I caught the 12:01 AM show of the new Star Wars movie today, and I am going to post a few brief thoughts here. There are plot spoilers, so don't click on the link unless you are prepared, my young apprentice
First, I won't even try to present an actual review on the movie; there are many critics with more talent than myself for that task. I just want to relay my impressions about the film.
I disliked it. I think that there were parts that were better than Episode I, and some that were far worse. Amazingly, George Lucas has managed to betray the diehard fans of the Star Wars universe with another mediocre movie. If this movie had not been associated with the other four, I think it would make about $1.50 at the box office.
The highlight of the entire movie is a 3-foot tall green guy fighting a lightsaber battle. It's improbable, but the artists at ILM have made it work beautifully. Unfortunately, it lasts for only about a minute, and then you remember that the movie sucks.
There are many, many reasons for this. Other critics have pointed out that the plot, dialogue, and editing are all awful, but there is something else about this movie that makes it utterly forgettable. The over-use of computer graphics have made most scenes a blur that leaves no impression on our memories. We can all recal when Han Solo is chasing after a dozen storm troopers in "Star Wars", or when Luke destroys an Imperial Walker in "The Empire Strikes Back", but I couldn't tell you a single detail about most of the 'high-intensity' special effect scenes throughout this movie. And I don't think it's all CG that's the problem--the scenes in "Lord of the Rings" and "Shrek" were done well. The only CG scene that is worth anything is the asteroid chase between Jango Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi, and that's just a rip-off (or tribute) to the fantastic scene from "Empire".
But in the end, distracting computer graphics could have been excuseable if the rest of the movie was strong, which it's not. Lucas has marginalized the contemptable Jar-Jar Binks, but has instead made the human actors just as bad. The 'love' scenes between Anakin and Padme are unbelieveably bad, and each time the scene cuts you pray to whatever god will listen that a new plot line will begin that is not insultingly stupid. I never thought I would say this, but I was actually wondering for how much longer the film would run. More depressingly, I am now wondering how disappointed I will be when Lucas wraps up the pre-trilogy in 2004.
This is an open appeal to George Lucas: do what you did for "The Empire Strikes Back"--don't write it, don't direct it, and have as little to do with it as possible. You fathered this universe 25 years ago, and now it's time to let it go. Let the professionals give us Star Wars fans what we deserve: a movie that is a worthy successor to the Star Wars legacy.