A "Not So Good" review of Star Wars VI...

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by 007, May 24, 2005.

  1. 007
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    007 Charter Member Supporting Member

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    John Podhoretz
    Wed May 18, 4:57 PM ET



    Washington (The Weekly Standard) Vol. 010, Issue 34 - 5/23/2005 - THE FINAL Star Wars is, as writer-director George Lucas promised, a tragedy--but it's not the tragedy Lucas thinks it is.


    Ever since he began making his second set of Star Wars movies a decade ago, Lucas said that Episode III: Revenge of the Sith would be the unvarnished story of the young knight Anakin Skywalker's degeneration and conversion into the black-helmeted, black-outfitted Darth Vader, the villain of the first three films. The tale of woe it really tells is that of George Lucas himself, the final chapter in the sad degeneration of a vital, vivid, and highly amusing moviemaker into a dull, solipsistic, and humorless incompetent.

    Lucas had more than a quarter of a century to figure out why Anakin Skywalker went bad. And here's what he came up with: Anakin is afraid of losing his wife Padmé in childbirth. Padmé tries to reassure him: "I promise you I won't die in childbirth," she says, offering a touching expression of her faith in the range of health-care services that were available a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. That over-deliberate line of dialogue is typical of Revenge of the Sith, which joins its immediate predecessor Attack of the Clones on a very short list of films that deserve to compete for the Worst Script Ever Written.

    "Hold me, Anakin!" Padmé tells her husband. "Hold me like you did by the lake on Naboo!"

    No performer living or dead could pronounce the word "Naboo" without sounding like a moron, and Lucas matches that authorial infelicity with dozens of others. One of the movie's villains is named "Dooku," and it's a pity that Lucas didn't arrange for Dooku to visit Naboo, because that could have generated a truly memorable piece of dialogue, like "You should never have come to Naboo, Dooku!"

    Later in the film, Vader's mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi tells Padmé that her hubby has murdered some children: "He killed younglings at the Jedi temple!" She storms off and confronts him: "Obi-Wan says you killed younglings!"

    Padmé's anger and shock seem a mite surprising, since in Attack of the Clones her then-boyfriend Anakin had told her about another occasion on which he had killed some kids. This is spoken in a soliloquy that suggests what Macbeth might have been like if it had been written by George Lucas: "I killed them! I killed them all! They're dead, every single one of them! And not just the men, but the women and the children, too!! I slaughtered them like animals! I HATE THEM!"

    But I digress, because that speech isn't in the film under review--and there are plenty of other hilarious examples of bad writing on display in Revenge of the Sith.

    For example: Obi-Wan uncovers the killing of the younglings by checking out some hidden video at the Jedi Temple. The wise old creature Yoda, who may be the most intelligent person in the universe, but seems to have learned English by reading old Time magazines, warns him: "Obi-Wan, watch the surveillance tapes you should not!"

    Yoda has just returned from a diplomatic mission to a planet inhabited by bipedal gorillas because, as he explains in the rounded tones of an opponent of the John Bolton nomination, "Good relations with the Wookiees I have." Later, a defeated Yoda sighs: "Into exile I must go." You half-expect him to be followed by six other dwarves chanting, "Hi ho, hi ho / Into exile we will go . . . "

    Anakin is invited to attend the theater as a guest of the president of the republic (a scene that allows Lucas to let us know that the favored form of entertainment in the highly advanced Star Wars galaxy is a Cirque du Soleil show performed inside a blob of translucent Jell-O). The president tells him about the Dark Side of the Force, and how it can be used to bring people back from the dead. Anakin decides he wants in. To which the only possible response is: That's it? The entire universe is thrown out of balance and evil defeats good all because one petulant and whiny guy doesn't want Natalie Portman to buy the farm?

    "Dialogue is not my thing," Lucas has said. "I don't like writing, and I don't like scripts." But there is a whole lot more to a script than just the dialogue. There are also small matters such as plot, motivation, and character development. How is it possible that Lucas could have satisfied himself with the notion that the destruction of the galactic democracy and the triumph of evil over good could all have sprung from a single lousy pregnancy? Granted, Mrs. Darth Vader wears some very fetching beaded outfits--plus, she's a senator just like Hillary Clinton, only decades younger and way better looking. Even so, this is astoundingly thin gruel on which to hang six movies made over a period of 28 years.

    Back in 1977, we were told in the original Star Wars that Darth Vader "was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force"--that Vader had become a villain because he had been consumed by a lust for power, so that he could boss people around, blow up planets, and, generally speaking, control the universe. Like all great villains, the Darth Vader we saw in the first Star Wars actually loved being a bad guy. He enjoyed being able to choke annoying underlings by pinching his thumb and forefinger together. He relished his swordfight with his old mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi. He didn't even mind slicing his own son's hand off (in the second film) just to prove a point.

    But the Darth Vader we see at the end of Revenge of the Sith hasn't been seduced. He's been tricked. He's not a villain. He's a schmuck.

    And what of George Lucas? He is, by leagues, the most commercially successful moviemaker in history. Forget the billion-plus dollars he has earned from the Star Wars movies. Industrial Light & Magic, the special-effects firm he began with his Star Wars profits, grosses $1 billion per year.

    But what happened to the director who made the thrilling mood piece American Graffiti, that deceptively casual account of a bunch of teenagers in a California town in 1962 hanging out on the last summer night before the school year begins? What happened to the guy who revolutionized science fiction by making an outer-space adventure that managed to be cheerful, exciting, and lighthearted?

    The tragedy of George Lucas is that he made billions of dollars, and all it did was turn him into a drag.

    John Podhoretz is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard.

    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tm...tandard/20050518/cm_weeklystandard/starwarsvi
     
  2. insein
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    insein Senior Member

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    i thought it was the 2nd best of the 6 movies. My opinion is the only one that matters to me. So i win.
     
  3. krisy
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    krisy Senior Member

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    My husband and son saw it this weekend and absolutely loved it. I guess it's just matter of opinion. I expected them to come home saying it stunk from some of the stuff I've heard.
     
  4. GotZoom
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    GotZoom Senior Member

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    I think the people who go to movies to be entertained without delving into the director's/writers/character's motivation and symbolism will probably like the movie.

    Those who try to analyze every word and find analogies to current-day situations (like some people we know), will probably find many faults with it.

    Those who know the ewok's family tree, and can tell you Luke Skywalkers shoe size...well, they need to get out more and get a life.
     
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  5. fuzzykitten99
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    fuzzykitten99 Senior Member

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    how about going through 25+ boxes of cereal (bags unopened but box is) to get a star-wars light-up spoon that is blue, to make sure you have a complete set of the red, green, and whatever other colors? My father-in-law wants to collect ALL the colors of the spoons in froot loops and apple jacks, but had not managed to find the blue one yet.

    he can't eat the cereal because he is diabetic, so my mother-in-law comes over to our house last night and gives us like 3 boxes of each cereal. not that it isn't appreciated. this makes it cheaper on our grocery bill because my son likes them, and this will last us about 2 months or more. i asked why on earth she bought so much, and then didn't even open the inner bag. she told me what my father-in-law, who is well over 50, and probably the biggest of nerds, is doing. she says that he has to buy the cereal out of his own weekly spending money, that the joint money used for bills and groceries, she won't pay for him to waste food just for a stupid spoon.

    he even bought the voice changer thing. WHY? my son is deathly afraid of it-i don't blame him, so it's unlikely that he will ever play with it, and there are no other kids under 13 in the family. whatever.
     
  6. GotZoom
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    GotZoom Senior Member

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    I won't be so critical of collecting the "collectibles" - those will be worth some kind of money some day. Plus, your son likes the cereal so there is no loss there.

    But I know what you mean....still.....um.......
     
  7. Dan
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    Dan Senior Member

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    This is probably the smartest thing I've read in the whole SW debate. A lot of people (myself included, admittedly) seem to expect these movies to be a whole lot deeper than they are for some reason. Funny, considering it's a movie full of aliens and robots.
     
  8. 007
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    007 Charter Member Supporting Member

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    My feelings aren't reflected in the above article. It's just one that came up on a news module I have on my yahoo home page. There are people that I work with that have seen it already, and all those opinions are positive, ranging from damn good to the best out of the six.

    I plan on seeing it this weekend, well, my weekend, Monday, and then I'll form my own opinion. I won't look for deep sub-plots, or over scrutinize it. It's entertainment, that's all. I've seen all the rest of them and liked them. It would be stupid for me not to watch the "grand finale" as it is.
     
  9. theim
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    theim Senior Member

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    I thought it was good, but I actually chuckled out loud and winced in embarassment during some of the lovey dovey scenes. Man are they corny.

    But overall a very good movie.
     
  10. Comrade
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    Comrade Senior Member

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    My overall thought about the movie was primarily that it was too 'busy'. Who is this four armed General, and where did he come from??? I saw the last two movies and don't remember him the least.

    If I didn't know what to look for, I'd never recall Anakin killing any children in the movie... due to some preview reading I knew this momentary scene when it came and yet still wonder why they didn't just show it and let the audience in on this 'secret' embedded in the movie from then on. And the stupid part is, I still don't know why he did it, even though I knew what to look out for.

    It might have had something to do with the several shots I took before seeing this movie, but then again I've watched plenty of action movies drunk and have always been able to be feel in continuity with each emerging scene.

    The unfortunate aspect was that what should have a five hour movie was culled down a very busy 2+ hour one.

    PS. Loved the special effects. I can't wait until a new, creative space opera emerges from all this old crap.
     

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