Thursday, May 19, 2005

Why I'm scared to see Star Wars III

There have been choruses of hosannas for the new (and final) Star Wars prequel, Revenge of the Sith. Fanboys and critics alike are crowing about what a return to form this marks for director/idea man/control freak George Lucas.

Like every good geek, I love the first three movies (OK, the first two, and the first third of the third). But Christ in a Burlap Sack, I dread going to this final installment. Here's why.

1) The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones sucked like a Dyson Bagless. The law of averages would seem to bode ill here. And, if you think about it, this trend of Star Wars letdowns actually started with the overstuffed and under-involving finale of Return of the Jedi (or, as Harrison Ford tersely-yet-eloquently described it, "The Teddy Bear Picnic")back in '83.

2) Hayden Christensen. He reputedly delivers good performances in Shattered Glass and Life as a House (neither of which I've seen), but his alternately wooden, pissy, and ridiculous performance as Anakin Skywalker in Clones still scorches the inside of my skull. I'm inclined to blame Lucas' all-thumbs touch with acting and dialogue as much as Christensen. That said, the kid's way too awkward and lacks the magnetism that this character requires. I don't see Revenge of the Sith reversing this un-mojo.

3) Three letters: CGI. Call me a curmudgeon, but the special effects in the two prequels have been so hyper-clean and antiseptic that you could eat off 'em.

4) The guy still can't write dialogue for squat. "I love you more." "No, I love YOU more..."

5) The Ebullient Critical Praise. Many of the raves seem rooted in sad desperation, and/or a dampening of expectations. The wretchedness of Phantom Menace and Clones has many writers and fans so beaten down that they're eager to latch onto the slightest decline in putrescence as evidence of greatness.

Of course, I'll probably end up going anyway. Some part of me holds out some faint glimmer of hope that Revenge of the Sith will prove me an over-skeptical ponce, and really blow me away.

The ball's in your court now, George. Entertain me. Please.

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