Bad, vile and meaningless: SW3 from Alan's clob

Silk Worm 3

Or rather, Star Wars 3.

Generally speaking this works better than the previous ones. There's even something of the magic of the originals present, even though the blending from the colourful world with all kinds of weird aliens into Empire and its black-and-white warships with plastic storm trooper outfit soldiers seems like a discontinuity. The magic passes over this gap, nevertheless.

It's a bit rushed. The movie watches like a long sequence of scenes who are there to drive down a point and then be replaced by the next scene. The scenes are transformed into others through different effects each time, screen splits in halves or is suddenly morphed into lots of small rectangles which diminish away to be replaced with new scene. Overall, like a compressed history lesson. As if there was a long script and then quite a bit of vigorous cutting (and pasting) to make it all fit. Sometimes the reactions on the screen hint of things that were entirely removed. (Or can you tell me why Padme breaks out in tears?) Naughty.

Similarly, the sense of time is lacking. At the beginning Padme's pregnant, at the end she delivers twins. Did 9 months pass, really? Or less, 6? It doesn't seem like that. The reason Padme delivers a birth too early seems to be cinematographic: while Darth Vader is delivered into his mechanical outfit, Padme is busy delivering the twins.

After that point, DV is a powerful but docile eunuch who is a broken apprentice to his dark master. Castration compiled with wounded psyche seems like an efficient method to make useful servants. (What I never could figure out is why he wants any apprentices at all. Risky business that, don't they usually just kill you while you lay in your sleep?)

Let me tell you more about his apprenticeship. It starts with Anakin turning his eyes upwards. Then there's about minute worth of half-ecstatic groaning on the screen, coming out of the mouth of mr. Darth Sidious. I fought to swallow my laughter from the rest of the audience. It was heroic and surprisingly difficult as this interminable, wretched scene went on and on.

Then Anakin is perfectly soulless cruel killer and promptly goes out and kills plenty of people with his saber, including young children. At one point, his evil manifests in his yellowly gleaming eyes, a lot like Frodo's, where he wants his ring, err, power and the flames of mount Doom, err, whatever volcano planet it was are burning furiously.

The action

The movie has long action sequences, feels like there's 1h stuff almost straight at beginning that mostly fails to captivate the audience. I can tell a lot effort went into it, but I felt like it were too much and too soon. Constant CGI bombards us, to the point that scenes are even distracted with meaningless background movement.

The violence overall is pretty nasty. It actually feels nastier than in the past. We are treated with lots of cauterized dismembered limbs and burning cyborgs and flaming robots and punches that ought to split a man in half. Somehow this part of it all has become colder in the years. I think there's a definite excess here.

Swordfights are basically just a flickering display of flashing sabres. They are mostly real boring. The coreography sucks. When Jedis can jump here and there and push people away with move of hand and shoot lightnings it kinda doesn't make sense why they aren't using all those powers constantly. Do they need to recharge between pushes? Is it a matter of concentration? Either way, yawn. When it doesn't make any sense it isn't interesting. Besides, in all cases we already know the outcomes in advance.

The acting

Pretty wooden. Sometimes the actors seem like they had no clue at all what their environment would look like in the end, so strangely do they deliver their lines. Also, there's no women involved, save from Padme. (Almost.) Politics and fights are men's business. This one has perhaps even too little politics and a lot of fighting instead. Padme serves no useful role in this movie except looks cute and motivates Anakin to do stuff. Or rather allows Anakin to pursue his selfish delusions. You could replace Padme with a class 10 love-droid: "Oh, please, just love me like we used to and everything is fine". The lines are generally a bit better this time. Wouldn't pass for a love story except in some other galaxy, though.

I'm sure some parts have been cut out that would make this whole Padme dying at childbirth thing making more sense. Maybe the Emperor caused it? (Why the heck doesn't Anakin ask why the Emperor knows about it? Is he too stupid?) If so, there's nothing conclusive that allows us to think that way. That would be actually evil. Now there's just this guy who kills enemies/friends at war after they have served their purpose. Sure, killing is evil but then those people are all sorts of nasty generals and warlords who have probably done a lot of killing themselves to be where they are. There's too much of violence administrated and it's made meaningless anyway. Bah.

Music

Good use of music. The fantastic Force Theme appears right at the end, and it manages to conclude the whole affair with a positive key. Astonishing, considering that it's just a few dozen notes and it transfigured the whole thing. Otherwise it's a sad story with lots of death all around, and generally nasty if childish business with light sabers and lightning coming out of fingertips. Real evil? Well, just look at international politics. However, look here for an acceptable third episode, arguably the best of the new series so far.