Duun duun duun, duun, dun-dun, duun, dun-dun.
It’s alwriiiight… Go and see it*.
*If you’re up for a bit of a mindless space romp, though not if you thought the first two films were irredeemable, because this is only as much better than II, as II was than I.
- Yoda. Brilliant acting, complex characterisation, great swordplay.
- Hayden Christensen reminding you a bit of Mark Hamill in a certain light.
- The bit at the end, which ties into The Real Star Wars™, and reminds you why you came to see the film in the first place.
- John Williams’ score.
- The production design. A bit relentlessly lush, but I especially liked the fact that the vehicles look like less-evolved versions of the ones which appear in the latter films.
- The rush: The film is packed with more lush detail and complex effects in the background than most films have as set-pieces. As a result, it’s hard to keep track of what’s going on, or to see what the important bits are supposed to be. Too often the background distract from the foreground, which is good in Police Squad!, but bad in Star Wars.
- The dialogue. Oh. My. God. It is rumoured that Tom Stoppard was called in as a last-minute script doctor. Unfortunately it seems that despite his best efforts the patient died.
- The acting. An example: Darth Vader has just been kitted out with his new cybernetic suit and James Earl Jones’ voice. He hears of Padmé’s death. He falls to his knees, throws up his arms and, in best Classic Darth voice, says anguishedly, “Nooooooooo!” The effect is… comical. He might as well have shaken his fist at the sky and wailed “Whyyyyyy?!”
- The dialogue (2). There’s too much of it. It seems too often to substitute for acting (see above), so the characters say what they’re supposed to be feeling instead of feeling it.
- The too-many knowing winks to the proper Star Wars films, like Chewbacca turning up, or the Millennium Falcon popping into shot. Was half expecting Harrison Ford to be digitally recreated as a small toddler in the background. Maybe he was and I missed it. I like a knowing wink as much as the next guy, but this film seems to have something in its figurative eye. There’s something stale about a Galaxy with 100s of worlds, but only the same dozen characters who keep turning up.
- The plot. It’s impenetrable.
- The way the omniscent Jedi don’t see trechery coming a mile off
- The way that the following characters forget they know each other in the subsequent 3 films: Darth and C3PO/R2D2; Obi Wan and C3PO/R2D2; Chewy and Obi Wan/Yoda.
- The way that Anakin doesn’t recognise that the Chancellor might be a bit of a bad egg, despite the latter’s glowing red eyes and homicidal nature.
- In fact, generally Anakin’s ‘oh, alright then’ capitulation to the Dark Side.
- The way that General Grevious breaks his spaceship bridge’s window, which sucks him and all the air out, but that 3 shots later, pressure and windows seem to be restored.
- The fact that, after giving birth, then dying, Padmé still seems to be 8 months pregnant.
- Hearing/seeing Darth Vader (with the mask and the heavy breathing and everything), acting all emotional (see above).
And I was right. That battle between Darth and Obi Wan: It’s just like the way Monty Python did it.
But it’s a not-bad rollercoaster, with some real moments of pathos and tension. And as a special effects showreal, it’s spectacular. But then you could have said that about Episodes I and II.