Olde Town Cinema celebrated the release of Star Wars
by screening it for 62 straight hours. By the time I got there,
it smelled like my cousin Jimmy and his friends had been there
the whole time. The cashier had sweaty pits and greasy hair
swirled into a shape I've only ever achieved by sleeping on
the ground. The rank stench of spilled popcorn oil and old hot
dogs filled up the joint like an old man's fart. And a few pale
souls haunted the hallways like they hadn't seen the sun since
The Olde Town Cinema
is like a pair of blue jeans you could never get a shit stain
out of; tucked away and used only in case of emergency. So,
you know Star Wars has to be a pretty big fucking deal
when the overflow from the nicer AMC theater up the road is
enough to keep our local shithouse open nonstop. Of course,
the first shows were filled to capacity by the geeks, and the
chicks who want to fuck them. The split between those groups
being approximately, oh, 100/0. The Olde Town draws a distinct
sort of geek, though: the clueless kind who really wants to
see Start Wars but doesn't give a shit that the screens
are dirty, you can't buy tickets online, the sound system sucks
and arm rests have no padding left in them. That's Jimmy and
me. I'll take a shitty theater experience over having to sit
near people every day of the week. I showed up about 15 minutes
before an afternoon screening on Friday, bought a ticket and
walked into a half-empty theater. Somewhere, Star Wars
was sold out, but not in Arvada.
first hour of Revenge of the Sith I figured it wouldn't
take long to review it: "Ehh." The second hour, though, is a
hell of a lot better. It elevates the movie to, "Hmmm."
Unless you've been
living in a closet for the past decade, and I know a guy who
has, you pretty much know what this movie is. There was a boy
down the street whose mother locked him in a closet. She was
fucking nuts. But, still, the kid had a sweet setup. He had
a cooler stocked with snacks, a nice TV and SuperNintendo, a
transistor radio and a little stove for cooking hot dogs. I
used to go down there sometimes and hang out, play Super Mario
and try on his mom's old dresses. When his mother died and the
County foreclosed on the house, the first thing he wanted wasn't
to see Star Wars. It was to have the shit washed off
, his nails clipped and the smell of mothballs washed out of
his hair. Then a square meal. And then find another closet,
maybe a little bigger.
In Revenge of
the Sith, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christiansen) is an adolescent
Jedi with a ridiculously hot and weepy wife (Natalie Portman).
Sometimes weeping makes a lady even hotter, but not in this
case. Here she's pathetic and indecisive. Anyway, Christiansen
is the Chosen One, a Jedi with a greater ability to use the
Force to fight evil than any other Jedi. He's also a moody son
of a bitch. Sort of like a teenager working at Wendy's: he can
make a great Quarter Pound Double Stack for your 99 cents, but
he thinks he's "too good for this shit" so he never does.
Because of his powers,
Christiansen is fought over by two sides who want him to fight
for them. First are the honorable Jedis, and second is the sleazy
Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) who, besides ruling the
Republic and probably selling Amway, also secretly leads the
dark armies trying to take over the Republic. He's an asshole,
sure, and misguided. But he's got mad crazy ambition, like a
Wal-Mart manager who reads Donald Trump books and follows up
on its lessons, except with magical powers.
between two masters is made worse by his premonitions that Portman
will die during childbirth, and McDiarmid promises that he can
save her by using the dark side of the Force. This would be
more appealing to me, I think, if Portman did anything in this
movie beside comb her hair, cry, stare out windows and scamper
about in skimpy lingerie. Hell, if they had Dr. Phil on her
planet, she'd probably watch that. As it is, Christiansen should
let her die and hang out at the McDonald's until another boring
beauty comes along. He can get his pick of the litter, right?
I mean, all that talk about the Force doesn't mean shit if you
can't use it to pick up chicks.
Twisted by McDiarmid,
and to nobody's surprise, Christiansen turns to the dark side
and fights against his fellow Jedis, even killing some kids.
Although, here they are called Younglings. I shit you not. Those
sci-fi people have crazy names for everything. These creatures
on another planet can look like humans and speak perfect English,
but they can't say "kids." Man, it makes you think you're really
in outer space for a moment.
Of course, Christiansen
ultimately becomes Darth Vader, a man so fucking evil that three
year olds piss their pants when they hear his name. As we all
know from the other star Wars movies, Vader is like an
intergalactic Mussolini, with the ridiculous Italian fashion
sense, but a bigger asshole.
As I was
saying, the first hour of Revenge of the Sith is pretty
"Eh." There's a shitload of fighting, and a couple shitloads
of special effects. The opening sequence showing Obi Wan Kenobi
(Ewan MacGregor) and Christiansen skittering through a massive
space battle to rescue McDiarmid (before they know how naughty
he is) is spectacular. But that's not news. News would be if
it weren't spectacular. Like if you could see the strings, or
you could see Lucas's fingerprints in the clay the monsters
are made out of.
was pretty bored at that point. The dialog sucks Clydesdale
cock and the characters don't seem to be driven by anything
I could care about. Of course, this is outer space and these
are space aliens, so maybe they have their reasons.
between Christiansen and Portman are supposed to show us a powerful,
nearly obsessive love. They don't. They just say what you can
buy in a Hallmark card and give to someone when you don't really
mean it. Real behavior that shows you can't live without someone
is late night phone calls made from phone booths because you're
too fucking drunk to press those tiny keys on a cell phone.
Calls that go on from your end way after she's hung up as you
argue with the dial tone and then beg for its forgiveness. It
means getting thrown out and then butting your head against
the front door until she lets you back in, not out of pity,
but because she can't sleep with that thumping. Lucas thinks
a few cornball lines like "I will always love you" convey the
message as successfully as Christiansen carving her initials
into his wrist with a protractor needle.
A lot has been said
about how shitty the dialog is, but I feel I need to say something:
the dialog is shitty. It stinks like a Shriner Hall men's room:
the old, stale, rancid stench of a lifetime of undigested beef
finally making its way out the ass. There are so many embarrassing,
stiff lines it reminded of the one time I tried stand-up comedy
and ended up using the last two minutes of my five curled in
the fetal position at the corner of the stage, crying . And
that's the part that got the most laughs. A perfect example
is when Christiansen turns to the Dark Side, while we can get
the sense of what Lucas is doing, he makes it happen with corny
and trite exchange ending with the young Jedi kneeling and saying,
"I will do whatever you say, Master."
Some of the acting
is crap, too. Portman, the only woman I can recall with a speaking
role, is given about as much to do as a security guard at a
retirement home. She looks perpetually confused. Christiansen
has one mode, that of a bad actor trying to look seething. Cold
stares get old fast. MacGregor is the only who looks like he's
enjoying himself, and that's a fucking shame because in the
original Star Wars movies, everyone seemed to be having
fun. Especially Harrison Ford. McDiarmid is also having fun,
but that's because he gets to chew scenery like a cow with cud.
There are some pretty
cool moments sprinkled throughout. As though to emphasize that
evil and horror look the same throughout the universe, McDiarmid
is shown watching a Cirque Du Soleil show. When Darth Vader
is first released from a medical table, his first steps mimic
Frankenstein's monster. There is some lame shit, too: on a Wookiee
planet, one of the furballs swings into a scene while howling
Tarzan's call. And Lucas has liberally sprinkled digs at the
Bush Administration throughout the movie. They're out-of-place,
inappropriate and not nearly as subtle as Lucas probably thinks
they are. Shit, I want to hear his opinion about as much as
I want to hear that bonehag Ann Coulter open her mealy maw.
But even with the
shitty dialog and the stiff acting, the second half of the movie
is pretty fucking terrific. Not just because it ties all six
movies together. I don't give a goats third left tit about that
crap, and I don't really want to follow some fanboys Gantt Chart
to understand all the timelines and motivations. Once Revenge
of the Sith gets past the preposterousness of Christiansen's
turn to the darkside, the movie kicks into gear.
The battles mean
more, the dialog means less. It's easier to understand what
everyone's fighting for without a long-ass Jedi Council to belabor
it. And as corny as Darth Vader is, he's a great villain. As
long as someone's going to be pure evil, Vader's as good as
it gets. Someday, all those losers who say they worship Satan
just to get back at their parents are going to make up a Church
of Darth Vader and kill feral cats in his name. At the same
time, though, Vader has charisma, and you know he gets laid.
A lot. So you gotta admire him.
going to compare this to other Star Wars movies because
I don't give a fuck about those comparisons. It's not like the
others are in theaters to see instead. Besides, at this point
you're either going to see this movie or not and what I say
makes about an ant's shit of difference. I'm not going to buy
into these movies as mythology as too many people are eager
to do. They are just fucking movies. This one is good. But it
probably would have been better if Lucas hadn't believed the
fanboys and fossilized everything. Still, Revenge of the
Sith is a pretty good movie, and it gets Three Fingers.