Thursday, May 19, 2005

Star Wars. Opening Day.




Blogger Angry Red Herring said...

This post is SPOILERIFIC!

This is mostly quoted from my post on the Freedom Reborn boards; I just didn't wanna type it all over agin.

I enjoyed it, and certainly thought it was the best of the last three. I even prefer it to Jedi (right now, we'll see how it holds up), mainly because of the tone. The Wookiee battle was a retro preview of what the Ewok battle should have been.

As far as the clunky dialogue goes, well, that's always been there. I really tried this time to put my twelve-year-old goggles on, and I think I would have really been satisfied with this one. As an adult, I groan at a fair amount of it, but as a kid I never would have noticed, let alone divined the sources Lucas ripped things off from. Who among us realized we were being schooled in Zen Judaism in ESB? If I had read Joseph Campbell at 12, maybe I woulda seen ESB and gone, "whatta hack".

This one cracked me up:

QUOTE(RTTingle @ May 19 2005, 08:26 PM)
I'll keep from going off a tangent here... but let me just say this. I'm sick of special effects being the save for these movies. From the Terminator, Matrix, Star Wars series and others. Just tired of it. If I wanted to pay money to see nothing but special effects... I'd stay home and play video games.

Dude. It has. ALWAYS. Been about the special effects. ALWAYS. Jaws created the summer blockbuster, Star Wars refined it into the special effects blockbuster. You mention Terminator, Matrix-- they all followed Star Wars' lesson plan. That's what every single one of those types of movies, including the current spate of hero flicks, want to be: Star Wars again. I don't mean to malign you for being "sick of it", but I would like to poke you gently and say, "maybe you've outgrown it".

This one actually had the most human story of any of the SW-- and I put it over ESB in that, even-- they're all "adventure movies". Save them! Oh, now we have to stop those guys! We have got to get over there and stop that! And while I do think it was clumsily executed, I think this is the greatest effort at character depth that Lucas has ever attempted.

Things I liked:

General Grievous. A nice fun villain, and a good way to get the thing started. I do think that he could have protected his guts better. I mean, it was cool and all, just not very practical.

The heavier emphasis on the robot army as stupid thugs. I've been laughing at that since Phantom Menace-- and I didn't laugh at a lot in Phantom Menace.

Anakin didn't annoy me ANYWHERE near as much this time.

The scene where Padme realizes she has truly lost Anakin (where she meets him on the landing pad by the lava). I think it was entirely Portman's performance here; I thought her wooden in the last two, but she really pulled that scene off. That one really affected me. Very well played scene.

The Yoda/Emperor fight in the Senate. I loved the hurling of the Senate boxes.

Anakin's hacked-up self catching fire. Now I have the perfect image to summon up when he whines in "Clones". Seriously, I loved that grisly finish. Been waiting for that since Starlog told me about it back in the seventies, and I can honestly say that I'm pleasantly surprised to have my imagination surpassed. I mean, I knew it would happen, but I didn't know Lucas would make us stare at it the way he did.

Things that bugged me:

Anakin's fall to the Dark Side. It was *so* close to being completely convincing, and it didn't quite make it. All it would have taken were some subtle changes in dialogue to tie up some loose ends... Lawrence Kasdan coulda done it.

I would have liked to have seen more of Palpatine's mental domination of Anakin conveyed. That would have gone a long way for me in believing the Dark conversion; the thought that he was being guided more than simply advised.

Boy, they sure pimped Vader's ride in a jiffy, didn't they? They had that stylin', iconic suit ready to go. And then, Christensen couldn't even fill it. He looked like the skinny rich geek in line at the movie. "What button do you press to get your mom to pick you up?" ... The actual operation scenes were quite cool, tho'. But the whole Vader suit thing felt waaaay rushed to me. And then it ended with the "Frankenstein moment"...

I now touch on the "political overtones" element (this was directed at gripers)...
The way the Emperor gained control has been basically the same for twenty-five years. Nothing in this movie made me say, "but I read Lucas saying something different back in so-and-so". The reactions of the good characters to this process were perfectly apropos. Palpatine staged a secret coup and turned a democracy into a dictatorship. If some people are sensitive to the "message" here... To me, that is the result of interesting timing and coincidence. Lucas as much took his political story cues from the shift in ancient Rome from a republic to an imperial state.

If the way it is played out in this movie makes you uncomfortable because of a perceived parallel to current events, then perhaps you need to ask yourself why. I honestly see this as a simple political subterfuge story, and one that mirrors many such events in human history. But those who want to slam Lucas for making "a political statment" perhaps need to realize that it may not be the filmmaker who has the problem. He's not saying anything in this story that hasn't been said before a thousand times, and not just in popular entertainment, but in the history of human nature. This sort of thing has happened before, and not in a galaxy far, far away, but right here on planet Earth. And to say that Lucas is making a political statement based on his own narrow beliefs is essentially the same as saying that such a thing could not happen, when, in fact, many times it has.

Anyway, I had a good time. It'll never be the Star Wars of my youth, but then what could be? TPM = thumbs down, AOTC =!, ROTS = thumbs up.

12:48 PM  

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