THE EMPIRE STRIKES OUT
SURPRISE! THE FINAL STAR WARS PREQUEL
IS AS CRAPPY AS THE REST OF THEM!

"I had that horrible dream where I was building a house with Kevin Kline again!"

NOTE: SIGNIFICANT ELEMENTS OF THE FILM ARE SPOILED IN THIS ARTICLE, DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF THIS BOTHERS YOU

I don't know why I keep getting my hopes up for each new Star Wars prequel.  Each one is so horrible that I convince myself that the next one has to be better.  The bar is so low, how could they not be?  With Episode III being the final payoff, the last chance, I wanted it to be special.  This was the moment I suffered through the entire trilogy for. If George Lucas had just made a giant scrolling text summarizing The Phantom Menace, Clones, and this one, and just showed this scene and progressed from there, we would have been better off for it.  But even that scene gets spoiled.

My problem with these films is that they're just giant toy commercials masquerading as movies. Ultimately, this trilogy has about 1 film worth of script stretched into 3. George Lucas seems to surround himself with “Yes-Men” who are afraid to tell him that he can't write or direct.

The first film was fun and magical, but still had a very bad script. It was so new and special that we were forgiving of it. The Empire Strikes Back made some advances due to a smarter script and a good director at the helm. Jedi was cartoonish, the weakest of the original three, but it wasn't so horrible that I hated it.

The prequels just feel so forced. You already know what happens to these characters, so the only point of these stories is to come up with a compelling character study saga. Bad casting, bad writing, and bad directing kept that from happening.

If you loved the other prequels, you'll likely love this one. If you were expecting it to be far superior, I don't think your expectations will be met.

It's easy for anyone to look back fondly on stuff from our childhood and think it's better. I remember thinking Frankenberry was the best cereal in the world, until I had it again as an adult. Watching the originals again, however, I think they still hold up as great kids’ action films. Lucas certainly lifted a ton of ideas from other pop culture sources, but did it in a fresh and new way that was a lot of fun to watch. The original Star Wars was about telling a fun story with groundbreaking special effects. We never saw this stuff before, and it was like being on a rollercoaster ride. Empire was even better with a serious story angle, unexpected plot twists, and some of the best action scenes ever captured on film (AT-AT Walkers vs. Snow-Speeders and the asteroid belt chase). Return of the Jedi was a bit of a let down from a story perspective, but it brought closure to a franchise, and was a nice final chapter.

So almost 20 years later, we get the prequels. The problem with prequels is that you know exactly what is going to happen to these characters. No matter what kind of scrape Kenobi gets in, he's going to survive. No matter how hard Anakin tries to stay good, you know he's going to fail. You know these things up front, so with those surprises and tension removed, you have to make the characters and their journey fascinating to make up for that.


In one of the few daring scenes in the film, Obi Wan Kenobi shaves off his beard,
shoots up a ton of heroin, and takes an exciting trip through Jar Jar Binks' toilet.

Episode I was a throwaway piece of crap that was sillier than Return of the Jedi could dream of being. Darth Maul, the only intriguing villain of the prequelogy is eliminated far too quickly, and Anakin is a little boy for the entire film gets boring rather quickly. I've used the analogy before that watching Episode I is like watching someone play a videogame. It's sometimes fun to see, but you have no vested interest in the characters.

Episode II was a bit better, but not much. I never bought the chemistry between Anakin and Padme, and the political sub-plot was just dull as hell.

Episode III, the payoff episode, is just more of the same. Yeah, it's easy to get excited to finally see Vader, but to suffer through 7 hours of crap to see 5 minutes of Vader is infuriating.

I think speeding up the initial storytelling and combining the arc from Episode I and II would have been far more interesting. Have Vader turn at the very end of Episode II, but only see a glimpse of him, then start of Episode III with Vader full tilt. Use all of III to bridge that gap.

The first trilogy had some pretty good actors that were able to carry their poorly written characters.


"Tell me...does Master Yoda LOOK LIKE A BITCH!?!"

Aside from Liam Neeson and Ewan MacGregor, you didn't get that in the prequel trilogy. Sam Jackson is certainly a great actor, but his character Mace Windu is a bore with absolutely nothing interesting to say or do.

I just get the feeling that these prequels were just made to coast off the nostalgia for the entire franchise.

To be fair, the film does have a handful of scenes that were rather fun.


If only General Grevious' mother had named him something more friendly sounding,
he may have turned out to be a bit more personable.

The lightsabre fight between they mechanical General Grievous and Kenobi was pretty kickass.  He surprises Kenobi by whipping out 2 more arms.  A 4 lightsabre vs. 1 fight scene looked pretty damn cool.

Another neat tidbit occurs at the end when Kenobi hands the droids over to Captain Antilles and tells them to wipe C3PO’s memory and make him a protocol droid (Threepio mentions Antilles was his previous owner in Episode IV, while introducing himself to Luke Skywalker for the first time).  This explains why the droid had no knowledge of Kenobi or Vader when seeing them years later.

R2D2 actually has an ass-kicking fight scene at the beginning that's pretty funny.

You can catch a Millennium Falcon when Obi Wan and Anakin return after the initial space fight, pulling in to a landing dock.


"C'mon Yoda...do that cool Miss Piggy imitation one more time!"

The Blockade Runner from the beginning of Episode IV (at least the same model) is in there. It was kind of cool to see the stark white hallway interior, the same section that Vader made his film debut in.

Jar Jar doesn't say a word! YAYYY!


Someday, Anakin, my yet to be born daughter will remember this hairdo
even though she'll be raised by Jimmy Smits and never see a picture of me.

Padme wears the classic Leia snail-shell bun hairdo.

But the dark side of this movie is far more overwhelming than the good.

Even the end of this film, the money shot of Darth Vader finally completing his transformation into the black armored Vader we great to love is even screwed up.

He stumbles off the platform, testing out his new robot legs, and when he gets some bad news, he wobbles his arms to the sky and warbles "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" so ridiculously that it produced more laughter than awe.


You can tell Anakin is turning evil here because of his special contact lenses

One scene that was just really really awful was the climax of the fight between evil Anakin/Vader and Kenobi.  Anakin jumps high in the air and Kenobi chops his legs off at the knees. Anakin screams, close to the shore of a lava river, and his costume catches fire. As he lies there, burning and screaming, Kenobi just looks at him and walks away, still smoldering and alive, and in agony. It makes no fucking sense that he wouldn't have put him out of his misery, and ended all future problems right then and there.


"Anakin, I already saw Episode IV, so forgive me if I don't give this fight my all!"

There is no reason for Kenobi to go soft here, as we have already seen Anakin kill all the young Jedis in training with a lightsabre. Yep...they turn him into a child killer. All because of some vague promise from The Emperor that if he goes to the dark side, he might find out a way to save Padme from dying in childbirth (it was in a blurry hard to see vision that he dreamt earlier in the film).

Anakin's motives for going this far this quickly are a joke. Lucas' script is just horrible in this regard.


Several hundred women from Humboldt State University were hired to be Wookie extras

Yoda has to go to the Wookie planet and help them out in order to get the Chewbacca cameo in. That was stupid, too. As he leaves he says, "Chewbacca...miss you, I will!", when he only spent a few hours just standing by him in a tree house.

Padme's death scene is inexplicably stupid as well. No medical reason is given why she is dying while giving birth other than, "She's lost her will to live!" What machine told them that? And they mention that they'll need to operate to save the kids, yet some robot midwife pulls each one out her traditionally, hands each one to Kenobi to show her. Even though she's lost her will to live, she has the strength to name each one "Luke" and "Leia", and then just inexplicably dies.

So Anakin betraying her made her want to die, despite having two gorgeous new kids to start her life over with? What a dumb girl.

Another unintentionally funny scene is when Yoda says they need to split the kids up and hide them. (Even though, to the best of their knowledge, Vader is dead). Senator Organa eagerly exclaims, "We'll take the girl! We always wanted a baby girl!".  I just laughed, "Yeah...let's give Luke the shitty deal."


The ghost of Jedi Master Gumby makes his debut in Episode III

My other problem is how utterly clueless these "wise" Jedi Knights are. Such obvious corruption right under their noses and they're so blinded to it. They know something weird is going on between Anakin and The Chancellor, who eventually becomes The Emperor, yet they continually put him in situations where the Chancellor can exploit Anakin.

After Episode I, the movie equivalent of Child Protective Services should have stepped in and taken these films from him, so they could be raised by more capable parents.

Nothing I say will keep anyone interested in seeing this film from seeing it. Either you liked the first 2 and want to see this one, or you've been continually disappointed, but your morbid curiosity will still compel you to watch it.


"Seriously Hayden...I'm really thinking a Howard The Duck prequel would be awesome!"

Lucas can do whatever the hell he wants, but if you've got a billion dollar franchise like this, why not aim higher? It's totally fine to want a simple action movie that you can turn your brain off and just enjoy yourself, but when you've got the power Lucas holds to make a movie however you want with unlimited resources, you should strive for pure unequalled greatness.

Don't just settle for making a good looking toy commercial.

-Robert Berry
rberry@retrocrush.com

 

xxxgaggle

 
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