Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Revenge of the Shit?

Star Wars, Episode III, coming to a Temple of Cinema near you next summer.

Will it be full of Sith or full of shit? We'll soon know.

Over at the Sheep, Captain Kirk posts his thoughts on whether George Lucas will fuck up yet again. He links to Daniel Drezner's reaction to the new "Revenge of the Sith" teaser trailer (they cram a lot of visuals into about forty-five seconds of screen time; almost half the preview is clips from previous Star Wars films-- view it here). Kirk pronounces himself, like Drezner, tempted.

Such is the power of the dark side.

The arc of all six films mirrors George Lucas's own descent into the dark side of the Force: watch in despair as Young George goes from roguish 70s filmmaker, creative and rebellious, to the old, stultifed maximum leader of his own techno-empire, his avarice-clawed hands thrust puppeteer-like up the asses of rabid lawyers who would sue you as soon as look at you.

An old Time Magazine article pegged him back in the 1980s: Lucas "affects the heart rate but not the heart." The heart is Steven Spielberg's department, which is why many of us geeks were ululating in agony when we learned that Lucas would be directing "Revenge of the Sith," just as he'd directed the two previous films in the new trilogy.

I followed Kirk's link and watched the "Sith" preview several times. Of note:

Anakin seems to acquire Darth Maul's eyes. No, not from Darth Maul's corpse-- I simply mean that his eyes become Maul-colored. I could almost imagine him growling, "Senator Organa, please don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."

There's a cool shot (for maybe a quarter-second) of a nasty-looking Palpatine swinging a lightsaber. This is a hint of the titanic mid-film battle that's supposed to happen between Darth Sidious (a.k.a. Palpatine) and Yoda. Yoda is destined to lose this battle and eventually will go into hiding on Dagobah, there to bide his time.

We get a glimpse of the raging finale of the Clone Wars over Coruscant, the city planet that is the galaxy's political center, a close cousin of Isaac Asimov's planet Trantor in the Galactic Empire of his Foundation series. The brief space-battle shots I saw didn't exactly wow me; they looked little different from the magnificent invasion-and-repulsion scenes in "Starship Troopers," where we see the Roger Young get demolished. But there's one quick shot of a ship-to-ship exchange that will please fans of naval battles: you can almost imagine two frigates going at each other on the high seas, cannons blazing.

A few tantalizing frames of Yoda and Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson, currently voicing Frozone in "The Incredibles," which I'm impatient to see) will whet your appetite. As everyone knows, this is the movie where Mace goes to his reward, in keeping with the time-honored Black Guy Dies Rule of American cinematic science fiction.

There are a couple shots of the Kenobi-Anakin duel that occupies some 10-12 minutes near the end of the film-- supposedly one of the longest (if not the longest) movie fight scenes ever.

We also get to see Wookiees*. Wookiees with clothing. Wookiees carrying weapons. Armed Wookiees can only mean dangerous Wookiees, and Wookiees trump Ewoks and Gungans any day of the week in terms of coolness. I wonder whether has done a "Wookiee versus Klingon" match yet.

There's a quick shot of what appears to be a Star Wars version of a fire truck (it flies, and it pisses like a racehorse). This was jarring to me, for some reason.

Although a new bad guy, General Grievous, is supposed to figure prominently in the film, I don't think I saw any shots of him. Hmmm.

Then, of course... there's The Armored Suit with the hooooo-perrrrr breathing.

I'm surprised Lucas showed this moment in the preview; it's kind of a downer to know, already, what that moment will look like. A fully-suited Anakin, now Darth Vader (voice of James Earl Jones again), is on a recumbent platform that tilts and lifts him to his feet. For whatever reason, Anakin's wrists are shackled to the table at about shoulder height. The effect is bizarre: Darth Vader's genesis is an S&M tribute to the Frankenstein monster.

Go view the trailer. And if you're dying to know what will happen in every single scene of the upcoming movie, visit the greatest Star Wars spoiler site of them all: SuperShadow, and find the scene-by-scene plot summary.

ADDENDUM: A blow-by-blow explanation of what the teaser trailer shows is available from SuperShadow here.

*I'm using the Alan Dean Foster spelling instead of the more widely accepted "Wookie."


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