Star Wars, those crazy Star Wars

May 18, 2005

I am resigned to go to see Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, but have no expectations that it is going to be a good film. I feel like I've obtained at least $50 worth of entertainment from Star Wars and Empire, so Lucas has already earned the money I'll spend on Episode III, no matter how bad it is.

Recently, I watched Star Wars, Empire and Jedi (remastered original editions, not the revised, special editions) on VHS. The standout feature of the films is not so much the plot, the acting or characters. The sound design, however, is brilliant. The John Williams score is as close to perfection as a film score can achieve. The incidental sounds-- the noises of light sabers, starships, droids, doors and landspeeders-- make the film seem larger than life. All on-screen actions are tied to a visual sound cue that is unobtrusive, but gives the film more weight than it would otherwise. The ambient sounds simply make the film seem more real.

Sound Design of Star Wars: "In my first discussion with George Lucas about the film, he - and I concurred with him - that he wanted an 'organic', as opposed to the electronic and artificial soundtrack. Since we were going to design a visual world that had rust and dents and dirt, we wanted a sound which had Squeaks and motors that may not be the smooth-sounding or quite. Therefore we wanted to draw upon raw material from the real world: real motors, real squeaky door, real insects; this sort of thing. The basic thing in all films is to create something that sounds believable to everyone, because it's composed of familiar things that you can not quite recognize immediately'"

Reviews of Revenge are decidedly mixed. But does it even matter? No matter how bad the film is, millions of people will watch it because of the Star Wars brand.

New York Times (A.O. Scott): Some Surprises in That Galaxy Far, Far Away: "This is by far the best film in the more recent trilogy, and also the best of the four episodes Mr. Lucas has directed. That's right (and my inner 11-year-old shudders as I type this): it's better than 'Star Wars.'"

Wired News (Christopher Null): Star Wars Ends With Solid Sith: "And so we're faced with the third Star Wars prequel, Revenge of the Sith, simultaneously the most anticipated and dreaded film of the summer. Nearly a decade of hype, dashed expectations and Jar Jar Binks jokes have finally come down to this, by all accounts the last Star Wars movie that will ever be made."

Meh (Stephanie Zacharek): Same old Sith: "In a weird way, the story actually makes sense on-screen: Lucas (who also wrote the script, in case you couldn't guess) seems to have taken some care this time, and compared with its predecessors, at least, the picture moves along reasonably swiftly and with an almost shocking adherence to dramatic logic.… But "Revenge of the Sith" is still crap."

Look at what "sith" is an anagram for...
The New Yorker (Anthony Lane): Space Case: "The general opinion of “Revenge of the Sith seems to be that it marks a distinct improvement on the last two episodes, “Th Phantom Menace” and “Attack of the Clones. True, but only in the same way that dying fro natural causes is preferable to crucifixion."

The Bink Zone: I hates Lucas! I hates it forever! "In every act of creation, there's the temptation to keep making it better. This temptation must of course be resisted. At some point, you declare it done. Not perfect, but done. You let it go and move on. If there are things you don't like, apply the lessons learned to your next work of art."

And finally, Bill Murray sings Star Wars

Posted by Andrew Raff at May 18, 2005 01:43 PM
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