Sunday, April 24, 2005

Waiting for Episode III

I’ve been a fan of Star Wars since I saw the first one (Episode IV) way back in 1977. I remember being blown away by the new state-of-the-art effects and the fact that here, finally, was a science fiction movie that was fun, exciting and the worked on many different levels. It took the world by storm, of course, back then and the next two films were worthy sequels. They stand out as, perhaps, one of the best trilogies of all time – three solid films with no clear weak spot.

Then came Episode I and, with it, a certain amount of disappointment. It’s hard to say what the problem was, however. Was it that the film was noticeably worse than it’s predecessors or was it just that it was no longer the 70’s and our expectations had changed?

I’ve re-watched Episode II just this week and I’m now most of the way through Episode I (Circuit City had the DVD for $9.99 which I found irresistible even though I already had it on VHS). They’re enjoyable enough and I love the crystal clear DVD transfer and the extras on the discs but find myself wondering why they seem so different from the first three films. So, in preparation for the theatrical release of Episode III, here are a few random thoughts about Episodes I and II.

1. Hayden Christiansen was a poor choice for Anniken Skywalker. His acting is wooden.
2. Natalie Portman almost makes up for it.
3. The decision to make Jar Jar Binks a minor character in Episode II (instead of a major one) was exactly right.
4. The decision to make Jar Jar Binks a major character in Episode I was exactly wrong.
5. I am getting a real charge out of watching George Lucas connect the dots on the way to the situation we know in Episode IV. That puts us in an interesting situation – we know where the Episode III has to go but the question is “how will it get there?”
6. Darth Maul’s dual lightsaber was very cool.
7. A concept for the people of Naboo to consider – railings around walkways.

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