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20 May 2005 @ 03:37 pm
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith  

Visually stunning. As dark as Lucas could make it. Satisfying story arc. Thought-provoking plot elements. Pretty much everything I had dared to hope for in a Star Wars movie.

Horrible, horrible dialog. Star Wars has always had flat, stilted dialog, but this seemed especially bad. When this movie is out on DVD, I intend to watch is dubbed into Chinese - Kung Fu movies have taught me to have accept this kind of dialog as poorly-translated subtitles, but I just don't want to listen to it.

There were a few good moments, like the coversations between Chancellor Palpatine and Anikin Skywalker, but they were almost drowned out by the vast quantities of bad lines. Unfortunately, this wonderful character interaction was flushed down the crapper as soon as Palpatine mostered out into Darth Sidious.

This was a very, very dark movie. If Lucas had SHOWN any of the things that he had "only" made obvious, like Vader killing the jedi Younglings, he would have been far across the line to an "R" rating. As it was, it still might give little children nightmares. I was actually surprised by the number of munchkins at the theater opening night.

One thing I particularly liked was the flawed nature of the Jedi order themselves - not just Anikin. These people are politically isolated, emotionally distant, elitist, inaccessable, and fundamentally unhelpful - by design. More than once, I wondered whether Yoda was involved with engineering the fall of this Jedi order. Bail Organa's help at the end is even more remarkable when you consider how few friends the Jedi seem to have outside of their own little circle.

First, the Jedi are spread too thin acting as "generals" in this war. Surely, there HAS to be somebody better qualified than this? Yoda is the only one who sets up anything reminiscint of a command center; most Jedi don't seem to have a more subtle grasp of command than "watch me kick ass". For any war of significant scale, there MUST be a better use of the commanding officer's time than decapitating enemy soldiers, no matter how good the "general" is at said decapitations.

Unfortunately, we don't see any useful military command structure on the other side. Thrawn would have been insulted to find himself in this war, and mopped up both sides within a week. Personally, if I found my troops decimated by Jedi on the battlefield, mmy first inclination would be to take off and nuke the site from orbit - it's the only way to be sure.

The Jedi are too busy playing at Jihad to properly deal with their prophesized prodigy. Nobody seems to notice that he dissappears to Padme's at night. When he comes to Yoda about prophetic visions of a nature that have come true before, does Yoda give him a crash course on the concept of "self-fulfilling prophesies"? Does Yoda suggest searching the Jedi archives for something that could save Padme's life? Does Yoda even lift one finger to help? No, Yoda counsels Anikin to get used to loss. The only helpful friend Anikin finds is - Palpatine.

I wonder how long Yoda has been in touch with Qui-Gon's ghost. A little help in Obi-Wan's training of Anikin could have gone a LONG way. Or not; the boy always was a punk.

When I first heard in Episode I the prophecy about bringing "balance to the Force", I had trouble understaning why any of these Jedi could see that as a GOOD thing. It wasn't until later that I realized that these smarmy, deluded Jedi saw THEMSELVES as incarnations of balance, and therefore see a Jedi-only world as "balanced". These are the same people that make absolute statements like "Only the Sith think in absolutes". Jedi have an enormous blind spot about Jedi.

The one thing that really blew me away was the attempt to "arrest" Palpatine. Imagine if the Joint Chiefs of Staff marched into the Oval Office, armed to the teeth, and informed the President that he is under arrest for being secretely a Satanist and he better submit ... or else. They didn't even try anything less confrontational (like asking Senators to start discussing the end of War Powers as soon as the War was over). They jumped IMMEDIATELY from "the enemy has been defeated" to "let's get Palpatine". True, this was partially due to Anikin saying "Dude, he's a Sith", but the Jedi were already moving toward a DIRECT confrontation with Palpatine, deciding galactic governance based on their own religious restrictions.

The world is better off without these Jedi, even if we don't get close to "balance" until Return of the Jedi, with all the Sith and Jedi dead and only the Skywalkers to carry on.

Zzyzx: Starmanthezzyzx on May 20th, 2005 11:21 pm (UTC)
I'm going to ask you the question I asked lithera.

Do you think that the horribleness of the Jedi was a design of Lucas or was he attempting to make Yoda a hero still and he just didn't know what he was doing?

The whole Yoda fight towards the end made me think that he had no clue.
St. Sean the Amusedseanb on May 20th, 2005 11:39 pm (UTC)
I'm honestly not sure
I suspect he was trying to set up Yoda as the only Jedi who realized the flaws of the Jedi, but even he came across as a hero in need of humbling.
Ryansynx on May 21st, 2005 02:38 am (UTC)
'the balance'
I think part of bringing balance back to the force is by necessity the destruction of the Jedi order, and the destruction (eventually) of the Sith as well. As you noted, the Jedi order has fundamental structural flaws, and sometimes the only way is to burn it down to the ground and build it back up again.

As the movies noted, the Jedi did not have their full power in the 2nd movie if a Sith Lord gained control over the senate under their watch. Again in the second movie Yoda and Mace Windu discuss with Obi Wan about the failings in "modern" Jedi - overly confident in their powers. They were first talking about Anakin, then about the Jedi in general. Also the Jedi's distaste for politics left them on the outside circle - not really a part of society as per se.

Supreme Master Chief Road WarriorPoet Taffin, M.D.taffin on May 21st, 2005 12:55 pm (UTC)
The horrible dialog to almost acceptable dialog ratio in ROTS was almost as good as the Original Trilogy, if you ask me. Too bad about Jame Earl Jones' "Noooo!" delivery, though.

The whole idea of spreading the Jedi (who are peacekeepers, not warriors) so thin was Palpatine's. In the book, it talks about how it was the only way for a couple Sith to kill the thousands of Jedi. Most of the best Jedi were out on crazy backwater planets, surrounded by hundreds of clones waiting for Order 66. Should the Jedi have seen through this? Were they betrayed by a combination of their sense of justice and desire to demonstrate their heroism in combat (and prove that they were still needed in the galxy)? Maybe.

These are the same people that make absolute statements like "Only the Sith think in absolutes".

I didn't think of how ironic that line was until now. It's almost as bad as my personal motto "Absolutism is always wrong." Obi-Wan's confrontation with Anakin was startlingly agressive. I can see how he might not really want to reassure the fears of someone who just murdered children and choked his pregnant wife, but it seemed like Obi just wanted to mix it up. Maybe he did. Everyone, even the sagest of Jedi, seems to pass the breaking point in ROTS. You can chalk it up to being the most decisive, darkest period in their history or Lucas wanting to get right to the fights and not have ponderous discussions that we all know will be fruitless.

Also, as a friend, shouldn't Obi-Wan have given Anakin a much needed mercy killing while he was burning alive, rather than just scooping up his saer and walking off? The fact that he wouldn't kill him, but let him burn alive without any of his original limbs reminds me of those people who want to confess a one time infidelity to their mate, ostensibly to be honest, but really just to unburden themselves. Seems like The Purge brings out the worst in everyone, selfishness here in Obi-Wan's case.

In the book, Palpatine plays the Religious Descrimintion Card when Mace and friends come to arrest him. It really got me thinking, as did your analogy of a Satanist President, but there's two reasons why that doesn't fly. First, they were arresting him for not immediately giving up his Emergency Powers and stepping down from his overlong term as he had promised, not just for being a Sith. Second, and I hope I'm not offending anyone here, personal religious beliefs in the real world aren't all that important. They only matter as far as they influence your actions. If a President was so strong in his religion that he believed everyone else should be converted or killed, then he couldn't be a leader. Likewise if he had such a strong respect for life that he wouldn't fight a just and necessary war. In Palpatine's case, being a Sith Lord is pretty much predicated on gaining more and more power while lying to and manipulating everyone (now it sounds like every politician is a Sith). I guess what a mean is that a real life Satanist just believes in the bad guy of imaginary friends, whereas a Sith has real and devistating power and evil ambitions. It's also why Jedi aren't llowed to have personal attachments and must train almost from birth. Anakin had things in his life that were more important to him than the Order, and that allowed him to use the skills and position they gave him to destroy the Jedi. An outsider, even a stronger one like Palpatine, could never have accomplished that. The exact opposite would be a guy like Jack Bauer on 24 who (this season at least) has repeatedly put the nation's security over his own personal concerns (at great cost to himself). That's the kind of person you want running/protecting your country, not someone who would invent a false threat to gain total power.