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Author Topic: Jedi Movies  (Read 1342 times)

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Offline Iaera

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Jedi Movies
« on: 05/16/17, 11:26:22 PM »
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So, because I'm a huge nerd, a lot of the time when I'm watching a movie or TV show I notice similarities, parallels, or some other direct relationship with Jedi Knights. Perhaps in how the characters act, perhaps in how the "magic" of the setting works, or perhaps in the general aesthetic. Now, this isn't actually all that crazy -- George Lucas created the Jedi Knights out of a lot of existing film tropes and real-world mythology, so to see those same tropes and mythologies echoed elsewhere isn't really surprising. Nevertheless, I think it's an interesting exercise to examine those echoes and compare them, as well as potentially providing a resource with which to consider how we RP Jedi here in SWTOR.

So, a non-exhaustive list of various fiction that inspires me and makes me think about my favourite space-monks in different ways:

Doctor Strange

One thing I really liked about this movie was its unusual depiction of Wizards™. Not only were they distinctly Eastern (in a Tibetan monk kind of way), but they were also very monastic and ascetic. I have always rejected the characterisation of Jedi as "space wizards," arguing that Jedi are more like monks than wizards, but Doctor Strange presents an interesting blend of the two that's much closer, aesthetically, to a Jedi Knight. The wizards here are depicted as requiring discipline and ascetic willpower to manifest their abilities, so I quite enjoyed the scenes where Benedict Cumberbatch is trained in the ways of the Force magic.

Of course, not everything in the movie is perfectly Jedi. I've always cautioned people against treating Jedi like spellcasters, so the parallels in Doctor Strange end at the spell-tomes and magical whirlygigs.

Edge of Tomorrow

Not much in the way of aesthetics to comment on here, obviously... nevertheless, this movie has some fun Jedi parallels! It's about a man who, by virtue of living the same day over and over again, knows the future with uncanny precision. Sound familiar? The mechanism is a little different, but what I love about this movie is that the visible effect is very similar to what an onlooker would probably see when watching a Jedi work: Precise, unbelievably "lucky" courses of action that always seem to have the ideal result.

Duck here. Dodge there. Wait. Now go. Block left. Turn. Duck again. Dash forward! All while chaos erupts around them. The Jedi moves in perfect, harmonious synchronicity with a hostile environment... the advantages of being able to see things before they happen! Consider the exchange between Han Solo and Obi-wan Kenobi in A New Hope:

"I call it luck."
"In my experience, there's no such thing as luck."

Iron Fist

I liked this show for putting chi squarely on the table. While explicitly spelling out how these powers work de-mystifies them a little and is definitely a comic-book superhero thing to do (midichlorians notwithstanding), it was nevertheless appreciated for giving us a distinctly Eastern interpretation of mystical powers and abilities. Danny Rand has to frequently "focus his chi," through meditative exercises, a sort of extra-literal display of how a Jedi focuses and uses the Force. It's very martial and very Zen, very much in line with Jedi thought.

Any other examples you guys can think of? There are tons, but I'd like to hear if anyone else sees any movies through this lens!
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Offline recoveringgeek

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Re: Jedi Movies
« Reply #1 on: 05/17/17, 12:41:04 AM »
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In keeping with the Marvel/Netflix theme, I found Wai Ching Ho's portrayal of Madame Gao throughout the Marvel Netflex series as a quintessential example of what a Sith Master would be perceived as. Deceptive, destructive, manipulative, and capable of triggering an opponents emotions against them with just a few words.

Madame Gao lectures Fisk

Madame Gao questions Fisk

Madame Gao taunts Danny

I knew some of the Palace history, but not the bit about Jaade crashing that barge. That's good lore, right there.  :grin:

Offline Iaera

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Re: Jedi Movies
« Reply #2 on: 06/20/17, 11:41:44 PM »
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A wandering DC Comics appears!

Batman Begins

This is a movie I like to cite when thinking about how Jedi actually fight compared to their reputation for how they fight. I think there is a popular conception, both in-universe and out-of-universe that Jedi are these unstoppable, all-blaster-bolts-blocked whirling dervishes of invincibility who annihilate anything in sight with massive displays of telekinetic might. I think this conception is extraordinarily wrong.

In-universe, though, this makes sense. Why? Batman Begins, that's why. In the movie, Ra's al Ghul explains the idea to Bruce: Intensive physical training and martial self-discipline can be combined with theatricality, deception, and general "shock and awe" to effectively engage an otherwise numerically-superior enemy. And this is what Batman learns to do -- by skulking in the shadows, employing distractions, surgical attacks, and the principle of "divide and conquer," Batman scatters, disorganises, and demoralises the many goons he fights, and only then does he appear in the open to beat up the last few remaining goons. He never just walks into a room and face-tanks an entire army of goons; he's always tactically avoiding direct confrontation until the enemy is actually weak enough to fight directly.

This, combined with his "Bat" image, quickly gives him a fearsome reputation as a crazy badass who will totally kick your ass -- further fueling the future demoralisation and disorganisation of enemies he later fights, based on his reputation alone, and the whole cycle just feeds on itself. In other words, Batman seems scarier and more dangerous than he actually is, and Batman uses this to his advantage. It's all very Art of War.

This, in my mind, is very similar to how Jedi function. They seem like invincible battle-gods who cannot be killed by blasters, and are quite happy to let this reputation go unchallenged, because it helps them in their duties by seeming more dangerous than they actually are. In reality, just like a bullet could drop Bruce Wayne dead, so can a blaster kill a Jedi in the snap of a finger (cf. Order 66).

I've always tried to play Iaera with this in mind -- a lightsaber duellist, yes, but one very aware of her own mortality. She does not charge into entire battalions of enemy soldiers and expect to win. Rather, she sneaks around, hiding in the mud, mind tricking lone sentries, and only fights with her lightsaber if she is forced to defend herself. I try to play her as someone with the reputation of fighting entire armies and winning, while knowing that reputation is anything but true.
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Offline Noth

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Re: Jedi Movies
« Reply #3 on: 06/21/17, 12:19:04 AM »
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This is a documentary and not a fiction film, but...

Unmistaken Child (link)

This is a documentary about a Buddhist monk searching for the reincarnation of his old teacher. It's a really interesting look into everyday monasticism in a religion that heavily inspired the Jedi, talks about daily life a lot, goes into how the monks relate to the common people, shows the process involved in locating the child, as well as the work done with the family to get to know them and bring the child into the monastery. It was a source of inspiration in making and RPing my Jedi recruiter, Zorru, and how she would approach her job. There are also a lot of good small details about the religion and about monastic life to take back into RP when thinking about the everyday, not-fighting life a Jedi might lead.
The Jedi: Bren (Archaeologist), Iirim (Healer), Zorru (Recruiter), Orans (Master), Aybekk (Padawan)
The Politicians: Varooth (Senator), Seirion (Aide/Spy), Ayrak (King)
The Mandos: Urziya (Rallymaster), Terr (Chieftain)
The Outlaws: Telen (Slicer), Majia (Pirate/Smuggler)
The Imperials: Athuuna (Agent), Zhekrazh (Lord), Z'ridia (Apprentice)

Offline Ela

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Re: Jedi Movies
« Reply #4 on: 06/21/17, 05:13:07 PM »
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I love all of your synopses!

To add to this, since I'm a *huge* Anna Kendrick fan, I would propose "Mr. Right". Scrappy Little Nobody and Sam Rockwell share unique abilities that are very Jedi-esque. It's a combination of precognition and enhanced physical abilities.
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