Friday, May 27, 2005

Henceforth, you shall be known as Darth Vader

Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Warning: this entry contains spoilers from the latest installment of the Star Wars saga.

As you know, ROTS dominated in the theaters, aaaand I have been a bit busy contributing to Lucas' ever-growing fortune. Not to worry, I have only seen it 5 times. I love it each time.

I mentioned in a previous entry that I was not planning to see the opening show. But the nearer we were to May 19th the more I wanted to see it. I caved and bought a ticket. As soon as I got off work on Wednesday night, I rushed over to AMC Mesa Grand 24 to wait in line for Auditorium #18. Instead of forming lines behind each auditorium, they had two HUMONGIGANTIC lines. Line 1 was for auditoriums 1-12, Line 2 for auditoriums 13-24. (Every seat in all 24 theaters was completely sold out!!!). When I got there at approximately 6pm, the line began at the front door of the theater and snaked around the ENTIRE theater. It took me 4 minutes or so to reach the end of the line - things were not looking good. I found my place at the end of the line, and made some phone calls to pass the time. Eventually, I met everyone around me in line. We talked about our favorite Star Wars movie, and any spoilers we knew from ROTS (although, because I knew nearly everything, I chose to keep my mouth shut, hehe). I ended up getting into a couple conversations with some Latter-day Saints: a former return missionary wanted to know why I was such a nice "anti" (anti-Mormon). 9:30pm, they let the long lines into the theatre. It was a mad rush into the many auditoriums. Boy was I pleasantly surprised to discover that I could save enough seats for myself and the Roberts. And they were pretty good seats!

Immediately after I got my seat, I recognized the guy sitting next to me: I have had three or four conversations with him at the Mormon temple over the years. His name is Apollo. He initially pretended that he didnt want to "get into it with me," but soon after asked me a rather mocking question: "A question I have for you Christians is, why you cannot answer so many questions? Then Mormonism came along ... we have answers to all those questions." =). Yeeeeaaaa, it was an enjoyable conversation. His first beef was with the Trinity. He had little to know understanding of the doctrine, so I spent most of the time simply explaining it to him. When he couldn't respond, he turned his attack on the Scriptures, claiming that we cannot understand them because we werent alive when they were written. An hour later, and an hour closer to midnight, I ended the conversation because it wasn't going anywhere. I did charge him to hold a higher view of the Scriptures - to view the Scriptures like Christ viewed them.

I could probably write another paragraph, or two, or three, about the fun times leading up to the movie, but I'd rather talk about the movie =). Once the previews began, one could feel the excitement in the air. The Lucasfilm logo appeared on the screen and the auditorium went nuts. Then that 20th Century Fox theme that we all know so well. Finally STAR WARS crawled across the stars. How wonderful it is to see my favorite series back on the big screen ... *grins*

ROTS opens with a bang. I could tell from the opening space battle that the acting was a major step up. Anakin and Obi-Wan's new look was impressive. The graphics were awesome. Within the first 20 minutes there is a space battle, encounters with droids, we meet General Grievous, a lightsaber battle with Count Dooku, and a crash landing. At this point, Jeff Roberts leaned over and whispered, "This movie's just beginning and it rocks!" I nodded in agreement.

Next we see the first interaction between Anakin and Padme. Let me just say that it was so much more incredibly better than AOTC. In every way, Hayden and Natalie created the feel for a young couple married in secret.

There is only one line that I genuinely did not like: "Hold me. Hold me like you did by the lake on Naboo ... when there was no plotting ... no war..." Granted, this line isnt nearly as bad as anything in Episode II. Oh yea. I guess there is one other line that didn't seem to fit: "Only a Sith deals in absolutes," Obi-Wan Kenobi told Darth Vader on Mustafar. I mean, jeeze. Jedi believe in absolutes! Kind of a ridiculous comment. Now, the apologist in me thinks of the context involving that remark. Obi-Wan could very well have meant that simply disagreeing with someone doesn't make you their enemy. But the line remains confusing just the same. Other than that, I loved the entire movie and the script =). Its very Star-Wars-ish.

Unlike any of the Star Wars films, Revenge of the Sith was incredibly dark. It is very evil. When there is nothing but death and tragedy, no humorous moments were to be found. Very little comic relief.

One actor I was mando impressed with was Ian MacDiarmand, aka Emperor Palpatine and/or Darth Sidious. He all but stole the show from Anakin! His role was amazing. The scene with him and Anakin at the opera was fantastic. Did anyone else hold their breath during that scene? Palpatine's legend of Darth Plagueius the Wise (his former master) was so informative. "Unfortunately, he taught his apprentice everything he knew, then his apprentice killed him in his sleep. Ironic, he could save others from death, but not himself." If you remember that performance ... WOW. I mean, WOW. Of course, Palpatine was describing his former master.

Then there was Ewan MacGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi. If MacDiarmand didn't steal the show, then MacGregor did. He is superb as he gives Anakin his special assignment to spy on the Chancellor. Anakin angrily asks Obi-Wan why he is asking this of him. Obi-Wan replies in a solemn tone, "The council is asking you." Great moment. All of this pales in comparison to the final battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin. There is only one scene in the entire Star Wars saga that compares to this one: Vader revealing to Luke that he is Luke's father (in Episode V). Another moment: Obi-Wan walks down the ship's ramp and yells at Anakin who is force choking Padme, "Let her go Anakin! Let her go!" Their fight scene was the best in any SW movie, by far. Absolutely fantastic. Of course, the battle rages on. The scene is horrific: volcanic activity surrounds them. Mustafar is a terrible planet. How life could survive on such a planet is beyond me =). As they are gliding on flotation devices over the lava, I was happy that it didnt look lame like it did in the previews *sigh of relief*. After a few seconds of cold, hard stares at each other, Obi-Wan says to Anakin with such a depressed and disappointed expression, that I felt awful for him, "I have failed you Anakin. I have failed you." Once Anakin's legs and left arm were severed, Obi-Wan lead the way to the movies climax: "You were the Chosen One," he screamed. "You were supposed to destroy the Sith not join them! You were to bring balance to the Force, not leave it in darkness." He then concludes with such powerful words, Ill be honest, it almost brought me to tears, "You were my brother Anakin. I loved you." Even typing those words brings me back to the scene.

Now, I think I can safely say that Hayden Christenson completely redeemed himself in ROTS. His acting was suweet. His turn to the Dark Side was believable. Darth Vader is a difficult character to live up to, and I think I did it quite well. I heard a few gasps when he entered the Jedi Council chambers to finish off the younglings. One of the padawans asked, "Master Skywalker, there are too many of them. What are we going to do?" *Vader's saber ignites, causing the lead padawan to flinch*. Didnt you hate him right then? I think that's what Lucas was going for =). Even the scenes with Padme were pretty darn good. ... "This is the end for you my master," he evenly said to Obi-Wan on Mustafar. Of course, I was convinced of Vader's vileness as he lay on the hot ground with his legs and left arm cut off, as he yelled towards Obi-Wan, "I hate you!" Then he catches on fire. Pretty graphic.

I guess I should mention the soundtrack? It fit the film perfectly. I loved it. In fact, the music for Vader and Obi-Wan's duel is now my favorite SW music.

Natalie Portman cries a lot in ROTS. This is to be expected. Contrary to a lot of folks, I liked her performance. Very realistic.

If you can't tell, Revenge of the Sith is on its way to being my favorite SW film (competing only with The Empire Strikes Back - tough choice).

No, I can't relate to anyone who hated ROTS. I enjoyed all but one semi-corny line in the movie ... and if that is my only criticism, well then =).

I find it very entertaining to listen to people exiting the theater who saw it for the first time. They either love it, or hate it. Very rarely will I find anyone in between. The problem people have with the new movies is that they can never add up to the romanticized version of IV-VI. (Shhhh, don't tell anyone, but I prefer the new movies to the old *grin*).

Meantime, I will let the box office tell of Revenge of the Sith's success: over 16 million within the first two and a half hours. Over 50 million the first day. By Saturday, Revenge of the Sith is expected to have made 200 million dollars. The question isnt if ROTS will break any records, but how many will it break?

I am truly enjoying all the commotion about the film. The commercials. The posters. The discussion =). Of course, I would trade all that in to watch it again.

"Twisted by the Dark Side young Skywalker has become. The boy you trained gone he is, consumed by Darth Vader," Yoda, ROTS.


Sunday, May 15, 2005


In just three days, Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith comes to a theater near you. Can you feel the excitement in the air? As I sit here typing this, I can barely contain mine =).

This is the film that ties the original and prequal series together. Anakin turns to the Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader. The Jedi are destroyed (weeeeell okay, all but two are destroyed). The Galactic Republic becomes the Galactic Empire. Sith shall once more rule the galaxy.

There are some key things that I will particularly enjoy watching: (1) I want to see the look on Yoda's face once he's realized that he has been fooled by the Dark Lord of the Sith. (2) Anakin, not struggling to embrace the Dark Side, but staring it in the face and running after it. (3) The emotional tension between Anakin/Darth Vader and Obi Wan Kenobi.

If you haven't seen all of the trailers and tv ads <----- some of these ads are incredible! At the very minimum, watch the "End of Wars" trailer. It's my favorite so far.

Initially, I was not planning on seeing the opening showing, largely because all the "crazies" show up for opening night. But as time went on, I caved and decided to join the crazies and wait in line. I won't get there until about 6pm, so I imagine I won't have a great spot in line, but it'll be good enough. I plan on seeing it later that day, at least once more. Then on Friday, with some friends from church.

Oh, it might interest you to know that I made a bet with Janet: if she watches all five SW episodes and sees ROTS this weekend sometime, then I will do something "terrible, but within reason" (something of her choosing). Btw, she has to watch them in this order: IV, V, VI, I and II. I'll give you an update onto how she's doing. Mwuaha haha HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

In all seriousness, this is going to be the most emotional of the Star Wars movies. Anakin betrays his wife along with his former mentor and the Jedi Order. The Jedi are all but destroyed. The Empire and the Sith rule the galaxy. Whew, it's hard to even write all of that.

May 19th folks. Wednesday at 12:01am (technically it's Thursday morning, I know, I know).

And verily, much w00tage did thus fill the land.

"The boy you trained, gone he is, consumed by Darth Vader" -- Yoda, Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith


Friday, May 06, 2005

SW Nerds


Did anyone see me in line?