17Apr12

Not from me, of course.

I’ve been listening to a ton of podcasts lately, made more possible by the iPod’s “2x” speed feature, which is sweet.  Most of the stuff features hosts who clearly enunciate everything, so I just speed up the process.  I got through a solid chunk of the now defunct Watching the Directors, and they recommended Hollywood Saloon.  I saw there were some entries on “Star Wars,” so I took an ear to those first.

I thought I was an apologist.  Jeez…

1.) One of the guys (I don’t think they ever said their name; either that or they said it so fast at the beginning that I heard it at 4x speed, which may be untraceable to the human ear hole) went so far as to defend the romance in “Attack of the Clones.”  He went on and on and ON about how it’s not George Lucas’ job to explain things to us like how these characters fell in love.  To the co-host’s credit, he called this dude out on that.  Big time.  Maybe not as big as I would have, but still… “Not his job?”  What else is he getting paid for?  I might not have been soooooooo surprised by this apologist bombardment if the same guy (I think) hadn’t just…

2.) Hated on “Return of the Jedi.”  Sure, it’s not my favorite of the original 3 either, but I have real reservations about putting any of the prequels above “Jedi” in my mental rankings.  Both of the Saloon hosts ranked “Revenge of the Sith” higher, and one actually put “The Phantom Menace” higher.  I guess they were so let down by “Jedi” back when they were kids that the sting still hurts, but, dude, come ON!  For as much as you can bitch about Ewoks and tonal shifts and Han Solo not being as badass as he might have been in the prior movies, “Jedi” still looked like a movie that took place in a real world with actual human beings.  That is to say it took place in the same movie world as the other movies of that series.  There were no weird eye-line mishaps, and no Palpatine-moves-slow-as-shit-but-can-still-manage-to-stab-a-couple-Jedi-before-they-can-apprehend-him moments.

And if you wanna talk tonal shifts, in as much as having characters behave differently than was previously established, how about the Yoda fight in “Clones?”  What happened to “Wars not make one great?”  What happened to a tiny creature so powerful with the Force that he doesn’t even need to bother himself with a lightsaber?  It was trashed to perk up the ending of a shotty movie.

It all felt like populist-cool “Jedi” hating to me.  You know the ones where fanboys make paintings of Boba Fett fighting his way out of the Sarlaac pit, and there’s complaint after complaint about how quickly Ewoks can set up traps.  You know, it is possible those traps were set up before the big fight.  The Ewoks had to know the Empire was there and making their lives bad, too.  They don’t trust men/humans/whatever Luke and Han are supposed to be.  These are warrior teddy bears, not idiots (except for the worshipping golden robots as gods thing, but…).  It is entirely possible that they were preparing themselves to fight off the Imperial forces if they needed to, and meeting up with Luke and Han and Leia gave them the motivation to do so.  Actually, 3PO gives them the whole story and personalizes it.  Now to the Ewoks, the guys in black and white uniforms aren’t just annoying neighbors — they’re the enemy!

Repeat after me (not really, but try if you want): more lightsabers, a teenage Anakin and lots of digital army fights do not necessarily equal a better movie. At the very least, it doesn’t mean that it’s better than “Jedi.”  In my humble opinion, that is straight horse shit.

I didn’t know I was this angry until I wrote this all out.  The Saloon guys aren’t morons.  They’re obviously schooled in movies and they explain most of their points very thoroughly.  Most importantly, the love movies. But it just feels insane to think that anyone would really prefer to watch any amount of the prequel trilogy to any amount of the original trilogy.

AND ANOTHER THING*… Let’s assume that “Jedi” is the lesser of the three original movies.  I’ll grant that.  And some of the reasons for that lessericity are somewhat valid (Leia being Luke’s twin sister being a weird example).  But if that pissed you off so much in 1983 that you’re still fuming about it to this day, wouldn’t that tick you off in the prequels, too?  The prequel trilogy seems to be following in “Jedi’s” example of “more is more” and “toys make right” and “plot twists don’t always have to make 100% sense.”  The prequels support the declarations and uncovered mysteries explained in “Jedi,” so aren’t they, by definition, following in the footsteps of a weak foundation?

(I can’t seem to get off this tonal shift thing) The reason you never notice any jarring tonal shifts for the characters in the prequels — the shifts that apparently irritated some in “Jedi” so much that they’re still angry about it — the reason you don’t see tonal shifts for the characters in the prequels is because the characters in the prequels AREN’T CHARACTERS.  They are cyphers.  They’re human puppets made to stand and face one way, then the other.  They aren’t characters.  Maybe the wounds or sins of “Jedi” hurt more deeply because the previous two movies had reached so high and set the bar way up there that anything less would feel unforgivable by comparison.  But at the same time, the so-so-ness of “Phantom Menace” (and I’m being nice there) made me like “Jedi” better, just as “Clones” made me like “Menace” better.  That doesn’t mean “Jedi” is a greater movie, but comparatively speaking, it’s at least got it’s crap together.

Hear the most incredible lawyering for “Attack of the Clones” here.

*I was literally shutting down my computer when this occurred to me that I’ve put off sleep a bit longer to compose this section bitching to the internet vacuum.  I guarantee I’m going to think more about this before I fall asleep.  Of course I will.  Otherwise I’d blog about anything else, right?  Right.  Zzzzzzzzz…

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