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Old 08-20-2016, 04:00 PM   #871
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The droid vs Gungan battle in The Phantom Menace is cartoonish and void of any gravity or emotional connection.


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Old 08-20-2016, 05:33 PM   #872
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The droid vs Gungan battle in The Phantom Menace is cartoonish and void of any gravity or emotional connection.


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But at least it allows Jar Jar to show off his Sith powers, am I right?


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Old 08-20-2016, 11:18 PM   #873
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The droid vs Gungan battle in The Phantom Menace is cartoonish and void of any gravity or emotional connection.

No one is arguing against that?
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Old 08-21-2016, 04:53 PM   #874
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Let's say that this was taking place closer to the palace, and that the Gungans withstood the droid army for long enough that their allies had time to get inside the palace and take it over again. That would have increased the stakes and made the Gungan's efforts more impactful in a direct sense.

Looking forward to your write-up of Attack of the Clones, which I think is the most underrated film in the saga and quite a unique one.
God, your point is so obvious that I can't believe it went over everyone's heads especially given that the troublesome "four things going on at once" ending to the film was recognized as problematic almost immediately by production. Having the Gungans effectively stop the palace from being invaded (or re-invaded, technically?) would have helped immensely and could have not only shortened the ending but knocked it down to just one part (everyone going to the police) before being extended to just three instead of four.

Then again, these are the same people that ignored the fact that the term "Jedi Knights" is used in the opening crawl to refer to the two Jedi. Think about that one for a second because it might be the dumbest mistake in any Star Wars film.

I agree that Attack of the Clones is the most underrated of them all and there's a lot to like about it as a Star Wars fan. As a fan, I prefer it over the last two live-action films, but it's worse than both of them on a cinematic level.
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Old 08-21-2016, 07:30 PM   #875
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[QUOTE=BigMacPhisto;8094097]
Then again, these are the same people that ignored the fact that the term "Jedi Knights" is used in the opening crawl to refer to the two Jedi. Think about that one for a second because it might be the dumbest mistake in any Star Wars film.

Yeah, not sure why they went with that and not simply "Jedi".

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I agree that Attack of the Clones is the most underrated of them all and there's a lot to like about it as a Star Wars fan. As a fan, I prefer it over the last two live-action films, but it's worse than both of them on a cinematic level.
You're referring to Sith and The Force Awakens? It's a tough call. I do think Sith is perhaps the pinnacle of Lucas's direction in the saga (the Order 66 montage is just visual brilliance), but there's some great compositions and sequences throughout Clones as well. I love his homage to The Searchers (when Anakin sneaks into the Tusken Raider camp), which is an echo of a previous Searchers reference in A New Hope (Luke returning to the burned-down Lars home). And I love the direction of everything on Kamino, plus the Ray Harryhausen vibe in the arena battle. But I save commenting further for when namkcuR finally posts his review.

The Force Awakens has beautiful imagery in the first 30 min or so on Jakku, particularly the Rey scenes, but I thought the handheld work on the Stormtrooper carrier was terrible and the firefight in general was pretty ugly-looking and not visually dynamic or in keeping with Lucas's classic approach. Not much to look at for the rest of the film up until the lightsaber duel in the snow, which was really well done.
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Old 08-21-2016, 11:14 PM   #876
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I wish I didn't hate the arena battle as much as l do. I could honestly love that movie with done editing, but everyone I watch it, I'm bored to tears by the end.

Still, every scene with Obi-Wan is classic.

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Old 08-21-2016, 11:20 PM   #877
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stupid dialogue such as the "sand is rough"
no way, that's the best quote from any movie.
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Old 08-22-2016, 02:15 AM   #878
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Alright, so my viewing of Attack Of The Clones got delayed by a night, but here we go.

I'll start with a broad criticism. I watched The People Vs George Lucas documentary as well as a recent interview Lucas did with Charlie Rose, and putting it all together, Lucas comes across as man who has, let's say, a complicated relationship with his own OT films. I think that, while he's proud of them, he may also be bored with them, and he may see them as something that, for all they gave him, took away the career he thought he was going to have. Remember, before SW, at the beginning, he was a more artsy kind of filmmaker, having made American Graffiti and THX, and he apparently was not fond of the corporate influence over the film industry. The phenomenal, generation-defining success of the OT kind of forced him to become the kind of big business film industry CEO he had never really wanted to be. He was just a CEO and a producer after that. He'd never be able to do anything in the film industry without being known as the Star Wars guy. He never directed another film that wasn't a SW film. As an addition to this observation - and it is only my observation - over the years, it has at times seemed like he's almost more proud of the filmmaking and special effects techniques that he pioneered while making the OT than he is of the story itself.

This is all a long way around of saying that, I think when he sat down to start writing the prequels in the 90s, he came at it from a very different place than fans would've. Fans loved the OT and the most important thing would've been staying true to it. I think that Lucas was bored by the OT and wanted to do something different even if it was tonally jarring from the OT, even if the continuity wasn't 100%. Lucas even said in that Charlie Rose interview that he didn't like TFA, and that Disney just wanted to make a film for the fans(he said this almost with a roll of the eyes) and that he, in contrast, had worked very hard to make each film different.

I think what he did with the prequels went beyond even that. I think that the OT was a high fantasy adventure, and not science fiction as it is often characterized. I think the OT has more in common with the Lord Of The Rings than it does with Star Trek. That kind of sci-fi(Star Trek) is characterized by speaking, through the politics of the fantasy world, about the politics of the real world. That's not what the OT did. In the OT, the Empire existed as a dictatorial government, and there was an emperor and Vader and their ships and a fleet of tie-fighters and at-ats and whatever, but the Empire as a governmental entity existed only abstractly. There was no insight into the inner workings of the dictatorship because that wasn't what the story was about. But when Lucas wrote the prequels, it seems like he very purposefully attempted to incorporate sci-fi elements in the form of fantasy political discourse, like he tried to do a little bit of Star Trek within Star Wars. And while I think some of it was well done and some of it not so well done, I've never been sure it really belonged in Star Wars. And I don't think that's what the OT fans who were hyped for the prequels wanted either. They just wanted more high fantasy adventure. That's one reason the prequels are so disliked among older OT fans, and it's never more prevalent than in Attack Of The Clones. So with that, I'll go into the film itself...

-------------

We start out with the assassination attempt on Padme, who has arrived on Coruscant for an important and impending vote in the Senate over whether or not an army of the republic is to be created to combat the Separatists. If we have to go the political sci-fi route to tell this story, this is fine starting point to get the ball rolling. This is followed by the meeting in chambers where Palpatine suggests that some Jedi - perhaps Obi-Wan - be put on Padme for protection. Ok, plot point accomplished. Also in this scene, Jar-Jar is introduced again. Why? Everybody hated him, why bring him back? Will get back to this later.

Enter Obi-Wan and Anakin, who from his first minute on screen is obsessing over Padme. They meet Padme, have introductions, and then separate again while Padme goes to rest, Anakin all angsty that Padme didn't pay him enough attention. Right from the start, the love story is on shaky ground. Anakin comes off less as a young man in love and more an adolescent obsessed.

Another attempt on Padme's life is made while she is sleeping, and Obi-Wan and Anakin take off in pursuit of the assailant. Ok, this is my first major problem with the film. I don't like this flying car chase. Number one, in the OT, the Jedi are never made out to be superheroes. But in this chase, Obi-Wan and Anakin continually jump out of the car and just fly around impervious to all physics, going from the sky down the ground just like that. This isn't what the Jedi were supposed to be about. Number two, the other cars flying around, including the one coming towards them in which the driver shouts 'WHAT THE--'. This is more sci-fi stuff, flying cars in the future. It's out of place here. One of the charms of the OT was the space travel against a backdrop of worlds that looked more ancient than futuristic. The famous tagline is 'a long time ago in a galaxy far far away'. I don't really think anyone came to the prequels looking for a science fiction view of a futuristic world. And finally, number three, it just goes on too long. It felt like ten minutes. All for a chase in pursuit of a plot-point character that will never be heard from again after this and was never heard before this, that no one cares about, and thus there's no dramatic tension in this chase that goes on and on. It's only there to jump-start the twin Obi-Wan and Anakin plots. It serves no other purpose. And even then it wasn't needed. They could've just had Obi-Wan and Anakin thwart the second attempt on Padme, with the assailant flying away and dropping the coin that they get at the end of the chase. There, same plot point accomplished with ten minutes of a pointless chase cut.

As an aside, the flying car chase is also the moment you realize that, oh, this film is going to look like an animated film or a video game. One of the complaints about Jar-Jar in TPM was that it always looked like a cartoon invaded a live-action film. Here, it is in the inverse. The humans look out of place in an animated world throughout, no different really than if a human showed up in the middle of Toy Story or Shrek or something. I just read someone comparing TPM to the other prequels and saying something along the lines of, at least TPM still looks like a movie, AOTC and ROTS look like video games. This is also probably one of the things people liked about TFA, it was a SW film that looked like a movie again.

Alright, enough about that. After catching the assailant, he/she/it is taken out from above by another bounty hunter, and the only information Obi-Wan and Anakin have is a coin that was in the assailant's possession. Here the story splits. Obi-Wan begins his search for whoever is responsible for the attempts on Padme's life, and Anakin and Padme go away to Naboo for her protection.

Let's start with the latter and get it out of the way. The Naboo sequence where their relationship is supposed to blossom is one of the most notoriously maligned things in the whole prequel trilogy. And I can't blame those who malign it. The biggest problem is it's just too quick. Padme doesn't seem terribly interested in Anakin in their initial encounters on Coruscant - after all they hadn't seen each other in ten years - and then in the space of like four scenes on Naboo she's supposed to have gone from that to ostensibly being in love with him but not wanting to act on it because it would be wrong. It's just not believable. Add in the cutesy stuff(levitating fruit) and problematic dialogue(I mean, I get that 'I don't like sand' was supposed to be hinting at how it reminded him of Tatooine and how that is painful for him because of his guilt about leaving his mother behind, but it was executed very ham-fistedly. And that's just one example.) only detracted more.

It's worth noting that there are three deleted scenes from this portion of the film on the second disc, in which they have a longer conversation when they arrive on Naboo, visit Padme's family, and see Padme's bedroom. If these had replaced the levitating fruit scene and the 'I don't like sand' scene, a little more depth might have been given to love story. Even then it still wouldn't be believable.

Meanwhile, Obi-Wan discovers that the coin is from Kamino, and after a few scenes in which Kamino doesn't exist in the records and the Jedi Council realizes that a Jedi must have deleted it, Obi-Wan sets out. Upon arrival, he is surprised to learn that he's expected. In talking the alien prime minister, he learns that Master Sifo Dyas commissioned the creation of a clone army a decade before. Ok, another problem here. The whole Sifo Dyas thing is touched on but barely examined at all. No one watching the film would, at the end, have any idea who Sifo Dyas was outside of the fact that he was a Jedi, and one would have to read external materials to learn explicitly that the Sith killed Dyas and took control of the clone army unbeknownst to the Kaminoans. It just added unnecessary confusion. They could've just said the Chancellor commissioned the army in secret.

Obi-Wan sees the clones for himself. Problem again. I don't love the idea of clones at all, but I guess we were locked into that after the 'clone wars' were referenced in the OT. This clone army is obviously supposed to bear resemblance to the storm troopers, but the storm troopers were not clones. And I especially roll my eyes at the notion that a bounty hunter was the clone source.

I don't like the whole Jango Fett thing. Having him the film reeks of an attempt at superficially tying into the OT with his 'son' being Boba. The only purpose he serves is getting Obi-Wan from Kamino to Geonosis. Obi-Wan confronts Jango, Jango and Boba run, a ground battle ensues, the Fetts get away, and Obi-Wan follows them via tracker before evading them and waiting. That particular chase is not long, but I don't really enjoy it. I find child Boba to be highly annoying. Like, why is he so gleeful to kill Obi-Wan? What does he care at this point?

Ok, so now Obi-Wan is on Geonosis where he spies on Dooku and the other Separatist leaders and discovers the droid factory. When he attempts to report back to the Council, his transmitter is fried, and by the time he sends his message to Anakin, he's captured. At this point, the film is two-thirds over and Obi-Wan has spent most of his time playing detective. Probably not what people had in mind when a prequel trilogy telling the story of Anakin and Obi-Wan was announced.

Meanwhile, Anakin and Padme have gone to Tatooine to look for his mother after he had a bad dream about her. The Tatooine sequence is actually one of the parts of the film I have the least issue with, and that has the most emotional resonance for me. I said in my write-up for The Phantom Meance that I thought the idea of Anakin and his mother being slaves was an interesting way to plant the seeds of his later resentment and anger towards the system. I think this holds here. Once he finds out that Tusken Raiders have her, he finds her(a little too easily given everyone else was unable to). The moment when she says with her final breaths, dying in Anakin's arms, 'I'm so proud of you', 'I missed you so much', 'now I am complete', is one of the few genuinely emotionally resonant moments in the film for me, and I think Anakin's reaction when she dies is Hayden's best moment of acting in either of the films he's in.

He proceeds in his rage and grief to destroy all of the Tuskan Raiders. The dialogue when Anakin returns to the Lars home and talks to Padme has long been criticized, but I actually don't mind the first part of it, in which he tells here that he killed not only the men, but the women and children too, in a 'what have I done' kind of tone. It suggests the kind of inner struggle that could ultimately lead to succumbing to the dark side. The second part of the dialogue, in which he states his frustration that he can't control everything, and Padme tells him he's not all powerful, and he says he should be, is not good. It makes him come off as unhinged, and I feel like if Padme had previously been considering becoming involved with Anakin, that thought would have evaporated here.

One additional thing here, and this has been pointed out before - Owen and Beru, given their ages in ANH and the length of time between AOTC and ANH, are too young. It's nitpicking, but it does show a certain lack of regard for the OT on the part of the writers, one of which was George Lucas.

Anyway, once that's done, they return to their ship and receive Obi-Wan's message simultaneously with the Jedi Council back on Coruscant. Afterwards, at Padme's urging, they defy the Council's orders to stay put and go to Geonosis to rescue Obi-Wan.

When they get there, the droid factory scene unfolds. I really don't like this whole sequence. It's just dumb. They get into a battle in the middle of a bunch of machinery that puts droids together, Anakin trys to fight the droids off to save Padme for a while, while some painfully unfunny slapstick with C-3P0 unfolds, until they get caught. It's just not a good scene, and the only reason it exists is to get Anakin and Padme into the arena with Obi-Wan.

Ok, now at this point we go back to Coruscant briefly. I have a major problem here. Remember how I said I'd get back to Jar-Jar later? At this point, having been informed via Obi-Wan's spy mission about the goings-on on Geonosis, Palpatine manipulates Jar-Jar, who has been appointed, I guess, to temporarily be a senator in Padme's place, into motioning in the Senate to grant Palpatine emergency powers. Look, the notion that a galactic senator would trust Jar-Jar Binks to act in their place for even five seconds is preposterous and pushes the boundaries of credulity. Jar-Jar motions, all proudly and with his head held high, to make Palpatine a de facto dictator. Why?

What makes this worse is there is a great deleted scene where Padme herself addresses the Senate and passionately argues that to create any army is nothing less than a declaration of war. This was cut. So Padme doesn't get to make her argument early on but Jar-Jar gets to give Palpatine the power he wants. I just...we can argue about whether or not these films should've gone the political sci-fi route, but if that's the route Lucas took, do it right! Don't cut a good scene and then put Jar-Jar in a ridiculous role in this context.

Ok, ok, got that out. After this, Mace Windu sets out for Geonosis with backup and Yoda goes to Kamino to see the clone army for himself, and we return to the battle arena in Geonosis.

Anakin and Padme are being taken in when Padme declares her love to Anakin. I truly deeply love you. Etc. Based on what? They still barely know each other! I won't waste any more text here, suffice it to say the love story in this film is not believable.

So now they join Obi-Wan, and the film's one genuinely funny moment occurs when Anakin tells Obi-Wan that they came to rescue him, and Obi-Wan looks around at the situation and says 'good job'. And then the big battle starts.

Look, I've never really been a fan of this climactic battle. I think it's just too chaotic, too much going on, with not much in the way of emotional stakes. First these huge animals try to kill the trio but they manage to survive that by flipping around on the pillars and then choking them(ok, perhaps the one thing I do enjoy about this battle is the way Padme takes charge...I actually don't have much of an issue with the characterization of Padme in the first two prequels, she's strong and smart, it's just in ROTS where her character takes an unfortunate turn), and then the droids are sent out as Mace Windu arrives with Jedi backup. So now it's a million CGI Jedi we've never met fighting a million droids while C-3P0(who really didn't need to be in the film aside from maybe being present at the Lars house on Tatooine) is cracking bad jokes in a big battle that has no dramatic tension at all because everyone knows nothing is going to happen to Anakin or Obi-Wan or Padme here. It's just not that fun to watch for me.

Just as the droids are about to defeat the Jedi, Yoda arrives on ships with a bunch of clone troopers, and the trio escapes on the ships. It's not my aim to be quite so consistently negative, but I can't help it. While these ships are moving, Yoda starts barking out orders like a general. General Yoda doesn't really work for me. He was always a very cerebral character, dispensing wisdom and teaching the force as something that wasn't just physical, but spiritual. And now he's like a military leader? It doesn't jive.

Ok, so eventually Obi-Wan and Anakin confront Dooku in a cave. What ensues is possibly the most underwhelming lightsaber duel in any of the films. Dooku kicks both of their asses pretty quickly. And then Yoda comes in.

I remember, the first time I saw this in the theater in 2002, when Yoda took his lightsaber out, the crowd cheered. Including me. That was something that had never been seen and so it seemed cool in the moment. But over the years I've soured on it. It doesn't make any sense. Yoda was 900 years old when he died in ROTJ. That would make him 875 years old, or thereabouts, here. So at 900 he's a dying old man, but at 875, he's a spry fighter. It's those last 25 years that did him in. Come on. Even here, he's walking with a cane all the time but then all of sudden he can just throw it away and start flying around crouching tiger hidden dragon style? I can't buy it.

Ok, final few scenes, falling action. Dooku meets up with Sideous, revealing what we already knew, that Dooku is a Sith and that Palpatine is behind the Separatists. Ok. Whatver. Truthfully, I think Christopher Lee was a good actor who was wasted on this role. He barely did anything here and then he dies at the beginning of ROTS. Like Maul before him, he's another underdeveloped Sith apprentice.

Back on Coruscant, Yoda declares that begun, the clone wars have.

The film concludes on Naboo, where Anakin and Padme get married while a gorgeous score, more grand and soulful than their romance ever was, plays.

Ok, I realize that was a pretty negative write-up. I didn't go into it wanting to be so negative, I really didn't, but AOTC has always been my least favorite SW film and unless ROTS ends up being a lot worse than I remember, that's unlikely to change. I just don't care for the film.

It's a film of a plot machinations, scenes and sequences that exist to get the plot from point A to B to C, lacking in actual engaging action sequences(to me, the battle arena isn't engaging) and deficient in organic character development. I think much of that could've been avoided if they'd just started the film at the beginning of the clone wars instead of ending it there - just skip all of this and start when the war starts and have the film be a series of battles between the Separatists and the Republic. Maybe have the Jedi question their allegiance and switch sides at some point, particularly if they realize Palpatine is the Sith Lord. Make it that kind of a film. Anyway, I'm just fantasizing now.

Finally, as mentioned before, the film is also built on about as much CGI and animation as it could and still be called a live action film. Though I admit I wouldn't mind this quite so much if I liked the movie better.

Anyway, sorry to be so negative. At least I tried to go into detail about why I don't like it rather than mindlessly bitching about it.
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Old 08-22-2016, 01:11 PM   #879
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I don't like sand


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Old 08-22-2016, 03:14 PM   #880
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Not sure why I just had to read what was mostly a plot summary instead of more aesthetic analysis. No comparison to the darker tone of Empire Strikes Back, or mention of the noir atmosphere/plot not found in any of the other films.

I don't have the energy right now.
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Old 08-22-2016, 03:55 PM   #881
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Not sure why I just had to read what was mostly a plot summary instead of more aesthetic analysis. No comparison to the darker tone of Empire Strikes Back, or mention of the noir atmosphere/plot not found in any of the other films.

I don't have the energy right now.
I mean I know I did summarize the plot, but I thought I also went into a pretty solid amount of detail regarding what I didn't like.

Regarding what you mentioned specifically - I honestly never thought AOTC was that dark. Anakin and the Raiders is the only truly dark thing there imo. I think Empire is much darker, and also that ROTS is much darker. And if you're referring to the Detective Obi-Wan storyline(people call it that) when you say 'noir atmosphere/plot', I did mention it when I said that I didn't care for the whole thing of Obi-Wan playing detective for the whole movie. I get that it's the only plot of its kind in the Star Wars universe, I just don't love it, that's all. If you're a SW fan in the 90s, having grown up with ANH in which Obi-Wan tells luke of how he and Anakin fought together in the Clone Wars, and then a prequel trilogy is announced, would your first thought be 'we're going to get to see Obi-Wan and Anakin fighting together' or 'we're going to get to see Obi-Wan be a detective'?

I'm really not trying to antagonize here, I know you're a fan of the film, but I'm not really, and I'm just trying to explain why.
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Old 08-22-2016, 09:51 PM   #882
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It should be noted that practically every fan edit of AOTC worth your time actually inserts the deleted stuff of Padme with her family on Naboo. It's obvious to anyone with a pulse that the love story was rushed...

...and rushed is like the entire problem with the last two prequels. Lucas wanted to fit in the clones, the love story, Anakin's mom being killed, Palpatine's uptick in power that it so often feels like he's merely just trying to get this stuff over with...we're given little background as to how the clones were made and what's really going on, Anakin just finds his mom in like five seconds so they can get it out of the way, the love story develops out of nowhere because they have to do it, etc. It's not really that a lack of time is to blame for it, just that Lucas didn't want to spend much time on the actual story elements and preferred to give us ten minute chase sequences and the like.

And, sadly, the truth is that Lucas didn't really plot out any of this stuff. He wanted to get The Phantom Menace into theaters by the end of the century so he just literally spun around in his desk chair until it was finally finished and these scripts ultimately feel like someone merely completed their homework assignment rather than actually having stories that they really wanted to tell...he had some plot points in his mind for decades that sounded like they'd be worth the investigation, many of them visual ideas such as getting Coruscant up on screen or doing the lava planet where Vader needs to get burned, but there never was an actually compelling set of intriguing tales in his mind that he was just dying to get out to the world.

Funny enough, there's sort of an irony that TPM doesn't feel as rushed as the other two and actually looks like a film. The first reason being that it's a pointless movie that does almost nothing to affect the outcome of the later two, so there's nothing in it that really had to be told when he did these prequel movies, hence why there's little momentum. The only thing anybody will really point to is the chain of events that leads a rookie Jedi Knight to have to train Anakin, but that's really more like a background twist that isn't necessary like something you'd read in a side novel in order to tweak your opinion about how events played out in the series.

As for why TPM seems more like a movie in terms of look, Lucas was doing this for the first time so he wasn't going to turn it into a video game since there were a lot of questions about how they would pull off all of the CGI effects (an unheard of amount when that film was released) while none of the set pieces were things he had years to try and over-embellish since he made most of this crap up while writing the script. Although it's kind of funny that the big ending sequence for ROTJ is so laughably over-the-top, merely working as a reaction to the rest of the prequels and Lucas constantly trying to top himself. As if anyone believes that from the 80's to 2005 Lucas was really imagining it would end that way. Pfft.
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Old 08-23-2016, 12:09 AM   #883
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ROTS last night. Don’t worry, this won’t be another takedown, I like this film a lot. It’s not perfect, there are some big flaws, but on the whole I find it highly enjoyable.

It starts out with the big space battle sequence. Visually, I enjoy this a ton, it’s just fun to watch, even though there’s so much CGI. There were space battles in the OT that didn’t use CGI, that looked more real in a way, and that thus carried an extra level of thrill imo. But this aside, it still looks fantastic - with the big star destroyers and all of the smaller ships flying around, and later the visual of Anakin slicing Dooku with two lightsabers - and is the one and only time we really get to see Anakin and Obi-Wan in the midst of a battle in the Clone Wars(there should’ve been more of this in the prequels, i you ask me). Fun stuff. My only gripe is that it could’ve been trimmed a little, as is it’s like the first 30 minutes of the film, but that’s a relatively minor gripe.

One comment about when Anakin says ‘This is where the fun begins’. I know it’s a callback to a Han line from Empire, but I think it works better with Han. He was being a badass, trying to impress Leia. It just sounds a little childish coming from Anakin. But I digress. Moving on.

Once the battle is over, Grievous escapes and Anakin and Obi-Wan go back to Coruscant. At this point there is a lull in the action, but it’s a necessary one. I think this series of scenes in which Padme reveals her pregnancy, Anakin has his dream, conversations occur between Anakin/Yoda, Anakin/Obi-Wan, and Anakin/Palpatine, culminating in Anakin being appointed the council but denied Master status and then being asked to spy on Palpatine, is well done and effective. I mean, the execution of Anakin’s reaction to being denied Master status is unfortunate, as he comes off more whiny than angry in the dialogue, but other than that, this whole portion of the film does a good job of presenting the Jedi Council being, finally, distrustful of Palpatine, and of the Council and Palpatine trash-talking each other to Anakin and confusing him. If you ask me, this dynamic should’ve been established more concretely in AOTC, rather than having the Jedi realize the true danger at the last minute when it’s too late.

So this whole portion of the film leads up to the opera scene, which I think is really good. McDiarmid owns the screen here, beginning his final seduction of Anakin with the tale of Darth Plagueis. The visual of that sphere in front of them and the sound of the opera hum behind their voices add a ton of atmosphere to this pivotal scene. Good stuff.

At this point, based on what Anakin reports back to the council, they split up, with Obi-Wan going after Grievous(Anakin being denied the task) and Yoda going to Kashyyk.

Ok, about Kashyyk - I get that there was a battle going there, but we hardly saw it. Yoda goes there because he has good relations with the wookies, but once he’s there, we hardly see anything of it until he leaves after Order 66 is executed. It doesn’t hurt the film, and the visuals are beautiful, but I feel like this whole mini-sub-plot could’ve been excised from the film and it wouldn’t have mattered. I mean, I guess Yoda needed to be away from the Jedi Temple for the slaughter, so he had to be somewhere, so I guess it matters in that sense.

I’m not really a fan of Grievous so the whole Utapu sequence is a bit tedious, but ultimately there’s some good action and fun visuals here(Grievous is almost worth it for the visual of him fighting with four lightsabers) and it leads directly into order 66.

Ok, so this is where the film turns from being pretty decent to being epic.

Back on Coruscant, Palpatine continues seducing Anakin, Anakin realizes Palpatine is the Sith Lord, reports him into Mace Windu, an arrest is attempted, and a battle occurs. There have been some criticisms here - one, that Palpatine had referred to lightsabers as a ‘Jedi weapon’ with some scorn in ROTJ yet here is fighting with one and it’s an inconsistency, and two, that Anakin’s fall afterwards happens too quickly and suddenly. One the former, I kind of agree, but then again, Vader used a a lightsaber in the OT, Maul used a lightsaber in TPM, and Dooku used a lightsaber in both AOTC and ROTS, so you can’t really say that the Sith don’t use lightsabers. For Palpatine specifically, it’s a bit of an inconsistency, but there are bigger continuity issues to fry in this film so I don’t get too worked up about it. I do agree that Anakin’s fall seems sudden, but we’re supposed to have seen his internal struggles over the film and a half preceding this scene. Perhaps those struggles weren’t executed as well as they could’ve been, but he’s supposed to be on the brink when this duel occurs. Anyway, visually, it’s fairly exciting to see Windu and Palpatine fighting, and to see Palpatine use force lightning, and to see his face get deformed, and Anakin killing a Jedi master is an effective enough segue into his final fall.

Once it’s over, Palpatine gives the order to the Clone Army. Visually speaking, the Order 66 montages are perhaps the most emotionally resonant thing in the entire PT. Seeing all these Jedi get killed adds a lot of weight to the title of Episode VI - ‘Return Of The Jedi’. Now we know the horror from which they’re returning. Systematic execution. A purge. A, forgive me for invoking this, holocaust. It’s heavy.

Of course, the other part of it is Anakin slaughtering everyone in the temple. I have to admit, it’s pretty menacing when he takes his lightsaber out in front of those kids. I do kind of wish they had actually shown him doing the deed, to make an even greater emotional impact about how in the blink of an eye Anakin was gone and an evil man in his place. But that point his made anyway. And we do see it briefly when Obi-Wan looks at the security tape.

I enjoyed Bail Organa, Obi-Wan, and Yoda meeting up in the aftermath of Order 66. It really created a sense that they were already in exile and that their existence was in mortal danger.

I think that, while Ewan McGregor was always very good as Obi-Wan, his reaction to realizing that Anakin had slaughtered the youngins, and his initial refusal to want to kill Anakin, is the point at which he most resembles Alec Guinness’s Obi-Wan, temperamentally speaking. I applaud McGregor’s conveyance of Obi-Wan’s horror, betrayal, disappointment, and heartbreak over what he’s seen. Good stuff. Additionally, showing the security video essentially at the same time as Anakin is killing the separatists on Mustafa continues an effective visual demonstration of the fact that Anakin is gone and the evil Vader is here.

At the same time, Padme and Bail are in the Senate as Palpatine announces the formation of the Galactic Empire, and Padme has her great line - ‘So this is how liberty dies…with thunderous applause’.

I will pause here to say that I think Padme was robbed of having a bigger role in this film. There were three deleted scenes depicting, essentially, the formation of the rebel alliance, and of Padme leading said formation with Bail and Mon Mothma. In the film proper, the only explicit depictions of her opposition are the aforementioned line, and the earlier scene in which she asks Anakin if he ever stopped to think maybe they’re on the wrong side, implying that she’s not supportive of Palpatine anymore. They had a chance to depict Padme has a politically powerful and important figure, like her daughter after her would be, and most of that was taken away, and she spends most of her screen time looking out windows being worried about Anakin. This is perhaps the biggest disappointment of the film for me.

At this point, Obi-Wan confronts Padme to find out where Anakin is, she stonewalls, and he leaves after revealing that he knows about her and Anakin(frankly it was never believable that everyone didn’t know). He then stows away on her ship as she goes after Anakin. And now the final duels take place.

I know ‘Anakin, you’re breaking my heart’ gets a lot of shit, but whatever, it’s part of bigger dialogue in which he is revealed to be paranoid and distrustful, as evidenced by his belief that Padme set him up when Obi-Wan reveals himself. It’s not quite believable that Anakin could so quickly become so hateful of Obi-Wan, but I’ll suspend my disbelief. That line is part of a bigger dialogue and a bigger moment in which Padme finally realizes that Anakin is gone.

The duel itself is very good. What prevents it from being great is Hayden. Actually, Hayden’s dialogue, as I’m not sure how much we could expect Hayden to do with lines like ‘you underestimate my power’ and ‘from my point of view the Jedi are evil’. Aside from this, McGregor is great in his despair and urgency and heartbreak. His ‘you were my brother, I loved you’ as he’s walking away is particularly poignant. Visually, the duel is a spectacle. It’s extremely well done and conveys the feeling of the world falling apart, and of the galaxy’s fate depending on the outcome, very well. My only complaint is that there’s a bit too much of stuff falling down and exploding and the two of them jumping from here to there. I may have preferred them dueling in one place with extreme choreography, a la the Maul duel from TPM. But I’m picking nits, it’s a very well done duel.

I mentioned in my AOTC writeup that I’m not a huge fan of Yoda with a lightsaber, but I admit the duel is visually really cool and very effective - the dramatic score helps as well - when Yoda and Palpatine appear in the Senate fighting, and it emphasizes the stakes and the direness of the situation again when Yoda has to basically sneak out after losing.

At this point, all that’s left is Padme giving birth and Obi-Wan taking Luke to Tatooine.

I have issues with Padme’s death, it’s one of my biggest problems with the film. I don’t think she should’ve died. The continuity issue - this is what I meant when I said there were bigger continuity issues to fry - with Leia’s dialogue in ROTJ is well documented, and to add insult to injury, the reason for her death given in the movie is simply that she had lost the will to live after Anakin’s fall. Come on. First, losing the will to live is not in itself a cause of death. Second, this was a woman with a brain, a political leader, an expectant mother who was looking forward to raising her children, and she’s just going to give up and throw in the towel? It’s dumb. She didn’t have to die - Yoda at one point suggested that Anakin’s dream could be wrong - that was the out. Have her go with Bail and Leia at the end, with the audience assuming she dies a few years later of something else, and Anakin become Vader over a premonition that wasn’t even right, thus making Anakin even more tragic. Or if she absolutely had to die(she didn’t), just say that Anakin choked her death, since that what it looked like happened. They screwed Padme up in this film by removing those rebel alliance formation scenes, having her stare out a window for most of the time, and then having her die because she lost the will to live.

Anyway. Now the babies are split up, and Vader learns of Padme’s death and we see the beginning of the death star. I’ll say this: the death star didn’t need to be mentioned here(or in AOTC, which it was). It creates the issue of, it takes 20 years to build the first death star, and then only a couple of years to build the second one for ROTJ. There was no reason to mention it here. It was far too early for that, imo. Oh, and ‘NOOOO’ was and is unnecessary.

This is a strong film visually speaking, and for all the issues one might have with acting(and let’s give credit where it’s due, McDiarmid and McGregor are fantastic, and even Jackson, who a lot of people think was miscast, pulls it off well imo during the battle with Palpatine, and Portman wasn’t that bad either) or dialogue or certain plot points, it carries a dramatic and emotional weight that neither of the other prequels do for me, and can almost rival Empire or the end of Jedi in that respect. The last 45 minutes of the film really make me FEEL the despair of the surviving Jedi and the political leaders who are against Palpatine as darkness falls over the galaxy. It’s supposed to be a tragedy, and that’s what it feels like. I know I was pretty relentlessly negative about AOTC, but I really do like this film a lot for all of its flaws.
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Old 08-25-2016, 01:36 AM   #884
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Although it's kind of funny that the big ending sequence for ROTJ is so laughably over-the-top, merely working as a reaction to the rest of the prequels and Lucas constantly trying to top himself. As if anyone believes that from the 80's to 2005 Lucas was really imagining it would end that way. Pfft.
Was referring to ROTS here, by the way, not ROTJ. Typo.
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Old 08-25-2016, 01:45 AM   #885
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I’m not really a fan of Grievous so the whole Utapu sequence is a bit tedious, but ultimately there’s some good action and fun visuals here(Grievous is almost worth it for the visual of him fighting with four lightsabers) and it leads directly into order 66.
It's the biggest could-not-give-a-fuck section in any of the films. Utterly pointless. I imagine kids who watched all the Clone Wars episodes get a thrill out of seeing Grievous die (and in live-action, no less), but the audience in 2005 was randomly introduced to some robot guy at the last minute with no background as to who he was and expected to sit through a bunch of meaningless CGI hijinks to lead to his death. It's like if Maul had shown up for a line in TPM and then got killed off like thirty minutes in...what would be the point exactly?
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