Star Wars (II) Miscellany

Of course Star Wars the 2nd is getting reviewed to death, and I’m no seasoned film critic, but here are some interesting tidbits I discovered from watching the movie and (unlike most people) staying for the credits (yes, I’m writing this in the car after having just seen the movie and prior to driving home):

  1. Yes, Mace Windu’s lightsaber is larger than everyone else’s.
  2. Jabba the Hutt is apparently in this movie. Can’t say I saw him anywhere, but some guy is credited as playing him during the Australia shoot. Maybe they cut the Hutt…he is a big big anda ll.
  3. If you think that humor is bad, you’ll hate the movie – it is written for an eight year old. When C3P0 gets dragged along by R2 he remarks, “this is really a drag.” Yeah, he actually says that.
  4. What Paul told me is completely true – you can walk in half-way through the movie and the only interesting bit you’ve missed is the city chase. Nothing else in the first half matters. In the slightest.
  5. Lucasfilm and ILM use super high end computers for all of their effects. Only the best for the job, right? So for this incredibly complex movie, I wonder what they used to do their pre-visualization? Well look here, in the credits, near the end! It’s not an Avid, or a higher end system. They’re using Power Macs with Final Cut Pro. Imagine that.
  6. Yoda rocks. He does an action sequence. And it is just cool. That dude can kick some serious ass. Yoda vs. Spiderman would be quite a battle indeed. 😛
  7. Dialogue is terrible. So plug your ears. Again, its written for an eight year old. The love story is like what you’d find in a Disney cartoon – kissing is the ultimate ecstasy. Deal. This isn’t an adult movie.
  8. For those of you (like me) who have a passing interest in politics, again, it’ll be hard to stifle a laugh. I couldn’t. But I didn’t get any popcorn thrown at me, so I guess it is all okay. This is your eight year old’s first civics lesson, and today we’re going to learn about democracy equals good, dictatorship equals bad. Actually, we don’t quite learn that yet. That is for the third movie. But I think Lucas is doing a good job of keeping it at the level he wants it to be at. And the moral will be there, just not yet. And yeah, it’ll be shoved right down your throat, don’t you worry. With Lucas it is always a very simple good and evil.
  9. Addendum: simple, but not simplistic. He shows controversy. He shows deceit in the Jedi Council. There is enough paper here for a thesis or two. The good and the evil are clearly defined and yet there is a bit of fuzziness that one hopes he will talk about in the next movie – cloning: good or bad? And, of course, why were they made in the first place. Another thing that bugs me: if that guy is really evil and of the dark side, why not cut off his access to your damn archives already?!
  10. It is a bit graphic at times for a kids movie. A few times it reminded me of Starship Troopers. But it wasn’t too bad. And no swearing. And no sex. And no drugs. So I guess we’re good. There was even a don’t smoke PSA: “Would you like to buy a death stick?” the guy at the bar asks Obi-Wan. And our buddy Ben uses the Force to reform that cancer man right then and there!

All right, what do I think then? I think it succeeded brilliantly at what it was trying to succeed at. The effects were incredible, the sets were amazing, the action sequences rocked. And the story wasn’t unbearable. Just the dialogue.

Do I wish they had put so many great actors to better use? Of course. Did I expect them to? No way. I got a lot more than I expected, so it’s all good in my book. Oh, and did I mention that I got to see Natalie Portman? That, in and of itself, was enough. 🙂 Now that Amber Benson has been killed off of Buffy, college girl Natalie is my only on-screen crush. But obviously not in a stalker-y way. Although during the school year she is only 12 miles away. Hah.