New Star Wars... any early reports?

May 18, 23:31 by Bluejack
So the news is showing lots of people camping out for Star Wars. Anyone here have a chance to take in a preview or opening night show?

It's pretty hard for me to care about it too much since the experience of watching every Star Wars since Strikes Back has been pure agony. Nonetheless, there have been a few moments to enjoy along the way, and the previews for this one made it look a bit more enticing than the other "prequels."

May 19, 01:57 by Dotar Sojat
Just got back from seeing EIII. Wow. It's pretty cool. Very cool. You anti-ewok people finally get your cock- I mean your wookies.

Man.... how to say this without any spoilers... when Anakin turns to the dark side, he turns to the dark side. Holy crap. Darth Sidious is as emotionally manipulative in this movie as he is in ESB. When he seduces, he really seduces.

Fight scenes, awesome. Plot... better than the other prequels, but still has some gaps. The romance angle is the weakest part, but I guess you have to give it a pass. To justify Obi Wan's later behavior (and you'll know what I'm talking about when you see it), I think Lucas should have shown Anakin's treachery in all its gory detail.

Was it worth standing in line two hours and waiting another hour in the theatre? Yes. If nothing more than to ritualistically end my childhood. Does it make up for the first two prequels? Not really. But it is a good movie.

May 20, 01:55 by Bluejack
Well, Dotar, that's a bit more encouraging than some things I've heard (but never listen to the BBC discuss Hollywood -- those guys really know how to take the fun out of everything, which is undoubtedly a major contributor to the long lasting success of Monty Python's Flying Circus).

Anyone else get to it yet? I think I'm going to go midweek next week. Gee... someone should try to get a critical review in to IROSF for the June issue! Two months in a row with intelligent, timely, film discussions would really feel good. Anyone?
May 26, 00:25 by travitt hamilton
I saw ROTS on Monday, and I have to say, I was excited, moved--satisfied. I don't consider myself to be a fanboy; I have never played the video games, haven't read a novelization since about 1983, don't own a lightsaber. Also, I detested, absolutely hated Return of the Jedi. I think it was by far the worst of the series. Way worse even than Phantom Menace. I have over the last few weeks watched the entire series and Return is a huge, steaming pile of bantha putu. And on re-watching it recently, I discovered that it was even worse than I remembered (except for the FX). And it wasn't the Ewoks, it was the opening sequence in Jabba's palace and on the barge that sucked so colossally hard. Not only did this entire sequence make no sense, it seemed to be intentionally, aggressively stupid.

But anyway, unlike a few other reviews I've read, I actually found Anakin's motivation(s) to turn to the Dark Side to be essentially believable. The way he just seemed to be broken down, bit by bit, by the lack of trust exhibited by the Jedi Council, by Palpatine's expert massaging of his breakdown into a full-blown existential crisis seemed to me to be well-handled. Why do good people turn bad? I thought this was as good a set of reasons as any.

It became clear to me in a way I had not considered before (since we didn't know what parts were Anakin and which were Vader) that the dismemberment and reassembly of Anakin's body was a metaphor for the dismemberment and re-combination of his psyche.

The visuals were top-drawer, naturally. The opening sequence following Anakin and Obi Wan through the space battle to their rescue of Palpatine is pretty amazing, as are the shots of the star destroyers in dry dock, and hovering overhead. There was something unsettling about being able to look up and see these things floating in the sky, rather than in space, as we've come to expect. It seemed...not right, somehow. Lots of good light saber-action, too.

Ewan MacGregor gets to swashbuckle a bit as Obi Wan. I really like his athleticism and physicality in the role. I appreciate the way he handles the light saber like a slugger handling the bat--with almost effortless grace. Ian McDiarmid's Palpatine/Sidious is slimy, yet satisfying. I thought his Force-enhanced swordplay was pretty cool.

So, the quibbles. First of all, does it really make any Goddamned difference if "There is still good" in Anakin? The guy is a serial murderer. Of younglings ferchrissakes.

By the end of Ep III Obi Wan has defeated two Sith Lords (he must be kicking himself in the Empire Strikes Back afterlife for not finishing Anakin off when he has the chance on Mustafar), so we know he is a kick-ass Jedi, indeed. So why does Old Man Dooku have such an easy time with him?

Yoda's explanation for the Force Ghost phenomena in ESB and ROTJ is lame, especially since Qui Gonn never returns (unless Lucas photoshopped him in for the special editions, which I haven't seen).

Umm...the love stuff. Also, no midrift-baring outfits for Padme.

The killing of the Jedi, while cool, seemed perfunctory, although having Vader cement his turn to the Dark Side by killing the younglings at the Temple was genius. In A New Hope we are told, by Tarkin (I think), that Vader has hunted down all the Jedi. So having the clones do it leaves him with what do to for the next twenty odd years? I had envisioned a massacre at the temple followed by decades of inter-episode Jedi extermination. Also, how many Jedi are there? And why does the hot green one not get more screen time?

How come R2D2 can do all this cool stuff in the prequels but in the Original Trilogy he(?) is little more than a rolling garbage can/connection to the Imperial internet?

Why could they not have wiped C3PO's personality as well as his mind (although his presence and "comic" relief was kept mercifully to a minimun in Ep III).

Droid design in general for the prequel trilogy bugs me. Why would the droids have to actually talk to each other in english? Wouldn't the beeps and whistles of R2D2 be more likely? In TPM a droid is using binoculars. Wouldn't it make more sense for them to just have telescoping eyes. And why do they have handheld blasters and comlinks? These items should be integrated into the design to be believable at all, even in terms of pulpy space opera.

Coolness. In one of the city-scapes on Coruscant, at the bottom of the frame, a Correllian freighter (Millenium Falcon -style) is landing.

"A good relationship with the Wookies, I have."

Chewie!!!

Cinnabon hair.

The sounds of the mask sealing and the air being suctioned out of The Helmut just before The Breathing starts.

The "It...is...alive" slab and stiff walk when Vader takes his first steps in the suit.

General Grevious and his retro-cool star fighter.

The skeleton of the Death Star.

A geeky question: If Darth Plagueis could manipulate the midichlorians, does that mean that he somehow caused Anakin's virgin birth?

I also have to second Dotar's notion of putting my childhood to rest with this film.
May 26, 06:35 by Abizer Nasir
After seeing Pod Racer video game advert that is TPM I swore I wouldn't see the next two films at the cinema. I even waited for EP II to get to free to air before I watched it. (I also steadfastly refused to celebrate the new Millenium until 31/12/2000, but that's a different rant).

And now I'm hearing good things about ROTS - mostly about how it closes the story loops, rather than it being an excellent film. And now I hear my own Dark Side calling to me, telling me to Go see the film!.

I, too, am no fanboy. I've never played the games or had the figures, or read the books (although I have got Karen Traviss's Hard Command in my pile - again, another story and please excuse the pun). And the telly ads for the video game are strengthening my resolve even more. Yet I still have this nagging itch to go and see the film in the cinema.

Write ups like this don't help. Travitt seems to have enjoyed it, even acknowledging its faults. After all, what film is perfect? Perhaps I'm being too much of a grinch, but I don't know what to do. Will I go and see it this weekend? No. But, if I get a call asking if I want to grab some beers and go see it after work on Friday I'll have my Jedi hoodie on before you can say, "Ready, am I".

I doubt I'm the only one who feels like this. Anyone else?
May 26, 08:18 by Bluejack
Dude. At the very worst, this is fluff summer block-buster filmmaking. It's not important enough to integrate into a major personal vow.

Darth Bluejackius whispers: See the film!

I still haven't, but hope to soon. (I have sort of been hoping for a rainy day here in Seattle, but it looks like the spectacularly good weather has arrived. It's entirely possible we won't have another rainy day until November, so I may just have to go today or tomorrow.)
May 26, 09:50 by Joy Ralph
Gee... someone should try to get a critical review in to IROSF for the June issue! Two months in a row with intelligent, timely, film discussions would really feel good.


I have heard some noises made in this direction... (scans inbox hopefully)
Jun 7, 12:06 by Bluejack
Well, I did finally get to see Ep. III, and I have to say, the sets were pretty great.

That's about all I can say, though. I didn't think much of the acting or the story itself. Anakin's moment of choice was almost nonsensical, which was particularly disappointing after a nice slow build. I could go on at enormous length about *why* it was nonsensical, and what it *should* have been, but I don't think it's really worth the typing.

I could also put together a pretty lengthy list of gripes from nits to inconsistencies with the original episodes. Also probably not worth the typing.

Like the other two prequels, I think the people who did the set design and CGI and costumes should all be given the highest awards possible. Incredible creativity and beauty. The mix of ship designs is brilliant. This is science fiction the way it *should* look. I just wish that the rest of the series were up to the same level of quality. It's as though someone dumped hundreds of millions of dollars, and hired the most creative artists of the age, and put them at the beck and call of a grade-school christmas pageant.
Nov 19, 19:16 by D. Nicklin-Dunbar
I know that this is several months after the hype has died down. In this time I have unwisely wasted it by watching the original trilogy and the second trilogy and taking careful note of the inconsistancies between the two. I have discarded what I think were nitpicky or pedantic. This left me with no less than 18 major, plot killing, impossible to reconcile by even the biggest fanboy self-delusion, discontinuities. The kind that would get manuscripts tossed into the trash by editors. The kind that only rank amateurs would make.

And so I must ask: Has George Lucas even seen Star Wars? If so, why in the world would he allow such egregious errors to plague the scripts let alone get screen time. Obviously Lucas couldn't be bothered to hire someone to cross reference the stories (the kind of thing that fans would do for free), or do the work himself.

Here is a fine example of the kinds of errors I mean:
In Empire... the ghost of Ben Kenobi states clearly that Luke was the Jedis' last hope. Yoda states clearly that there is another. Kenobi does not know about Luke's twin sister. Then in Revenge... Ben Kenobi is playing midwife to the Skywalker twins.

Whoops.

Given these sorts of mistakes, and the fact that the second trilogy is nothing more than extended merchandising advertisements, I do not understand how anyone could give these films anysort of positive review. Like The Matrix sequels, FX do not a movie make.

Shame on you George Lucas. Shame.
   

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