Star Wars: Episodes 1-3

Posted: September 26, 2011 by Micah in Movie Reviews

With the recent advent of Star Wars on Blue Ray I figured this would be as good a time as any to sit down and write out my thoughts on the entire series. Originally I was going to do all six in one post but, because that would take forever and I currently have the brain wave activity of a decaying corpse, I’m just going to tackle the first three today and cover the next three on Thursday.

Okay before we dive into the actual movies themselves let’s get one thing out of the way. Yes, George Lucas made changes to the original movies. No. I don’t think it’s a big deal. Now before you start pitching fits and throwing your vintage star wars figurines at your computer screens let me tell you why.

First off it’s not like the changes really affect the movie all that much. The biggest one I’ve heard people inter-griping about is the fact that Darth Vader now yells “Noooo.” As he picks up the Emperor at the end of movie 6. That will in no way ruin the movie for me. If I really don’t like it THAT much I can just mute the sound. Secondly: this is George Lucas’s movie. He can do whatever he wants to it. Not granted if old George had put a blue furry caterpillar in the movie singing that tried and true ballad “My Cantaloupe in the Fishbowl” I might raise some raucous. But frankly the changes he made don’t really alter my ability to enjoy the movies so why should I really care?

And finally: all of you millions of sweaty fingered bloggers, licking the cheeto’s off your fingers as you angrily type bad things about George Lucas’s parents, let’s bear in mind that he told you he was going to make these changes well before theDVD’s actually came out. The best way for you to express your hatred towards him and his “Noooo” yelling audacity would be too simply NOT BUY IT. But you did buy it didn’t you? In fact you probably bought two of them just so you could have one as a backup and keep it next to your (still in the box) Luke Skywalker themed bunny slippers. In fact, you made it the best selling Blu-ray set of all time!! So well done there. I’m sure George Lucas will be weeping openly due to the raw malice of your cheeto covered blog posts as he takes a bath in a jucuzzi filled with money.

That extremely disturbing mental image aside, let’s go ahead and talk about the movies themselves. For the sake of ease of access I’m just going to jump through the movies real quick and give a brief synopsis and a rating and then give some concluding thoughts at the end. So hold you’re breath, and let the force guide you…. cause here we go.

Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace

As it turns out this has nothing to do with Phantom of the Opera... though I can totally see Darth Maul singing "Masquerade"

 The story: two Jedi Knights (Qui Gon Jin and Obi-Wan Kenobi) are going to settle a trade dispute on the tiny planet of Naboo (also when you type their names out like that it sounds like something I’d order at the Duck Bill Sushi Restaurant “Hi I’d like some Qui Gon Jin with an Obi-Wan Kenobi”). From there on out they are attacked by droids, escape onto the planet below, rescue Natalie Portman, escape the planet, crash on a different planet, meet a kid named Anakin Skywalker, rescue said kid, then get attacked by one of the single coolest people ever invented not named “Batman.” After that they go to a planet, leave a planet, sing a song, do a dance, and go back to Naboo for a climactic battle where an 8 year old kid somehow uses a cockpit designed for a full grown man.

Well if that wasn’t the cliff notes version of that story I don’t know what is. Anyway, Episode 1 had a couple really cool things going for it: Liam Neeson (Qui Gon Jin) might just be the best Jedi in any movie ever. Ewan McGregor (Obi Wan Kenobi) is the only Jedi who might be better than Neeson. And it has droids getting cut apart with lightsabers in it.

That said this movie also had: Very little in the way of good script writing. A child Anakin played by a boy who may or may not have been a robot. And of course, Jar Jar Binks. Now I don’t hate Jar Jar as much as some people do but let’s just say that every time I type out his name I’m washing my hands thoroughly with soap and water.

A 3 out of 5

 

Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of Hayden Christenson… I mean the Clones.

I look at this poster and can't help but think that if Obi-Wan just tilted his lightsaber back a bit, I wouldn't be able to see Hayden Christenson

The Story: Anakin Skywalker is now the apprentice to Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan and Anakin are re-united with Natalie Portman’s character, Senator Padme Amidalla, due to the fact that she’s hot. I mean, someone’s trying to kill her. Obi-Wan sets out to find out why someone is trying to kill Padme, and Anakin (and the aforementioned girl) go off to a picturesque seaside resort (not making that up). In then end Anakin and Padme fall in love, Obi-Wan gets captured by a bunch of cockroaches, and there’s a big awesome battle followed by the worst lightsaber fight ever.

Episode 2 is a completely mixed bag. First off Hayden Christenson can NOT act. Like, at all. Secondly the love story between him and Padme might have some of the worst dialogue points ever in the history of anything. One particular scene involves Christenson emoting to Padme all about his love and passion and unending desire and I’m convinced that halfway through someone realized it was the worst thing ever so they decided to have Portman wear significantly less clothing in the hopes that it would keep audiences from noticing that Christenson was (in fact) still speaking words.

That said Ewan Macgregor is brilliant, there’s a huge fight in a big arena with a ton of Jedi running around being awesome, and Yoda goes off the chain to fight Count Dooku! Unfortunately this is followed up by a lightsaber fight during which (and I’m not making this up) we spend more then half of the fight watching blue and red lights flash against the characters faces. Such a sad sad ending.

3 out of 5

Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith

Hayden Christenson everyone, the man with one facial expression. I call it "confused anger."

The Story: The Republic (the good guys who employ the Jedi) and the Separatists (the bad guys who employ droids, the evil Jedi known as the Sith, and the Hamburgler from McDonalds) have been at war since the ending of the last movie. Now with the war finally seeming like it’s been won (thanks to the noble efforts of Obi-Wan and Anakin) a sinister nefarious and dark cloak themed plan has been set in motion. Anakin turns to the Dark side, a pregnant Padme is far less attractive, and Ewan Macgregor is still awesome. In the end Padme’ gives birth to two children, then promptly dies, and Anakin joins the newly founded Evil Empire and becomes a card-carrying member of the “men with big black capes” club.

For some reason I didn’t mind Hayden Christenson that much in this movie. Maybe it’s just because all he is SUPPOSED to do in this movie is whine and be angry. That’s all he did in the last movie too it’s just that he wasn’t supposed to do it then. It’s like when Keanu Reeves starred in the Matrix. Yes he still had all the emotional range of a single hair from Johnny Depp’s right arm, but that was okay. He was SUPPOSED to be that way. That’s this movie for Christenson. I felt like this was the strongest script of the prequel films and that it told a really interesting story on the whole.

Sure it still had some weird moments, odd lines, and the occasional appearance of acting that may or may not have been performed by a rabid water chestnut. But on the whole it was a great film.

4 out of 5

 

Well that’s my synopsis of the first three movies. None of them were perfect, none of them were train wrecks, and all of them were Star Wars. I’ll give some more insight into my thoughts on the Star Wars franchise in the second half of this post and cover the three original films but let me give some basic wrap up things here.

Star Wars is not a perfect series. There’s bad dialogue, bad acting, and some truly horrendous costume choices (Natalie Portman spent most of the first film wearing roughly the same amount of fabric as the entire cast of “Cats: The Musical, Parka Addition”). But what Star Wars is more then anything else is a movie series that spans generations. Star Wars is a film franchise that stretches over decades and life times and fathers and sons. I will always remember becoming “old enough” to watch Star Wars for the first time. I’ll always remember running around outside playing Jedi warrior with my little brother Weslee. And I’ll always remember that first time I hunkered down and watched all six movies one after another in a ridiculously pop corn covered affair.

Star Wars is one of those rare franchises that has succeeded in creating a world and an atmosphere that transcends the actual movies themselves. No matter what faults or problems I point at in the movies, no matter how many times Hayden Christenson scowls unnecessarily at a twig, and no matter how many times Jar Jar Binks (hand wash) says “Okie Day”… (shower)… I will always jump at the chance to strap on my lightsaber and venture to a galaxy far far away.

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