Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Pithed about Sith

No, I’m not really pithed, but who can resist a lisp joke? Even the New York Times reviewer couldn’t resist. Anyway, the whole creative services department where I work saw the new Star Wars film on Friday, and I’ve been thinking a lot about Star Wars over the weekend.

I’d probably rank this new Revenge of the Sith third out of the six movies, overall better than Return of the Jedi. However, I may revise that if I ever get around to watching Jedi again. At the same time, I must say that Sith still has too much of the flatness of the other prequels, with little or no playfulness, charismatic characters, or truly dramatic sequences. But at least it doesn’t have Ewoks. (Actually, I don’t hate the Ewoks as much as lots of other people, but there is something overall too fluffy about the movie.)

My coworker keeps trying to convince me that my dissatisfaction with the prequels comes because I’m old now, whereas I still view the original episodes through the eyes of a teen. However, over the weekend, I watched New Hope and Empire Strikes Back again, even though I’m the kind of person who very rarely sees movies a second time. Damn, they’re just good stories told well, with lots of fun, drama, and imagination. The Han Solo character really makes a difference, but even Yoda is much more interesting than he is in the prequels.

I though much of Sith was dramatically wan and visually overwrought, but I absolutely loved how it set up the stage for New Hope. As I rewatched New Hope over the weekend, I found myself wondering how much George Lucas knew and when he knew it. I assume about 20 years pass between Sith and New Hope, but Obi Wan looks a lot older than that. Overall, though, everything seems to dovetail quite well.

Anyway, my favorite is still Empire Strikes Back, although New Hope is a very close second. Empire just has so many cool elements and surprises, whereas the prequels’ attempts at similar things just don’t impress or satisfy in the same way. So often, the prequels feel like they’re just going through the motions dramatically so that all the digital wizardry can be displayed.

My five-year-old turned six on Saturday, and he received lots of Star Wars stuff, including a light saber that turns red to represent Darth Vader or blue to represent Anakin Skywalker (by the way, it’s humorous to me that my spell checker recognizes “Anakin”). Austin loves the movies, although he probably won’t get to see Sith until it comes out on DVD. I predict I won’t ever sit through the prequels again, although I might catch snatches of them while the kids are watching them. However, I’ll probably give the old episodes my undivided attention a few more times before I die.

1 comment:

Telkontar said...

A very accurate statement about the movies. However, if I were sent to a deserted island with only one SW movie, I would take Sith.
Although I found the acting and dialogue laughable at times [I think I annoyed some hardcore fans at my showing], the story very well set up Episodes IV-VI.
The only glaring problem of continuity was Padme's death. Leia remembers her mother (so stated in VI) and a mother would not have given up on life. She should have been assassinated by the Emperor 2 years later. This ending was best for this movie, but did not seem to dovetail well.
The visuals may have been overwrought, but that is desirable in SciFi. The action was excellent. The story was constrained somewhat by how it had to end.
AS for the other SW shows, Ep. IV was the first of its kind and no experience can ever replicate that. It's a swsshbuckler and hints of more to come.
Ep. V is the best cinema. Darker, more serious, and even brave enough to be non-optimistic. ("Frodo was alive, but taken by the enemy -- Volume II can always be dark and foreboding.)