Bronn Stone

The Last Jedi (Spoilers): Force-Choke or Tour-de-Force?

267 posts in this topic

1 hour ago, Slurktan said:

Nothing in that article remotely counters what Mark Hamill said, if that is what you are referring to.  Or do you actually think people have latched onto his comments because Luke died?  Just baffling.  I legitimately have no idea why you think this is some big revelation.

The article is amusing though.  Didn't they supposedly toss Lucas's idea after they got it?  Guess not if that's the case,

Uh, not talking abut Hamil, just fans in general, since Episode 7's release. Also, per the article Lucas idea originally started in the middle of 8, which uh, yeah that kind of is a big revelation, considering fans screaming about them not folling Lucas since, you know, 2015 or so.

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15 hours ago, aceluby said:

I hear the emphasis when I watch it (which was a couple days ago).  It's a terrible line.

I know I'm in the minority on this one, but I don't really like Vader in any of Rogue One.  The last scene is awesome in a vacuum, don't get me wrong, but I don't think it fits very well in the overall story of 4-6 (I know fans explain this away with all kinds of concocted excuses, I just don't particularly like any of them).  And while I'm at it, I think they could have done the entire empire storyline without Tarkin or Vader at all.  They could have easily told that story with minimal screen time, and that screen time limited to holograms.  I think the story would have been better served.

But even with that, I think R1 is better than these last two simply because they nail the tone perfectly.  There are scenes here and there which could be reworked or done better, but the setting and the tone were amazing.  TLJ and TFA the tone is... off.  I don't mind it, and some of it works, but I definitely see why those complaints are valid.

I honestly don't hear the emphasis. *shrug*

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Posted (edited)

4 hours ago, felice said:

So in Lucas's original plan, the new trilogy was supposed to start with Rey learning from Luke? Well, that would have solved the issues with her showing exceptional Force skills without any training.

At the danger of beating a dead horse: We cannot have a movie in which a female heroine learns something, and much less from a man. Such scenes need to be minimised, and preferably completely excised.

Anything else would be a moral mistake.

The Last Jedi has transcended the requirements of traditional (“modern”, if you want) storytelling. I wants to be, and should be, evaluated on the grounds of making important cultural progress and speaking with moral clarity.

We should no more evaluate Last Jedi on the traditional grounds of storytelling (plot, character motivation, world-building, sensible spaceship battle tactics, suspension of disbelief with respect to physics and technology) than we should evaluate Doctor Who as an analysis of the mechanics of time travel. Or Das Kapital as a cooking recipe. It’s a different genre. Last Jedi inserts itself into the conversation about Star Wars by fixing all the moral and cultural problems with the original trilogy. That’s a huge deal, and it solves this problem perfectly.

This works both ways: the cultural critique of the original trilogy was never based on plot holes or bad character development or inconsistent physics. Instead, that critique examines issues related to power structures embodied in the choice of narrative tropes, cultural appropriation, essentialist characteristics, conservative values, etc.

The critique of OT does not care about storytelling.

Hence, the critique of Last Jedi shouldn’t, either. The films are masterpieces exactly because they deliberately eschew “pre-postmodern” ideas of storytelling.

Pre-postmodern ideas of storytelling are for white males.

Edited by Happy Ent

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Well shoot son, I guess somebody better tell white male Rian Johnson all that right-quick, because in every interview he gives he emphasizes that all of the decisions he made were in service of storytelling.

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Maybe Rian Johnson's idea of storytelling is a fundamental redefinition away from the "pre-postmodern" concept! This could then bring HE's thesis in alignment with Johnson's own claims.

Alternatively, Johnson is lying about his agenda-driven film-making to keep TLJ a subversive rather than overt purveyor of postmodern identity politics!

 

 

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A New Hope featured two flawed male heroes who eventually overcome their flaws to fight under the command of a flawless female hero.

None of the Sequel Trilogy characters, of any gender, are even half as badass and human as OT Leia. Not even ST Leia.

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Posted (edited)

20 hours ago, Cas Stark said:

I'm curious, for people who like Driver and his role, what makes him a good villain? 

I just don't see it, he's not really scary, the characterization is nothing special, I can't understand the comparison to Heath Ledger's joker, like at all.  He isn't even particularly competent.  I have no feeling that he will possibly win in the end or even that he is very dangerous.  He carries no menace.  Even granting that Vader is one of the all time great villains in cinema history, he doesn't seem to measure up, and by measure up I don't mean he has to be 'like' Vader, Smoke was lame also.  But he should still seem like a serious, powerful antagonist.   Is his appeal then really about macro commentary on arrogant boys and deconstructing the SW 'myth' so it's somehow 'fresh' to have the arch villain be a bumbling immature loser?... If so, I count it as weak sauce.  CGI Peter Cushing is 100 times a better villain to me.

What makes him good in his role is that he is more of a antagonist than a villain.

He is the insecure, very powerful, nostalgic person that can and will hurt anyone in range. But still seeks support, literally cutting away those that fail in that support role.

In the original trilogy it never really made sense that the emperor was so obsessed with Luke. An obsession so large he really overestimated his own control, something Snoke apparently learned from him. In this series so far the connection between Kylo Ren and people in the rebellion is natural.

 

Edited by Seli
protagonist =/= antagonist and vv

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, Ran said:

Alternatively, Johnson is lying about his agenda-driven film-making to keep TLJ a subversive rather than overt purveyor of postmodern identity politics!

I don’t have much insight into that kind of thinking. 

My (uniformed) speculation is that Johnsson does not have an agenda (which is an unnecessarily value-laden word). All story details, I assume, are approved by Kathleen Kennedy. She does not care about story or plot or consistency. She cares about if there is a long sequence where a female character learns (or worse, is seen to doubt or fail), and she certainly cares about a long sequence (or story arc) where a female character learns from a male or otherwise is dominated by a male.

Because such things are important.

On the other hand, if Johnsson wants to imbue “his” movie with a plot, or consistency, or internally-motivated characters, or good space tactics, I’m sure Kennedy would not prevent that. She simply does not care. (It’s like “which colour should the spaceships have?” – it’s a non-issue for her. Window dressing. It should look good, but it’s not important.)

The dynamics is probably this (again, I’m speculating). Kennedy focusses on cultural relevance, moral clarity, common decency, etc. Everything filmmaking has been very guilty of ignoring (like having 4 male Hobbits in Lord of the Rings). These are culturally, morally, politically important issues (way more important than whether a particular movie has good storytelling), and she should be applauded for the ruthlessness with which she applies her considerable power over the franchise for the Greater Good. The merchandising department is interested in updating several iconic scenes or tropes from the Star Wars canon (AT-AT walkers on white stuff, throne room confrontation, big space ships) to solidify these images in our common cultural baggage and unite the “new, progressive” Star Wars with the “old, regressive” Star Wars. Whoever is willing to cobble together a movie that navigates these constraints is welcome to it.

(Five minutes of googling inform me that there have been severa(l issues of “creative differences” during the production of the new, progressive Star Wars, which may highlight some conflicts. But it may also be par for the course for such a large project. I simply am out of my depth here. I understand postmodern thought. I don’t understand the movie business.)

This explanation is parsimonious and fits the evidence. It may be wrong, but it’s a better explanation that assuming incompetence.

Also, note that I know next to nothing about the people involved, but the director does not strike me as somebody with an agenda (or any kind of intellectual gravitas to pull of the masterpiece that I view Last Jedi as.)


ETA: For the record: I really am out of my depth here. I know nothing about the film people involved here. I’m happy to be corrected on the details.

ETA 2: Here http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-star-wars-last-jedi-rian-johnson-20171217-story.html is a link that give evidence for the opposite of my speculation. (Namely, that the director, not the executive producer, is the political mastermind behind Last Jedi. If so, fine. I assume their visions are somewhat aligned.)

Edited by Happy Ent

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On 1/4/2018 at 1:40 PM, Fez said:

The only explanations I can come up with for the hyperspace ram are either 1) No one thought to do it before and it will be a big deal going forward or 2) There's a taboo in the SW galaxy of intentional suicide attacks. There's apparently no autopilot systems that exist and I don't think we've seen droids piloting ships either, which means any ram would need a human pilot. And that pilot would definitely die in the attack.

Vulture ships in the PT are droids.

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I'm interested in what people think the following quotes tell us about Yoda.

Analysis #1:

"Only a Sith deals in absolutes." - Obi-Wan Kenobi, from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

"Do or do not, there is no try." - Yoda, from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Analysis #2:

"The greatest teacher, failure is." - Awful looking puppet that is supposed to be Yoda, from Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

"Failed I have.  Into exile I must go." - Yoda, from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

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Do we really have to think about the prequels? They have so many issues that while Lucas had some broad ideas that were interesting, when you get down to the dialog level it's tepid at best, bloody awful at worst, and barely cohesive at any time.

I certainly have no problem reading Yoda from his quotes in TESB and TLJ as being consistent.

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1 hour ago, Rubicante said:

I'm interested in what people think the following quotes tell us about Yoda.

Analysis #1:

"Only a Sith deals in absolutes." - Obi-Wan Kenobi, from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

"Do or do not, there is no try." - Yoda, from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Analysis #2:

"The greatest teacher, failure is." - Awful looking puppet that is supposed to be Yoda, from Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

"Failed I have.  Into exile I must go." - Yoda, from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Apart from the first couple of shots, in which I admit he looks really weird, Yoda looks exactly the same as he did in Empire. I’ve seen the film 3 times now, most recently 2 days ago.

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Quote

 

"Do or do not, there is no try." - Yoda, from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Analysis #2:

"The greatest teacher, failure is." - Awful looking puppet that is supposed to be Yoda, from Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

 

These seem to be perfectly in touch with each other. You do something, or you don't do it. Doing it is success, not doing it is failure. 

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9 hours ago, Happy Ent said:

At the danger of beating a dead horse: We cannot have a movie in which a female heroine learns something, and much less from a man. Such scenes need to be minimised, and preferably completely excised.criminal
Anything else would be a moral mistake.

How do you square that theory with the borderline failure of the Bechdel test discussed upthread? And Force Awakens presenting an old white man as the macguffin everyone is obsessed over? And said man providing the only real rebel victory in TLJ, if the ending was supposed to be kids talking about his non-fight with Ren symbolising him inspiring the galaxy (though if kids are talking about Luke, I think they're more likely to be impressed by that time he blew up the Death Star or that time he took down Jabba the Hutt's organisation or that time he faced Vader and the Emperor together and emerged alive while they died, not the time he made Ren look a bit silly). And white guy Ren taking out Snoke while Rey was completely at his mercy? I don't think they had any principled objection to Rey learning from Luke, I think it just didn't fit into the combination of character backgrounds and cool scenes they wanted, and they didn't consider it important enough to fix.

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4 hours ago, Rubicante said:

"The greatest teacher, failure is." - Awful looking puppet that is supposed to be Yoda, from Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Well I know a lot of people seemed to like the Yoda puppet.. but I didn't. I love the Yoda of Empire, it had a certain charm. The mistake in TLJ was how the show and lit this Yoda, really making it totally obvious it was a puppet, and not in a good way. Hard to describe without watching it again, but yeah I think there was definitely a better way to make that work. It looked silly in comparison to the rest of the movie.

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27 minutes ago, felice said:

How do you square that theory with the borderline failure of the Bechdel test discussed upthread? And Force Awakens presenting an old white man as the macguffin everyone is obsessed over? 

I hadn’t seen the Bechdel discussion upthread. That is an extremely good point that I hadn’t considered. Thank you for pointing this out.

I don’t think TFA is anything near a cultural milestone like TLJ is. The former is just a failed film. The latter is a masterpiece that will transform our cultural heritage. For the record, I enjoyed R1 very much. These observations again would point to director RJ (instead of franchise boss and x-producer KK) as the mastermind behind this, counterevidence to my above contribution. 

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2 hours ago, Kalbear said:

These seem to be perfectly in touch with each other. You do something, or you don't do it. Doing it is success, not doing it is failure. 

Hm… not bad. Thank you.

I’ve never been able to square the “do or do not” idea with the rest of Jedidom. (Trying and failing ought to be an important part of their ethics. And, indeed, it is Luke’s reluctance to even try that make Yoda say that.)

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RE the question in the title: Force-Choke IMO. But I've gone decidedly cold on Star Wars since the NT. Was super excited for the NT when it was announced. Was a major disappointment, so have diminished interested. I was considering not seeing TLJ at all, but good reviews and friends saying it's great convinced me. But that was a mistake. I'm probably tapping out of seeing any Star Wars in cinemas for the forseeable future, I have lost all hope that they can recapture the magic of the originals.

One suggestion from some analysts is that Disney should bring George Lucas back as a creative consultant. I like that idea, let him have creative input, but not creative control.

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