Friday, August 5, 2016

Star Wars Episodes 1, 2 and 3 - 1999, 2002, 2005

I did it.  I rewatched episodes 1 2 and 3.  Someone had to!  Fuck, ya'll.  Here's my brief backstory:  I saw episode 1 in 1999 and was on the "this movie sucks" bandwagon, until I got it for free on DVD.  Upon more and more repeat viewings, I eventually grew to like it.  Attack of the Clones came out, and I didn't even see it in theaters.  I waited for it on DVD, and watched it once.  I remember absolutely hating it.  Then I liked part 3, Revenge of the Sith.  I especially liked the ending, with the hot lava etc. Backstory over.

I'm not going to dwell too much on The Phantom Menace.  Darth Maul was one of my favorite villains, and also displays the first real fault in this prequel trilogy: disposable villains.  I was so disappointed to see him die without barely even doing anything.  He kills Qui Gon Jinn, is more than capable with his sword, and looked badass.  Have Obi-wan and him have a draw, have something interrupt their fight, anything.  Also, the whole Jar Jar thing....Yes, this was a mistake.  I've heard there are fan edits that take out some of his worst moments, and I'd be really interested in seeing that.  Additionally, I'd like to see a fan edit that takes out some of the really, really embarrassing CGI, because a lot of it was bad.  But it's a light-hearted film, it has a nice little story to it, and it feels like a completely different atmosphere, which was the intention.

In my opinion, Attack of the Clones is perhaps the most hated but least understood of the prequel trilogy.  Everyone dumps on this movie.  Yes, I'll be the first to admit it, the movie is overly long and the romance between Padme and Anakin feels very rushed.  But I think I won't be the first nor the last to suggest that Anakin was using the force to help "influence" the relationship.  Padme is only human, and even though Anakin himself says she is strong minded, he's a fucking force prodigy.  He is said to be stronger with the force than Yoda.  Even if he wasn't trying to use the force to influence her, his enduring attraction and feelings for her probably influenced her into loving him back.  I feel like the truly worst part of this movie is the overly elongated plot for a pretty simple thing.  Basically the only thing that happens in this movie is: they discover there's an army that was made, dunno who made it, and Padme and Anakin fall in love.  That's really, like, it.  I guess there's also the whole thing of Anakin's mother dying, and he takes his first walk on the dark side, but altogether, this one probably gets more hate than it deserves.  (BTW just have her killed in a raid...don't do the whole kidnapping thing, and certainly don't have the inclusion of Owen/Beru and that dude she married)

One thing about Hayden Christensen's performance as Anakin.  I will say that he gets bombed almost as bad as Jake Lloyd for his "bad acting" as Anakin.  But seriously, I think people don't understand what he's trying to do.  People rag on him, but dude the guy is trying to act awkward.  He's not trying to go Hollywood as a bad guy or anything.  He's acting like a weirdo, a guy that doesn't fit in, doesn't know what to say or how to act.  The whole thing about sand.  That's like point number one of bad dialogue and acting.  But I think it's spot on.  It's the type of thing that people do, that people say, when they feel slightly uncomfortable, awkward, when they look back and they say "what the hell was I talking about?"  It's touching, and in my opinion, really genuine as a character.  It's not written to be a funny or plot point speech.  It's written so that we as an audience understand this guy is an immature, undeveloped, and entirely clueless person.  He is an outcast, a misfit, and he's only ever had two things: people enslaving him, or telling him he's a messiah and treating him like he could be the next Jesus.

Also, two more plot points I didn't like before I get to Revenge of the Sith.  One, I hate how in The Force Awakens and in this movie, how the force, the midichlorians if you will, are genetic.  One thing I loved about episode 4, 5 and 6 is that we sort of get the feeling anybody could have the force.  It's more of an analogy.  So don't, I repeat DON'T have Anakin literally be a Jesus.  They say he was an immaculate conception.  He had no father.  Just have the father be some guy.  It doesn't need to be, oh his father was so-and-so, this legendary fighter
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Also, one thing that occurred to me towards the middle of Sith...Did it have to be Obi-Wan in these movies?  I think that was a grave mistake, and one that most people wouldn't think of.  To me, the most plot-holes in the series are created by Obi-Wan having been so involved in Anakin's life.  HOW could he have been this close to Anakin and yet in episode 4, he doesn't tell Luke jack shit about it.  Have Obi-Wan in the movie, as a minor character, maybe, and have the lead to this be just some other Jedi.

Revenge of the Sith was the one I was looking forward to rewatching the most, and the one that fell the most flat for me in truth.  It kind of comes off as almost uncaring.  First of all, it's all the death that happens without pretty much anyone knowing or caring.  Mace Windu is killed, and it's never even acknowledged by the good guys.  All the Jedi council is killed and we pretty much only get Yoda saying, "well that sucks, guess I'll go into exile...."  Anakin killing children is pretty much the only plot point that is dwelled on, but when Padme and Obi-Wan confront him about it later, they just seem to be life "wtf bro" instead of "HOLY SHIT DUDE, YOU FUCKING KILLED KIDS".  General Grievous was the most throw away villain yet, and once Palpatine is disfigured he is instantly like 400% more evil.  All those things are not handled particularly well, and Anakin really doesn't have much screen time with all that shit going on.

I wonder if the plans to these movies changed because of the awful reviews and the drop in box office that happened when Attack of the Clones came out?  I have to think they did.  Mostly it's the third movie.  It was like they kept being called kiddy and that they were too lighthearted and love stories and all, so they felt they needed an abrupt change in the third movie.  It honestly feels a little out of place in comparison to just about any other Star Wars movie.

If I could change this series, I'd tone down Jar Jar and the CGI in number one.  I'd have Qui Gon die just like he did in the first one.  He is perhaps the best new character they introduced in the whole threesome, and I think a lot of people agree.  He's a classic Jedi and the fact that it's Liam Neeson actually doesn't take away from his character.  I'd have Obi Wan replaced by some random ass Jedi trainer, lets call him "Our Replacement Main Character", and he's still Padawan to Qui Gon.  Maybe Obi Wan could be in it, have Obi Wan be another Padawan, maybe he could have been the last Padawan of Yoda's before Yoda was going to retire from training Jedi's?  And as I said earlier have Darth Maul live.

In number two, I'd have the relationship between Anakin and Padme remain similar, except I'd add a few scenes of Anakin's powers.  Now, I know there are scenes of him moving things, but if you only added like 2 scenes of him controlling people's minds, think of the connotation.  That and like one line of dialogue spoken to him as a warning "Anakin, you must resist controlling other's minds."  Have that power be like, the one he's especially good at.  Get rid of Count Dooku entirely.  Have Darth Maul continue to be Palpatine's henchman, and have him and Anakin have a rocky relationship as they both try to be the "favorite" of Palpatine. Have Darth Maul continue to kick ass and destroy several important people, emphasis on how good with fighting he is.  Meanwhile, whatever, keep the mystery the same with the droid army, and get rid of that whole retarded sequence where C3PO's head is put on the droid body and vice versa.

In number three, despite what the fans say, have the movie still focused on Anakin.  Have him losing faith in the Jedi's because of the whole Mace Windu incident.   Have Palpatine, disfigured, take a sabbatical from the council, instead of becoming Hitler with his speeches and his characteristics, keep him secret and in the background.  Get rid of the fucking Yoda/Palapatine fight.  Lose Grievous entirely.  Palpatine gives Maul and Anakin both the order to kill the Jedi.  Have Anakin somehow kill more of the Jedi's versus it just being the clone troops.  How badass would it be if he just straight-up force-choked like two of them at the same time?  Bad fucking ass.  Then, have Darth Maul and Anakin have a relationship strain again, and Palpatine says "Enough.  Anakin, destroy him" Maul looks at Palpatine with rage, Anakin comes in and after like a 5 second fight Anakin just wins hands down.  We've seen Maul kick ass and be a badass, and it would emphasize just how good Anakin is if he kills him with extreme ease.

"Our Replacement Main Character" could possibly die in the fight with Anakin.  Now, we've seen how badass Anakin is.  Get rid of the scene where he has the fight and fallout with Padme.  Instead have her in a coma since childbirth, and have Palpatine tell Anakin she died in childbirth.  Enraged, he blames "Our Replacement Main Character", but blinded by rage he barely defeats him.  He still gets all fucked up and burned, and in his last moments of strength, he sees the ship with her taking off.  He reaches out with the force, grabs the ship, blindly trying to keep Padme with him. He doesn't see the enemy fighter that was following them, and that now gets a lock on them because of Anakin's force pull..... He loses consciousness just as the ship fires....

I'd also change the end of Revenge of the Sith.  Don't have all the dialogue and play out of how Luke and Leia are separated.  Padme gives birth to twins, and Yoda says they should split them up, the ship flies off, the end.  We do NOT need episode 4 spelled out that much for us.  Get rid of Chewbacca too.  If he was so tight with Yoda and all, why doesn't he just tell Han in episode 4, "Nah bro, the force hella exists, I used to be bff's with Yoda"? Also, episode 4 takes place, what 20 years after this movie?  And they're already like 25% done with the death star?  What the fuck took them so long to get that thing up and operational?

Well, we all have things we'd change about it.  I just think Anakin as a mal-adjusted, awkward teenager was perhaps not a bad idea.  It emphasizes just how completely out of control he is, and honestly it's quite obvious that Kylo Ren in the new film is modeled the exact same way, it's just that he's not shoved in our face and down our throat like Anakin was.  This all said, it does make Darth Vader into perhaps the most sympathetic villain of all time, which again, I'm not sure was the best idea.

I really liked the idea that the force is random. It's the belief in yourself, the reaching something that perhaps anyone could if they just tried.  I implore you, anybody, DO NOT have Rey from the Force Awakens be anyone's fucking daughter.  Just have her be someone.  Not everyone needs to be related to so and so.  Because if that was true, why would Obi Wan not just go out and fuck like 80 women so that they could all give birth to new Jedi's, and then train all those guys to fight the empire?  You know what I mean right?  If midichlorians are genetic, then the Jedi's just need to have children, bam new Jedi.  And while that might be out for Yoda, Obi Wan could have certainly fathered some kids.  Instead have it be mostly fucking random.  Thus, you add a new entire layer to the universe:  at any point a new Jedi could be born.  And what about the Jedi council?  There's like 10 guys in that, are they all sons or daughters of so-and-so, who was also a Jedi?  In my opinion it's just lazy.

I keep wanting to end this review, but I'm not done yet.  I think a large, a truly large part of these movies should be blamed on the fans.  Can you imagine that everyone, fucking everyone kept asking George Lucas questions about this character, that character, this plot point, that plot point, etc.  It's like they try to answer every single question with this series.  Part of what makes Star Wars 4-6 so good in my opinion is that we didn't have all the answers.  The Stormtroopers, who Boba Fett was, what the force was, etc.  It's the mystery, but we accept it because of the fucking opening credit crawl:  A long time ago in a galaxy far far away.  This isn't Earth!  This isn't our solar system, our laws, our way of doing things!  You don't need to explain everything.

But I'm sure after being asked these questions billions of times, and after seeing all the expansion books, all the comic books, etc, he got it into his head he should actually answer these questions.  So, we got everything answered.  People complain about the midichlorians being a plot point:  of course they are, cause you kept asking how the force worked!  People might complain about Vader being made to be a sympathetic villain, or of being diminished in his evil scope:  of course he was, cause you kept asking about him, who is he, why does he wear the mask, etc.  People asked about Boba Fett because he was like a cult icon: so we got Jango and the inclusion that Stormtroopers are all clones of him.  (Dude by the way how weird is that for Boba having thousands of clones of his dad around?)

I think the best thing that Lucas could have done with this series is to not have focused so much on answering the questions.  But then, you'd have people endlessly hounding him, "Well, okay so Darth and Palpatine are around, where do they get all the Stormtroopers?" etc.  He had to answer all these questions, cause otherwise fans would be angry(er) at him.

The new trilogy has no questions it needs to answer except, what happens next?  They could have Chewbacca turn into a fucking evil Sith lord, or whatever, cause there is no box those movies need to fit into.  They only need to answer the stupid fans who are asking "Who are Rey's parents?"  and perhaps "Who are Finn's parents?"  I swear to god if you make Finn actually the child of Lando or of any other known guy, I'll be pissed.  Just have Finn be some guy!!!!!  What the actual fuck?!  20 bucks says Rey is Obi Wan's grand-daughter.  You read it here first.

I give Phantom Menace a pretty decent 3.5 stars.  It created a different universe, it had two awesome characters in Qui Gon and Darth Maul, and the politics were extremely light.  It was a fun, light hearted romp through a cool universe, and yet established a lot without ever feeling rushed.
I give Attack of the Clones 4 stars.  It felt a tad rushed in the relationship, but still kept a close eye over a lot of different things without every feeling like it was trying to do too much.  Jar Jar was made minimal, and the CGI wasn't as bad, and if you accept Anakin as being a simply awkward young man who's going through a LOT, you might like it more.
I think I give Revenge of the Sith 2....wow, that's hard.  It felt extremely rushed.  Literally, everything had to happen in this movie.  You could partially blame that on Clones, but....this movie felt cluttered.  Too much explanation, too much over the top villainy from Palpatine once he is truly Darth Sidious, a bad throw away villain in Grievous who really...never does anything?  All that and the way too explained ending.  This one is my new least favorite.

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