The continuing chronicle of Wesley's quest to be published; plus comments on popular culture, family life, and whatever else falls out of his head.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Well, you know I had to see this movie sooner or later. Carrie wanted to see it, so, with great trepidation and trembling, went with her, Drew and Dave. Wasn't expecting much of anything any better than the last two.And, in that respect, I was disappointed. In every other respect, I was blown away. Elements which were problems in the previous prequel movies are either addressed (such as the acting) or done away with all together (such as Jar-Jar).Sith is much more in the spirit of the original movies, with their tribute to the old movie serials of the 30s and 40s. However much of the political commentary that bogged down the previous two prequels is here in full force. If one believes that Lucas wrote this treatment and dialogue over twenty years ago, then one has to acknowledge that it is still strangely prescient with today's US political climate, with references to one man having too much power over a democratic body, safety and security achieved through force. Even the Jedi get caught up in jinoisms, shouting that they are fighting for democracy. Compare that with the pseudo-religion that envelopes the later films in their references to the Force, and one has to conclude that either Lucas is a brilliant storyteller or a liar.I choose liar, but that's just me.Still, many things in Sit are much better than they were in the earlier prequels. Acting in particular is much better, although I think that Lucas has gotten so wrapped up in the technical aspects of his vision that he had trouble communicating that with his cast. There isn't a performer in this cast who hasn't shone elsewhere in their careers, but in all of the prequels, performances are generally either stiff and wooden, or melodramatic and still wooden. That may be due to the large number of scenes which are shot entirely on bluescreens, leaving the actors to fake everything surrounding them, including whom they're talking to.The movie succeeds in spite of these complaints, and that's a tribute to Lucas' storytelling ability (not that it doens't still make him a liar) and the pacing of the movie. High action pieces and a simple-to-follow plot (as opposed to earlier prequels, which required written directions, a map and several flow charts to follow). If I'm giving the impression that I didn't like Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, that's only because I didn't. Those two movies could have honestly been cut and re-editted into one movie without losing any of the story. But Sith makes up for all of that. I give this movie my highest recommendation:Watch it in the theatre, more than once!

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