Original Radioactive Jam

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Saturday, May 21, 2005

A Long Time Ago etc.

'he was unarmed' - you can say that again
Capsule review: Star Wars Episode III is a great movie.

I think it’d seem a great film to anyone. Anyone that is, who hasn’t seen Episodes IV, V, and VI. Yeah. Not me.

III is a good movie, with much to like: lightsaber duels – I don’t recall seeing such well-defined ‘saber tips, is that a new effect? – space- and land-based battles, a planet full of enormous, hairy bipedal canine-like creatures wearing bandoliers, and only a couple brief shots of a certain tall, stupid-looking, pink floppy-eared CG lamer.

For me, all these likable elements didn’t carry the film as a whole. III’s story consists of and depends on several threads of conflict; yet all their conclusions were revealed as back-story in IV, V and VI.

In essence we saw the end of the movie first, then went back to see what led up to it. Unless a movie relies on a crucial, unexpected end-twist (think Sixth Sense), a known outcome isn’t a big problem. If a movie tells an engaging story with appropriate detail, I’ll enjoy the whole thing even knowing how it ends. An example is Jackson’s LOTR trilogy.

If I’d seen say, the last Rings film first, I’d know the end. Or at least the parts of the end Jackson chose to include. But that’s another rant and – predictably – I digress. With LOTR, watching (or reading) The Return of the King takes almost nothing away from The Fellowship of the Ring. The stories are so big, so involved and well written, each one amazes and entertains irrespective of the others.

Maybe it’s an issue of scope; maybe Star Wars was too small for Mr. Lucas to pull off the end-first trick. Or maybe I saw this film with a kind of tunnel vision, only interested in a too-small part of the story. Maybe I should try to think of some other word to use besides ‘maybe.’

Maybe not.

Seriously though, as I write this I realize all I cared about was Darth Vader’s story. I wanted III to tell me how he went from edgy Jedi to The Man In Black. III does a good job at telling how ol’ yellow eyes – the Emperor – got what he wanted. Then there’s the Jedi thread – remember how there was a well-stocked Jedi Council in I and II, but pretty much just Obi-Wan (and Yoda) in IV? Spoiler alert (not): something Bad happens to the Jedi somewhere between II and IV. III tells me, “They were blindsided!” Okay…that’s the “what” part. Why? How? IMO cheeseburgerbrown does a better job explaining this than Episode III. Ouch.

I think the movie tries to tell the story of Anakin’s metamorphosis. I won’t go into spoiler-type details here; if you’re interested in my perception of its attempt, let me know. To me, the film portrayed Anakin as a shallow, almost stupid character. Watching III I wanted, needed strong feelings for him one way or the other, but found none.

Item of note: Moviegoers cheered and applauded when the Star Wars graphic first appeared, and again at the movie's end. One round was strong, the other tepid. Matching the events and responses is left as an exercise to the reader. If you're not sure which goes where, re-read this post; I'd say I wasn't the only one un-wowed.

At my core I’m an optimist. Either that or an optometrist, I forget which. Where was I? Right – optimism. So despite my current disappointment with Episode III I’ll be okay, ‘cause for an optimist there’s always (you're an optometrist so you saw this coming, right?) a new hope.

3 Emissions:

Blogger Carol Danvers emitted...

Great last line! Of course, you already know how I feel, as you have read my entry on the same subject. Why is that I STILL feel excitement at the opening Star Wars title and scrawl, even though I know I will be disappointed (I saw the flick again on Sat.)? Maybe it's the music, maybe it's the memories. All I know, is that those words - STAR WARS - still inspire hope and excitement deep within in my - and always will. That's what's most important to me, no matter how many of my questions didn't get answered, no matter how some things disappointed me - "she has lost the will to live" WTF? There will always be the Star Wars of my youth and luckily I have not forgotten what that feels like.

thanks for your words,
CD

5/23/2005 11:09:00 PM  
Blogger Radioactive Jam emitted...

carol,

Thanks. I know what you mean about the openings. The anticipation, excitement, and memories persist, and that's good. Disappointment will fade, and the Good Parts will turn into new memories.

At least that's what the voice of Platitude Man is telling me to type.

As Fox would have it, :-P we watched Attack Of The Clones the other night. How cynical am I? Thinking the network would likely cut out parts to allow more time for commercials...and not caring.

Really, I did (and do) like Episode II, except for the scenes where that Binks thing opened its mouth. I'd forgotten about those.

One scene in particular offered a strong contrast to Episode III. Watching Shmi's death made Padme's "lost the will to live" even more lame.

Hmm, almost time to go see III again...

5/24/2005 07:22:00 AM  
Blogger jedith emitted...

Star Wars rocks!!! I have not yet seen the new one but I hear that it has the best graphics ever and is combined with an almost prophetic plot. Some of my friends say that Emperor Palpentine and Lord Sidius are the same person. I don't know who to believe!

6/02/2005 02:24:00 PM  

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