Wednesday, May 11, 2005

True Confession

I must confess to a lie.

I told one of my friends that I'd see Revenge of the Sith. I won't.

Miller's Time has a rave review, but I found Episode One and Two to be so bad I've never been able to sit through them.

The original trilogy involved two giant talents that are not available to the second production. The absence of Lawrence Kasdan has been commented on widely, but I think Sir Alec Guinness must also have added a great deal to the developing direction. For whatever reason, from the little of the first two episodes I've seen, the dialogue was stilted and the delivery did not make up for it.

Lord of the Rings demonstrated that CGI cannot be everything. The main problem with CGI is focus. You cannot put CGI-objects onto a filmed scene and have them properly blurred. They are impossibly and distractingly crisp. The original trilogy, like LOTR, employed scale models for background. This produces realistically blurry landscapes. This is a big reason why the attack on the first Death Star was so impressive. The camera looks past, or swung through, a scale model, producing a landscape properly out of focus, the way a city looks from your car window. ILM apparently is improperly committed to a technique, instead of being appropriately committed to an effect, like the LOTR was.

And the galaxy appears to have shrunk, illogically. Having all stormtroopers be clones of Boba Fett is cheesy. Having the son of Skywalker hidden on a obscure backwater made sense; having him hide--under the name Skywalker!--on the family homeland is ludicrous. And why was it 'Threepio never told you what happened to your father?' Might have bought him a li'l respect aboard the Millenium Falcon...unless he liked being told to shut up all the time.

But it is part of the same fallacy as the religious subtexts--trying to siphon the emotional content of a proven institution. See, Anakin grew up on Tatooine, so that must evoke the powerful feelings of the audience from the first movies! And, his dad was the Force itself, that must evoke the audience's emotions from Sunday school! When in fact, like all purely secular attempts at sacred myth, it fails to inspire, and invites contempt.

Perhaps I still can't get over my resentment of Lucas' destruction of the original trilogy through his "remastered" editions, which revealed him as the biggest Orwellian control-freak since Nicolae Ceaucescu. (The worst example is exploited here, fully as good as MAD magazine ever was.) But I don't think it's all me, I think this second trilogy is fully awful, and I will not pay to see it.

...But, I did promise to go...

But I didn't promise to buy my own ticket!

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