No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction at anytime.
There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction,
a blessed unrest keeps us marching and makes us more alive than others.
-- Martha Graham to Agnes De Mille
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2002-05-17 - 12:53 p.m.

Attack of the Clones review

So yesterday was a day of consuming entertainment. eRoommate, RockGirl and I took off from work to go see Attack of the Clones yesterday morning. We bought our tickets online, and got to the theater 45 minutes early. we had no troubles getting good seats. Definitely the way to so things.

****** Warning ******

I'm going to talk about my impressions of the movie. I may let some spoilers slip. If you don't want to know, then don't read on. You have been warned.

So you might know that I didn't have very high expectations for this movie. The Ewok/Jar Jar Fuckhead trend has led me to believe that Lucas has lost his nerve. Greedo shooting first alone should have been enough to have the man strung up.

Well, I was disappointed. I went in with low expectations and he still managed to underwhelm me.

Yeah, the effects were amazing. Hurrah. Yeah the movie was very pretty to look at. Whoopee. Yeah, he spent a lot of time doing close ups of Natalie Portman's rock-hard abs. Well, okay, that was pretty cool.

Here's what he didn't do. Write an original or interesting plot. Get good performances out of his actors. Challenge us in any way.

Seriously, the writing was terrible. The plot lurches drunkenly from one place to the next with little motivation of logic. Characters make leaps of thinking and intuition at given times, not because the character actually figured something out, but because it was time to show the next cool CG setting. It feels like since Lucas already knows where we're going, he's not paying attention to how we're getting there.

See it's the story that's supposed to matter, people. Story and characters. The story was lame. Part of the reason the story was lame is that there were very little personal ramifications for the characters. In the first three movies, the grand, galactic events were only vaguely alluded to, and we mostly saw the effect it had on the lives of the characters. This movie had several scenes that felt to me like a news cast. Talking heads standing around mouthing exposition. On Valium.

Of course, another major problem was the characters and the acting. First off, the entire cast was flat. Dead-pan. Boring. Maybe part of the problem was that there were so many "I'm more zen and uninterested than you" Jedi as main characters. "The world is ending? I must meditate on that." Like an entire cast of Vulcans. (Damn, I'm a geek) But you also had some damn fine actors being damned boring. One or two bad performances can be blamed on the actors. An entire cast of bad performances can only be blamed on the director. "No, no, you're not boring me yet. Less, less."

In particular, however, Anikin Skywalker is an asshole. I thought I hated him in Phantom Menace because of the "acting skills of a three-week dead, dessicated cockroach" twerp they had playing him. Maybe Lucas is just on a mission to find really bad actors to be Anikin. Maybe Anikin is just an asshole.

See, Episodes 1 through 3 focus centrally on Anikin. We all know he's going to end up as the galaxy's biggest bad-ass. For us to care about the journey, we need to sympathize with the character at some point. so far, for me, Anikin has gone from a small asshole, to an adolescent asshole. I've never sympathized with the character for an instant. I hate him, and can't wait for him to fall into lava. Of course, this means that I'm not very invested in the story.

Okay, here come the real spoilers. In the category of really, really stupid writing, the top contender has to be the death of Anikin's Mom. She can hold out for weeks in a sand raider camp, so that just as Anikin shows up, she can gasp out some overly melodramatic dreck, and then conveniently die, apparently from the cut on her cheek. Someone please slap George Lucas for me.

One positive aspect of the film is Yoda as bad-ass. I loved this scene. It was (Oh my god, say it aint so) an interesting twist. We finally see why Yoda is at the top of the Jedi heap, and I for one am glad to see it. Yoda is my hero.

Well, anyway, I think I've ranted enough about George "lost all my film-making balls when I invented the Ewoks" Lucas for one day. For all my criticism, I'm only this upset because I love the first three movies so much. I'm angry because I care and I wanted it to be good so, so badly. And I'm a big geek, and I did see it opening day.

And now, I'm going to go back to work.

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