Saturday, May 21, 2005
After 28 years the saga is complete. Episode 3 is the last Star Wars movie we'll EVER watch on the big screen (okay, exclude the anniversary re- releases) That's it. It's the end of an era. Sadly, it's not a very good ending.
It all started back in 1977, the beautiful year when I was born. I guess you don't know this story, but the real reason why Lucas released A New Hope that year was to celebrate my birthday. Birthyear. Whatever.
(Hmm...I guess you're not buying it)
Okay, I'll rant about the movie. Yes, I'll have no mercy and include spoilers. And it will be long. No one's reading this blog anyway.
Thursday, May 19, 2005. 10:00. Ms. Mysterious and her loyal friends arrived to the movies. Rebels were already making line for us since 7:00. The place was crowded. Stormtroopers, jedis, siths, and humans gathered together inside the compound. There were a couple of battles. You could breathe the excitement. The hope. Man, I felt like home.
I promised myself I wouldn't expect too much of this film. That I wouldn't get too emotional. But, dammit, I'm weak. In life, you can be lucky to have a couple of perfect moments and to keep them in your mind and heart for the rest of your days. My dear sinners, one of those perfect moments it's watching Star Wars opening credits in the movie theater at the same time you hear the fanatics scream, shout, applaud and even shed some tears of joy. Come on, admit it. It's just absolutely glorious to be part of that.
So, to be clear, I love Star Wars. I love to watch my Yoda poster hanging on the wall. I've played so much with my lightsabers that they're total wreck. (Hey, Zdex and I made a pretty good choreography based on a Obi Wan's duel with Darth Maul on episode 1) My shelves are filled with SW's toys and books. My two SW t-shirts are really worn out but I refuse to throw them away. Hey, sometimes I even talk like Yoda without knowing it. It may sound silly, but these movies (the original trilogy of course) changed my life. Even though I was raised catholic, THESE movies were the ones that gave me what I needed to hear. I don't know, the combination of religious beliefs and moral teachings made me feel more ... Balanced.
I'm pretty sure that a lot of people feel the same way. If that wasn't true, if it was just a movie, Star Wars would not be so important and transcendent in our modern history. Fans wouldn't be so loyal. There's much, much more besides cool costumes and lightsabers. Star Wars guided a lost generation into things that matter.
What happens then when everything that was so perfect in so many ways, gets reduced to a high-budget film, with tons of special effects but no soul?
Let's face it: The Star Wars universe hasn't been the same since the new trilogy was released. Lucas almost destroyed everything that we loved by delivering bad dialogues, flat performances and poor storytelling. Yes, he had eye-catching, ground breaking special effects, but got so lost in the looks that he forgot to include the heart.
But what's more impressive is that even though we all know how bad Episodes 1 and 2 are, Lucas, the bastard, still manages to get us inside a movie theater, make line for hours (and actually enjoy it) and watch Episode 3 at least twice on the first week.
The truth is that loyal fans are hopeful. In the bottom of our hearts, we truly want and believe Lucas will make things right.
And well... After watching EP3 I just can say that he made things better, but still, he wasted a lot of time, effort and money, in a trilogy that was pretty much... Lifeless.
Lucas mistake #1:
Starting this trilogy with Anakin as a kid. Who cares if the meanest SOB of the galaxy was a little annoying kid that said "Yippee" everytime he got excited? Who friggin cares??!! And the stuff about midiclorians? Lame. There's nothing on Episode 1 that really interested us. It presented us with an arrogant jedi council and annoying characters such as Jar Jar and well, Anakin.
Lucas mistake #2:
Anakin as a grumpy teenager. If I want to deal with teen hormones and mood swings I just stay home and listen to my annoying thirty-something year old brothers and sisters. Okay, Anakin falls in love, Clone wars begin. Do I really needed to watch two movies to get to this? Besides, Jedis fight for the first time and they suck big time. (With the exception of Yoda, Anakin and Obi wan , of course). By this point, Lucas has wasted millions of dollars and thousands of hours working in a stupid story that could easily been told in 20 minutes.
Lucas mistake #3:
Waiting till Episode 3 to tell us what we wanted to know in the first place. Not showing Anakin's exploits all those years fighting in the Clone wars (the CW cartoon rules by the way).
Next mistake: Making Anakin's transition to the dark side so easy. One moment, Anakin is the good guy, and one minute later, he's all "Yes, Master" with Palpatine. -Now, that's someone with strong convictions-. Also, it was really disappointing to see Yoda running away from Palpatine. He just gave up. He should have fought longer...Almost die... Something. Last, but not least, Hayden Christiansen in the Darth Vader outfit. I'm sorry but it was like watching Spaceballs all over again. Hail Dark Helmet!
Now, having said all this, there are moments in these three movies that approach greatness:
Qui-gon, Obi-Wan- Darth Maul duel. Yoda fighting against Dooku. The chancellor killing Mace Windu and turning into the ugly, scarred man we all fear, the Emperor. The final fight that will ultimately destroy Anakin and turn him into Vader. Watching Tatooine's sunset.
And yes, because of those few moments, I'll watch the movies over and over again. Even though the rest new trilogy is weak, there are some things that survive of it. Some things connect with what we had before. With the honesty and strength that the first trilogy delivered. Maybe it takes us back to that moment in life when things were clearer. When everything was black and white.
And to feel all this is like being home again. I know I might sound too fanatic or dellusional, but everyone need to hang on to something. It might be something big as a religion, or family; A certain political party or social group. Or it can be something that seems simpler. That it might even seem dumb and geeky. It works different for everyone, but in the end we have to hang on to what we have, what makes us believe we can be better persons, even though that thing is a couple of movies of heroes and villains, of a fight between good and evil that takes place in a galaxy far, far away.