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Wish Fulfillment And The Mary Sue - Page 6

post #251 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammerhead View Post

I must maintain that the lead character can only be a Mary Sue if the film is a 'side story' to an established property.

But then, whence TWILIGHT?
post #252 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post
 

Over in The Force Awakens thread, when going over Rey's characterization for the 80th time, Lightning Slim mentioned that Rey is no more a Mary Sue than Indiana Jones, who is also a hyper-competent, ass-kicking polymath. 

 

Good stuff Schwartz.  I'll take a dive into this...

 

Jones is not a Gary Sue.  He is a professor of Archeology and an expert on history, the occult and grave robbing.  His extensive background in these areas are what allow him to survive those situations.  He knows to "stay out of the light" and "keep your eyes shut!" because of that, and there are several scenes in the film that show us just how knowledgeable he is about these things, and yet he routinely is outsmarted, has his ass kicked and finds himself in situations he can't handle.  The ability to throw a good punch and a little luck take care of the rest.  That's why Raiders stands the test of time.  

 

Rey is a Mary Sue because we don't know anything about her.  Seriously, that's about it.  I understand why they did that, because it's a trilogy and her backstory is supposed to be revealed in later films.  But her skills come out of nowhere, and she faces very little resistance... unlike Indiana Jones.  Personally I think they could've done more to set her up properly.  

 

The Mary/Gary Sue thing is tricky with Star Wars though because in A New Hope the force is what seemingly allows Luke to be as skilled as he is, but he is not really a Gary Sue....he gets his ass kicked by a Tusken Raider, the guy in the Cantina, and taken for a ride by the garbage compactor monster... he generally loses more than he wins.  He is force strong, but has alot to learn, which plays out in the sequels.  Lucas was smart enough to do that.

 

The problem with TFA is JJ is so insistent on his mystery box bullshit, the character of Rey ends up being underwritten, so you don't have much of a character, but more of a cipher for wish fulfillment/girl power nonsense.  Not that girl power is nonsense, but the form it seems to be taking these days is troubling.  JJ/Kasdan made a huge mistake and kind of did a disservice to Lucas' original concept of the force.  It is not a video game power up.  It is an energy field one has to learn to wield through trial and error, and that trial an error is what creates CHARACTER.   The only caveat I will offer that Abrams may have deliberately done this as a set up to Rey having a turn to the dark side in Ep.8, since her ease of superiority could make her careless and easily seduced... BUT, even if this is true, they still could've made her an actual character in TFA.

 

As far as the Gary Sue thing, yes movies are littered with them, but these are mostly bad films that should not be emulated.  I laughed at those arguments about Rey's Mary Sue-ness being okay because guys have been doing it for a long time.  And I think women should aspire higher than that because generally, no well written character is a Mary or Gary Sue... those terms stem from bad writing.  James Bond is a super spy with extensive training, that's why he's so good, his abilities are no more unrealistic than the silly stuff that happens in those films.  A film creates its own rules, and the characters abide by them.  Rey's abilities are unrealistic because she's a nobody we know nothing about.  It's like she doesn't even exist in the world of the film.  Finn is a far better character (and better actor) than she is, and I wish to bloody hell he was set to be the lead of this trilogy instead of the bland brunette.

post #253 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post

do the rocky movies ever actually refer to Ali?

In Creed, Bianca refers to Apollo as "the most famous boxer who ever lived", so, no, I don't think Ali ever existed in The Rocky Universe.

 

She just kinda shrugs off that Adonis knows Rocky, so I figure that Rocky is more George Foreman famous than Michael Jordan famous ... somebody like Charles Barkley or Howie Long who are good athletes with some impressive accomplishments, but are mostly famous for being interesting TV personalities.  This makes Rocky V work pretty well and, in all fairness, kinda mirrors Stallone's actual career between the late 90s and Rambo 4 where he was doing lots of crap straight-to-video movies and hosting reality shows.

post #254 of 480

but... he ended the COLD WAR!!!!

 

 

eheheheheh

post #255 of 480
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightning Slim View Post


But then, whence TWILIGHT?

 

Just outside of the technical definition, I'd say.  I mean, you could conjecture that it essentially started out as Anne Rice fanfic, but ultimately Bella is not quite an official Mary Sue.  She just shares every negative gene with one.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambler View Post
 

 

Good stuff Schwartz.  I'll take a dive into this...

 

Jones is not a Gary Sue.  He is a professor of Archeology and an expert on history, the occult and grave robbing.  His extensive background in these areas are what allow him to survive those situations.  He knows to "stay out of the light" and "keep your eyes shut!" because of that, and there are several scenes in the film that show us just how knowledgeable he is about these things, and yet he routinely is outsmarted, has his ass kicked and finds himself in situations he can't handle.  The ability to throw a good punch and a little luck take care of the rest.  That's why Raiders stands the test of time.  

 

Rey is a Mary Sue because we don't know anything about her.  Seriously, that's about it.  I understand why they did that, because it's a trilogy and her backstory is supposed to be revealed in later films.  But her skills come out of nowhere, and she faces very little resistance... unlike Indiana Jones.  Personally I think they could've done more to set her up properly.  

 

The Mary/Gary Sue thing is tricky with Star Wars though because in A New Hope the force is what seemingly allows Luke to be as skilled as he is, but he is not really a Gary Sue....he gets his ass kicked by a Tusken Raider, the guy in the Cantina, and taken for a ride by the garbage compactor monster... he generally loses more than he wins.  He is force strong, but has alot to learn, which plays out in the sequels.  Lucas was smart enough to do that.

 

The problem with TFA is JJ is so insistent on his mystery box bullshit, the character of Rey ends up being underwritten, so you don't have much of a character, but more of a cipher for wish fulfillment/girl power nonsense.  Not that girl power is nonsense, but the form it seems to be taking these days is troubling.  JJ/Kasdan made a huge mistake and kind of did a disservice to Lucas' original concept of the force.  It is not a video game power up.  It is an energy field one has to learn to wield through trial and error, and that trial an error is what creates CHARACTER.   The only caveat I will offer that Abrams may have deliberately done this as a set up to Rey having a turn to the dark side in Ep.8, since her ease of superiority could make her careless and easily seduced... BUT, even if this is true, they still could've made her an actual character in TFA.

 

As far as the Gary Sue thing, yes movies are littered with them, but these are mostly bad films that should not be emulated.  I laughed at those arguments about Rey's Mary Sue-ness being okay because guys have been doing it for a long time.  And I think women should aspire higher than that because generally, no well written character is a Mary or Gary Sue... those terms stem from bad writing.  James Bond is a super spy with extensive training, that's why he's so good, his abilities are no more unrealistic than the silly stuff that happens in those films.  A film creates its own rules, and the characters abide by them.  Rey's abilities are unrealistic because she's a nobody we know nothing about.  It's like she doesn't even exist in the world of the film.  Finn is a far better character (and better actor) than she is, and I wish to bloody hell he was set to be the lead of this trilogy instead of the bland brunette.

 
Yeah, I think Indy avoids the worst aspects of the trope because we have a very specific context for his very specific expertise (the script then works its magic to make that specialized knowledge crucially applicable in a wide array of tricky situations).  Indy's the world's foremost expert in historical ju-ju, so of course he can figure out when the nazis are digging in the wrong dune.  With Rey, the only context we have is as broad as "she grew up in junk yards, ergo she is an expert with every kind of ship and machinery in the galaxy."  It's maddeningly non-specific, even before she starts burping up new Force powers in every scene.
post #256 of 480

See, I didn't have a problem with any of that except in how it contributed to her being so terribly bland.

 

It just really makes me appreciate how deftly written A New Hope was. The two films mirror the same beats, but ANH manages to infuse the story with at least nine memorable characters, despite being shorter than TFA and having to establish the universe that TFA relies on.

 

ANH doesn't get much credit for its writing, probably due to it essentially being a mirror of earlier works, but it's a really well-polished mirror.

post #257 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by RexBanner View Post

 

 

Poe finds sniping stormtroopers and getting TIE kill streaks fun and easy, but as a consequence, the act seems less impressive.  

 

I think he gets like a nine kill streak in like 30 seconds, which is just ridiculous.  Also, both actors have jokingly admitted that they were playing it gay, and Boyega is jumping around and swooning during the whole thing, obviously trolling.  It's a cluttered, stupid mess - and as bad as some of the prequel sequences were (kid Anakan in the Naboo fighter, the droid factory on Geonosis, Yoda vs. Palpatine), they were never that stupid.  Even the ground battle on Naboo where Jar Jar fumbles to victory is a better sequence - it's not good, but it's generally believable and deliberately played as a comedy bit for kids.

 

I like TFA, but after watching it in the theaters three times, I have no compulsion to ever see it again.  TFA is not a bad movie particularly, but it's silly and under-cooked .... as James Cameron has mentioned, it lacks the balls of the prequels to try new things and take risks.

post #258 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post

 

Because he dropped that aspect of the character SO HARD in IV.

 

He had his moments like when Apollo talks how he could eat nails, Rocky's all like "I've never had them snails."

post #259 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by WendellEverett View Post
 

 

I like TFA, but after watching it in the theaters three times, I have no compulsion to ever see it again.  TFA is not a bad movie particularly, but it's silly and under-cooked .... as James Cameron has mentioned, it lacks the balls of the prequels to try new things and take risks.

 

Well, he made Dances With Avatars, so he would know.

post #260 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farsight View Post
 

 

Well, he made Dances With Avatars, so he would know.

 

Yeah, the irony is too rich to ignore, since most of Cameron's films were sequels or remakes of existing material (most people don't know True Lies is based on a French film).

post #261 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambler View Post

 

Yeah, the irony is too rich to ignore, since most of Cameron's films were sequels or remakes of existing material (most people don't know True Lies is based on a French film).

 

I'd argue that Cameron did enough new with his films that he can grouse about The Force Awakens reining in most of its interesting ideas so it can hew as closely as possible to formula.

 

Other than the basic plot, Aliens does everything differently to Alien, and is - especially considering its budget - a very technically ambitious film. The story of The Terminator is famously likely ripped off of a short story, but as a film it's original and ambitious; T2, like Aliens, uses a similar plot to successfully change tone and push technical limits. Titanic is a very old-fashioned film in a lot of ways, but in terms of scale, historical fidelity, and risk it's as ambitious as films can get. Avatar left me totally, totally cold, but it was an impressive technical achievement too.

 

The Force Awakens feels a lot of the time - not always - like it's proud of not following the natural progression of the story. It feels weird that the creative team who came up with Kylo Ren, a missing Luke, and a turncoat stormtrooper also felt they needed Tatooine (but this time with only ONE sun), a Death Star (not a bad thing in of itself, but it's used, beat for beat, exactly the same way as in ANH), a small wizened alien, and a giant, wrinkled hologram dark lord. Even when Cameron uses cliches, he's never used them because he's being tentative - he's used them because he wants them. 

post #262 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by RexBanner View Post

 

I'd argue that Cameron did enough new with his films that he can grouse about The Force Awakens reining in most of its interesting ideas so it can hew as closely as possible to formula.

 

I'm not arguing what Cameron did with those movies wasn't skillful or added some original elements, but he spent most of his career aping other things.  This makes his comment ironic.  He has a right to complain, and I have the right to label his comment for what it is.  Cameron is also the king of formula, he just does it really well, it's what makes his films popular.  He more than anyone knows about sticking to the tried and true (on a storytelling and design level) in order to put butts in seats.

post #263 of 480
Thread Starter 

Yeah, Aliens and Terminator 2 are pretty close to the gold standard in terms of sequels, particularly because they bring new things to the table, so I'll give his gripes as much credence as anyone's.  

post #264 of 480

Visually, all of Cameron's films blow TFA out of the picture - Cameron is a good artist and he takes his time to make his movies look nice and unique.  There are a lot of flat visuals in the PT, and they haven't aged as well, but they had balls and, even without help from McQuarrie and Tippet, Lucas still managed to eak out a few iconic visuals like Darth Maul, Amidala's costumes, and a half dozen lived in, new planets - in comparison the planets and characters in TFA are very low-stakes and TV looking.  It's a symptom of a broader problem where TFA lacks the vision or ambition of the friggin prequels.  Cameron's actual quote:

 

I have to say that I felt that George’s group of six films had more innovative visual imagination, and this film was more of a retrenchment to things you had seen before and characters you had seen before, and it took a few baby steps forward with new characters,” Cameron said. “So for me the jury’s out.”

post #265 of 480
Why do we think James Cameron's opinion on Star Wars constitutes some kind of binding arbitration?
post #266 of 480

because he made AVADAH!

post #267 of 480
"Person whose work is often dismissed as expensive populist tripe is now expert on expensive populist tripe?"
post #268 of 480

he also approves of the various terminator sequels!

post #269 of 480
At least the ones his friends have a financial stake in. Just like Spielberg praised AotC. I'll give him a break on that. And I hate all of the Terminator sequels except 2.
post #270 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightning Slim View Post

Why do we think James Cameron's opinion on Star Wars constitutes some kind of binding arbitration?

 

Because people on this board seem to have some kind of weird vendetta against TFA since they never shut up about it.

post #271 of 480

oh man

 

don't get me started on forwakens!!

post #272 of 480

I'm just co-opting an opinion of somebody I respect.

 

When JJ was hired, my worst fear was that he would phone it in like usual, offshore the creative heavy lifting to someone else (in this case, over-the-hill Kasdan) and do a sloppy half-assed job of a Star Wars movie - a three-star movie with a trailer that looks like something exciting and new, buts the final product is all sizzle / no meat.

 

If you guys want to goof on Cameron and Lucas, that's fine - but they're the antithesis of JJ ... they're artists who actually care about the work they do and invent franchises from scratch instead of just tinkering with other people's IPs to see how much money they can shit out the other end.

post #273 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by WendellEverett View Post
 

I'm just co-opting an opinion of somebody I respect.

 

Yes, we get it.

 

Can we please move onto something else.

post #274 of 480
We wouldn't be in this mess if they'd just made Finn the lead character and a Force user like I always wanted.
post #275 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightning Slim View Post

Why do we think James Cameron's opinion on Star Wars constitutes some kind of binding arbitration?

 

Yeah, did anyone see what he had to say for Terminator Genisys? That was not even a year ago. 

post #276 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by WendellEverett View Post
 

Visually, all of Cameron's films blow TFA out of the picture - Cameron is a good artist and he takes his time to make his movies look nice and unique.  There are a lot of flat visuals in the PT, and they haven't aged as well, but they had balls and, even without help from McQuarrie and Tippet, Lucas still managed to eak out a few iconic visuals like Darth Maul, Amidala's costumes, and a half dozen lived in, new planets - in comparison the planets and characters in TFA are very low-stakes and TV looking.  It's a symptom of a broader problem where TFA lacks the vision or ambition of the friggin prequels.  Cameron's actual quote:

 

I have to say that I felt that George’s group of six films had more innovative visual imagination, and this film was more of a retrenchment to things you had seen before and characters you had seen before, and it took a few baby steps forward with new characters,” Cameron said. “So for me the jury’s out.”

 

Note Cameron is talking about the VISUALs of the Lucas Star Wars movies. 

 

Note sure I agree with him about the characters being Baby Steps though. Finn is completely new to the Star War (although even as a I typed that, I remembered that supposedly Han Solo was an Imperial pilot before the OT!). 

 

Oddly, Snoke for me is the real character puzzle from TFA. Because as played in that film, he shows compassion for Kylo, is very obviously not as in control as Palpatine ("oh yes General go on with your little Starkiller base...rolls eyes....<later> oh shit yeah that Starkiller Base is totes awesome let's blow those Rebels awwwaaaaaayyyy!"). Honestly he doesn't seem to know what the fuck he's doing.

post #277 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cylon Baby View Post

... supposedly Han Solo was an Imperial pilot before the OT ...

That was just Imperial propaganda used in an attempt to undermine him and sow distrust in those who served under him.

I think we can all come together and agree that if Han really was a former Imperial officer he would've displayed a far greater understanding of Imperial radio protocols than he did when trying to cover for the firefight in the detention block control room.
post #278 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by WendellEverett View Post
 

If you guys want to goof on Cameron and Lucas, that's fine - but they're the antithesis of JJ ... they're artists who actually care about the work they do and invent franchises from scratch instead of just tinkering with other people's IPs to see how much money they can shit out the other end.

 

He did create Alias, Lost and Fringe.

 

Then he was given the opportunity to work on two franchises that he had loved his entire life. You can dislike the result all you want, but the cynicism you're ascribing doesn't appear to have any connection to reality.

 

Also, Cameron worked on other people's franchises repeatedly, and his own franchise is thus far a weak blend of poorly lifted ideas from better films. Lucas has been playing Weekend At Bernie's with his franchises instead of creating anything new for decades, and they were both heavily inspired by the films of his youth.

 

I'm a fan of Cameron (Avatar excluded), and I'll defend Lucas as one the all-time great producers, but the comparison you made is mind-bogglingly ridiculous. Lucas is an artist and Abrams only cares about turning a profit? Come on, man.

post #279 of 480

I would argue the opposite, and he's TOO MUCH of a fanboy, at least in the cases of TFA and possibly Super 8, although that was more or less good old fashioned failing and less greed or fanboyism.  

post #280 of 480

I still think he's one of those people who use the titles "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" interchangeably, and that he signed onto Trek thinking it was the other one.

post #281 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammerhead View Post
 

I still think he's one of those people who use the titles "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" interchangeably, and that he signed onto Trek thinking it was the other one.

That's unquestionably true of Trek, he's said as much.  But what gives you that impression of his relationship with Wars?  He's made is extremely clear how much of a Wars fan he is.  It's oozing out of him at all times.  

post #282 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farsight View Post

Lucas has been playing Weekend At Bernie's with his franchises instead of creating anything new for decades ...

Or HAS he?
post #283 of 480

Don't forget Strange Magic! How could anyone forget Strange Magic.

post #284 of 480

oh GOD!

 

I had no idea what you were talking about with Strange Magic for a good 15 seconds!

post #285 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by Freeman View Post
 

I would argue the opposite, and he's TOO MUCH of a fanboy, at least in the cases of TFA and possibly Super 8, although that was more or less good old fashioned failing and less greed or fanboyism.  

 

While I think Abrams is very aware of the business side of the business and takes that into account, this seems like the most accurate reading. 

 

Abrams feels like an artist on the cusp of greatness but can't seem to breakthrough his storytelling crutch.

post #286 of 480
He strikes me as "self taught storyteller" who learned imitation at an extremely high level, while skipping class on boring days like "fundamentals" or "character consistency" etc.
post #287 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bucho View Post

I think we can all come together and agree that if Han really was a former Imperial officer he would've displayed a far greater understanding of Imperial radio protocols than he did when trying to cover for the firefight in the detention block control room.

I love you.
post #288 of 480

post #289 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farsight View Post
 

 

He did create Alias, Lost and Fringe.

 

 

Lost is the only show on that list that is remotely in the same league of inventing Star Wars, Indiana Jones, or The Terminator.  And say what you want about Titanic and Avatar, but never, ever in a million years could JJ pull off a movie that connects with an audience like that, because he would be busy on his phone going over skimming notes from Orci or Lindelof or Nolan while he drives around in his Mercedes catching lunch with the bosses at HBO, Paramount, Disney, Fox, etc.

post #290 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by WendellEverett View Post
 

 

Lost is the only show on that list that is remotely in the same league of inventing Star Wars, Indiana Jones, or The Terminator.  And say what you want about Titanic and Avatar, but never, ever in a million years could JJ pull off a movie that connects with an audience like that, because he would be busy on his phone going over skimming notes from Orci or Lindelof or Nolan while he drives around in his Mercedes catching lunch with the bosses at HBO, Paramount, Disney, Fox, etc.

 

The argument was that Abrams is a "tinkerer", not a "creator". Regardless of what you think of his creations, they clearly refute the argument.

 

"Connects with audiences" can mean pretty much whatever you want it to. Clearly we have differing opinions on Abrams, Avatar and TFA.

 

Personally, when I look at Abrams' IMDB page, I see a lot of projects I liked, a few I loved, and very little I disliked. If that's the result of "tinkering", then I'm okay with it.

post #291 of 480

For the record, JJ created the Lost pilot, not specifically the entire shows mythology.  Still one of the greatest TV Pilots of all time, but that's easy to say when you don't have to answer any of your amazing mysteries by the end of the pilot.  In movies he's not had as much luck.  

post #292 of 480

That's not accurate either. It's not like they hired Abrams to direct the pilot and that's the only time he was engaged. He was one of the primary idea guys for the show, though it was Lindelof & Co. who oversaw the continued execution.

 

In other words, Abrams was instrumental in coming up with the initial puzzle box scenario and then left it in the hands of others to work out. Sort of a perfect working arrangement for him, I think.

post #293 of 480

Are we currently arguing whether or not J.J. Abrams is a Mary Sue?

post #294 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelM View Post
 

That's not accurate either. It's not like they hired Abrams to direct the pilot and that's the only time he was engaged. He was one of the primary idea guys for the show, though it was Lindelof & Co. who oversaw the continued execution.

 

In other words, Abrams was instrumental in coming up with the initial puzzle box scenario and then left it in the hands of others to work out. Sort of a perfect working arrangement for him, I think.

Really?  I was under the impression creatively he was fairly done after season 1.  

post #295 of 480
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelM View Post

That's not accurate either. It's not like they hired Abrams to direct the pilot and that's the only time he was engaged. He was one of the primary idea guys for the show, though it was Lindelof & Co. who oversaw the continued execution.

In other words, Abrams was instrumental in coming up with the initial puzzle box scenario and then left it in the hands of others to work out. Sort of a perfect working arrangement for him, I think.

Right, so when he was in board, the idea was still that everyone died in the crash and the island was purgatory. Then he got to bail when it was the very first thing everyone thought of and the other guys had to start cobbling something else together.
post #296 of 480

Abrams co-wrote the season 3 premiere and was an executive producer into the fifth season. It's clear he was always hovering around the project, but didn't have a strong hand in it after the first season.

post #297 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post

Right, so when he was in board, the idea was still that everyone died in the crash and the island was purgatory. Then he got to bail when it was the very first thing everyone thought of and the other guys had to start cobbling something else together.

 

That's not what happened?  I didn't finish the last season.

post #298 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambler View Post
 

 

That's not what happened?  I didn't finish the last season.

The last season of Lost has

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

flash-sideways to what at first appears to be an alternate reality (created by the nuke being set off at the end of season 5) in which the plane never crashed. The last few episodes reveal, however, that the alternate reality is actually the afterlife, but not that the island is purgatory.

 

In fact, the afterlife is both timeless (Desmond is able to travel there, much like he time travels in earlier episodes), and the future where all of the characters end up when they die.

 

So when Jack dies on the island at the end of season 6, he ends up in that afterlife and meets Sawyer, Kate, etc. who will die in the future.

 

Make sense?

post #299 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartleby_Scriven View Post
 

The last season of Lost has

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

flash-sideways to what at first appears to be an alternate reality (created by the nuke being set off at the end of season 5) in which the plane never crashed. The last few episodes reveal, however, that the alternate reality is actually the afterlife, but not that the island is purgatory.

 

In fact, the afterlife is both timeless (Desmond is able to travel there, much like he time travels in earlier episodes), and the future where all of the characters end up when they die.

 

So when Jack dies on the island at the end of season 6, he ends up in that afterlife and meets Sawyer, Kate, etc. who will die in the future.

 

Make sense?

 

Fuck no.

post #300 of 480

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