Field Theory by Hadyn Green

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Field Theory: The Force will be with you, always.

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  • Emma Hart,

    How can I make sure that my children grow up with the same experiences I had?

    When my son was about 18 months old, he once got to stay up all evening because The Empire Strikes Back was on TV and we forgot he was there.

    He's now seventeen, and a couple of weeks ago when he had a bunch of his friends around gaming, one of them said, "It's just like that thing from The Matrix," and they all made agreeing grunt-sounds. They were all little kids when The Matrix came out, but their geek-parents had made sure they'd all seen it.

    We wanted our kids to have a better experience than we did. That's why they think there's only one Matrix movie, and only one Highlander, and only two Aliens. But the Star Wars prequels? Our kids were old enough to nag us to go see them. I've seen one and two way more times than is advisable for continuing sanity. Attack of the Clones is on my list of Top 5 Worst Movies I've Seen All Of.

    So if my kids were older, yeah, I'd have shown them Star Wars in Machete order, and been unavoidably somewhere else the night of Attack of the Clones. But we were unable to protect them, and for that I will always be sorry.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I've never watched any of the films all the way through. Or the Lord of the Ringpieces, etc. Can't stand prolix epics.

    My sole cultural exposure was to Paul Whitehouse or someone on R4 discussing (in the course of stand-up) why, when building the fully impregnable death star thingy, they had to leave a little entranceway to a tunnel that Luke Skyshafter or somebody could fly up and blow the fucker up, Really.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4463 posts Report Reply

  • John Armstrong,

    Seeing the first Star Wars film was certainly formative for me, but not (I hope) in a particularly geeky way. My grandmother took me to see it in a theatre in Huntly when I was 8 or 9, and I still remember looking up at her at one point to see if she shared my enthusiasm for laser-powered spaceship battles. She had both hands over her ears and looked to be in mild shock. Her experience was so clearly different from mine that I realised at that moment what a generation was, and that mine was very different to hers. I walked out of there with a different view of my place in the world.

    Oh, yeah, and Princess Leia may have made an impression too.

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2007 • 132 posts Report Reply

  • John Armstrong, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    they had to leave a little entranceway to a tunnel that Luke Skyshafter or somebody could fly up and blow the fucker up, Really.

    A metaphor for MSD kiosks, if ever there was one.

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2007 • 132 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP,

    Attachment

    Recycled meme.

    I really think someone should have paid you for this. It is brilliant.

    We haven't started ours on Star Wars anything yet, but now I have some informed opinion on how to approach it.

    Cheers.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2143 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    There's no way I'd describe Star Wars as great. But it certainly had an impact on me. I have a very strong memory of walking down from Ak uni to the theatre (halfway down Queen st) and watching A New Hope. It was one of the few movies I have ever seen on my own.

    That the prequels failed was always a huge sadness for me, but I oddly have a feeling that 789 will be better.

    Can a new generation get the experience I had from those movies. Never! They were of their time. We HAD to go to the theatre to watch them, how ridiculous that is now. We HAD to wait months for them to come to New Zealand. But most importantly we had seen NOTHING like them before. The shear novelty of the rumbling of the whole theatre in the opening as the cruiser sails over you.

    You can't recreate that experience for someone now. Instead there will be a new experience (I hope).

    It isn't my all time favourite movie, that would be Serenity ... no The Fifth Element .... no Serenity/Kinky Boots double feature ... no the New Star Trek ... no The Fifth Element ...

    See I can have that drinks discussion all by myself :).

    I do like the idea of watching 45236 almost enough to buy a box set of blu rays and watch them. Of course I'll watch them at home with some nice wine and the movies will pause for breaks when I want them to, the way civilised movies should.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3414 posts Report Reply

  • Harry Musgrave,

    The experience of watching Star Wars (new hope) at the movies had a huge impact on me. We got one of the last seats at the old cinerama and sat right in the front row. I remember being stunned by the impact of the first spaceship flying over me and then to have it followed by a HUGE spaceship was awesome.

    Episode 1 certainly had it's bad points but I like the bits and the beginning where the two Jedi just take over a massive star ship by themselves. It's the first (and really only time) you get to see what a Jedi is really capable of.

    And there's a line from probably Episode 2 'Target the Federation starship!' And I immediately think of the Enterprise!

    I wasn't that strck by Empire Strikes Back - maybe because then I was at varsity and I had seen a few more films by then.

    Since Jul 2009 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Harry Musgrave,

    HUGE spaceship was awesome

    indeed

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16741 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    I was a little older than many of my peers when I saw Star Wars, still a kid but beyond the truly impressionable stage, so these are films I enjoyed rather than defining experiences.

    We showed the original trilogy to the kids a couple of years back and they loved them. Every tube became a lightsaber.

    We debated the prequels and decided not to show them but then there was an earthquake. We were staying with my partner's father while our house was inaccessable and the only appealing movies in his collection were those three. At that stage a few hours of distraction for the small guys seemed more important than considerations such as artistic merit. Son the younger (five years old at the time) thought they were great and, to our horror, adored Jar Jar Binks. The nine year old was, blessedly, less impressed.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Glaister,

    It's worthwhile mentioning that the presentation of Star Wars at the Cinerama in Auckland in 1977 was one of (so I've been told) fewer than 30 places in the whole world that got a 70mm (blow-up) print presented in (then completely novel) 6-track dolby stereo. (Not sure whether the Embassy in Wellington got this too.) The full impact of the Star Destroyer landing on your head and the clamping sounds coming from behind you didn't happen for everyone; we were lucky, just as we are to have a true Imax screen now. (NZ has a serious tradition back to the '20s and '30s of being very up-to-date with cinema tech.)

    One reason Empire disappointed me a bit at the time (although it's worn very well) is that it didn't get the luxe treatment - no 70 mm and only tinny sound at the Civic (certainly compared to the Cinerama's oft-tinkered with, more advanced set-up, including sensurround-ready Marshall stacks or whatever the hell they were).

    Since Nov 2006 • 50 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    The 10 Ways Star Wars Changed the Movie Industry opened my eyes to the films effects on the industry beyond ILM.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 564 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    My kids don't like any of them. I thought it was their age, and cinematic length film but no. They like LOTR. Extended edition.

    They're very young, 3 and 6, and I think they simply don't like cluttered special effects that are all the way through all of the movies. They can't work out what's going on. LOTR has less clutter, and you can pretty much see it's people fighting monsters, for the most part.

    I felt the prequels suffered very much from trying to tie the stories together. It put constraints on any interesting development that the characters could have. To that end, sequels will most likely be better.

    But for a really detailed and humorous look at why they sucked, try Plinkett. There is some very good breakdown of serious fails of directorship in there. In particular, the way that Lucus uses the exact same visual technique for all dialog, for hours on end. And direct comparisons that show why epic length sword battles end up not being epic.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8584 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    Those "pre-historic" special effects were, at the time so advanced they were the subject of TV documentaries... people couldn't believe how "real" they looked.

    Quite possibly the beginning of the whole "The making of XYZ" tv shows put out to tease/advertise the latest block-buster, and now obligatory "extra content" in the DVD release...

    My family were not frequent movie goers when I was smaller, and my brother and I could not convince our parents to take us to the city to Star Wars upon its first release... but 18 months or two years later it was showing in a suburban cinema during school holidays, so I finally got to see it, after my school friends had all seen it. I was already familiar with the basic plot-line from reading the cartoon-picture retellings of it, Mad Magazine's spoof of it, playing with action figurines, plastic model kits of the fighters, Seeing the a-fore mentioned TV dock on making it, and also the wierd christmas TV special about all the Wookies living on wookie planet in the ginormous trees....

    I guess my point is that any kid seeing it now for the first time just isnt going to be over-run with all the hype and publicity (and thus, anticipation) that seemed to be in the culture of late 70's/early 80's.

    It was also the start of the whole merchandise/promo tie-ins that are now obligatory (and they make more money?) for any kids movie...

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to FletcherB,

    Those "pre-historic" special effects were, at the time so advanced they were the subject of TV documentaries

    They had to build the equipment themselves. This doco segment shows that team (up to 5 min mark):

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16741 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Star Wars effectively brought to an end the golden era of early-1970s personal filmmaking and focused the industry on big-budget special-effects blockbusters

    Oh, Mister Ebert... I know this is heresy in certain circles but what ended "the golden era of early-1970s personal filmmaking" was a metric fuckton of really shitty, self-indulgent film-making nobody wanted to see.

    And, hey, someone really liked Revenge of The Sith:

    No one has closed the gap between art and technology more successfully than George Lucas. In his epochal six-film Star Wars saga, he fused ancient hero legends from East and West with futuristic science fiction and created characters who have entered the dream lives of millions. He constructed a vast, original, self-referential mythology like that of James Macpherson's pseudo-Celtic Ossian poems, which swept Europe in the late 18th century, or the Angria and Gondal story cycle spun by the Brontë children in their isolation in the Yorkshire moors. Lucas was a digital visionary who prophesied and helped shape a host of advances, such as computer-generated imagery; computerized film editing, sound mixing, and virtual set design; high-definition cinematography; fiber-optic transmission of dailies; digital movie duplication and distribution; theater and home-entertainment stereo surround sound; and refinements in video-game graphics, interactivity, and music.

    So there.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12031 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale,

    In the spirit of making people sit through things they (possibly) haven’t seen before, I give you: Darths and Droids.

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 457 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green, in reply to BenWilson,

    But for a really detailed and humorous look at why they sucked, try Plinkett.

    I discovered Plinkett a few years back and every time I think "Maybe I'll watch [insert any of the prequels]" instead I watch the corresponding Plinkett review. They really disect the films beyond the fanboyishness.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    My sole cultural exposure was to Paul Whitehouse or someone on R4 discussing (in the course of stand-up) why, when building the fully impregnable death star thingy, they had to leave a little entranceway to a tunnel that Luke Skyshafter or somebody could fly up and blow the fucker up, Really.

    Star Wars doesn't really stand up to any technical analysis. Why they had to fly for 30 minutes along the trench before firing their photon torpedoes. Why firing torpedos across the surface of the ship would lead to them turning 90 degrees down an exhaust shaft and destroying the whole ship. Why there's only one vulnerable exhaust shaft for a whole ship the size of a planet.

    I've seen both 2 and 3, and they honestly were so full of nothing I can't even remember much of them, and the bits I can remember, I couldn't tell you which one they come from. 1 was at least memorable I guess, but I'm not sure he didn't anything good with the series after they left Hoth, apart from returning to Tattooine in Jedi.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6201 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Amy Gale,

    Heh, good stuff. Not quite as fresh as DM of the Rings, but still amusing. Excellent explanation as plot device, to have a lot of the plot of the film made up on the fly by a little girl who no one want to cry, including the entirety of the Jar Jar character. I'm only about 30 pages in, but I'm channelling that this party is not the 30-something-exclusively-male-computer-nerds+some-50-year-old-gamer who are playing the LOTR campaign, but teens, and the baby sister forced into the game by tired parents rings so many bells for me.

    Incidentally, my sister played out the best role-play I'd ever, ever had in all my years as a DM (well OK, there were about 3 of those, then I discovered sport and was saved). She was the only person who ever intentionally chose to play a female halfling cleric. She studiously avoided combat grinds, needed no railroading to the plotline, but instead followed it like she thought it was actually cool, went in for lengthy roleplay conversations with NPCs. Absolute dream player, except for the fact that she was my little sister.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8584 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    what ended "the golden era of early-1970s personal filmmaking" was a metric fuckton of really shitty, self-indulgent film-making nobody wanted to see.

    The Danish went the other way with Dogme and let the "stripped-down" concept influence their whole culture.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4463 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    The Danish went the other way with Dogme and let the “stripped-down” concept influence their whole culture.

    I still stand by my contention that Von Trier is a nasty little misogynistic troll whose shtick hit its expiry date well before Dogme came along. Like most artistic manifestos, it's interesting to read about but the actual films? Not so much.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12031 posts Report Reply

  • Julian Melville,

    I saw the original Star Wars in the Carlton Cinema in Hamilton, but Empire Strikes Back in 70mm in royal circle seats at the Odeon in Leicester Square. The latter experience definitely made an impression.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    my contention that Von Trier is a nasty little misogynistic troll

    I'm not his biggest fan, but really?

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Indeed. The Blockbuster Age merely filled the void that was about to be left by New Hollywood collapsing under its own weight – Heavens’ Gate and One From the Heart were just the knockout blows. The New Wave Cinema sensibility never seemed to die out in Europe or Asia though.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4351 posts Report Reply

  • Louise,

    My 5-year-old son has been obsessed with the Star Wars movies since he was 3. He loves the old trilogy and the new one. He doesn't give a toss for the good guys (except when Han Solo is in the carbonite) but wants to be the baddies - Darth Vadar, Darth Maul, Anakin. I think he'd only seen the new versions of the old trilogy on DVD and the look on his face was priceless when he watched and old episode on VHS at Nana's and Anakin didn't appear at the end with Obi Wan.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2008 • 19 posts Report Reply

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