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Desc:An official Lucasfilm documentary on making the first prequel. You can tell something is wrong.
Category:Classic Movies, Accidents & Explosions
Tags:Star Wars, George Lucas, lucasfilm, The Phantom Menace, prequels
Submitted:kingarthur
Date:01/10/16
Views:1049
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Comment count is 36
fedex
47:50 pretty much says it all
SolRo
Afterwards I think that guy was doing his best to not tell everyone to 'tighten up' the greedy jewie-ness of the character

SolRo
Or greedy arab

SolRo
wait, same thing

infinite zest
I never really saw him as a stereotype any more than Jar Jar when I first saw the movie until people told me that it was racist. It was just something that people did: Indiana Jones had to eat monkey brains which was gross and this was a flying guy that wanted money which was funny. But he was never a Shylock to me anymore than I thought people ate monkey brains in the middle east. It was just funny.

fedex
ha ha, I was referring to how he was saying they can basically direct a shot to death now, unlike the old days.

But yeah, Nute Gunray is a close runner-up to this guy in terms of Lucasian "race-ism"

EvilHomer
I liked the guy who played Nute Gunray! Him, the JarJar guy, and Ewan too, they could have all been used to so much better effect.

What are your thoughts on 47:50, fedex? I take it you don't approve of this approach to editing?

The Mothership
It's like poetry, it rhymes.
Rosebeekee
Can someone be a bro and time stamp me all the parts (if any) that are related to the costumes?
RockBolt
After seeing the bits in the Plinkett reviews I always figured that footage must have been smuggled out and leaked, I'm shocked they would have willingly revealed what a disjointed clusterfuck this production was
infinite zest
The pre-digital age of film was actually more difficult than stealing a DVD; I remember getting Indiana Jones 4 at my theatre and they had time-coded passlocks on the canisters, which opened at midnight, meaning I got to start building at 2AM central time. LIke anybody fucking working at the theatre cared about that point about whatever the fuck that shit was about and then decide to record it to flip a profit because we made the least amount of money in the movie industry. Trust me, we hated the movies as much as we hated the customers.

But I do think I recall a few video leaks from this movie on alt.nets and stuff from disgruntled staff, but it's so long ago now.. Maybe Abrams had a better snack bar or something so some pissed off gaffer didn't go around telling all.

Rodents of Unusual Size
Jar Jar is the key to everything.

StanleyPain
I remember first watching this on the Phantom Menace DVD and I was astonished this made it intact onto a Lucasfilm project since it painted the production in such an incredibly negative light and showcased the obvious disconnect between Lucas and his crew and basically the real world.
infinite zest
I'm also surprised at the early-90s-looking computer! This came out in the Dude You're Getting a Dell Days did it not?

fedex
yeah we did most of the CG work at ILM on SGI 02's except for the Rebel Mac dept and a few others that used Mac or Windows. last time I ever used an SGI in production

Architeuthis Tux
Every time I see one of those O2's at Weird Stuff I'm tempted to buy it just because I always wanted one. This despite the fact that the cheap commodity-parts computer I have now could whip it to shreds in any measure you'd care to throw at it.

Plus there's that whole issue of functional software.

But they're still so neat looking!

BHWW
The scenes where Lucas waddles into the various production rooms are particularly telling - pay close attention to the body language in those scenes. The fear is almost palpable. You really get a feeling that everyone knows George is a giant dork but nobody wants to question him because they still want to be employed and keep them paychecks. Everyone seems disinterested, drained and dispirited, which is how Lucas comes across as all the time.

When the producers and production heads sit down and watch the finished product, There's a few closeups where you can see some of them are just absolutely stunned at how terrible the whole mess was.
StanleyPain
By far and away, the most telling moment in any of these behind the scenes things is after they screen the film and you can tell the entire production crew thinks the film is a complete disaster, but no one challenges Lucas and eventually he starts ret-conning his own disaster as some kind of visionary approach to telling the story.

The problem with Lucas, as is becoming VERY apparent now with his reaction to Force Awakens, is that he seems to think doing things that are different and technically "better" than the older SW films is, by default, bold and unique just by virtue of things being a little different or fancier, regardless of the actual quality of what he's doing.

infinite zest
It's funny, back in the day it seemed like directors bringing people down was a virtue, like when Shelly Long talks about how she'd never work with Kubrick and stuff again after The Shining, but you don't really get that vibe anymore from directors. They might talk about putting their actors through hell, but flailing your arms in the snow in front of a CGI bear isn't exactly hell. Lucas might have grown up in that little gap where you had to go to school to know what a Kurosawa or a Kurbick was and applied the same "I'm an auteur" dick-tatorship over his non-acting staff in the same way.

EvilHomer
Yeah, the tension is hard to miss! Granted, the gentleman directing this behind-the-scenes feature has an agenda, and that agenda is clearly to paint George in a bad light; the editing of shots and what footage he chose to use vs what footage he might have left out, obviously play a role in shaping our perception of poor Mr Lucas. However, I think the director's intended narrative is spot-on: there's obviously a lot of tension, frustration, even fear, whenever George is in the room. When George is nowhere to be seen, the cast and crew seem very relaxed and happy, but the moment he shows up, everyone gets this "oh god, what is he going to fuck up this time?" look on their faces.

IZ - Herzog trying to get Kinski murdered by Amazonian tribesmen...!

infinite zest
Ha I didn't even think about Herzog. He would've liked to surprise Kinski by telling hin he was going to get mauled by a man in a bearsuit when really it was a real one.

misterbuns
I'd love to talk to the director of this doc and whoever approved this cut.

It paints lucas is a very very bad light.

He is pretty clearly making digs about lucas and this whole misguided enterprise of the prequels.

Lines like "jar jar is key if we get jar jar right this will work"

"it's like poetry it rhymes"

"i made More American Grafitti and it made ten cents. It is possible to destroy these things"

the clip of him messing up highlighting what is practical photography and what are CG elements COMPLETE with cutaways of the CG supes nervously looking on.

The WHOLE SCENE of the editor being perplexed about his directing.

All this stuff is not accidental and the fact that this was RELEASED WITH the DvD is what is baffling.

On a side note, credit where credit is due. As a guy who works with the VFX industry it is weird to see this, because this is literally the beginning of digital filmmaking. You can see John Knoll ( of Photoshop) working out stuff that would become industry standard in the years that follow.

That whole scene of the editor being astonished and terrified of CG letting directors mix and match edits with CG split screens: that shit is done by TV on the reg now. It's a common editorial practice.

As terrible as these movies are they did change everything: just like Star Wars did.

also it's fun to watch the behind the scenes features that were included on episodes two and three.

Here with episode one we get all these candid moments with Natalie Portman and Ewan Mcgregor.

By episode three they are literally interviewing the catering staff.

Woo! Star Wars!
John Holmes Motherfucker
I saw the Force Awakens at midnight on Christmas Eve, and I fucking loved it, all the more for being an unapologetic rehash. I never thought of myself as a Star Wars fanatic, but I was the person in the theater who cheered the loudest.

But there is a problem, and here comes a minor spoiler. We now have four Star Wars Movies that Do Not Suck, and three of them are structured around the climactic destruction of a Death Star. How many times more are they going to be able to lean on that premise?

If you hate Star Wars, I don't blame you. These movies changed the movie business completely, in favor of big action fantasy blockbusters. The merchandising has continued literally without interruption for 40 years.

It may be that kids who are being born now will see these movies in their titular order, and will enjoy episodes 1-3.

I haven't watched the video yet, but I intend to. It sounds like the Star Wars Equivalent of Hearts of Darkness.
RockBolt
About the Death Star/Starkiller Base, at first I was a bit confused why they actually blew it up by the end of the film, but more and more I am glad it did. The whole movie to me seems purpose made to be a balm for the wounds left by the prequels- all the good stuff you remember, old characters and some new ones. Part of that old magic is the fighting the Death Star, the trench flying with X Wings, etc etc. But had it been merely disabled, then the whole next movie would be again about destroying a Death Star. I think they had it to have it, and got it out of the system. I'd like to think how indifferent Snoke was at the end hints that whatever the First Order is up to is much bigger than even a planet sized weapon, and the next film(s) will forge their own path rather than just be Empire 2017. I hope anyway, they seem to have people who give a shit this time around, so I am giving them the benefit of the doubt.

Lurchi
Rick McCallum makes my skin crawl
StanleyPain
Actually, while dissecting SW is interesting and all, if you really want to see how out of touch with directing and the world of film Lucas is, look no further than Red Tails, the project he spearheaded after the prequels.
He literally went on TV and claimed that no studio would touch the movie since it had black people in it (in 2011) and that it was among the first "mostly black" action films (again, in 2011). While he went through the trouble of hiring a black director to make the movie, word has it that Lucas pretty much ghost directed the movie and then did extensive re-shoots after the director had left to work on other projects. He talked endlessly about how he felt the "real story" of the Tuskegee Airmen had never been told (it had...twice, in two separate movies) then wrote a movie that was almost entirely fictional, only using the real-world setting. After the movie tanked, he again invoked racism and claimed that had the film succeeded he intended on producing a sequel and a prequel.
Honestly, I think the whole Red Tails debacle is more fascinating than the prequels.
kingarthur
I'm glad everyone's enjoying it. For me, the most insightful moments, at least with the acting, are Ian McDermid and Ahmed Best being the only people involved who are really trying at all.... and one of them is being almost entirely erased.
kingarthur
Well, Jake Lloyd is trying, but he's a wee kid, and you can't expect him to understand what's going on at all. It's a real shame this movie got placed on his shoulders like it did.

Scrotum H. Vainglorious
The other two boys that didnt make cut mist feel pretty lucky.

cognitivedissonance
Actually, Frank Oz comes off as even less likable than Lucas. Just a wretched old heeb that somehow created the most beloved characters of the 20th century.
RockBolt
Frank Oz was on NPR Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, they were so happy to be talking to him, and he was dry and humorless and sounded like he wanted to be anywhere else. Segal playfully asked if he would do a voice for them- no. They talked about how important his characters are to so many generations- he doesn't think about it. Would he ever do a voice for a small child to make their day and blow their minds- no. Every line of softball questioning on a comedy quiz show just hit a brick wall.

EvilHomer
Actually, I think he sounds delightful. My kind of guy!

EvilHomer
Was it this one?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ia_8sDzpSI

Anaxagoras
Yeah, Frank Oz is a weird dude. I remember watching some Behind the Scenes thing for Empire Strikes Back when that movie came out, and Oz kinda appeared on the periphery of the doc a couple times until they finally cornered him & forced him into the spotlight because Yoda was so wildly popular. And the entire time he seemed to be hate-staring everyone and everything around him, while saying as little as possible.

I understand how a person can be a crying comedian. But a surly puppeteer who specializes in quirky & endearing characters? I'm baffled.

For better or for worse, Frank Oz is definitely one of a kind.

RockBolt
Yeah that's the episode.

He doesn't really like being a puppeteer or at least being known as one, he's said before he never really wanted to be one in the first place and would much rather direct or something like that. When the recent Muppet movie was in the works, he said the script wasn't respectful to the characters. After it came out, he said it was too safe and similar to the old stuff. Its like he fell into a career he was a natural for by just being around Henson and loathes when people bring that huge chunk of his life up or something.

Hailey2006
The blonde kid reading the part before Jake was a much better actor
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