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  #1  
Old 12-28-2011, 11:19 PM
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Because "Star Wars week at gamespite" is as good an excuse as any.

So: What are the parts you like and don't like about this pop culture institution?

I like the original movie and Empire Strikes Back. Return of the Jedi felt too much like it was just going through the motions of getting it over with, but the first two really set up a world and characters that were fun to follow.

I like the first few books by Timothy Zahn, because we mostly have them to thank for whatever good came out of the post-movie Star Wars universe until the prequel trilogy came along to blow it all away and take over the franchise. (Remember when the Jedi were rare, unique Knights with mysterious powers and no specific Order to speak of? Remember when we assumed the clones were the bad guys in the Clone Wars?)

I like the Dark Forces/Jedi Knight series of PC games. It started with the novel approach of "Doom, but with Stormtroopers" and went on to become its own thing, with gigantic, memorable environments (Fuel Station Launch!), nifty Force powers, and perhaps the only videogame example of what lightsabers can really do to someone. (Provided you know the Realistic Saber Combat code.)

I like Knights of the Old Republic as a game, but not as a setting. The game straddles the line between the good movies and the prequels by having very little to do with either set, and focuses instead on carving out its own niche with some decent (if a bit stilted) writing. But the setting is kind of a mess. I don't like the idea of an ancient Jedi/Sith war between huge organizations everybody knows about. Sith in particular are supposed to be rare and profoundly horrific evil wizards, not a generically vindictive civilization of dime-a-dozen surly manchildren.

I don't like the prequel movies. They didn't just retcon a ton of things and shrink the galaxy with hackneyed writing, they're also just bad movies. All style, no substance. They also took over the franchise; Star Wars is more about the prequels and the prequel era now than the original good movies that everyone liked.

I don't like the Expanded Universe past 1999. Say what you will about dumb stories and poor authors... we didn't know how good we had it until the book rights changed hands and the new guys decided to import trendy grimdark aliens to replace the Empire, and change the focus away from "how will our heroes get out of this one" to "WHO GONNA DIE NEXT?!"
Even the worst of the old stuff was still goofy fluff no worse than what George himself might come up with. The new stuff sank much lower.
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Old 12-29-2011, 12:28 AM
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I like everything except Yoda. What an elitist asshole! Oh, and I hate the prequel trilogy, but that kinda goes without saying.
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Old 12-29-2011, 12:30 AM
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There was a time I absolutely devoured anything Star Wars. Unfortunately, that time is long passed.

I love all of the original trilogy. While Empire is undoubtedly the best, Return of the Jedi is not at all bad and Star Wars (I'll be damned if I call the first movie anything else) is barely a notch below Empire.

I read a ton of the novels, which was convenient for me because the best ones came out right around the time I was really getting in to the movies, shortly before the release of the Special Editions. The best were Zahn's Heir to the Empire Trilogy and I really, really liked Stackpole's X-Wing books. But I read as many of them as I could get my hands on.

Honestly, I don't even hate the Prequels. They were disappointing, to be sure, but I enjoyed them some. They are a big step below the originals, but they aren't all bad. There are moments in each of them when it feels just like the old stuff and I love it, but unfortunately those moments are all too few and short.

I've played all too few of the video games. Only the Rogue Squadron series, a shitty gameboy game and the secret best Stars Wars game Pod Racer.

What absolutely killed my interest in Star Wars, aside from just growing up and my tastes changing, was the New Jedi Order series of books. It's like they went out of their way to destroy everything good that existed in the Expanded Universe. I read the first few books, then skipped to about halfway through and realized that is was only getting worse, not better. And I after the year or two long break I realized I no longer cared.

I still have quite a bit of fondness for the series. I kept Zahn's and Stackpole's books when I sold a bunch of my Star Wars books, and there's a pretty good chance that if I see one of the movies on TV while flipping through the channels I'll stop, but I don't get excited about anything Star Wars anymore.
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Old 12-29-2011, 12:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Dart Zaidyer View Post
(Provided you know the Realistic Saber Combat code.)
Once a friend and I spent 15 minutes just killing Luke over and over during some mission's intro. When you do that you fail a mission and your guy just kind of does this "oh no" crouch/knee fall but once Luke's head rolled under him during the crouch and it was like "Hey, Buttface. What's the matter? Got a butt in your face?". It was the best.

Also just slicing dudes uppppp.
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  #5  
Old 12-29-2011, 05:08 AM
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My beef with Star Wars is twofold at this point. One, it's become even more transparently commercial, which, when you consider how pander-y it was in the first place, is quite something. It's a bit like a 300 pound man gaining another 200 pounds.

Beef two is that by and the large, it's a collection of the same kind of stuff rehashed over and over and over again. There might be some more unique stuff out there, but it's relegated to the extreme fringe of the property and of questionable quality (being unique doesn't necessary entail being good after all). I always thought that stories that took place in the "Star Wars universe" could be interesting without being "Star Wars stories", but... eh. A good example of this is KOTOR 2 which, unfinished as it was, had a lot of really cool and really unique (for Star Wars) ideas.

REAL shame about the whole "not finished" thing.
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  #6  
Old 12-29-2011, 05:47 AM
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I have an irrational love/hate relationship with Star Wars. The best worst thing about Star Wars is that it's all just a thinly veiled classic sword-and-sorcery fantasy story. Any attempts to add science fiction elements (midichlorians!) is bound to fail because of the magic hand-waviness of everything else.

The Extended Universe seems cool enough, although I mostly know of it via games (TIE fighter especially) and comic adaptations. Haven't had the nerve to read Zahn's books, but from what I know, I'm pretty sure they'd make good sequels to the original movies if handled right.

I'm not 100% sold on the Old Republic universe because of canon compatibility requirements; it happened 3500 years before Star Wars, but still you only have basically the archetypes and alien races that can be traced back to the movies.

Regarding the games: I still don't know if Jedi Outcast was really that good or if I liked it because it's a Star Wars game and you get to fool around with a lightsaber. I'm pretty sure that Rogue Squadron II was great and Rogue Squadron III was crap, but I'm unsure how much of RSII's goodness was because a lot of it was connected to the original movies and how much of RSIII's badness was because of the inverse.

I'm pretty sure X-Wing and especially TIE fighter would have worked even without the SW license, but that sure didn't hurt.

I really really want to play SWTOR, but I just don't have the time for a mmo. Worse, I want to try different character classes, different alignment routes and so on. I know what I said earlier about the old republic, I just want to play a badass jedi. And a bounty hunter, and a smuggler.
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  #7  
Old 12-29-2011, 06:53 AM
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I've never understood the appeal of the Zahn novels beyond "holy shit they're making new Star Wars stories!!!" Even as a kid I thought they were pretty dire. I did enjoy the "Tales From" short stories collections. "Tales from Jaba's Palace," "Tales from Mos Eisley Cantina," etc. I remember one really fun story that was all about the Storm Trooper that was all like "Look, sir -- droids." It turns out he's also the guy Obi Wan mind tricked as well as being present in a whole bunch of scenes. It did a great job making him a sympathetic character and building this parallel story. I was really disappointed when Attack of the Clones ret-conned him out of existence. I really liked that guy.

All in all I'm pretty sick of Star Wars. It's far more ubiquitous than any one piece of media should be. I was at the movies a few days ago and there was a trailer for Phantom Menace in 3D and it was like "Fuck! Does this shit never end?!?!"

There's a whole world of stuff outside of Star Wars guys.
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  #8  
Old 12-29-2011, 07:00 AM
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I probably would have enjoyed the Zahn books had I read them when I was younger but as it is, I find them fairly joyless. I never had the inclination to read them in high school or middle school though a lot of my friends were doing just that and raving. The first time I tried was in my mid-twenties and I just couldn't see the appeal. All I remember is that there were lizards that absorbed force powers or something? Man I don't know.

I did enjoy Jedi Knight II and Jedi Academy. Even though the jumping puzzles were irritating, it was this awesome mix of fun that probably shouldn't have worked but did. I still remember the first lightsaber duel in Jedi Knight II: the room is dark and you hear another saber fire up and suddenly things have stepped up a notch.

Jedi Knight II also had some amazingly fun cheat codes. I would load up a multiplayer arena in single player mode, and thanks to some scripts I had written, would spawn whole armies of good and bad NPCs and watch them fight it out.

One of the more amusing quirks about this was that, in game, the lowest level bad guy was a Storm Trooper - just an evil aligned NPC with a blaster. The most similar good aligned NPC was Lando. So I would end up spawning ten or fifteen Storm Troopers and the same amount of Landos for my little wars.

Last edited by ThornGhost; 12-29-2011 at 11:13 AM.
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  #9  
Old 12-29-2011, 09:52 AM
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Someone mentioned the fact that everyone used to assume the clones were the bad guys in the enigmatic Clone Wars, and I like the way the prequel trilogy turned that on its side and contrived a plot in which everything familiar about the corrupt Empire had its roots in the seemingly benign Republic. Of course, it was badly written and directed -- how do you make Natalie Portman and Ewan MacGregor act poorly!? -- but the bigger picture was interesting.
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Old 12-29-2011, 09:59 AM
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One of my most vivid memories of Star Wars was watching the VHS of Return of the Jedi as a kid. When I ejected the tape, it was hot. I actually thought the dogfight/assault on the Death Star specifically caused that.
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  #11  
Old 12-29-2011, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parish View Post
Someone mentioned the fact that everyone used to assume the clones were the bad guys in the enigmatic Clone Wars, and I like the way the prequel trilogy turned that on its side and contrived a plot in which everything familiar about the corrupt Empire had its roots in the seemingly benign Republic. Of course, it was badly written and directed -- how do you make Natalie Portman and Ewan MacGregor act poorly!? -- but the bigger picture was interesting.
Along those same lines, I thought there was an interesting seed in the first couple of prequels that Anakin would slowly be turned to the dark side, and I hoped against hope that the third movie would show Anakin being carefully indoctrinated by Palpatine regarding the bureaucratic evils of the republic (and maybe even showing some of those evils), to the point that his decision to turn almost makes sense to the viewer.

Of course that would be much too nuanced for a Star Wars movie, so instead we got "Padme's in trouble!" "Okay, turn to the dark side and kill some kids to protect her." "That makes sense!"
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Old 12-29-2011, 12:42 PM
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I still have a lot of good feelings for the original trilogy, which I had sort of forgotten until I watched the Star Wars Begins series of must-see fan documentaries.

The original trilogy was a true collaborative effort. Everyone from the actors to the costume designers to the sound effects artists infused Star Wars with their personalities. George Lucas had to incorporate all those distinct visions into Star Wars, and like a great rock band, that collaboration was where the magic happened.
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:25 PM
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Having spent a bit of my childhood imagining them, I'll probably never get over the fact that the clone wars happen largely offscreen during the prequels.
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:36 PM
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Good thing you've got 88 episodes of crappy CG to fill in the details.
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  #15  
Old 12-29-2011, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parish View Post
Someone mentioned the fact that everyone used to assume the clones were the bad guys in the enigmatic Clone Wars, and I like the way the prequel trilogy turned that on its side and contrived a plot in which everything familiar about the corrupt Empire had its roots in the seemingly benign Republic. Of course, it was badly written and directed -- how do you make Natalie Portman and Ewan MacGregor act poorly!? -- but the bigger picture was interesting.
I always figured it was a big catastrophic event where cheap cloning technology lead to everyone and their brother making cheap instant clone armies and throwing them at each other, causing complete chaos since any crackpot with a big enough clone factory could just keep endlessly zerg rushing everyone else, and eventually leading to a ban on the technology. Or possibly some massive civil war stemming from someone cloning major political leaders and running a shell game...

According to George Lucas though, nope! Nothing at all like any of that! Instead it refers to uh... someone cloned a bunch of copies of the random bounty hunter father of that inconsequential random bounty hunter who has an inexplicably huge fanbase purely due to having armor that looks like a refrigerator from the 50's, in order to have them... fight a racist caricature's pile of little pathetic comic relief stick bug robots just the one time for... really ill-defined reasons... with Darth Vader not actually fighting in such by any stretch of the imagination.

Yeah... I'm going to just keep sitting over here with those movies no where near my personal canon, but maybe let Timothy Zahn's books in because we at least seem to be pretty much on the same page on this particular point.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:00 PM
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That's also ignoring the GIGANTIC red flags Palpatine throws up when he announces that he has this swell army of clones with attendant weapons, ships and assault vehicles in his back pocket ready to kick robot ass. There are Jedi in the room, ostensibly super wise and able to see the future. That no one thought to throw up a hand and go "Uh, dude, why were you amassing a gigantic army in secret?" is utterly mind-blowing.

tl;dr latter day George Lucas is insane.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:03 PM
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I always thought that the Clone Wars involved someone making evil clones of all the Jedi and pitting them against the originals until they all killed each other. Dunno where I got that impression, though.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:18 PM
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I always thought that the Clone Wars involved someone making evil clones of all the Jedi and pitting them against the originals until they all killed each other. Dunno where I got that impression, though.
I thought the same thing as a kid. I bet it has something to do with Obi Wan being the first (only?) person to bring it up and the fact that evil clones only exist to fight their counterparts. NES games taught me so.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:40 PM
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I always thought that the Clone Wars involved someone making evil clones of all the Jedi and pitting them against the originals until they all killed each other. Dunno where I got that impression, though.
Because Obi-Wan is actually a corruption of "OB-1" -- Obi-Wan's production number. Obi-Wan was in reality Ben Kenobi's clone who killed Ben and betrayed Darth Vader.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:41 PM
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Because Obi-Wan is actually a corruption of "OB-1" -- Obi-Wan's production number. Obi-Wan was in reality Ben Kenobi's clone who killed Ben and betrayed Darth Vader.
Now was that ever intended as a thing, or just a rumor? Because I can remember that from forever.
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Old 12-29-2011, 02:45 PM
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Return of the Jedi will always be my favourite. Everything from Luke and Leia's last conversation onward is really what I'm in this for. It really is a tremendous payoff.

That being said, no one will ever tear down the prequels as thoroughly and artfully as RedLetterMedia.
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Old 12-29-2011, 03:00 PM
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Regarding Red Letter Media, it's really telling that an amateur like Plinkett has created this meta-reality surrounding his character in the reviews that is much more compelling than the stuff he's reviewing. It's creepy as shit, but for some damn reason, I want to know more. What is the guy's fascination with pizza rolls?

Oh, Star Wars. Again, I have to refer to the Plinkett reviews. In the Episode 1 review, he starts talking about the lightsaber fight with Obi-Wan and Darth Maul just after Liam Neeson gets killed. It's all highly choreographed and staged that it almost seems like there's no emotion to it. Everything before and after that had emotion (watered down, but it was there). In Jedi, when Vader tells Luke that if he won't be the Emperor's new lackey, then he'll turn Leia to the dark side, causing Luke to flip his shit and abandon the grace he's trained in to his technique and just start swinging at Vader's face in a fit of rage.

In Phantom Menace, Obi-Wan just says "NO!" when Qui-Gon was run through, then just looks all angryface at Maul while Maul looks all angryface back at him. Then the force field comes down, and they jump in to their septic and choreographed fight.

It's also very sad how Lucas came from A New Hope, where he was forced to work with what he had and even pioneered some new filming techniques that would still be used in the 80s and 90s, to the prequel trilogy, where it seemed like 90% of the film was shot on chromakey stages and they just painted around the actors.
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Old 12-29-2011, 03:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TirMcDohl View Post
Regarding Red Letter Media, it's really telling that an amateur like Plinkett has created this meta-reality surrounding his character in the reviews that is much more compelling than the stuff he's reviewing. It's creepy as shit, but for some damn reason, I want to know more. What is the guy's fascination with pizza rolls?
You're the first person I know of who thinks the whole serial killer thing is compelling in its own right rather than an annoying distraction (well, the second if Plinkett counts.)

Quote:
In Phantom Menace, Obi-Wan just says "NO!" when Qui-Gon was run through, then just looks all angryface at Maul while Maul looks all angryface back at him. Then the force field comes down, and they jump in to their septic and choreographed fight.
I'm no big fan of the prequels, but I think that has more to do with the level of investment people had in the Star Wars characters in 1983 than with any innate superiority in the storytelling department. The Luke-Leia relationship and family reveal is one of the clumsiest aspects of the original series, whereas conveying the closeness between Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan in such a short time window is one of the few things that TPM gets right -- and the music completely sells the swordfight.
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Old 12-29-2011, 03:17 PM
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I like the original three movies. They're well-made, with excellent acting, direction, script-writing, and special effects. They tease at a fascinating and engaging universe, more space fantasy than science fiction, where massive battle-fleets clash over ideology, very people-intensive technology, magical warrior-monks wander the galaxy righting wrongs and occasionally kicking ass, and a handful of tiny fighters and converted cargo haulers can blow the snot out of a massive battle-wagon.

I loathe more or less everything that came after. I've got particular hatred for things that were created to "explain" aspects of the universe. Midi-chlorians? The "true" Sith? "Darth Sideous"? Jango Fett? The "Jedi Temple" nonsense? All garbage, and all, if you look closely at the history of the works' development, ideas recycled or derived from Lucas' early drafts that his collaborators forced him to throw out because they were garbage.

Also, the "New Republic". I ate that shit up when I was a kid, but now I kinda look at it and go "really? This is the best you guys could think up for what comes next?"
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Old 12-29-2011, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Loki View Post
Good thing you've got 25 episodes of awesome Genndy Tartakovski animation to fill in the details.
Seriously, if you haven't seen this, you should.
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  #26  
Old 12-29-2011, 05:30 PM
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The original Clone Wars cartoons are a begrudging addition to my personal canon, because Genndy Tartakovski is The Man.
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Old 12-29-2011, 06:12 PM
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Has there been a successful attempt at Star Wars: The Next Generation? A long time ago it seemed like Young Jedi Knights was going to be it, but it had... problems. Hey look, a Jedi Wookiee!
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Old 12-29-2011, 06:27 PM
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The "problem" was that it was written by Kevin Anderson.
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Old 12-29-2011, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Dart Zaidyer View Post
Has there been a successful attempt at Star Wars: The Next Generation? A long time ago it seemed like Young Jedi Knights was going to be it, but it had... problems. Hey look, a Jedi Wookiee!
The Star Wars Legacy comics were... Okay-ish. They had some nifty ideas, but were (IMO) ruined by way too many ties to prior Dark Horse comics. They should've started from scratch rather than presuming that any readers had been reading all of their umpteen billion comics for years, and thus knew who all the obscure characters they kept dredging up were.
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Old 12-29-2011, 07:08 PM
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The part of Red Letter Media's dissection that really shocked me is in their Phantom Menace review where it's revealed that every conversation is shot with the characters walking, then stopping in front of computer generated loveliness, maybe the character sit down, but basically it's the most boring, redundant, and generic direction ever.

I was all like "fuck!"
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