Shroom Man 777 wrote: ↑
Musicals have existed in the US and the West, and animated Disney films still involve singing parts, so a Bollywood-style epic film with singing bits and interludes won't be far-fetched... as long as the music plays to local tastes. I mean imagine if there was a Tron-ishy cyberpunky film and the song and dance numbers were done by Lady Gaga or something.
This is why I don't think you can make an argument that people will reject certain "style" of movies.
It's not just MY take, we can see comparable developments in fight choreography where quick and authentic-seeming gunplay and close quarters combat gaining more prominence (John Wick, Collateral, Taken, Bourne etc. style "realistic" film combat) and being used to more dramatic effect than the stuff we saw in the old Rambo and Schwarzenegger scenes. Same with swordplay where in these days we see more HEMA influences, or Rob Roy's very authentic duel scenes compared to some Zorro-esque fencing through a burning castle type of shtick.
The point is despite what the fans on the Internet would like people to think, the prequels were popular movies. The same can also be applied to movies like Matrix.
The rise and popularity of "realistic" film combat is largely to do with the kind of movies that were being produced, with Chris Nolan and Bourne movies being a major influence on action films. Action fims tries to become more "realistic" and "grounded" in reality. While that might work for certain kind of movies, Star Wars has never been grounded in reality. SW has always been about creating fantasitical sequences that doesn't reflect actual science.
Look at the type of Sci-fi movies Nolan likes to produce (i.e. Interstellar).
Anyway. Episode 1's choreo and scenes were excellent, Ray Park is excellent too... but AOTC's duels weren't as excellent and while ROTS' finale fights between Kenobi and Anakin, and Yoda and Palpatine were memorable, on a critical level they and the whole movie falls short compared to ESB and ROTJ. The fights in themselves may be "better" choreo-wise but, again, storytelling wise and as part of the greater film and as the culmination of the film, the excesses of the Prequel fight choreography didn't gel well.
I think Ep 3 has some of the best choreography in terms of using choreography to tell a narrative. The choreography of the fight between Anakin and Obi-Wan is meant to show how well the two characters knew each other, and I can see this being reflected in the whole fight sequence.
On the other hand, I think the overall style of fight in ESB and ROTJ fails to deliver the threat of Vader. Neither does it reflect well on Luke's mastery in lightsaber combat. For example, the part where Luke is finally having the upper hand against Vader in ROTJ, Luke launch a series of furious strikes at Vader, but the overall slow pace of the hits does not make me feel Vader is actually being overwhelmed by Luke.
The reason that scene work so well is because the music of John Williams elevates the scene really well.
I mean it's like a comic book/graphic novel wherein prose has to merge well with the visual aspect. You can't have half the page just be all text, overpowering and cramming the illustrations instead of working with them.
My point is there is an entirely different way to approach the "text". Instead of looking at "text" in a comic book, sometimes you can approach looking at "text" as an illustration all to itself. In fact, exceptionally wordy text in One Punch Man manga has done that, by depicting the sheer length of a speech bubble as an illustration ( you're not seriously meant to read it all).
Even your "Chinese style" comparisons might not work because films like Once Upon a Time in China and other flippy stuff DO take their time to breathe, have the characters emote during the fight, and have pacing unlike the all-out non-stop-action of the Prequels. This is like the Ip Man vs. dozen-karate-guys scene compared to the Burly Brawl in The Matrix: Reloaded.
The characters did have time to breath in Ep I. There's a whole scene where the pace of the fight slows down. The fight between Anakin and Obi-Wan is different because it's the body language and the choreography itself that is doing the emoting. Using body language to tell a narrative is possible, and entire genre of performance art ( such as ballet) is all about emoting via body language and choreography.
There you go, I think the Prequels suffer from the same "show them so much awesome" problems as the Matrix sequels with regards to fight choreo. They indulged too much.
Whether they indulged too much is very much based on personal preferences. The fact that many SW fans want to emulate the style of prequel fights in their fanfilms and actual stage performance suggest there are many people that really enjoy the "so much awesome" fight scenes.
You rarely see any SW fanfilm trying to recreate the style of fight in the OT.
Dude we're both roughly the same age. I really only properly watched the OT films when the Prequels were out, in the 2000s. ESB and ROTJ blew me away.
We can be of the same age and still be affected differently by the OT and the PT. The space battles aspect of the OT blew me away. The lightsaber combat, not so much.
Anyway, ESB and ROTJ's fights work best not just because "subdued swordplay" is better, it's not necessarily better, but it's because of the moments of suspense where Luke's navigating the halls, where they exchange intense dialogue, where we see their emotions shift through it all - the tension, the development of the mood, these connect to the character development and plot progression, the fight serves the story as a vehicle for revelations like Vader's identity, Leia being the sister, Luke's defiance of Palpatine and his surrender. Whereas with Anakin vs. Kenobi went from zero to sixty and didn't slow down at all - and sure that's awesome flipping and swinging... but for how many minutes there was nothing except "RAAAH!" bzzt-swish-slash-vrrroooommm until the very end with the "I've got the high ground" thing.
Those are how the script is written, which is different from the choreography style. You can have flashy choreography and still use those good dialogue.
I think you need to distinguish the script from the choreography. They are two different things.
Think about it. Think about WWE or WWF, and how story and character have to come through while Stone Cold and the Rock and Undertaker are bouncing on the ropes, bodyslamming each other, etc.
And people in wrestling will tell you the whole choreography of the fight is a narrative onto its own. It's all staged, but people can follow a certain narrative structure even by looking at the fights itself. WWE might be "fake" to you, but there are many fans who clearly enjoy the fights.
I mean this is why Ripley versus the Queen Alien still holds up and is remembered whereas all the Bayformers with their Baysplosions and Bayforminations are forgettable.
Again, this is a matter of preference. You think the fights in transformers are forgettable, but I've met people who do gush endlessly about the fights in Transformers.
I think the basis of your critique is a becoming a little outdated, because you seem to rely on the older view that well written dialogue/story cannot go together with flashy choreography. The two thing aren't mutually exclusive.
Humans are such funny creatures. We are selfish about selflessness, yet we can love something so much that we can hate something.