Why crticise AOTC for not doing things that it doesn't try to do?

NicolasB

Distinguished Member
I have to say, I think people are being a little hard on AOTC. Obviously it doesn't really have very much in the way of plot or character development or snappy dialogue, but it isn't supposed to have. Would you buy a recording of a classical concert and then complain that the visuals aren't up to much? Or would you walk round an art gallery of Renaissance paintings at their finest and complain about the lack of good quality dialogue in the paintings?

A film like AOTC is conceptually much closer to a series of paintings than it is to a film driven primarily by character and plot. Certainly there are many very fine films out there that are driven by character development (e.g. LA Confidential) or dialogue (e.g. Pulp Fiction) and AOTC is not one of these. But it doesn't try to be. You should view AOTC more as a piece of a performance art than as a narrative. It's about what it looks like. And, to a slightly lesser extent, what it sounds like - appreciate the wonderful score, the fascinating sound effects. Appreciate the way that many of the special visual effects are so good that you often don't even consciously register them as special - there just is actually a spaceship flying outside the window of the room.

I watched the AOTC DVD through again the other day - not even on particularly high-end equipment, an Arcam DV27 and a 3-year-old 32" widescreen Panasonic TV - and visually it is breathtaking. The sequence when the clones actually attack (he says, carefully, trying to avoid spoilers) is truly astonishing. But quite aside from that, virtually every single shot has something fascinating going on. Enjoy the colours, the textures, the light and shadow, the visual composition, the movement, the animation. Don't try to turn it into a whole different film.
 

Lex

Novice Member
I disagree that it isn't supposed to have, or doesn't need, a decent "plot or character development ".
The point of any film is ultimately to tell a story - and star wars especially was always considered a modern interpretation of many of the classic mythologies.
Just because a film looks good, does not make up for lack of plot or character development etc. There are dozens of films released each year which look great, or have great sfx, but which are ultimately poor.
A film can look wonderful AND have a great plot/characterisation/acting etc. Having only the former is a failure imho.
Good films/film-making is multi-layered: it MUST have a coherent and beleivable plot as its foundation, on top of this is dialogue, acting, directing, cinematography, music, and special effects. Take any one of these elements away and you weaken the movie, but take the very foundation away and it will collapse. Which is exactly what happened with AOTC - it was incoherent, unconvincing, and ultimately unsatisfying.
Star Wars or not, it was a poor film.

:)
 

BadAss

Banned
But Lex if you expect every film to have brilliant dialog then more often than not your gonna be dissapointed.

I like films that are a little raw in this area, I think its more natual. Pearl Harbour is another that got slated for its poor dialog but I love that film too.

Whats happened now is LOTR, some may say the best written book of all time has made it to the big screen and every one expects GL to be as good as J.R.R Tolkien. It ain gonna happen. Dont expect it to happen and you wont be dissapointed with EP3. In fact watch Reign of Fire before you go and youll think GL is talented. :D
 

Lex

Novice Member
I wasn't saying that I was expecting it to be brilliant, I was just saying that the fact that it looks good does not make it all okay as NicolasB was suggesting. Nor do I believe that it "wasn't supposed to have" a decent plot or realistic character development. :)
 

nunew33

Standard Member
I agree with lex.

I watched Armageddon on TV the other night and thsi is another film which has many of the right ingredients but no fundamental plot. Even made Aotc look good. It was like watching the office, painful. it was so bad I couldnt tell wether it was deliberately self depricating, if it was then the irony was lost on me.
 

BadAss

Banned
Armageddon is a class film. It is what it is take it or leave it.
 

NicolasB

Distinguished Member
So, Lex, are you saying that if a film does not revolve around a coventional narrative structure then it's completely pointless and shouldn't even be made in the first place? What about a film like "Baraka" (which makes a superb system audition disc, btw). It has no narrative, no plot, no characters, no dialogue, it is simply a sequence of images and sounds. For that matter, what about documentary films? They often don't have anything resembling a plot, and sometimes nothing that could be described as dialogue (maybe multiple monologues). Should we not bother making those either?
 

nunew33

Standard Member
Originally posted by BadAss
Armageddon is a class film. It is what it is take it or leave it.

But what is it. A spoof film? Or does it really expect to be taken seriously? If its spoof then it really doesnt come across as one. Starship troopers was a spoof and obviously so, it had every world war II film cliche ever written.


I mean lines like "thats not a salesman, thats your daddy" had me cringing in embarassment!!! It was almost as bad as Boba fetts "Im just an ordinary man trying to make his way in the universe". Both quotes that should be studied in film school of how not to write scripts.
 

BadAss

Banned
It was a film about ordinary men doing an ordinary job, chosen to do an extraordinary thing, save the world. I think it relfected that very well indeed, as hollywood blockbusters go. :D
 

Lex

Novice Member
Originally posted by NicolasB
So, Lex, are you saying that if a film does not revolve around a coventional narrative structure then it's completely pointless and shouldn't even be made in the first place?

For that matter, what about documentary films? They often don't have anything resembling a plot, and sometimes nothing that could be described as dialogue (maybe multiple monologues). Should we not bother making those either?
You are talking about something else completely with that Nic. A documentary film-maker (which I am) sets out to make a documentary in the first place, he/she is not intending it to make anything else.
The point is AOTC was meant to "revolve around a coventional narrative structure" - its problem is that that its narrative structure is appaulingly bad.

And I never said any films "should not be made".
 

BadAss

Banned
But as summer blockbusters go they dont use charractorisation/dialog/dynamic storytelling (right or wrongly) to entertain you which is what AOTC and Armagedden are all about.
 

Radiohead

Member
My feeling with regards to Star Wars generally, and TPM and AOTC specifically, is that Lucas is an incredibly limited and lazy writer/director/whatever. His main driver for these films seems to now be as some sort of technical tour de force, and, to my mind, they (the films rather than the effects) fail here - technical wizardry is fine, but a film will, IMO fail as a film if the plot and characterisation aren't up to scratch. There is so much that could be done with the Star Wars franchise that will never happen as long as Lucas wants to use them to generate maximum cash return for minimal imaginative outlay.

I think that if TPM and AOTC weren't Star Wars films, with all the exagerated adulation that goes with them, they would be seen as what they are, mediocre sci-fi movies with a stunning lack of imagination.

This whole area goes back to the high concept idea, pioneered by Lucas, Bruckheimer et al - just because a film is a summer blockbuster doesn't mean it has to be thinly plotted or aimed at the lowest common denominator and we, as an audience, should demand more than Lucas is giving us.
 

Lex

Novice Member
The standard of Blockbusters has definitely gone down hill over the last few years :(
 

Desticado

Active Member
Originally posted by Lt Sulu
The Star Wars films should be watched as a whole. All will become clear when Episode III is released.:)
Oh.. Purlease...

Im presuming that you mean EP III will make it clear it wasnt just bad luck that made EP I & II duff, marketing franchise vehichles that only true disciples of the force would class as a good movie. But rather it was deliberate on Lucas' part.

Shame really, SW I,II & III could have been so good, if only Lucas hadnt directed or wrote the dialog for them...
 
J

Jade

Guest
I have to say that I find Nic's argument a little flimsy - sorry honey! ;)

The idea that AOTC (or any film) isn't supposed to have a plot or character development or snappy dialogue is a little strange. You cannot excuse the major flaws of a film just because it looks good.

"would you walk round an art gallery of Renaissance paintings at their finest and complain about the lack of good quality dialogue in the paintings"
YES you would! I think you are showing your artlessness a little here. Great paintings DO have a dialogue, they are not just pretty pictures.

AOTC is a poor movie. There can be no excuses :devil:
 

nunew33

Standard Member
Kind of agree with you jade.

But isnt art more about reaction than dialogue. I suppose then that AOTC does make people react therefore it is art. Reactions dont necessarily have to be good. Therefore AOTC is art but still a crap film!!!


I once went to a modern art exhibit and saw 4 handpainted squares of colour on parchment. The top left was royal blue, bottom right deep red. Top right yellow and bottom left green. There was no explanatory card. Someone did try to explain it was the emotional transition of cold to warmth and explained why to which I responded, no its 4 squares of colours.

I failed to hear the dialogue, am I artless too?:D
 

higenbs1

Novice Member
What's wrong with the plot of AOTC. It seemed to fit perfectly into the Star Wars world. Okay, it's not going to win any awards for writing, but then neither did the original trilogy. I'm sure if you watched Episodes 4,5 and 6 for the first time as adults, you would make all the same complaints. You have to effectively try and watch the new films as if you were still 8 years old. And I enjoyed AOTC for what it was, great special effects and great set pieces. If you want intelligent plot and character development, simply don't watch Star Wars films.
 

adox

Banned
Originally posted by higenbs1
What's wrong with the plot of AOTC. It seemed to fit perfectly into the Star Wars world. Okay, it's not going to win any awards for writing, but then neither did the original trilogy. I'm sure if you watched Episodes 4,5 and 6 for the first time as adults, you would make all the same complaints. You have to effectively try and watch the new films as if you were still 8 years old. And I enjoyed AOTC for what it was, great special effects and great set pieces. If you want intelligent plot and character development, simply don't watch Star Wars films.

have to disagree. with 4, 5, and 6, you had characters that you cared about, and a real sense of adventure. even if you watch them now they stand up, and that`s not just nostalgia.

episodes 1 and 2, imo, bare little resembance to the original trilogy, and are empty soulless films, that are ultimately boring.
 

higenbs1

Novice Member
But they only stand up well because we grew up with them. Ask anyone who never saw them when they were younger.
 

adox

Banned
so is the argument then, that aotc is indeed crap, the origianl trilogy was crap but we were too young to realise it, and therfore aotc is as good as we could have expected it to be?:confused:
 

higenbs1

Novice Member
IMO None of them are crap, and all have to be viewed as Star Wars films, i.e. don't expect great acting or writing
 
E

EvilMudge

Guest
Unlike the vast majority of my friends I didn't see the original trilogy until I was about 13. Now a decade on, and even after the Special Edition controversy, I still love those films.
For the Characters, not the effects.
Where are the characters in the first two? Aside from Senator Palpatine and Obi-Wan, who is there to care about who doesn't get killed by the end of each film? Quite honestly I can't think of any. Mace Windu could get developed into a good character, but he doesn't.

Oh and where does it say not to expect great acting or writing in SW?
 

higenbs1

Novice Member
Originally posted by EvilMudge


Oh and where does it say not to expect great acting or writing in SW?
It doesn't say it say it anywhere. But seeing as all 5 films contain neither, I'd say it's safe not to expect too much in this regard.
 
E

EvilMudge

Guest
Originally posted by higenbs1
It doesn't say it say it anywhere. But seeing as all 5 films contain neither, I'd say it's safe not to expect too much in this regard.
I'd get your flame retardent suit ready as others may not be so kind.

How about the late, extremely talented Sir Alec Guinness:
In the last stages of his career, he opts for what seems to be an easy role, yet brings such dignity and gravitas to the whole thing that you almost believe it's real.

And in Empire, the ongoing relationship between Leia and Han gives Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford some really good scenes together.

Okay, Mark Hamill is not the greatest character actor (fantastic voice actor though) but you have to give him credit for acting his socks off throughout most of episodes V&VI.

One more thing - if you give a crap actor a good character, you'll get less than if you give a great actor a crap character, but you still had a good character in the first place.
 

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