Thursday, May 19, 2005
Star Wars, Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith
In case you hadn't heard the sixth (and final?) Star Wars movie is out now (they really should do more marketing on this thing or nobody's gonna go see it :-)
David Elliott, the sometimes curmudgeonly movie critic of my local paper, the San Diego Union-Tribune, ripped this movie in his review today. This was not a bit surprising, of course...he undoubtedly went in knowing he wasn't going to like it...but I still had to wonder why he bothered.
This movie is critic-proof...the faithful and the curious will, the disappointments of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones notwithstanding, turn out in droves no matter how many brickbats are aimed at it (Elliott's review is entitled "Grilled Cheese." Heh. Yeah, that's a good one, Dave.)
There is no real suspense...it's a prequel, we already know pretty much how the story here is going to turn out...but that's not the point. Star Wars movies are not as much about the plot as they are about the experience (seeing Anakin's winding road to becoming Darth is all well and good but the cool fanboy moment is, of course, when the familiar black helmet goes on and James Earl Jones' voice echoes through the theater.) Like a rollercoaster ride, you just hang on and enjoy the thrills and, in the end, you return right where you started from not very much changed...but hey, you had one heck of a ride!
George Lucas is probably guilty of trying to make these movies seem more profound than they really are...whatever echoes of Joseph Campbell's teachings there might be in the overall narrative, the movies owe as much (if not more) to Flash Gordon serials and to Marvel Comics...but they're his babies and he's allowed to take them too seriously if he wants to.
Me, I'd rather just grab some popcorn and enjoy the ride.