan on some damned-fool idealistic crusade like your father did. "

What ideals would those be? Anakin fights in the Clone Wars not out of personal moral conviction, but out of a Jedi's duty to protect the integrity of the Republic, a duty Anakin repeatedly and openly rebels against through his egocentric disobedience and neglectfulness. The Clone Wars, the prequel trilogy has made evident, are in no way a crusade, but rather, the crushing of an insurgency--a civil war.

"I have something here for you. Your father wanted you to have this when you were old enough..."

Given the changes to the DVD release of The Empire Strikes Back that suggest Vader is aware of Luke's filiation but hides it from the Emperor, the only reason Anakin would have wanted Luke to possess his lightsaber was so that Luke could be made his father's Sith apprentice.

When I first knew him, your father was already a great pilot.

A generous assessment, as the prequels portray 10-year-old Anakin as an inexperienced, incompetent, and above all lucky pilot in the battle of Naboo. Even if the further charitable assumption is made that Ben is referring to Anakin's winning of the Boonta Eve Classic, what the movie shows is that Anakin wins the race not through any heroic piloting skill, but from insane accidental fortune and the elimination of most of his competition by a demented rival through sabotage and foul play.

"I also thought he could be turned back to the good side. It couldn't be done."

We'll have to wait and see if the timeline of Episode III permits for this attempt to retrieve Anakin. But if it does not, Obi-wan will have been lying to Luke even while trying to amend his previous misstatements.

I'd like to propose that the story of Anakin as fleshed out by the prequels strays so far not only from the mythically depicted truth of the origins of evil, but also from the backstory hinted at in the original trilogy, that watching the six films ab initio compounds the confusion of the story of Darth Vader and Obi-wan Kenobi.

You talk about "dramatic tension." What is dramatic tension, and how do watching the prequels before the OT heighten it?
__________________
All the best,
Robert K S

Search DVinfo.net for quick answers | The best in the business: DVinfo.net sponsors
Robert Knecht Schmidt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 1st, 2004, 01:10 PM   #73
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 356
I've been thinking about what you said, and what I think is this:

We could go round and round forever about whether or not Ben's statements in ANH are contradictions or not. I don't think they are, you think they are, a case can be made for both sides, and we could talk about it forever and get no where (though I will suggest that the prequels aren't the only films that have contradicted what he said in the hut, and that conversation would have been radically different if Lucas new without a doubt he was going to be able to make a second film). But, what I think is, that what Ben says doesn't matter, and how well it is supported or contradicted by the prequels doesn't matter. And here's why.

If you watch the films, starting at I and working forward, by the time you get to that scene, you will have had six hours of Anakin Skywalker (more or less) and a pretty good idea in your head of who he is as a character - and nothing Obi-Wan says in a two minute conversation in the middle of the series is going to change that. Someone watching the saga for the first time, with no knowledge of the OT or what's in it, will I expect be able to rationalize for themselves what Obi-Wan says with what they have already seen. I don't think it will break them out of the movie, or make them question the first half and why it doesn't fit. In the long run, it's kind of a nitpicky detail that's not as important as the characterization that the prequels offer. That scene really just fleshes out some backstory - which was important then, because that was the only way we got any - but isn't as important now, because by the time we get to it, we've already seen the back story. I like continuity as much as the next person (and I think it's fair to admit that Star Wars has done a better job of it than any other long form film series - Tarzan, James Bond, Star Trek - and even Tolkein had to go back and revise the Hobbit when he realized that LOTR contradicted it, but the contradiction was better than the original - a change that may have bothered original readers of the Hobbit, but which doesn't really occur to modern readers, what with the original version being out of print for decades) but it's not the most important thing in the world, and the occasional contradiction doesn't cause me mental dissonance. But that's just me. However, I think a fresh viewer starting from the beginning won't notice the contradictions and it only really bothers long time fans who have had a few years to think about that conversation and what they think it means.

You talk about "dramatic tension." What is dramatic tension, and how do watching the prequels before the OT heighten it?

First a little trip to the dictionary.

dra·mat·ic ( P ) Pronunciation Key (dr-mtk)
adj.

1. Of or relating to drama or the theater.
2. Characterized by or expressive of the action or emotion associated with drama or the theatre: a dramatic rescue at sea.
3. Arresting or forceful in appearance or effect: a dramatic sunset.
4. Music. Having a powerful, expressive singing voice: a dramatic tenor.


ten·sion ( P ) Pronunciation Key (tnshn)
n.

1.
1. The act or process of stretching something tight.
2. The condition of so being stretched; tautness.
2.
1. A force tending to stretch or elongate something.
2. A measure of such a force: a tension on the cable of 50 pounds.
3.
1. Mental, emotional, or nervous strain: working under great tension to make a deadline.
2. Barely controlled hostility or a strained relationship between people or groups: the dangerous tension between opposing military powers.
4. A balanced relation between strongly opposing elements: “the continuing, and essential, tension between two of the three branches of government, judicial and legislative” (Haynes Johnson).
5. The interplay of conflicting elements in a piece of literature, especially a poem.
6. A device for regulating tautness, especially a device that controls the tautness of thread on a sewing machine or loom.
7. Electricity. Voltage or potential; electromotive force.

So I think that I would define dramatic tension as the increasing opposed action or emotion of conflicting elements.

That's a little vague (like a lot of definitions) but I suppose it will do.

Dramatic tension is the supense between the confliction forces of the story, and the more the conflict is increased, the tighter the suspense, the tension, is drawn, until it becomes so taut that it must break or, in this case, reach its climax.

I think the dramatic tension of the overall Star Wars story will be increased by a fuller knowledge of the characters and their relationships. This knowledge will replace some of the visceral thrill of the original trilogy with dramatic irony that, I think, will put the audience more on the edge of their seat than if they went into Ep. IV-VI cold.

A perfect example of this, just within the OT itself is the medical room scene in ESB, when Leia kisses Luke. At first viewing of Empire, it's fine, funny, that's it. After having seen Jedi, it is now impossible to watch that scene without squirming a bit, and there are suddenly knew Freudian depths to be explored in what was, originally, a fairly simple scene. A layer of drama and depth has been added to what was originally just a straight comedic scene, because we know something the character's don't.

Ways in which I think watching the prequels first will add to the dramatic tension of the IV-VI:

When Vader confronts Leia and she is eventually sentenced to death, he is in effect killing his own daughter. He doesn't know it, but the audience does, and it adds to the tension.

When Vader is stalking Obi-Wan, you know their relationship and what has come before and I think that will heighten the drama of that sequence.

When Vader is shooting at Luke and R2 - the audience will know that is his former droid that he is blowing up and his son that he is trying to kill and it will add to the dramatic tension of the scene.

When Luke goes to Cloud City to face Vader, we know he is really facing his father, but he doesn't. Is he going to find out? What is he going to do when he finds out? Will he kill his own father? The audience will be wondering this throughout the scene. It replaces the shock of the revelation with dramatic tension. And while a lot fans think that the revelation is the best part of the film (if not the series) I think it is better served with real drama than mere shock value. One of the things that makes Oedipus Rex a classic is that the audience knows long before Oedipus does that he has killed his father and married his mother, and the dramatic tension of the play is built around whether or not he is going to find out. When it is performed live, especially for an audience that doesn't know anything about it, you can cut the tension and suspense with a knife. Would the play be better if the audience finds out what Oedipus has done at the same time he does? I don't think so.

It adds a lot of weight between the scene on Endor when Luke has his first real conversation with his father (personally, my favorite scene in all of Star Wars).

And it adds an order of magnitude to the weight on Luke's shoulders when he faces the Emperor. Instead of just a rebellion and an emperor that we've kind or heard about but only partially seen up till that point - an audience will have seen Palpatines machinations, seen what has been lost, seen the rise of the empire and fall of the jedi, the loss of most of Luke's loved ones (mother, father, surrogate father, aunt & uncle, etc.) do to those machinations and the weight of that confrontation will be much larger.

And, watching where Anakin came from, what happened to him, what happened to Luke compared to him(given the circular nature of the saga's story) and the Emperor's place in all of it, it makes the end of the Emperor and Anakin all the more right and poetic.

That's just some of the ways (that I can think of off the top of my head) that watching the films in order, I-VI, adds to the drama of the second half of the story and makes it even more engrossing.



Phew. That was a long 'un.
Joshua Starnes is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > And Now, For Something Completely Different... > Awake In The Dark

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:00 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network