(this review may contain spoilers)
George Lucas recently said that Star Wars fans are split into two main groups; the older ones love the original trilogy and think the new one is pretty poor, and the younger ones adore the new series and think the old one is just plain dull.
I realised on Wednesday that this was true.
Sat in Paris’ best cinema, the Max Linder (on the Grands Boulevards not far from the Bouillon Chartier) I was bombarded by what some have called “a triumph of computer technology and a failure of basic screenwriting” (click here for full review). Whilst I struggled with the poor pacing, poor acting, poor effects – yes, a lot of it looks false – the young man next to me was cheering and clapping, something that would generally be frowned upon in a Parisian cinema.
Special effects have hijacked this film and made it into a huge computer-generated mess where the actors hardly get a look in. Even when they do, you just have to laugh at what comes out of their mouths.
With a lot of loose ends to tie up, the plot is fantastically daft, even for a sci-fi film. For instance, when Padme is dying, a robot quite blithely says “We’re losing her. She’s dying but we don’t know why. She’s just lost the will to live”. How can get away with something like that? I saw one comment from a fan saying that it sounds like some sort of Jane Austen ‘women’s disease’. I suspect she may simply have been the victim of terminal boredom, as she barely does anything through the film except look worried. And so she should; one moment her boyfriend is the saviour-of-the-universe-to-be, and five minutes later (literally) he’s slicing up children with his lightsaber.
But all this has been said elsewhere. What I haven’t seen said on other sites is that the film shamelessly steals from the “Lord Of The Rings” trilogy. During (another) giant battle, the sound effects fade out, only to be replaced with epic operatic singing, fly-downs into huge holes on barren planets strongly remind one of the creation of Sauron’s army in the bowels of the earth, and the whole segment in lava is photocopied Mount Doom.
And now Lucas is letting the rumour be spread that it’s all an allegory for the death of democracy in the USA. General Grievous’ coughing could also be interpreted as an anti-smoking stance. Possible, but hardly very subtle. And anyway, we didn’t ask him to be political, we just wanted a decent story, with believable characters that we can care about. George! Deal with the basic stuff first, you can tweak the subtext later!
I so wanted to like this film, but despite it being less childish than the previous two episodes, I’ll stick with the original trilogy thank you. Let’s just pray that Lucas stays true to his word, and doesn’t make episodes 7 to 9.