The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Friday, May 20, 2005

REVENGE OF THE SITH

By far the best of the three new ones, and possibly better than Return of the Jedi. I'm much more of a Trek man than a Wars guy, but I have a decent level of appreciation for the latter (as in, "I wasn't bored by Episodes I and II").

--First, the political thing: Revenge of the Sith is much more blatantly political than, say, The Incredibles. It's ironic, since episodes I and II had many more details about the political situation in the Republic than this movie, which is more about their result. But for those of you looking for a thinly-veiled anti-Bush message, you came to the right place. Take it, Natalie Portman:
"So this is how democracy ends... To thunderous applause."
Now you, Hayden Christiansen and Ewan McGregor!
"Either you're with us, or with the enemy".

"Only the Sith speak in absolutes!"
Want more? Consider that everything falls to shit because the Senate grants unprecedented power to the leaders of the Republic. Take that, Patriot Act and nuclear option!

--Acting: Still kind of shitty, but that's not the point. The pacing and the visual majesty of the film -- operatic, as many people have described it -- makes the stone-faced, Britishish simple English a negligible issue. Ewan is more Guinnessy than ever, Hayden only offends us with an attempt at romantic dialog once, and has a great reaction shot when Padme (Portman) tells him she's pregnant (with Luke and Leia). The big acting exception is Ian McDiarmid as Chancellor Palpatine, who takes Anakin under his wing, seducing him with the movie's juciest speeches. He stands out, a Merovingian in a sea of Neo.

--The Quirk factor: This has always been an important part of Star Wars' heart. Every one of those movies has a series of machines that make cute, or funny noises. The droids are hilarious every time the make a sound ("you're welcome"), and R2D2 is about as funny as he/it's ever been.

--Hayden's hair: outstanding! Jim Morrison IS Darth Vader!

--While Hayden's descent into evil is portrayed well enough, I agree with SF Chronicle critic Mick LaSalle that seeing Anakin do the worst thing he does in the movie (I won't spoil) would have been better than cutting away from it.

--Every shot is captivating, with more attention paid to each backdrop than in any other movie in recent memory. For instance, a 15-second scene in which a female Jedi is massacred takes place in the most lushly-colored world I have seen on screen since the schmaltzy What Dreams May Come, and I wish I could've seen more of it.

--More Yoda fighting, woohoo!

Anyway, it was the only one of the new trilogy movies during which the audience applauded during the ending credits at my showing. Congrats, George, you didn't fuck up.

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