|Posted on April 22, 2010 at 4:15 PM|
I'll Take Ewoks Any Day
I recently decided to do something that I don’t do too often, though it is a slight change and not of a huge amount of note and worth. I recently sat down and rewatched a little movie by the name of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
Now many will agree that out of the Star Wars prequels, this is easily the best. If anything because things actually happen in it, unlike the previous two films that, now, appear as only buildup like a prelude. Wait, that’s being too kind. Those films are more like the Author’s Introduction at the beginning of a book before the book actually begins. You know, the part you just skip over.
Anyways, most of my original reactions to the film were still apparent. The acting is still awful, save for Ewan McGregor and McDiarmid. The writing is still god-awful, pedestrian stilted schlock and the set pieces, while entertaining, a little too flashy without a sense of pace and rhythm to them – just a bombardment of stuff ("bombardments of stuff" copyright 2000 by George Lucas). I looked back to my reviews and thought a little more about the scoers I gave all the Star Wars movies. In particular the following: I gave return of the Jedia a 3.5 out of 5 and Revenge of the Sith a 4 out of 5.
I thought a little more, also drank a little more, and decied that those scores are just wrong.
Now, I know what you're thinking. ".5? Who cares." In many instances, you'd be right. I only put up little numbers because people like them for easy reference. People like to itemize things like that and, truthfully, the differences between a 4 and a 5 are pretty minor - they're going to be damn good movies no matter what.
Here, though, it's a different story. Sith isn't a "Damn good movie." It's outside looking in if there ever was an example of one.
Giving those two films those scores was a mistake. The truth is, those, if anything, need to be flipped.
No person will disagree that Return of the Jedi is the weakest out of the original trilogy and nobody will disagree that Revenge of the Sith is the best out of the prequel trilogy. Yet...Revenge of the Sith is not better than Return of the Jedi...it's not even on the same level with it.
Is it close? Sure. There's a lot of drama and great set-pieces going on in Revenge of the Sith. It's darker. It does a better job with its story and brings solid arcs to a close with a couple of really solid performances.
But so does Jedi, and though I hate how it ends with a bit of an odd litle Ewok party and far from the epic ending it deserves, though the Ewoks themselves are pretty dumb plot vehicles, though the character arcs outside Luke and Vader seem miniscule, I started thinking more and more of what Revenge of the Sith offered as well in comparison: not much.
Return of the Jedi, though the weakest of the original trilogy, had the benefit of two strong films before it. It plays into this flow well. It doesn't try and overhaul everything like Revenge of the Sith does, it's there to remain consistent. When you see the battle with Luke and Vader, the Emperor watching his little puppets, the attack on the Death Star and the jungle battle...all this with great weight not because the individual film is so strong, but because the buildup to it was. You still need to make a damn good conclusion to it all, and Jedi does just that. Sith, by comparison, feels more like a "make good."
Now back to those preludes. They aren't good. They're average movies in every since of the word. They're badly written. Badly acted. Their stories are nonsensical and even veteran actors can't make those characters work. In a way, Sith is given more credit not because it's closer to the original trilogy (it is...sort of, but that's not the point) but because it's NOT those movies. That's not a reason to give it a good review. It doesn't necessarily do things well, it just does it better than what we've been given. The story and writing problems are still there. Return of the Jedi, though, doesn't try to do more than what is asked of it. While I might have given it a lower score initially, in hindsight, I applauded it more and more when it simply continued the trend of doing things right.
As a result, I've decided to swap their scores. That .5 might be minor, but the fact is Jedi is a better film than Sith. It's not without its problems, but the .5 is less to do with number crunching and more to do with the principal of the matter. And if tehre's anything that George Lucas might have lost or forgotten about in the Prequel Trilogy, it's the "principals" of things.