Thursday, May 19, 2005

Seeing Stars

Unexpectedly last night I found myself at an advanced screening of Star Wars: Revenge of the Nerds… er, Sith in Shangri-la Mall. I was going to watch In Good Company, but when I got there the last full show was bumped off to give way to the advanced screening—which was already sold out. I was about to leave in frustration when a lady approached me, towing two kids behind her. “Are you watching Star Wars?” she asked. “I wanted to, but it’s sold out,” I said. Turned out she had bought one extra ticket. After checking if it was a good seat (I made sure it wasn’t located on the sides), I bought it from her.

Yes, it is the best of the three prequels. Thanks largely to Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, and a star-making turn by Ian McDiarmid (as Palpatine), the acting was a lot better. There were no annoyingly unnecessary characters, although JarJar Binks still appears in a cameo. The movie opens in the middle of a raging space battle. Lucas immediately thrusts us into the action, and the screen is all busy with ships, lasers, and explosions. When the camera follows the two ships (piloted by Anakin and Obi Wan) as they fly across a starship, it’s a moment which mimics the gasp-inducing, heady opening of the original movie (Episode 4).

But then all that action suddenly becomes one big soulless rollercoaster ride. It was noisy, busy but emotionally distant sequence—which isn’t surprising, since there was nothing in the movie yet with which we can invest our emotions in.

But as the movie progressed, despite the clunky dialogue, despite the multitude of ways in which Lucas employed the screen wipe as transitional devise, despite Hayden Christiansen’s distracting curls and bangs, Sith takes hold and coalesces into a unified whole, held together by the mesmerizing seduction scenes between Palpatine and Anakin.

Yes, this movie benefits a lot from being the immediate prequel to the groundbreaking, history-making 1977 original. Events in this movie have direct implications and connections to that beloved film. Thus this movie develops resonances that owe much to the succeeding trilogy.

In the future it would be very interesting to watch the reaction of kids who have never seen any of the Star Wars movies when they watch the whole six episodes in chronological order. I wonder how the original 4th episode will hold up. I wonder if Empire Strikes Back will still be considered the best of all six. And I wonder if Lucas will be tempted to tamper with the original trilogy and replace the puppet Yoda with a digital Yoda, like what Spielberg did to E.T.

P.S. – In the Did-my-eyes-deceive-me-or-what? department: In the very last scene of Natalie Portman, why was her tummy still big? Didn’t she give birth to the twins several scenes before? I know pregnant women don’t lose their tummy immediately, but hers was kinda too huge.


Blogger BERNADETTE said...

shet. super-watch pa lang akey ng STAR WARS unya. (excited itu)

2:11 PM  
Blogger McVie said...

Bernadette: Ganders evvvuuuur ang pelikula, especially if fan ka! Ganders si Natalie. At ang ganders ng abs ni Hayden. Maybe not as ganders as Varsity Captain's, pero yummy na rin. :-)

2:20 PM  
Blogger BERNADETTE said...

mcvie: ngayon LEARN ko na kung baket daks pa ren yung tummy ni Natalie Portman. Parang eksena eh, bet nilang i-press release na witchelles nanganak ang potah. na yung mga babylets eh na-tegibums din with the muder para walang nakakalearn na may junakis morisette si potah!

4:40 PM  
Blogger McVie said...

Winner explanation! Good thinking, Wonder Dog. :-)

Pero now I'm wondering some more: kung ang press release ay dedsung ang jugets, bakit alam ni Darth Vader sa episode 5 na "Luke, I am your father!" Ang press release ba nila ay... nabuhay ang son, pero ang twin ay dedsung (thus the tummy)? O luksong-dugo lang ba ang nagyari between Darth and Luke? Pero bakit walang luksong-dugo between Darth and Leia, eh ang tagal-tagal ng kanilang mga fez-to-fez confrontation scenes?

Dapat ma-interview si Lucas.

4:52 PM  
Blogger McVie said...

Ay teka, may-I-remember na! Siney nga pala ni Emperor kay Darth sa episode 5 na si Luke ang junakis niya. Oo nga fala.

5:05 PM  

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