The International Writers Magazine: Review
OF THE SHAMELESS MARKETEER
A POST-APOCALYPTIC THOUGHT ABOUT
"STAR WARS EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH"
Abp. Dr. Antonio Hernandez,
of breath and not really worried about why, here I come, screeching
to a halt to comment once again on a particular horror. I never
use that word "horror" lightly, and I am doing a rare
thing: film review. But what I saw was a very rare horror indeed.
My dear friend and
I went to see George Lucas' latest installment of "Star Wars".
This one, "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith", was more
like Revenge of Montezuma. In the first place, we were in some kind
of weird hepcat theater, built on the ruins of a solid old 1940s theater
which my father took me to enjoy many times during my childhood. This
place has been remodeled into a glorified sports bar, with chairs and
tables, so we tried imagining we were at some kind of 21st century opera
house to hear Mozart. We did try to celebrate the fact that we have
a theater again, having been deprived since 1999.
We both wanted this "Star Wars" experience to be a good and
memorable one, since it will be the last. What strikes me about "Revenge
of the Sith" [hereafter ROS, I'm too lazy to keep typing it]
is how very, very awful it was. The picture was blurred, we didn't seem
to have the trademark Lucas THX sound (more like 1960s POS sound), and
our seats were killing our butts. This dovetailed with the stomach-churning
lack of overall film quality. We said what we said when we saw Lucas'
"Episode I: The Phantom Menace". We said it was THE WORST
movie we had ever seen.
After I've had a night to sleep on it. I guess it's morning-after regrets.
I won't say that it is the worst. "Phantom Menace" still ranks
in the top five, but not ROS. The reason for this is Yoda. Half of ROS
is Yoda; he saves and carries this dreadful piece of trash. The computer
cartoon has finally come to life, more or less, but his scenes and the
action really satisfy. In fact, to be fair, Yoda had a major scene that
actually made me shoot my fist delightedly into the air and blurt, "YES!!",
something I have never done in my life.
Which is a good thing, because I can't fathom how George Lucas was otherwise
allowed to release this mess. It is really two films: a great Yoda film
for the second hour and the rest is trash. With an absolute sonic smear
for a soundtrack (John Williams' ears should be boxed), cinematography
that looks like one of those documentarists running from a volcano while
trying to film it, and scenes that reduce the cardboard characters to
the size of ants, I knew it had to have been about 1959 since I last
saw a movie that was technically this bad. It was in some ways a joke
of an attempt at a horror film.
I will take a page from Lucas and his mad journal, and assume everyone
knows the basic plotline. It's delivered, and none too badly. The problem
here is Lucas' usual one: he's trying to concentrate on all the wrong
things. He thinks a cartoonish image will play well on the silver screen,
but it can't. Not the way he wants it to do. Half of this film is comprised
of horrible battle scenes. As usual, it is on a grand scale and the
eye simply can't take in anything from the great blur. The viewer is
doing something no one should do during a movie: looking at the floor
The acting is dreadfully canned, as one expects, but this time it is
punctuated by Ian McDairmad (Palpatine) and his revolting scene-chewing.
Maybe that helped sanctify Yoda. I said it three years ago: Lucas would
have too much to cram into his third episode, and he would disappoint.
I was right. Ultimately, beauty will be in the eye of the viewer. I
can only say it generally stank. No doubt most will disagree with me.
Perhaps the strong point of the film is its weakest. Lucas manages to
tell the "rest of the story" elegantly, albeit in shorthand.
He flies from one scene to another, not badly or carelessly (until the
last half hour). He manages to putty the cracks quite well. After all,
he is "setting the stage" for the 1977 film that changed the
world. Lucas just doesn't rise to the challenge. My biggest let-down
was the fact that he took an essentially good movie and filmed it into
a horrible, nearly un-watchable video game cartoonfest. It is clear
he wanted a horrifying plot, disturbing and dark. He blew it, he isn't
any good at doing Frankenstein or even Frank Miller. But then, that's
the kind of idiotic stuff George Lucas does.
There was and remains little excitement surrounding the film and its
release. Nothing like the original film, nothing like the undeserving
"Phantom Menace", and even "Attack of the Clones",
not as well received as it should have been, got some rave reviews.
But this film isn't going to get a lot. Only Yoda will save the day.
Clearly Lucas is intent upon killing the magic he created and one cannot
blame him. Why not go out with a whimper? Who cares?
Well, everyone knows what happens to directors with that attitude.
© Rev Antonio
Hernandez May 23rd 2005
all rights reserved - All views personal to the writer