Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

My God, it's awful. Really, really bad. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is a bad, bad movie. Fans will have to go and see it, just as fans of County Mayo will march off to support the Green and Red against whatever football power is going to give them a scutching on that particular Sunday, but the feeling of abject depression at the end of the "entertainment" is just the same. It's such a waste.

The holes in the plot are endearments, compared to the rest of the horror. Consider this: not only are the Jedi smart bucks generally, but they are also in commune with the Force, thus giving them an extra layer of insight. Now, one of their number, and Jedi are not supposed to have any truck with the ladies, is not only living with a lady, but said lady is eight months up the duff and large as a barge in consequence. And the boys twig: absolutely nothing. D'oh!, Obi-Wan Kenobi doesn't remark when the penny finally drops.

Poor Ewan McGregor. He does his best, he really does, while those other British thesps, Christopher Lee and Ian McDiarmid, simply think of England and the cheque, and ham it up for all their worth. McDiarmid, particularly, is sheer bacon, especially when he goes from the cultured vowels of Chancellor Palpatine to the rasp of the Emperor. But the rest of the cast just sink beneath the waves of dialogue that's just too awful in a script that, in word, sucks.

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith has to be one of the worst written movies in history. It stinks. It's rotten. And, as Anthony Lane remarked in the that brilliantly vicious review in the New Yorker last week, any time Lucas gets himself into a position to knock the audience's socks off - socks that have resolutely stayed on since this this whole sorry sequence of spurious prequels began - he invariably makes a complete balls of it.

Since Qui-Gon Jinn first pitched up to Tatooine and discovered Anakin Skywalker we've been waiting for Skywalker to turn into a badass. Six or seven long and boring hours of pitifully dull cinema later, he finally gets his freak on and, in a scene reminiscent of Riefenstahl at her jackbooted best, makes his way to the Jedi Temple with intent do harm. And what does Lucas do? An Spailpín cannot say as he's been begged not to spoil the movie for anyone that still wants to go, but anyone that has seen it and remembers what happens next - well, it's pass the sick bag, isn't it? Gawd bless us, every one, says Tiny Fucking Tim.

The characters have no depth whatsoever. If anything Anakin Skywalker sounds even more petulant that he did last time out, in Attack of the Drones. This is a man who sells his soul, and the reason why is because he reasons and feels like a baby. The man is meant to be on his way to Jedi master, a supreme mystic and intellect in the galaxy, and he sounds like a spoilt little brat. If the Jedi had light slippers instead of sabres and Anakin spent a little more across Obi-Wan's knee (or Mace Windu's, if he's such a playa) getting six of the best it could have saved the Republic you know.

Shall we sample some dialogue? If we must, I suppose:

Obi-Wan: "But Chancellor Palpatine is evil!"
Anakin: "I believe the Jedi are evil!"

It's like listening to five year olds, it really is.

There's more to these space opera than effects you know. Anything that happens in Star Wars has to be true to its own reality, the Star Wars reality, but it has to serve a greater cause as well, and that's to keep the story bombing along. In the Western World we've been wondering what makes drama work since Aristotle wrote the Poetics. But this is passed by in Revenge of the Sith in order to satisfy some bizarre need for misplaced authenticity in a story that's MADE UP in the first place.

Example: In Revenge of the Sith, always true to the Yodic way of speech Yoda is. And that was one of the delights of The Empire Strikes Back, still the best Star Wars movie by a street, this object initial way of speaking that Yoda has. But here's the thing: in Empire, when Yoda has something pertinant to say, he drops the act: "No! Do, or do not - there is no try." "That is why you have failed." In Revenge of the Sith, he oy, veys! to the end. On his way into exile, his religion over, his priesthood destroyed, Yoda says "failed have I." Schtick must always remain paramount over the story in Sith, and that's why it's a rotten, rotten picture.

My advice? Wait for the sequel. You'd never know - Kenobi lying low in the desert watching how Skywalker's young buck gets on, Darth Vader finally finding an outfit that suits him, maybe we can throw in some sort of space cowboy to liven things up a bit - there might be a trace of movie there amongst the rubble. Oh, hold on....