My buddy, JC, recently posted a blog entry about the Star Wars prequels
in which he said: “The new ‘trilogy’ is not nearly as bad as so many make it sound. In some ways, I like it as much as the original ‘trilogy.'” I have known him for several years, and we have had many heated discussions about the topic. We finally had to agree to disagree.
Recently, however, I reached the point where I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoy watching the new trilogy in its entirety. Ewan McGregor rocks as young Obi-Wan (and I’m not just saying that because he’s hot, although he is); the politics are not only interesting, but relevent (possibly prophetic?) to today; Mace Windu and his Purple Lightsaber of Awesomeness are the coolest characters to ihhabit any of the six movies; and the fiery showdown between Anakin and Obi-Wan in Episosde 3 has got to be the most exciting [insert correct number of] minutes ever put to film. I do have many problems with the movies, though, and I will enumerate them for you:
1. Character development of Padme.
Lucas was all over the place here. Episode 1 establishes Padme Amidala as a strong, but fair, leader, willing to sacrifice herself for the good of her people. Episode 2 picks up with her as a Senator who is just as noble. She’s obviously attracted to Anakin, but tells him to buzz off because the Republic is falling apart and there are more important things to worry about than gettin’ a little nookie on the side. And then, out of the blue, she’s willing to put that all at risk by marrying
the whiney pinhead? It wasn’t until I watched the deleted scenes on the DVD that I could see where she was coming from. They show Padme with her family, including her two young nieces, which allows you to see some internal conflict: She felt compelled to remain in public service, because of the political upheaval, but ached to have a life (and a family) of her own. Lucas would have done well to include these scenes. They took up very little screen time, were actually well done, and would have made her sudden capitulation seem not-so-sudden. And don’t even get me started on the Padme-died-of-a-broken-heart thing.
Yes, I know it was cringe-worthy in the original trilogy, but Lucas hit new lows in the prequel, especially–again–with the Anakin/Padme love story. The hairbrush/balcony scene in Episode 3 has got to be the most excrutiating [insert correct number of] minutes ever put to film. When compared to the banter and sexual tension between Han Solo and Princess Leia in The Empire Strikes Back
…well, there really is no comparison. And the fact that all of the good stuff in Empire
was ad-libbed by Harrison Ford speaks volumes.
3. That damned pod race.
It was twice as long as it needed to be. Even in the theater, the first time I saw episode 1, I found myself saying, “ENOUGH ALREADY!!! You have pretty new CGI toys to use…we get it…now let’s move on!!!!”
4. Jar Jar Binks.
Yes, the Ewoks were annoying. But at least they didn’t have the ability to speak which–as Qui Gon aptly observed–“does not make you intelligent.”
C3PO and R2D2 provided all of the “comic relief” necessary. We didn’t need this guy.
Most of the other concerns I have are relatively minor, and not worth mentioning. Stay tuned, though. In another 15 years or so, I’m sure George Lucas will have CGI’d in a whole new slew of things for me to complain about…
Today is Sunday, and you know what that means. New stuff is up at Readers and Writers Blog. Mr. Sid Leavitt has much to say about the $700 billion gov’t bailout plan; more badness on the homefront–and then some badness off the homefront–for poor Tess in chapters 36 and 37 of Waiting For Spring; and some very powerful things are going down in Cassie’s world in chapters 12 and 13 of Steal Tomorrow.
In other news, voting continues at the Live Journal Writers’ Idol. Once the results are in, I’ll let you know how week 1 went for me, and I’ll post my entry here.