Friday, May 20, 2005

Well, it wasn't easy, but I was finally able to sneak out of here and catch a matinee of Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith: A Preponderance of Colons. And it had to be a matinee, of course. Since the Americans have taken most of my looted money--er, I mean my, um, "privatized retirement funds"--I can't afford to be shelling out extra dough for an evening showing.

My little outing almost met with disaster, however. While I was standing in line to buy my bucket of outrageously overpriced popcorn with extra butter, and a small diet coke, a suicide bomber walked into the lobby!! Blew up the guy who tears the tickets in two. But I think he was a Kurd, so who cares.

Then there was a brief disruption just as the goody-goody Jedi Knights start getting bumped off. Someone's cellphone rang! Can you believe that crap? In a movie theater, in the middle of one of the most important scenes of one of the most heavily anticipated movies in 25 years, some idiot decides to start yakking about goat futures or something. Needless to say, I had to go strangle the moron with my bare hands. He turned out to be a Shiite, so I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Then the predominantly Sunni audience broke into applause.

Let me start off my review by saying that Lucas has redeemed himself.... Mostly. But more on my sole complaint later.

Sith starts off gangbusters from the very beginning with a wild chase scene as Anakin and Obi-Wan race to save Senator Palpatine. At his point I'm thinking, what's the point? He's a senator! That's one of them democracy things! But Palpatine soon shows his true colors as he begins to lure the young Skywalker over to the dark side. And as the movie progresses further, you begin to see how horribly evil that man is. Needless to say, he's my favorite character!

Things do slow down briefly while Luke and his true love, Padme, have a couple of gooey kissy-face scenes. But things quickly pick up again when Skywalker slaughters a roomful of children and completes his seduction by the dark side. And in the end, evil triumphs over good, so it has a happy ending. It was all very moving.

The film naturally has a lot of special effects, and is still much more dependent on computer generated characters than the original trilogy. On the other hand, the balance between live actors and the CGI ones is much better than in Episodes I & II.

There was a final confrontation between Anakin and Padme, but I'm not sure exactly what was said. There was a brief commotion in the back of the theater with some yelling and a couple of volleys of gunshots. Turned out it was a group of insurgents kidnapping a government minister who was in the audience. But since the distraction was for a good cause, I decided not to get involved.

The movie's most powerful scene actually occurs at the very end as Obi-Wan hands the infant Luke to the child's Aunt Baru and Uncle Owen. Between the music and the setting, it suddenly hits you that the entire Star Wars saga has come full circle. I don't mind saying that I began bawling at that point. I even turned to the American soldier sitting next to me and blew my nose on his kevlar flack jacket. Fortunately he didn't recognize me since his own eyes were welling up with tears.

And to think that a few days ago I mocked Steve Spielberg for crying when he saw the movie.... I probably should apologize to him for that, but he's a Jew, so forget it.

There has also been some talk about whether Lucas was trying to make some sort of political statement about Bush and the Iraq war. Specifically, Anakin says to Obi-Wan, "If you're not with me, you're my enemy." Some conservative nutcases view that as a snide reference to Bush's own "If you're not with us, you're against us" remark. Lucas insists, however, that the movie was written will before the invasion of my peace loving nation.

Besides, much of what happens in this movie has been preordained for the last 28 years, ever since the orginal came out

At the beginning I mentioned that I had only one complaint about Sith. It actually came to me as Obi-Wan was cradling the newly born Luke Skywalker in his arms. I realized at that very moment that this expressionless baby, who was just lying there, helplessly flailing his arms, totally without emotion, and unable to show even the most rudimentary communication skills, was a far better actor than Hayden Christensen.

You'd think that with all those fancy computer generated special effects, Lucas could have given Anaken an occasional facial expression or two.