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Posted: 5/18/2005 6:56:29 AM EDT
From WEEKLY STANDARD.COM

Star Wars VI
From the May 23, 2005 issue: Naboo, Dooku, and a mission to the Wookiees.
by John Podhoretz
05/23/2005, Volume 010, Issue 34

THE FINAL Star Wars is, as writer-director George Lucas promised, a tragedy--but it's not the tragedy Lucas thinks it is.

Ever since he began making his second set of Star Wars movies a decade ago, Lucas said that Episode III: Revenge of the Sith would be the unvarnished story of the young knight Anakin Skywalker's degeneration and conversion into the black-helmeted, black-outfitted Darth Vader, the villain of the first three films. The tale of woe it really tells is that of George Lucas himself, the final chapter in the sad degeneration of a vital, vivid, and highly amusing moviemaker into a dull, solipsistic, and humorless incompetent.

Lucas had more than a quarter of a century to figure out why Anakin Skywalker went bad. And here's what he came up with: Anakin is afraid of losing his wife Padmé in childbirth. Padmé tries to reassure him: "I promise you I won't die in childbirth," she says, offering a touching expression of her faith in the range of health-care services that were available a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. That over-deliberate line of dialogue is typical of Revenge of the Sith, which joins its immediate predecessor Attack of the Clones on a very short list of films that deserve to compete for the Worst Script Ever Written.

"Hold me, Anakin!" Padmé tells her husband. "Hold me like you did by the lake on Naboo!"

No performer living or dead could pronounce the word "Naboo" without sounding like a moron, and Lucas matches that authorial infelicity with dozens of others. One of the movie's villains is named "Dooku," and it's a pity that Lucas didn't arrange for Dooku to visit Naboo, because that could have generated a truly memorable piece of dialogue, like "You should never have come to Naboo, Dooku!"

Later in the film, Vader's mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi tells Padmé that her hubby has murdered some children: "He killed younglings at the Jedi temple!" She storms off and confronts him: "Obi-Wan says you killed younglings!"

Padmé's anger and shock seem a mite surprising, since in Attack of the Clones her then-boyfriend Anakin had told her about another occasion on which he had killed some kids. This is spoken in a soliloquy that suggests what Macbeth might have been like if it had been written by George Lucas: "I killed them! I killed them all! They're dead, every single one of them! And not just the men, but the women and the children, too!! I slaughtered them like animals! I HATE THEM!"

But I digress, because that speech isn't in the film under review--and there are plenty of other hilarious examples of bad writing on display in Revenge of the Sith.

For example: Obi-Wan uncovers the killing of the younglings by checking out some hidden video at the Jedi Temple. The wise old creature Yoda, who may be the most intelligent person in the universe, but seems to have learned English by reading old Time magazines, warns him: "Obi-Wan, watch the surveillance tapes you should not!"

Yoda has just returned from a diplomatic mission to a planet inhabited by bipedal gorillas because, as he explains in the rounded tones of an opponent of the John Bolton nomination, "Good relations with the Wookiees I have." Later, a defeated Yoda sighs: "Into exile I must go." You half-expect him to be followed by six other dwarves chanting, "Hi ho, hi ho / Into exile we will go . . . "

Anakin is invited to attend the theater as a guest of the president of the republic (a scene that allows Lucas to let us know that the favored form of entertainment in the highly advanced Star Wars galaxy is a Cirque du Soleil show performed inside a blob of translucent Jell-O). The president tells him about the Dark Side of the Force, and how it can be used to bring people back from the dead. Anakin decides he wants in. To which the only possible response is: That's it? The entire universe is thrown out of balance and evil defeats good all because one petulant and whiny guy doesn't want Natalie Portman to buy the farm?

"Dialogue is not my thing," Lucas has said. "I don't like writing, and I don't like scripts." But there is a whole lot more to a script than just the dialogue. There are also small matters such as plot, motivation, and character development. How is it possible that Lucas could have satisfied himself with the notion that the destruction of the galactic democracy and the triumph of evil over good could all have sprung from a single lousy pregnancy? Granted, Mrs. Darth Vader wears some very fetching beaded outfits--plus, she's a senator just like Hillary Clinton, only decades younger and way better looking. Even so, this is astoundingly thin gruel on which to hang six movies made over a period of 28 years.

Back in 1977, we were told in the original Star Wars that Darth Vader "was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force"--that Vader had become a villain because he had been consumed by a lust for power, so that he could boss people around, blow up planets, and, generally speaking, control the universe. Like all great villains, the Darth Vader we saw in the first Star Wars actually loved being a bad guy. He enjoyed being able to choke annoying underlings by pinching his thumb and forefinger together. He relished his swordfight with his old mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi. He didn't even mind slicing his own son's hand off (in the second film) just to prove a point.

But the Darth Vader we see at the end of Revenge of the Sith hasn't been seduced. He's been tricked. He's not a villain. He's a schmuck.

And what of George Lucas? He is, by leagues, the most commercially successful moviemaker in history. Forget the billion-plus dollars he has earned from the Star Wars movies. Industrial Light & Magic, the special-effects firm he began with his Star Wars profits, grosses $1 billion per year.

But what happened to the director who made the thrilling mood piece American Graffiti, that deceptively casual account of a bunch of teenagers in a California town in 1962 hanging out on the last summer night before the school year begins? What happened to the guy who revolutionized science fiction by making an outer-space adventure that managed to be cheerful, exciting, and lighthearted?

The tragedy of George Lucas is that he made billions of dollars, and all it did was turn him into a drag.

John Podhoretz is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard.

© Copyright 2005, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 7:07:29 AM EDT
John Podhoretz is an idiot.

If he tried to see through the cheesy dialog (something this die hard SW fan will not deny) he'd see that Anakin's motivations are a *little* more strong than just losing his wife in childbirth (as he seems to think this is something you could just let slide).

He loved his mom and in Ep. II (which he has seen so I'm not sure why this escapes him), she dies because of the Sandpeople. He doesn't want to lose anyone else he cares about, so the dark side's sly and gentle promise of eternal life starts looking pretty good around the time that he's having premonitions of losing his WIFE.

But, hey, it's fashionable and fun, and cool to bash on Star Wars, so who am I to try to change people's opinions?
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 7:12:58 AM EDT

Originally Posted By macman37:

But, hey, it's fashionable and fun, and cool to bash on Star Wars, so who am I to try to change people's opinions?



That's right! All that plot & dialogue crap detracts from the action!
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 7:12:59 AM EDT
This sounds rather scarily like the review I'll probably end up writing...maybe I'll just save the time and post this one again.


HOWEVER: even if EpIII is the worst of the lot, I don't care, I will actually probably enjoy it because I have already seen the worst moive EVER made: The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy. This movie was sooooo awful that I actually forgave Lucas for tuning into an idiot. At least he has butchered his own material....not the material of one of the greatest Sci Fi authors ever.....
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 7:15:37 AM EDT
You have to admit, it's hard to say Dooku without at least a little grin on your face.
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 7:18:20 AM EDT

Originally Posted By macman37:
John Podhoretz is an idiot.



And Lucas is and always has been a hack.
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 7:18:20 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/18/2005 7:25:15 AM EDT by Cato]
Couldn't have said it better.
The list of unlogical script goes on, but a stellar point is: the whole Jedi
order couldn't wipe out the Sith in 3000 years, whereas one Sith lord just
needs a few years to wipe out the Jedis in the whole galaxy! Btw, where are
all those Siths (Darth Maul, Dooku, Grevious, etc.) suddenly coming from?
I mean, one guy can maybe hide- but a whole Sith training camp??
When the Jedis had the chance to gain power by a very talented youngster, they
forget about freeing his mother and deny to educate him properly- because "great
danger lies within him". Of course!! But wouldn't that be a reason for Yoda to
train him himself?? Lucas portrays them as a fu... bunch of morons!! But then he
is more into computer game like scenes and characters- the moment I saw
the pod race and the jar-jar thing, I knew he couldn't pull it off anymore.
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 7:23:12 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Cato:
Couldn't have said it better.
The list of unlogical script goes on, but a stellar point is: the whole Jedi
order couldn't wipe out the Sith in 3000 years, whereas one Sith lord just
needs a few years to wipe out the Jedis in the whole galaxy! When the Jedis
had the chance to gain power by a very talented youngster, they forget about
freeing his mother and deny to educate him properly- because "great danger
lies within him". Lucas portrays them as a fu... bunch of morons!! But then he
is more into computer game like scenes and characters- the moment I saw
the pod race and the jar-jar charcater, I knew he couldn't pull it off anymore.



Lucas had one great movie in him. Luckily, he had another director who managed a second great movie (Empire). But unfortunately, he then made four more mediocre-to-bad movies and ruined the first two.
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 7:25:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By RikWriter:

Originally Posted By macman37:
John Podhoretz is an idiot.



And Lucas is and always has been a hack.



He makes fun kids movies that are open ended enough that people can get caught up in it, just like Star Trek or Firefly or any of many other show concepts that people enjoy.

To bash on it like he proclaimed it would be the next Citizen Kane and it fell far short, is kind of silly, no?
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 7:27:46 AM EDT

Originally Posted By macman37:

Originally Posted By RikWriter:

Originally Posted By macman37:
John Podhoretz is an idiot.



And Lucas is and always has been a hack.



He makes fun kids movies that are open ended enough that people can get caught up in it, just like Star Trek or Firefly or any of many other show concepts that people enjoy.

To bash on it like he proclaimed it would be the next Citizen Kane and it fell far short, is kind of silly, no?



I am not holding it up to Citizen Kane: I am holding it up to the original Star Wars movie. If he could have maintained that level, not even the superior filmmaking level of TESB, just the original movie level, everything would have been awesome. But he couldn't. It began to crumble in Return of the Jedi and it fell to a big steaming pile of shit in The Phantom Menace.
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 7:28:45 AM EDT
Sounds like a pretty good review to me.

And this from a real Star Wars fanatic.

After Episode IV, "A New Hope", they all pretty much went in the toilet.
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 8:21:14 AM EDT

Originally Posted By LWilde:
Sounds like a pretty good review to me.

And this from a real Star Wars fanatic.

After Episode IV, "A New Hope", they all pretty much went in the toilet.



Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back. If Lucas were impailed on his own lightsaber at THAT point, he'd be a legendary "filmmaker". Instead he went on to be a legendary "marketer"

Now excuse me, I have to go take a dump in my trademarked "Revenge of the Sith" Jedi Temple Port-a-potty.

Link Posted: 5/18/2005 8:21:40 AM EDT

Originally Posted By RikWriter:

Originally Posted By macman37:

Originally Posted By RikWriter:

Originally Posted By macman37:
John Podhoretz is an idiot.



And Lucas is and always has been a hack.



He makes fun kids movies that are open ended enough that people can get caught up in it, just like Star Trek or Firefly or any of many other show concepts that people enjoy.

To bash on it like he proclaimed it would be the next Citizen Kane and it fell far short, is kind of silly, no?



I am not holding it up to Citizen Kane: I am holding it up to the original Star Wars movie. If he could have maintained that level, not even the superior filmmaking level of TESB, just the original movie level, everything would have been awesome. But he couldn't. It began to crumble in Return of the Jedi and it fell to a big steaming pile of "poodoo" in The Phantom Menace.



ha

I agree with you there. There are better movies in the series. I tried liking Ep. I, and I was just happy to see Star Wars on the big screen again, but I probably liked about 15% of it (mainly the Darth Maul duel and a few other scenes). It was up to 45-50% with Ep. II (the second half of the movie was decent)... and I've read the novelization, and I'm holding out hope that Ep. III (with the exception of some groan inducing lines) will somewhat redeem the series.

Why he couldn't have had someone else write the "love" scenes in Ep. II for the life of me I don't understand... I have read better "love" (and clearer "loss") stories in superhero comic books...
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 8:22:17 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/18/2005 8:26:56 AM EDT by hepcat85]

Originally Posted By macman37:

Originally Posted By RikWriter:

Originally Posted By macman37:
John Podhoretz is an idiot.



And Lucas is and always has been a hack.



He makes fun kids movies that are open ended enough that people can get caught up in it, just like Star Trek or Firefly or any of many other show concepts that people enjoy.

To bash on it like he proclaimed it would be the next Citizen Kane and it fell far short, is kind of silly, no?




GUESS AGAIN.....


Sample below:

"GAH! What's your special power? Killing erections?..."


Link Posted: 5/18/2005 8:31:42 AM EDT
mans got a point

the dialog of the newer movies DOES suck
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 9:10:09 AM EDT
The dialogue of those movies is absolutely garbage.
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 9:23:58 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ALPHAGHOST:
mans got a point

the dialog of the newer movies DOES suck



Episode II, when the chick falls out of a transport flying a couple hundred miles an hour.

She rolls down a sand dune, then this soldier runs up and asks, "Are you all right?" and she replies, I kid you not, "Uh-huh."

"Uh-huh?" How about, "What do you mean 'Am I all right?" you moron! I just fell from a speeding troop transport without a parachute and rolled in this dirt (which you might notice hasn't stained my white clothes) and you ask if I'm all right???"

Then she tells him they have to get to the hangar. How did she know about the hangar?????? She fell out of her ride miles before Dooku ducked in there.

But then, maybe I'm just being overly critical?
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 10:57:33 AM EDT
tag for later
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 12:12:08 PM EDT
The SUCK is strong with this one....

Lucas has always been a bad storyteller.

The idea for Star Wars was aped from Kurosawa's "The Hidden Fortress", released in Japan back in 1958.

None of his movies really do it for me. Good graphics though.
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 12:19:08 PM EDT
i thought the dialogue in the first two was great!

lucas couldn't hire a frigging dialogue writer???
Link Posted: 5/19/2005 7:35:41 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/19/2005 8:15:24 AM EDT by hepcat85]

Originally Posted By hardcorps1775:
i thought the dialogue in the first two was great!

lucas couldn't hire a frigging dialogue writer???



His ego has to do something....it can't just spend all of its time reworking the old films.

BTW...if any of you think this is the last of it....you're WRONG! He'll keep reworking these films forever! Every decade will have a new and improved Star Wars...Lucas will use the EoTech coding and give them Revisions. We're due for a Rev C in about 5 years. He'll be a floating head in a jar remaking the same films for the next 1000 years.
Link Posted: 5/19/2005 8:06:54 AM EDT
windu, dooko, naboo...
Link Posted: 5/19/2005 8:39:58 AM EDT
There once was a count named Dooku
Who made a trip to Naboo
He fell in love with a Wookie
And got him some nookie
Now you can see his kid in the zoo
Link Posted: 5/19/2005 8:43:24 AM EDT

Originally Posted By RikWriter:

Originally Posted By macman37:

Originally Posted By RikWriter:

Originally Posted By macman37:
John Podhoretz is an idiot.



And Lucas is and always has been a hack.



He makes fun kids movies that are open ended enough that people can get caught up in it, just like Star Trek or Firefly or any of many other show concepts that people enjoy.

To bash on it like he proclaimed it would be the next Citizen Kane and it fell far short, is kind of silly, no?



I am not holding it up to Citizen Kane: I am holding it up to the original Star Wars movie. If he could have maintained that level, not even the superior filmmaking level of TESB, just the original movie level, everything would have been awesome. But he couldn't. It began to crumble in Return of the Jedi and it fell to a big steaming pile of shit in The Phantom Menace.



Yeah, exactly. You nailed it. All Lucas had to do was live up to his legacy, and he failed. He failed miserably.
Link Posted: 5/19/2005 8:50:12 AM EDT

Originally Posted By hepcat85:

Sample below:

"GAH! What's your special power? Killing erections?..."






A match made in heaven somewhere...



Link Posted: 5/19/2005 11:00:12 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Brohawk:
You have to admit, it's hard to say Dooku without at least a little grin on your face.



or Tattooine. Or, not to imagine Samuel L. Jackson saying, "the MkII Jedi Lightsaber...when you absolutely, positively, have to kill every mother***** in the room". C'mon, you know you do.
Link Posted: 5/19/2005 11:10:14 AM EDT
I went to the midnight premier with a whole group of school friends...

There were some areas where the dialogue was exceptionally atrocious and awkward, but I really enjoyed the movie as a whole.

I also have never seen a greater collection of star wars geeks in one place: people dressing up, fighting with plastic lightsabers, tailgating, blasting star-wars music from their cars, ........
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