Saturday, June 04, 2005

Star Wars III: My Review

Everyone in the blogosphere who has seen this movie has reviewed it on their blog, so now it's my turn. FH took me out to see it last night.

I must say, it was spoiled for me by George Lucas' public political rantings. I mean, it was bad enough that he named the evil character Nute Gunray after Newt Gingrich and Ronald Reagan and then told everybody so, but then he had to go and tell everyone that he thought Palpatine was George W. Bush. What?? Bush doesn't even have a light saber, let alone the ability to produce electric shocks from his hands!! Seriously, though, FH and I agreed that anyone who thinks Bush is taking over the country the way Palpatine took over the Senate needs a proctologist to do their dental work. If Bush had been voted out in 2004, he would have had to take the very un-Palpatine-like action of stepping down from office. He has no power to take over our Senate or our House or to make his party do so-- we the people did that by electing Republicans. Lucas doesn't have to like Bush nor want him in office, but between Lucas and Bush, I think Lucas is the one with less respect for the democratic process, because he just cannot accept that Bush is the guy who the public elected, rightly or wrongly.

I don't know about anyone else, but I like my universally-appealing epics completely free of contemporary political references, so that they remain untied to any particular era or situation. For an example of this I keep on pointing at J.K. Rowling, who is clearly on the port side of the political ship, but has refrained from publicly identifying any contemporary political figure (not even Hitler!) with Harry Potter's nemesis Lord Voldemort. Tolkien did the same with his Lord of the Rings series. Evil is evil, no matter what its political stripe, and good literature will respect the reader's ability to make his or her own allegory according to his or her own beliefs.

Politics aside, what else is there to say? It's a Star Wars movie, with its trademark bad acting, unusual costumes, boffo special effects, and a plot that's fully comprehensible only to people who already know the backstory. I was particularly affected by the fact that I already knew who would live and who would die; that spoiled a lot of it for me, because there was no suspense in the fight scenes. When Palpatine fought Mace Windu to the death, you knew who was going to win since only one of those characters appears in future episodes. Maybe if I watch the episodes in order when this one comes out on DVD, it will make more sense to me.

The special effects, of course, were special. I thought it was particularly ironic that the female Jedi with the navel-baring hippy costume died on this trippy mushroom flower planet. I'm getting really sick of this trend of trying to outdo every previous movie's special effects. In previous episodes we'd seen battles with a double-ended light saber; now we had a duel with a being wielding four light sabers. If Lucas were to remake Episode 4, he'd have to work in an eight-saber fight just to keep up the geometric progression.

Still, though, despite all its flaws, I will probably watch it again when it comes out on video, and I would like to see Lucas totally remake episodes 4, 5, and 6 (or at least the low-budget 4, maybe) so that the series has some artistic continuity when watched in its intended order.