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Review of Episode III, Part 1

Okay, so here it is — I’ve waited enough days that if you’re worried about spoilers, you better just go out and watch the goddamnforsaken movie.
I’ve got a bunch to say about this film, so I’m breaking up the review over a series of days. Today I will talk about disappointment, because that’s what I felt when I walked out of the movie theater Thursday morning at 2am or whatever time it was. I had waited several days in inclimate weather for this movie, and althought I already knew in my head that it was probably gonna suck lemons, I gave myself over to hope. I mean, for Christ’s sake, all the papers were giving it awesome reviews, and Kevin Smith HIMSELF gave it good marks. He’s a geek like us, right? Goddamn it! So yeah, I went in and started watching the movie, and I was disappointed even by the crawl text. The fucking crawl text! That’s supposed to be sacrosanct! The one part of the movie he can’t screw up, he can’t botch — it’s all hope, right?
Wrong.
While the beginning ‘War!’ is reminiscent of WWII, it’s still a little ridiculous for an opening sentence. Really, what irked me was this ‘There are heroes on both sides. Evil is everywhere’ bullcrap. Christ, who writes this crap? I was bewildered — what did that mean, heroes were on both sides? This is STAR WARS, things are black and white. What heroes are there on the side of General Greivous and the droid army.
…And while we’re discussing Grevious –what’s up with that fucking name?! Between Grevious, Tyrannus, Sidius and Plagus — Lucas has shown us that villains have to have silly super-hero-esque names that echo some sort of bad association. What’s wrong with just making up a goddamn name? What does ‘Vader’ mean in this context? in-vader? Shit, don’t fuck with Vader!
So, the opening scene past the crawl text actually rocked, I must fully admit. The movie was really good (like all of the prequels) until people slow down and start to talk. This film died the moment Anakin speaks with Padme in the hall. Padme, Former queen and current senator Amidala, woman who has been the target of kidnapping and assassination attempts, woman who takes no shit or prisoners and who is the perfect template for Princess Leia — has been eviscerated and turned into a subserviant weak-willed concubine that only has enough backbone to rush off in a ship to meet Anakin, but not enough to take a stand for what she believes in. No wonder he fucking chokes her.
Let’s get back to Grievious — I know, let’s get a robot who wheezes and give him four lightsabers, but let’s not allow him to use them with any proficency beyond whirling them around like sawblades. I know, I know — watch ‘The Clone Wars’ and you see him in the cartoon, cool and villanous. In this movie, he’s comical and unexplained. It’s obvious he’s some sort of cyborg with an organic part that must breathe, and which cannot breathe well (should have gone to the emperor for a suit, Jack — you’d be dressed in black, instead of looking like some stupid scarecrow fish) but… he can expose himself to the vaccuum of SPACE no problem. Good thing he dies quickly.
Who else can I rip on? Let’s see — how about Yoda? What sort of retarded forced backwards-speak are they shoving into his mouth now “Not if something about it to say I have!” — WTF? Come on? “Back off on my Jock, you must!” Hire a freaking linguist and get the phrasing right for Yoda. At least he fights good. I loved him throwing the imperial guard like they were all so much kleenex. Still, too much Mexican Jumping Yoda in the fight against Palpatine.
Palpatine — while he’s one of the few believable characters in the movie, he’s definitely got some lemons. What’s this crap with scarring himself? That’s a poor excuse for continuity, and they could have just left it alone. Age can do its own damage, without having to blame force lightning.
Kenobi was wel done by McGregor, but dude — ever hear of a mercy killing for your best buddy in the whole world? No, you just let him burn like a sadistic bastard. You deserve to have him come back and fucking decimate your kind. Jedi must die for your sins! Seriously George, you could have just made some sort of physical barrier that would disallow kenobi to finish the job, because he was 5 feet away, and it is just and kind to commit a coup de grace, even to your worst enemy.
Dooku was also wonderful, but brief. Thanks for the memories.
I am, of course leaving the worst for last. Anakin. I know, what the hell was I expecting after II, but crap man — this was your last chance to show Anakin as the tragic flawed hero, but George ignored all the rules of tragedy and failed to make Anakin a compelling hero, and therefore failed to make his fall meaningful. He’s a whiny self-centered punk who is given the opportunity to jump up the ladder and takes it. Oh sure, he has some minor moral quandries that he pretty much gets over in like… seconds. He was soo ready to join the Dark Side, you might even say he was DESIGNED For it (this is the content of a future installment of my criticisms — come back tomorrow or the next day on that one.) It’s a flimsy excuse that he went on a killing rampage against the ‘Younglings’ (how frickin’ ridiculous is THAT? Turn a term of affection Yoda uses in II and make it retarded vernacular) just to gain enough dark side points to cast the big bad don’t die spell (TM) on Padme. He did vaguely approach Yoda on the issue, but he pretty much dropped the light side solutions when Yoda told him to chill. Exhaust all your options before you turn, or at least show a bit of remorse. No, Anakin is not a convincing hero, and therefore didn’t fall convincintly. We were robbed of the story we imagined in our heads when Obi-wan gives us the scoop in ‘A New Hope’ — we saw a great man who was seduced by the Dark Side of the force and fell. Instead, we get a punk that bent over willingly for the Rod of the Dark One.
I really liked the set design, especially the Alderaanian cruiser (Tantive IV anyone?), but I also felt like we had too many locations. Kashyyk was a freaking footnote so that George could kick Mayhews some money and cameo Chewie. Lame and superfluous. The only good thing about that whole sequence is that it was over quickly and George didn’t buttfuck us by making Chewie do a tap dance or blow a sand person.
Okay, so I really disliked it coming out the first showing. By the second and definitley by the third viewing I got more out of it, and have managed to piece together a relatively interesting tale about the meaning (and true history) of Vader, but it’s a lot of reading-in and extrapolation, and I’m probably giving Lucas too much credit by postulating it. I will disclose that theory/story within the next few entries as well.

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