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Star wars Episode 3 ( The best from the series)??

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Star wars Episode 3 ( The best from the series)??

mzellmer's Avatar


mzellmer
03.28.2012 , 11:40 AM | #11
WARNING: very lengthy rant ahead!!

in terms of the acrobatics and pyrotechnics of the prequels, episode i has the best lightsaber fight of them all. the duel with darth maul was so much more expertly choreographed than the seemingly endless hours of jumping and twisting we would see in episodes ii and iii. but the best lightsaber fight in star wars history is in empire strikes back, as darth vader and luke skywalker duel on the catwalk. it is, in fact, the greatest moment in the series' history, and one of the most powerfully revealing moments in recent film history. it may not have been as skillfully choreographed as the action sequences of the prequels, but it is so much more immediate and moving, from the score to the pacing to the tremendous moment of actualization. everything in the prequels was leading up to "luke, I am your father!" that's why episode iii was such an abhorrent waste. by the time the transformation of anakin skywalker is complete, the viewer realizes that he's just a whiny little sonuva***** who couldn't have his way, and thus chose the easy path. and as you forecast those glowering moments of adolescent petulence towards the towering, damning vader of empire strikes back, it just reads so *********** poorly. how could that vader, one of the greatest villains in movie history, have sprung from this unfortunately miscast teenage whelp?

i thought lucas did a fantastic job of setting up a multitude of factors for the betrayals of anakin skywalker, rather than delivering a single, cliched catalyst for his fall from grace: a denial of advancement in the jedi order. an impatience of youth. the death of his mother. a vision of his dying wife. a power hungry senator cooing into his ear at every moment, like a perverted priest. the horrific, reactionary murder of mace windu. these are all excellent contributors to a much more grand story of downfall. but lucas completely botched the execution. anakin's reaction to each of these events is sophomoric at best and poorly-acted by hayden christensen (more the fault of lucas, the film's director, than anything else. he couldn't squeeze even a mediocre performance out of daniel day lewis). episode iii is actually my least favorite of the entire series. that's not to say that i think its the worst. to me, it falls in line behind empire and a new hope, with return of the jedi in fourth place, and the dreadful episodes i and ii tied for last place...

the reason episode iii is my least favorite is that it was supposed to be a grand finale of sorts. it was supposed to show us the influences, transgressions, and happenstances that would bring us the original trilogy. and the fact that we all knew what was coming made it even more momentous, and made it even more pertinent for lucas to do right by his beloved franchise. he'd already blown his first two shots at a more modern star wars tale. the previous two prequels seemed more like high budget place-holders. they added very little to the overarching emotional narrative of anakin skywalker, and bored us all to tears with a c-span-in-space plot structure that lacked any of the punch of rebellion we witnessed in the original trilogy. and, once episode iii came, i was hoping for a redemption. i was hoping that lucas would get to work, now that the forward motion of the story would carry him and us all to very specific ends. the moment i remembered waiting for the most was that first order to exterminate the jedi. it was alluded to by obi-wan in a new hope, and so much of the weight of the series seemed to stem from that moment, as skywalker became vader, and consummated his pact with the dark side by executing the very jedi who liberated him from slavery, and took him in as one of their own, despite some of their better judgments. but instead of being the fascist purge i was hoping to witness, it was instead a glossed-over "order 66," that made very little plot sense. why did the clone troopers suddenly turn on the jedi who fought directly alongside them? because palpatine said so? were the clones programmed to abandon their allegiance upon hearing palpatine speak the order? did i just miss something in my desire to see episode iii no more than twice?

truly, no matter the explanation, it would not be sufficient enough for one of the most anticipated moments in modern movie history. darth vader was supposed to be an enforcer of evil. the stormtroopers of the original trilogy were obviously a reference to the soldiers of nazi germany, and vader was meant to represent a general of that fascism. and in episode iii, when those ties are meant to be forged in iron, lucas rushed it. i don't know what the hell he was thinking. anakin kills mace windu, pledges allegiance to palpatine, and becomes darth vader, exterminator of jedi, all in a 10-minute montage. it was supposed to be a gut punch of tremendous emotional weight!! instead, the viewer hardly has time to process what has happened. it was the ultimate anti-climax, and, nearly seven years later, i still feel cheated. the register of that sequence is so flat ad uninspired that you'd think the darth vader of the original trilogy was some secondary character with little involvement in the proceedings, and not worthy of expansion. anakin gets plenty of time in episode iii, but vader gets very little. in a 140-minute feature, you cut out some of the fluff to get at the emotional center of your main characters, ESPECIALLY when we all know who the story is about, and what is going to happen. grievous, while a cool side-villain, was an absolutely unnecessary addition. so was dooku, for that matter. so were MOST of the secondary characters across the span of the prequels. think back to that original star wars trilogy. how many characters are there really? luke, leia, han, chewbacca, c3-po, r2-d2, darth vader, lando calrissian, jabba the hutt, and the emperor. that's the ENTIRE trilogy. there are plenty of supplementary characters, of course, but they get the most minimal of screen time (boba fett springs to mind, all five minutes of him), and serve the purpose of advancing the story of the main characters. in the prequels, lucas chucks so many supplementary characters at the celluloid that its no wonder that nothing stuck. and most of them don't have anything to do. they're just dummies meant to fill up a screen of cgi experiences...

i will say that i thought the final lightsaber duel between anakin and ob-wan was well-executed in episode iii. it hit the right notes of arrogance, downfall, and heartbreak between two men who shared a bond of brotherhood, even if what came before it could not help to justify that scene's place in the movie. but its another unfortunate moment, truth be told, because it doesn't forecast right on an emotional level. with respect to plot, it makes perfect sense. but with respect to holistic resonance, it doesn't work for me. in a new hope, vader strikes down obi-wan, but he does so with a casual reacquaintance devoid of aggression. the rage that seethes in anakin at the end of episode iii is nowhere to be found. though it was a misplaced angst, anakin blamed obi-wan for everything, and i imagine years of physical and emotional torment would have eroded vader's connection to his former master even further. then, after obi-wan resurfaced from decades of hermitage, i imagine vader would have been overwhelmed with anger and anticipation at the thought of facing him again. as part of an original trilogy, the scene is masterful and resonant. as a part of a much larger sextology, however, the scene that reunites an enraged former student with his formerly adoring master feels rushed and anticlimactic. does that make sense? its clear that lucas didn't quite know what he was going to do with vader in the long term as he composed episode iv. its widely understood that he came up with the idea to paternally connect vader and luke while rewriting episode v. could anything have been done about this inconsistency between the original films and the prequels? not likely. i only bring it up because, ultimately, i think lucas should have just let his trilogy be. i think he should have ignored his impulse to go back and tell the story of the prequels altogether. its not like the story turned out to be worth telling. the first two movies are, more or less, a literal waste of time. there is SO LITTLE worthwhile story there, with respect to either plot or character development. and the third prequel took its *********** time getting to the story of anakin's transformation, then sprinted past the moment once it arrived. its almost as if lucas was afraid of that moment, afraid of failing his characters. and, in that fear, he did so anyway. make no mistake, anakin skywalker is lucas' great failure as a filmmaker...

in my opinion, if lucas could not resist that star wars itch (i understand why that would be difficult, spiritually and monetarily speaking), he should have told a new story, one separate from the lives of these characters, perhaps further into the future, rather than backward into their pasts. but i still maintain that it would have been best to leave star wars behind, and move on to different tales in different universes. as a graduate student of american literature, i can say that, in all of the books i've read, films i've watched, and stories i've consumed, the ones that resonate the most DO NOT give me all of the information available. its hemingway's iceberg theory: only 20% exists above the surface. the bulk of an iceberg is submerged. i think lucas would have been better off leaving the backstory of anakin skywalker submerged. obi-wan's exposition in episodes iv and v, and vader's redemption in episode vi, were more than enough to craft a mysterious but weighty character. its okay to pick up a story in the middle and tell it to its end. in fact, its usually preferable. the less time you spend backgrounding everything, the more time you can invest in your characters, because that's what people remember. han solo isn't a cultural force for no reason. people genuinely love that character. i loved very few of the characters in the prequels. qui-gon jinn sticks out to me, but he belonged only to a single film. obi-wan sticks out, as well, though to a lesser degree, which is a shame, because ewan mcgregor is such a fine actor. poor writing and directing failed again, in that instance, and across three movies. that's kind of it, though. i liked palpatine occasionally in the third prequel. there was a nice, fine layer of sleaze over his entreaties to anakin, but it was pretty heavy-handed, at times, particularly when he revealed himself as the emperor, and the wicked witch of the west routine kicked in. damn near everyone else in those movies is utterly forgettable. we'll knowingly, emotionally, and fondly remember "luke, i am your father" from the original trilogy. we won't remember "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO," except as an unintentional laugh. and that's what the prequels are to me. i laugh them off as uninspired drivel, useless to the grand and mythic tale of the rebellion against the empire, and pop my original vhs versions of the original star wars trilogy in my dvd/vcr combo. maybe i'll do so this weekend. its supposed to rain. seems like the right time for it...

tl;dr - episode iii, while acceptable, is hardly the good film so many people wanted it to be. the saddest part is that lucas ALMOST made a great movie. he had many of the right ingredients, but failed in the execution. its a shame that cgi overwhelmed his storytelling abilities, like a kid playing with his dad's gun. after two prequel failures, you'd think he would have ratcheted down the emphasis on cgi enough to tell the REAL, tangible story of anakin skywalker. but he persisted in overapplying the use of cgi, and failed his own characters. a new hope was a tremendously low budget sci-fi feature that charmed its generation, and many others after it. if lucas had returned to that spirit, perhaps we would have gotten the movie we desired. hell, maybe someday he'll get the urge to revise the prequels. those three movies ACTUALLY need it...

XenusParadox's Avatar


XenusParadox
03.28.2012 , 11:52 AM | #12
My personal rating of the saga, from best to worst:

1. Empire
2. Sith
3. Jedi
4. A New Hope
5. Phantom Menace
6. Clones

XenusParadox's Avatar


XenusParadox
03.28.2012 , 11:56 AM | #13
Quote: Originally Posted by mzellmer View Post
how could that vader, one of the greatest villains in movie history, have sprung from this unfortunately miscast teenage whelp?
I have to agree with Kevin Smith on this one: That whiny, arrogant brat is EXACTLY who would wind up becoming the galaxy's greatest villain. Someone who's confident, secure, and powerful to start with wouldn't turn to the Dark Side in search of more power.

Idunhavaname's Avatar


Idunhavaname
03.28.2012 , 12:07 PM | #14
"You're so beatiful"

"It's only because im so in love with you"

"No, it's because im so in love with you"

Yeah... no

It did it's job well though which was to connect original trilogy with prequels.
.

RIP orange pixel

XenusParadox's Avatar


XenusParadox
03.28.2012 , 12:14 PM | #15
Quote: Originally Posted by Idunhavaname View Post
"You're so beatiful"

"It's only because im so in love with you"

"No, it's because im so in love with you"

Yeah... no

It did it's job well though which was to connect original trilogy with prequels.
Want to know something really sad?

Lucas asked Lawrence Kasdan (the guy who rewrote The Empire Strikes Back so it didn't suck) to write the script for The Phantom Menace.

Kasdan told Lucas that he should write it himself so it would be his vision instead of someone else's.

Apparently Kasdan forgot what a terrible mess the ESB script was before he got a hold of it...

mzellmer's Avatar


mzellmer
03.28.2012 , 12:21 PM | #16
Quote: Originally Posted by XenusParadox View Post
I have to agree with Kevin Smith on this one: That whiny, arrogant brat is EXACTLY who would wind up becoming the galaxy's greatest villain. Someone who's confident, secure, and powerful to start with wouldn't turn to the Dark Side in search of more power.
i agree that deep-seeded insecurity is a tremendous motivating factor for the birth of darth vader, but there is so much more at play, emotionally, than simple adolescence. it required a much finer touch, in my opinion. hitler didn't order the murders of millions because he was a failed artist, after all. the truth is that nobody really knows exactly what pushed hitler into the direction of atrocity, and that's the point. we have to dig deep into the emotional makeup of humanity to better understand ourselves so that we might not repeat the same mistakes, so that we might not appease the hitlers of the world until long after the damage is done...

such investigation is the province of art, and that's what i wanted from episode iii: a genuine exploration of the driving emotional factors that brought anakin skywalker to his ultimate doom. i got some of what i wanted. like i said, i thought lucas rather brilliantly orchestrated anakin's motivations for betrayal. but i feel like the execution was as flat as it could be. lucas' direction of those important sequences was sloppy, at best, and hayden christensen wasn't given much more to do but scowl and stomp. but the dark side isn't a temper tantrum. it is rather the slipperiest of slopes. as yoda says, "once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny." i wanted to see anakin slipping down that slope. i wanted to see the torment tearing him apart, as he betrayed his allies, friends, mentors, and, ultimately, his wife...

i didn't bring up padme in my rant, but she's the weakest link of them all. a truly great woman will **** up even the best of men. a truly great woman will have a man trembling on his knees, emotionally wrecked at the mere sight of her. a truly great woman is the catalyst for so many classical falls as portrayed in the arts. and, of the very few things successfully accomplished in the first two prequels, padme was established as a strong woman who was worth the wreckage one might become on her shores. lucas' direction failed her, like it failed everyone, and that led to subpar acting from natalie portman, but the plot set her up as a helen of troy figure. then, in the third prequel, she's reduced to the unflattering role of 1950's housewife, waiting on the doorstep for her man to return to hearth and home. it rendered her completely useless as a catalyst for the pain to come...

again, i really liked lucas' idea: she's pregnant with twins, anakin has a vision of her death, and he begins sliding down the dark path in search of an answer. its really great, when you think about it from a literary perspective, because anakin's vision reads more like freudian deep-seeded insecurity than some sort of premonition from the force. it reads like he's afraid of being unable to protect his wife and future children. he's afraid that he won't be the great man he's supposed to become, especially considering the strong woman that his wife is supposed to be. but the actual characterization of these ideas and emotions on screen was an absolute flop. the heat between christensen and portman was nonexistent. the way they're written and the way they're acted couldn't be further apart. it was hard to believe that they actually loved each other, and that the resultant heartbreak in the plot was worth the journey...

Rayla_Felana's Avatar


Rayla_Felana
03.28.2012 , 12:23 PM | #17
Quote: Originally Posted by XenusParadox View Post
Want to know something really sad?

Lucas asked Lawrence Kasdan (the guy who rewrote The Empire Strikes Back so it didn't suck) to write the script for The Phantom Menace.

Kasdan told Lucas that he should write it himself so it would be his vision instead of someone else's.

Apparently Kasdan forgot what a terrible mess the ESB script was before he got a hold of it...
That was the worst decision ever made for the Star Wars saga.

BrandonSM's Avatar


BrandonSM
03.28.2012 , 03:35 PM | #18
A nice Story... bad script and too much CGI.


Its actually hard nowadays to find a novel without it overloading with action in all Novels nevermind the SW Universe.

Which is why the Darth Plageuis Novel was such a good book... it balanced really well. Same thing for the Thrawn Trilog.
Hapan: "This creature has information that could lead us to a woman who has been kidnapped. We will get that information."
Luke: "This woman is a citizen of the New Republic, and if you do not take your hands off her, I will take your hands off you."

Datamonger's Avatar


Datamonger
03.28.2012 , 03:44 PM | #19
I tend not to think of each episode individually. The one thing I will say is I love Palpatine's masterful manipulation of the Senate and formation of the Empire in the prequels. This alone almost (but not quite) makes the prequels as good as the original trilogy.

Eillack's Avatar


Eillack
03.28.2012 , 03:51 PM | #20
I honestly thought the "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO....!" was the best part in all 6 movies. How does no one connect to the fact that Episode III was a huge greek tragedy? That moment when Anakin knew he lost everything was most emotional scene in all of Star Wars.

People can ***** about the actors...but guess what..they can only do what they are given, not their fault. I think Ep III was a little too rushed. Everytime I watch it it seems Anakin fell too fast, though the entire movie I think is something around a couple days to a week story-wise...Anakin should have taken just a tad longer to fall. Other then that small bit I loved the entire movie.
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