Sunday, June 05, 2005

The Light(saber) Fantastic

Congratulations George, you finally directed a decent Star Wars film! And yes, I am including A New Hope here. Oh come on, pick your jaws up. Everyone knows Episode IV was a bit poo. The only thing worth watching was Harrison Ford. My favourite film (Ewoks aside) was Return of the Jedi. Maybe because it was the first one I ever saw, or maybe because it was simply fun from beginning to end. Revenge of the Sith comes pretty close to beating it.

After a somewhat shaky start, where thousands upon thousands of dollars are flung at us in the form of special effects (so much so, that you just cannot focus), Anakin's descent to the Dark Side starts to kick in. Aside from a dubious "What have I DONE?" to a "Yes, Master" conversion in 30 seconds flat (no joke), the film surpasses all expectations I had of it. Maybe my expectations were unnaturally low because Episodes 1 and 2 can I put it...shit?

This film ties everything together, and actually has something missing from the previous two - emotion. Anyone who fails to be moved by the climactic Skywalker/Kenobi fight has a heart of blackest granite. Ok - yes, Lucas can't write for toffee and yes, the worlds that the characters populate are so incredibly sanitised that it defies logic (does no-one eat? Does no-one have natural bodily functions to take care of? How on EARTH did Amidala get pregnant - I'm assuming by IVF since the chemistry between her and Anakin is zip...), but hell - the guy can direct a battle. Whether it's Yoda vs Palpatine or Palpatine vs Windu, the fights have to be seen to be believed. This is the kind of stuff that kids dream about, and the kind of thing they wish they could do as they wave their sticks around in the playground whilst making "zzzzmmm" noises.

Revenge is also the darkest of all six films. There are limbs scattered amidst some quite nasty lightsaber amputations. No blood though of course, it'd spoil the ambience of the sanitised sets. In my opinion though, dark is good. It's one of the reasons why Angel was so much better than Buffy. I think the series would have benefited a lot more from a more adult overtone, especially these first three films where the 12A certificate would have allowed a little more freedom than a PG. I know I remarked on the abundance of 12A action films recently, but this latest addition is one that actually needs a dark side (sorry) if it is to effectively convey the endgame that fans have been gagging to see for three years. It makes no apologies, and rightly so. And it segues into the following three films that I've got the urge to go and re-watch them. Now that's either clever marketing, or a damn fine prequel to a series. Maybe a bit of both.

I'll forgive George the last two slip-ups. Go and see this, and believe the hype.

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