Thursday, June 02, 2005

Another Time, Another Place

Now that the initial euphoria has worn off, I guess I'm ready to post some random thoughts on Episode III.

I've noticed that most folks seem to really like the film when they first walk out of the theater. Then, almost like eating Chinese food, an hour or two later they say, "Wait a minute..."

That has been my experience as well. As soon as it was over, I turned to
the boy, who had by now seen it a second time, and said (I'm so ashamed of this....), "Wow, that was definitely the best of the prequels. As a matter of fact, it probably ranks right behind "Empire" and "The Original"." (Being a child of the 70's, I still can't bring myself to call EP IV, "A New Hope". It's simply the original "Star Wars", and that's that.)

Anyway, he looked at me, much the way a potato would, and said, "What?" He took great exception to the fact that I would rank it anywhere near "Return of the Jedi", let alone ABOVE it, and I now realize that he was right.

Besides, saying it was the best of the Prequels is kind of saying Carrie Underwood is the best of the American Idol contestants. I mean, seriously,
who cares?

But here are some random thoughts on the film. Very few are my original opinions, but are gathered from numerous conversations I've had the past week. I do however, agree with them as I post them here:

1. Yeah, it was a good film.

2. I still don't buy the love story between Anikan & Padme. It's forced, (no pun intended) unbelievable, and leaves you totally apathetic about the supposed #1 reason for Anikan's turn to the dark side.

3. General Grievous was totally useless. His coughing was stupid, and he came off as just another failed character of the "Jar-Jar" genre. (Besides, he looked like an old Charlston Comics character. Anyone remember ROG 2000?)

4. The pacing of Anikan's fall throughout the film was good, EXCEPT for his critical fight scene with Palpatine and Mace Windu. In that scene, as cleverly pointed out by
The Barlow Girls, Anikan goes from "What have I done?" to "I'll serve you, Master," faster than the Falcon on a Kessel run. I found myself rationalizing his behavior rather than buying into it. I had to tell myself things like, "Well, Palpatine has been controlling Anikan since he was 9, so his sudden turn does make some sense." Any time you have to help the filmmaker like that, it's a sign of very bad story telling.

5. Ewan Mcgregor, as Obi Wan, remains the best adapted character of the prequels. I appreciated his pain over Anikan's fall. ("You were the chosen one!) I liked the fact that he couldn't finish Anikan off, but he couldn't stand and watch him die either.

6. Over-all, I didn't find the connections to the originals to be as clumsy in this film. Contrast things like Obi-wan picking up Anikan's saber (the one he would give to Luke) and the pretty cool early X-wing fighters to the horrible "Anikan Built Threepio" type crud from the first 2 episodes.

7. Exceptions to #6: George just couldn't resist using Chewbacca and the wookies. The farming out of the twins at the end seemed a bit contrived, and Yoda's & Obi-wan's exiles were a bit too convenient. Those things just smacked of what is wrong with prequels, in general. You simply HAVE to tie everything together, or else what was the point of making them at all? Answer: Don't. Also, why did they have to "explain" Palpatine's disfigurement by having him transformed in the fight? Couldn't his haggard appearance in "Return" simply be the result of years of the ravages of the Dark Side, and leave it at that?

OK, scratch point #6. ALL the connections are stupid. There.... I feel better.

8. I did, however, like the last shot with Owen & Beru holding Luke and watching the twin sunset.

9. C'mon, what's with Vader's Frankenstien bit as he breaks out of his medical restraints? Didn't anyone actually WATCH that scene before it was released? The big, drawn out "Noooooooooo," seemed to be a parody, rather than a dramatic moment. When we were supposed to be sharing his anguish, I found myself choking back a laugh. What would have been wrong with having Darth smash everything in the room with the force, and then drop his hand in defeat like he did when Luke went down the shaft in "Empire"? Much more in character....

10. (I'll keep it to ten) Ok, I know this is stupid, but why didn't they change Luke's last name? Hey, Darth... ever hear of the Imperial Census?
"Hmmmm, Tatooine......Kenobi.....Skywalker....Lars' Moisture Farm? Naw....must just be a coincidence."

To sum up:
Hours after my silly remark about Episode III being the third best "Star Wars" film, the boy simply looked at me and said, with complete sincerity...

"Don't EVER say that again."

Believe me, I won't.


Blogger FLGSATELLITE said...

I did it!! the satellite picture I asked you about. I tried everything and it was misshap. Then dangereque Dan stepped up and gave me three (3) options.I felt like a kid. Now I'm set to go... thought you might want to see it!

1:59 PM  
Blogger Colonel Havoc said...

Very Cool...

2:42 PM  
Blogger the devine one said...

I agree. When he did the "Noooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!" thing at the end, I yelled in a high pitched voice "IT'S ALIVE!" and I got a few weird looks from your children and other people in the surrounding seats. All I have to say, is that Natalie (Padme) and Hayden (Annie, bleh) have to go back to acting school, if they were ever there in the first place, because seriously, they're not the best.

Anakin, you're breaking my heart!

5:35 PM  
Blogger dangeresque dan said...

Ok What's her face. Natalie Portman is a decent actress. I've seen a few of her movies. She's done very well in them. It is hard though to make crappy lines sound good when you have a crappy director.
Personally, I feel the movie could have been much cooler if Grievous played a bigger part. He was cool.

I also would like to know why Yoda and Obi-Wan just don't go after Palpatime together. . . . And as great as Yoda is why did they turn him into a weenie? He falls 10 feet and gives up the fight? Just plain wrong.

9:42 PM  
Blogger Colonel Havoc said...

While I respectfully differ with your take on Grievous, your comments on Yoda & Obi-Wan hit a bulls-eye. I'm glad I held this LOOOONG post to just ten points. It leaves discussion room for insightful comments like yours & What's Her Face's....

Any others?????

5:16 AM  
Blogger JMS said...

I too was not buying Anakin's light-speed crossover to the dark side. It just wasn't believable. Also, I found myself mildly embarrassed when Anakin started whining after he got his new Vader threads. A true Vader would have probably busted up some stuff. In some defense of the actors of this movie, it is very hard to take an unreadable line and make it sound good.

I don't want to sound wholly negative, though. Obi Wan is kinda the man.

9:10 AM  
Blogger dangeresque dan said...

Let me add a bit more to my comment on Grievous . . . in the episode of The Clone Wars he was in. He was simply the man. He really was cool. How sad is it that the best "movie" to come from the new trilogy won't even be from the trilogy? It's from a cartoon between two and three.

10:58 AM  
Blogger Reinman said...

I haven't seen the Samarai/Clone Wars animated series, but you might be onto something there, Dan.

4:46 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

He He He, that was great. (i'm talking about what's her face's comment) We were really holding back the laughs at certain points. Sometimes (like at the "Nooooo" part) we just couldn't help ourselves. We were both thinking the same thing, at the same exact moment. That terrible moment gives me great memories.

tootles! :)

8:07 AM  
Blogger SuperStar said...

Ok. So, I thought that III was really dark, and obviously nothing to let little kids watch. I almost got nightmares. I also caught just a few of the slip ups.. Including the one with leah saying that her mother was beautiful but always sad... It does make it confusing know that padme died in childbirth.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Fun with Ham said...

I still think that The Star Wars Christmas Special surpasses them all. "Don't worry, Chewy. We'll get you home in time for Life Day."


10:26 PM  
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