Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Episode III

I saw Revenge of the Sith last night. I was 11 years old when the first Star Wars movie came out and I still distinctly recall looking through the movie ads in the Sunday newspaper and seeing a small ad for this cool looking sci-fi movie. I have very few memories of my childhood. Most of my life before the age of 21 is blank, or at the best fuzzy. But I remember seeing that ad. It was for an unknown movie - it wasn't getting much hype, and I don't remember ever seeing a television ad for it. But as a burgeoning sci-fi fan (read "geek" here) I was real excited. I grabbed the paper and went to show my dad - he is a science fiction fan too. "Doesn't this look cool, dad?" I asked, knowing that we would be going to the movies soon. And WOW! I had never seen anything like it. Of course, no one had - Star Wars was something completely new. Certainly it was one of the defining films of my generation.

Now the rumors spread like wild fire about the movie. George Lucas was planning and epic trilogy of trilogies. There were going to be 2 sequels to this first movie that would show how the rebellion would triumph over the empire, but that was just the beginning! This movie was actually the 4th chapter of the story. The first three chapters would be pre-Luke/Leia and chronicle the rise of the empire. The final three chapters would be post-Luke/Leia and tell the story of how democracy flourished in the galaxy after the fall of the empire. Only R2D2 and C3PO would be in all 9 of the stories - they were the constant thread running through the entire epic. I even remember hearing that Darth Vader had become the way he was (physically) because he had fallen into a volcano (or something along those lines). So along come The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi and I loved those movies as well. I understood that the ewoks were a shameless marketing ploy to make even more money for the Lucas empire. But that was o.k. the movies were still epic, the story gripping, the characters deep and convincing.

And then a lull. And you know what? That would have been fine. You could have stopped right there George. That trilogy was complete, told a full story, didn't need explanation. But no....it wasn't enough for George. And so after many long years, along came The Phantom Menace. What a disappointment! The film which was poorly plotted, poorly acted and poorly written. And Jar-Jar Binks??? But hey, we had grown up with Star Wars, right? We were the Star Wars generation, and we had to see the series through. So we stuck it out. Episode 2 had to be better than the first movie, right? George Lucas would respond to the critics and get things right. And a few years later Attack of the Clones was released. And what a piece of crap that was!! The kid playing Anakin was like walking cardboard and Natalie Portman as Padme was just as bad. That scene in the meadow by the lake - didn't it make you believe in robot love? Oh wait, Anakin and Padme aren't supposed to be robots. Really? Could have fooled me. R2D2 and C3PO have more personality.

So when a friend of mine called me on Sunday saying he had an extra ticked for a Monday showing of The Revenge of the Sith, I reluctantly agreed to go. I had to see this thing through. Well I'm glad it's over. The critics are wrong. This is as big a load of steaming cow dung as the previous 2. It's awful - once again mainly because of the incredibly terrible acting. Hayden Christiansen and Natalie Portman are so unbelievably bad that it is hard to believe anyone is paying them to "act". And Ewan McGregor was pretty terrible too (all of a sudden he is a smug, slightly sarcastic jedi) which was really disappointing because he had been one of the few redeeming features of the first 2 films. It was kind of cool to see the story finally come around to set the stage for the "originals", but it was too little too late. All I can really say is....I'm glad it's finally all over. Please, please, please, Mr. Lucas, stick to your word and don't make that final trilogy. I just don't think I could take it.

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