A child's father gets beheaded while his son watches and the protagonist slaughters an entire village, including women and children. PG, of course! Double. Standards.
DIRECTOR: George Lucas
I'm calling it right here. I don't need to go further, but I will. The Machete Cut does not fix the franchise. Good golly, Darth Molly. This movie. I feel like a hipster claiming that this was the worst movie in the franchise before everyone else jumped on board, but I really want to stick to my guns. People always rail against The Phantom Menace, but this movie. Guys! This movie? It is REALLY bad. I keep going in thinking, "I have always been way too hard on this movie." Nope. I haven't been hard enough. There is almost nothing redeeming about this film and I'm ashamed to now own this movie. The weird part is that, in the back of my brain --I can feel it! --I know the brain is healing from the damage and five year from now, I will be open to watching this movie again and I'll be angry again.
There's just so much. So so much that I don't know where to start. I'm going to go big and then just gripe from there. This plot? It doesn't make a lick of sense. I have had the plot of the prequel trilogy explained to me and it is straight up dumb. SPOILERS, BUT WHO CARES? This is one of those storylines of complexity that really hides the fact that there is no way that this would work if any one of a million different random items went a different way than actually did in the movie. Palpatine is grabbing for power by starting a war and backing both sides. I give this movie more credit by stealing You Only Live Twice's metaphor of Japanese fighting fish. But there's a lot of set up that got these two sides to fight, one side actually organized by Count Dooku --HIS NAME IS DOOKU! If Palpatine was able to manipulate all of these forces to fight on this grand of a scale, why wouldn't he use any of these things to simply kill the Jedi and the Senate. The Third Order did it! The creation of the Empire is weirdly the most tedious plot ever. Many stories use corporate bureaucracy to compensate for the fact that they are regular dude. That sneakiness is necessary because there are safeguards in place to stop any kind of underhanded plan. But the Sith are the Sith! They have force lightning and stuff. They are really good at killing folks. Why would you be secretive if you can shoot lightning out of your fists and have ungodly resources. This plan makes not a lick of sense and I hate this movie for pretending that these things make sense. The story is a rail shooter. Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin just fall upon plot points at the end of one lead and there's no actual choice for the characters to follow. Like the one moment of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire that I reference all of the time (I'll make sure you get yours someday!), Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi shouldn't have been able to catch Zam. It was an against all odds chase and only through a mix of extreme talent and unbelievable luck (I'm using "unbelievable" as literally as I can) did they catch the guy. Also, the diner chef --woof -- knew about this hidden star system but every single Jedi has no idea that it exists? There's just a level of lazy screenwriting in this movie that makes me cry. Palpatine needs the events of this movie to happen, but the protagonists really aren't supposed to be surviving any of the challenges thrown their way. Guys! This movie! Bruh.
I'm just repeating what the Internet has said so many times, but let's get this on record. This is the most uncomfortable relationship that I can imagine. It's not even the April / December relationship. I can get past that. They're both technically adults, although Anakin acts like an infant throughout the film. I can even shut off my brain for the awkward chemistry that doesn't exist. I've seen other movies and TV shows where I can accept that the two people don't really seem that in love. It's the fact that Padme falls in love with Anakin despite the fact that Anakin is only showing his worst traits over and over again. Padme feels sexually harassed from the moment Anakin comes near her. She asks him patiently not to look at her like he is. He is coming on super strong. The big theme of the movie is that Anakin is defying the code of the Jedi for celibacy and allowing his true feelings to rise to the surface. There's a story somewhere in that. I actually think that there can be quite an interesting plot there. But Anakin never really grapples with that. From the first moment he's on screen, he is proclaiming is love for Padme to anyone who would listen, including Padme herself. That's not forward for a Jedi; that's forward for anybody. I just needed him to reign it in a little. He's not even charming with his revelations. He's love poetry-ing the whole thing. He's making mixtape after mixtape for her and she isn't having it. Lucas has a very male-fantasy aspect to his love story where persistence in the face of clear disgust wins. He keeps saying how much he loves her over and over again and she starts to change. Boo. I say boo. But I say "boo" even more because Anakin starts doing absolutely horrible things and she only falls in love with him the more. At a crucial part of the courting (GAG!) process, Anakin slaughters so many tuscan raiders. SO MANY! He talks about murdering children and women and how much he liked it. He confesses to having serial killer tendencies and apparently that's the button that Padme needed. What? WHAT? Are we rooting for lightswitch serial killer and the woman who wants that? That's the movie I just watched. It's gross. She sees him as a little kid who murders entire villages and that's what really gets her going. Boo.
The original trilogy had Lucas make a great story and then decided to make special effects that matched his story. He needed to create these amazing effects because the story called for it. He didn't want people sneering at something because it didn't look as good as what he needed it to. These special effects were part of the mythology of George Lucas that I keep talking about. He's trying so hard to make something life changing and none of this crap holds up. The movie is so covered in CG that it looks like a ride at a theme park. (I think I'm starting to make that comparison too often, but these are honest thoughts I have been having about these movies. The theme parks are meant to emulate, but not create something new.) The opening shot is pretty cool with the ship landing on the planet, but I don't need to have actors clearly walking in front of a green screen. That's the problem with many of these new Star Wars movies. They are so special effects laden that don't hold up over time. Nothing in this movie looks like it really exists. I kept telling myself that I should just watch it for the story, but all of the action looked like characters were just floating via mouse click-and-drag. There's no real suspense because there's too much garbage just flying around the screen and physics had no place in this world. I watch the original trilogy and maybe once or twice, I think, "Boy, that's a cool special effect." But most of the movie makes me forget that I'm watching a special effect. Isn't that the point? Well, I guess I can say a similar thing about the new trilogy because only once or twice did I think a special effect was cool. (I'll tell you which one I liked. During the final war sequence when the dust was flying everywhere. The blasters had an aura around them. That's the only time I was really impressed besides the opening shot.)
My kid really likes the Star Wars cartoons, so I started watching Clone Wars on Netflix. Those stories are pretty solid. Like, really good. There is a good version of Anakin and Obi-Wan out there. But every single performance was an actor's worst performance. George Lucas had no idea how to convey a single direction to their actors. I can't believe that Hayden Christensen is as bad as comes across here. I feel bad for his career. I'm positive that every note just asked him to ramp the performance up to eleven. Yes, the writing is bad and I'm really unforgiving of many of Anakin's speeches in this movie, but there could have been some really touching moments. I just read an io9 article showing a reinterpretation of Darth Vader's stupid "NOOOOOOO!" sequence from Revenge of the Sith. It was subtle and calm. He only spoke using the word "No," but that "No" was always followed by a period. It's anger like anger really is. It is filled with regret and sadness. It isn't screaming or crying. It can build to that, but it doesn't have to be that at all. And I know that Ewan McGregor is awesome. He's so good in so many things. He's crushing it on Fargo right now. So giving him this really sad interpretation of this character that is almost nothing like Sir Alec Guinness, despite a spot on impression going on is just a waste. The actors had to know that the intentions wouldn't be conveyed, but they had no choice.
This movie isn't bad for Star Wars. This isn't the time that George Lucas dropped the ball. That happens to everyone. This is a bad movie for any movie. It's not the weak one in a franchise. It is a low point for science fiction in general and golly, I do not want to watch Revenge of the Sith. This might be my angriest review.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.