March 30, 2006

Star Wars: Episode III

As I type, I am listening to the closing credits music from Star Wars: Episode III, Revenge of the Sith. I selected this as my second Netflix film to see what all the fuss was about. As far as I can tell, it's about pretty graphics.

Some good things - As I just suggested, the graphical work in this movie is incredible. Scenery, droids, ships, you name it, it is well animated and life-like. Similarly, the fight sequences are well choreographed and, with possibly a few exceptions, exciting and not too lengthy so as to become tiresome. I do take issue with the choreographers' decision to wield light sabers with muscle instead of precision at times. It just makes no sense for a weightless weapon to be handled like a Scottish claymore when it is evident that no force at all is required to shatter glass, slice off the wing of a ship, or slay an opponent. That said, this does not diminish the excitement or artistry of combat scenes all that much.

The use of black and white in the film, while not surprising given the theme, does have the intended effect later in the movie. I feel that perhaps black was used a bit too early, but again, I am nitpicking. Lighting and color are, on the whole, first rate.

Unfortunately, all this movie has going for it is the huge budget and well orchestrated fight choreography. As was the case with the last film in the series, Episode III suffers from a case of too much poorly written dialogue delivered by actors seemingly reading off of a teleprompter, perhaps displaying their lines in Spanish. Alternatively, the "writers" may have written the script during filming. One way or another, every line in this film feels contrived and freshly read off of a paper copy. The few lines that should pack a punch fall flat on account of bad timing and emotionless acting. One wonders if any direction or character motivation was given to any of the actors, some of whom have well deserved good reputations.

Had this film been designed as a pure action film, I would have little complaint. After all, acting is secondary in such a film, and dialogue exists only to set up further action sequences and suspend disbelief just enough for the viewer to forget about it when the shooting and hand-to-hand combat begins. Star Wars, however, seemingly tries to bridge an artistic gap without putting in any of the work required to make it successful. As a result, everything appears unbelievable and contrived despite an intentionally simplistic plot, which takes much of the starch out of the action sequences and good vs. evil showdowns.

If you are a big Star Wars fan, it was nice knowing you. :) Clearly I cannot recommend the film to anyone without that loyalty. I am happy to entertain rebuttals from the faithful, but you'll have to work some magic to convert me to the fold.

Posted by Andy at March 30, 2006 01:27 AM to the TV and Movies category

Is this a bad time to tell you that I hope to take on the broadsword in April?

Posted by: Mei at March 30, 2006 09:17 AM

No no, of course not! See, that is a sword with metal involved. Actually, you might appreciate what I'm saying a little more once you start. Speaking of sword training, I expect to see full video coverage on your website. Maybe we can get the Star Wars CGI team to put you in an arena after the fact.

Are you going to carry a sword with you to work now?

Posted by: Andy at March 30, 2006 12:29 PM

I only heard the first hour of the film. Finally, I interrupted and asked if this was supposed to be a spoof. If so, it was pretty catchy.

Posted by: Mom at March 30, 2006 12:48 PM
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