Sunday, May 22, 2005

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

Given Dan's prompting, I'll join the throngs and post my little Star Wars review too. It's probably the most reviewed movie ever. I'll do it in random-thought-spew mode.


Tragedy: RotS is a prime example of how to do tragedy and make it popular -- warn the audience 20 years in advance that it's a tragedy.

Personal Tilt: I preference rank RotS about the same as Return of the Jedi. RotJ might actually be better but RotS is tragic and has Ewen McGregor and Natalie Portman.

Problems: You can see a list of them on many websites and probably have your own list made up if you've seen the film so I'll just mention the key one for me.

Some of the dialogue was downright painful -- they really needed someone to go in there and do a script polish. If the actors can convey an emotion without saying anything, cut the dialogue.

Not Quite Problems: These are areas that I've seen mentioned as problems but I'm not sure that they really are.

Acting: I know some of the actors are getting blasted but you try delivering those lines or doing the Frankenstein "Nooooooo!" convincingly.

Busy Action Scenes: Particularly the opening sequence. We go through this masive sea of explosions and graphic effects while trying to keep track of Obi-wan and Anakin's fight with the droidships. I found this a bit confusing too (though not as confusing as some air combat scenes in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow). However, since this is the kind of film that I'll likely see more than once, all that attention to background detail will be fun to go back and watch. The messiness helps immerse one in the fictional world.

Anakin's Fall: The arc of his descent sort of works, all these conflicting emotions: anger over death of mother, worry about his wife, petulance about the lack of respect he receives, and, yes indeed, a lust for power. That sort of complex array is probably realistic, but movies are small things and so there's not enough time to develop all of that fully. The arc probably would have worked better if just one track (perhaps the secret lust for power) was given the focus and the others developed as off-shoots or supports for the primary arc.

Source of Problems: Collaboration is cool (see my earlier post). Collaboration and editorial oversight serves as a sort of error-checking -- people tell you when a line of dialogue or scene doesn't work. Unfortunately, after one becomes acknowledged as the master of the modern myth, people stop providing hard critical feedback. This is also why writers become more long-winded and erratic as they become more established -- still capable of great work but sometimes marred by not having a few bits excised.

Redemption: The last thirty minutes or so of the film, where Obi-wan battles Anakin on the lava planet, made the entire first trilogy worthwhile. Very cool, very intense, and even a moment of real emotion.

Favorite Scene: Right after Obi-wan hacks off Anakin's legs at the end then wails about how Anakin was supposed to be the chosen one. The emotion in that scene really convinced me (unfortunately, unlike a lot of other scenes) and I was looking for a reason to like this film anyway.

My Personal Thanks To: Ewan McGregor. I imagine it's pretty unpleasant acting against a green screen for long stretches of time, completely devoid of any context. And certainly some of the lines you were asked to deliver must give you the nightmares. But you created an Obi-wan that I thought could eventually be played by Sir Alec Guiness and gave the trilogy a dignity that it sorely needed. Hopefully when your kids are old enough and start watching the films they'll be able to thank you directly.

My Question:

In the scene where Mace Windu definitely does not go out "like some sucka", do you think Palpatine was really getting his ass kicked or was he faking it?

I've seen a little debate on this so that's why I ask.

I favor the theory that he's really getting the snot beat out of him. A) I like the idea that Mace is such a badass that it takes both Palpatine and Anakin to beat him. B) Palpatine struck me as a whiny coward (it's part of what makes him so endearing) so I don't think the character is acting when he does all the pathetic mewling to Anakin while Mace is beating him up.

Anyway, Ian McDiarmid was a great part of the series too, breathing life into a "kiss up, kick down" kinda Sith lord.

1 comment:

Grubber said...

But when Annakin had his legs and what not chopped off......the thing that kept running through my head was THAT scene.........

"Come back and fight, it is but a flesh wound!"

I seriously was chuckling, I could not get bloody John Cleese and crew out of my head!