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Re: Star Wars: Deleted Magic

PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 12:38 am
by filmfan94
Dennis196492 wrote:I really wonder where all this ''720p is enough for Star Wars fan-edits'' talk came about, there is obviously a difference between 720p and 1080p when watching the OT on blu-ray, while I agree that any restoration done in the 90's is outdated and shouldn't be used for blu-ray by any means (look at Spartacus and how the previous blu-ray release looks compared to the recent 6K restoration from the original 70mm elements), the OT looks fine on blu-ray, aside from the terrible color saturation/contrast, but there is an obvious downgrade when going to 720p.

They look as sharp as any film that was shot on 70mm looks that had a recent restoration for their blu-ray releases, King of Kings, Spartacus, Lawrence of Arabia, 55 Days at Peking, they all look amazing, and Star Wars is just as sharp as those, if you want to see an example of a poor outdated restoration being used for a blu-ray release, check the Miriam Editions of The Fall of the Roman Empire, El Cid, and as previously cited, the original blu-ray release of Spartacus, all shot on Super Technirama 70.

Uh, technically none of the films labeled as being Technirama 70 were actually shot on 70mm (the back of the new Spartacus blu-ray even makes it quite clear that they used the large-format 35mm elements for the new restoration). I've done some reading on the process at the Widescreen Museum website and found that only the prints for these films were 70mm and the original camera negatives were actually horizontal 35mm, which makes the Technirama process much more akin to Vistavision than Todd-AO (to name a true 65mm process). Also, forgive me for being a nitpick, but Fall of the Roman Empire was actually shot in Ultra Panavision 70 (which has recently made a comeback with Hateful Eight) and the Miriam restoration of that film didn't even use the negative. Getting back on topic, I can't really judge about whether the old transfers of the OT would look good on blu-ray, but think they should definitely get a better restoration, preferably 1080p or higher.

Re: Star Wars: Deleted Magic

PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 1:27 am
by Dennis196492
I left the technicalities aside but yeah, I am aware of the many film processes of back in the day, how it seemed to be different from film to film, and regardless of technically being 35mm sideways or actual 65mm film stock, or shot under a different process (VistaVision, Todd-AO, Ultra Panavision 70, Super Technirama 70, MGM Camera 65, etc) the point was that the OT as it is on blu-ray, aside from the terrible colors, looks on par with these films shot on larger formats that are also on blu-ray, it just doesn't look as bad as some people make it up to be.

On an unrelated note, that doesn't mean that I don't want a new restoration to happen, it's obvious that it should happen, but I wonder if it's going to be a remaster (re-compositing all the blue-screen elements so no quality loss) or just a straight up restoration of a finished version of the film, complete with the movie going to lower quality whenever an effect shot would come up

Re: Star Wars: Deleted Magic

PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 2:23 am
by Garrett Gilchrist
It would take a 6k master to do a 70mm film any justice. A 4k master works for a 35mm film, and you can just about get away with 2k.

Yes, a 720p copy of a film isn't going to look as good as 1080p. That's true of any film. Fan-editors are - or should be - notorious for not exactly providing films at the highest possible quality, and 720p is fine for casual viewing. Neither format is archival.

Re: Star Wars: Deleted Magic

PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 3:59 am
by Garrett Gilchrist
Simpsons episode, 2009. Accurately predicting this past weekend in 2015. ... 1_1280.png

Re: Star Wars: Deleted Magic

PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 7:06 am
by Garrett Gilchrist

Re: Star Wars: Deleted Magic

PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 8:31 am
by Garrett Gilchrist
Stylish and classy, J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens is essentially a remake of the original 1977 Star Wars. More to the point, it's made with a fairly deep understanding of why the original Star Wars films worked, especially on a visual level, and how to bring that back for a new audience. I can't deny that there is very little originality here, nor that the film takes itself too seriously, when the original was known for its humor. But for an audience who love the original Star Wars films and want to recapture that feeling, The Force Awakens delivers as advertised, in a way that George Lucas' prequel films could not. The prequel films were full of new ideas visually and storywise, but failed to make that interesting to an audience. The Force Awakens plays it safe, trying to cut to the heart of why we really like Star Wars in the first place.

A big part of that is Harrison Ford as Han Solo. He is exactly the character we know from the original films, and it's a delight to see him back for new misadventures. There's a lot of humor to the scenes with Han and Chewbacca, humor that the film otherwise lacks. The acting in the 1977 film was a little ropey, but the young leads sparked off one another. Leia's attitude, Luke's inexperience and Han as the slightly inept scoundrel always on the run made the original films work.

The new leads here - Rey, Finn, Poe, and the villain Kylo Ren - are a very serious bunch. Finn gets the most jokes in, since his storyline has him lying about where he's from and constantly in over his head. But the heart of the character is dramatic. They're a talented and likeable bunch of young actors, who acquit themselves nicely. They don't make any missteps or embarrass themselves. And that's really what this movie is about - it's constantly careful.

The lead character is Daisy Ridley's Rey, who might as well be starring in a silent film. She's pretty and determined and capable and intense - and constantly in over her head too. And there's very little about her story you couldn't understand with the sound off. Or, more to the point, in a foreign dub of the film. The original Star Wars was like that too, when it managed it. Especially toward the end of shooting (like the opening scene aboard the conquered rebel ship), George Lucas was determined that the film work well as a silent film, and tell its story visually. J.J. Abrams understands that entirely. But when there's no comedic spark to the scenes, it often feels like we're simply marking time to get from one place to another, especially by the end of the film. It's another example, I suppose, of Hollywood making everything understandable for the overseas market.

The young leads here come off as good actors, at least, which hasn't often been true of the Star Wars films. George Lucas' prequels were famous for this - where the young leads like Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen were lost in a sea of green screen.

I'm assuming there was a lot of green screen work in the film, but in so many ways The Force Awakens is the anti-prequel. The original Star Wars felt lived-in and real, and The Force Awakens recaptures that, in feeling like it's a movie shot on set and on location, rather than in front of green screens. The cinematography is stylish and a little unusual, with judicious use of red gels. It doesn't have the bland feel that greenscreen shooting tends to have. Everything about the way the shots are lit and composed feels like we're there onset or on location, with a director and cinematographer who are thinking things through and finding the most interesting shots.

We're not overwhelmed with CGI creatures either. The prequels were the first films in history to suffer from CGI overload. The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones were far more groundbreaking and influential than they'll ever be given credit for. For all of the complaints about those films, Hollywood now makes at least 12 films like them every year, overloaded with CGI and whiz-bang camera movement that would never exist on a set.

"The Force Awakens" is a remake of the original Star Wars in many ways, to the point where some shots could be edited into the original films without changing the storyline. But what it's not is a remake of "Attack of the Clones."

Here, many of the creatures are practically done, including return appearances for 80s favorites Admiral Akbar and Nien Nunb. The first major CGI character is Lupita Nyong'o playing Maz Kanata. She's a believable character apart from her CGI nature, and I can understand why they created her this way. Meanwhile, Andy Serkis plays the villain Supreme Leader Snoke, a sort of replacement for Emperor Palpatine. I found this character embarrassing, as there seemed to be no reason why he couldn't have been played by a human actor. I suppose we'll see in the sequels.

The quality of the sequels will certainly have a big impact on how this film is judged and remembered. Apart from Han, there's a definite feeling in this film that we've only begun to explore these characters. Rey's journey is just beginning, and we barely get to meet Poe Dameron. As an X-Wing pilot, he reminds us of just how uninteresting the pilot characters were in the first films. He might as well be Wedge or any other pilot, apart from his friendship with Finn, which Oscar Isaac has said he played as a romance. It shows.

It feels like the film doesn't know what to do with Leia, either. We see some of the old sparks with Han, but not enough. Their scenes together are muted by the reality of what's happened in their family. The scenes have to carry a lot of weight, and the result - like so many things in this film - is a cautiousness, and a certain lack of passion. The film, as usual, is so determined to not get it wrong that it doesn't do enough. A missed opportunity, though one that the sequels could improve on.

It borders on offensive that Leia never became a Jedi, though there are clearly story reasons that explain why she'd walk away from the Force, and the film is about showing us how the characters largely returned to (or stayed) their old selves rather than going on higher-minded life paths. Han is still smuggling, eh? And getting himself in trouble. Well. The film is also less shy about killing than you might expect, and so are our leads.

The film does very little with Gwendoline Christie's Captain Phasma - almost nothing in fact - and if the sequels don't improve on that, we're going to have to have words.

One character who does get a lot of screen time is Kylo Ren [Adam Driver], a conflicted villain who wants to be Darth Vader but can barely manage to be the Anakin Skywalker of the prequels. A very similar character, right down to the fluffy hair. He's intimidating with his mask on, but like Anakin loses a lot when he takes it off. Then again, that's his entire character. He gets some of the film's most interesting scenes and plays them well. His confrontation with his father is probably the best dialogue in the film.

There's also Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux, a sort of mini-Tarkin to go with Kylo Ren's mini-Vader. He fits perfectly into the tradition of Imperials and Nazis in the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films, even if he's too emotional to be believable as a Hitlerian leader. This seems to be a recurring theme with the First Order. Rather than cold and detached like the Empire they come off as young fanatics trying to repeat the mistakes of the past. It's not clear who Snoke is, or how old Snoke is, but he's a much older figure grooming this army from the shadows. There's a story there we haven't heard.

The editing is fast-paced, and the characterization tends to suffer from it, as we go from place to place without time to focus on the emotional beats. Which is to say, it's a Star Wars movie. But it's rare that a Star Wars movie actually leaves you wanting more from the characters. If you're trying to figure out the relationship between Finn and Poe Dameron, the film doesn't linger on them very long. Or Leia and Han, which is more to the point. There's a moment with Leia and Rey at the end, and the characters haven't really earned that in their scenes together.

That being said, the new characters and situations fold themselves effortlessly into the Star Wars universe. BB-8 is a natural successor to R2-D2, to the point that when the actual R2-D2 shows up you'd prefer BB-8 to be with him, or in his place. While Rey, Finn, and Poe lack the humor of the original trio, they're also not as broadly or cartoonishly drawn. There's a lot more subtlety here, and a lot of art and cunning to what the film accomplishes.

There's very little here that's cartoonish or silly - we're generations away from Jar Jar Binks. Which leaves the film feeling a bit empty and hollow, but also refreshingly in good taste. The film is a polished diamond, cut into the shape of a Star Wars film. You have to admire the craft of that. It also puts the franchise on very firm footing. After all the experimenting of the prequels, and all the stuff that didn't work, here is a solid, very well-thought-out film which delivers everything you want from a Star Wars film. Yes, "derivative" doesn't even cover it when we're returning to the Millennium Falcon and booting up the old holochess game, or blowing up a Death Star again. But what will really surprise you here is the skill and art with which it's done. This is simply good filmmaking, of a kind that's all too rare on the big screen today. It brings back memories of the sort of skillful filmmaking we saw in The Empire Strikes Back.

You will care about the characters, as simply drawn as they are. They're well acted and you'll want to know a lot more about them. And for all the talk of Luke Skywalker being based on the mythology studies of Joseph Campbell, this film does that for Rey in an even more blatant way. That's not original, but it makes you want more.

The original Star Wars changed filmmaking forever, and not necessarily for the better. So did the prequel trilogy. We've suffered through a lot of films that were based on a Star Wars formula in some way, but very few that captured the appeal of that story. The Wachowskis' films The Matrix and Speed Racer delivered a "Star Wars ending", and it struck me how rare that actually is.

So I won't complain about "The Force Awakens" choosing to remake and repeat a lot of beats of the original Star Wars. Not when it's doing it right. Not when it's done with such an understanding of the film's appeal. It will sit easily alongside the originals, and kids will have no problem with continuing after Return of the Jedi to watch "the next one." You couldn't say that about the prequels, for all their relative originality.

The original film was built around repetition of the past as well. Besides all the homages and swipes from earlier films and books, Star Wars' story is about three young people who became the heirs to a mythical past - a past which seemed much less amazing when Lucas made three prequel films about it. The original Star Wars trilogy is now the mythical past of this new series, which promises to deliver us to new worlds of adventure. And maybe they'll play it a little less safe next time, now that The Force Awakens has placed the franchise back on very solid ground. The film just feels right, and that's quite an accomplishment.

For now, the Force is with this one.

Re: Star Wars: Deleted Magic

PostPosted: Sat Dec 26, 2015 9:35 am
by Garrett Gilchrist
Seeing people saying there are only four 'real' Star Wars movies. [counts on fingers] Caravan of Courage, Battle For Endor, the Life Day Special, and Clone Wars 2008?

Re: Star Wars: Deleted Magic

PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 2:23 am
by Garrett Gilchrist
@gaileyfrey, watching the end of Return of the Jedi for the first time:
"The murder bears are jubilant, for this is MUCH FLESH TO FEAST UPON THIS NIGHT" ... -6-luke-is

Re: Star Wars: Deleted Magic

PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 8:09 pm
by Garrett Gilchrist

Re: Star Wars: Deleted Magic

PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 4:57 pm
by Garrett Gilchrist