Fan made beats Phantom
March 7, 2016 8:23 AM   Subscribe

I was expecting this to be a Donald Trump/Star Wars mashup, so maybe I wasn't in the right frame of mind...

But there really wasn't any story here. I mean, it was beautifully filmed I guess, but that was a really long short for just a bunch of meaningless fight scenes.
posted by rikschell at 8:51 AM on March 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

But there really wasn't any story here. I mean, it was beautifully filmed I guess, but that was a really long short for just a bunch of meaningless fight scenes.

So it's The Force Awakens of fan made films?
posted by fairmettle at 8:56 AM on March 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

But there really wasn't any story here.

Pretty sure that story wasn't the point. It was just an excuse to film and display some lighter saber battles. On that front it was pretty good.

But yeah, if you have six Jedi against one supposedly no longer operating Sith, then send one of your guys to warn everyone else. Just one, ok?

Yeah, yeah, the Jedi were arrogant and foolish, but so that story aspect just falls flat, as it would have been pretty simple to establish that the Jedi was blocked from escaping the confrontation.

Also, wouldn't someone wonder why and how six Jedi just disappeared and send more to look for them?

But yeah, cool flips.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:56 AM on March 7, 2016

But there really wasn't any story here.

It was a trade dispute regarding tariffs on permacrete shipments to Coruscant. Darth Maul was concealing an impounded freighter that, once written off, would have been returned to the market and caused a 0.2% drop in permacrete futures. The resulting chain reaction of trading, as clearly explained in Darth Sidious' Excel spreadsheet, would deal an important blow to the economy of the Republic and accentuate the conflict with the Trade Federation. Needless to say, the Jedi had to be prevented from discovering this nefarious plan at all cost.

But then it turned out they couldn't afford Lucas as a consultant, so unfortunately they had to toss out that part of the plot. The original film was going to be 4 hours, 3 of them a livecast of a Senate sub-committee hearing.
posted by Behemoth at 9:03 AM on March 7, 2016 [19 favorites]

It's weird how goddam good the filming and FX tools we have available are, and how culturally available Star Wars is at this point, that it's possible to look at this and be sort of "meh" about it.

Like, I actually am kind of meh about it! Because, like:

It looks great technically and a lot of care went into visuals and costume and whatnot to get the feel of the aesthetics of Star Wars (or, more specifically, prequel-era Star Wars) and if you want a bunch of light-saber sword-dance choreography this is a hell of an unofficial dose. It feels plausibly of-a-piece with those films, like some weird little spinoff featurette for Phantom Menace. The dialogue's all mostly throwaway when it's there at all, but it's not particularly getting in the way. And they did a nice job with the music, and the editing, and the digital mattes, and and and. It's good work.

But god almighty am I worn out on placeholder lightsaber fights that go on long enough without anything happening for me to start thinking about all the ways they'd end quicker if "long, balletic lightsaber fight" wasn't the whole reason for the spectacle. All of those "why don't they use the force to..." questions. All those "why don't they just cut the shit and lop the guy's legs off when he's doing a twirl" questions.

Why don't the just force-poke the goddam power button on the other guy's sword. Why don't they constantly force-throw shit at each other's heads. Why don't they force squeeze each other's hearts into fibrilating, or force-crush their trachea, or or or.

The point of which is not "Star Wars is so unrealistic, why doesn't it science" because I like the series and know it's goofy fantasy and don't want to argue about internal consistency on that shit. My point is that fights with laser swords should not be so humdrum and drawn out that I get bored and start thinking about this stuff.
posted by cortex at 9:38 AM on March 7, 2016 [6 favorites]

fights with laser swords should not be so humdrum and drawn out that I get bored and start thinking about this stuff.

one of the things that really killed TFA was at the end, the black space janitor storm trooper , who has been a clumsy oaf for the entire movie, holds his own in a lightsaber fight against Emo Vader. I mean Emo Vader was hella lame, but still... it's not about whether it's realistic for a random schmo to not lose his head in 10 secs against, but it totally destroys any dramatic tension for the next fight.
posted by at 9:52 AM on March 7, 2016

but I realized after watching TFA that it is all just porn for both the creators and the audience. everyone has a checklist of things they want to see (or film) and they are satisfied when they see them. I mean, who cares about "the story" in porn?
posted by at 9:55 AM on March 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'd agree with the annoyance with overly long and pointless lightsaber fights. Duels seem like they should be actions of desperation. Something the original trilogy mostly got right. A duel is a great way to delay Vader and distract stormtroopers so the princess, kid, and the vital information can get away. A duel is a great way to confront your nemesis / father in a way both sides understand and is more meaningful than a shootout. And the final one is absolute desperation.

What would have been fun here would be "duel as distraction". The investigating Jedi are accompanied by several dozen battle droids. Or redshirts. If six Jedi are swinging their sabers at one Sith dude, then evil Sith dude will find it hard to deflect a hail of hundreds of blaster bolts. Or the dueling Jedi is on a suicide mission. Locate Maul, keep him distracted while an orbital ship fires off a bunch of high energy weapons. Nuke him from orbit. It's the only way to be sure. The Jedi are at the top of the establishment with the power of the navy and army behind them. There's no excuse for not using any of those toys.

Though, on the other hand, I can possibly accept dueling being a thing because both Sith and Jedi are deeply conservative and like playing out their roles. A form of historical cosplay / LARP with a brutal ending for the losers. Something that's happened more than once on Earth: the older form of combat is seen as more honorable (and poetic) and therefore persists even in the face of better killing technology.
posted by honestcoyote at 10:07 AM on March 7, 2016

I also came here looking for a Trump mashup, but was confronted with people who wouldn't look out of place at a local Society for Creative Anachronism meetup.

Amazing SFX and choreography, though!

The Force Awakens was disappointing because the spaceships were either recycled, or just didn't look any good. If
you check out the new Lego sets, the spaceships are all just grey boxes.

At least the prequels featured some cool-looking hardware.
posted by My Dad at 10:12 AM on March 7, 2016

My point is that fights with laser swords should not be so humdrum and drawn out that I get bored and start thinking about this stuff.

I would love to see a fan film that depicts a Jedi's thoughts during a light saber duel. It starts out all action, but soon the Jedi's mind begins to wander:

"Why do Jedi and Sith abide by the same rules of Force-use etiquette, prohibiting the use of force-poking light-saber power buttons? And why is Force-fibrillation wrong, but only in sword fights? We use it to humanely euthanize tauntauns."

Pew pew! Back to the action! Force block a laser blast!

And then it goes on from there. "I really need to file for that extension. But first I need to update TurboTax."

Force-shove a wandering Ewok out of harm's way.

"That reminds me. I still need to call the good kennel about boarding my dog before going to Coruscant. I hope they have space."

Jump over a lava pit.

"All this space, I mean we live in a whole galaxy, and there's no space at the kennel?"

Accidentally decapitate a protocol droid.

"Why do we subsidize moisture farmers? Why would anyone even farm for moisture? It's like farming for fertilizer. Completely backwards. It makes no sense for small-scale homesteaders to compete with the Mon Calamari in a highly developed commodity market."

Jump out a skyscraper window for no reason at all.

"I think I left the stove on."
posted by compartment at 10:14 AM on March 7, 2016 [7 favorites]

So i guess TFA backlash finally set in, huh?

(Count me in the "meh" crowd for the fanfilm. All flash, no substance, just like the prequels.)
posted by entropicamericana at 10:32 AM on March 7, 2016

Eh, there was TFA backlash pretty quick. The hype-doubt-tease-excite-release-awesome-yeahbut cycle took on a pretty standard form at the time, just turns out a lot of people liked it despite it being imperfect.

But, again, this actually is kinda weird timing for this particular fan film,'s not a TFA fan film. It's Darth Maul, who died in the first film of the prequel trilogy fifteen years ago, revisited in the setting and aesthetics of that particular trilogy. Releasing it after TFA kicks everybody back into gear makes a kind of sense, but not in an obvious narrative way and not in a way that seems to have anything to do with TFA having come out other than It's A Star Wars Thing.

It's showy and technically very well executed and also a decade late with basically nothing to say about the new movie it's proximate to, nor about the film or character it's revisiting. (What if we'd learned...anything, really, about Darth Maul here? Other than "maybe he thought twice a couple times about killing a couple people before killing them anyway", which is a lean-ass broth as character dev goes.)

So it's kind of a strange deal all around. Like a well-produced but forgettable disco album dropping in 1992.
posted by cortex at 10:40 AM on March 7, 2016

It's Darth Maul, who died in the first film of the prequel trilogy

You would think so, wouldn't you? I mean, he got cut in half and went tumbling down a bottomless pit.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:43 AM on March 7, 2016

turns out a lot of people liked it despite it being imperfect.

it's not that it was imperfect. i just get the feeling that the makers of these things are like Napoleon in Time Bandits: "I fant to see the leetle people heeting each other with steecks!" It's alienating and you feel bad to watch.
posted by at 10:46 AM on March 7, 2016

I mean, he got cut in half and went tumbling down a bottomless pit.

The Expanded Universe makes it very clear that his lower half was grafted to a robotic upper half and his upper half was grafted to a robotic lower half and now there are two Darth Mauls who live together in a fancy condo inside a Sarlacc Pit in the old Warehouse District. When it's time to go to work they ball up together like a pill bug and roll into their downtown corporate high-rise headquarters. Once there, they Force-unball in the lobby of Maul & Maul Creative, ready to start their workday
posted by compartment at 10:58 AM on March 7, 2016 [7 favorites]

Dude, spoilers!
posted by entropicamericana at 11:07 AM on March 7, 2016

Dude, spoilers!

What, he didn't mentioned the spider legs.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:11 AM on March 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

This is the kind of ouroboros fandom Star Wars is now: a prequel fan film gets a headline marking it as better than the prequel film that inspired it, and the new sequel is mocked, and everyone hated the story of the prequels and the storilessness of constant fight scenes, and then some bro comes in and calls Finn a "black janitor" who shouldn't have been able to fight well. I guess we didn't need the Donald Trump mashup at all.
posted by rikschell at 11:25 AM on March 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

I thought the story of the prequels was fine. Better than JJ binks attempt at a story in TFA. Now the dialogue in the prequels is another matter entirely. Say what you want about Lucas, but even the worst of the prequels (TCW) has several iconic scenes which outdo anything in the latest incoherent attempt. But hey we got good dialogue and characterization so there's that.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:31 AM on March 7, 2016

If by story you mean "the barest outline level," okay, I'll agree: noble Jedi knight falls to the Dark Side while the republic is usurped by an evil politician could have been a pretty good trilogy, but if you look at the prequels' story at any more detail than that, it is completely incoherent.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:43 AM on March 7, 2016

I would pay good money for a presidential poll that included multiple questions about Star Wars cross linked with age, income, race, etc.
posted by rikschell at 11:47 AM on March 7, 2016

calls Finn a "black janitor"

To be fair, that person called Kylo "emo vader," so it's equal opportunity ribbing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:50 AM on March 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

if you look at the prequels' story at any more detail than that, it is completely incoherent.

I thought that one of the main criticisms of the prequels, besides the shitty dialogue, was that there was too much boring exposition. I mean what exactly is incoherent about the story? The part where they don't really explain the relationship between the republic, resistance, and first order? Or where they can somehow see planets being blown up thousands of light years away in the atmosphere of a planet? Or how they totally rehashed the original trilogy at the expense of the originality? Or how Chewie and Leia literally brush shoulders and totally ignore each other after Han's death? Oh wait...

In my opinion the Prequels and the sequel have an inverse relationship. Everything the prequels did wrong the sequel does right and vice versa. I guess my current impressions of the prequels have been tempered by the Clone Wars cartoon series which in my humble opinion is better than both the prequels and sequel on every level. I goes into more details about how the war affected the jedi and ultimately led to their downfall. Ahsoka Tano's storyline is such a good one. You start off being pissed at a jar jar mark II, but by the end of the series she's one of the strongest characters in the Star Wars universe. Also, the loss of Ahsoka goes a long way towards making Anakin's turn against the jedi in Sith much more believable.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:59 AM on March 7, 2016 of the things that really killed TFA was at the end, the black space janitor storm trooper , who has been a clumsy oaf for the entire movie, holds his own in a lightsaber fight against Emo Vader.

*****Pedantic Alert! Pedantic Alert! You have been warned!*****

You're talking about the dead who was knocked unconscious and injured so badly he stayed unconscious the rest of the film, right? That's the guy you're saying held his own?

*****Pedantic Alert Ended, Please Return To Enjoying Things!*****
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:04 PM on March 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

And I also got the impression that Kylo Ren was doing the classic villain "toy with your over-matched opponent" thing in that fight with Finn.
posted by Panjandrum at 12:12 PM on March 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

But there really wasn't any story here.

Sure there is. It's just short and told almost entirely through choreography.

We find the Sith Apprentice hard at study in utter isolation. The holocron display stretches round the corners of his eyes and beyond: old scrolls and stolen footage of the Jedi wrapped round him in a bubble that blocks out his few distractions here. The voice of his absent Master croaks from above, teaching the apprentice the purpose and beauty of his hatred. It is good that he has kept it.

An alert interrupts his lesson. A ship entering orbit. This planet has been struck from Republic records, that is commonplace. Nonetheless, the apprentice has at times had occasion to demonstrate his skills to errant travelers and raiders. He departs without hesitation. He commands his rage roll through the Force, searching for pride, for impertinence, for any disturbances to his silent home. His Master's droid follows him into the field.

We find the Jedi apprentice at her master's side. They are the first to respond to their comrade's broken signal. He lies broken at the feet of a man in black robes. She hears his lightsaber sear the air, she feels the Force shriek and twist around him, but still can't quite believe it. It's like looking at an stone pictograph come to life. Three Knights close ranks around them but she can't look away. The Sith gives them all time to have a good look at the markings on his face, to understand their mistake.

Her Master tries to steady them but she can feel their courage buckling. Her own grip feels unsteady, unsure. They didn't let her see what was in that intercepted transmission but it's clear none of them expected this. The Sith charges straight for them, batting aside and leaping past their vanguard untroubled. Right away the padawan understands that it's her Master alone that the Sith considers a threat. When he cuts two Jedis down in less than a dozen strokes, she is sure of it.

She wishes he would taunt them, that he would threaten or boast. The Sith she heard about at Temple always made speeches, quoted prophecies. This one only stares like a cat, pounces faster than all three of them. The battle buzzes and scorches into a lower clearing. He is six steps ahead of them all. When she thinks she has an opening, he makes the Force fling her back. When she recovers a wind and her feet, it's just in time to catch a hail of droid blaster fire. While they deal with that, the Sith leaves only long enough to strike down the last of their support.

They cannot win this fight, they must run. Her Master reminds her of her duty, of the scope of the threat to the galaxy should they allow a Sith Lord to run loose. No time to comprehend how something so impossible could exist; it is up to them or no one to stop him. Her Master tells her to trust him. She has trusted him before.

The fight is desperate. Her Master blocks a fatal swing meant for her. She feels the anger seeping into his concentration, feels the fear the festers beneath it. She feels it ripen into pride as he at last recalls which of the histories he remembers this double bladed Sith technique from. His face twists in an uglier way than she's ever seen, he swings and thrusts with his lightsaber in a way he's never shown her. The Sith is struck, and withdraws. Again they have a chance to run, and her Master refuses.

He attacks them again in a shallow ravine, striking from above. Her lightsaber is destroyed. The Sith makes the Force lift her by the throat and at last she feels that crack in her Master's concentration break wide into hatred. The first breath she gets back is driven out of her when she falls. Her Master surrenders to his anger, swinging furiously, trading whatever his hatred asks for whatever power it will lend him. But it is hot where the Sith's burns cold. It calls on the animal in him, the animal that the Sith tamed in himself long ago. Her Master is struck down.

His lightsaber rolls within her reach and the Sith stands over her. She can't decide whether to reach for it or prepare for death. The Sith looks her over. Is this how he will taunt and humiliate her at last, hesitating only now that she's beaten and alone? She can't make out his expression beneath the hateful markings on his face. She wishes he would say something.

The Sith apprentice recognizes his enemy's padawan robes from his Master's lessons. He searches the Force for the Jedi's faltering arrogance and pride but finds only her anguish for the old man at his feet. How could an order that allowed its students such decadence have ever done any violence to the Sith? How could they have made his Master's ways a forgotten legend? This woman is not the vengeful, haughty Jedi he was taught to expect. Was it even her idea to come to this place?

Behind them, the buzz and whir of a lightsaber. The Jedi in the mask. His respirator equipment must extend through more of his thorax than the Sith thought at first. This time, he cuts him through the throat, ribs and waist to be sure. The padawan is gone when he returns for her, but her fear ripples back through the Force. He follows.

At the edge of the woods, the padawan loses and feet. Staggering back up, she sees on the horizon the ruin where this Sith has made his home. She feels festering there a hatred sharp and perfect, honed over long years of perfect solitude. The Force calls to her, makes her understand what it will mean if such rage leaves this place. It lets her accept what it will mean to try and stop it. When she feels the Sith standing behind her, a searing canker in the Force, she is not surprised or afraid. He says nothing, and it would not matter if he did.

The Sith apprentice feels the Force take a new shape around the padawan. It is not the blind rage he drove her master into nor the despair that made her take up his weapon and run away. As she lights up her saber for the what he will make last time in her life, the Force becomes a cool, still pond around her. He feels her cast aside her need to survive, the entire regard for self that his Master told him was the true key to mastery of the Force. And yet when the padawan charges without it, she is now somehow nearly as fast as the Sith.

In their final duel, the Sith and Jedi apprentices used every step, thrust and slash their Masters had shown them. For the first time today, the Sith spent a few of those steps on the back heel, barely staying ahead of this padawan at peace in the Force. At last the fight moved beyond lightsabers; the combatants using the last of their strength to fling the Force at each other in great waves. When those broke against each other, the padawan caught the worst of it. Yet still she struggled against her bruises and broken bones, finding her feet once more.

The Sith willed the Force to drive the padawan to her knees. What strength she had left kept this from crushing her windpipe outright. She clutched still at her master's lightsaber, though they both knew she would never wield it again. The Sith apprentice prepared to finish her, waited to feel her fear and despair once more, but it never came. His Master had told him all he knew of the Jedi, of how their great fear of Sith power drove them to do unspeakable violence for their ideas of peace and justice. He learned that Jedi softness and decadence stemmed from their denial of their feelings but in the Force swirling around this padawan, he did not feel a fear denied but rather none present at all. Her sadness and her disgust, these shone bright enough, but he could not find her fear no matter where he searched.

Jedis claim their students young, the Sith apprentice knew this. His Master told him so when he as a boy; that he would need train for his entire life to be ready to face them as a man. Who would this padawan have been if the Jedi never found her? Did she herself decide to come for him, or did she decide to obey her master? Was it him who killed her, or her master for putting her under his blade? His Master told him that the Jedi had oppressed the entire galaxy for their fear of the Sith philosophy, that there was no hypocrisy they would not stoop to in order to eradicate what they feared. Alone among her order, this padawan knew that the Sith of legend yet lived. What did that make him if she did not fear him now?

Behind and above, the droning hum of his Master's droid. Its red lens had seen every step of this battle and the apprentice learned long ago how his Master rewarded hesitation. He killed the padawan, and finished it. He did not need to defeat her to finish it.

Nonetheless, his Master was pleased. The apprentice knew this because his Master favored him with a projection from the droid, a glimpse at his face to go along with his voice. When he told his pupil that he himself sent these Jedi for him, the apprentice understood how sure his Master was of his weapon. Certain enough to risk exposure to provide his pupil with his final test, a chance to earn his name. In the shadow of a home he would now torch and abandon to keep their secret, Darth Maul arose.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:14 PM on March 7, 2016 [6 favorites]

The prequels did something right???
posted by rikschell at 12:20 PM on March 7, 2016

The prequels did something right???

Yes, Ewan McGregor was pretty great as Ben Kenobi. It's a shame there isn't going be a movie with him.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:18 PM on March 7, 2016

Is that a certainty, that it won't happen? The older McGregor gets, the more interesting the prospect of an Old Ben movie becomes.
posted by EatTheWeak at 1:20 PM on March 7, 2016

I thought that one of the main criticisms of the prequels, besides the shitty dialogue, was that there was too much boring exposition. I mean what exactly is incoherent about the story?

Have you not watched the Plinkett reviews? I mean, this is not a new topic. For one, does Naboo elect a queen? Why does Naboo think a 12-year-old would be a good leader of the planet? Why does Naboo think an 18-year-old would be a good senator? How does a slave get the free time and parts to build both a protocol droid AND a pod racer? Why does the handmaiden decoy say she failed Padme when in fact she did her job? Why doesn't her head of security seem to be in a hurry to get off a platform where a bomb attack has occured? Why does a bounty hunter hire another bounty hunter to kill Padme? Why does the second bounty hunter send a robot over to drop off poisonous creatures in Padme's bedroom when the robot easily could have fired a blaster or detonated a bomb? For that matter, the second bounty hunter was a pretty good shot, why didn't she just snipe Padme from a nearby building? If Anakin is the reckless one in love with Padme, why did Obi-Wan drive out of the window to tackle the robot? Why did he think the robot would support his weight? Why didn't he think the robot would just self-destruct? Why did the robot lead Obi-Wan straight back to the second bounty hunter? Why didn't the second bounty hunter shoot Obi-Wan instead of the droid? What does a shapeshifter need with a face mask? If you're a shapeshifter, why not change form into an entirely new shape and run instead of remaining in a form the Jedi will recognize and then try to sneak up and put a blaster between a Jedi Master's ribs? If Padme's life is in danger, why do the Jedi let her hang out in front of giant plate glass windows after two attempts on her life?

Should I go on?
posted by entropicamericana at 1:24 PM on March 7, 2016

Eh, those Plinkett videos felt even more turgid and overlong than the movies they burned bizarre amounts of effort and energy hating. I was all hopped up on fanboy rage about the Phantom Menace until I talked to a five year old that loved it. At least George Lucas took a few swings at adding New Stuff to the Star Wars mythosphere. I don't think he quite anticipated how hidebound and conservative most of fandom had become about the stories we love never deviating from our expectations.
posted by EatTheWeak at 1:33 PM on March 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

It wasn't that George added new stuff to the mythosphere, it's that some of the core concepts were terrible (Jedi as emotionless monks, teenaged senators, 50s space diner) and the writing was atrocious. He literally did not know why Anakin turned to the dark side until post-production on RotS. The biggest moment in the prequel trilogy if not the saga, and he did not know the how or why until after he was done shooting it.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:42 PM on March 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Utters prayer

Lord, I shall not engage with criticisms of TFA, give me strength to leave such responses in the proper posts...

Ends prayer.

The technical execution is good and the story plays pretty strongly into the arrogance of the Jedi that rises up during the Prequel Trilogy and is conveyed also in The Clone Wars. I remained puzzled the entire time why the Jedi with the double bladed saber never ignited both sides. I had to admire the Spaghetti Western homage at the end between Maul and the padawan, very much an Old West gunfight with the music and everything. For those complaining about the lack of Force powers during duels, it actually does happen a few times and is part of the climax of the final fight.

My chief complaint falls into choosing to introduce six Jedi against Maul. That's completely built upon "Darth Maul is ZOMG awesome, see how many Jedi he can take down!" It wasn't necessary, or at least, could have been better presented as separating the six into several barriers for Maul to bypass. Otherwise, it just makes the Jedi look completely inept and feels a little too much like they exist entirely as breathing lightsaber targets waiting for an unnatural moment in the fluid fighting to allow for a mortal strike by Maul.

Going to the final fight, it definitely makes me yearn for an Obi-Wan in the role of the Man With No Name type of Western, wandering into a sandy Tatooine (a la Western) town and having to end up saving the town from X existential threat - but in the process, fighting his own instincts to reveal himself as a Jedi and put his own life and task of guarding Luke at risk. MAKE IT HAPPEN, DISNEY. It's already kind of being played upon in the couple one off issues in the Star Wars comic book run.
posted by Atreides at 2:10 PM on March 7, 2016

He literally did not know why Anakin turned to the dark side until post-production on RotS.

Oof, no kidding? I read it as less of a turn and more of a gradual slide with that began with the trauma of child slavery, accelerated in earnest with the eradication of that Tusken village, became irretrievable with the betrayal of Mace Windu and then mustache-twirler with the Jedi "younglings" - all of it justified to him as what it would take to keep things from changing for once in his life.

I'm not saying they were perfect or even consistent because ouch, obviously not. There were ideas in them which I would have liked to have seen explored in a better made movie though. Two galactic powers creating homegrown armies that they fully do not regard as people in conflict with people is a pretty terrifying concept, for instance. Makes the Empire's practice of conscription seem comparatively noble and responsible. A bounty hunter raising his own clone is pretty interesting too.

When I was a kid, Marvel comics changed the rules for winning one of their famous No-Prizes, those empty envelopes they would send you for catching a story/art mistake. That wouldn't be enough anymore, from then on you also had to dream up a reason as to why that mistake made sense. I don't always manage it, but that's the thinking I try to access when nerd stuff doesn't work for me. The prequels definitely didn't work for me and contained plenty of what I would call creative mistakes. My approach to them nowadays is to treat them like an imperfect history that came down after a few generations. Like, some of the stuff in there is pure nonsense - Midichlorians? Basically alchemy, bodily humors level thinking - throw that out. And that Super Mario scene in Attack of the Clones with all the conveyor belts and piston traps? Looks like a stretch of Twi'lek epic poetry that a translator inserted. The inner machinations of Naboo's nobility was left out because they paid the compositors' salaries, that kind of thing.

I'd rather remember them than watch them, that's for sure. Forgot all about the 50s diner, for instance. All I remember from that part of the movie is Obi-Wan in Blade Runner, which is a fun idea that I'd rather not spoil with the way it showed up onscreen. Under this approach, fan theories and especially fun rounds of Battlefront are all equally relevant. I like the Spymaster R2 & Chewie and A Jango Fett Clone Double Died theories well enough to consider them personal canon. Maybe even Darth Jar-Jar, if the moon is right.

I need to reserve my nerdrage for Zach Snyder Superman movies, so the Star Wars prequels are forgiven.
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:25 PM on March 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oof, no kidding?

Two rounds of pick-up shooting then occured which actively re-wrote the film to reflect this new arc surrounding Padme. While in the original film it was just one of many issues relating to Anakin's fall, here it now became the issue. Anakin would instead turn to the darkside out of an act of misplaced love--no longer would he be corrupted by evil, and no longer would he betray the Jedi; his turn would be linked to a spontaneous emotional reaction to save Padme.
I mean, he only had 25 years or so to work on it.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:33 PM on March 7, 2016

And that Super Mario scene in Attack of the Clones with all the conveyor belts and piston traps?

Wasn't that an homage to the Galaxy Quest chompers scene?
posted by peeedro at 4:30 PM on March 7, 2016

Does no one think that Finn might be Force-sensitive? That he and Rey showed signs of equal participation in the preternaturally heroic competence that even skilled non-sensitives like Han would be impressed by?

I don't buy that First Order conditioning can make you even slightly decent at saber combat. The only non-Jedi we've seen use sabers is Grievous, and collecting trophy lightsabers was an obsession of his. (Also, since he wore an exoskeleton, he could afford to lose an arm or two in training.)
posted by lumensimus at 4:48 PM on March 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

I think he is because Kylo Ren noticed him and paused on his way back to the shuttle. I don't think Ren was paying enough attention to notice he wasn't slaughtering the villages, I think he felt the Force stirring within Finn as he struggled with his conscience.
posted by entropicamericana at 5:42 PM on March 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Have you not watched the Plinkett reviews?

Yes, they are shit. Not to mention misogynistic and rapey. The prequels aren't perfect, but when combined with TCW I'll take them any day over the sequel. Luckily JJ binks isn't going to be insulting our intelligence in the next movie by creating an inconsistent and incoherent universe. I already mentioned it, but for me the nail in the coffin for TFA was when Chewie and Leia ignore each other after Han's death. What a betrayal of the characters and what a fucking hack of a director. At least we still have Luke, Rey, and Finn to look forward to.

Oh and on the topic of Maul he was still alive as recently as 5 years BBY. See "Old Master" towards the end of this trailer for Star Wars Rebels:
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:53 PM on March 7, 2016

Tell me, what's it's like being an utter philistine?
posted by entropicamericana at 8:11 PM on March 7, 2016

I read it as less of a turn and more of a gradual slide with that began with the trauma of child slavery

I was iffy about this until I watched The Clone Wars animated series, where it's definitely shown as a slow gradual slide, cultivated at every turn by Chancellor Palpatine. It's actually very creepy to watch through the lens of what we know happens later. Palpatine was a pretty accomplished puppet master in that show.
posted by ashirys at 6:42 AM on March 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Have the only theory that gets me through the prequels: Padme Knew He Was Falling.

Thanks to the terrible dialogue and surprisingly good moments of acting, it's possible to construct an alternate prequel where Padmé realised very early on that Anakin was under Palpatine's sway, that he was obsessed with her, and that she sacrificed herself to try to keep him from falling faster, building her network of the rebellion through her allies and handmaidens as she watched the Senate and the Jedi council disintegrate mercilessly.

Turns the whole series into a very exciting Padmé vs Palpatine match where she's operating in the shadows through love and loyalty, and even as she dies, she leaves her legacy behind.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 7:11 AM on March 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

That reminds me of a recent tweet from @starwarsproblems:
Anakin: I'm unstable
Padmé: I love you

Him: I have mom issues
Her: Not a red flag

Him: I massacred sand people
Her: Won't happen again
posted by entropicamericana at 7:50 AM on March 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

Since the derail happened, and someone griped about the Chewie and Leia thing, Abrams has apologized about that, saying it wasn't intentional, that he believed Chewbacca would be focused on getting Finn help, leaving Leia and Rey alone to hug it out.
posted by Atreides at 2:32 PM on March 8, 2016

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