Some thoughts on Star Wars 77 (after not seeing it for a while, decided to check it out at 5am this morning on Disney+ after seeing some HD clips)
Been resistant since the Special Edition -- turns out there were only about five or six egregious shots and one or two sound cues that should have been left alone.
The entire Jabba scene excluded in that math, we shouldn't go there. Also Huttese is full bullshit, "crispuh" for "burned up" and jokey stuff like that.
Tendency to have every Dewback screaming in every shot they appear was one of the few big irritants for me. When they were majestic, barely moving lizard hulks they inspired the imagination.
Tattoine is really the best. Between sandpeople, jawas, rusty droids, the original cantina, the back streets of Mos Eisley, that perfect docking bay 94, the doors on the buildings, the mysteries unanswered.
As I recently mentioned, C3PO never looked as good again. His level of physical damage in the Death Star is perfect.
Death Star corridors never seemed repeated. Very cleverly arranged.
First half rescued by 3P0 and R2D2 relationship/banter. Also Alec Guinness's looks at Han Solo are really priceless. Silent burns, each one, but never hatred. Call it "sophisticated bemusement."
Public displays of affection are common. Obi Wan claps Luke's shoulder outside the Jawa ruin. Han pets Chewy, and leans on him. Leia touches Luke's back delicately after Kenobi's death. VERY GOOD.
All of the added Millennium Falcon shots are truly great. The couple of added X-wing shots in the death star fight are great. But the original shots of the tie-fighters-versus Falcon aerial battle after the escape are truly transcendent pieces of model work. That long-lens stuff of the TIEs skimming past the Falcon are works of art.
REALLY fucking hits the ground running when the three leads are together and never lets up. THIS was where the magic was. As funny as the droids are, they're just props. Leia and *young* Luke and Han is where the magic resided. Replicated in Empire, lost when Luke gets serious (thanks Yoda).
Efficiency in storytelling is like any other art form. Take music, for example. Some really sparse songs are fantastic, sometimes you need 48 tracks of overdubs.
When it comes to screenwriting, I would say I try to take after my filmmaking idol John Carpenter. It's a classic, ultra-sparse Hollywood style of show don't tell. Here's four ways JC (working under the nom de plume of Martin Quatermass) shows his skill at keeping things tight in the screenplay for 1987's PRINCE OF DARKNESS. Read the Screenplay Here
I'm inclined to put the exact effort necessary on the page. It's a document to get you to the screen, not a stand-alone work of art. It's like fancy fonts on an architectural blueprint. Or, it's like putting expensive aftermarket spoilers and stuff on a shitty import car. I want my screenplay to be a 71 Plymouth Barracuda. Just a monster under the hood. In short -- make the "What Happens" be so amazing that it doesn't require embellishment.