Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The New Ed Wood

So, my darling husband and I got to go on a date today, for the first time in several months, and what did we do? Did we find a secluded booth in an intimate little Italian restaurant and stare dreamily into each other's eyes? 'Tis to laugh. No, we didn't even try sneaking into the early Batman show. We (having apparently missed the demise of the bandwagon) went to see "Revenge of the Sith."

Is it just in our town, or is it a widespread phenomenon, that this movie blasted into the theaters with 10 showings a day on each of 4 screens? How long ago was that, a month? Today, there are about 4 showings, on one screen. We were among fewer than a dozen people in the theater. After about the first 10 minutes, I didn't even notice that the noise of the spaceships and lasers and droids whistling was making my head pound. I was laughing too hard.

This has got to be the "Plan 9 from Outer Space" of its generation. George Lucas has a budget, is all. Take away the gorgeous planetary vistas and the computer-simulated space battles... no, don't. Better yet, watch this movie with the sound turned off. The dialogue isn't funny enough to be worth listening to. You'll still snort when Anakin rolls his eyes back in his head in what I guess was supposed to be a sinister glare at... nobody. What the heck was he doing? And where is the MST3K crew?

I admit I grimaced and looked away when it was time for him to massacre the kids. (You read about that in the CNN article, too, didn't you?) But even that scene had very little emotional impact because you hadn't seen the kids before in this movie. Instead of adding just a little previous contact and relationship exposition to make that act more horrifying, George Lucas decided to do things like call back to Episode IV's melodramatic sunset scene. What. Ever.

I'm not a Republican, but the insulting political comparisons got nauseating pretty quickly. "Only a Sith" indeed. And before anyone says, "Well, you're an editor, of course the lousy writing would bother you," I'll mention that once I realized how atrocious the dialogue was, I turned off my "editor's ear" (as much as I could). I wasn't anxious for any more torture than necessary. There was plenty to go around. The robot medic was more expressive and emotive than most of the live actors. So was computer-generated Yoda. (I still like Ewan McGregor, and Jimmy Smitz did a good job. Oh yes, and so did the Emperor--Ian McDermid, right?)

I have to say this, though: For my birthday, I want a giant frilled lizard that can climb cliffs and will come when I whistle.


Jessica said...

The lizard was bad, bad, bad - and you are right about a lot of other points, too. I did, however, find this to be MUCH better than episode II and III, which I thought were not only terrible but often the equivalent to bad soap opera acting.

Jessica said...

Errr...I meant, it was much better than Episodes I and II.

lchan said...

I expected this movie to blow really large chunks, so my take was that it wasn't that bad.

Sure, it blew chunks (could the chemistry between Natalie and Hayden be more flat? could the Jedis fold under pressure any faster?), but it didn't blow them as hard or as far as the other prequels.

What I want to know is why do they blow at all? I mean, Lucas has an gi-normous budget and over 20 years to write a good screenplay. These movies should rock. Instead, you imagine a bunch of brown-nosers gushing to Lucas how it's his best work ever.

Scone said...

That, I guess, is what I was trying to get at, Laura. Ed Wood had more of an excuse for his badness.

There were many things I enjoyed about this movie; the scenery and machinery were awesome. But I just could not buy the idea that such a technologically advanced society can't figure out anesthesia, no matter how dramatic it made those operating-room scenes. And so on.

Sigh. On the other hand, it does give us amateur writers hope to see what drivel is actually produced (not just by George Lucas). There were some pretty awful things in previews too. Must finish that novel...

Slap-Happy said...

Let's not forget that George had a divorce, and that for a good chunk of time the Star Wars property was contested and hung up in court. So George had to work on other projects and NOT develop Star Wars during that time (right after the release of Jedi, and for, I think, about 10 years).

This means that George started right up again, but hadn't been in the swing of things Sci-fi wise for that amount of time. The writing sucked, but I honestly think George was trying to do good by his fans.

Words like "Ghost Writer" come to mind. And how much was out there, how many fans had written ideas? Turned them in? Hell, he could have turned to the Star Wars RPG for some good thoughts.

Kory O said...

Well, maybe I do have to go see that stupid movie, since you compared it to Ed Wood. (But even "Glen or Glenda" didn't suck as bad as Episode 2. Saw that in a dollar theater....I still want that two hours back, and at least 92 cents in compensation.)

Jar Jar in angora would be pretty damn frightening, though.