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neurological dryer lint

dirty deeds... and the dunderchief


happiness is what you need so bad

so. episode III.

it was pretty good... honestly i shouldn't feel as badly as i do about the movie: formula-wise it's exactly what i wanted - far more action, far more focus on the jedi/sith conflict, phenominal battles...

so why do i feel almost betrayed by this movie? why did i walk out without the rush that i had after episodes I and II? because i should have been rejoicing, excited that the saga is complete and the story is 'finished'. why was i immediately criticizing it instead of feeling wowed by the cool factor?


here's why - it just felt, i don't know. heartless. technical. like lucas was just checking the boxes.

"OK... so we need to have anakin go to the dark side, become palpatine's apprentice. how should we do that? i guess we just have him, you know, tell palpatine that he's his apprentice. that he'll serve him. have him throw the word 'master' in there a few times, have palpatine rename him to darth vader... ok cool, can we move on to the next scene?"

"well we need to have obi-wan take out anakin at the end of the battle... crap, how do we do that? i mean, he's gotta cripple him and cut off all his limbs... so... yeah, i guess he'll just, like, jump at obi-wan, and obi-wan will cut off all his limbs. yeah. we can fill in the dialog there later, it's not important. ok. next?"

"oh crap. we need to connect this to a new hope. ok. so we have padme name the kids... we need a shot of bail organa on alderaan, and one of obi-wan bringing luke to owen and beru... yeah, we still need to figure out why C3-PO doesn't remember obi-wan and luke and the skywalker farm. didn't we say that his memory got wiped? ok, throw a line in there about his memory getting wiped. give it to bail organa, i guess."

"so that's a wrap? good."

"wait! we never took care of that whole 'qui-gonn not disappearing after he died' thing. well what do we do about that? i don't know either. have the editor throw a line to yoda about how qui-gonn will re-train obi-wan when he arrives on tatooine. no, we don't need to show it, just throw it in there to appease the fans, it's not important."

yeah. that's how it felt to me. 95% of the effort spent on cool effects and 5% on choreographing lightsaber fights (a worthy 5%). wait, did you forgot to work on a credible, intelligent, interesting story? well i guess scrape some of that 5% off. cool.

lucas' dialog is laughable (not a news flash) - he makes cool scifi/fantasy flicks, though, so it hasn't ever bothered me too much before. but when the lack of writing effort actually intrudes and breaks the whole movie... episode I and II, yeah, they had horrible dialogue too, but those were like children's movies compared to what III should have been. you don't expect shakespeare when watching free willy. but III was IT for lucas - this is where you bust out your big finish, your PG-13, daring, turning point of the story, the must-read chapter in the book, the big season finale you've anticipated for the whole year. and you take two of the most CRITICAL scenes and absolutely blow them with poorly thought out writing.

cally mentioned one: anakin chooses to save palpatine instead of mace windu. they built up this big inner turmoil about which way anakin should go - follow the teachings of the jedi and continue on, or abandon it and pursue the dark side and learn the higher powers? so he makes his call - takes out mace windu - and then sits and says "What have I done?". the struggle is still there...

then it all goes to crap. the emporer approaches him... and he drops to the ground and becomes his apprentice. the turmoil is gone. actually all emotional content is gone - like he's reading a cue card, anakin pledges himself to the emporer. he makes the choice that six films are based on. and it's the most pathetically written and directed scene in the entire movie.

the second pothole was obi-wan's cheap as crap defeat of anakin... who rides machines and platforms through rivers of lava, all while fighting like a madman... and then one stupid jump and obi-wan takes him out. obviously anakin perfected the jedi 'surf on lava' trick and force choke and the kill-50-droids-at-once move... but a simple jump, yeah, that's too much for him. the end of the most spectacular fight scene in six movies... and anakin goes out in probably the cheapest way possible.

do you realize this? two of the most important, legendary scenes in this story's history feel like a third-grader wrote them. i was more than excited for the first half - even through the god-awful scenes between padme and anakin - but after the mace/palpatine fight, i just felt derailed.


maybe i'll watch it again and feel better. it had its good parts, no doubt. i'll watch it again. i'll even buy it, because of those worthwhile pieces. but i wanted to like at LEAST this one for more reasons than "it's a star wars movie". no dice.

listening to: led zeppelin - what is and what should never be


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