Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Enjoyed it I did

So I've taken in Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith. And much to my joy, it did not suck. In fact, I loved it. Visually stunning (of course), action packed, and fairly well paced. Admittedly, there were some "parts du not-so-good", but I've come to expect that from Lucas and friends. You see, George's talents lie in the depiction of things on the grand scale: sweeping story arcs, planet sized plot turns, etc. When it gets down to the nitty-gritty details of things, at least in terms of story, he’s… a bit of a Paduan?

The problem is that Lucas lacks the subtlety to adequately craft minute shifts in plot. For example, the scene in which Sith Lord Siddious reveals himself to Anakin is very heavy handed. Anakin’s final decision to turn to the Dark Side is likewise incredibly ham-fisted. And the love between the future Mr. and Mrs. Vader is drawn only in the broadest strokes of teenage, idyllic passion.

In short, dialogue, soul searching, and emotional interaction between characters have always been George’s weak points. He is at his best when portraying epic battles, black and white situations, and high drama. It’s unfortunate that he didn’t get someone like Soderbergh or Jarmusch to handle the more delicate aspects of the story. I think both Steve and Jim could have done a beautiful job at fleshing out the love between Anakin and Padme (no pun intended). Both could also have better portrayed the gradual transformation of young Skywalker from annoying little Jedi schmuck into everybody’s favorite Sith Lord, Darth Vader.

As it was, what should have been subtle instead got dumped in my lap.

This shortcoming, however, did not sour the movie for me at all. As I said above, Lucas’s strengths lie in the grandiose. Episode III has grandiose in spades. The opening sequence alone is some of the most dizzying cinematography I’ve seen. It takes your breath away. And the final showdown between Obi Wan and his former apprentice? Simply fantastic.

And when the mask finally descends upon Anakin’s charred face: shivers up and down my spine. I’d waited 28 years to see that and was not disappointed.

This path leads to the Dark Side:

Halo - Subliminal Transmissions
(lumbering, titanic blocks of sound)

Bonechurch - Within Empty Spaces
("The eternal silence of these infinite spaces fills me with dread" – Pascal)

His Name Is Alive - Home Is In Your Head
(quirky, melancholy beauty from 4AD)

M.J. Harris / Martyn Bates - Murder Ballads (The Complete Collection)
(a bleak, haunting take on the classic English form)

Lee Perry - I Am The Upsetter
(4 discs of luscious dubby goodness from Madman Scratchy and friends)


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