Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Disturbance in the Force.

I know I'm way behind, but I actually thought the new Star Wars was good, and really good in some passages. The fight between Windu and Palpatin was thrilling and emotional, and that showdown between Obi-wan Kenobi and Anakin was actually heartbreaking, I thought. I know I'm an easy cry, but seriously, I felt unexpectedly kind of undone by that scene.

Reasons why I shouldn't feel this way: George Lucas is a terrible, terrible writer; there's plenty of clunky staging; those crazy dissolves; there's agonistic music playing all through the tragic scenes, telling you the scenes are tragic; apparently they gave Padme a gradual lobotomy. Still.

I find myself wanting to watch the whole series (somebody stop me) just to follow its argument. I probably won't, but I have now reconstructed my earlier appraisal of Episode 2, and its whole thing about democracy and empire. I think now that this latest film is also offering a critique, if nascent, of such cabal-like organizations as the Jedi Council, the failure of which is total here.

Okay, I'll say no more, as I'm pretty sure this topic is exhausted for lots of people. But I'm on record. I'd rather see this one, flaws and all, than any of episodes 4, 5, and 6.

3 comments:

lis said...

I liked it too. Not as much as 4, 5,6 (they, of course, have nostalgia to recommend them) but I liked it.

I actually think Lucas is clever for maintaining the ridiculous dissolves, the stilted dialogue and acting, the dramatic music. Episodes 4,5,6 have a sort of naivete both in terms of the storytelling and the special effects, and he maintains that in 1,2,3. Certainly he could have updated some of those narrative and filmmaking elements, but I'm glad that he maintained the style of the first three. The series fits together, rather than having a clear division between the movies that were made then and the movies two decades later. And I argue that anyone who thinks the first three are better somehow than these recent ones only thinks so because of nostalgia. I think in terms of storytelling, dialogue, obnoxious characters, etc. they are all exactly the same.

As for the critique of empire, there was a moment in the senate chambers (I can't remember the details now) where it seemed Lucas was making a direct critique of GWB--but maybe I'm imagining things, projecting my own disgust with Dubya.

theorris said...

I think I've ranted on the movie enough.

I will say, however, that I liked it for the most part, particularly the over-the-top Palpatine.

OH THE YOUNGLINGS! WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE YOUNGLINGS!

Brent said...

Sorry my comments are yesterday's news but what do you want from a first time blogger? I'd unfairly wanted Episode 3 to be Beethoven's 9th. Instead I found it tedious to endure, although visually magnificent.

I appreciated it intellectually, finally understanding Annakin's motives and background, but nothing moved me emotionally. I think Lucas' use of dissolves and other old-fashioned techniques is an homage to the movies of his (our?) youth. Houwever, the stilted dialogue and, in particular, Hayden Christiansen's maniquin impersonation were unfortunate accidents. I'd take Episodes 4 & 5 any day. If they were made with today's technical know-how, but without Ford & Fisher, I don't think there would have been the interest in further films 20 years later.

On the other hand, I literally found myself on the edge of my seat for War of the Worlds.

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