Jump to content
Cameron H.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark  

16 members have voted

This poll is closed to new votes
  1. 1. Does Raiders of the Lost Ark belong on the AFI List?

    • It belongs in a museum!
      15
    • It’s digging in the wrong place...
      1

  • Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.
  • Poll closed on 10/27/18 at 03:33 AM

Recommended Posts

21 hours ago, bleary said:

I haven't listened yet, but I want to start off this thread where the Psycho thread ended, in which DannytheWall asked about the effectiveness of Hitchcock's black-and-white films vs his color films.  I think that his B&W films ARE more impressive in a way, because Hitchcock was a master of light and shadow, and I never felt like his color films were able to show that off in the same virtuosic way.  I was thinking, reading DannytheWall's points, that maybe it's just not possible to master light and shadow in a color film.

That was until I rewatched Raiders of course, in which Spielberg's use of light and shadow is every bit as masterful as Hitchcock's.  (To see this more clearly, check out Soderbergh's B&W edit of Raiders, and really marvel at how well it works.)

This has got me wondering - my knowledge of color films from the 50s, early 60s isn't the greatest, but how many of them really use light and shadow really well? Like, compared to some of the great black & whites from the era (the movies I like from this era tend to be black & white).  I'm really scratching my head here and hoping someone who was/is a film studies major can drop some knowledge and examples here.

 

Share this post


Link to post
16 hours ago, WatchOutForSnakes said:

1. Indy and Marion's backstory. Basically that their entire relationship is predicated on him taking advantage of her when she was underage. Amy and Paul just shrug that off as, "well, yeah, that's inappropriate, but he's so much sexier than Tom Selleck!" really bummed me out. Granted, it's given a total pass (even encouragement?) in the movie, and at the time, I think that deserves at least a little discussion, no? 

2. Marion and the white dress. Amy mentions that Karen Allen questioned why her character had to wear that dress, and then Spielberg added that into the scene where she gets it as a gift. Her character was a hard-drinking, bar-owning, ass-kicking, pre-war pants-wearing bad ass. I, too, would have questioned that costume choice. Also, that she goes from being the bad ass to damsel in distress, and that Spielberg relies on the trope of violence against women as plot device (was that whole scene to get her in the dress?). I just don't like it. She could've been held captive and not had a rape-y guy force her into a dress. That was just unnecessary. 

1. In my mind, Indy has always been close to Marion's age, since at the time they met he was a student of Abner Ravenwood. I can't put a number on his age at that time, but canonically Indy was always presented as doing things as a prodigy/younger than expected age. That doesn't necessarily excuse any "taking advantage" of course, and there was some acknowledgement by the characters that it was a Bad Idea. It fits the time period of the film and the tropes of the genre, but I admit it should make us call it out today. 

EDIT: I did have a pdf copy of a script attributed as a third draft, written by Lawrence Kasdan, 1979. So obviously not a shooting script. In it, it describes Marion as: "she is MARION RAVENWOOD, twenty-five years old, beautiful, if a bit hardlooking." Subtract from that Indy's quote when the Men from Washington ask him about Abner, her father, and he says "We haven’t spoken in ten years." And, yeah. Ew. No indication of Indy's age description. I'm sure there are ways to justify things character-wise, history-wise, or whatever, but still. Ew.   

2. It's pretty clear that Marion chooses to wear the dress, so as to play into the trope in order to escape. Character-wise, she is using Belloq's ego against him, as he's expecting her to act like a helpless damsel when she's really not. (Something about the way men treat "objects" overall in the film?) So, yeah, the film doesn't quite subvert the trope entirely as Indy not only arrives to rescue her but re-ties her up to save the day somewhere else, but it does tweak and play with the idea enough to not be a textbook case. 

     

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
14 hours ago, AlmostAGhost said:

So then I guess the question becomes, is lack of depth a benefit to this movie?  Or is it not as superficial as I think?  What makes it stand out above other superficial, fun movies?  Why is this on the list and not, like, Fast And The Furious or something? 

(That sounds like a silly question, and hate myself for writing it, but I think it's still my question.)

I was all ready to jump on this question and outline my answer, but it's hard to put it succinctly into words. I certainly love the movie (although not to the extent of their guest on the episode) and if I could ever make a podcast that talked about just one thing it would probably be Indiana Jones. 

If I have to talk purely cinematically, I'll echo Cameron's point about it being very timeless, which to your specific callout of Fast and Furious somewhat fails :)  But more to the point, there's a richness to the all the elements that really raise the movie to a level beyond superficial or fun. The cinematography, the lighting, the acting, the set design, the editing, stunts, the score, all of it is really top of the line and synergized. To be fair, there are certainly faults in the writing/plotting, but in light of its legacy to pulp heroes and old filmreels it stands out as a culmination of the genre. Overall, it's a perfect blend of fantasy and realism (formalism and expressionism) that just defines what a movie-going experience is. 

Like I said, hard to put it succinctly :)     

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
10 hours ago, ol' eddy wrecks said:

This has got me wondering - my knowledge of color films from the 50s, early 60s isn't the greatest, but how many of them really use light and shadow really well? Like, compared to some of the great black & whites from the era (the movies I like from this era tend to be black & white).  I'm really scratching my head here and hoping someone who was/is a film studies major can drop some knowledge and examples here.

 

Googling images of Vertigo tells me I'm remembering the lack of shadows very incorrectly.

ETA: speaking remakes and Vertigo, googling this has turned up the fact there's an unintentional, quasi-remake of Verigo from Guy Maddin. I totally missed that one.

https://www.indiewire.com/2017/04/vertigo-remake-guy-madden-the-green-fog-interview-1201805968

Share this post


Link to post
18 hours ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

 

In the movie itself (absent any outside information), I'd argue that the "I was a child" line reads as more ambiguous. I know that when I originally saw the movie, I took the "child" line as meaning that she was maybe college-aged or late high school (18 or 19) and he was mid-20s. Maybe a little skeevy and you could see why her father would be angry, but not as bad as Indy deflowering Marion at fifteen. Harrison Ford and Karen Allen are actually about eight years apart in age, which doesn't seem wildly out of line for a romantic couple. In some cultures the age of consent is as young as 15 or 16 -- something that you might have to consider given the time period and the globe-trotting nature of this movie

I don't have the "advantage" of knowing the backstory to this scene or the writing of it. I try to look at most movies or television shows in the context they're cut, not whatever got them there, I don't think that's fair to any movie. In other words, I try my best not to bring any sort of stuff that's not ON screen into any critical view of the movie. Otherwise, I'd probably not like the Hitchcock movies I do, knowing what an asshole he was to actors in general and women specifically. I read this scene exactly as you did: not that she was a LITERAL child, but that she was immature, and Indy as a mid-20's guy in the late 1920's may have taken some liberties, but not that she was 15. I figured she was like a 19 year old, wide-eyed kid with dreams of finding a husband (as Amy notes, the "career pursuit" for women was not exactly a widespread phenomenon in American culture then), she met a 26 or 27 year old and much worldlier Indiana Jones. They had a brief and technically consensual affair, he broke her heart and her dad never forgave Indy. To me, there's enough on screen to merit that reading, and not enough to convict Indy of being basically Roy Moore.

I had to come in here and get defensive because to me, that scene, from the second his shadow shows up on the wall until "I'm your god damn PARTNER!", is one of the most perfectly executed scenes in modern movies. Maybe besides the shootout part, that scene hits its target exactly, a talky, noiry, sharp back and forth between two sets of two characters. Between INdy and Marian, there's all the backstory (and he absolutely apologizes, he says he's apologized repeatedly, she acknowledges he's apologized repeatedly right after slugging him), there's the set up of Marian as a bad ass, hard boiled pragmatist, smart as fuck because she has the medallion on her and she's holding out for more. THe scene gets even better when Tott arrives and basically shatters the whole thing. The way he says things like "Why don't you tell me where the medallion is, right now?" so softly when he's stoking the fire, and how Marian immediately switches from "We're closed" to "Uh, how about a drink for you and your men?", recognizing instantly that this isn't some run of the mill thug but still not wanting to panic (karen Allen absolutely nails this transition). She says something like "I'm not sure what kind of people you're used to dealing with," to Tott, and he responds with the absolutely CHILLING "Fraulein Ravenwood [without looking]...let me show you what I am used to." Even the capper to the scene, where she tries "Let's be reasonable" in the face of torture, he responds "THe time for that has passed..."

I could literally watch this scene every single day and still find something cool in it. It's even tinged with the classic Indy humor, when he asks her for whiskey, or when she takes a shot from the punctured keg. THe rest of the movie is a perfectly paced action movie, it's like a roller coaster, every scene build to something and then pays off. 

I haven't finished this episode yet, but 66 is WAY too low for this movie. I'm with Paul, this is closer to a top 20 movie than 66. It's a better movie (not a more impressive achievement, a better movie) than Fellowship, so that either means Fellowship is too high (my opinion) or this is at least 49. I guess once you get into the top 20 you kind of have to have an "impact" factor, but I liked this better than Apocalypse Now, the General, The Graduate and the super schmaltzy It's a Wonderful Life. Honestly, how is Empire Strikes Back not on here but Star Wars is #13?!? 

 

Sorry, rambling. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
On 10/19/2018 at 9:11 AM, Ludofl3x said:

 

I haven't finished this episode yet, but 66 is WAY too low for this movie. I'm with Paul, this is closer to a top 20 movie than 66. It's a better movie (not a more impressive achievement, a better movie) than Fellowship, so that either means Fellowship is too high (my opinion) or this is at least 49. I guess once you get into the top 20 you kind of have to have an "impact" factor, but I liked this better than Apocalypse Now, the General, The Graduate and the super schmaltzy It's a Wonderful Life. Honestly, how is Empire Strikes Back not on here but Star Wars is #13?!? 

 

Sorry, rambling. 

I guess my response is just my general advice, "try not to seek validation of your opinions through these lists," or, "don't try to be too emotionally invested in other people's opinions on these things."  Unless by "should be"* you simply meant, "if I were to write an ordered list of the top 100 American movies of all time," which is fair.  Just the upper-case of "WAY" reads as overly-emotionally invested to me. Relatedly, how do you feel about Chariots of Fire winning BP that year for the Oscars?

Since this list is the result of polling of a lot of different opinions, one shouldn't be surprised that the list will be smatterings of different preferences in movies*, so rather than take out the movies that you personally don't like, I guess a more interesting question would be if you were to swap around the existing positions of similar movies (and by like, let's just say, Spielberg movies and Star Wars, leaving out Lucas' American Graffiti).  I have lots of movies I like that aren't on the list, and making room for them would be easy if I were to just take out the movies I don't care for, which is why I'm presenting this exercise/game.

You've got

  • 8. Schindler's List
  • 13. Star Wars
  • 24. E.T.
  • 56. Jaws
  • 66. Raiders
  • 71. Saving Private Ryan

Put in any Star Wars or Spielberg movies at those spots.  And since Schindler's List is different enough in terms of subject matter, let's include the rule it has to be included in the list.

My apologies for not engaging your breaking down of the scene from Raiders.  I'm not the biggest Raiders person so I haven't rewatched it yet and not entirely sure when I will (given the talk about the sun/horizon shots from Lawrence of Arabia, I actually might wait for when the podcast gets to that, and do it as a double feature.  I think I might actually enjoy it more that way).

*: I guess other takes on not liking a placement on the list is, "this method is flawed and produces weird results.  maybe they should consider a different method for compiling the list." Or, "their voting method produces mostly okay results, but sometimes they're way off, and this is one of them."

Oh, and I think people can just say, they're invoking death of the author in terms of the 15 vs 18 age-of-Marion thing.  I'm not well versed in critical theory (understatement) to know the nuances of tDotA, but I'm pretty sure that's what all of you are basically expressing.

 

ETA: I do think the Star Wars/Empire discrepancy is interesting even if you aren't a fan of either (like me).  I  kind of wish the AFI would publish the voting totals in addition to the list (I wonder if google knows if they do) - I'd also be curious what the list results would have been if they did their list by the top 5 votes and used the top 100 as tie breakers as opposed to the other way around.

My best guess is a lot of people don't love Star Wars or think of it as great.  So the cultural influence part is what got its presence on the list.  People say, "Jaws and Star Wars created the modern summer blockbuster," not "Jaws and Empire."  Or relatedly, people like the characters/universe at a high level, so they like what introduced them, not necessarily the best written?  IDK, it's a good question.  I wonder if anyone checked off Empire but didn't check off Star Wars.  I wonder if there's a correlation between people who voted for Empire and people who put either of them in their top 5 tie breaker list. Interestingly, looking at the ballot, Return of the Jedi wasn't part of the choices, it would have been a write-in.  All of the LotR movies were on the ballot (for anyone who was interested).

This has also left me wondering what's the popularity of Indiana Jones outside of a certain age range.  I don't know what gets replayed on TV a lot these days.  I don't know how much little kids watch movies on TV instead of the internet these days.  Is it just another blockbuster to them and easily forgettable?  Oh well.

Share this post


Link to post

Side note from the episode, Pauline Kael is, I guess, Amy's patron saint of critics; I really only know her by reputation (mostly of what movies I like that she hated, well, just 2001 and Last Year in Marienbad.  Okay, my knowledge of her tastes isn't that great), but the part about Raiders having multiple endings. I can't comment on Raiders, but I remember pacing at the end being a real issue when Spielberg did A.I.

By the count of my memory, he had what felt like 4 endings. Where, in my head, thinking about the scenes, it should have been an ending and a long epilogue - and I'm not talking about cutting the scenes.  Just how they're played.  Like he has a set of emotional beats he likes to hit for how endings are supposed to go, dramatically speaking, and it's not always... aptly applied.

 

Share this post


Link to post

By the way, Indiana Jones missed running into Charlie Allnut and The African Queen by two years. TAQ takes place in 1914, and The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Season 1 ep 5, had Indy joining the Belgium army under false pretenses to fight in World War 1, and he was in the German East Africa campaign. 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Paul and Amy were upset that the sword guy practiced that scene for months, before they decided to just shoot him because of Harrison's illness. But they shouldn't feel bad. That was actor/stuntman Pat Roach, who also played the big bald nazi that Indy fights at the plane. He was also the chief guard in Temple of Doom, and was General Kael in Willow. So I think he came out pretty well. 🙂 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
On 10/18/2018 at 11:33 AM, sycasey 2.0 said:

Paul and Amy talked about how perhaps Lucas and Spielberg's divorces influenced the more negative portrayal of the female lead in Temple of Doom (probably true). I'll also point out that George Lucas' wife at the time of Raiders had a big hand in making Marion the character she was:

"[Marcia] was instrumental in changing the ending of Raiders, in which Indiana delivers the ark to Washington. Marion is nowhere to be seen, presumably stranded on an island with a submarine and a lot of melted Nazis. Marcia watched the rough cut in silence and then leveled the boom. She said there was no emotional resolution to the ending, because the girl disappears. ... Spielberg reshot the scene in downtown San Francisco, having Marion wait for Indiana on the steps on the government building. Marcia, once again, had come to the rescue."

Source: https://www.syfy.co.uk/news/3-ways-which-marcia-lucas-helped-save-star-wars-0

Can you imagine that? If you never saw Marion again? I think Lucas' early work (Star Wars and Raiders) would not have had the same kind of spunky, smart women they did if Marcia had not been in his life. (And as I noted in the Taxi Driver episode, she was also a great film editor in her own right.)

Interesting article but I fear this is going to lead to another round of "X was the real talent behind Star Wars" when they get around to covering Star Wars.  You know who ALSO was a talented editor before George and Marcia met?  George.  If you listen to the Godfather commentary, Coppola mentions a few key sequences that George Lucas edited and essentially created tense scenes out of literally nothing (empty frames from before the real shot started).  George Lucas said (although probably not the first director to say this) that a movie is made three times:  the writing of the script, the filming, and the editing.  I've seen a few Youtubers/podcasters present tidbits like the above and compile it into a grand conspiracy theory that Star Wars was a disaster until Marcia came in and saved the day.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  After the grueling live action shoot, Lucas took a look at the assembly cut and discovered his editor was worthless.  He fired the editor and took it upon himself to re-edit the movie from scratch with himself leading a team he assembled which included Marcia.   Between fighting Fox, setting up ILM, and having to personally oversee editing he had to be hospitalized for exhaustion which is why he didn't direct Empire.

Now I bring all this up because I was a little disappointed that this episode barely mentioned Lucas and the few times they did it was usually in a dismissive or negative way.  I fear they fell into the trap of the "popular internet wisdom" of attributing everything negative in Raiders to Lucas and everything positive to Spielberg.  Simply not true.  First, Raiders wouldn't exist without Lucas.  Period.  He talked Spielberg out of committing career suicide by way of directing a big budget musical after 1941.  At the time, Spielberg was only batting 50% (two theatrical bombs, two hits).  A second, large flop (even Scorsese and Bogdonavich couldn't get audiences to accept a musical in the late 70s) and he would have been relegated to independent movies and tv.   Even Coppola, coming off of Godfather I&II and Apocalypse Now  had his career derailed by One From The Heart and Coppola admitted that all the films he directed in the 80s and early 90s were essentially jobs for hire in order to pay off the debts incurred by that ONE flop.  We heard Spielberg spin this with "i challenged myself to come in under budget and on time".  It wasn't a challenge.  It was a requirement.  Universal and Columbia (which made Jaws and Close Encounters) wouldn't greenlight Raiders with Spielberg because of fears of budget overruns.  Lucas had to put his reputation on the line.  Also, Lucas was instrumental in keeping on schedule because he also shared directing duties.  In the Making of that aired at the time of the film's release, you could clearly see Lucas directing scenes.  If the DGA had allowed it at the time, they probably would have co-directing credits but because it was forbidden (even today it's almost unheard of for the DGA to allow it) Lucas settled for a Producer credit.  Now remember the controversy with Poltergeist about who was the "real" director?  Gee, where do you think Spielberg got the idea that the Producer could effectively co-direct a movie?  How about the movie he'd just made right before Poltergeist where Lucas was the Producer!  And my last bit to put a nail in the coffin of the "Lucas bad.  Spielberg good" theory when it comes to Indiana Jones-  the Nuke the Fridge moment that everyone derides from Crystal Skull was 100% Spielberg's contribution.  It was a discarded idea from an early draft of Back to the Future.  The time machine was originally a fridge and they used a nuclear test blast (instead of lightning) to generate the 1.21 gigawatts.  Just like the coat hanger gag, Spielberg couldn't let go of a (what he thought was) a funny idea.

Share this post


Link to post

I gotta say, I feel like everyone listened to a totally different podcast last week than I did.

Share this post


Link to post

I might have a more in-depth take on Raiders in me somewhere, but it's something that is so ingrained in my cinematic DNA that I could never hope to communicate how much I love this film. To me, the the way Raiders of the Lost Ark makes me feel, that is how movies should be*. It's why the art form means so much to me.

So for now, let me just say listening to Pauline Kael's review just about gave me a fucking aneurysm.

 

*Side Note: I certainly don't mean I want ALL movies to be like Raiders. It's just that for me, Raiders and Last Crusade are sort of Peak Cinema, the way Hitchcock was for the directors of the French New Wave or Howard Hawks was for John Carpenter.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
13 hours ago, GammaDev said:

He talked Spielberg out of committing career suicide by way of directing a big budget musical after 1941.

I hadn't heard about this.  It seems pretty well-known that Spielberg has had interest in making a musical for much of his career, but I was unaware of the story that he had wanted to do it after 1941 and that Lucas was involved in talking him out of it.  Where can I read about this?

As far as Lucas's contributions, I think you're absolutely right that because he is so terrible at writing dialogue, he doesn't get enough credit for his creative abilities with regards to world-building and story-telling.  And of course you're right that Raiders would not have happened without him: in addition to his firm-hand as producer and occasional second-unit director that helped the project stay on budget and on time, Lucas had the largest hand in the concept of the character and story as well.

It's enough to make us all wish there were more collaborations between Spielberg, Lucas, and Lawrence Kasdan  (whose screenwriting can't be discounted either, and whose absence in the following three Indiana Jones films is keenly felt, in my opinion.)  I'm of the mind that the Star Wars prequels could have been great with Lucas's stories for them, had they been directed and written by someone else, as Empire Strikes Back was.  And it's to his great credit that the universe he built in the Star Wars franchise is rich enough that it will continue for decades without him actively involved.  But as you said, I'm sure we'll be talking about this a lot more when we get to the Star Wars episode. 🙂

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
On 10/21/2018 at 1:35 AM, GammaDev said:

Interesting article but I fear this is going to lead to another round of "X was the real talent behind Star Wars" when they get around to covering Star Wars.  You know who ALSO was a talented editor before George and Marcia met?  George.  If you listen to the Godfather commentary, Coppola mentions a few key sequences that George Lucas edited and essentially created tense scenes out of literally nothing (empty frames from before the real shot started).  George Lucas said (although probably not the first director to say this) that a movie is made three times:  the writing of the script, the filming, and the editing.  I've seen a few Youtubers/podcasters present tidbits like the above and compile it into a grand conspiracy theory that Star Wars was a disaster until Marcia came in and saved the day.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  After the grueling live action shoot, Lucas took a look at the assembly cut and discovered his editor was worthless.  He fired the editor and took it upon himself to re-edit the movie from scratch with himself leading a team he assembled which included Marcia.   Between fighting Fox, setting up ILM, and having to personally oversee editing he had to be hospitalized for exhaustion which is why he didn't direct Empire.

Sure, you won't be hearing that from me. Yes, Marcia was instrumental in improving Star Wars and her contributions can/should be highlighted. But none of that makes it to the screen if George Lucas doesn't approve of whatever changes she made. Everything is a collaborative effort.

(Also, I thought the "nuke the fridge" scene was fun and don't quite understand the hate for it. Crystal Skull is the worst Indy movie, but it's not because of that scene or most of what happens in the first half. It's the back half that falls down.)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

(Also, I thought the "nuke the fridge" scene was fun and don't quite understand the hate for it. Crystal Skull is the worst Indy movie, but it's not because of that scene or most of what happens in the first half. It's the back half that falls down.)

🙋‍♂️ I was too scared to say this before, but I feel exactly the same way.

Share this post


Link to post

I had to google the "nuke the fridge" clip since I've never seen Crystal Skull. The thing that stuck out to me the most about that was what any good student of Punky Brewster Very Special Episodes knows" you should never ever hide in that type of fridge because you can't let yourself out and you'll suffocate to death. 👩‍⚕️

Full episode here: https://www.nbc.com/punky-brewster/video/cherie-lifesaver/3648399

Share this post


Link to post

But I wouldn't trust a magnetic refrigerator to protect me from a nuclear bomb!  When I'm getting nuked, nothing suits me like my roomy, lead-lined latch refrigerator.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
On 10/22/2018 at 7:36 PM, WatchOutForSnakes said:

Bert the Turtle would not approve. 

 

Did the clip of nuking the fridge that you found include the lead-in scene with some type of sign saying, Atomic Cafe?

 

Share this post


Link to post
On 10/22/2018 at 3:47 PM, sycasey 2.0 said:

Sure, you won't be hearing that from me. Yes, Marcia was instrumental in improving Star Wars and her contributions can/should be highlighted. But none of that makes it to the screen if George Lucas doesn't approve of whatever changes she made. Everything is a collaborative effort.

(Also, I thought the "nuke the fridge" scene was fun and don't quite understand the hate for it. Crystal Skull is the worst Indy movie, but it's not because of that scene or most of what happens in the first half. It's the back half that falls down.)

 

On 10/22/2018 at 5:53 PM, bleary said:

🙋‍♂️ I was too scared to say this before, but I feel exactly the same way.

I remember Crystal Skull being... not good.  But I wasn't the target demographic for it.

I suspect that the fridge scene gets hate because it's easily tangible in its absurdity. In terms of how it's shot, even if you ignored getting vaporized by the heat, that fridge landed hard (at least as my memory goes), unlike the raft-parachute in Temple of Doom.  Which was another absurd scene in the franchise I saw people point to defend the fridge scene as not being out of place.  This may have required adults, who watched Indiana Jones as children, to suspend their disbelief more than they now could - which is less than what they could as children.  And it's easier to point to something like that than explain why poor writing is poor.  But that's just throwing conjecture-darts at the wall there.

Hmmm... how do you two feel about Star Wars OT vs Prequels?  Asking as more time has passed, I feel like I've heard more adults come around to the prequels.  But that's more just sampling bias.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Btw, while I've known in the past that you could look up the BFI votes to see who voted for a movie, and also their ballot to see what else they voted for, some of them have comments on them.  All the ones that listed Raiders did (though the director only had the line, The ten films that most shaped me as a director.)

https://www.bfi.org.uk/films-tv-people/4ce2b75ef0b3a/sightandsoundpoll2012

It won't necessarily shed light on the AFI voting results, but it's at least interesting to see how people think through some of these (and what were some of their other listed movies).

I contemplated copying and pasting their comments, since there were only three critics, but they did write some lengthy comments, of which their comments on Raiders don't look too lengthy.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
21 minutes ago, ol' eddy wrecks said:

Hmmm... how do you two feel about Star Wars OT vs Prequels?  Asking as more time has passed, I feel like I've heard more adults come around to the prequels.  But that's more just sampling bias.

 

I will defend the prequels to the bitter end - lol. I honestly don’t think they’re as bad as people make them out to be and any deficiencies in them are absolutely present in the OT. 

Making fun of the Prequels has become low hanging fruit. It’s boring band-wagoning. People do it just to do it, but no one ever actually says anything new. It’s armchair quarterbacking at best and cruel, uninspired bullying at worst.

 It’s tired.

All I can say is that they made a ton of money, they introduced tons of characters, worlds, and races that we still reference, and we still discuss them nearly 2 decades later. I only wish I could fail so hard. ;) 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
33 minutes ago, ol' eddy wrecks said:

Hmmm... how do you two feel about Star Wars OT vs Prequels?  Asking as more time has passed, I feel like I've heard more adults come around to the prequels.  But that's more just sampling bias.

Well for starters, 

On 10/21/2018 at 6:46 PM, bleary said:

I'm of the mind that the Star Wars prequels could have been great with Lucas's stories for them, had they been directed and written by someone else, as Empire Strikes Back was. 

So then to Cameron H.'s point that the deficiencies in the prequels are present in the original trilogy: this is absolutely true and not talked about enough in my opinion.  The scripts for the prequels are bad, but the dialogue is poorly written in episode IV as well.  There are some lackluster acting performances in the prequels, but we all forget that Mark Hamill was a kinda sorta shitty actor 40 years ago.

As I alluded to before, I think Empire Strikes Back is the best script out of the first 6 films by far, and it's the only one that Lucas didn't have a screenplay credit on.  Like Cameron H. said, Lucas's fantastic world-building skills are still very much utilized in the prequels, as they introduced lots of new aspects of the universe that are generally accepted.  And frankly, I LOVE the idea of the prequels.  If I got the elevator pitch on those films, I'd be completely in, what with the pod-racing, the Jedi council in Coruscant, the clone army detective mystery that Obi-Wan goes on, through the final battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin.  All of that sounds awesome in theory (and much of it is awesome in practice).  But the lows in the prequels are quite low.

Cameron H.'s post sort of preemptively shut down any criticism I can make 🙂 but suffice it to say it's the normal stuff: unnatural dialogue choices, tough casting choices for Anakin, and the super weird "romantic" scenes.  For me, the disappointment about the prequels is not that they're bad, but it's that they could have been even better than the original trilogy with better execution.  As it is, I don't think ANY of the Star Wars films are anywhere near as good as, say, Raiders.  When we do Star Wars, it'll probably end up in the back half of my list.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
57 minutes ago, bleary said:

Well for starters, 

So then to Cameron H.'s point that the deficiencies in the prequels are present in the original trilogy: this is absolutely true and not talked about enough in my opinion.  The scripts for the prequels are bad, but the dialogue is poorly written in episode IV as well.  There are some lackluster acting performances in the prequels, but we all forget that Mark Hamill was a kinda sorta shitty actor 40 years ago.

As I alluded to before, I think Empire Strikes Back is the best script out of the first 6 films by far, and it's the only one that Lucas didn't have a screenplay credit on.  Like Cameron H. said, Lucas's fantastic world-building skills are still very much utilized in the prequels, as they introduced lots of new aspects of the universe that are generally accepted.  And frankly, I LOVE the idea of the prequels.  If I got the elevator pitch on those films, I'd be completely in, what with the pod-racing, the Jedi council in Coruscant, the clone army detective mystery that Obi-Wan goes on, through the final battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin.  All of that sounds awesome in theory (and much of it is awesome in practice).  But the lows in the prequels are quite low.

Cameron H.'s post sort of preemptively shut down any criticism I can make 🙂 but suffice it to say it's the normal stuff: unnatural dialogue choices, tough casting choices for Anakin, and the super weird "romantic" scenes.  For me, the disappointment about the prequels is not that they're bad, but it's that they could have been even better than the original trilogy with better execution.  As it is, I don't think ANY of the Star Wars films are anywhere near as good as, say, Raiders.  When we do Star Wars, it'll probably end up in the back half of my list.

Sorry about that ;)

Honestly, I think the biggest issue with the prequels is that they are so ambitious, and I guess, he felt like they had to be a Trilogy. There was so much he was trying to accomplish that things often seem oddly paced - simultaneously fast and slow. Sometimes you just have to accept things as they come.

That's why I highly recommend The Clone Wars - especially seasons 3 on. It fleshed out a lot of the things that seemed rushed or half-formed. You also get more of a sense of where Anakin was coming from, and how, in his mind at least, the Jedi failed. If you're looking for Prequels with better writing and execution, that's where you'll find them.*

I mean, I get people were disappointed. I just feel like people kind of need to get over it now. Someone born when TPM came out is of voting age now** I find grown ass adults complaining about a 20-year old kids movie far more annoying than Jar Jar Binks any day. :) (ETA: Just to clarify, I 'm not saying that's what's happening here. This might be the one place where it's actually appropriate to have this conversation.)

And don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the Prequels are perfect. I'm just saying, if we're being honest with ourselves, they're not drastically worse than the originals. 

*There are a lot of silly episodes, too. But Star Wars has always been a bit silly.

** Please vote

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
15 hours ago, ol' eddy wrecks said:

 

I remember Crystal Skull being... not good.  But I wasn't the target demographic for it.

I suspect that the fridge scene gets hate because it's easily tangible in its absurdity. In terms of how it's shot, even if you ignored getting vaporized by the heat, that fridge landed hard (at least as my memory goes), unlike the raft-parachute in Temple of Doom.  Which was another absurd scene in the franchise I saw people point to defend the fridge scene as not being out of place.  This may have required adults, who watched Indiana Jones as children, to suspend their disbelief more than they now could - which is less than what they could as children.  And it's easier to point to something like that than explain why poor writing is poor.  But that's just throwing conjecture-darts at the wall there.

Hmmm... how do you two feel about Star Wars OT vs Prequels?  Asking as more time has passed, I feel like I've heard more adults come around to the prequels.  But that's more just sampling bias.

 

Yes, I think the criticism of "nuking the fridge" comes down to what one of my favorite critics (Film Crit Hulk) refers to as "tangible details." As in, people just latch on to the most obvious/absurd scene and use that as the reason they didn't like the movie. It sounds good in conversation, but it doesn't really get into the dramatic function of the movie or why it doesn't work. For my part, I argue that most of the early scenes in Crystal Skull are that nice Indiana Jones mix of slightly absurd action with just enough grounding in character and period detail to give them weight. The back half starts to run aground on both of the latter things (character motives go all over the place and we get lost in a random jungle with little to ground us).

People do the same things with the Star Wars prequels, focusing on the specifically absurd elements (Jar Jar Binks, etc.) but not really getting into why they don't work as well as the OT.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×