This latest offering of George Lucas is rich with special effects. But, donít we expect this from good old Star Wars?† It would be foolís play to try to seriously review this film by noting its dramatic appeal.† To attribute to a Star Wars episode, serious cinematography is even more of a folly.† So, I wonít.† I donít pretend for a moment, when I enter a theater with my hot dog and soda, that I am going to see meaningful, groundbreaking filmmaking that makes you ruminate on the beauty of the story being told.† However, with the convoluted plot lines, complex array of alien characters, and tongue-twisting titles of this serving, I sorta wished that the kids tearing the tickets in half, handed out story summaries.† You know, the kind of thing you get when you go to a Broadway play.† That trademark disappearing scroll did little to keep me straight. By the time they had gone from one Earth-modeled alien world to the next and introduced an Annakin, a Darth Sidda, an uninteresting actress as the senator, a new Queen, East Indian this time, pretty, but disappointing, who knew what was really going on? By the way, I liked the original Queen with the lip line better. What happen to that Ďuddin?† In fact, when weíd reached the halfway mark, I had completely forgot who was who and why the hell they were fighting each other.† Aw, so what, itís those eye-catching special effects that draws the crowd to these non-stories.†
Fans know that these flicks will have some very predictable sequences, or it wouldnít be a Star Wars film.† There just has to be a ship-to-ship battle, while dodging big boulders and a light-saber battle between two of the Jedi Knights.† And this one had just such sequences.† But, the fascination with this kind of scene lies in how much better the special effects wizardry gets each time itís done.†
Just as obvious is the fact that no Star Wars film will ever win an Oscar for the quality of dialogue and acting therein.† †I like Samuel L. Jackson as serious dramatic actor, but this one had him sounding out of place and practiced.† I kept cringing when I heard him read his lines. George W. Bush could read dialogue better than that.† The guy that played Annakin Skywalker made such cornball love speeches, the popcorn machine weeped.† The PUPPET did the best acting in the flick! Can you believe that?† Yoda delivered the nearest thing to a touching dramatic performance with his constant use of the ablative case.† I got a kick out hearing him say things like Looking for a lost planet, you are Obi Wan Kobe Bryant or some such name, I canít remember these weird appellations to save my life.† As the action unfolded I kept wanting to turn to the two lovebirds that chose to seat themselves next to me, and gabbed throughout the film, and say: talking incessantly, you two irritations are, hmmm.† Okay enough with the comedic potshots.† How Ďbout some real critiquing.
If there is something other than the quality of the special effects of this film that can be praised, itís the style that Lucas and his friends created.† Star Wars purports to show us another world and time. Another time and reality is the setting of these films.† But in actuality, we are just seeing Earth, its people, cultures, times clothed in fantastical makeovers.† When the Senator is taken away with Annakin to a secret hideout, who would not mistake it for southern Italy; the architecture, landscape, why even a gondola type boat was there.† And when Annakin goes to his home world, the culture is a mixture of the Middle and Far East.† Why, Georgie even sneaks in an American frontier West reference, when the assassin character pockets his laser pistol during the Jedi counterattack.† Then, we have an assembly line industrial motif, as Annakin and the two famous androids seek to rescue Ombiwan.† Lucas is not just using the assembly line setting as a contrivance for a lot of suspenseful action, I think he wants to remind of us of our industrial world in a different perspective.† After all, anybody that has followed the Star Wars series knows a few things when they go into this movie.† In this one, the principals canít die, because this one precedes the others in time. So, Annakin canít be killed in that steel factory sequence, right? So, Lucas is not really trying to build suspense in anticipation of Annakin's death in this scene.† Heís just showing off the amazing spec effs. He is also making a statement on how things get made in a paradoxical world. That is one that pre-dates us, yet is after us in technologic development. You go Georgie boy!† How about that futuristic setting that paints the canvas in the first part of the film?† While it looks alien and well beyond our age, is it?† Doesnít it have all the trappings of skyscrapers, traffic jams, and the orderly life-flow of any huge contemporary metropolis?† The cars, buses, SUVs and just about anything else flies, thatís all that separates the architecture of our world from this one.† Introspect on any scene, character or setting in this film and youíll find itís our world, the one that is here, and now, simply dressed up differently.† I couldíve sworn that guy in the club that Obiwan talked to was my 7th grade gym teacher.† Thatís how close it gets! Thereís the artsy take in Star Wars Part V. Lucas is showing us ourselves in another fashion.† This what some many artists claim theyíre trying to do.
And you canít say there were no surprises to this installment.† Havenít you always wondered how the hell did that half-pint marionette got to be a Jedi Knight?† How could his little keester ever hope to fight with a light saber and take on those 6-foot bad guys?† Havenít you kinda, uh just a little bit pondered on this deep intellectual question?† I know I have.† Well, Star Wars V has the answer.† Proving once again that size only counts in bed not on the field of battle.† Or is that the other way around?
Ken Wais, 5/21/02