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Star Wars review, yeeks!

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  • David S. Bratman
    This is from Philip French at the (U.K.) Guardian: You could say that [Lucas] is a dedicated cineaste ... producing and directing the cinematic equivalent of
    Message 1 of 10 , May 12, 2002
      This is from Philip French at the (U.K.) Guardian:


      "You could say that [Lucas] is a dedicated cineaste ... producing and
      directing the cinematic equivalent of a roman-fleuve which, if not exactly
      comparable with Balzac or Proust, might stand beside J.R.R. Tolkien and
      Terry Pratchett."

      Well, that puts those hack fantasy authors in _their_ place, doesn't it?


      "[Christopher] Lee's emblematic presence ... links Lucas's world directly
      to that of Tolkien through Lee's performance as the evil wizard Saruman in
      Lord of the Rings."

      Equally, Ewan McGregor's presence links Lucas's world to that of the
      Scottish druggie culture in _Trainspotting_. So?


      And what are all those words like "emblematic" and "roman-fleuve" doing in
      a Star Wars review?


      David Bratman
    • Bill
      I tend to take all Star Wars reviews with a grain of salt. Back when the original film opened, I can recall Joyce Kulhawik, (who some of you might now know
      Message 2 of 10 , May 12, 2002
        I tend to take all Star Wars reviews with a grain of salt.
        Back when the original film opened, I can recall Joyce
        Kulhawik,
        (who some of you might now know from her appearances on the
        syndicated movie review shows, but she's a long time critic
        here on
        a Boston tv station)standing outside a theater looking at the
        long
        lines and telling her anchor "I just don't get it!"
        She did a report from Lucas' Skywalker Ranch the other
        night.
        I think she "gets it" now.
        Does anyone else ever get the impression critics approach
        reviewing
        sf and fantasy books and media while wearing a biohazard suit
        to avoid
        being contaminated?





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • David S. Bratman
        Bill, the review I quoted from was critical of the movie, but acknowledged it had its good points and did not merely throw potshots at it. It was the
        Message 3 of 10 , May 12, 2002
          Bill, the review I quoted from was critical of the movie, but acknowledged
          it had its good points and did not merely throw potshots at it.

          It was the reviewer's potshots thrown at Tolkien that I was quoting this for.

          There are certainly unfair and preconceived reviews in this world, but
          often enough, if someone writes a bad review, it might actually be because
          they don't like the movie, shocking as that may sound.

          When "Phantom Menace" got almost universal bad reviews, Star Wars fans
          consoled themselves with a belief that the original film got bad reviews
          too. This didn't mesh with my memory, so I went and checked. I remembered
          correctly. Most (not all, but most) of the mass media reviews of the
          original film, including those for Time and Newsweek, were wildly positive.

          The difference is, then, that "New Hope" was a pretty good film. (Even I
          enjoyed it.) "Phantom Menace" wasn't. No conspiracy or bias on the part
          of reviewers need be postulated.

          David Bratman
        • SusanPal@aol.com
          In a message dated 5/12/2002 7:18:28 PM Pacific Daylight Time, ... Yep. New Hope was a good movie. Phantom Menace was awful -- even the die-hard Star
          Message 4 of 10 , May 12, 2002
            In a message dated 5/12/2002 7:18:28 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
            dbratman@... writes:


            > The difference is, then, that "New Hope" was a pretty good film. (Even I
            > enjoyed it.) "Phantom Menace" wasn't. No conspiracy or bias on the part
            > of reviewers need be postulated.
            >

            Yep. "New Hope" was a good movie. "Phantom Menace" was awful -- even the
            die-hard Star Wars fans I know think so -- and the "Clones" trailers have
            been so wincingly, embarrassingly bad that I'd already decided to skip the
            movie before the reviews confirmed my suspicions. I'm not against love
            stories per se -- the Han/Leia one was charming, and even touching on
            occasion -- but the snippets of the Anakin/Amidala one in the trailer just
            made me squirm. Whichever reviewer (A.O. Scott in the Times?) compared the
            love scene in the meadow to a feminine hygiene commercial is right on the
            money!

            Whatever flaws Jackson's version of Tolkien may have, I'm deeply grateful
            that he filmed all three films at the same time, since he may thus maintain
            the consistency of quality which has been so sadly lacking in Lucas' epic.

            And this really is a disappointment. I *loved* the first Star Wars movie
            when it came out. Everyone I know loved it. If only they could all have
            been that good!

            Susan


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • David S. Bratman
            ... I know some who don t. Susan Shwartz adored it, and was incredulous when I said it was terminally boring. ... The Guardian reviewer compared it with the
            Message 5 of 10 , May 13, 2002
              At 07:39 PM 5/12/2002 , Susan wrote:

              >Yep. "New Hope" was a good movie. "Phantom Menace" was awful -- even the
              >die-hard Star Wars fans I know think so

              I know some who don't. Susan Shwartz adored it, and was incredulous when I
              said it was terminally boring.


              >Whichever reviewer (A.O. Scott in the Times?) compared the
              >love scene in the meadow to a feminine hygiene commercial is right on the
              >money!

              The Guardian reviewer compared it with the opening of "The Sound of Music".
              I haven't even seen the trailer, so I don't know.


              >Whatever flaws Jackson's version of Tolkien may have, I'm deeply grateful
              >that he filmed all three films at the same time, since he may thus maintain
              >the consistency of quality which has been so sadly lacking in Lucas' epic.

              For the sake of fidelity to a coherent subcreation, yes. (Not that that's
              very high a priority in Mr. Jackson's work.) But Lucas's isn't based on a
              previously existing work, and can be treated cinematically however he
              chooses. That the original three films were made at separate times by
              three different directors didn't bother me, and didn't in itself interfere
              with my enjoyment: I liked or disliked each film on its own merits.


              >And this really is a disappointment. I *loved* the first Star Wars movie
              >when it came out. Everyone I know loved it. If only they could all have
              >been that good!

              I didn't love it. My exact words on emerging from the first showing were
              merely "Not bad, not bad at all." Considering that up until a week earlier
              I hadn't been planning to go see it, that's high praise.

              Over the next few years I saw "Star Wars" several times, on big movie
              screens and on tiny portable tv sets. Each time I reasonably enjoyed it.
              But then, after a long gap, I saw the re-cut version that came out a few
              years ago, and I found it dull, tacky, and chintzy. I wonder why that was.

              David Bratman
            • SusanPal@aol.com
              In a message dated 5/13/2002 9:11:50 AM Pacific Daylight Time, ... LOL! The effects age, to be sure. These days it s an exercise in nostalgia (for those of
              Message 6 of 10 , May 13, 2002
                In a message dated 5/13/2002 9:11:50 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
                dbratman@... writes:


                > But then, after a long gap, I saw the re-cut version that came out a few
                > years ago, and I found it dull, tacky, and chintzy. I wonder why that was.
                >

                LOL! The effects age, to be sure. These days it's an exercise in nostalgia
                (for those of us who are fond of it) rather than an experience of primary
                wonder, which (for those of us who are fond of it) was what it was the first
                few times.

                Susan


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Pauline J. Alama
                I still love Star Wars -- the REAL Star Wars, not the Phantom Plot -- but I think the re-edited version gilded the lily somewhat, awkwardly inserting new or
                Message 7 of 10 , May 14, 2002
                  I still love Star Wars -- the REAL Star Wars, not the Phantom Plot -- but I think the re-edited version gilded the lily somewhat, awkwardly inserting new or recovered scenes that don't quite fit, and I wonder if that pushed it from "pretty good" to "cheap" in David Bratman's estimation.

                  I was surprised, when the new edition came out, that as long as they were recovering discarded scenes, they didn't re-introduce the character of Biggs. Who am I talking about? Let me explain. I came at Star Wars in an unusual way: when Star Wars first came out, my parents wouldn't take me to the movie so I read the novel version (by George Lucas, written before the movie was out -- not one of those novelizations of a movie by another author) & only saw the movie 10 years later. In the book, you first meet Luke hanging around with his friends on Tatooine, drag racing and talking about dreams of glory. Biggs, slightly older & a leader, has decided to do more than dream: he's going to leave Tatooine and join the resistance to the Empire. Luke wants to follow in his footsteps, but can't leave home. Later, when Luke joins the rebel alliance, he meets his old role model again -- but this time as an equal. Biggs is killed in the attack on the Death Star, sacrificing himself to enable Luke to go on and defeat the Death Star. You actually see Biggs in the movie, but he has no significance because the opening passage that sets up his influence on Luke is left out. I was disappointed when they didn't put that in the re-edited version. The things they did put in were trivial & didn't add to the themes of the movie.

                  Pauline J. Alama
                  THE EYE OF NIGHT
                  (Bantam Spectra, July 2002)


                  --- On Mon 05/13, wrote:
                  > In a message dated 5/13/2002 9:11:50 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
                  > dbratman@... writes:
                  >
                  >
                  > > But then, after a long gap, I saw the re-cut version that came out a
                  > few
                  > > years ago, and I found it dull, tacky, and chintzy. I wonder why
                  > that was.
                  > >
                  >
                  > LOL! The effects age, to be sure. These days it's an exercise in
                  > nostalgia
                  > (for those of us who are fond of it) rather than an experience of primary
                  >
                  > wonder, which (for those of us who are fond of it) was what it was the
                  > first
                  > few times.
                  >
                  > Susan
                  >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                  >
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                • Lisa Deutsch Harrigan
                  I read the novel after seeing the movie and went So that s who Biggs is. Since Luke went nuts when he saw him in the movie and it made no sense. I heard not
                  Message 8 of 10 , May 14, 2002
                    I read the novel after seeing the movie and went "So that's who Biggs is." Since Luke went nuts when he saw him in the movie and it made no sense.

                    I heard not enough of the Biggs stuff was completed. Which makes little sense since the scene with Han and Jabba wasn't any where near completed either and they managed to resusitate that. May be because Harrison is a buddy now, and would do some retaping or something. They did have to fiddle with it to make it work.

                    By the way, the book was ghost helped. George is not that good a novel writer. He's not even a good script writer (some of his dialog is impossible). But his stories can be better than a lot out there, so I watch them.

                    I am eagerly waiting for Attack of the Clones inspite of his faults (George can't name movies either <g>).

                    Mythically yours,
                    Lisa

                    "Pauline J. Alama" wrote:

                    > I still love Star Wars -- the REAL Star Wars, not the Phantom Plot -- but I think the re-edited version gilded the lily somewhat, awkwardly inserting new or recovered scenes that don't quite fit, and I wonder if that pushed it from "pretty good" to "cheap" in David Bratman's estimation.
                  • David S. Bratman
                    ... I think not. The changes didn t strike me as that extensive, and they didn t affect the style of the rest of the film. ... It was, as Lisa notes,
                    Message 9 of 10 , May 14, 2002
                      At 05:13 AM 5/14/2002 , Pauline J. Alama wrote:

                      >I still love Star Wars -- the REAL Star Wars, not the Phantom Plot -- but I
                      >think the re-edited version gilded the lily somewhat, awkwardly inserting
                      >new or recovered scenes that don't quite fit, and I wonder if that pushed it
                      >from "pretty good" to "cheap" in David Bratman's estimation.

                      I think not. The changes didn't strike me as that extensive, and they
                      didn't affect the style of the rest of the film.

                      >I read the novel version (by George Lucas, written before the
                      >movie was out -- not one of those novelizations of a movie by another
                      >author)

                      It was, as Lisa notes, ghostwritten. It was written from the script, as I
                      think most film novelizations are. The only unusual fact was that it was
                      published several months before the film release, as an early shot in a
                      buildup campaign.

                      > le Luke to go on and defeat the Death Star. You actually see Biggs in the
                      >movie, but he has no significance because the opening passage that sets up
                      >his influence on Luke is left out. I was disappointed when they didn't put
                      >that in the re-edited version. The things they did put in were trivial &
                      >didn't add to the themes of the movie.

                      I agree with all of this.

                      David Bratman
                    • Matthew Winslow
                      ... If my memory doesn t fail me, it was Alan Dean Foster, wasn t it? -- Matthew Winslow mwinslow@firinn.org http://x-real.firinn.org/ When I get a little
                      Message 10 of 10 , May 14, 2002
                        Lisa Deutsch Harrigan [lisa@...] wrote:
                        > By the way, the book was ghost helped. George is not that good a novel writer.
                        If my memory doesn't fail me, it was Alan Dean Foster, wasn't it?

                        --
                        Matthew Winslow mwinslow@... http://x-real.firinn.org/
                        "When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and
                        clothes."
                        --Desiderius Erasmus
                        Currently reading: The American Replacement of Nature by William Irwin Thompson
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