Saturday, May 21, 2005

Revenge of the Pith

I just got back from taking the Number One Son to see the latest and LAST (thank heavens) Star Wars-ish movie. I managed to make it through the full two and one-half hours (Good God, Lucas!) with only one minor potty break. I timed said potty break at the beginning of some scene where Annakin was moaning over something or other, and came back in the middle of some other scene where Annakin was moaning over something or other. That's where this movie really bogs down - with Annakin. This pimply-faced non-actor couldn't emote his way out of a paper bag (to use a well-worn cliche), yet we're supposed to believe he's becoming the Dark Lord of the Sith or something big and powerful like that. I didn't believe it until he had the cool (but now somewhat dated) black suit with the helmet and James Earl Jones's voice.

Remember how the Death Star trench flying scene, the climax of Star Wars, had us clinging to our seats? It just goes to show how much we and movies have changed in the last thirty years. This movie starts out with some badass CG space-battle flying that is waaaaay more adrenalin rushed than that trench scene. The savvy nine-year old didn't even flinch.

Here's another observation: Dude, that Obi-Wan has some busy tailor. In every other scene, he throws off his nifty brown Jedi cloak and jumps into some battle. Fight, fight, fight, through space ships or temples or jungles or weird lava planets, and then in the next scene, boom, he has his brown cloak back. How does he do it?

Nice job making the Uncle Owen/Aunt Beru actors to look vaguely like younger versions of the original Star Wars actors. There's even a Governor Tarkin look-alike on Darth Vader's command ship, though he looked a lot more like Odo on close-up. Hmmmm, that could mean a crossover and a whole new franchise! We'll call it Trek Wars.

And I have to echo the scathing New Yorker reviewer here: How is it that Padme (Om Madme Padme Om) can zip across the galaxy in hours but yet never has any pre-natal care? Nobody knows she has twins until right before they pop out, and then she has these instant names for them (while giving birth and dying simultaneously). Kyle asked me how she knew their names so quickly, and my reply was that she must have seen Empire Strikes Back.

I kept waiting for there to be some major cataclism that would explain how in the next 20 (saga) years technology takes a major dive. Yoda will go from being a CG light-sabre weilding toughie to being a foam-rubber Muppet who sounds like Grover. There won't be droids running all over the place with guns (oh, wait, I guess they put those in the re-write-re-release "Episode IV" CG-Masturbatory session they did a few years back).

I'm glad we went to the 9:30 am show, because when we came out there was a crowd for the afternoon shows and all these dorks hanging around wearing stormtrooper outfits and stuff. I think the theatre pays these people.

So I guess the upshot is, skip the whole thing except for the last half hour or so of the movie. Oh, except that R2-D2 gets to actually kick some bad-guy butt in the first 20 minutes or so.

My dream still is that in, say, 2027, they will re-release the original Star Wars again, in its original cut, without all the crap they added later. With the original trench scene filmed in someone's garage. Woo-hoo!