So I went to see Star Wars on Thursday night, once I was sure the geeks, having already had their turn at midnight, would finally be forced to succumb to sleep.
Before I offer an opinion on III, let’s face it: Episodes I and II, no matter how you slice and dice them, were pure rubbish. You couldn’t convince any thinking adult that they were actually any good. And as for the people who liked it, well, they already had their noses so far up Lucas’s ass that they would’ve gladly gobbled up any stinker that plopped out.
Episode III, in many ways, carries on with the same flaws: overwrought, soap opera-ish dialogue, flat acting that lacks emotional authenticity, spectacular yet suspenseless action scenes. Padme saying to Anakin “[Obi-Wan] is worried about you…he says you’ve been under a lot of stress,” has got to be one of the worst movie lines I’ve heard in years.
The film’s final hour, though, is immensely compelling. One can’t help but be mesmerized as Lucas builds his bridge between episodes III and IV. As the pieces are put into place — the defeat of the Jedi, Anakin’s descent into the Dark Side, the rise of the empire, the scattering of Obi-Wan, Yoda, Luke and Leia — one must acknowledge that Lucas’ ability to captivate our collective imagination hasn’t been totally lost to the Rings and Matrixes of today.
Furthermore, as the republic becomes an empire, Padme’s observation from the senate chamber that “this is how liberty dies…to thunderous applause” is by far the most resonant line of any in the entire series. Art imitates life.
In the six years since The Phanton Menace debuted, I’ve been praying for the end of this franchise. Now, I want to see what Lucas has up his sleeve for a sequel.