Thursday, January 31, 2008

Star Wars, Nothing But Star Wars....

I recently watched all six of the Star Wars movies, in the order that George Lucas prefers. That is, episodes I-VI, rather than in the chronological order of their production. Here's what I came away with, as far as opinions are concerned:

1) The saga holds up very well, in terms of a narrative flow. To some degree, I think this is a bit of a feat. On the other hand, there was plenty of time between the production of Episodes VI and I, to ensure that the plot points were all ironed out in a way that keeps things consistent. I'm not really all that sure of just how much tinkering Lucas did to alter Episodes IV-VI to achieve that end. I did notice, with a bit of disgust, the insertion of the Christensen ghost and the appearance of celebratory Gungans at the end of Episode VI. Neither insertion improved the movie in any meaningful way.

2) Hayden Christensen is a phenomenally awful actor. He's dull on the grandest of scales, rivalling Kevin Costner--and that's no small anti-praise!

3) Episode VI is really quite a terrible film! Yes, it wraps up the story arc very neatly. But it's just not a good movie. I loved it as a kid, and I think it probably still has an enormous appeal for children--all those cute little Ewoks scurrying about. But as an adult viewer, I think it's a terrible disappointment.

4) Watching the films in sequence is quite a fun experience. It's a nifty way to spend a bunch of hours. My view is that the movies rank from best to worst in the following order: V, III, II, IV, I, and VI. Given that Christensen is in Episodes II and III, I'm really quite surprised that they both rank above the original movie (IV). But there it is. All opinion. I think those two really do stand out. I think episode V is the best by a pretty wide margin. The margins between III, II, and IV are pretty small. Then there's another fairly large quality drop to I. But the biggest gap of all is between VI and the rest. Every time I've watched it in recent years, I've been really shocked at how awful that final episode is. Too bad it's an essential link in the chain. If you stop watching at Episode V, I think you miss a lot of important stuff. Too bad it has to be couched in so much frivolous muck!

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