Friday, August 15, 2008

Does sweet’um want some num-nums?

I never thought I would come out of a theater having just seen a Star Wars film and say, "wow, that really sucked." But here I am.

As you might imagine from my grognardy ways, I was one of the bazillions of kids who saw Star Wars when it first came out in 1977 (and, incidentally, when it was still called "Star Wars" and not "Episode IV: A New Hope"). I cut school to see Jedi on its opening day (which was, coincidentally, my birthday). I was enthused as most of us were when Phantom Menace came out, and I actually don't hate the prequels like so many long-term fans have come to do.

But this... this was garbage. An utter waste of my $9.50. It makes me yearn to see Jar Jar Binks on the screen, for crying out loud. This was so bad it is difficult to put into words, but I'll give it a try.

First, the good (what little of it there was). I thought the scenes with the clone troopers were great; I really got a vibe like they were old soldiers and real professionals. I liked the way they tried to individualize themselves with hair styles and tattoos, even if it did run counter to what we see in Revenge of the Sith (which actually comes after this cartoon). And the music when they were on the planet with the monastery I thought was excellent; really evocative and different for a Star Wars movie, and I thought it fit well. Watching Anakin and the old clunker starship was fun for a few minutes. And...

Well, that's about all I liked.

The stylized characterizations were quite obviously cribbed from the Clone Wars shorts that were shown on Cartoon Network a few years ago. Even some of the scenes were taken straight out of that (quite excellent) series-- I think particularly of the scene with clone troopers swooping down on ropes, firing at the droid troopers as they did. The fact that Lucas seems to be deliberately sweeping Genndy Tartakovsky's work under the rug seems almost criminal, considering that many of the images the new movie (and the coming television show, no doubt) uses come directly from there. Little things like Dooku, Mace Windu, Palpatine, and Obi-Wan, etc.

To say that the droid soldiers were even dumber in this movie than they were in the prequels is to do a disservice to dumbness. How the hell can a droid forget a 7-digit number it was just told?? How the hell can it just fall off a cliff out of clumsiness? The Jedi finally manage to figure out a way to make destroyer droids, well, destroyable. Why don't we ever see that trick again, I wonder? Oh yeah, because this film doesn't give a crap about continuity with the other films in the series! Where the hell were those non-clone, non-Jedi officers before now? It was cool when it seemed like they were waiting in the wings, ready to take over for the Jedi once they'd been annihilated by the clones. Now, they just seem to blip in and out randomly.

Then there's the dialog. Ah, the dialog. Gems like the line I used as the title for this post. It is so obvious that Lucas is trying to just wring a few more dollars out of my seven-year-old that it's embarrassing. The excrement jokes in Episode I and the burping jokes in Episode VI cannot hold a candle to the inanity of the lines that are thrust into the yawning gobs of these characters. Well, they would be yawning gobs if they actually opened their mouths at all; so little was spent on the animation for this travesty that it almost seems like they could have done it in Syncro-Vox and had it come out better.

Someone on another blog said something to the effect of "Now I understand what those folks who hate the prequels must feel like." Yeah, I'm feeling like that right now.

EDIT: And the less said about Ziro the Hutt, the better.