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Beatty

Star Wars: Adult Theme vs All Ages

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So I keep seeing interesting posts were the authors keep talking about the Star Wars storyline being too kid oriented and that the Writers should make it more Adult themed. I do not understand this position for the most part becuase Star Wars is an All Ages Story.

Even though there are some dark elements the story as a whole is one about hope, where even though the protagonists struggle and suffer set backs it is about over coming great odds to bring hope and a chance for freedom back to the Galaxy.

And in Star Wars the Antagonists are and always have been the Sith and the Empire (which the Empire is a Sith Empire so it is very much the same). There is not any question, aside from some of the bad novels from the extended universe which are now just legends and not cannon, so why are people still expecting an adult oriented theme for Star Wars?

Enjoy the story for what it is and embrace that inner boy and have fun. Leave your darker fantasies for Game of Thrones and GW books. Let the kids enjoy Star Wars as we did when we were their age, as kids.

Edited by Beatty

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"so why are people still expecting an adult oriented theme for Star Wars?"

 

Because, to some extent at least, the people making the movies have started talking in that direction:

 

 

Now I'm not expecting (or wanting!) Saving Private Ryan, but the cinematographer from Zero Dark Thirty wasn't chosen by chance.

 

Note he says it'll be different from the saga movies. I'm still expecting 7, 8 & 9 to be the space fantasy with good, bad and whimsy. But it seems like the anthology movies are willing to break the mould and venture into more realistic territory.

 

I think there's room for both.

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I like the idea the of a more darker Star Wars post Jedi. I like to think of the prequels as the fairy tales of the "Good old days, before the wars" in aesthetic and tone. Now, I don't want it too dark personally but I would enjoy a more......serious tone at times. 

 

EDIT: Republic Commando was a fine example I think of a dark Star Wars game. I would like the dark stuff to be perhaps relegated to games and novels, maybe even a TV show, while the movies have a slightly darker tone, but I want it to be more grey than black or white.

Edited by lordreaven448

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I like the idea the of a more darker Star Wars post Jedi. I like to think of the prequels as the fairy tales of the "Good old days, before the wars" in aesthetic and tone. Now, I don't want it too dark personally but I would enjoy a more......serious tone at times.

Well no Jar Jar or Ewoks would be great. But remember kids, like my son, will still be watching these films so there will have to be a Fun-ness to them.

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There is not any question, aside from some of the bad novels from the extended universe which are now just legends and not cannon, so why are people still expecting an adult oriented theme for Star Wars?
SW: A New Hope was a fable in si-fi costume. I disagree with your diagnosis though: IMHO it's not all age vs. adult - it's traditional fable vs. its post-modern reinterpretation. If you look closely to a story of any fable (including Star Wars) you will find out it's quite cruel and grim (i.e.: Luke's family murdered; holocaust of Alderaan people; Luke's hand cut off by his own father). Most fables were later censored to be more appropriate for oh-so-fragile minds of children. Postmodernism tries to bring the darkness and cruelity back to the fables. Sometimes it's overdone (The Game of Thrones...). Other popular post-modern theme is breaking a good/evil dualism by showing the villains as positive (or at least gray-ish) characters with their own reasons. Add to that a fact that many people find evil fascinating and you've got an answer why so many people want SW in Youzhan Vong style.

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Never said there wasn't a Darkness to it, I in fact agree and did earlier.

My point is that Bad Guy worshiping is not what Star Wars writers are going after. Yes people will die. Yes there will be tragedies. But in the over all story it is about people with good intentions overcoming the worst of odds to win the day.

A Fable Star Wars might be but it's not about glorifying the Bad Guys.

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Hoo boy. Here's my take. An "All Ages" theme should be exactly that without bias. The OT was that way. It carried itself as a realistic film in terms of atmosphere. Bad guys were BAD (Exhibit A: The childhood scarring image of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru's skeletal remains). Obi-wan, the mysterious good guy and mentor figure, is literally struck down in front of Luke by an antagonist that is all things evil. Yet 3P0 and R2D2 are humorous. They bicker, 3P0 is neurotic. R2, however, is valiant even without understandable language. The Empire is spoke of in hushed tones in public and with rueful respect even in private. But in the middle of running for his life with his whole family dead, Luke is complaining about airspeeder prices!



The OT achieves all this without being so overly dark that it crosses into Game of Thrones territory. There's no nudity or blood. But that lack isn't obviously being avoided either. When Leia is about to be interrogated, it is ominous and then cuts away -- leaving the viewer to fill in the horrors. This allows for a sweet spot that makes it accessible to all ages without sacrificing gravity. A modern day corollary is how Pixar movies made for kids are chalk full of adult jokes and innuendo, making the movies enjoyable for parents in a way that doesn't compromise younger audiences.

My problem with the prequels is that they were 1) awash with humor that seemed to specifically target the audience and 2) focused on a younger audience. The prime example for me is the battle droids. Storm troopers by name and function were meant to mirror Nazi shock troops - the ultimate in enemy goons. But the droids are only a threat via overwhelming numbers. Their dialogue is ridiculous. The audience is obviously aware and meant to be aware. But in-story that awareness isn't duplicated, making it appear as if the characters don't recognize that. This creates a break in the audience and characters in terms of atmosphere. It removes you from the movie and constantly reminds you of that fact. More, it targets a childlike audience which further reminds older viewers that they're not submersed in the story. This breaks the 4th wall, crippling the story's capacity for drama and denying viewers a chance to be drawn in. And we haven't even touched on Jar Jar yet who embodies this entire problem. Perhaps in a small role he would've been okay, like the mouse droid on the Death Star Chewie rawrs at and literally runs squeaking away like a mouse. But as a central character regularly on screen you never are free to absorb the more serious overtones without interruption.

To me, the PT could've been a good storyline. But this humor kept it from ever being sinister or foreboding the way the Republic's fall could've been. This is a dark story and could've been told as such in a way that allowed all ages. But instead it had this bias, incidental or intentional it doesn't matter, that obscured the more adult themes at the core of the story. Not only were these themes compatible with younger audiences (After Luke's parent figures are killed we see a planet destroyed without any remorse), but most Star Wars fans were older given the age of the OT movies. So the majority of the fan base gets oddly neglected in spirit. It was almost like going to see a story that had abandoned you in favor of newer, trendier viewers.

For me, this means an all ages story betrayed itself. I sometimes think of the prequels were done in a more Christopher Nolan/Dark Night style they would've been better received.

There's a new article on Ep7 in Vanity Fair out now all about the tone of the movie. JJ seems to be saying he's trying to restore this all ages feel that is compatible with younger audiences. But it is still a dark story, it's a galactic civil war! To me, making it more adult in nature is restoring parody from the PT.

The fact is some story's by their nature have serious subject matter and ought not be afraid to reflect that. This can be done in a way that allows younger audiences (see most PG-13 movies and all network television with shows like Scandal and NCIS). Even the OT was just PG remember!

As for those who say subject matter naturally shapes atmosphere without mindful care, consider The Hunger Games. It's a story about children murdering one another for society's entertainment. Yet it's marketed and successfully shown as a family or young adult film. That is far more dark and in a more direct way than SW.

TL;DR

SW is all ages but the PT biased it's atmosphere towards younger audiences while also making it difficult for older audiences to be fully immersed. Ep7 sounds like they are trying to retrieve older audiences, not to exclude younger ones, but to return to a story that is both for all ages and honestly reflects SW's serious themes.

 

EDIT: Just realized that was my 1,000th post. Seems appropriate. lol

Edited by R22

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I have to disagree about the droids, they only became what we know them as during ROTS and TCW. In Episode one they had a rather effective voice that I would imagine a battle droid would have.To me the B1 battle droid was mishandled and could have been more.

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It was almost like going to see a story that had abandoned you in favor of newer, trendier viewers.

 

Almost? What say you of "almost?

 

To me, the biggest failing is simply that they tried to sell it to us. It's Star Wars; you don't have to sell it. You use it to sell other things.

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The truth is, this is a much bigger issue that goes far beyond Star Wars.

 

When you think about all the great movies of the 70's & 80's that have become pop culture/fan favourites - Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, etc. None of them were made specifically for kids, they were adult marketed films that kids grew to love. As a kid I loved Star Wars because it had lightsabers and lazers and spaceships - but I grew up I came to love the humour and struggle present in the story that went over my head as a child. The same with Ghostbusters, it was cool cause it had ghosts and proton packs and I got a few of the jokes, but it's not till you re-watch it as an adult that you realise how adult some of the humor was - e.g. Peter Venkman going to Dana's apartment and looks in the bedroom and she says "Thats the bedroom, nothing ever happened in there" and Peter replies "What a crime...". 

None of these movies were intentionally made beyond making a great movie that people would enjoy seeing - there were likely no great plans to make lunchboxes, action figures, video games, Pepsi deals, or any of the other crap that accompanies a major motion picture release today. We had great Star Wars toys come out because Star Wars itself was great - not because it was written to be great for making toys.

 

Why do you think a young boy was cast as the "lead" in Phantom Menace? Why do you think there was such a focus on pod racing? Why do you think the battle droids had goofy slapstick idotic dialogue? Why was the Queen a teenage girl? Why was Jar Jar put in? (to make sci-fi relatable to the lower average intelligence movie viewer and stop them from getting "bored" thats why) George Lucas was coerced by the dark side of the force (marketing) to make the movie as sellable as possible, regardless of if it produced a good movie or not, it was going to sell truckloads of crap.

Movie studios and producers like that don't care about doing fan service to us adult fans - we are yesterdays news. It is our kids they are selling to, and if our kids want something, we will buy it, even if it breaks our hearts and childhood memories.

 

And that is the saddest part of all.

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One thing that you have to realize about the OT, is that at the time, the only ratings that were available were G, PG, R and X. The PG-13 rating didn't come out until 1984. I believe that if the PG-13 rating had been available that Ep 4 would have gotten that rating for some of the story. It might be possible that ESB and RotJ may have avoided that rating. By the time the PT was done, Lucas was into keeping it being a "children/all ages" movie, meaning it needed a PG-13 rating. At that point, to keep it PG, you had to make the movies more child-like. When RotS came out, it was state that it was going to be a darker movie and find itself with a PG-13 rating. This actually worked well.

 

With the new movies being produced, the goal should be a PG-13 rating. This isn't going to stop you kids from getting to see it. As a parent, you should know what your kids should handle. I submit that the OT was never meant for kids of the 4-6 yo range. I think with the PG-13 rating, that it will be more enjoyable for the parents along with kids.

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I would rather have a more serious adult orientated version of Star Wars.

 

Lord of the Rings is a good example of a film series that was focus more on being more dark which was still watchable for kids while still being serious.

 

Here's some good examples why making all ages orientated Star Wars isn't very good.

 

Ewoks

 

a-group-of-ewoks.jpg

  

& Jar Jar Binks

 

jarjar.jpg

 

I'm not saying make it in inaccessible to kids, but making it more mature wouldn't be a bad idea.

 

Even Marvel films and DC films have become more dark and gritty, and kids love them.

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umm

ewoks and jar jar != family friendly

 

ewoks and jar jar = George Lucas milking the incredibly young/mentally deficient with plushies and toys and junk

 

 

well, I don't know what bad trip spawned that flipper-eared nightmare, but the ewoks were made to be sold as toys and plushies

Edited by ficklegreendice

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umm

ewoks and jar jar != family friendly

 

ewoks and jar jar = George Lucas milking the incredibly young/mentally deficient with plushies and toys and junk

 

 

well, I don't know what bad trip spawned that flipper-eared nightmare, but the ewoks were made to be sold as toys and plushies

 

Don't forget about those films made after the original trilogy.

 

Need I remind you

 

Ewok_movies_cover.jpg

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I kinda want Star Wars to be a bit of both.



I want some Star Wars that adults can enjoy, but is mainly intended for children.  (see: pretty much everything Pixar)

I want some Star Wars that is directed at the mainstream audience.  (like the Original Trilogy)

I want some Star Wars that is the sort of thing that you wouldn't let your kids watch until they were in their teens or older.  (something more like The Expendables, Fury, or Act of Valor).  Just because it's a bit darker doesn't mean it has to glorify the evil, or make the good guys less good.


Of course, the problem with that is that because it's Star Wars, kids are going to want to see everything "Star Wars"...so despite what I want, I think it's best if that third category is left out.

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I want some Star Wars that is the sort of thing that you wouldn't let your kids watch until they were in their teens or older.  (something more like The Expendables, Fury, or Act of Valor).  Just because it's a bit darker doesn't mean it has to glorify the evil, or make the good guys less good.

Of course, the problem with that is that because it's Star Wars, kids are going to want to see everything "Star Wars"...so despite what I want, I think it's best if that third category is left out.

 

I dunno, lets look at some of the themes featured in the original trilogy (in no particular order)

 

Genocide

Torture

Incest

Canibalism

Murder

Theft

Vandalism

Human sacrifice

Regicide

Dismemberment

 

And thats just off the top of my head.

 

The point is that it can have very adult themes, as long as they are handled responsibly - it doesnt need to be "kiddy gloved" because a lot of the time kids don't recognise the themes - and if they do then its probably a question of why that should be asked of the parents. How many of us as growing up kids (and even adults) realised these things were in there unless we thought about it?

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Incest? We had one kiss between a brother and sister who didn't know they were, and which only came about beause they became brother and sister when they were coming up with the story for the Return of the Jedi (there was no great master plan, he was making it all up as he went along).

 

The rest is fair enough.

I am definitely one where I see it as a "film for all ages", but this doesn't mean making it a kiddie's film. Children and adults react well to well made films which don't necessarily go out of their way to be "children's films". The source for Star Wars is sci fi pulp, not children's films and literature. You simply avoid certain topics, or depictions of certain things and a film can be suitable for children (though I don't think any of them are suitable for really young kids) while not being children's films.

 

Basically you don't have a adult/everyone opposing sides, you have a spectrum of

 

Kiddie's films  <-----> Children's films adults can enjoy (most Pixar stuff) <-----------------> Films for all ages (Indiana Jones, minus the goriest bits, Star Wars and similar adventure films) <---------------------> films for adults.

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I dunno, lets look at some of the themes featured in the original trilogy (in no particular order)

 

Genocide

Torture

Incest

Canibalism

Murder

Theft

Vandalism

Human sacrifice

Regicide

Dismemberment

 

And thats just off the top of my head.

 

The point is that it can have very adult themes, as long as they are handled responsibly - it doesnt need to be "kiddy gloved" because a lot of the time kids don't recognise the themes - and if they do then its probably a question of why that should be asked of the parents. How many of us as growing up kids (and even adults) realised these things were in there unless we thought about it?

 

 

I don't remember Canabalism. Where did that come in? Or vandalism, for that matter.

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Ewoks were not kiddie elements.  Sure, they were cute, but they were pure evil.  The things ate sentient species.  They killed and ate things much larger than themselves.  They were not tree dwelling vegetarian hippies.  Take a look at the trap Chewy triggered.  It was rather high, and made of meat, which meant they were trying to trap rather large meat eating creatures.  Once captured, the ewoks first response was to prepare the rebel heroes as a banquet.  They had no trouble eating sentient species.  And they were psychotic.  These people they were preparing for supper had just delivered their god to them.  And Leia wasn't captured to become supper, but treated quite well.  The ewoks were smart enough to realize the people were the same, but choose to eat some and save others.

They had weaponized gliders.

They had catapults.

They had rolling log traps.

They had crushing log traps.

They are able to attack, overwhelm, and defeat stormtroopers.

This is not stuff they set up in a few hours, this is stuff that had been built for some time.

While they utilized primitive weapons, they could adapt quickly to technology.  Learning to operate speeder bikes and AT-STs took only seconds and they were virtually masters at it.

They either hunted/killed/battled with creatures far larger then themselves, or they had been preparing to attack the Imperials for some time.  Why attack the Empire?  Food!

 

These things are pure evil.  Just look at their lifeless black eyes.  I halfway expect this new First Order to be run by Ewoks.  With access to all this new technology, they take to the stars to overwhelm the galaxy and eat every living creature.

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