Monday, May 30, 2005

Star Wars

Just saw Revenge of the Sith this past weekend, closing a chapter in my life opened when my dad took me to see the original Star Wars in the theater.

When leaving the theater Saturday, I almost fell to my knees and proclaimed, "It's over! Over! Thank you, thank you!" In a very real way it felt like a release not just for me, personally, but for science fiction in general.

I don't really want to get into a criticism of the movie per se but am more interested in criticizing the series as a whole. So let me just agree with most everyone else that it's again better than its predecessor in the new trilogy, as that was better than the first "new" movie.

H0wever, I'd like to use a question posed by M-----'s mother to point out some serious flaws I can't seem to get my inner geek to accept.

She hasn't seen any of the movies in the Star Wars saga, and asked if she should see this current one.

Damn good question!

In the original movie Star Wars George Lucas wanted to make a new version episode of a classic theater serial, with new fancy special effects. This is originally why it was called "Episode IV", because like classic serials, you were never expected to see every one of them, and you could start watching in the middle. Therefore, all characters and plots were easy to grasp and understand from any point in the storyline.

Lucas chose characters, themes, and plots from classic legends and mythology, because these are almost universally understood, and were the same types used in earlier serials. Everyone gets it, and everyone likes it.

Everyone got Star Wars, and everyone liked it!

That was the problem... it became too successful, too profitable, and there became too much money involved for new "episodes" to be treated as casually. Instead of continuing in the tradition of independant episodes and universal plots and characters, Lucas created a storyline based upon the original movie, locking everything else in place orbiting around the assumptions of what was supposed to be generic and universal.

Every movie after Star Wars suffered from this, although the immediate successor, The Empire Strikes Back, still seemed to cling to some of the classic cliffhanger type plot twists of the original genre, which Star Wars couldn't explore as a one-off. And it's a great movie, if you've seen the earlier one. So it suffers if looked at as a serial episode, which should be more-or-less independant.

However, the "new" trilogy starting at "Episode I" seems to be fatally flawed. Its whole point seems to be creating the characters of the original movie, and therefore all of the movies are forced to draw upon the energy of Star Wars and miss opportunities to create energy and enjoyable experiences on their own. Again, everything points towards Star Wars and all would have been better if they'd followed the premise of the original and tried to be movies self-contained enough to be enjoyable on their own, but with rewards for fans following the whole series.

None of them are powerful enough to change your perceptions of Star Wars, which would have been incredibly cool. Instead of these three newer movies being arrows pointing at the original, it would have been nice to treat these movies as actually having been released before Star Wars, and there being mysteries in SW which only made sense having seen the earlier flicks, and the meanings actually changed so as to have arrows pointing backward from SW to the new trilogy.

In the original trilogy, we get all of the characters from the first time we see them, and are happy to follow along in their adventures.

In the new trilogy, the only character which matters is that of Annakin, and he isn't developed so much as rationalized. And it takes three bloody movies to do this little character study!

It would have been nice if the six movies' overreaching arc was the rise, fall, and redemption of Annakin/Darth, but the newest three never seem to get the audience to care about him. Instead of a good and loving man whose fall and redemption we'd care about we get an annoying and arrogant little snot whose fall to evil is just an aside.

I originally thought the whole point of the new series was to expand the implicit story of Luke as central character into a more multilayered story of Luke-and-his-father mirrored in the story of the fall of the Jedi and with lots of references to classic father/son power dynamics and some great obvious but hearty metaphors. Classic stuff.

But, no...

So, if you haven't seen any of the other movies, Revenge of the Sithis wonderful theater and is visually spectacular enough to merit seeing big even if you don't care about anything else. It's great space opera. However, you'll miss some of the references and be prepared to not get the last half hour which is just a hasty checklist connecting these most recent movies to the three which ostentably come after them.

It's the most fun a SW movie has been in two decades, so, sure, go see it!

2 Comments:

Blogger ayman gaber said...

شركة تنظيف كنب بالدمام

6:42 AM  
Blogger ابو خوخه said...

افضل شركات تنظيف وغسيل الكنب
من جميع انواع البقع التى لا يتم ازالته
شركة تنظيف كنب بالاحساء
شركة دهب كلين هى افضل شركة غسيل
معا التعقيم باحداث الاجهزا

3:35 AM  

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