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Friday, May 27, 2005

 

The Force Gives You Power Over Weak Minds...Like Mine

I saw the latest Star Wars flick last night and I guess my advice to any who are waffling about whether or not to see it would be that, if you can catch it with a friend who's a rabid, rabid fan, then by all means go. I went with a friend of mine from college whose love of the series far outstrips my own. My friend literally shook with excitement when the opening theme kicked in. He was the only one in the theater to cheer on the informational yellow paragraph crawl. This was in a theater full of I-can-wait-until-the-second-week types like me, so I really had to admire my friend's enthusiasm, which made me enjoy the movie more than I would have if I'd gone with, say, my wife, who would have gotten up and walked out during any of a half-dozen truly awful scenes sprinkled throughout.

I don't want to give the impression that I didn't like this movie, because I did. I merely had to make the adjustment of letting myself laugh at every single scene wherein Natalie Portman interacted with Hayden Christensen. These are scenes which are approximately as smooth and graceful as an epileptic tap-dancing in moon boots. These are scenes that contain lines like the oft-quoted, "Hold me like you did by the lake on Naboo, when all we had was our love!" That's not even the worst of them. We were also treated to "I don't even know you anymore, Anakin!" Then there was the puke-into-your-popcorn exchange that went something along the lines of "I'm only beautiful because I'm so in love with you!" "No, you're beautiful because of how much I love you!" During scenes like these, I truly longed for someone to just run me through with a light saber and end my fucking misery.

Wow. I can't believe I started that last paragraph talking about how much I like the film and then segued into how much it sucked.

Anyway, there were a number of highlights. The special effects this time were phenomenal. There were some truly awe-inspiring action sequences, including some of the best light saber battles yet. As I'm a big fan of any really well-choreographed dueling scene, I loved these. I also loved Ewan McGregor, who seemed to have gotten over the tremendous embarrassment he seemed to feel in the last two movies and just had a good time. Also, I was actually moved by the fall of both the Jedi and of Anakin. Okay, I was moved by a couple of minutes of the fall of Anakin, as a great deal of it was communicated by Hayden Christensen looking like was trying to pass a really painful kidney stone.

But Darth Vader is truly one of the iconic screen villains. Even if George Lucas and Hayden Christensen didn't make you truly love Anakin, just seeing the circumstances that formed Vader makes for compelling viewing. People in the theater actually cheered when the mask first went on. I did not. I did get some minor goose bumps which were dispelled seconds later when, upon being informed of his wife's death, Vader raised head and arms to the gods and let out with a horribly cliched "No-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!" Good god. Please, lord, keep George Lucas away from word processing programs forever.

I will say, Lucas didn't let down longtime fans, who I'm sure got a charge out of seeing all the details that we remember from the beginning of the very first movie falling into place at the end of this one. Artoo and Threepio are in the employ of Captain Antilles; Leia has been adopted by Senator Organa; Luke and Obi-Wan are both living on Tattoine. All tied up in a nice little package.

So I will say that I can recommend this movie. I just wish so much of it didn't suck so very, very hard.

Comments:
JOE..You're BREAKING MY HEART!!!!

And your lack of faith is disturbing.

But thanks for the love, I'm glad I helped.
 
Yes, Lucas shouldn't write, and is a ham-fisted director, but you gotta respect the man's visual flair and sense of storytelling. I don't know, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, but then again, I learned to tune out what passes for dialogue in the series during Return of the Jedi...
 
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