Sunday, April 11, 2010

Star Wars marathon: Revenge of the Rebuttal

For a full appreciation of this particular article, a reading of Bill's Revenge of the Sith review post at Bill's Movie Emporium is required.

The title of this article could easily pass as false advertising. I honestly don't have any sort of meticulously planned revenge in store (save for your pitiful comments on the Christopher Nolan Batman films), nor will today's Star Wars marathon article be seen as much of a rebuttal. You and I were very much on the same wavelength when assessing the pros and cons of Episode III. There are a few little details I'll try to iron out, but writing an extensive column about how you're wrong about 'this, this and that' would come off as forced and disengenuous.

Episode III is about the fall of a hero, absolutely. I am clearly not as versed as you happen to be in what you call the 'expanded universe' (which I have to assume encompasses all the stories found in continuation novels, video games and comics) but I agree that the film does enough to portray Anakin as a hero of sorts, at least during the first half of the film. He protects his teacher Obi-Wan from those little insect droids during the opening space battle, hacks his way through tons of droids in the submarine space ship, kills Count Dooku and rescues both Palpatine and Obi-Wan while the latter is unconscious. All in the name of the Republic! If that isn't performing like a hero, I don't know what is. We already know Anakin is a conflicted character, we saw that during key scenes of Episode II. We know he has trouble correctly aligning his allegions towards the Chancellor or the Jedi Council. I think of it as working a 9 to 5 job where you don't like the boss or some of your colleagues, but the work itself it fine and you enjoy doing it. You're aware of your duties and you're getting paid, but there are days when you aren't certain whether or not you should really be there anymore. When you perform well however, it is recognized and you get better, mor important tasks and maybe even a raise. That's sort of what Anakin is experiencing in Episodes II and III, minus the raise in pay.

I'm not going to agree with you entirely about the 'I hate you' line near the end however. I do think the intent of that scream is to scold Obi-Wan. I've always viewed that scene as the final character transformation of Anakin into Darth Vader. Obi-Wan was the last jedi Anakin felt he could trust. Even before the battle begins he utter something in the nature of 'don't force me to kill you' or something of the like. The realization that now Obi-Wan himself, even after the fall of the Jedi, is still acting as a beacon for what the Council and the old Republic stood for, is not going to join Anakin in the creation of this new Empire...that's too much for the young sith to bear. That is the final straw. I think he really despises Obi-Wan for what in his skewed vision of things is the latter's treachery.

Regarding Padmé, I can understand your sentiments about her presence in the film, which seems far more limited and less important than in the previous two instalments. While that is true, I wonder what exactly Lucas could have done to provide her character with more screen time. She's pregnant and therefore her concentration is focused on the upcoming birth of their children and what she and Anakin will do once the war is over. In Episode II she was running around all over the place with Anakin, but that surely weasn't going to happen this time. She could have been allocated more scenes in the Senate perhaps, but I fear that would have bogged down this movie like the Coruscant sequence had slowed down the pace of Episode I. I am not going to sit here and argue that this is the prequel film in which Padme is the most interesting character. I think and hope we can agree that that was in Episode II, but for the purposes of Revenge of the Sith, the focus of which needs to be on Anakin's downfall, the greater part of which is due to his foolish insistance that Padme is going to die, she does what is required of her.

I'm at a loss of things to discuss really. Yes, the Anakin/Obi-Wan fight near the end of fantastic, the digital effects are brilliant, the score is excellent, etc. I liked how you compared the richness of the colours of that often found in comic books. Even the dialogue, as you wrote yourself, is reminiscent of the self-important and overtly dramatic delivery in many old serials and comics. All that works very well. I was never quite clear as to why people always complained about the dialogue in the prequel trilogy and yet remained silent on how silly most of the lines are in the classic trilogy. Neither showcases worse or better dialogue per say, it all fits into that prism of swashbuckling serials from ages ago. It's all essential dialogue while coming off of as a bit silly.

There was no epic lightsaber clash this time around, Bill. If I know what is to come next Sunday, I think I can predict that the rebuttal articles in 2 weeks time will be far more entertaining and contentious than they were today.

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