Friday, May 20, 2005

Postscript: Revenge of the Sith: I still want my Darth Vader coffee mug!

Revenge of the Sith, the last of the prequel movies of Star Wars, finally started its commercial run of the local theatres yesterday. Originally I had plan to spend the day getting my check, as payment for being a member of the panel reviewing a Masteral thesis, and writing. Unfortunately, when I got to the cashier's office of the University I was informed that the check was not yet ready. So no money. I then decided to trek to our local mall and find if I can watch Revenge of the Sith. Initially, I was planning to watch in the premiere theatre, the ones with Lazy-boy seats and with bottomless sodas and popcorn, but as fate and fortune would have it all seats were taken. So I opted for the Cinema Five, the biggest cinema in the complex. The number of people lined up to watch the movies was legion. I was finally able to enter the cinema around 12.30, while waiting had lunch and dropped by the local bookstore, and the movie finished at around 3.30 or so. As I came out there were still a sea people engulfing the ticker box.

My thoughts on Revenge of Sith nice special effects and to a degree watchable because you want to see the events that led to the transformation of Anakin Skywalker to Darth Vader. However, Empire Strikes Back it is not. Flash and pomp will only carry a story so far. The rest of the way it is the storytelling that matters.

Reader beware/Caveat lector: some comments will contain spoilers and will probably affect your viewing pleasure. So consider yourself forewarned, there be spoilers in the next set of texts. Avoid if you must if not then please proceed. Furthermore, for die-hard Star Wars fans please remember these are mere opinions and not pronouncements. I do not claim them to be the truth, even if it is my point of view, just only opinions and feelings.

First, What I liked about the movie:

Nice special effects

Like any film by Lucas it is full of special effects and it makes the movie credible visually. It would seem that you are in space seeing the fight between the Republic and the Separatist forces. And the action of the droids seemed all to real. In other words the merging of the live action and the computer-generated imagery (CGI) was in a word flawless/perfect.

The Acting was credible, with a set of top hollywood actors how could you go wrong? What a difference three or more box-office records make. The movie series started with a host of just starting actors (Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher) at the time, two critically acclaimed English actors (Alec Guiness and Peter Cushing) and actors who played composite parts of a single character (In the case of Darth Vader you have James Earl Jones doing the voice, David Prowse acting).

For the fans of the movie series, especially the first three, all loose ends were tied up. All things are explained. We see the fall of Anakin Skywalker and the rise of Darth Vader. The death of Padme and the birth of the Skywalker twins, Leia and Luke. We witness the rise of the Empire and from the fall of the republic. And catch glimpses of the Death Star and Grand Moff Tarkin (played by Wayne Pygram for Science fiction fans he is bet remembered now for playing Scorpius in Farscape), Informed of how the Jedi Master Yoda and Jedi Knight ObiWan Kenobi were able to able to roam and communicate with Luke even after their death. Possibly also explains why their bodies disappeared immediately upon death.

Disappointments with the movie:

The storytelling aspect of the movie was disappointing. It would seem that Lucas relied too much on special effects to get the audience attention but failed to engaged the audience, me. The sory was about the descent of Anakin and the fall of the Republic, however, Lucas relied too much on visual gimmickry to expand the story to three hours without a convincing me that Anakin the hero's fall would be that easy. His corruption merely to attain the power to stop the self-prophesied demise of his wife is unconvincing and seemed to be hastily put in place. The other factors like his growing disenchantment with the Jedis, his friendship with Palpatine and his secret marriage with Padme were not used extensively to justify his alliances to the dark side. Failure to exploit his secret marriage to Padme, which would have been ripe for plot and intrigue since it was forbidden for Jedis to marry, was for me a critical mistake in the storytelling. Imagine if the marriage was discovered and he was subsequently expelled from the Jedi order. Such situations are of course and in the realm of hindsight and fan fiction, alternative stories to the Revenge of the Sith.

Lucas also wasted a lot characters in the movie. Most of them like Mace Windu and Count Dooku he simply disposed of quickly. Christopher Lee's exit seems so fast he looked like Dracula running away from Grand Moff Tarkin ... Peter Cushing. Mace Windu gave the same look he gave before he was eaten by cranially-pumped up shark in Deep Blue Sea. And the fight between Darth Sideous and Yoda was not done as good as the fight scene between Dooku and Yoda in Episode II. Furthermore , the fight achieved nothing in the story, it did not move the story nor did it contribute to it, we just know that the two of them fought it out and ended in a draw. In an earlier scene Darth Sideous was even beaten by Mace Windu, only the betryal of Anakin saved his Sith hide. At least Mace Windu died but Lucas made Yoda flee! There should have been a compelling reason for Yoda to flee since in the scenes before their confrontation Yoda made it quite plain before his intent to destroy the Sith.

The script itself was trite. Riddled with cliches from all previous movies. It sort of becomes annoying when you hear "I have a bad feeling about this" in nearly all the episodes and by different characters.

In the end the movie will probably end up being one of the worst Star Wars movie, it being equivalent to the Star Trek movie "The Search for God". A three hour movie full of flash and sound of thunder but no lightning. Sure you will be compelled to watch because you want to see how the prequel ends.But then again that reason is only good when you watch it the first time. It really was fortuitous that I did not spend my money on that premiere seat.

I still am and will be a Star Wars fan especially for the first three movies, Episode Four to Five. Maybe it would have been better if Episodes One, Two and Three were made into one prequel.

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    Blogger The Consigliere said...

    Agree on much we do. I also felt that many of the plot devices that could have been used to make the transformation credible were wastefully reverted or disgarded:!1p8w_qKplW_3u6QPS_aqqlOg!462.entry

    4:22 PM  
    Blogger juned said...

    Read your blog I did. And Yes I did find the lack of plot devices disturbing.

    3:16 PM  

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