Saturday, December 17, 2005

Didn't suck as bad as the others...

Subject: Cinema
I just finished "Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith". And, despite my figuring that it would suck like no other suck... It didn't quite suck.

Well good for it!

Towards the beginning, I was crafting a snarky comment about how my attraction to "attention to detail" really failed me for once. This show has it in spades, obviously enough. With enough cash thrown at it, anything can have an extraordinary level of detail applied to it. And the beginning sequence with the gigantic epic space battle and all that really did feel empty and, well, over-detailed.

But after a while, despite Hayden Christensen's sub-Hamill histrionics, I still found myself sucked into the story a little bit. A bit of me was still detached and cynical about the whole thing. But the obvious "this is a videogame tie-in", "this is a toy-sales gimmick" feeling that the first two installments of this Lucas-driven prequel pomposity oozed just seemed to be absent this time. It's almost like everyone did a "lessons-learned" meeting and tried to actually make a movie instead of a marketing event.

That said, with all the Joseph Campbell lectures I've been watching lately, all the plot-points here seem totally manufactured and a little less genuine than the first two installements. (And I mean the very first two, now known as "A New Hope" and "The Empire Strikes Back"). Campbell had a lot to say about the original, and Lucas definitely drew from that fountain of knowledge (along with Akira Kurosawa's parallel implementations) at the time. This time around, it's more like a post-modern deconstructionist interpretation of what made that so resonant with an entire generation of filmgoer. You could actually see the obvious plot-points resolve themselves around a Campbell-esque thesis -- "the protaganist reaches this point, and finds himself compelled to pursue this conclusion". Yeah, okay, we get it. Learn to write, already.

But like I said, it didn't entirely suck. The only dissappointment is that the whole prequel trilogy didn't live up to the expectation of some sort of grand transcendent epic fantasy that the first 3 (yeah, even "Jedi" to an extent) tapped in to. It's like everybody involved -- especially Lucas -- missed the point and went for the formula instead. In the case of "Sith", the formula mostly worked. It's only the loss of what could have been something truly spectacular which overshadows it overall.

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