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"Lucas reminds us that he IS a filmmaker"

by Dane Youssef

It's all over. The saga is complete. Lucas has come full-circle and so has the universe and it's inhabitants.

After "The Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones," Lucas had been accused to selling out on his creation and one of the greatest serial-movies of all time.

He had lost the way. Lost his voice. He had become the worst thing an artist can be... a businessman. With all the technology and control in the world... he had become lazy. Unmotivated. Even unimaginative.

Being branded just another "businessman" is the worst thing that can happen to an artist.

At times, the movie feels unnatural and at times, I would call this one of the best thing Lucas has ever done.

But this is truly a movie not to be missed.

Ever since I was a little boy, when I first saw Darth Vader, I asked myself, "Is he supposed to be a robot? An alien? Why does he wear that strange suit? It's probably just to make him look scary." For those who've all wondered the same, Episode III answers that and a lot of others. And you will never look at "Star Wars" the same way again.

George Lucas seems to be trying to make amends for his later and lesser films, and I for one, think he succeeds wholly here.

Lucas totally the gamut totally here and shows the world (just like he did in THX 1138 and American Graffiti) that he is a force to reckoned with, even feared. The force is not merely with him, he is controlling it here.

Of course, throughout his whole career and even now, poor Georgie boy has never been able to write so much as a line of realistic dialouge.

But I forgive him. Don't we all? When it comes to the creative writing process, there are two schools of thought and different ways to go.

those who conjure up great, thrilling worlds (like Mr. Roald Dahl) and those who capture the sparkiling art of conversation (Kevin Smith).

The two just don't ordinarily mesh together very well. They just mix like oil and vomit. And Lucas is a dreamer, so we can understand him wanting to do it his way.

I don't like to give things away in movies, but really, what's to give away? EVERYONE who has seen "Star Wars" and anyone who's seen any of the first three released chapters knows EVERYTHING COMING.

We know that Anikan will convert to the dark side and become Darth Vader. We know that the traitor in the midst is Chancellor Palpatine, who will become the Emperor. And that Padme will bore Luke and Leia. Even in Episode IV, Darth Vader tells us how a showdown between him and Obi-Wan turns out.

But to see how it all came to be is just plain shocking and even a little disturbing. There is such cruelty and sadness in this chapter. Haven't we all grown up laughing and smiling and looking to "Star Wars" for fun and upbeat cheer? "Star Wars" has always stood for escapist fantasy.

His movies are about visual worlds and dreams, not sparkling, chatty conversation. Lucas pretty much does it all here, so he exposes all his talents and faults clearly. But he is truly a dreamer. Perhaps Lucas wanted to do it all so he could see (and the whole world could as well) just how good he truly is and what good he's at.

I truly believe that if Lucas wasn't a filmmaker, Lucas would be that older guy sitting around the campfire telling stories. Old, long forgotten legends of ancient lore and spinning some new ones. Lucas is a dreamer, a homage-payer in his movies.

The battles are so amazing, we can forgive everything Lucas has done wrong in his career so far.

He creates beautiful galaxies and worlds, especially the planet Mustafar. Another moment comes in a showdown between one of the great Jedi masters and the great Sith masters.

Perhaps one of the problems was Lucas has all but done away completely with sets. All of his movies since 1999 are filmed in front of green-screens (or are they called "green-rooms"? I forget).

You can finally see why Lucas has abandoned real sets and muppets and locations in favor on green-screens. Finally, after all this time... you've never seen a movie like this! The first-class FX are all seamless. I know that this is all a movie... all actors, sets and props... but Lucas made me forget.

Christensen and Portman feel more natural here than they did in "Clones." Probably because their lines here are only half as awkward. And the movie doesn't gloss too much over cheap "romance" scenes. Lucas and his team have NEVER excelled there.

Well actually, the dynasty between Han and Leia was worth it's weight in gold. Han and Leia. Hell, Luke and Yoda. But Lucas attempts to handle all of the production of this one (and the earlier two) himself.

Some artists are talented and blessed enough to be able to just go into a movie and single-handedly make a masterpiece. Some artists do their best as soloists. (Orson Welles, Edward Burns, Woody Allen, Albert Brooks, etc). Others just... need a helping hand.

When Padme tells Anikan she is pregnant from what they've been doing together (see "Episode II." Or rather DON'T), Anikan seems like this'll get in the way of his becoming a true Jedi knight.

Lucas has problems directing dramatic scenes and even more writing them. As for love scenes, Good Lord, he sure as hell can't write them. But a moment where Padme' expresses her pain at where Anikan is headed and we see his reaction....

The ending is so sad, so heartbreaking. We have to remember that this is only Episode III of VI.

The average American household (or any other country in the world) has Episodes IV-VI waiting for them at home. After Episode III, IV would be good to wash away this downbeat feeling.

"Star Wars" has always been a hallmark of childhood fantasy, but in this entry, everyone does a lot of growing-up. You'd think all this reality and contemporary sadness would ruin the memory of "Star Wars."

But no. It doesn't ruin "Star Wars." As a matter of fact, it deepens it.

This is a movie that needs to be seen by every "Star Wars" fan.

This is a movie that needs to be seen by every movie fan.

This is a movie that needs to be seen by everyone.

Why are you even still reading this? See it NOW.

--For A Boy Named Anikan, Dane Youssef


















9 years ago on 15 September 2009 03:52