With the impending release of Episode 2
December 28, 2001 7:02 AM   Subscribe

With the impending release of Episode 2 this summer, be prepared for an onslaught of new toys, including some that will bring back memories of Return of the Jedi, as well as resurrect old flaps over the not-so-subtle cultural stereotypes in the movie series. On a side note, I like what they've done to Obi-Wan's hair these days.
posted by manero (29 comments total)
Yes, the Nazareth look is really in right now (Jesus of, not the band).
posted by witchstone at 7:06 AM on December 28, 2001

Unless there's a Jar Jar Binks ritual seppuku toy, I'm not interested.
posted by insomnyuk at 7:27 AM on December 28, 2001

Oo... I'll take the Nazarath Look over the Jedi Modified Mullet any day. I don't care how "long time ago" your story is... rat-tail braids with crew cuts? Come on! If I had to wear my hair like that, I'd go over to the dark side too.
posted by kittyb at 7:42 AM on December 28, 2001

Yeah, but have you seen the trailer? It looks HORRIBLE! I cant believe what they've done.... Is nothing sacred?
posted by Espoo2 at 7:45 AM on December 28, 2001

From Peter Biskind's "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls" :

Coppola always complained that the success of
The Godfather derailed his career. Says Lucas, "The same thing happened to me." Like Coppola, his aspirations were inflected by the market. Says Marcia [Lucas, ex-wife], "George would have remained an experimental filmmaker had it not been for Graffitti leading to Star Wars." He always vowed he would never return to Star Wars.

The great irony is that Lucas is the only New Hollywood director who succeeded in establishing his financial independence from Hollywood, the only one who is in the position to do whatever he wants, and yet he is imprisoned by the very Hollywood films whose success gave him that independence in the first place.

Lucas used to regard his career as a failure. He had a fantasy that when he died, God would look down on him and say, "You've had your chance and you blew it, get out." Now he's reconciled to spending the rest of his life churning out
Star Wars prequels, tending the pea at the bottom of the inverted Lucasfilm pyramid, as Marcia puts it.

When Lucas' self-created empire begged the producer-director to serve it, he gave in. "It took a long time for me to adjust to
Star Wars," he says, bemusedly. "I finally did, and I'm going back to it. Star Wars is my destiny."

Does that answer any questions? Hell, at least he uses it to develop some technology.
posted by videodrome at 8:01 AM on December 28, 2001

I am thinking of changing my username to vaderbenanakin - it has a bice ring to it. (see url structure)

or fenneganbeginagain.
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 8:06 AM on December 28, 2001

The trailers I've seen do look fairly awful. A glimpse of Jar-Jar. Anakin saying "We came. To REScue. You." and "I'm going to be the most powerful Jedi EVER!" Amidala's Leia-bun hairdo. I'll be going for the camp value.

I do adore Ewan McGregor, though. It's awesome and eerie how he's picked up Sir Alec's speech patterns for his take on Obi-Wan. He's admitted that the Star Wars dialogue is some of the worst to ever pass through his lips, and that "The Attack of the Clones" is a lame title. He does well with what he's got to work with. I'm glad he doesn't have to have the rat-tail for this installment.
posted by kittyb at 8:21 AM on December 28, 2001

Yeah, but that beard makes him look like a lumberjack. And the way the trailers look, Lucas has magically found some way to make Natalie Portman look unattractive. Honestly, I'm just waiting for whenever all the Jedi get killed off, at this point that's all I can hope to enjoy from the series.
posted by insomnyuk at 8:26 AM on December 28, 2001

Re: the Slate article: OK, maybe I'm crazy (or merely ignorant), but Watto's accent does not sound Yiddish to me. It sounds like a mishmash of several accents, with a strong overtone of Italian. Has anyone with any linguistic expertise done an analysis? (Probably not, unless we can find a linguist with NO FUCKING LIFE to do it.)

It may not be politically acceptable to say so, but the feeling I got from the movie was that they went out of their way to create accents that weren't from a specific language. The Trade Federation guys sounded like a combination of Chinese, Hindu and Jamaican to my (admittedly non-professional) ear. Jar Jar sounded pretty West Indian, true enough, but the other Gungans didn't sound anything like Jar Jar, which says to me that Ahmed Best isn't a very good voice actor, not that George Lucas is a bigot. And as far as the Gungan being a "brave but primitive tribe who throw spears and rocks at the oncoming army" -- the author apparently missed the force shields, the blaster rifles, the "rocks" that burst and dissolved armor, and oh yeah, a HUGE and complex underwater city with force fields to keep the water out. I wish I was that primitive.

Oh, wait, sorry. I forgot it was just a movie. Move along, nothing to see here.
posted by RylandDotNet at 8:50 AM on December 28, 2001

I took a film class this past semester, and the teacher had mentioned a lot of the things that the Slate article touches on. Granted, the Slate article got some of the stuff wrong, but there WAS some stuff in there that was obvious after you look at it a second or third time. I doubt Lucas is an outgoing bigot, but it's just some interesting stuff that's embedded into the characters. You're right, Ryland, it is just a movie, and it's probably nothing to get *overly* worked up over.
posted by manero at 8:56 AM on December 28, 2001

"It's all Obi-Wan's fault! He's holding me BACK!"

That new trailer makes Star Wars look like an episode of Felicity. They even go to some idiotic space Venice because gondolas mean love. Jeez.
posted by muckster at 9:02 AM on December 28, 2001

as i watched the trailer, i was pretty unimpressed as well, i just kept thinking, The Two Towers in a year...just a year...everything else is filler...

on a side note, somewhat related to the princess chained to something, just like in return of the jedi, i've always thought someone could make a fortune with a softcore porn spoof where a princess leia type makes out with a princess amidala type. I have friends who would never leave home again if they had that.
posted by th3ph17 at 9:52 AM on December 28, 2001

i've always thought someone could make a fortune with a softcore porn spoof where a princess leia type makes out with a princess amidala type.

dude, mother-daughter action...
posted by boogah at 10:09 AM on December 28, 2001

Maybe the only thing that will save this sinking ship is for them to put Natalie Portman in a gold bikini.
posted by lostbyanecho at 10:18 AM on December 28, 2001

I saw the latest preview before LoTR and just wanted to cry...it looks far, far worse than Episode 1.
posted by rushmc at 11:38 AM on December 28, 2001

Eh. I don't think this'll be bad -- the longer trailer looks promising. But then the Phantom Menace trailer was excellent -- on many levels better than the film itself. As long as this movie goes lighter on the 'taxation without representation angle...' we'll see. I'n the meantime, I'll see LOTR:FOTR again...
posted by krewson at 11:58 AM on December 28, 2001

One of the reasons LOTRFOTR works so well is that it's really dark -- something it shares with the best Star Wars film, "Empire Strikes Back." We like our heroes to really suffer and our evil to be True Evil, I guess. Compared to Sauron's hordes, how menancing was the "Phantom Menace," really? Answer: not very. Any doubt the Nazgul would kick Dark Maul's ass any day? Sauron vs. Palpatine? These movies are going for myth, and for Good to shine, Evil has to be frickin' scary. From the looks of that trailer, Lucas just doesn't have wicked evil in him any more.
posted by muckster at 12:16 PM on December 28, 2001

Funny you should draw such a commparison, muckster. I never read the books and saw LOTR:FOTR last week. I was constantly reminded of Star Wars, throughout the movie. Just another quest movie with big bux production values was my take on it exiting the theatre.

( yes, I realize LOTR predates SW by a lot of years, I just didn't see them in the right order. But how many were reminded of LOTR the first time you saw SW??)
posted by BentPenguin at 12:24 PM on December 28, 2001

Lucas readily admits that Lord of the Rings provides a lot of the inspiration behind the movies.

Gandalf = Obie Wan Kenobi
Aragorn = Han Solo
Arwen= Leia
Sauron = Emperor Palpatine
Nazgul (Black Riders) = Darth Vader
Pippin and Meridadoc = R2D2 and C3P0

More connections can be made, and they are sometimes tenuous, but they exist
posted by insomnyuk at 12:33 PM on December 28, 2001

err.. Meriadoc
posted by insomnyuk at 12:34 PM on December 28, 2001

That's a cue for Joe Campbell if I ever heard one. To wit:

Gandalf = Merlin = Dumbledore = Obi Wan Kenobi
Luke = Arthur = Frodo = Harry Potter
Light Saber = Anduil = Excalibur

... and down the list.

The story is the Hero's Quest and its characters are stock characters in key situations: the magician, the devil, the lover, etc. The hero, at first a fool, goes away from home to return transformed. The tarot tells the same story.

Isn't it odd how neither Luke, Frodo, Harry Potter or Mickey Mouse live with their parents?

There's a page somewhere that breaks this down beautifully but I can't be bothered to search for it right now.
posted by muckster at 1:03 PM on December 28, 2001

Gandalf = Obie Wan Kenobi
Aragorn = Han Solo
Arwen= Leia
Sauron = Emperor Palpatine
Nazgul (Black Riders) = Darth Vader
Pippin and Meridadoc = R2D2 and C3P0

These all seem pretty uninsightful to me. In what way are Aragorn and Arwen like Han and Leia? Or Pippin and Merry like R2 and 3P0? And the others may be obvious but I don't see any real similarities beyond the Joseph Campbell "everything is everything" level. As muckster said, these are stock characters.

Where does Lucas say this? I've heard him cite various sources (Campbell, Kurosawa) but never Tolkien.
posted by rodii at 1:11 PM on December 28, 2001

http://www.activedayton.com/ddn/life/1221rings.html there.

As for the characters being stock, well okay, they seem that way now, after scores of fantasy novels have borrowed heavily from LOTR. As for Han = Aragorn, Han, like Aragorn, ends up assisting the main protagonist (Luke/Frodo). He also gets the girl (Leia/Arwen). That's as far as the Leia and Arwen thing goes, methinks. As for Merry and Pippin, they are like R2D2 and C3P0 in that they both assist the main character and provide comic relief. And what do you mean by "uninsightful"?
posted by insomnyuk at 1:19 PM on December 28, 2001

Oh, but by "stock" I didn't imply a put-down. There are only so many relationships to exploit: the hero, the lover, the father, the mother, the enemy, the trusted friend, the foolish friend, the wise man, the temptress, and so on. The art of telling this story is in making the stock characters unique, compelling, fascinating, etc -- to make the story of the Mythic Journey eternal by telling it anew, if you will. I'd say that Tolkien did better than Lukas, but neither one invented the blueprint.

There's more talk about the sources of LoTR in this earlier LoTR thread.
posted by muckster at 1:33 PM on December 28, 2001

This page had a great list of inspirations, including entries for LoTR, but there's nothing but the cache left, and here is a fine step-by-step analysis of Star Wars.
posted by muckster at 1:38 PM on December 28, 2001

And what do you mean by "uninsightful"?

I mean it doesn't illuminate much about the particulars of the Star Wars characters. To say they're "comic relief" means they might just as well be compared to Slim Pickens in a John Ford movie, Donald O'Connor in Singin' in the Rain, or Pancho in The Cisco Kid. Sauron is the Big Shadowy E-vil guy, so is the Emperor, but the actual form thei e-vil takes is totally different.

Here are the "startling similarities", according to the Dayton Daily News article:
  1. Both SW and LOTR are trilogies (LOTR is "now" a trilogy, according to the DDN)... oh, except SW is not a trilogy, but whatever.
  2. They are "both epic fantasy adventures that pit the forces of good against the powers of darkness." Well, that narrows it down.
  3. "Both sagas are introduced by Òprequels,Ó The Phantom Menace and The Hobbit," Does this comparison make any sense? "which arrived either decades before or after the fact." Right, before or after. Not simultaneously. Got it. I looked up "uninsightful" in the dictionary and they had a picture of this idea! :)
  4. Both films star a Hammer horror film star. I'm sure Tolkien had Christopher Lee in mind from the beginning.
"But," goes the windup to the DDN article, "the resemblance between the worlds of Tolkien and Lucas is remarkable. Look closely and youÕll find that many of the characters in each, be they members of the Rebel Alliance or the Fellowship of the Ring, are almost one in the same."

No, really. Who corresponds to Boromir? Legolas? Wedge? Chewie?

This isn't directed at you, insomnyuk, but geesh, what a lame article. I don't doubt that Lucas was a fantasy fan, and for his generation that means a Tolkien fan, but I just don't see much similarity in the works themselves.
posted by rodii at 1:54 PM on December 28, 2001

Heh yeah it's lame, the only reason I cited it is because it mentions Lucas in the first line :)
posted by insomnyuk at 2:49 PM on December 28, 2001

I saw the "Clones" trailer before "LOTRFOTR," too, and I can't *believe* you people aren't just dying to see a movie that appears to be mostly a romance between two people named Annie and Padme, only one of whom has hair that looks like cinnamon rolls.


Yeah, it looks godawful, altough I'll probably still shell out my $4.50 to see the matinee. "You've grown, too. Grown more beautiful, I mean." (That's Annie to Padme in the trailer.) Gross.

I am thinking of changing my username to vaderbenanakin

I think "loterfoter" has a nice rhythm to it.
posted by diddlegnome at 5:14 PM on December 28, 2001

Gee, hating on Star Wars. I'd never thought I'd see the day.

I'm still going to see Episode II, despite it all.
posted by Down10 at 1:36 AM on December 29, 2001

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