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Disney Star Wars

Cognisant

Condescending Bastard
Joined
Dec 12, 2009
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7,691
#1
As I understand it stories generally have three levels of conflict, the global conflict, the local conflict and the personal conflict.

The personal conflict is a character's goals/aspirations and the obstacles preventing them getting to where or what they want. Every character worth a damn has a personal conflict, if they don't they're not characters, they're scenery.

The local conflict is a conflict between groups of characters, a group being comprised of characters who are brought together by their personal conflicts. A group of thieves in a heist movie all want to be in on the heist but they may have completely different reasons for that, one man might need money to save the life of his sick daughter, another is an adrenaline junkie doing it for the kicks, another might be in on it because he's getting old and wants to pass on his craft.

In this heist movie example the opposing group may be the police, a private security firm, a rival gang of thieves, maybe the wives of the robbers trying to figure out what their husbands are up to, maybe it's just the guy who owns the vault, the opposition could even be an abstract concept like time or luck.

The global conflict is the overall context, it could be a literal conflict like a war, an abstract conflict like philosophical differences or the way society is changing. The Last Samurai was on the global level about the end of the era of the samurai. The Lord of the Rings was about the rise of Sauron and the doom it would bring upon Middle Earth. Invader Zim is about the sick sad state of the human race and the absurdity of trying to get ahead in a society built upon oppression and exploitation, I'll let you guess whether I'm talking about human or Urchin society.

What are the global, local and personal conflicts in the recent Star Wars movies?
 

Jennywocky

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#2
The global conflict in The Last Jedi was kind of non-existent. I guess you could say it's simply about the First Order wanting to eradicate the "last rebels." Which is pretty thin, and it didn't sell very much. Even in The Force Awakens, it's not all that very clear... the First Order is apparently trying to pick up the pieces of the Empire I suppose for personal power, but it really isn't thought through much in terms of what specifically they want, why they want it (except "evil people want power!"), and why their actions get it for them. We just basically see them blow up a planet or two to eradicate their foes.... but what exactly does that get them? It's not clear.

Maybe I am a bad person to try to answer this, since I really disliked The Last Jedi overall due to these kinds of ambiguities. So much of the conflict / motivations seemed very contrived. I think there were lots of little personal and local conflicts, I just did not find many of them compelling or engrossing.
 

Cognisant

Condescending Bastard
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Messages
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#3
In the first movie Finn wanted to get out of the First Order, ok he did that, now I guess he wants to get into Rey's pants? His suicidal attempt to take out the siege cannon I attribute to guilt but did he ever actually kill people who weren't trying to kill him, and if he's suicidally guilt ridden why isn't this shown more?

After the casino planet stint Rose is apparently madly in love with Finn, I understand given the circumstances emotions are running high but down girl down!

Luke is old and bitter, this is the guy who redeemed Darth Vader but he freaks out at the first sign of one of his apprentices turning evil, nah I don't buy it.

Poe, what is his stake in the rebellion, so far his sole motivation seems to be "I like blowing shit up" which isn't enough for a main character.

Snoke, who? Meh who cares.

Rey is poster child daddy issues, despite her Mary Sue capabilities I can see her working as a stripper in some divey club because the manager calls her his little girl.

Kylo is a manchild living in mama Snoke's basement who then kills his overbearing mother because he fell in love with a stripper and wants her to move in with him, despite the fact to her he's just another troublesome client.
 

Jennywocky

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#4
In the first movie Finn wanted to get out of the First Order, ok he did that, now I guess he wants to get into Rey's pants? His suicidal attempt to take out the siege cannon I attribute to guilt but did he ever actually kill people who weren't trying to kill him, and if he's suicidally guilt ridden why isn't this shown more?

After the casino planet stint Rose is apparently madly in love with Finn, I understand given the circumstances emotions are running high but down girl down!
TFA: Finn's drive is he is cracking under his stormtrooper programming (and there was a backstory there), but it is all dropped in TLJ. Rose is apparently 13 because she glams on Finn the hero, then trashes him because he seems to be fleeing (but not really?), then suddenly is prepared to give everything for him out of love. She's a Finn groupie.

Luke is old and bitter, this is the guy who redeemed Darth Vader but he freaks out at the first sign of one of his apprentices turning evil, nah I don't buy it.
Yeah, I think the line is viable for certain personality types; but Luke is the perpetual "look on the bright side" guy, that was established in three movies. And this twist was not convincing, in part because while we get some kind of explanation, it is not compelling. They were going more for "Two characters perceive the same event very differently" to the exclusion of making sure the broader character arcs were honored. I think you could still pull it off, but this script was very inadequate.

Poe, what is his stake in the rebellion, so far his sole motivation seems to be "I like blowing shit up" which isn't enough for a main character.
He's an enigma. He was supposed to die in the first movie, but the character clicked so well, they didn't write him out. So instead, for a character arc in TLJ, we get him basically playing spoiled teenager to crappy mom Laura Dern, acting out against parental authority that truly does look incompetent. He's probably the blankest slate in the roster. He has no other motivation aside from being a crackerjack hero, I suppose, who just wants to scrap.

Snoke, who? Meh who cares.
Yeah, TLJ pretty much just set that whole plotline on fire before it was unspooled.

Rey is poster child daddy issues, despite her Mary Sue capabilities I can see her working as a stripper in some divey club because the manager calls her his little girl.

Kylo is a manchild living in mama Snoke's basement who then kills his overbearing mother because he fell in love with a stripper and wants her to move in with him, despite the fact to her he's just another troublesome client.
Those seem pretty fair based on TLJ.

What's really surprising to me is (aside from the "acclaim" for that movie... like WTF) that Disney rode Lord's ass enough to boot him off the Solo movie as director but let this one ride and doubled-down on it. Like, what's with the inconsistency? How bad was Lord, or what was his vision that was truly so awful in comparison? It's not like the new Solo trailer, either, is that spectacular - jury is still out, but I can't say the trailer has provided any new hopes for the movie. It was "okay."
 

Cognisant

Condescending Bastard
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#5
Just watched the trailer, it was exceptionally generic.

If this doesn't go well Disney may have to sell the Star Wars license rather than risk devaluing it further, I think they're going to play it extremely safe and we'll see another formulaic recycled plot like in TFA. Han and Chewbacca are two of the most bankable toy-selling characters in the franchise, no doubt Disney is also trying to regain the trust of retailers who have been burned by the abysmal failure of TLJ's merchandise.
 

NoID10ts

aka Noddy
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#6
Bastards. Making me reassess TLJ. I still liked it. I wrote a blog post about it, but the key take away is this:

... if my assessment of The Last Jedi is correct, they’re doing something far more fascinating: subverting Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey. Everyone knows George Lucas was heavily influenced by the hero’s journey in his creation of the original trilogy, but what if this time around, a fatal flaw of that classic journey is exposed? That for once, someone makes it a point to demonstrate that the galaxy isn’t made more balanced and peaceful by outsized heroes and villains, but by everyday people who were right there by the hero’s side before the journey ever began.
What do you think?
 

Jennywocky

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#7
There are skillful ways to subvert tropes and narrative expectations, and then there are inept ways. I am all for subversion and deconstruction, I've constructed narratives on my own that deconstruct expectations. I actually just thought this was a bad movie especially in light of it being part of a series.

It doesn't mean all the ideas were bad. I actually liked the bit about Rey's parents being nobodies a great deal. But that's just a plot point, not an execution of a narrative. It's like casting a spell; a bag of spell components and a bunch of words is not a spell, it's how you weave it and cast it.

I had high hopes as Johnson being someone who would add new life to the narrative arc, but I overlooked the fact that every movie he has made has been a standalone, and he tends to gut the characters and storyline by the end, he doesn't really know how to script a middle segment of a longer narrative. (The stuff he did for breaking bad, at least for Ozymandias, he did not script but merely directed.)
 

NoID10ts

aka Noddy
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#8
I've yet to see it a second time so I haven't had that objective, non-geek out viewing yet. When I saw it, I sensed the disappointment around me, but that made me weirdly giddy. Ever since Episode I, I've felt like the over-arching narrative is about the restoration of balance to the force. Qui-Gon believed it was Anakin's destiny, but his response to that was to make him a Jedi. Palpatine's response was to make him a Sith. The Sith won the prequels. The Jedi won the original trilogy. It's that never-ending cycle that's at the heart of the imbalance. TLJ took a match to all that. Almost every character arc was one of disillusionment. Never meet your heroes. Maybe it's the humanist in me, but I like the idea that true change and balance won't come from our leaders but from us. If the narrative arc ends in the expected victory of the Jedi over the Sith, nothing will have changed.

I could be totally wrong, though. I need that second viewing.
 

Jennywocky

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#9
I've yet to see it a second time so I haven't had that objective, non-geek out viewing yet. When I saw it, I sensed the disappointment around me, but that made me weirdly giddy. Ever since Episode I, I've felt like the over-arching narrative is about the restoration of balance to the force. Qui-Gon believed it was Anakin's destiny, but his response to that was to make him a Jedi. Palpatine's response was to make him a Sith. The Sith won the prequels. The Jedi won the original trilogy. It's that never-ending cycle that's at the heart of the imbalance. TLJ took a match to all that. Almost every character arc was one of disillusionment. Never meet your heroes. Maybe it's the humanist in me, but I like the idea that true change and balance won't come from our leaders but from us. If the narrative arc ends in the expected victory of the Jedi over the Sith, nothing will have changed.

I could be totally wrong, though. I need that second viewing.
You should view my criticism as to being about the execution of the talking points. I mean, a movie is not made of the talking points, which could be great -- it's about how they are implemented and the finished work and how it connects with the other pieces in an ongoing story.

I mean, just consider the Snoke thing. The first movie set up a story about Snoke. The second movie just dropped it, so he might as well have not even existed in the narrative. I think one can realistically dash viewer expectation in a productive way, but this wasn't done well; it just basically scans as sloppy narrative writing.

Put another way, I read this awful book in the late 80's called "Wizard War". I think it was also meant to fly against the narrative expectation. So there are these three wizards trying to stop a war, and near the end of this few-hundred-page novel, the three wizards are journeying on a raft, and the leader breaks his arm, and then after a few days he just dies in the book. And the novel ends about twenty pages later (?) ! One can try to claim that it was breaking the narrative expectation, but did it make for a good story? No. Because I am reading a book and expecting that if I invest in the story, then there will be a particular payoff and that the narrative will MATTER in some way to me. That payoff can surprise me, it can undermine my expectations, but it still has to preserve some kind of sense of relevance and fairness. There didn't even seem to be a point being made by this incident or how the entire book just kinds of winds down and stops unceremoniously. It's like listening to a musical composition that just kind of collapses in the last minute and nothing is resolved or ends coherently.

Yes, people get the flu and die; or someone for no rhyme or reason will cross the street and get clipped by a speeding car and die unceremoniously without purpose; and a host of mundane things. Because that is the mess of life. But we read books and watch movies because a writer has taken a huge spaghetti mess of irrelevance and pulled things out to weave a sense of meaning that either makes us feel something or teaches us something new. The first movie told us that Snoke had relevance; the second movie was like, naw, you were wasting your time, he doesn't mean anything... and we aren't even going to explore what that lack of meaning even means either. it scans more like a juvenile, "ha, made you look!" shock tactic.

Or like in Alien3 when the movie starts by killing of the few survivors of the second movie where we had to invest in and care about the characters. The third movie did not honor the narrative set up in the second movie; it felt like it just wanted to tell its own story and treated any emotional or relevant content of the second film as if it were trash that had to be cleared out. This is bad in terms of emotional continuity, if you want people to care about your story and characters AND you want them to continue to invest. YES, you can "change the direction" but you have to do it in a way that feels fair or somehow honors/respects what came before.

aside from some really "tinny" dialogue, TLJ scanned to me as disrespectful of what setup occurred in TFA. Not that TFA was a great film (it didn't make my top ten of that year or anything), but at least it was internally consistent from various emotional arcs, more or less, despite a few blips. I would still place TLJ ahead of the Prequels, I guess, at least.
 
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Cognisant

Condescending Bastard
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7,691
#10
I've yet to see it a second time so I haven't had that objective, non-geek out viewing yet. When I saw it, I sensed the disappointment around me, but that made me weirdly giddy. Ever since Episode I, I've felt like the over-arching narrative is about the restoration of balance to the force. Qui-Gon believed it was Anakin's destiny, but his response to that was to make him a Jedi. Palpatine's response was to make him a Sith. The Sith won the prequels. The Jedi won the original trilogy. It's that never-ending cycle that's at the heart of the imbalance. TLJ took a match to all that. Almost every character arc was one of disillusionment. Never meet your heroes. Maybe it's the humanist in me, but I like the idea that true change and balance won't come from our leaders but from us. If the narrative arc ends in the expected victory of the Jedi over the Sith, nothing will have changed.
I could be totally wrong, though. I need that second viewing.
I can kinda see that in the sense that both the Jedi and the Sith have been reduced to a single person neither of which is fully trained in their organisation’s doctrine, but the message I got from the mutual incompetence of General Weasley and Commander Gender Studies was that the rebels/empire conflict is entirely decided by whichever force user wins. Without Rey’s last minute intervention on the salt planet (how ironic it is that this film features a planet made of salt) the rebels would have been slaughtered, likewise without Kylo in the way it seems painfully apparent by the events of TFA that Rey would be pretty much unstoppable and she hasn’t even been trained to fight yet!

The bridge of the rebel flagship is blown up, everybody dies EXCEPT the one person in the room with a connection to the force. Leia Organa just Mary Poppins her way back to a conveniently placed airlock and after a short rest hasn’t suffered so much as a scratch whilst the rest of the rebel high command sucks hard vacuum.

Finn is for the most part just comic relief, he’s the latest goofy/clumsy black guy, Jar Jar was a blackface character under a CGI alien veneer (big lips, stupid voice, over accentuated motions, saying “mee sah”, it’s really not subtle) and if you mentally replace Finn with Jar Jar in each scene he appears in TLJ you’ll see how similar the characters are, that scene where Finn stumbles into the hanger wearing a suit full of water, classic Jar Jar.

Poe spends most of TLJ being chewed out for making “bad” decisions even though destroying the dreadnaught was a fantastic strategic victory and his mutiny is clearly the result of the poor communication skills of Commander Gender Studies, and I’m not sure what the point of any of that was, now bereft of a ship to fly what’s his contribution to the rebellion going to be?

Are Finn and Poe going to buddy-cop save the day like a scifi rendition of Lethal Weapon?
No, probably not.

Is Rey going to defeat Kylo in a climatic duel?
I’m willing to bet money on it.
 

Jennywocky

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#12
Well... well... I like to see things burn down, even if it's my favorite franchise! So there.

:starwars:
some-people-just-want-to-watch-the-world-burn-funny-17736582[1].png


It definitely was a good burn-down.

It's just been done better already by certain franchise holders (like some of the storylines in various Star Wars computer games). I mean, they're already years past the simplistic dichotomy of light and dark side that the movies finally decided to push on.

... likewise without Kylo in the way it seems painfully apparent by the events of TFA that Rey would be pretty much unstoppable and she hasn’t even been trained to fight yet!
We've had this argument before, and I think that is far too extreme a position to try to hold. Kylo had been shot in the side and was badly hurt (probably running by force alone), he hadn't been challenged for a long time by any other force user, Rey is CLEARLY not trained in the LIGHTSABER but what really stymies him is that she's using staff moves (which she is highly trained in, in terms of practical daily fighting) with the lightsaber (a lot of jabs and thrusts) and he's not sure how t respond to it because it's not how you're supposed to fight with the saber, with the graceful sweeps and parries. IOW, there's also a lot of beginner's luck -- he's not SURE what she's going to try and she can block his force senses of her, so he has to fight more conservatively, lest she does something "stupid" that he fails to anticipate and actually kills him by accident.

IOW, this scenario is probably the only one she should have had a fighting chance in against Kylo. So I could accept it. Any rematches, where now he knows what she can do + he's at full strength? He'd wipe the floor with her.

However, now that we have seen the second movie -- where we barely see anything that Luke is doing to train her in terms of martial abilities, and yet she shows up and manages to trash the most elite troops in the First Order along with Kylo... okay, it was cool to watch but .... ehhhhhh.....

The bridge of the rebel flagship is blown up, everybody dies EXCEPT the one person in the room with a connection to the force. Leia Organa just Mary Poppins her way back to a conveniently placed airlock and after a short rest hasn’t suffered so much as a scratch whilst the rest of the rebel high command sucks hard vacuum.
Considering they are probably gonna have to kill her off off-stage in movie 3, I have no idea why they brought her back here -- it was such an obvious exit door for her -- except I suppose they wanted Luke to be able to say goodbye to her... but THEN YOU FREAKING WRITE THE STORY DIFFERENT SO IT WORKS, not do this half-assed slop approach.

Finn is for the most part just comic relief, he’s the latest goofy/clumsy black guy, Jar Jar was a blackface character under a CGI alien veneer (big lips, stupid voice, over accentuated motions, saying “mee sah”, it’s really not subtle) and if you mentally replace Finn with Jar Jar in each scene he appears in TLJ you’ll see how similar the characters are, that scene where Finn stumbles into the hanger wearing a suit full of water, classic Jar Jar.
Is this where FInn pulls off his mask and it's Jar Jar in disguise? But yeah, Finn got used for comic relief that seemed to not even have much to do with the film. I think it's funny that the ship is being chased by the First Order, so they can get on a smaller ship, find a guy, then come back to the rebel ship which is still being chased by the First Order like nothing ever happened.... like, logistically, how does that all work? The subplot seemed to make little sense except as a diversion / give Finn something to do.

Poe spends most of TLJ being chewed out for making “bad” decisions even though destroying the dreadnaught was a fantastic strategic victory and his mutiny is clearly the result of the poor communication skills of Commander Gender Studies, and I’m not sure what the point of any of that was, now bereft of a ship to fly what’s his contribution to the rebellion going to be?
Poor communication skills, indeed. At least she took responsibility in the end, but that moment would have been even better if she hadn't been so insufferably opaque and accusatory for the rest of the film. She was just a bad leader figure... like an academic thrust into a leadership role she was unprepared for, scolding Poe like he was a little boy who had displeased her because she didn't make any sense to him.

Are Finn and Poe going to buddy-cop save the day like a scifi rendition of Lethal Weapon?
No, probably not.
I was hoping they'd kiss. That would DEFINITELY change the kind of bitching we were hearing in the fan base. :D

Is Rey going to defeat Kylo in a climatic duel?
I’m willing to bet money on it.
Which is sad. The story possibilities allow for a variety of options.

I was REALLY curious about the possibility of her joining Kylo here. I think I would have liked the movie a lot better if she had -- it would have been something I didn't see coming. If you want to burn down a trilogy, that's the kind of shite you should be doing.
 
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Cognisant

Condescending Bastard
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#13
We've had this argument before, and I think that is far too extreme a position to try to hold. Kylo had been shot in the side and was badly hurt (probably running by force alone), he hadn't been challenged for a long time by any other force user, Rey is CLEARLY not trained in the LIGHTSABER but what really stymies him is that she's using staff moves (which she is highly trained in, in terms of practical daily fighting) with the lightsaber (a lot of jabs and thrusts) and he's not sure how t respond to it because it's not how you're supposed to fight with the saber, with the graceful sweeps and parries. IOW, there's also a lot of beginner's luck -- he's not SURE what she's going to try and she can block his force senses of her, so he has to fight more conservatively, lest she does something "stupid" that he fails to anticipate and actually kills him by accident.
You can never rely on predicting your opponent especially if they're well trained because they will exploit your predictability. Also a staff and lightsaber are such totally different weapons that Rey being skillful in the former shouldn't help her use the latter, indeed it would actually hinder her.

Realistically here's how their fight would go, Rey winds up for a big swing and Kylo jabs her, or he feints an attack and with a flick of his wrist attacks her from a different angle bypassing her defense, or he lets her attack first, then counters it and strikes her in one motion. Staff training means nothing when she's weilding a completely different weapon that she has no idea how to use and fighting someone specifically trained in lightsaber dueling.

I was REALLY curious about the possibility of her joining Kylo here. I think I would have liked the movie a lot better if she had -- it would have been something I didn't see coming. If you want to burn down a trilogy, that's the kind of shite you should be doing.
That would have taken the story in a new/interesting direction and given Poe/Finn a reason to exist.
 

Yellow

for the glory of satan
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#14
I just want to applaud whoever came up with "Commander Gender Studies"

I didn't read the whole back-and-forth word for word, but...

I hated that Disney made it too easy to explain away the plot holes we've seen and will be seeing in the next movies. So basically, if the force has to have balance, then Rey is just magically a match for Ren because balance.

The only thing I kinda like (and I wish they hadn't fucked it up already, but they have), is the idea that Rey may not be all good and Ren may not be all bad.

There was already a much better version of that with Vader and Luke, right? Luke functioned like a Sith in a lot of ways, but practiced as a Jedi. Vader functioned like a Jedi in a lot of ways, but practiced as a Sith.

---

Also, I just watched 4-6 again. If those movies hadn't been first, I think we'd be far more critical of their stupid side-quests, tantruming bad guys, and underdeveloped heroes.
 

Jennywocky

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#15
I just want to applaud whoever came up with "Commander Gender Studies"

I didn't read the whole back-and-forth word for word, but...

I hated that Disney made it too easy to explain away the plot holes we've seen and will be seeing in the next movies. So basically, if the force has to have balance, then Rey is just magically a match for Ren because balance.

The only thing I kinda like (and I wish they hadn't fucked it up already, but they have), is the idea that Rey may not be all good and Ren may not be all bad.

There was already a much better version of that with Vader and Luke, right? Luke functioned like a Sith in a lot of ways, but practiced as a Jedi. Vader functioned like a Jedi in a lot of ways, but practiced as a Sith.
It's unfortunate, but yeah. It's all been done better in the past in some ways, it's just Lucas is not a great scripter / nuanced storywriter, so better writers could do more justice to the ideas.

Overall, despite its failings, I felt like TFA was setting stuff up to pursue in later movies if the director had wisdom and insight and the ideas to take it forward. Instead pretty much it all just got burned to the ground for no apparent reason.

I did not purchase TLJ and I'm cynical about seeing any future Star Wars films, especially with the Solo thing coming out that looks like of DOA.

---

Also, I just watched 4-6 again. If those movies hadn't been first, I think we'd be far more critical of their stupid side-quests, tantruming bad guys, and underdeveloped heroes.
Well, what also remains is the fact that when I watched them primarily, I was (like, uh) 11-14 years old or something.

I have rewatched them on occasion since (not a ton, just every few years) and yup, they are pretty thin... but most scifi/fantasy movies are so bad that they actually at least hang together with enjoyable characters. There's also some elements of wit and darkness in The Empire Strikes Back that still works for me today... I love it that Han gets frozen (and with a sardonic comment), it's a melancholy moment; and the whole bit with Luke and Darth facing off, it's got just the right amount of doubt and tension. I wish the fight with the bumble (haha) was handled in a more adult fashion, but... despite the kiddish elements, it's still got some depth. Even Luke's vision in the tree actually makes NARRATIVE sense (as opposed to whatever the hell Rey was supposed to be learning from the cave in TLJ).

Unfortunately "REturn of the Jedi" backs away from all that.

My kids were also old enough to watch the prequels the last time I was watching the TOS, so there was no comparison.

I've noted before, I think the franchised properties (esp some of the computer games) have been more meaningful in terms of character and storyline than the "official" movies.

I don't really know how to save "Attack of the Clones." If I can suffer through another rewatch, maybe I can come up with an underlying idea that ties it together. I have found two "movie savers" for the other prequels:

1. "The Phantom Menace": Assume that Jar-Jar is a nefarious Sith lord masterminding events directly by acting like an imbecile in full view of the heroes, so skillfully they cannot recognize his duplicity. The movie makes a lot more sense.

2. "Revenge of the Sith": Assume that Obi-Wan and Padme ARE actually having an affair and the twins are actually Obi-Wan's children. This movie makes a hell of a lot more sense and actually gives some depth to Anakin (who is not too paranoid at all and actually IS realizing his mentor and his wife are having an affair, so some of his anger is justified and Obi-Wan comes off as darker). Like, I wish Lucas would have had the balls.... it improves the movie immensely if this is the case.
 
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