Thursday, May 19, 2005

Another Star Wars Review

On first impression the movie was the best of the prequels. Any real problems I have with the movie have to do with how it affects one's views of Episodes 4 - 6. If you choose not to overanalyze the movie, it is a really good film. The action sequences were really good - almost an overload. It definitely makes me want a light saber all over again - if only I could decide which color. (I might just wield two).

However, I had a couple of problems with some gratuitious references to characters in that appear in the final (time wise) three films (eg. Chewbaca, Antilles, etc.). It made it seem too much like some kind of weird multi-layered monarchy where the only characters with real influence have that influence because of heredity. To me, that lessened the impact of the conflict.

I guess my biggest problem is with the treatment of Vader. The movie makes him seem stupid and shallow, which bothers me because it failed to create the aura of power and intelligence that is necessary to actually fear him in the later movies. Vader as a dumbass is simply not the way to go. His power should have been caused by the depth of his reasoned internal conflict, not because of his mitichlorian count, the "prophecy", or his . . . aaack . . . virgin birth. A Vader with the true and righteous belief that his way was the "right" way is much more compelling - the movie didn't achieve that (or even come close). It also would make his ultimate conversion much more dramatic, as we would understand the scope of his conversion to the light, which in turn would lend real gravitas to his final betrayal of the Emperor. It would be much more painful and it would still allow him to "love" which is an emotion that can be much darker than his mere "anger." After seeing this film, consider how it changes your view of the "Luke, I'm your father" speech and how you felt when he threw the Emperor down the energy shaft at the end of 6. If you do that, I think you'll understand where I'm coming from with this line of reasoning.

Also, the turning of Vader is supposedly based on his genuine love for Padme (the weakest character in the final two prequels). That's not a bad idea in and of itself, but I never bought into the deep love they were supposed to possess. After the first movie she seemed like a weak-willed little girl instead of the powerful, intelligent woman who was worth "turning" for. Also, Vader seemed more like a futuristic overly-possessive, jealous wife beater than someone who was genuinely in love with someone. This will ultimately be the movie's fatal flaw.

Lucas also didn't do a good job with the Jedi v. Sith philosophical debate. That is what the film should have provided. Instead it was a bunch of meaningless plattitudes that were never explained or considered by the characters - it was this failing that made Vader seem like a petulant teenager instead of the powerful force I hoped he would be. His conversion should have demonstrated the depth of his feelings, but, again, he just came off as shallow and self-interested.

I guess I could quibble with some of the cliched death scenes and Vader's ultimate demise, which, while visually stunning, upon reflection were ill considered as a part of the story line. However, the real failing of the movie was its failure to recognize the real allure of the dark side and why it was so powerful. I'd love to see someone else write the prequel and let Lucasfilms make the movie.

Still, as Otter said, it didn't suck much. In fact, it could stand alone as a very good movie - only it doesn't stand alone. It is one of six, and it didn't do what it needed to do to tie them all together. For that reason, I think, I liked the movie a lot more an hour after I saw it than I do now (approximately 15 hours later)

Anyway, despite my criticism, it's worth seeing. Not to belabor the point, but the movie stands alone better than it does with the context of the 5 other movies.

Kid Handsome - wielding two light sabres (I'll let you guess as to the colors). Edit: to get this in before Otter, Badger, Pudge or the Right Wing Extremist comments - neither of my light sabres is pink or rainbow colored.


Blogger The Management said...

Wow, what a fantastic review - insightful and accurate. Kid H., you're a genius and incredibly handsome.

Kid H (I hate having my posts ignored)

3:15 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

Just got back from seeing the movie. I thought Anakin was better than I thought he would be. His character was only a bit of a cry baby this time around.

Some of the dialog was terrible, as usual. But as I tried to tell Bob, do you really go to see the movie for the dialog??? No, you go to see light sabres battles and fantastic explosions!

I thought the final battle between Anakin and Obiwan was really awesome.

As for your other more deep thoughts on the movie, I have to play dumb for right now and think about what you said. As with most movies there never seems to be enough time to explain things the way I would like them explained. One thing that still bothers me is how Leia remembers her mother in one of the later movies, yet Padme died in childbirth. This was not explained in anyway.

I guess I will have to spend some time on the original movies now to see if there were any other larger plot holes that I missed.

By the way, I do read your posts, but am not much of a commenter!

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Badger said...

Saw the movie yesterday and came out of it a little dissapointed. The turning of Anakin seemed rushed. It just didn't seem like he had any attachment to either Jedi or Palpatine but that might be because of either the acting or the story. It just seems like a giant step was made when Anakin goes from confused to Jedi-baby killer but that it wasn't explained as much as needed. Maybe Lucas figured that everyone knows Anakin will become Vader so he glossed over the turn and went right to Sith Lord Vader.

10:00 AM  

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