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

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1 hour ago, Nictarion said:

Idc I still love that fight to pieces. Duel of the Fates definitely elevates it, but I’ll also never get tired of that double sided lightsaber. Still one of the coolest things in any SW film ever, IMO. 

It's dampened a bit in impact by the frequent cuts to less interesting parts of the movie, but I still love it as well.

I remember saving this interesting post from another forum I visit (from a user named "Eleas", in case he or she visits here as well), about the sword-fighting choreography in the movies. Feel free to disagree - I don't know enough about sword-fighting to comment but it sounds plausible. 

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Neeson's swordplay is stable, powerful, and elegant. Particularly on the walkway against Maul, his advance is deliberate and professional. I personally think most of his swordsmanship is beautiful to watch, and really looks like an experienced, sometimes even inspired swordsman. 

Maul is not nearly so economical, but his extravagance is kept grounded by awe-inspiring footwork. The part where he binds Obi-Wan's and Qui-Gon's swords simultaneously is jaw-dropping.

ROTJ it was a while since I saw. I mainly remember the final assault by Luke on Vader. There, Luke almost abandons form entirely. His footwork is much like a bulldozer, and Vader's attempts at being clever are just brushed aside by Luke's fury. It works for me because it feels like Luke is relying solely on brute Force power and muscle in a relentless assault; his formal technique isn't yet ingrained enough to be maintained when he's filled with rage.

Vader's swordsmanship in ESB? On a technical level, it's a rare treat. Vader was played by Bob Anderson during those scenes, and he's a recognised sword master. It shows. Anderson magnificently embodies Vader: how he meets Luke's half-improvised flourishes with small movements of his own, not even deigning to counter attacks that would not connect. First, Vader demonstrates that he is physically superior by one-handed techniques (which are very difficult to pull off) and by employing his far greater bulk and strength. Gradually, his composed fighting style gives way to a savage bludgeoning that is very difficult for Luke to withstand. He shows glimpses of cunning throughout this, however; when he severs Luke's hand, it is by what I believe is a back-cut, something that would never work with a real blade, but which a lightsaber would be quite good at (even a double-edged sword would be hard-pressed to sever a limb with so little power behind it).

Key here is that the OT (I'd argue that ESB and ROTJ are best in this regard, but that is an opinion) took pains to reveal the personality of the fighters in the way they fought. This is also done well in parts of the prequels, but since there are far more and longer scenes of that kind, the parts where it fails becomes more noticeable, even with actors trained for it. For instance, I quite dislike the scene in ROTS between Palpatine and Windu - it becomes quite obvious that McDiarmid simply doesn't move properly, and that some scenes used stunt doubles; the result is largely awkward.


 

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Key here is that the OT (I'd argue that ESB and ROTJ are best in this regard, but that is an opinion) took pains to reveal the personality of the fighters in the way they fought. This is also done well in parts of the prequels, but since there are far more and longer scenes of that kind, the parts where it fails becomes more noticeable, even with actors trained for it. For instance, I quite dislike the scene in ROTS between Palpatine and Windu - it becomes quite obvious that McDiarmid simply doesn't move properly, and that some scenes used stunt doubles; the result is largely awkward.

That, IMO, is what made the TFA fight so excellent between Ren and Rey (and Finn and Ren to a lesser extent). Ren absolutely toys with Finn before getting vaguely hurt and then finishing him quickly. Ren then fights Rey, and is unsure and somewhat holding back (plus shot to the gut), and she's fighting for her life, mostly on defense - until the Force comes into play. Then she is rage and fury and revenge. It's a great story element to the actual fight itself. 

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2 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

That, IMO, is what made the TFA fight so excellent between Ren and Rey (and Finn and Ren to a lesser extent). Ren absolutely toys with Finn before getting vaguely hurt and then finishing him quickly. Ren then fights Rey, and is unsure and somewhat holding back (plus shot to the gut), and she's fighting for her life, mostly on defense - until the Force comes into play. Then she is rage and fury and revenge. It's a great story element to the actual fight itself. 

You're a goddamn liar!

I love ya man

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2 minutes ago, Pony Queen Jace said:

You're a goddamn liar!

I love ya man

Love you too, you high reprobate

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5 hours ago, Darth Richard II said:

I watched TPM recently and it's still pretty good, but it's not, eh, the best. The one I really like that everyone else hates is Jango chasing Obi in II with the depth charges.  I always thought that was "kewl".

The thing with that scene that I cannot get over is how annoying Boba Fett is.  If it's just Obi-Wan in one ship, and Jango in the other, that scene would have been infinitely better.

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2 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

Love you too, you high reprobate

Reprobate! Who even says that!?!

You're so fucking adorable. One of these days you and me are gonna 'Goodnite Moon' this shit while Ty Ty is in the background telling Jaime how much he loves his shitty Minnesota.

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9 hours ago, Ran said:

Lucas did have creative input. The sequel films you've enjoyed have elements that come directly from what he proposed. So I wouldn't be too fast on dumping on him.

Fair point. However, as I say, Lucas is pretty much retired, and his creative endeavours have been very limited for a long time now. I can't see the argument for giving him a larger role, apart from nostalgia.

9 hours ago, Ran said:

Hamill's suggestion that he rather preferred Lucas's take on Luke for the sequels makes me think I'd have liked to see that instead of what we got.

That'd be the suggestion that Hamill now says he was wrong about?

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My son and I finally watched it tonight! We have militantly avoided spoilers. Every time I opened Google news "for you," because I had expressed interest in Star Wars before, I was bombarded with spoiler-y headlines trying to get me to click. I told Google I fucking hate Star Wars. Quit trying to let these awful writers ruin the film for me.

But we made it. No spoilers. And we loved it. My son said it was the best one (he's seen them all). I come home to read up on what I've been avoiding for weeks now, and I find that people hated it? WTF? This movie felt like Star Wars. The Rey and Ren scene when it seemed he might be redeemed had our audience cheering. It was awesome. Loved the movie. Haters should have internet privileges revoked. I'm tired of hearing "I'm going to hate it because everyone else likes it" opinions.

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1 hour ago, Simon Steele said:

My son and I finally watched it tonight! We have militantly avoided spoilers. Every time I opened Google news "for you," because I had expressed interest in Star Wars before, I was bombarded with spoiler-y headlines trying to get me to click. I told Google I fucking hate Star Wars. Quit trying to let these awful writers ruin the film for me.

But we made it. No spoilers. And we loved it. My son said it was the best one (he's seen them all). I come home to read up on what I've been avoiding for weeks now, and I find that people hated it? WTF? This movie felt like Star Wars. The Rey and Ren scene when it seemed he might be redeemed had our audience cheering. It was awesome. Loved the movie. Haters should have internet privileges revoked. I'm tired of hearing "I'm going to hate it because everyone else likes it" opinions.

Sir, I find your ideas intriguing and would like to subscribe to your newsletter. :P

1 hour ago, Rubicante said:

The thing with that scene that I cannot get over is how annoying Boba Fett is.  If it's just Obi-Wan in one ship, and Jango in the other, that scene would have been infinitely better.

Yeah, that kid needed a muzzle.

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1 hour ago, mormont said:

That'd be the suggestion that Hamill now says he was wrong about?

That's a read of his remark that chooses to ignore the totality of remarks in these post-screening junkets. If I were to try to thread the needle of what Hamill has said in post-screening junkets, I'd suggest that Hamill's interest in having his take on Luke -- and Lucas's, according to Lucas's plans which Hamill appears to have been aware of -- on the screen remains the same as ever. His stating he was "wrong" appears merely to be an acknowledgment that Johnson seeking to be novel and subversive worked as far as making an entertaining story (according to Hamill, who has made a few somewhat critical remarks about what he thinks of modern movie making). Doesn't invalidate his feelings about the fact that that novelty required his treating the character as almost "Jake Skywalker", nor does it necessarily mean that Lucas's vision and Hamill's vision for Luke in the sequel trilogy were incompatible with making Luke an unwilling teacher, merely that neither appears to have envisioned Luke as a quitter who isolated himself while he was waiting to die.

2 hours ago, Fall Bass said:

It's dampened a bit in impact by the frequent cuts to less interesting parts of the movie, but I still love it as well.

My understanding is that the duel was largely directed by stunt coordinator Nick Gillard, not Lucas, so my statement holds, re: Lucas! Vulture had an in-depth article on it.

That said, yes, the music does a lot, and also I've always thought Liam Neeson was magnificent in his prime as far as physicality (his duel at the end of Rob Roy is one of the all-time great cinema fights), and I enjoyed the moments contrasting various characters (particularly when Qui Gon sits to meditate -- Neeson's idea, per the Vulture article -- while Maul paces angrily back and forth when the force field interrupts the fight).

 

2 hours ago, Fall Bass said:

I remember saving this interesting post from another forum I visit (from a user named "Eleas", in case he or she visits here as well), about the sword-fighting choreography in the movies. Feel free to disagree - I don't know enough about sword-fighting to comment but it sounds plausible. 


 

I do think the moving away from fencing and kendo as the inspiration for Jedi sword fighting to a bunch of wushu-inspired gimmicks was largely a mistake. The Luke-Vader fight in RotJ is probably my favorite in a lot of ways, though the points about Bob Anderson in TESB are very well-taken. 

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3 hours ago, Simon Steele said:

I'm tired of hearing "I'm going to hate it because everyone else likes it" opinions.

Oh, all good then mate, you won't hear any of those types of opinions for this film because "everyone else likes it" is not even close to being in effect. :P

 

(Seriously though, I'm glad you and your son liked it. There's a lot to like.)

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10 hours ago, Darth Richard II said:

I watched TPM recently and it's still pretty good, but it's not, eh, the best. The one I really like that everyone else hates is Jango chasing Obi in II with the depth charges.  I always thought that was "kewl".

Sonic charges in the vacuum of space.  I rolled my eyes so hard when that scene started I thought they would fall out of my head.

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I saw the movie opening weekend and thought it was good. I thought it could have been a lot better had a few things been changed.

1. stop adding cute characters just for merchandising it's so obvious and very annoying

2. Since when can someone survive in space??? Looking at you Leia. And given what happened to Carrie Fisher you would think they could have gone back and edited it differently so she died there and it would have made perfect sense.

3. Cut the whole damn casino heist / search for the code breaker crap. Yeah I get that in the end they wanted to show those kids talking about Luke and his legend, and the one kid I assume was a trainee since he moved the broom without touching it, but still, do it without that waste of time failed caper that still worked out, but then didn't because of course you can't trust the new Lando guy.

If you eliminate / change those things, what you have, IMO, is a movie close to the feel of ANH and TESB.

I still liked it and will be going back to watch it again Tuesday at the epic theatre so i can enjoy it on a bigger scale.

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9 hours ago, Simon Steele said:

My son and I finally watched it tonight! We have militantly avoided spoilers. Every time I opened Google news "for you," because I had expressed interest in Star Wars before, I was bombarded with spoiler-y headlines trying to get me to click. I told Google I fucking hate Star Wars. Quit trying to let these awful writers ruin the film for me.

But we made it. No spoilers. And we loved it. My son said it was the best one (he's seen them all). I come home to read up on what I've been avoiding for weeks now, and I find that people hated it? WTF? This movie felt like Star Wars. The Rey and Ren scene when it seemed he might be redeemed had our audience cheering. It was awesome. Loved the movie. Haters should have internet privileges revoked. I'm tired of hearing "I'm going to hate it because everyone else likes it" opinions.

They're all just a bunch of wampas that stole Life Day!

I enjoyed it the first time I viewed it, but was critical of some parts, but my opinions of those parts improved or, rather, bothered me less on subsequent viewings.

 

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10 hours ago, Ran said:

That's a read of his remark that chooses to ignore the totality of remarks in these post-screening junkets. If I were to try to thread the needle of what Hamill has said in post-screening junkets, I'd suggest that Hamill's interest in having his take on Luke -- and Lucas's, according to Lucas's plans which Hamill appears to have been aware of -- on the screen remains the same as ever. His stating he was "wrong" appears merely to be an acknowledgment that Johnson seeking to be novel and subversive worked as far as making an entertaining story (according to Hamill, who has made a few somewhat critical remarks about what he thinks of modern movie making). Doesn't invalidate his feelings about the fact that that novelty required his treating the character as almost "Jake Skywalker", nor does it necessarily mean that Lucas's vision and Hamill's vision for Luke in the sequel trilogy were incompatible with making Luke an unwilling teacher, merely that neither appears to have envisioned Luke as a quitter who isolated himself while he was waiting to die.

I would not at all thread the needle that way. I think it's far more reasonable to say that Hamill's initial remarks were very much in the spirit of the trailer: 'this is not going to go the way you expect'. I think his initial aim was to say that this was his own experience in making the film, but when he realised he was being made the unwilling and unwitting figurehead of an anti-TLJ bandwagon, he moved to make it clear that this was something he never wanted or intended.

I would be pretty surprised if Hamill still wants to put his take on the screen, or Lucas'. That seems unprofessional, to say the least, and Hamill is not that.

I don't think the film showed Luke as 'a quitter', any more than ESB showed Yoda as 'a quitter'. Both were shown as figures who believed they had failed and withdrew from the world as a consequence, and were resistant to returning. Why, you can even say that they both lacked faith in Luke Skywalker! :P

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7 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Sonic charges in the vacuum of space.  I rolled my eyes so hard when that scene started I thought they would fall out of my head.

Sssshhhh it's a different galaxy so physics are different!

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, mormont said:

I would not at all thread the needle that way. I think it's far more reasonable to say that Hamill's initial remarks were very much in the spirit of the trailer: 'this is not going to go the way you expect'. I think his initial aim was to say that this was his own experience in making the film, but when he realised he was being made the unwilling and unwitting figurehead of an anti-TLJ bandwagon, he moved to make it clear that this was something he never wanted or intended.

I don't think I find that reasonable when he talks about his having a problem with Luke's presentation in the present tense on several occasions in these post-screening junkets. These were not concerns in the past, they are concerns he has now even after watching the film. This doesn't change the fact that, as a professional, he's proud of having done what his director asked, and proud that the film is entertaining and a financial success.

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I don't think the film showed Luke as 'a quitter', any more than ESB showed Yoda as 'a quitter'. Both were shown as figures who believed they had failed and withdrew from the world as a consequence, and were resistant to returning.

I don't know that you enter into it. Hamill clearly sees the Luke of the film as someone who quit and gave up. The character is literally made to say he came to Ahch-to to die in the film, and Johnson himself has defended his take on Luke as being about putting the character at rock-bottom.  This was a fundamental difference of opinion Hamill had with Johnson, and it remains a difference of opinion unless we want to disbelieve Hamill's use of the present tense in these interviews.

Edited by Ran

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4 hours ago, dbunting said:

...

2. Since when can someone survive in space??? Looking at you Leia. And given what happened to Carrie Fisher you would think they could have gone back and edited it differently so she died there and it would have made perfect sense.

..

Since always. For a short while at least.


A plotpoint in recent Doctor Who (Oxygen), and in The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. And Star Trek Discovery if I remember that scene correctly.

 

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@dbunting

In general the surviving-exposure-to-vacuum thing is generally based on the real science that shows you could remain conscious for about 15 seconds, and potentially survive almost 2 minutes beyond that (but not conscious).

Checked the Doctor Who episode @Seli mentions and, assuming that the scene which was in slow-motion for dramatic effect was going at a 2:1 ratio, Bill goes 15 seconds (30 seconds of screen time) before going unconscious, which is pretty neat and shows Doctor Who's writers did their research.

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