Revenge of something, that's for sure
by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2005/05/23 00:40 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2005/05/22/420934.aspx
"I have a sneaking suspicion that if there were a way to make movies without actors, George [Lucas] would do it." -- Most often attributed Mark Hamill
I saw Star Wars Episode III (Revenge of the Sith) on Saturday, and like just about everybody else I was disappointed by it from a plot perspective.
Note: there are no spoliers here, mainly because the next movie in the series (Episode IV: A New Hope) came out
1828 years ago.
So we knew from the movies of the last almost
- Anakin turns bad -- so bad that he becomes the worst anti-Jedi anyone has ever known.
- Something really awful happens to him that forced him into a matallic shell.
- Palpatine becomes really really bad -- so bad that Darth Vader calls him master.
- All of this happens in THIS episode -- no more time, since he was firmly evil and known to be so by the "next" movie.
- Leah vaguely remembered her real mother (this from Episode VI), who seemed very sad, and who died when she was quite young.
- Leah gets placed with a senator on one planet, Luke is dumped in a sand pit on another.
- Ben Kenobi (who felt responsible for Anakin's conversion) retires to Tatooine to become Sir Alec Guiness, and presumably to watch Luke.
- No one apparently noticed the fundmantal plot problem with needing to split up Luke and Leah so they do not give away the secret, yet stick one of only two known Jedis who is left right next door to Luke.
- Yoda retires to some jungle planet in the Dagobah system.
- Count Dokku must die, since he was obviously hugely important in II but never even mentioned in IV/V/VI.
- Since in Episode II jedi knights were pretty central to the republic and in Epsiode IV they are all but extinct, that this must mean that large parts of the republic go down, too.
- Not the whole senate goes away yet (since the Emporer does not disband the senate until Episode IV).
We go into Episode III knowing that Natalie Portman dies, Palpatine is unmasked as the uber-evility, Anakin becomes Darth Vader, Obi Wan and Yoda get banished.
Yet in Episodes I and II Anakin was being built up as a sympathetic hero!
Other than a few brief episodes of impetuous, rebellious behavior that just did not fit the characterization (a fact we discount since we know George Lucas sucks with people)
Which means that this movie is going to explain how the hero (who we know deep down is really the villian) is going to become the villian. All I want to know is for how much of the movie will he be sympathetic? Since we ended last time on his [secret] wedding.
Note that I reveal no spoliers by claiming any of the above, that is just looking at Episodes I/II/IV/V/VI!!! I actually wrote the above on Friday night, before seeing the movie. :-)
Ah, the downside of telling stories out of order, such that we know most of what is going to happen....
The quote I started this post with says it all. Mark Hamill was right -- George Lucas cannot plot character scenes. Even the actors can only do so much.
I will say the visuals rocked, and the space battles rocked, as did the battles that were not quite in space. Light sabers rocked, as always.
But as a movie, as the last piece in the puzzle of a saga that has dominated more years of my life than it has not, I think I deserved better. I think we all did.
As far as I am concerned, this was a really sour note to leave things on, George. If you ended up making Episodes VII, VIII, and IX I'm sure that I would end up seeing them. But the best I can say about what you did for everyone is that you aren't....
# Dean Harding on 22 May 2005 11:31 PM:
The whole movie was full of wasted opportunities. I mean, just look at Vader's few lines when he actually had the suit on. One of the coolest evil characters in movie history, and *that's* the best Lucas could come up with for him to say?
And all the Anakin/Padme "I love you more", "No, I love *you* more" drivel was horrible!
But I totally loved the Anakin/Obi-Wan and Yoda/Palpatine fights. Ooh, and the bit where Palpatine "reveals" himself to Windu and killed those four Jedi in a couple of seconds was awesome!
# Alex Gadea on 22 May 2005 11:36 PM:
The sad thing is that Lucas created the bedrock of what could have been a classic but it all was wasted through atrocious writing and directing and acting that not even great visuals could overcome. This story had love, betrayal, death, infanticide, massacres of the good guys, nefarious plots by the bad guys. What is so frustrating is what the movie COULD have been.
Shakespeare Lucas aint. Damn, most writers of generic soap operas can do better.
And was it just me, or was Yoda the most emotive "actor" of the bunch?
# Steve Dispensa on 22 May 2005 11:39 PM:
s/18 years ago/28 years ago/
Time flies when you're having fun...
# Michael S. Kaplan on 22 May 2005 11:53 PM:
How about the lousy time shifts -- like Ben Kenobi becoming as old as Sir Alec in the same amount of time that Luke takes to become a young man? C'mon, didn't he map any of this out to match an actual universe?
# Michael S. Kaplan on 23 May 2005 12:02 AM:
Good catch -- updated the years there. Yikes, now I am even less happy with George!
# Dean Harding on 23 May 2005 12:02 AM:
Also, according to Ep. III Yoda and Chewbacca met then, but in Ep. IV, V & VI, they don't seem to remember it. The simple solution would have been to simply not have them meet in Ep. III! I mean, it added nothing to the story (in fact the whole Wookie planet stuff added nothing to the story) so why add an incosistency when there was no need?
I mean, there was a bit of an inconsitency (to say the least!) with C3PO "forgetting" that he was actually made by Anakin/Vader in the later episodes, not to mention forgetting all the other stuff that happened to him, but I guess that was adequitly explained by the "they had their memory erased" line. But *why* was their memory erased? It would have been better to just not have that scene, and let the audience assume it happened some time in the 20 years between Ep. III and Ep. IV...
# Michael S. Kaplan on 23 May 2005 12:12 AM:
Hmmm.... something very familiar about this "cut things off to make it fit"....
Ah, now I remember!
Pam wakes up at her house, walks over to the shower door and Bobby turns around and declares "Good Morning".
Well, its good to know that the writers for that episode of Dallas found a job as extras working for George Lucas....
# TheMuuj on 23 May 2005 12:43 AM:
"Also, according to Ep. III Yoda and Chewbacca met then, but in Ep. IV, V & VI, they don't seem to remember it."
When did they meet up in Episodes IV, V and VI, again?
"but I guess that was adequitly explained by the "they had their memory erased" line. But *why* was their memory erased?"
So this doesn't happen (C3PO doesn't seem to know when to shut up, remember?):
Imperial Officer: It's a shame that somebody as beautiful as Padme had to be killed by those scumbag Jedi.
C3PO: My oh my, yes, how tragic. At least her two children survived.
At least they left R2-D2's memory as it was. This makes him a much greater hero, and explains why he seemed to know where has was going in Episode IV. But I think that the whole story would have been better if Anakin had built R2-D2 and C3-PO would have been an off-the-shelf unit. R2-D2 seems like he's got a lot of custom programming, which would explain why he kicks so much butt. Why *did* Shmi need a protocol droid, anyway?
# Michael S. Kaplan on 23 May 2005 1:20 AM:
Chewbacca never said anything against Han Solo's disdain for all things Jedi -- kind of odd for someone with a close friendship with one of the most powerful....
I suspect the wookies were added by Lucas to nip a particular criticism in the bud about how the lack of any other wookie being around (including females). By adding them in a way that shows most of them being presumably killed off, he kills to birds with one stone.
# Ram Mallika on 23 May 2005 12:35 PM:
I saw the midnight show. The buzz and the atmosphere was worth the price !!
Anyways, I tried to post the following message on your Suggest a Topic. But some how it didn't work?
Can you please talk about the issues in a out-of-the-box support for complex scripts and languages, instead of making it as a supplemental language installation? Also, What can we expect on this issue on the next Windows (longhorn)?
I am sure you are aware of the immense benefits etc.
[It is a follow-up on one of your comments in http://blogs.msdn.com/michkap/archive/2005/03/30/404007.aspx
# Michael S. Kaplan on 23 May 2005 1:25 PM:
Ram, your comment made it on to the suggestion site - no worries. :-)
# Maurits [MSFT] on 24 May 2005 4:36 PM:
I suppose you'd move the terminal "H" two units to the left? :)
You're all heretics! The movie was fine.
Obi-Wan is no spring chicken. Remember he graduated Jedi school when Anakin was just a boy. And time has passed between Episodes II and III.
Also Obi-Wan is living under the benevolent (some might say cushy) influence of the Jedi Council, which artificially enhances his appearance due to the shared affinity with the Force. After sixteen years on Tatooine, surrounded by the likes of Watto and Jabba, and living off the land, it's not surprising he's looking rather decrepit at the start of Episode IV.
# Chui Tey on 30 May 2005 4:35 AM:
George Lucas should have been revered as the creator of Industrial Light Magic, rather than the creator of Star Wars. The folks who write Alias would have done a better job than Lucas.
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