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5.27.2005

Star Wars 3

PS. Expect a long-ass post about the recent Samuel L. Jackson movie that came out.

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Well, here it is. (Some of my bitching & moaning is just general to the prequals…)

What's good:

1) Superior special effects.
I hated the first two prequals' special effects. In ep1, the Gungans (fully CGI species) were an overly ambitious catastrophe of appearance alone (forget the annoyance of character). The use of leather clothing and CGI droid armies (flat metal surface) seemed like a big cheat to avoid complications with tecture, flesh, etc. When the CGI met miniatures (space ships, sets, etc.) it was a disaster.

In ep2, the problems were more stylistic---WTF was going on in that final series of battles? Did a five-year-old do the story boards? The whole movie looked matted and (as Trevor agreed) the CGI Yoda looked unconvincing---those polar bears in the Christmas Coke commercials looked better.

Well, anyhow, the effects in ep3 were by far the best of the lot. Yoda looked good. The different planets were beautiful. A sign of the success of the effects was my forgetting the effects. Maybe only Return of the King had better.

2) I've been waiting to see how a normal looking Senator Palpatine was going to end up a pasty, fucking gnarled emperor with yellow eyes. I sorta thought he'd come into power and be, like, "Tah-dah! This is my true evil appearance!" Indeed, the hooded Sidious in the first two movies---with tricks of holographic light, maybe---looked gnarled in the shadows. But I watched ep1 again about a month ago and noticed that the shadowed, hooded Sidious was definitely NOT gnarled (especially in the scene in person with Darth Maul when he's, like, "At last we will get our revenge!").

3) Light saber battles were great. It was awesome to see Obi-wan lob off fucking THREE of Anakin's limbs in one swing. My fear coming into this movie was that Obi-wan would win the lava duel on accident or something. Like, oops!, Anakin just got hit by a chance tidal wave of lava! Obi-wan's character has been totally squandered in the previous films (why not make him the badly needed Han Solo wise-ass swashbuckling element sorely missing in these films? It'd make total sense that he'd turn all conservative and grumpy from the Republic falling apart before his eyes.); it was nice to see at least this final duel done right (well, save for the dialogue, of course).

4) General Grievous (as usual, though, he coulda used at least a fucking HINT of a background story).

What's bad:

1) Why all the cameo appearances in these prequals? Do I really need to see Jabba, Bib Fortuna, Sand People, Jawas, Chewbacca, Greedo, and so on. How ‘bout some new good shit? Between 1983 and 1999, all Lucas came up with was evil Mandarin Capitalists, Gungans, and battle-droids that look like Gungans.

2) Linking original trilogy characters together just for the fuck of it. Anakin built C3PO? Yoda and Chewbacca are bff’s? Obi-wan fought with Boba Fett’s Dad? Jabba’s Mom used to own Darth Vader AND his Mom?

3) Idiocy of the Jedi. The Chosen One will bring balance to the force? How do you suppose that balance will swing in a galaxy of a few thousand Jedi and maybe, like, two Sith? Expecting him to recruit more Jedi, increase their powers? Of course, if the Chosen One were to bring balance to the force, it should probably mean that users of the force would use both Light and Dark Side. The Jedi are ineffectual fools and need some Dark Side passions to temper their aloofness.

4) Bad dialogue. I’ve written better love stories by heaving buckets of chum at brick walls. You should read them sometime.

5) Yoda constantly speaking with inverted syntax. Watch The Empire Strikes Back and notice his syntax is normal at least half the time. To quote the New Yorker, “Break me a fucking give.”

6) Frankenstein-like anger scene when Darth Vader finds out he killed Padme and bends machines with his mind.

7) Overall, this episode has a shit load of loose ends to fix from the previous two. Thus, it had, like, a 45 minute long ending. Had to happen. I’m pretty convinced that this movie was as good as it possibly could have been given the director, writer, and actors. Still, its overall success makes me more depressed that the previous ones were so fucking bad, and that, indeed, the original trilogy is made retroactively much shittier itself. Fuck you George Lucas!

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FINAL GRADES:

Ep1: D

Ep2: F

Ep3: B-

ANH: A

TESB: A+

ROTJ: B+

I have to apologize to Trevor and Ivan for telling them Revenge of the Sith was better than Return of the Jedi before they saw the former. I was still feeling the effects of the two whiskey flasks Miguel, Andrew, and I finished off during the movie. I knew there’d be hell to pay…

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Miguel:

How did Vader's ghost learn to come back from the dead if only Yoda, Qai Gon, and Obi Wan knew the lost art, anyway?

MAY 26, 2005; 5:59 PM

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8) Well, since you brought it up, how in the hell did Qai-Gon learn the turn-into-a-ghost trick in the first place? Based on George "The Goiter" Lucas interviews I've read, when a Jedi (or anyone, really) dies, their life-force is dispersed into the One Force, like a fart in a theatre. Thus, I can only assume that Qai-Gon MUST have known the ghosting skills before he died, for what does it mean for "Qai-Gon" to learn anything post-death if his singularity no longer exists at all?

So, if he knew the skill before he died, why did he keep it a secret from all the other Jedi? He was a maverick Master, not on the Jedi Council. Did he disdain them so much that he'd withhold this skill from them? Why? Oh, and why wait TEN YEARS before he contacted his favorite-est person in the world—Obi-wan?

Is it an entirely Light Side power? Sidious in ROTS says the dark side can give 'unnatural' life-sustaining powers. Is turning into a ghost a similar ‘sustaining’ power? Well, obviously Lucas doesn't think so: You'll notice at the end of the DVD version of ROTJ, Lucas has replaced the old ghost of Anakin with the visage of Gayden Crystalmeth as he looked right before he turned to the Dark Side. This would suggest that only that part of Anakin's spirit that remained Light was able to sustain itself post-death---it must be a Light Side power.

(Of course, I hate this ROTJ ghost replacement for several reasons, not least that it undermines the whole idea of turning Darth Vader back to the Light Side---what? He wasn't REALLY turned back completely so his old ghost wasn't Light enough to represent him in death? WTF is that? You failed after all Luke! There is still BAD in him, I can feel it.)

When it comes down to it, Lucas was trying to plug a huge plot hole: Yoda and Obi-wan needed to know how to turn into a ghost, but no other Jedi could. Otherwise there'd be, like, a few thousand Jedi ghosts all helping Luke, or at least raising some havoc for Sidious and Darth.

2 Comments:

At 12:24 PM, Blogger Ryan M Scott said...

You just hate Star Wars don't you? If you can do so much better why don't you go out and make a better movie?

 
At 1:00 PM, Blogger Miguel said...

What if you did make a better movie, Josko? Would you be able to produce more than two decent sequels? Would you feel a need to complete it in your old age, even if you could no longer relate to the audience that made you a success in the first place?
(Making serial films is no mean feat, btw. I hear Mission Impossible III is about to be cancelled because Tom Cruise is a lunatic, Bond is stagnating, etc. It'll be interesting to see how many Narnia films come out, whether Harry Potter ever stumbles, and whether George-Lucas-produced Indiana Jones: A New Hope is any good.)

 

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