Critical Section

The Force is with Return of the Sith

Saturday,  05/21/05  11:39 PM

the CHancellor's office...Today I saw Return of the Sith with my daughter and her friend.  I loved it.  Yeah, really really.  Okay, it is a bit campy, but look, this is Star Wars, it is supposed to be campy.  I don't care if the dialog is a bit stilted, or if the "love scenes" don't really work.  At the highest level this movie did what it was supposed to do - it entertained.  We all knew how it was going to end, but the transformation of Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader worked; in the particular logic of the Star Wars Universe, it made sense.

The Star Wars movies began as a kind of B Western set in space, cowboys and indians, white hats and black.  They were fun to watch, and the popcorn went down easy.  No, they weren't "deep", and no, the character's weren't fully rendered (although Han Solo came close), and no, the science didn't make any sense.  But it was fun.  You could see real live space battles without the strings showing.  And never mind that sound doesn't travel through space, the sounds were great.  There was a force behind these movies that made them so successful.

The "new" Star Wars movies were at once too serious and too silly.  With the weight of the franchise behind them, they had to perform, and the labor was evident.  The special effects were cool ("pod racing!") but overdone, and the stories faltered.  Episode I was okay, but Episode II sucked, by general acclaim.  (Yes, we all watched it, but yes, we all hated it - in fact hated is wrong, the movie was too lightweight to merit hate - let's say we all disliked it.)  Now we have a "new" movie worthy of the "old" ones, with a clean connector between the stories.  I do think I'll watch this one again, and again, and again, just like the original, and just like Empire Strikes back.

Yoda at batSome critics have opined that this movie is too dark.  Some have read political statements into the story.  Some have bemoaned the weird science, or the illogic of the plot.  I think these people are overthinking things.  Just go watch the movie, and enjoy it.  Take in the wonderful alien planets, the space battles, the light sabers, and Yoda's strange grammar, and enjoy it all.  How often have you seen a light saber duel on a lava flow?  At the end we have a fully formed villain, complete with tragic past and axe to grind, and a brand new hero, just born.  And may the force be with you.

P.S. Having seen this, I am now convinced there will be an Episode VII.  Remember the end of Episode VI?  Yeah, Vader was vanquished, not killed.  And the best part will be, we won't know where it's going until we get there :)

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