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December 09, 2002

Episode Two - A Look Back

ok. here is my obligatory review of this obligatory episode in the double trilogy. (written the week it debuted, of course)

i, too have recently seen 'a new hope' again on the tube within the past week or so and it still made me laugh. understanding that i would probably not laugh much through the latest installment, i have prepared myself for poor reviews by saying that "it's all about the effects anyway". the starwars series is much like an exotic sports car. it doesn't really matter who's driving, the point is to look at the car. secondarily, the man who drives the flashiest car might be overcompensating for other deficits, and i suppose that's true enough of the characters er actors in starwars.

the whole story seems to be suffocated by the apparent seriousness of all this. and if this film has one debilitating and glaring flaw it is this: despite the fact that the whole damned galaxy is about to explode, nobody loses their head. surely there must have been some exclamation points in the script, but you wouldn't know - or perhaps i should say wooden't, because for all the incredible metals, composites, plastics and plasmas in episode two, all of the humans are made of wood.

yes anakin gets a bit arrogant, but then manages absolutely no sarcasm in his 'yes master' when the scolding obi wan comes back around. what a twerp. even when he loses his cool, he's unblinking. perhaps the vacuum of space has sucked all the vivacity out of this film.

star wars needs a hiphop soundtrack, and it's never going to get one, and that's why it will never be as cool as the matrix. and oh by the way, i'm 40 years old and that's exactly what's wrong with star wars. it's for 40 year old men. star wars is all about the treachery of old men and clones and robots and hapless children that get sucked up into their thievery and deception. isn't it fascinating that there are only a dozen jedi in the galaxy that protect it? well, it's no wonder considering the lack of emotions.

once upon a time there was jabba the hut, spice mines and lando calrissian. jackanapes and ne'er do wells populated this galaxy. now there are entire races and planets who manage to involve the totality of their populations and gdp in the silly little treacheries planned in the mind of one dark lord of the sith. good christ almighty george lucas has lost his freakin mind and we have been sucked in.

i say liberate the gang at industrial light and magic and let them bring their tech to some other galaxy, because this one is full of itself. it needs destroying, and anakin skywalker is just the twit to do it.

i'm going to buy the dvd and maybe see it again, because the theatre i went to was weak. ie no super sound system. -- so what of the effects. hmmm. i think we are at about a turning point. that is to say, lucas' ability to fill the screen with effects which are an order of magnitude better than his peers is lacking. or rather i should say that the incremental impact of knowing that all those clones are digitally generated doesn't have the impact it did in episode one. i actually found the battle on naboo in episode one to be more dramatic than the one on the new planet. so now that the digital thing has been done, we can say with some finality that having more doesn't make everything better.

i could sit and talk about the effects all day and it won't do justice to the film, and the one thing that there is absolutely no question that lucas' team has mastered is the ability to make his worlds immediately recognizable. starwars *is* the state of the art in art direction. make no mistake; you are *there*. but i found myself, over and over again, wanting to pause the environment and take a walk through it myself, because who gives a hutt's butt what these cornball jedi monks are mumbling about? get the damned thing onto my xbox is what i say. i can be a lot more creative in lucas' universe than he can. but hey, thanks a couple hundred million for the atmosphere - that's what we love.

Posted by mbowen at December 9, 2002 05:04 PM

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