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Sunday, May 22, 2005

To the hype lived up to it has

Well, George Lucas has almost atoned for Episodes 1 & 2!

Tonight I organised a trip for 20 of my workmates to see Star Wars Episode III. And the verdict was unanimous... superb!

I'm not going to give away any spoilers, so don't worry if you haven't seen it yet. First the bad points. Unfortunately, the dialogue was no better than episodes 1 and 2, and again Lucas demonstrated yet again that he is better as a producer than a director, at least when it comes to directing actors.

But then, that was expected (even the much loved originals had cringeworthy dialogue, and it's well known that his direction to actors usually consisted of "Faster! More intense"). Some actors are fine with minimal direction - Ian McDiarmond as Senator Palpatine definately seems to be a "chuck him the script and let him get on with it" sort of actor. Unfortunately, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christiansen - all of whom have given critically acclaimed performances in other films - don't give their best by a long shot.

But the rest of the film easily lived up to the hype and challenged the originals for sheer bloody good fun. The movies are a truly visceral spectacle and I can't imagine why anyone would want to download them and watch them on a computer monitor. As usual R2D2 steals every scene he's in and Yoda is finally portrayed properly (as opposed to being a figure of near ridicule in Attack of the Clowns). I was pleased to see that the story lived up to its promise of bridging the trilogies. Lucas has done a very good job of answering the many questions fans had regarding how they all got from Episode II to Episode IV. Although one or 2 did remain, I must admit. I'm still not sure why Lars Skywalker bought C3P0 and R2D2 in Episode IV. After all, his father owned C3P0 in the 10 years between Episode I and II, and he met R2D2 on at lest 1 occassion. He is supposed to be protecting Luke - why on earth would he invite trouble into their lives by buying these 2 droids?

The special effects have become more intense. The space battles and the CGI backgrounds have a seamless accuracy. The only time the special effects ever struggle is when they try to render the actors entirely in CGI. One or two sequences looked just a little artifical, although my workmates were split as to whether they noticed them or not. However, they were at least as good as Matrix Reloaded, probably even better (remember the jumping on the car bonnet sequence in the Matrix? They were definately better than that).

All in all, Lucas has finally produced the goods. It was probably critical that he did so. At some point, there is almost certainly going to be a special Edition boxset of the new trilogy - if ROTS had been on a par with the previous 2 films, fans would be far less likely to buy the set IMO. I'll certainly buy it, although I will be content to wait until its half price, rather than rushing out to buy it on day one.



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