#13 -- My Journey Out: New Experiences
Interesting Court Ruling

Episode Three: Second Discussion

No one entered into my first discussion topic based on the film, so I'm not sure anyone will be interested in this. I finally saw the film a second time, so I feel competent to write my review.

With both episodes one and two I greatly enjoyed watching the movies on opening night and liked them, despite all the obvious flaws as films. I did not feel the same with this movie. On opening day, I didn't like it. I liked most of it, but not all of it. I liked it more the second time, but still feel that my basic objection is correct.

Most of the movie is good. It still has the typical problems of the prequels -- bad writing and bad acting. Has such a serious, heavy plot ever been carried by so many simple sentences? And Lucas has the amazing ability to take fine actors and get the worst performances of their careers. That said, I thought that the acting was better than the last film.

As with the previous two, it is visually stunning. The opening sequence is incredible. The camera follows the Jedi Figthers as they move across the top of a ship. When they dive over the side, you enter this amazing battle. The screen is full of ships flying and firing. It is quite something to behold. I've gasped both times.

Plus the overall plot is incredible. Lucas doesn't pull any punches. It is at times a brutal film to watch. My only complaint here is that I think there is too much in the one film. Three years ago I felt that Episode II had not advanced the story enough and that there was too much left to do in Episode III. The film would have benefitted from a slower pace of plot and character development, especially since it seems that the story covers something close to six months of time.

For twenty years we have debated how Anakin turned to Vader. This is not exactly how I thought it happened, but my version wasn't as dark and disturbing. I like Lucas' version better, because it reveals the moral ambiguities that haunted Anakin (see my previous post).

However, I think the film fails at the crucial moment, in what is, in fact, the crucial moment in the six film narrative. Taken as six films, the central plot is the damnation and redemption of Anakin Skywalker. As such, the two most important moments are his turning to the Dark Side and his destruction of the Emperor. The latter is very well played. In fact, given that we now have the entire story, the end of Return is even stronger.

But I don't think the scene where he turns to the Dark Side works. Up to that moment he is filled with confusion at the moral ambiguities around him. All the groundwork is laid. But the actual moment just doesn't work for me. It doesn't make sense. He wants to be a master, so why so easily give allegiance again? He seems morally confused, so why 30 seconds later does he clearly pitch his tent with the enemy. He seems to want to defend the Jedi Code from Mace Windu's violations of it, but then himself slaughters Jedi only minutes later.

I love the movie before this moment and love it after this moment. But this moment doesn't work for me. Which means the film doesn't work for me. Which, sadly, means that the entire narrative arc of the six films has a gaping hole, for me.

Comments

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Eric Mariott

You know, I kinda agree with the issue of the two minutes of going from defending the Jedi Code to becoming a Sith Lord. I have become jaded and complacent with George Lucas. Lucas reminds me of the contrast/comparison between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Episodes 4, 5, and 6, he is like Steve Jobs. Inventive, using much better dialogue, and telling the story more informatively than Episodes 1, 2, and 3. By the nineties, Lucas become Bill Gates, dumping tons of money into the product and less imagination. Supposedly, Lucas has known how Anakin Skywalker was going to become Darth Vader for 30 years (watch the interview on the DVD collection). I don't feel this was the truth with lucas. The way episodes 1, 2, and 3 unfolded were in my opinion like a college paper that got started the night before. Sure it had good parts, but it was clearly unfinished. I like the idea of the struggle and the fall of Anakin Skywalker, the lucas didn't push the envelope.

Star Wars was my VERY FIRST movie to watch at a Drive In theatre when I was 3 and a half years old. Since that time I wanted to know who that was behind that mask and why he got there. I have known Darth Vader longer than most of my friends, and was very disappointed to see that his story was truly squished into 242 minutes of special effects, a forced cameo of Chewbacca, a pitiful group of acting by a superb set of actors, and Samuel L. getting thrown out of a window. Mace Windu deserved a much more climactic death. I guess I am upset that my children, who both love Star Wars, are being cheated and baffled by bullshit in the way of special effects and lukewarm acting. The guy that played Governor Tarkin during the death star construction scene was scary. He looked way too much like Peter Cushing. This movie gets my money a second time, however, to take my son again to see it. Maybe I will see something I missed during the opening night midnight viewing three rows from the front.

Juan Penalosa

yawn, the movie was painfully boring. brenner told me i fell asleep on his shoulder for a full 23 minutes. it wasn't my fault the movie was 'tarded.

Juan Penalosa

p.s. how do i know the name eric marriot? speech or high school?

xo

Eric Mariott

I sat two rows from you in english class our senior year. I sat through you and Scott's senior speeches during our commencement. Talk about yawn and boring....

just teasing

Lindy

Hey! Have you been to FBC Shawnee??? I know ppl there!!

Trav

Boring? You've gotta be kidding me. Sure, it wasn't as action packed as, say, The Fast and the Furious, but come on...BORING?

Trav

Just kidding about the Fast-and-Furious comment. It was sarcasm gone wrong.

Marshall Behre

I havent made it to Episode III yet. The budget doesnt allow it right now, but I start at the Ada theatre this weekend so now I get it for free. Pays to wait.

Brittany Wooten

I'll be home this weekend...when are you coming to visit?

John Jarzemsky

I tried to like Episode III. I really did. Just like I tried to like Episodes I and II. This one kept feeling like it was going to be it. However, once again, George "I-like-to-shit-all-over-classics" Lucas ruined it for me.

First off: General Greivous. Obviously a character created solely to sell action figures. WITH QUAD LIGHT-SABRE DEULING ACTION. Ugh. Not to mention his character is never fully explained...I kept thinking "why the hell is a droid coughing", and then when we see he has a heart I thought "ok, I guess he's a cyborg..." Either way, he was a really stupid character.

Second Blow: Hayden Christensen, possibly one of the worst actors to hit the silver screen, a star who makes Vin Desiel look like Don Cheadle. He was just awful. Almost everybody in this movie was awful, with the exception of Emperor Palpatine.

Third Blow: The horrendous, horrendous dialogue. I know Star Wars isn't well-known for its great writing, but Christ.

The FINAL BLOW: Darth Vader ripping his chains out of his bed thingy and screaming NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I know it was an homage to Frankenstein, but it was incredibly inappropriate, cheesy, and terrible.

I hated it.

Scott Jones

The Frankenstein thing really annoyed me too. I snickered, which one shouldn't at such a serious moment.

Trav

At that scene, Toni and I both rolled our eyes and looked at each other with that "you've gotta be kidding me" look. It was so cheesy...especially after such an awesome action scene.

I think it could have been more effective if we could have seen Darth Vader physically react to the bad news about his wife...you know, drop to his knees, or hang his head, or maybe grope at nearby scenery to keep himself vertical, or something like that.

Tim

As KAren and I left the theater, I turned to her and asked, "Who's going first?"

We smiled at eah other and simultaneously said, "Bad movie." The only redeemable acting in the movie was Ewan McGregor, and even then the poor bastard didn;t have much to work with in the way of dialogue. I admit that Lucas rolled the dice with Christianson and lost big time...terrible actor. In order to feel conflicted about villians we must find something redeemable about them. They never established this about Anakin. He was always a litte pouty ass.

Only in Yoda do we see authentic nobiltity and gravitas, which the Episode 5 and 6 led us to believe was the case for the Jedi period they kept alluding back to. In no way did they establish the mystery and wonder of the Jedi, we needed a little Crouching Tiger or Last Emperor.

Scott Jones

Christiansen was a fine actor in Life as a House.

nenana

episode III hasn't made it to my town yet, but the husband and i have already decided that our children will start with IV, V, VI and then if they want to, they can go back and watch the others. they will not find out that darth vader is luke's father from us, nor from watching the episodes in order.

a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do!

Tim

I think he was typecast in Life as a House, that his range only includes pouty pain-in-the-ass teenagers.

Trav

That sort of thing is all the rage these days, Tim...practically every show on television revolves around pretty people with problems.

Joe Kendrick

Thinking about those few minutes from when Anakin struggles to kill Mace Windu and then swiftly joins the dark side, I struggled with it for a few days. But it makes sense, at least to me, when you few it from a personal perspective. He had a decision to make, either believe a Jedi who doesn't really trust him, remember Mace said before they arrested Palpatine, "If you are right, you will have my trust" The dude didn't think highly of Skywalker. So who is Anakin going to believe a man, ie emperor, who had lended him advice of several occasions and infact felt closer to than Obi Wan or some Jedi who at the moment is betraying the Jedi Code (in Anakin's mind). Looking at it from that perspective the scene works. It is just like a choice we make in life. Sometimes we chose things based on emotions, in that scene that's all there was to act on.

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