Monday, October 20, 2008

Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith

Finally got to see this, albeit with two boys clinging to me and the last reel with the sound turned down. (Oops. Didn't check to see that this was PG-13). Liam pointed out that the thing that made the scary parts scary was the sound. And sure enough, with no sound, no music and no screaming and yelling, the adrenaline levels went waaaay down. The sound came back up for the necessary post-duel exposition that wraps up the story ("this is the boring part," said Liam).

The boys were prepared for the plot, knew many of the characters and planets from library books and The Clone Wars tv movie from the Cartoon Network, although after so many explosions and light sabers duels it's apparently hard to remember that the infant Luke will be a young adult in the next movie and it's the same person ("Whose house is that? What planet are they on? What happened to Luke's father?")

Satisfying, partially since the movie was an improvement over the previous two prequels, but mainly because it puts into place the story details that set in motion the first movie.

Absolutely stunning visuals... although I kept thinking of Hawaii Five-0, with long tracking shots of cars driving down the highway, and parking in front of office buildings, just to remind everybody "Hey, we're in Hawaii!" Lucas has so many subplots he's juggling, he has to put in establishing shots to remind us what planet we're on now, and each planet has to be distinct, just to remind us how big and diverse the galaxy is and how hard his art department is working.

But I wondered if the critics, who had a nominal duty to pass judgement on the film for those who hadn't seen the other five, thought it worked as a standalone. Some of them did, some didn't.

And then I found one critic who absolutely lambasted it. Hated it with a fiery passion. I burst out laughing reading his review.
The general opinion of “Revenge of the Sith” seems to be that it marks a distinct improvement on the last two episodes, “The Phantom Menace” and “Attack of the Clones.” True, but only in the same way that dying from natural causes is preferable to crucifixion.

Anthony Lane, The New Yorker.

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